You’ve Been Washing Your Face Wrong

We’ve all been there before. You wake up and see a face covered in acne reflected in the mirror. Grimacing at the unfortunate state of your face, you get yourself ready to tackle the problem. You wash your face 2-3 times a day, apply a really strong medicated astringent all over the face and then spot treat with even more medication. You then continue to moisturize your face with oil-free lotion. An hour later, you find yourself dismayed that your face is once again oily and shiny… and another zit!

The problem in the above scenario is two-fold. First, you’re washing your face too often. The oil on your face is not the enemy. The natural oils and healthy bacteria on your face are necessary for a clean and healthy complexion. You need to maintain a healthy balance of the two. The bigger culprit is more likely a problem with your diet and/or hormonal imbalances (there will be an article with this topic).

Second, you’re using too many oil-free products or trying to dry out the face too much. The human body is a very efficient and smart machine. When you keep stripping the skin of oil, the body will take that as a cue to produce even more oil (sebum) to keep the skin moist. So using oil-free moisturizers and strong astringents may actually be making your face even more oily than before, causing more clogged pores, which then leads to more acne.

So how do you wash the face? The face should be washed thoroughly with a gentle cleanser before bed. Apply a gentle toner (witch hazel is a great choice) and apply a good natural moisturizer (try to find one without too many chemicals). When you wake up, do not wash your face with a cleanser. Merely rinse your face with water to rid your face of any excess oil. Apply your toner and moisturizer and always put on sunscreen.

Note: Water temperature should not be too cold or too hot. Too cold and you will not be able to cleanse away any impurities and too hot will dry out your skin causing faster aging. Water should be a comfortable warm to lukewarm temperature.

There are other methods to cleanse your face, such as the oil-method, which I will cover in another article. Also, be aware that a dirty pillow case can also cause more acne. Be sure to change it often, or at least cover your pillow with a new towel every night.

Graceful Points

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture

Is your beauty masked by the effects of life?

In Chinese medicine, beauty is not defined by age or your waist size. Beauty is defined as having a clear face. A clear face would be bright eyes, a bright complexion and a bright spirit that shows through with a brilliant diamond-like clarity.

Facial Rejuvenation does not make you beautiful. We cannot make beautiful, what is already beautiful. So be mindful that the first step in facial rejuvenation is accepting that you are and always have been beautiful.

With these rounds of treatments we enhance the beauty that you already possess. We bring forth what has been hidden away due to… well, life! Pollution, stress, lack of sleep, etc., can all mask the beauty that is already there.

What it does:
Facial rejuvenation is able to bring back youth to the face because it revitalizes the qi, blood, energy and life force of the body. With facial acupuncture, blood flow and energy is brought back, not only in to the face, but also into the whole being. Aging is reversed or prevented, by reversing or preventing the effects of an unbalanced life or lifestyle. And there are the wonderful side benefits of less wrinkles and a glowing complexion.

Facial rejuvenation brings back the youthful glow and muscle tone of the face. By placing small hair thin needles into the face, a micro injury is created, which then calls forth blood and collagen to rush to the site to heal it. in this process, an increase in collagen and blood circulation tightens the skin and opens up fine wrinkles and softens up deep wrinkles.

Who it is for:

  • Those in their 20s and 30s: prevent early aging signs, clear acne, look years younger
  • Those in their 40s and 50s: minimize the appearance of fine lines and bring back a youthful glow, look years younger
  • Those in their 60s and 70s: soften the appearance of deep wrinkles and rejuvenate a dull complexion, look years younger.

This is great for both men and women.

What to expect:
In your first consultation, we will determine the the constitution of your skin and body. This will determine the basis of the course for your treatments. Nutritional and skin care advice will also be given based on this first consultation.

  • Needles will be placed in the hands and feet for constitution.
  • Needles will be placed in the face.
  • Treatments will last for 30 minutes once the needles are in.
  • Each session will end with a face acupressure massage using a specially made cream

You will begin to see a slight difference from the 1st treatment and a significant difference by the 8th treatment. For optimal results, it is recommended that 10 treatments be completed either twice a week or once a week. The results will last for a year. Single follow-up treatments are great for maintenance or to look refreshed before a big event.

Call 562.473.5371 for more information and ask for Grace.

Graceful Points

The Difference Between Living and Existing

I will be at a Vitality and Health Seminar in Long Beach, CA tomorrow and the talk is all about nutrition and how important it is.

Nutrition is fundamental, essential, and vital. Whether I were to treat you for pain, facial rejuvenation, smoking cessation, weight loss, or even depression, nutrition would be one of the key components in my treatment plan. Acupuncture and herbs work wonders but if your diet is poor, full recovery will be unattainable, and you will continue to see me again and again. Sure, it’s great for me as a business, but my goal, as a healer, is to never see you again because you are feeling all better.

To give you an example of the importance of nutrition, I will share a story about one my patients. A female, in her 50s, came to see me because she had excruciating pain all over her body. The first time she walked through my door, she was bent over her walker 90 degrees and put her entire weight onto the walker as she slowly inched forward. She couldn’t drive, she couldn’t sleep, she couldn’t do anything… she was basically existing but her quality of life was not that of a living person.

With acupuncture alone, she was showing steady improvement. But I didn’t want just improvement, I wanted her completely recovered. After evaluating her diet, I noticed a key component that was keeping her progress from 100% improvement. I told her to eliminate one thing from her diet (in this case dairy because she had a lot of damp).

Her total time with me was less than 12 weeks. Around the 9th week, she walked in through my door and exclaimed, “Look, mija! No cane!” She stopped using her walker and even her cane. She had driven herself to the clinic. She was sleeping better. When at first she was reluctant to give up all dairy, she is now a firm believer and declared that she would never eat poorly again.

The patient now gets acupuncture to maintain her health.

Acupuncture with the immense help of nutrition made the difference between existing and living.

Graceful Points

Easy Breakfast Congee Recipe

Every morning should begin with a nice warm breakfast. Not just a nice warm breakfast but a breakfast that is nutritious and easy to digest. That’s where congee comes in!

Congee is a rice porridge dish found in most of Asia. It is eaten for for any meal but mainly for breakfast or given when somebody is ill or have some digestive issues. It can be made savory or sweet, although it is mainly savory in Asia. It is a slow cooked meal that is easily modified to your tastes. I know what you’re thinking, “Slow cooked?!? I don’t have time for that!”

Not so! If you have a slow cooker, all you have to do is prep it at night and it doesn’t take more than 5 minutes. The following recipes are for a 2 quart slow cooker.

Basic of Basic Congee Recipe (serves 2)

  • 1/2 cup of dry rice (avoid basmati rice)
  • 5.5 to 7 cups of water (based on your preference for either a thick or soupy congee)

Rinse the rice until water runs clear and place in slow cooker. Pour the desired amount of water. Turn crock pot on to low if you set it early in the evening or high if you came home late. Leave it on all night until morning. Wake up to morning congee. Season as desired.

The above recipe is just rice and water. Basic congee is best when somebody is going through the stomach flu and can’t seem to stomach anything else. You can modify this congee anyway you like. Below is my personal breakfast congee recipe.

Savory Breakfast Congee Recipe (serves 2)

  • 1/3 cup of dry rice (I prefer short grained glutinous rice)
  • 5.5 cups of water (feel free to substitute for any type of broth)
  • 1 cup of sliced or diced shitake mushrooms (You can use 1/2 cup of dried shitake mushrooms. Presoak them in the morning to use at night)
  • 1/2 cup of mixed frozen vegetables
  • 1 large egg
  • sesame oil and soy sauce to taste

Rinse rice until water runs clear. Add shitake mushrooms and frozen vegetables and water. Depending on time of night, set slow cooker to low or high. Leave on overnight. Wake up and add egg and break it up in the hot congee (it will look like egg drop soup). Add sesame oil and soy sauce (tamari sauce for those who are gluten free) to taste.

If you are making for one, you can pour one serving out and freeze the other serving to consume at a later time. This meal is great because if you are in a hurry, you can pour it in a thermos so you can consume/drink it on the road (after cooling, of course) or consume/drink it at work.

There will be more congee recipes in the future. Hope you enjoyed this one.

Graceful Points

You’re Breathing Incorrectly

Breathing is an essential part of being alive. But most of us do not breathe correctly. If you are tired, stressed, and have difficulty falling asleep, you are probably breathing incorrectly.

Take this very moment to take a deep breath and let it out slowly. What part of your body moved the most? If you answered shoulders, you are breathing incorrectly.

When your shoulders move up and down when breathing, that indicates that you are not using your main breathing muscle: the diaphragm. The diaphragm is this big muscle located under your rib cage. This muscle expands and contracts like a balloon when you breathe. And when you use the diaphragm, your stomach is the main moving body part.

Why is this so important, you ask. Well, when you don’t use your main breathing muscle, you are not breathing deep enough to allow for maximum intake of oxygen. When you don’t have enough oxygen, your body does not run as smoothly as it could. For instance, when a person breathes in pure oxygen, they feel a burst of energy and have a sense of euphoria (happiness, giddiness, relaxation). So imagine how energized and relaxed your could be if you only breathed in a bit deeper. You don’t need to buy a tank of pure oxygen to feel re-energized. Just breathe correctly.

And before I teach you all how to breathe correctly, take the time to notice how tense your shoulders are, how tired you feel, and how often you tend to sigh. A big reason your shoulders are tense if because you are using your neck and shoulder muscles to open of the rib cage to breathe rather than the diaphragm. You are tired because you are not getting enough nourishing oxygen into your body. You are sighing because sighing is a reaction to stress and when you sigh, you breathe in deeper and exhale fully.

How to breathe (do this exercise/meditation when you are in bed for the best practice and best quality of sleep):

  • Lie on your back and place a heavy book (like a dictionary) right below your belly button
    • This is so that you can feel how the diaphragm works
    • If you still have difficulty feeling it, try lying on your stomach and take a couple of deep breaths
  • When you breathe, try to keep your shoulders still and expand and contract your stomach
    • You should be able to lift the book up and down
  • It takes a bit of practice to get it right, but you will start to feel the difference
  • Do this for several breaths
  • Once you seem to have a handle on it, get rid of the book and do the following breathing meditation

Simple Breathing Meditation:

  • Breathe in as deeply as you can and then exhale as much air out as you can
    • A deep inhale and exhale is one breath
  • Take 10 deep breaths.
    • If you lose count, start counting back at one
    • If you complete 10, start counting back at one

After doing this for a week, you will notice improved quality of sleep and wake up feeling more energized. You will also start to notice less tightness in your shoulders and neck. The longer you do this, you will start breathing this way without prompt.

Happy breathing,

Graceful Points

PMS (Chinese Medicine Infographic)

PMS (Chinese Medicine Infographic) | Piktochart Infographic Editor.

I just had to share the above link! It beautifully represents how acupuncture works on PMS. Many thanks to licensed acupuncturist, Patricia Kowal for putting this together.

Here’s a quick run down:

  • 85% of women experience PMS.
  • PMS symptoms range from physical symptoms to psychological symptoms
    • It isn’t a fun ride to be on every month
    • It usually goes away as soon as the period start or can be ongoing and even occur after
  • There are different reasons as to why PMS occurs in some women
    • Stress
    • Too much cold in the body
    • Too much heat in the body
    • Physical exhaustion
    • and more
  • Acupuncturists recognize the myriad of reasons as to why PMS occurs and customize treatments to each individual’s pattern
    • PMS is seen as a symptom of another dysfunction in the body
    • Herbal formulas may be given on a case by case basis to supplement acupuncture treatments.

I hope you enjoyed the infographic as much as I did.

Graceful Points

Easy Costco Green Smoothie Recipe

I know that in the previous post that one should not consume raw cold things because it is not the best for your digestion. But I also recognize how difficult it is to get all the nutrients necessary for a healthy body. Acupuncture can do so much, but if you have a mineral and vitamin deficiency, needles will not help much. So, that is why I have devised an easy green smoothie recipe that provides as much nutritional punch in one serving that anyone can get.

The following recipe can be done with a regular blender but I recommend at least getting a NutriBullet as it will do a good job at making the smoothie easy to drink in a quicker time (1 minute). I also chose ingredients that can be easily purchased in bulk at Costco. It’s so much cheaper (ex. organic spinach is $3.85 a pound as opposed to $5 at grocery stores). If you do not have a Costco card, you can ask a friend to purchase a Costco gift card for you, which will allow you to enter and shop at Costco without a membership (if I am wrong in this, please let me know). Costco also has some frozen organic fruits that you can mix and match with so that you do not weary of the drink.

I highly recommend this smoothie to be consumed either at dinner. But if you have dinner plans, at lunch. I don’t recommend this for the morning because it is best to start the morning off with something warm and easy to digest. In the morning, you are breaking a fast during which your digestion was dormant. I will later post a recipe for an easy breakfast congee.

Note that this recipe has you add either cinnamon or ginger depending on the taste you are alright with. Ginger and cinnamon makes the property (nature) of the smoothie less cold, which will allow for easier digestion. Also, you can substitute for fresh fruits but research has shown that frozen fruits have as much or more nutritional value than fresh fruits because they are flash frozen as soon as they are picked. Also, try to get organic as much as is possible.

Easy Costco Green Smoothie Recipe

  • 3 generous handfuls of raw spinach
  • 2 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1 cup frozen fruit (can be mixed)
  • 1 rounded scoop protein powder (there are great protein powders made with vegetable protein as opposed to whey or soy, Orgain is one example)
  • a couple of dashes of cinnamon or a slice of ginger
  • Add 1-2 cups of water depending on desired thickness (if you have a NutriBullet, fill water to line)

One serving will be around 300 calories. If you want a creamier taste or more protein and potassium, almond milk or coconut milk would be a great substitute. To make this smoothie takes a total of 5 minutes along with clean up.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

*** I have not been sponsored by any of the mentioned products or companies. Just a fan.