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Headaches and Stress

Is everything going on in the world these days giving you a headache? If so, you’re not the only one because this is National Headache Awareness Week.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that too many people today are suffering with all sorts of headaches. According to the National Institutes of Health the most common type of headache is a tension headache, which they say is often related to stress, depression or anxiety.

And why is there so much tension these days? I suppose everyone has their own answer to that question, but one thing is for sure: we’re all being affected.

The Stress Factor
Stress is a huge factor in peoples’ lives today; a trigger for headaches, and a catalyst for many other chronic illnesses. And how stress affects your health depends on how you respond to it.

We experience ‘global’ stress, like the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, the conflict in the Middle East, the war in Afghanistan. And we feel it ‘locally’ in countless ways: driving in traffic, shopping in a crowded store, people we run into who are having a bad day, and the list goes on. Each of us has our own unique brew of stress to contend with and manage.

A Simple Step
We’re not the first generation to live in ‘exciting’ times.  Thousands of years ago Chinese Taoists counseled people living in stressful times who wanted peace in their lives to “Lay low.”

In those days that often meant retreating to the mountains. An option that we, in the 21st century, don’t find that appealing. So what to do? One simple step is to read “Hope For The Flowers” to get some inspiration and a fresh perspective for getting down and away from the ‘caterpillar pillar.’ 


What Do You Say?
Being able to talk in a healthy way — not in a blaming, ranting way — about what’s causing your stress is a huge advantage to you. Talking in a realistic way about your stress enables you to grapple with what’s causing it and figure out ways to diffuse it.
It’s healthy to talk about what’s stressing you out, even if you don’t see any way to change things. Noticing the patterns in your life that feed your stress is an important step toward understanding how to defuse the situations that cause it.

Those of you who come to BIOM for treatment know how much value I place on taking the time to talk about what’s going on. This kind of conversation helps me with a diagnosis, and perhaps creates for you an opportunity for healthy insight.

So who to talk to? Doctors and therapists are an obvious place to begin the conversation. Friends and family are an option too: provided the relationship is a ‘trusting’ one and your friend or family member is not too stressed

More Balance — Less Stress
When your body’s energy or Chi is balanced you have less stress. The body naturally can process a certain amount of stress when it’s balanced. That’s what a healthy nervous system is designed to do. 

Imagine a wetland - like those along the Gulf Coast or anywhere else: as long as it’s healthy it can handle a certain amount of toxicity or storm intensity, but only up to the point where it’s overwhelmed.  So too, your body can only tolerate a certain amount of stress, and beyond that point health begins to deteriorate.

The body is analogous to Nature because it is Nature - from it and of it.

Staying Sane In A Crazy World
So in a crazy world, how do you stay sane? ‘Breathe ... Consciously.’ This is what I call ‘foundational’ Chi Kung.

Take some minutes each day to breathe slowly and deeply, and pretty soon you’ll be saying to yourself: “I don’t feel as stressed out as I used to.”

And when you know how to avoid or minimize stress, you’ll be able to ‘celebrate’ National Headache Awareness Week next year ... because you won’t have any.

Get Ready for Spring and Surging Liver Energy

Spring is the time of forcing out new growth. This forcing power is what Oriental Medicine call ‘Liver’ energy, so it’s no surprise that the organ most affected in Spring is the Liver.

While Spring is a wonderfully energetic and creative time – following a long, dark Winter – it can also be very intense on your nerves and emotions.

This life-generating intensity of Spring fosters highly creative and expansive feelings—if your body is balanced enough to channel the energy of the season.

Snow melts,
And the village is overflowing—
with children.

— Issa

Be Ready To Grow
Visualize a strong, healthy tree. The existence of that tree depends on the health of its roots. Its roots provide the nourishment and balance needed to support its foliage and fruit.

In a similar way a strong, healthy Liver is a primary force affecting your health in Spring because it provides the energy needed to root, balance, and channel the energy in your body that bursts forth in Spring.

Imagine too how the forcing of Spring pushes out leaves from Winter’s barren branches. This same energy is coursing in your body through the channels, nerves and tendons.

To the extent your body is ‘balanced’ Spring is an exhilarating, creative time; to the extent it’s not …

Pay Attention To How You Feel
One sure sign that your Liver needs balancing or replenishing is if you experience the most common Liver-related discomfort in Spring — often described as: jagged, jittery, jumpy, tight, knotted, wiry, or fried nerves.

Spring Health Tip
During this time of seasonal transition, remain mindful of cold, making sure you don’t get too chilled. Your body is still vulnerable from the Winter and you don’t want to make it easy for a cold or flu to take hold.

Help Is Here
If you find yourself feeling jagged, jittery, jumpy, tight, knotted, wiry, or fried — or recognize it because of the effects it’s having on your emotions and relationships with others — there’s a reason for it: Spring is that time of year.

If you want relief, Oriental Medicine — acupuncture, Chinese medical herbs, diet & nutrition, and Chi Kung — can provide it.

New Year … New Beginnings … New Opportunities … New Hope

Happy New Year

At BIOM we’ve been enjoying the Quiet and Stillness that lingers as the Sun passes slowly past Winter Solstice …

Winter Solstice

The end of the year, as measured by the Gregorian calendar, is a good time to recount and reflect; to recall what has been learned and what wants to be known.


Sipping tea ... we sat and talked about where we’ve been and where we’d like to go …
It Was A Very Good Year

2015—the Year of the Wood Sheep—was very good at BIOM: balanced and steady; notable in a year full of much ecological, geopolitical and economic stress.

Year of the Sheep

Health-wise, looking back over the year, it’s significant to see that people who have been using Oriental Medicine at BIOM, in a preventive way, have largely avoided getting ill from the array of viruses and bacteria we live with and pass around to each other. 

Kitty Bradshaw Herbalist

There was time devoted to creating and building; repairing and refurbishing. This applies to our health, as well as the health of the things in our life that support our well-being. As a result, we’ve been developing new skills, and continuing to hone the ones we already have. 

… Kitty’s first-time felted hat …

hand-made felt hat

… Michael’s portable workbench …

Handmade portable workbench

Learning-Wise …

Kitty taught a second, year-long, evening class at BIOM called Movement, Meditation and The Medicine, where eight of us got together once a month for two-plus hours to learn, practice and enjoy the Power of Oriental Medicine.

Kitty checking pulses

Michael has been drawing on his 30-plus years experience practicing, teaching and applying the meditative martial arts in daily life. His new program is called Tai Chi For … which he customized into Tai Chi For … Farmers and Gardeners and taught to various groups in the Chimacum, WA farming community.

Michael demonstrating Tai Chi

2016 … Everything Old Is New Again

As the song says … everything old is new again … but that’s only true when there’s a fresh infusion of Energy or Chi …

Michael demonstrating Tai Chi

Chi Dancing

Helping you rebuild and maintain your Energy … your Chi … is what BIOM is here for. We remain committed to offering you the benefits of Oriental Medicine, which include teaching and reminding you of the many things you can do on your own to regain and/or maintain your precious Health.

Fire Monkey

Keep in mind that 2016 intersects with the energetics embodied in the Chinese calendar, which in February brings on the uninhibited antics of the Fire Monkey. This signals a more peripatetic, change-oriented time for everyone. At BIOM, we’ll be on the lookout for instabilities regarding the health of body, mind, and spirit to help you get and stay balanced.

This Year At BIOM

• Kitty will be offering another year-long class focusing on Heart energy because we’re coming into a Fire Element year. And balanced Heart energy affects personal courage, which is much needed as we progress through uncertain times.

• We will continue to focus on how the seasons of the year affect the seasons of our lives, by providing integrated health tips and insights regarding body~mind~spirit.
•  We will be sharing with you simple, satisfying mediations we’ve been enjoying ourselves that provide great benefit when things are going well and when they fall apart.
• We’ll also be creating a new website to make it easier for us to share information about How to Stay Healthy the Oriental Medicine Way and easier for you to ask questions and join the conversation.

So HAPPY NEW YEAR! to you … and Welcome 2016 … a year of Repairing and Building … Health-Wise & Other-Wise …

Fire Monkey

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IMPORTANT: All information on this Web site is provided for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of a local Oriental Medicine practitioner, biomedical doctor, experienced coach, or martial arts instructor.