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Your September Issue of Natural Alternatives
August 31, 2021

Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health

September 2021

Hello, and welcome to this edition edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!

I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates









You can find a lot of wonderful things on social media — and a lot of questionable things, too. Gua sha isn’t one of those questionable things. While it might look like something that you’d see in a late-night infomercial, this time-honored muscular scraping technique boasts many benefits. Licensed acupuncturist Tim Sobo, LAc, explains what gua sha is and offers some helpful tips for ensuring that your experience is satisfying and not scary.What is gua sha?

Gua sha is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). According to the principles of TCM, your qi (pronounced “chi”), or energy, must flow throughout your body so you can feel your best. When qi becomes stagnant in certain areas, it’s believed that health problems can occur. With gua sha, a practitioner (an acupuncturist in many cases) will use a smooth-edged tool to gently scrape areas of your body where there is inflammation or stagnant qi to help improve circulation and promote healing.

“Gua sha is a very standard kind of treatment modality that most acupuncturists will use. Its meaning loosely translates to ‘scraping, rubbing or pushing.’ Essentially, gua sha is just a tool-assisted type of massage,” explains Sobo.

The difference between gua sha and the Graston Technique

Physical therapists sometimes incorporate muscle scraping to stretch and relax muscles or scar tissue. While this is pretty much gua sha, it’s known as the Graston Technique® in the industry. In 1990, David Graston, an amateur athlete, introduced his version of gua sha to the United States. Sobo says that while qi is associated more with gua sha, both muscle scraping methods are about the same.

“The Graston Technique is just a trademarked version of the gua sha massage technique. The difference is that you get Graston from a physical therapist. They’re going to talk about the technique entirely in anatomical or physiological terminology. If you go to a very strict acupuncturist, you’ll probably hear more about promoting qi and blood circulation and helping to break up the stagnation of energy in your body. But at the end of the day, both therapies have the same goal outcome.”

Is gua sha routinely offered during acupuncture sessions?

Sobo adds that while acupuncturists are trained in gua sha, it’s not always offered during acupuncture sessions. This could come down to it not making sense for the areas of the body being treated or an acupuncturist just opting not to do it. But if you’re interested in experiencing gua sha, you can always request it when making your appointment.

Does gua sha hurt?

Reading that gua sha involves “scraping,” might make you cringe. However, a practitioner won’t be scraping your body like a car windshield in the middle of winter. Gua sha is gentle overall, and the intensity can build depending on the types of knots that your acupuncturist encounters.

Sobo gives us a better idea of how it works.

“Gua sha tools have smooth, rounded edges. They’re not going to cut, stab or pinch you. Before your acupuncturist starts, they’ll massage the treatment area with cream or lotion first and then take things to your comfort level. An acupuncturist won’t just dig in as hard as they can right away on a point. They’re going to find the tense tissue, work on it gently and gradually build up the intensity to promote circulation to help break up the areas that are all twisted up.”

The benefits of gua sha

It’s been reported that gua sha can help relieve several health conditions. Sobo says that gua sha is good for musculoskeletal problems, especially major ones like tightness in the shoulders, legs and back. It can also help alleviate tension headaches, migraines, neck pain or swelling in your body. Sobo adds that gua sha can even help with anxiety, fatigue, insomnia and perimenopausal symptoms when done in addition to acupuncture. 

“We’re just promoting that flow of qi through the body. We’re helping to ensure a better blood supply and proper nerve conduction so that everything is moving through your body as it should. In doing gua sha, the hope is that any symptoms you’re experiencing will subside. That’s the overall goal.”

He adds: “With gua sha, acupuncture and TCM, we look at a host of illnesses. If you don’t have that smooth flow of blood and energy throughout your body, it can manifest as muscle knots, soreness, weakness or pain. Acupuncture along with gua sha is just going to help promote that blood supply and the conduction of everything through the tissues healthily so we can get your body as homeostatic as possible.”

Gua sha for the body

Sobo says gua sha for the body is tissue-dependent, meaning you want to work in a way that supports treatment goals.

“If you have a muscle knot, you want to start by going across it with your gua sha tool. You’ll want to work perpendicular to the muscle fibers so you can break up all of the adhesions. Then, you want to go in the direction of the muscle fibers to lengthen and get them in the correct direction again. With those painful knots in your upper shoulders, you want to go back and forth across them with your tool to break the knots up. Once things start to loosen up, you’ll start moving your gua sha tool in the direction of the muscle fibers, which is usually inwards to outwards. However, you don’t want to start gua sha in this direction because you’ll only make the tissue tighter.”

Gua sha for the face

You’ve probably seen people rubbing gua sha stones across their faces on social media and wondered what was going on. Gua sha has been proven to help relieve tension in the face, reduce puffiness and inflammation, and it can even help reduce sinus pressure. However, since the musculature of the face is much thinner, you’ll want to avoid applying too much pressure as you’re working on this area.

“Generally, the musculature of the face is very thin and it doesn’t bulge up the same way as other muscles do. With gua sha on the face, you don’t want to drag your tool from the outside edges of your face. Instead, divide your face in half and use your nose as the middle point. If you’re working under your eyes, you’d start at your nose and work your gua sha tool outward. Keep your tool moving in a smooth, straight line. Don’t rub your gua sha tool back and forth, up and down, and in all different angles vigorously because that’s going to just stretch and aggravate the skin. Keep things going in one smooth direction, and do it enough to get a little redness to form, but not so much that it hurts.”

To help things along, you can even apply lotion or a serum before doing gua sha on your face. This way, your tool will glide across the skin much easier. Sobo suggests avoiding overly swollen areas. You don’t want to press too hard into those because you can burst capillary beds and end up with bruises on your face.

What kind of gua sha tool do you need?

According to Sobo, you can go simple with a small wooden spoon or you can get a gemstone gua sha tool. Whatever you choose, keep it clean and in good condition.“There’s no clinical difference between one versus the other. You just want to get a tool that you can easily clean and maintain. And if it chips or breaks, which it shouldn’t do but it can, you’ll want to stop using it. If you get a little gash in a jade gua sha face tool, you don’t want to rub that all over your face.”

Sobo says you always want to work with a clean tool. He adds that some tools can be cleaned in boiling water or with a watered-down bleach solution.

Who should avoid gua sha?

Most people should be able to tolerate gua sha well, but if you have problems with your circulation or are diabetic, let your practitioner know before your session starts. That way, they’ll know to adjust the pressure to prevent any potential issues.

While you might think that gua sha would be too much for someone who has peripheral neuropathy, Sobo says it’s not. He adds that when done in conjunction with acupuncture, gua sha can help promote blood flow for those with peripheral neuropathy. But if you’re on blood thinners, your practitioner should either avoid doing gua sha or do it very gently so they don’t break up too many blood vessels.

And like with most things, speak up if you’re uncomfortable

If you’re new to acupuncture and gua sha, you might not know what to expect when it comes to the intensity of these services. Know right off the bat that these services should not hurt or leave you bruised. If you find yourself digging your nails into the table or tensing up a great deal at any point during your session, you need to let the practitioner know immediately so they can adjust accordingly.

“You have to be comfortable saying, ‘Ouch that hurts,’ because the acupuncturist won’t know if you don’t tell them. At the same time, the acupuncturist needs to explain to you that if you’re in pain, you’re not getting a beneficial treatment. They’re trying to loosen things up. If it hurts too much, you’re just going to tighten up more and the acupuncturist is just going to be running around in circles as they’re trying to get you to feel better. So in order for you to get relief, everyone needs to be on the same page.”

Learn about Traditional chinese medicine

By Ximena Araya-Fischel, M.A

When you consider there are trillions of microbes that inhabit your digestive tract, it makes sense that these mighty microorganisms are influential to your overall health. In fact, from a functional nutrition perspective, gut health is the starting point to long-lasting well-being. 

Also referred to as the "second brain," your gut contains a unique combination of living bacteria, both "good" and "bad," influencing everything from digestion to immunity. Good gut health occurs when these species thrive in equilibrium; thus, maintaining their proper balance is paramount to supporting all systems within your body.

In my experience as a mindbodygreen functional nutrition coach, I've learned numerous strategies to promote overall gut health. Read on for a couple of go-to tips!

Eat gut-supporting foods.

Whenever possible, I recommend filling your plate with organic, non-GMO, healthy-fat-packed, locally grown, and sustainably farmed foods that are easy to digest. Below, a few examples of foods you will want to incorporate into your healthy eating routine.

Say "Yes" To:

* Healthy fats (wild-caught fatty fish, avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds, among others).
* Spices (ginger, cardamom, cayenne pepper, and turmeric)
* Polyphenol-rich foods (berries, cacao, extra-virgin olive oil, chia seeds, walnuts)
* Leafy greens (spinach, kale, and collard greens) 
* Probiotic foods (fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut, kefir, miso, etc.)
* Prebiotic foods (raw asparagus, raw jicama, green bananas, dandelion greens, raw garlic, chicory)

Take a proactive approach.

Through the lens of functional nutrition, being proactive and intentional about an issue before it occurs is pivotal to promoting sustainable health. Functional nutrition looks at how dietary and lifestyle choices can support your gut health on a daily basis, not just when there's a problem. That means regular support through high-quality nutrition choices, regular movement, and sometimes targeted supplementation.

Know that variety is key.

Ensuring a vibrant, healthy gut microbiome starts with giving your body the best sources and variety of nutrients it requires. This includes eating fermented foods, taking a probiotic , and including high-fiber vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein in your diet.*By making strategic lifestyle and dietary changes, you can positively support the microbes in your gut, and gift your body a much-needed wellness foundation moving onward.*

The Author: Ximena Araya-Fischel, M.A, is a journalist, IIN graduate integrative health coach, E-RYT 500 lead yoga teacher, and 500-Hour certified Pilates instructor.


Discover the many health benefits of parsley in its fresh and dried forms, from a rich antioxidant profile to natural properties against diabetes and eye disorders.

Parsley is often used as a flavoring among the chopped greens in your salad and makes a rich addition to sauces for juicy steaks, or a trusty garnish on your favorite dishes.

However, it's also a veritable medicine sitting in your pantry, perhaps as juice to relieve edema or a powerful antioxidant source. The possibilities are endless with Petroselinum crispum, an important culinary herb originating from the Mediterranean region.

Parsley contains a formidable lineup of constituents such as coumarins, carotenoids, ascorbic acids and flavonoids for a wide range of health uses. These constituents give parsley plenty of wellness benefits, from being antimicrobial and diuretic to antihypertensive and anticoagulant.

In fact, it's used in Morocco mostly as an elixir to treat arterial hypertension, diabetes, and cardiac and renal disorders. Here are some of the top benefits of parsley for better health.

1. Rich Nutrient Source

Parsley is a nutrient-dense food. A one-cup serving (60 grams) of fresh parsley provides 22 calories, 3.8 grams (g) of carbohydrates, 1.8 g of protein, 2 g of dietary fiber, 3.72 milligrams (mg) of iron or 22% of the reference daily intake, 332 mg of potassium or 7% of RDI, 79.8 mg of vitamin C and 82.8 mg of calcium.

Parsley can be used in many flexible forms as part of a healthy diet. You may add fresh parsley to your dressings, sauces and marinades, or simply chop a few sprigs to garnish meals or add the herb to the dish by the end of its cooking time.

You may dry your fresh parsley, too. Tie a bunch together, then hang it upside down in a cool and dry place.Once completely dry, remove the stems and store the leaves in an airtight container. You may also use a dehydrator or a slightly warm oven. Why not also use the herb as a natural breath freshener? It's a proven folk remedy against halitosis in a number of places including Italy.

Parsley can be part of your own home garden; seeds can be planted outdoors in March or April, depending on your growing season, or in late summer for early growth the next spring.

2. Full of Antioxidants

Parsley is chock full of potent antioxidants, which are compounds that prevent cellular damage from free radicals and are required by the body to maintain optimal health. Parsley and celery juices successfully restored antioxidant activity in animal models treated with the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin.

Further studies show that diets rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids may slash the risk of diseases, including colon cancer. And as oxidative stress plays a principal role in stress-induced gastric injury, parsley offers antioxidants such as flavonoids, carotenoids and ascorbic acid to combat it.It might interest you to know that dried parsley appeared in a study to be more antioxidant-rich than its fresh counterpart.

3. Antidiabetic Action

Many medicinal herbs and spices have been traditionally celebrated for helping to control glucose levels with minimal to no side effects.

Along with Egyptian balsam, parsley extract was found to exhibit antidiabetic and antioxidant properties in Type 1 diabetes mellitus cases. The herbal preparations were found to significantly reduce mean blood glucose levels and significantly increase insulin and total antioxidant capacity in the treated diabetic groups versus the control group.

In a Turkish study, researchers found that parsley had a significant hepatoprotective effect in diabetic animal models, where those treated with the herb demonstrated substantially lower levels of blood glucose, among other markers.

In similar findings, a separate study concluded that due to its antioxidant properties, parsley extract had a protective effect comparable to diabetes drug glibornuride against hepatotoxicity from the disease.

4. Promotes Healthy Vision and Bones

Carotenoids such as lutein, beta carotene and zeaxanthin, all found in parsley, help protect the eyes and promote fully functioning vision. Consuming food rich in these carotenoids has been associated with a reduced likelihood of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

In a study involving 77,466 female nurses ages 45 to 71, lutein and zeaxanthin, on top of foods rich in those carotenoids, were shown to reduce the risk of cataracts severe enough to require extraction. Research also vouches for parsley's bone health benefits. The plant is rich in vitamin K, which is essential for bone health, and in fact packs an impressive 820% of the RDI (984 micrograms) in a one-cup serving.

In a study, aqueous extracts of parsley as well as basil and chicory, showed bone protection against glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis in animal subjects.

5. Natural Cancer Fighter

Flavonoids possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities through multiple mechanisms, including inducing cancer cell death in breast, colorectal and prostate cancers as well as inhibiting malignant cell proliferation in various types of cancer.

In a 2020 study, parsley showed anticancer action in human glioblastoma cells alongside an outstanding antioxidant profile. The methanol extract of the herb was also seen as a potential anti-proliferative.

Research also showed that parsley may stop breast cancer tumor growth linked to synthetic hormone replacement therapy. In a study, animal subjects exposed to apigenin, a common flavonoid found in parsley, developed fewer tumors and had significant delays in tumor formation compared to subjects not exposed to the flavonoid.
  "© [Article Date] GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here //"


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Awakening With Spirit Summit : Join 20 esteemed spiritual teachers and luminaries speaking at this event — along with Dr. Joe Dispenza, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Jean Houston, Bishop Carlton Pearson, Bershan Shaw, Sadvhi Bhagawati Saraswati, Rhonda Magee, and Sister Shivani. Tap into a community of like-minded people — leaders and experts who understand the spiritual path and are here to encourage your continued evolution

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For more information and to check out other upcoming courses and events go here. New programs are added frequently.


Thank you for reading.


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This newsletter is for educational purposes only.It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge,to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health.You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advises are not intended to be a substitute forconventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changesin order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.

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