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Category Archives: Healing

Jupiter in Virgo- Refinement of Habits

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image: The Universal Four Habits

by: Cryptohelix

Jupiter is about expansion, optimism, long distance travel, spirituality, generosity, enthusiasm, luck, higher education, beliefs, and freedom, to name a few things.

Jupiter moved into Virgo 8/11/15 for his year long trek through the sign of Virgo; meticulous, clean, discerning, attentive to detail, practical, critical thinking, naturalist, beauty appreciating, health and nutrition oriented, idealistic, dexterous, quick witted.

What does this mean?  If you have Jupiter in Virgo, like I do you may already be interested in health, botanicals, natural healing modalities, and nutrition AND get a Jupiter return this year.  This happens about every 11-12 years.  More on Jupiter Returns here.  Want to find your Jupiter?  Get your natal chart or look here

Yesterday I spent the day contemplating the shift from Jupiter in Leo to Jupiter in Virgo and my impending Jupiter return.  I ended up feeling overwhelmed with possibility (Jupiter) and details (Virgo). 

Today I woke up, feeling a little stiff and it occurred to me in a neat little phrase, refinement of habits.  Is this the Jupiter in Virgo that I was looking for?  The opportunity (Jupiter) to refine my day to day habits, tasks and chores (Virgo). 

My list started something like this:

  • stretch at least a little each day
  • renew commitment to flossing
  • take vitamins and supplements as directed
  • observe a bedtime
  • eat properly (more about that later)
  • write
  • hydrate
  • laugh (jupiter) daily (Virgo)
  • make regular dates with my foam roller

Going along through my day I found that other people now had new motivation and are exercising and taking their vitamins as well as reviewing their personal habits and they were happy!!

The day progressed and I found myself with a huge amount of work to do, measuring and weighing Chinese botanicals. Abundance (Jupiter) work (Virgo). And I was happy about it (Jupiter in Virgo?)

What healthy habits would you like to have?


Mental Health Monday 9/1- links

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Image: by Talkingwatermelon

Happy Labor Day! I had this idea about posting helpful, fun, uplifting and entertaining things on Mondays and calling it Mental Health Monday. Since today is a Monday and also a holiday it seemed like a good time to test it out (read: I didn’t have to work this Monday and thus it isn’t really like a Monday for me).

Why trust is worth it– and how can you grow it?  Cirque du Soleil style. I love, love, love  this.

If you are in a shell– shyness

Alchemy baths-Mystic Medusa has this suggestion until the eclipse in early October. I’ve tried it a few times with rosebuds and dried citrus peel and have to say the improvement in sleep is worth the extra bathtub cleaning.

For those of us who can use the occasional assistance when it comes to deciding here are some techniques for simplified decision making.

Veronica Varlow’s Number 1 Tip Guaranteed to Help You Rock out Your Life and Never Give Up.


Mark Manson’s advice on dating. Fuck Yes or No.  I think his theory could be taken outside the dating arena.

Oh and I nearly forgot…

Exercise!  If this is a dirty word in your vocabulary find a movement you enjoy and do it until you sweat glisten.  Check out John Ratey’s book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.



Have you talked to YOUR parent about safe sex?

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Have you talked to your parent about safe sex?

If not, Jacki Gethner will. Jacki Gethner (LMT, Certified Drug and alcohol Councilor and Reiki Master) has been hard at work as a HIV/AIDS educator with a specific focus on women who are over the age of 50 whose lives have been effected by HIV or AIDS.

Why, should I think about this?

Currently, women over 50 represent the fastest rate of growth in new cases of HIV and  reported cases of syphilis and chlamydia  among people ages 55 and up have increased 43 percent from 2005 to 2009.   Some of the reasons behind this: people are living longer and healthier lives which has included the advent of Viagra and other sex-enhancing medications.  Additionally, safer-sex information hasn’t been targeted to the over 50 group.  Thus their condom usage is lower.

While it may be unpleasant to think about this conversation with our parents, as healing practitioners, we should consider this conversation with our patients or clients and inform them with age appropriate health information.


The Body

Jacki Gethner

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Association of HIV Over Fifty

National Institute on Aging Information Center

Laughter as Medicine

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Laughter as a Modality in Cancer Care

Just when I couldn’t write anything else about nutrition it came to me.

“Hidden within every problem lies an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem.”

            -Albert Einstein

Why a paper about laughter? It is natural, it is fun, and when done in appropriate way at an appropriate time within treatment of the cancer patient this can be enormously helpful in the treatment of the whole patient.  What is more natural than laughter?  It touches on so many of our basic Naturopathic tenants.  It incorporates so much of the body, mind, spirit component that we claim to treat. Humor and laughter although similar are not the same.  One can experience one without the other and vise versa.  Gelotology is the study of laughter and the psychological and physiological effects of laughter.  This paper is the starting point for my humor files beginning with some general contraindications of humor in the doctor patient relationship.  A brief timeline of humor in medicine, physiological benefits of laughter including studies done world-wide on laughter in medicine and a review of patient (and some physician) sources for humor as related to oncology.

            Determining when it is appropriate to use humor in the doctor-patient relationship can be challenging for some humor is used to ease an uncomfortable situation and therefore may be inappropriately to ease the physicians discomfort and not for the patient’s benefit.  The use of humor may be inappropriate at that time.  In an article titled Laughter: The best medicine, there is a discussion of the beneficial impact of humor in the therapeutic relationship with a firm caution on the appropriateness of timing.  Some of the advice given, to avoid the pitfalls of the use of humor are:

  1. Don’t use humor when giving bad news
  2. Don’t use a lot of humor during the first visit- assessing boundaries
  3. Assess how “raw” a patient’s emotions are.  Some people are fragile in terms of what they can handle.
  4. Allow the patient to set the stage for humor
  5. The 3 situations in hospitals where humor is never used: when patients are threatening not to cooperate with staff, when patients are extremely upset and when interacting with friends and family of dying patients. 

 “The art of medicine consists of keeping the patient amused while nature heals the disease.” – Voltaire

Here is a very brief history of laughter in medicine just to illustrate how far this theme dates back.

Laughter in medicine goes back as far as the Bible: “A merry heart doeth like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Proverbs 17:79)

Herbert Spencer wrote the Physiology of Laughter, which was first published in Macmillan’s Magazine in 1960.  He remarks that laughter is a result of the perception of incongruity like when we see a child put a man’s hat on or how someone cannot keep his or her foot still when it is being tickled.

Norman Cousins was the editor of The Saturday Review for many years and was diagnosed with a fatal disease.  He had always known that laughter had improved his life he checked himself out of the hospital moved into a hotel and obtained all the comedies he could.  He found that after 10 minutes of laughter he was able to sleep for 2 hours without pain.  This was a time prior to TV where he had to obtain film reels and a slide projector to watch Charlie Chaplain films.  He later recovered from his terminal illness and lived for two decades after this illness.  He then wrote Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient.

Patch Adams from the Gesundheit Institute, note to self- see the movie again.

Laughter has benefits that go beyond the physical into the psychological and social.  Some of the things that research has proven laughter to do: reduce blood pressure, improve respiratory capacity, decrease cortisol, increase immune cells, act as a mild aerobic activity, improve sleep, mood and sense of well being, and increase quality of relationships between people.  I don’t really need a double blind placebo controlled study to tell me that laughter is a good thing when used appropriately. However, some researchers are trying to do this and running into the pitfalls faced by those who try measure a multi-factorial concept like laughter or humor with the standard evidence based medicine theories.

“Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of It.” –E. B. White                                                                                              

          At the Prince Mahavajiralongkorn Cancer Center, in Thailand, researchers are gaining insight on how humor affects patients overall well being as a non-invasive therapy for pain management.  Patients were randomized into two groups control or humor therapy.  The patients in this study are in an inpatient cancer care program that aids the medically underserved.  Due to a lack of resource there are no psychological or emotional therapies for these patients.  The humor therapy group improved in the areas of pain and satisfaction and comfort.

            “Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”            – George Bernard Shaw

10 Ways You Know That Your Doctor is an Oncologist

– Emily Hollenberg, Cancer Survivor

10. Even though he/she is wearing a white lab coat and not a military uniform, words like battle, fight, war and weapons are frequently used in the conversation.

9. You know that your doctor is an oncologist at a medical center when he/she uses “oma” words like carcinoma, lymphoma and melanoma instead of cancer.

8. He/she tries to explain to you why a low grade is better than a high grade on your path report. (I could have used that approach explaining my grades to my parents.)

7. He/she wants you to be excited when your tests come back negative not positive, of course this does not fit with most life experiences when you know it is better to be positive than negative.

6. He/she talks a lot about trials and as far as you know is not a lawyer or a judge.

5. When shaking hands with you at your initial appointment, you have a feeling that your veins are being checked out.

4. Asks you if you want a port and you know that this is not an invitation to have a drink.

3. Tells you that you will get a series of treatments and you keep wondering where the “treat” part comes in.

2. Tells you that you are on a protocol and it doesn’t seem to fit with the dictionary definition. Protocol: form of ceremony and etiquette observed by diplomats and heads of state.

1. Has you sign a consent form for treatment that is more intimidating than the diagnosis.





Bennet, Mary Payne and Cecile A. Lengancher. Humor and Laughter may influence Health. I. History and Background. ECAM 2006:3(1) 61-63.


Bennet, Mary Payne and Cecile A. Lengancher.  Humor and Laughter Many Influence Health:  II. Complementary Therapies in Humor in a Clinical Population. ECAM; 3(2) 187-190.


Bennet, Mary Payne and Cecile A. Lengancher.  Humor and Laughter May Influence Health:  III. Laughter and Health Outcomes.  ECAM 2007.


Bhosai, Satasuk Joy and Saki Miwa. Rx Laughter and Prince Mahavajiralongkorn Cancer Center.  Understanding the effects of humor therapy on patient’s self-reports of pain, comfort and anxiety.  Jan 2006-2007.


Joshua, Anthony M, Angela Cotroneo and Stephen Clark.  Humor and Oncology.  Journal of Clinical Oncology. Vol. 23 No. 3 Jan 20 2005.


Polimeni, Joseph.  The First Joke:  Exploring the Evolutionary Origins of Humor.  Evolutionary Psychology.  2006. 4: 347-366.


Spencer, Herbert.  The Physiology of Laughter.  Macmillan’s Magazine.  March 1860.


  Penson, Richard, Rosamund A. Partridge, Pandora Rudd et al.  Laughter: The Best Medicine.  The Oncologist.  Vol 10 No. 8 651-660, Sept 05.

What is Holistic Medicine?

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What is Holistic Medicine?

Holistic medicine is energy medicine.  It is the medicine of the ancient people.  This medicine serves as philosophy and guidelines to the ancient people who were very concerned with living in accordance with the laws of nature.  The definitions and descriptions used by the ancient people are all in relationship to the continual movement and chaos of the surrounding environment.  The parts of the body are only  viewed in context of the whole and the whole body is only viewed in context of the surrounding environment or the macrocosm and the microcosm.  Holistic medicine is a medicine of unity and not separation.  Holistic medicine asks where the energetic disturbance is because all illness is energetic in origin which is overlooked by modern convention.  perhaps partly because it is not measurable perhaps that is what is easiest.

When comparing ancient and modern medicine it is important to remember that ancient medicine deals primarily with energy is is about assessing, diagnosing and treating energy which is movement.  Modern medicine deals with matter.  It searches for the physical and tangible.  If no physical, tangible or measurable pathology exist there is no so called disease.  Matter always manifests from energy.  Before there is matter there is energy, in which case, modern medicine deals primarily with that which is a manifestation of an energy disturbance.  Disease from the modern perspective does not happen overnight it takes time.  It builds up until it becomes something that can be measured by modern diagnostic conventions.  Modern medicine looks at the pieces and does not relate them to the whole, as if they were all independent of each other.  Modern culture is permeated with excess.  When we talk about exposure to detrimental elements for example violence, chemicals, toxic substances we are referring to an extreme of these things.  This desensitization of humans leads to an inability to perceive subtleties in the environment.  In this respect modern medicine is very obvious.  It is born from excess and that make weakens it.  Ancient medicine deals in energy, it requires perception of subtle changes and although ancient, it is very sophisticated.  When a culture lacks this ability to perceive their environment; they lose touch with nature.  In losing touch with nature people lose respect for the chaos of nature and in turn become upset with nature, when it should really be nature that is upset with people. 

The holistic physician is a huge component in helping people maintain touch with nature and its many ways.  I imagine it was much different when ancient people were concerned with their relationship with nature.  Today the holistic physician may take on a role, pointing out aspects of their patients’ lives which may be troubling.  They must try and help patients to cultivate the virtues in their lives to overcome the characteristics which have lead to the patients’ present condition.  For all of this the holistic physician does not hold a favorable role in modern culture.  They must not only have the skills to diagnose and treat disease.  They must also be strong in their heart and  the convictions of their medicine.  They must be strong, bold, and at the same time humble, never forgetting that there is nothing that they can do for their patient, that their patients body is unable to do for itself.  This can be difficult when dominant paradigm believes the opposite is true.

In this culture we have given up responsibility for ourselves, we have lost touch with nature and we have become desensitized to what exists.  Can we as a culture regain touch with the microcosm and the macrocosm in a world of cities, pollution, and war?  As a student of holistic medicine, I know that the body can do things that I myself may be unable to conceive but left to its devices it will do what is best.  As individuals, we must look at our relationship with nature and with others to help strengthen our relationship with the universe.