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Trauma: Resolution through the 5 phases

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Published February 24th, 2020 by

In Acupuncture and Asian Medicine, the body is considered yin, and the mind is considered yang.  Yin can never be considered out of context with yang, and so it is with the body and the mind. When something afflicts the mind, it necessarily impacts the body and vice versa.  A traumatic event can be powerfully destabilizing, and even if we have psychologically “moved past” an event, the body can still be reverberating with trauma. Neurophysiology and Acupuncture and Asian Medicine neatly agree in how this happens and how to return stability to the body.

Dr. Peter Levine, who studied predator and prey behavior in animals, first noted that there are 5 stages to a traumatic encounter and that the stage where the cycle gets stuck leads to characteristic physiological and emotional consequences.  He also noted that the body must be addressed in therapy in order to allow for psychological breakthrough and return to homeostatic balance. Dr Alaine Duncan L.Ac, who has successfully helped thousands of veterans through trauma with Acupuncture and Asian Medicine at the VA hospital since 2003, noticed that the stages of the Peter Levine’s traumatic experience cycle exactly correspond to our elegant 5 element system in acupuncture.

  • A stressful encounter begins with a startle and pause phase.  We pause, assess the situation and hold our breath. The sympathetic nervous system is put on alert, heart rate speeds up, breathing quickens and we become very alert.  This corresponds to the metal phase in the 5 element system.

  • The next phase is defensive positioning, in which we experience fear and we rally our internal resources.  The adrenals are engaged so that we can release cortisol and make glucose more accessible to our muscles and brain.  This is the water response in 5 element system.  

  • Next, we protect ourselves, with either interpersonal collaboration (mediated through Ventral Vagal Nerve activation), fight or flight (through Sympathetic Nervous System Function), in which mobilization is the key feature if we are to survive.  Alternatively, we fail to mobilize, and we freeze (mediated by Dorsal Vagal Nerve activation), which in some cases can save our lives. This is the wood stage in 5 elements. 

  • If we resolved the threat and are now safe, our heart rate can slow down and become more synchronous.  This is completion phase or the fire phase.  

  • Finally, we integrate what we have learned, our body can move back into a rest and open state.  This is the earth phase in 5 elements, and our bowels regain function, and we can now continue on with our lives.

If any one of these phases is not completed, normal physiology is not restored.  Wide ranging conditions such as autoimmunity, IBS, digestive complaints, headaches, insomnia, asthma, anxiety, hormonal imbalances and cardiovascular issues can be complications of the trauma induced dysregulation in the nervous system. Acupuncture is a safe and effective therapy for removing blockages in each phase and restoring the self regulating and generating capacity of the 5 phase system and the peripheral nervous system.

Do you or someone else you know have experience with trauma?  Contact Om’echaye to set up a free consultation to see if my skills and knowledge can help bring you closure and restore your entire system to homeostatic balance

B. C. Fortner L.Ac. Dipl. O.M.

What's the best way to lose weight?

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Published February 14th, 2020 by

Pick up any diet book and it will claim to hold all the answers to successfully losing all the weight you want—and keeping it off. Some claim the key is to eat less and exercise more, others that low fat is the only way to go, while others prescribe cutting out carbs. So, what should you believe?

The truth is there is no “one size fits all” solution to permanent healthy weight loss. What works for one person may not work for you, since our bodies respond differently to different foods, depending on genetics and other health factors. To find the method of weight loss that’s right for you will likely take time and require patience, commitment, and some experimentation with different foods and diets.

While some people respond well to counting calories or similar restrictive methods, others respond better to having more freedom in planning their weight-loss programs. Being free to simply avoid fried foods or cut back on refined carbs can set them up for success. So, don’t get too discouraged if a diet that worked for somebody else doesn’t work for you. And don’t beat yourself up if a diet proves too restrictive for you to stick with. Ultimately, a diet is only right for you if it’s one you can stick with over time.

Remember: while there’s no easy fix to losing weight, there are plenty of steps you can take to develop a healthier relationship with food, curb emotional triggers to overeating, and achieve a healthy weight.

As our acupuncturist said, "Acupuncture will help you lose weight on a healthy way by helping on your digestion and metabolism but the long answer is that weight loss is multifactorial, during my 8 years practicing acupuncture I've seen a lot of people get into pitfalls, so I've developed an 8 week program in which you'll received acupuncture for weight loss but also a support group of people just like you, willing to change their lives on the long term"

the program contains 3 distinct components:

Education: Each week we will investigate a topic to uncomplicated weight loss. Topics will be based on the needs of the group, and all information will be the most up to date research. Topics may include: understanding macro nutrients and your needs, hormonal control of weight, menopause, food intolerance/leaky gut, elimination issues, detox, sleep quality, stress and cortisol, metabolism and balance, and more. With each issue, we will offer different effective holistic solutions.

Social Support: Our group will meet once weekly, and we will be your team. Are you struggling with something specific? Celebrating a success? We are here for you, in person at our sessions and via a private Healthy Weight Whats App group.
Weekly Assignments and activities to keep you engaged throughout the week.

Personalized Group Acupuncture at each meeting to help: reduce cravings, stimulate proper digestion, decrease stress and cortisol, Increase sleep quality, regulate weight related hormones, keep you more mindful, balanced and in control.

your journey starts here, call us for more information 954.456.6945



Beverly C. Fornert LAC

Health Benefits of Being Vegetarian

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Published February 5th, 2020 by

One of Ayurveda's main pillars for health is the emphasis on diet, food combination and nutrition. It establishes that food should be fresh, organic, natural and filled with life energy or prana. The food that we eat should have life force so it can provide us with the right type of energy to benefit our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Fresh vegetables, fruits and grains are filled with good prana and it helps our mind to generate, maintain and conserve good thoughts and actions.

It is said that each type of food has a specific effect on our body, mental function, and consequently our attitudes. The brain is the most sensitive organ, responding very fast to improper nutrition. Our diet has a direct effect on our mind and heavy food such as animal meat causes alterations in the mind in the form of excitement, lethargy, sleep, lust, and intoxication. As a consequence, the intellect becomes erratic and weak.

Four Main Benefits of being a Vegetarian:

Balanced & Nutritious Meals: Planned vegetarian diets are healthy, nutritionally adequate, and may provide benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, a balance vegetarian diet can provide all the proper nutrition and support that the body needs.

Increased Endurance: Many athletes keep a vegetarian diet before competitions, as the prana improves performance.

Good for the Environment: Following a vegetarian diet has important ecological consequences. Growing a plant does no require the amount of land, water, energy and resources that go towards raising animals to produce meat. Being a vegetarian is a way to show that you care about our planet!.

Longevity: Vegetarians have longer life spans, lower incidences of cancer and higher bone density. People in Okinawa, Japan have the longest life expectancy according to a 30-year study of more than 600 centenarians. They relied on a low-calorie vegetarian diet of carbohydrates, soy, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.

It is recommended to get a personalized program to help you achieve your health and wellbeing goals.

Namaste, Luz Pellegrino.


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Published January 23rd, 2020 by

In the recent years, the war against gluten has gone viral and we have seen an incremental number of people modifying their diets to avoid gluten at any cost. While we know that gluten is a complex protein very hard to digest and non-essential to our health, the drastic response of removing gluten from our diet is possibly treating a symptom and not addressing the root cause of the real problem.

Not that long ago, wheat, the main source of gluten, was harvested only once a year during the fall. In our modern era, wheat has been hybridized and it is harvested 3 times a year. Wheat has become so popular that we have ended up consuming it in every meal, every day throughout our life. Could it be that we have abused its consumption?

An Ayurvedic lifestyle promotes balance in everything we do and eat. Too much of a good thing can be harmful to our body. Overeating wheat will result in fat accumulation, higher glucose levels, and toxicity. Our ancestors used to ferment their vegetables to preserve them through the winter. Little they knew that these fermented veggies release lactobacillus bacteria that break down the hard-to-digest portions of the gluten protein molecule. Recent studies indicate that probiotic supplements not only help us digest complex proteins like gluten but also protect the intestinal wall by disallowing the undigested gluten molecule to penetrate the gut wall.

So, before we blame gluten for all that ails us, we might want to begin by assessing our ability to digest and focus on strengthening our digestion. A good start is avoiding processed foods and sugars from our diet. A wholesome diet based on organic fruits and vegetables, grains, lean proteins, nuts, herbs and spices is the foundation of a good digestion.

If you experience gluten intolerance or any digestive ailment, I recommend scheduling a consultation for a personalized assessment to improve your health through the gentle Ayurvedic wisdom.

Namaste, Luz Pellegrino

TEA: Healthy or just habit?

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Published January 14th, 2020 by

Drinking tea at least three times a week could reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and is linked with a longer and healthier life, at least in China, a new study suggests.

Chinese researchers found the health benefits associated with tea were more pronounced for drinkers of green, rather than black tea, and for those who had been drinking tea regularly over a longer period of time. The benefits were also clearer among men, the study indicated.

Researchers looked at data from 100,902 Chinese people with no history of heart attack, stroke or cancer and divided them into two groups: habitual drinkers who drank tea three or more times a week, those who never drank tea, and those who drank it less regularly. They followed up with them after a seven-year period.

Their analysis found that regular tea drinkers had a 20% lower risk of having heart disease and stroke, and a 22% lower risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. Specifically, they found that regular tea drinkers could expect to live 1.26 years longer at age 50 than those who did not regularly enjoy a cup of tea.

"We found that the protective effects of habitual tea consumption were very pronounced and robust across different outcomes for men, but only modest for women," Dr. Dongfeng Gu from China's National Center for Cardiovascular Disease, Peking Union Medical College and the Chinese Academy of Medical Science said via email.

"One reason might be that the proportion of habitual tea consumers among men was approximately two and a half [times] as high as that among women," Gu said. Some 48% of the men in the study were regular tea drinkers, compared with 20% of women.

Gu said Chinese women were more likely to drink herbal tea made from rosebuds or lotus leaves but this information wasn't included.

In their analysis, the researchers controlled for some factors like smoking, drinking, diet and physical activity that could have explained the link between tea drinking and longevity. However, as an observational study it can't establish cause and effect, only association.

Source: CNN

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