The “Live” in Liver

Sunday, November 15th, 2015 at 11 16 pm

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 The Reason Live ” Is In Liver

-Leslie Moyer

 Scenario one:

Imagine you are walking along a beautiful trail in the woods and up ahead, as far as the eye can see, is your favorite body of water. I always see the ocean below an impressive cliff. Perhaps it is a waterfall or bubbling creek for you. Continuing along the trail, humming, singing or whistling because life is good, you suddenly come upon a large section that is covered with blackberry bushes. In the middle of these berries is a bear, who not only completely blocks the trail, but also the view. In fact, there is no way to even get around the annoying bear. The feeling of being thwarted is what we are left with. The goal of reaching the expected destination of water of beauty, no longer a possibility.

 Scenario two:

Imagine you are an eagle gliding over a lush valley. With your keen eyesight, you can see a lot of details for a long way ahead. Suddenly you spot a delicious looking mouse and glide ahead where you swoop it into the sky with your talons, providing your next meal. Mission accomplished, with a sense of freedom added as extra bonus.

Both metaphors represent the psychological aspect of the liver system in Chinese medicine. The first scenario represents a liver that is being blocked; also, known as stagnation. The second scenario represents a healthy liver: unimpeded forward movement towards a goal. For many of us, how we experience life has a big impact on how our livers function. If we don’t have a sense of purpose, or that sense of purpose is thwarted, or if there is nothing to look forward to, then our bodies pay the price: more than we realize.

Acupuncture follows a system that has Nature as it’s guide. To bring health to our livers, in a world that has become 10 times exponentially more toxic in the last 20 years, we are required to do much more than eat well and exercise. Those things were enough when Nature was King. Now everyone works a little harder, metaphorically for our liver to be at its best. The tricks we employed even a decade ago are now not so effective because of the huge overload which has occurred.

I find, when discussing liver health with my patients, that the first response is to do liver cleanse or utilize harsh liver cleansing herbs. In the recent past, that would have been a worthwhile plan. Currently, aggressive cleansing to the liver just causes even more overload to an organ that is already doing the best it can under the circumstances. Supporting the other elimination organ systems to increase their function is one of the best modern ways to support our livers physically. Of those methods, I think the enema/colonic is one of the best. Irrigating the colon stimulates its own function and so is therefore superior to laxatives because it is not habit forming for the body. Because the colon removes so many toxins and is directly related to the liver and gall bladder, enemas are one of the most effective ways to support our liver. In addition, any cleansing that is gentle on the body can also be utilized such as alternating hot/cold showers or other hydro-therapy techniques, and of course, through dietary support. Fasting used to be a very effective method for supporting the liver that I personally no longer do, or recommend, except for someone who has been keto adapted. An excellent alternative to fasting via a class, is offered at Hidden Springs, through Naturopathic Dr. Bonnie Nedrow and involves a very gentle dietary cleanse which is gradually introduced over a 5-week period.

Dietary suggestions for the liver include decreasing the difficult to digest fats such as cheese, chocolate, ice cream, peanut butter, and animal fats. If possible, also the gradual reduction of coffee, alcohol and other drugs. Increasing healthy fats such as olive oil, seed oils, nuts and avocados greatly supports the liver’s function of digesting fats. Eating lots of greens helps the liver directly and is the right kind of fiber needed for the colon. Many people are sensitive to grains so that the fiber aspect is canceled out, perhaps even becoming causative for poor colon health. The last food suggestion would be to eat liver, if it is organic. The following is a recipe for meatloaf that has liver as one of the ingredients, but the flavor is disguised. Even for picky eaters the liver is not noticeable.


Leslie’s Savory Meatloaf

Preheat Oven to 350°

1 lb. ground beef

½ lb. liver (chicken is mildest) ground smooth in food processor or hand held blender

1 & ½ c. onion, finely chopped

2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 small can tomato paste

2/3 c. fresh parsley, chopped

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup hemp or flax seeds, ground

1 tbsp. dried thyme

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. tasty salt (such as Himalayan, for i.e.)

Knead together, with your hands, all ingredients until blended. Fill loaf pan and set on cookie sheet to catch drips. Meatloaf is done when firm to the touch and has also slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan (1 to 1 & ¼ hours). Best to let sit for about 10 minutes before you serve so that it holds together better. Serve with ketchup or Thai chili sauce.

My final suggestion is to incorporate acupuncture, and/or Qi Kung, or meditation, as adjunct therapies that are very specific to the liver. Acupuncture has its roots in Qi Kung so they are mutually supportive to each other. Check out Chad’s morning classes for Qi Kung available at People’s Choice. In Chinese medicine the nervous system is ruled by the liver. Anything we can do to calm the nervous system is the superior medicine we are looking for, when it comes to the liver.

 The “Pause” in Menopause

Monday, October 5th, 2015 at 1:50 pm

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 The “Pause” in Menopause

By Leslie Moyer

Many years ago, at the beginning of my personal peri-menopausal hormonal shift, I began to have symptoms that are very typical for many American women. Because of my training in Chinese medicine I knew that this was an indication of disharmony, and was therefore correctable.

The most annoying symptoms at the time were hot flashes and difficulty staying asleep. In our world, these things are considered “normal” and just part of the additional adjustment we must make as women when going through this big hormonal shift.

I ended up only having hot flashes for about 1 month because of the support from acupuncture, herbal medicine and eliminating un-necessary stress. The first two aspects were the easiest to treat. For most of us, life style changes can sometimes be the most challenging factors to address. In my case, it meant taking a break from working in the clinic. Home became a place to offer some massage and to get caught up on the many things that became neglected from taking on the large task of helping build People’s Choice. My family never ate so well as during that 6-month hiatus!

Those of you who have previously read my blog article called “Where’s the bathroom?” know that my chronic pattern is to overdo it, especially when I am overwhelmed. It is a way to override the body’s communication to get everything done that feels necessary. Most of the time, however, it isn’t possible to get everything done anyway. For my personal stress factor, I had to remove myself from the environment that I had difficulties making healthy boundaries in. Once out of overwhelm I could re-enter the work arena. Many of you reading this article can likely relate to this dynamic. Perhaps it is not possible to stop work for any significant length of time. If that is the case, then other ways must come into the forefront.

If overdoing it is your go-to then the pause in menopause is essential to balancing the negative symptoms that can arise during this period. On the other hand, if your pattern is to be a couch potato then exercise may now be a must. Menopause is a time to re-claim, perhaps for the first time ever, self-care habits. The focus for women is oftentimes on our families and the hormonal dance lets us know immediately what is possible and what is not. If you are a married woman going through this change I highly recommend that your partner also reads this article. Everyone in the family will be served when the woman gets the support she needs during this time. As we have all heard, and perhaps know directly, peri-menopause can be an emotionally challenging time for both the woman plus anyone in her inner circle.

The bottom line about dancing happily through this life chapter is the ability to be flexible and try a new way of approaching the symptoms. Just because it is common for women to have symptoms doesn’t mean it is necessary.

Elegant solutions are available which may also have the bonus of potentially discovering a new outlook on life by generally helping us to feel better. Hormones exaggerate the picture and basically let us know how we need to make changes.

The following is a list of recommendations that support being symptom free.

- Acupuncture combined with herbal formulas specific to your imbalances.

- Stress reducing techniques such as Qi Kung, yoga, receiving massage, meditation, body based therapies.

- Avoiding coffee and alcohol. For some women also eliminating chocolate and/or sugar.

- Go to bed by 9:30 or 10, especially if sleep is an issue. If you wake up at night and can’t go easily back to sleep use the time to meditate, do yoga/Qi Kung, or read non-stimulating books with a cup of tea. This takes the angst out of the experience and oftentimes allows the nervous system to relax enough to go back to sleep after an hour or so.

- For the over-doers: make a list of things you want done in a day and then only actually do about 70% on the list. Enlist the help of your significant others if available: perceiving over-doing is probably more visible to them.

- For both the under-doers and the over-doers:  exercise daily for about 30 minutes. This is a very important aspect of regular self-care.

- Create a body diary that focuses on the things that worked. Basically, reinforcing how our body is doing its best to keep us in balance.

- Delegating assistance. This is a time in life where asking for help is a benefit to everyone involved.  Letting go of control is part of the process: mirroring the physical aspect of the hormone decline.

-Last, but certainly not least: refuse to buy into the belief that menopause must be difficult. It has the potential to be a very liberating time if we follow our body’s lead.

Upcoming Qigong Workshop – Invitation and Caution!

Monday, April 15th, 2013 at 5:10 pm

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Hello Friends,

I’m feeling a renewed love for my practice of TaiChi/QiGong and thought I’d share some thoughts.  I want to do this especially considering the great opportunity coming up to experience a master level teacher – Michael Vasquez – that we’re hosting in Medford for a one day workshop on May 4th(To see details and to register for the event, click here.)

But first, an invitation and a caution about one day or weekend workshops:  Have you ever been to one?  You know, you see the poster.  It tells you about all the wonderful things you will learn or master in one or two event packed days.  You sign up, full of anticipation that this will finally be it, you go, and it is Awesome.  The presenter really delivers.  You thank your lucky stars that you had the good fortune to attend and you leave high on the experience and high on the certainty that you will put this newfound knowledge or skill to good use in your life.

For a few days or maybe even a week you are diligent and practice your new skills, but the feeling is becoming faded.  Then you miss a day, then two… Two weeks later, that awesome workshop and all you thought you had gained is a frustratingly distant memory.

Sound familiar?  I know that I’ve been through that routine enough that I’m jaded about weekend workshops.  BUT,

There IS a way to benefit from weekend workshops. And don’t get me wrong – the inspiration and potential to break-through to a new level of skill and understanding at a workshop is real. However, you need to find ongoing support – in the form of a class or study group – where you can ground your new-found skills in practice so they can truly take root, develop, and become yours.

This is where the classes offered at People’s Choice Acupuncture come in.  I have been a student of Michael’s for the past seven years, and our class practices, several times a week, the exact material that will be offered at the upcoming workshop.  All that is required is the desire to develop and the willingness to put in the time.  You are not alone!

So, what will be offered:  YiJinJing QiGong (Ee Jin Jing Chee Gong).  This is special QiGong, and to my knowledge, no one else is teaching this anywhere else around these parts. This is the practice that the legendary Bodhi dharma gave to the Shaolin monks in China when he took Buddhism to China from India.  He saw that the monks there were frail and weak from inactivity, and this was his gift to them.  (The Shaolin monks are now renown world-wide for their physical prowess and martial acrobatic skills).

This practice is a very yang (dynamic) form of practice that has the effect of dramatically increasing the body’s strength while balancing the joints and making them supple and flexible.  It improves the posture so radically it is sometimes referred to as “bone-straightening QiGong”.  It requires no props or equipment, so once you have it, it’s yours to take and use anywhere, anytime.  While a strong practice, it can be “dialed-in” to any level of fitness.  So, whether you’re in top shape or just getting started, this practice can be safely employed.

The second workshop offered will be TaiChi QiGong.  This material will perfectly compliment that of the first section.  It is a very yin (quiet/listening) practice.  It offers at its heart the possibility of “getting on the right side of change” in our lives.  Events that have shaped us, perhaps in a way or ways we don’t like, can be neutralized and the body/mind can be returned, gradually, to its open, original state.

The practices of TaiChi QiGong are rhythmic and circular, and have been proven to have a positive effect at all levels of body function – from coordination and balance, to blood pressure and hormone regulation.  The mind becomes clear and perceptive.

Please click through to the registration page and give yourself the gift of a practice that will pay you dividends for the rest of your life.  The possibility exists that it only gets better from here, but that possibility needs to be seized.  Take Action!


 Recipes to Celebrate Spring!!!

Saturday, April 13th, 2013 at 6:38 pm

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In Chinese medicine the seasons are matched with organ systems in the body. It is a simple yet elegant way of perceiving our connection to Nature. By following as closely as we can to nature’s way we can maximize our health and our state of being

Spring is the time of the Liver organ system. It’s about growth (new buds & sprouting baby plants) and planning (starting a garden) and the exuberance of life’s potential (shifting weather: sun, rain, wind). A good analogy for a healthy liver is the clear, far-seeing vision of the eagle in flight.

How do we support our Liver?

1)      Eating bitter greens and easy to digest oils such as olive, flax, hemp, sesame.

2)      Taking walks in nature especially during the spring when the eyes are nourished by the beautiful and bountiful green. Gardening, if it is fun, is also good.

3)      Receiving acupuncture or practicing Qi Kung, both of which move the Qi. (The liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi in the entire body).

4)      Avoiding difficult to digest fats such as ice cream, chocolate, chips, cheese, butter, fatty meats, peanut butter (almond, etc. okay).

5)      Avoiding drugs of all kinds, especially coffee and alcohol as these have the property of heating up the liver.

The following recipes are designed for those who don’t really like the flavor of bitter. My 12-year old daughter, Althea, is the inspiration.

Yummy bitter greens:

Half head of lettuce of any kind (I like romaine for its crunchiness)

One bunch of parsley

One bunch of arugula or dandelion greens

One fennel bulb, stems removed & sliced thinly with a mandolin slicer

Prepare all greens into bite size pieces & combine with sliced fennel bulb. This salad keeps well, prepared ahead, if not dressed. Serve with balsamic vinaigrette.

Leslie’s balsamic vinaigrette:

Place all ingredients in a blender & blend until smooth:

3/4th cup olive oil

1/4th cup Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve Balsamic Vinegar

(I have used other balsamic vinegars and they just don’t rate for this recipe)

2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 “branch” of fresh rosemary 4 to 6 inches long with needles removed for use

1 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. tamari (or Salt to taste)

 Arugula Roasted Beet Salad:

(serves 4)

1 bunch arugula

2 beets roasted at 400 degrees for 1 hour & then thinly sliced

(beets can also be sliced & then steamed for @ 15 minutes, but roasted are much sweeter)

4 tbsp. roasted pumpkin seeds

4 tbsp. chevre goat cheese (optional)

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Arrange arugula whole leaves on a small salad plate in a circle, with stems in the middle and rounded end on outer perimeter of the plate. When arranged this way, it looks like a green flower. Add ½ of a sliced beet arranged in the center of the “flower”. Drizzle vinaigrette over whole “flower” in a spiral starting with outside edge & continuing to the center. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. of pumpkin seeds, and if desired one tbsp. of chevre broken into small pieces & scattered over whole “flower”.

The following recipe is for those of us who (oddly) enjoy the flavor of bitter greens.

Spring dandelions:

Pull up dandelions, root & all, from your yard (or a friend!) and wash thoroughly leaving them whole. For deliciousness, they should be only about a maximum of 4 to 5 inches across with a 2 to 3-inch root. The slight bitter flavor turns overwhelming when harvested too late in the season. The time is now!

Serve with olive oil, fresh lemon or lime, & a little salt. You can also use vinaigrette, but I really enjoy the simple dressing best.

Hope you and your loved ones enjoy these recipes as much as our family does. Bitter greens are a natural expression of the beginning of spring & an important addition to our diet to help our livers be healthy and happy. Bon appetite!


Chinese New Year Open House Invitation

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 at 5:13 pm

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We sincerely hope you can join us next Sunday for what should be a beautiful beginning to a very promising year.




If you would like to help us at the open house by pouring tea, orienting newcomers, or just being a Good Will Ambassador, please call or stop by the office this week.  We'd Love the help!

Thank you,


Super Awesome and Delicious Breakfast Recipes

Monday, October 29th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

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Are you challenged by what to have for breakfast?  Here are two recipes that I developed, that are user friendly for those with dietary limitations.

I have recently had the honor to meet two amazing young people at People’s Choice. The first is a young woman of 17 who has celiac disease and endometriosis, both conditions being quite painful. The second is a girl, nearly 12, who has severe migraines which are, of course, also very painful. What has struck me about both girls is not only their poise and courage to face their health difficulties, but mostly their willingness to do what is needed. It is truly inspiring and I “tip my hat” to you both.

My first recipe I dedicate to the 17-year old:


3 cups seed meal or nut meal: make this with a food processor; takes about 1 minute

(I started with almond meal, but the sky is the limit: filberts, walnuts, cashews or sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)

3 cups hemp seed meal

2 cups shredded coconut

2 cups flaked coconut

7 & 1/2 cups nuts (or seeds)

(I started with 3 different nuts of 2 cups each plus 1 &1/2 cups pumpkin seeds)

1 cup coconut oil heated until liquid

1 cup maple syrup or 3/4th cup honey or 1 tbsp. stevia

3 tbsp. vanilla

1 heaping tbsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

Mix in a super large bowl or large soup pot, with a long spatula.  Start with dry ingredients and mix thoroughly, then add wet ingredients and again mix thoroughly.

To bake, put on a cookie sheet about 1 inch thick at 300 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. It does not need to be stirred during cooking, but it is done when the color is slightly darker. The texture gets crunchy when cooled.

Note: this cereal is protein dense so smaller serving portions are suggested.

Recipe #2 dedicated to the 12-year old:

Flourless Muffins

1½ cups nut meal: blend in food processor

3/4th cup hemp seed meal

4 eggs

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

½ cup coconut milk

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp baking soda

Optional Additions:

½ cup of one of the following:

Fresh blueberries


Fresh pear, chopped into small pieces

Whisk eggs, add remaining wet ingredients, then add remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in fruit (if desired).

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Do not over-bake as they will be dry.

Note: these muffins do not have much loft, but they do have more “stick to your ribs” power so less will be needed to get full.

I hope these recipes will give folks some more ideas. Another recipe source I recommend is: Primal Blueprint: Quick & Easy meals. You can get this book by ordering at Book Wagon. For non-breakfast meals, Hidden Springs has a great veggie based meal cookbook written by my sister, Bonnie Nedrow, N.D., and Chef Jeff, who live right here in Ashland.

The Amazing Psoas Muscle: How It Relates to Low Back, Hip, and Sciatic Pain

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 at 3:20 pm

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Prior to becoming a mother, I used to have a lot of fun dancing salsa. When my daughter was about 3 or 4 my husband, Chad, gave me a Christmas gift of salsa lessons for the two of us. As luck would have it, shortly thereafter, we had the opportunity to dance salsa to a live band. I figured 1½ hours of dancing would be okay since my prior dance adventures averaged about 5 hours. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

The next morning I could barely get myself out of bed. Standing up or sitting down was so painful it was scary to contemplate. The first thing Chad says to me: “we should check your psoas”. My response: “it’s not my psoas, it’s got to be something worse than that!”. But of course, with the gentlest palpation the psoas was obviously the cause of pain. This came as a complete surprise to me because I was (supposedly) an expert about the psoas: it had been my favorite muscle for at least a decade & a half at this point. There is nothing like severe pain to teach a person the REAL story.

Fortunately, my misadventure with the psoas was short lived. Daily acupuncture combined with therapeutic hot stone massage got me free of pain in a matter of days. But it did change my whole perspective on this amazing muscle and expanded my repertoire for healing techniques.

Clinically what I see most often as a causative factor for psoas problems is stress, not injury. This is probably because the psoas is connected to our limbic system, also known as the reptilian brain. This is the part of our brain that is directly connected to the nervous system so that we can get out of danger quicker than processing through our relatively slow cerebral cortex. A good example of this is moving a hand off a hot stove. Another example might possibly be running from predators, back in the days when such things applied. We no longer have saber-tooth tigers, etc., but we do have financial pressures or challenging relationships or any number of modern “saber -tooth’s’”.

To get a better understanding about how the psoas is connected to the limbic system we must look at its structure. The psoas is physically connected to the diaphragm, so breath is integral to its function. The psoas is also attached to all the lumbar vertebrae and to the entire inner lining of the ilium (hip bone) and finally ends on the inner upper thigh. This makes it very stable, plus a very important muscle for running and jumping, especially up hill. As a re-cap: it is a huge muscle that is located exactly in the middle of the body, from any direction of view, and connects the upper body to the lower body. The psoas is perfectly designed to get us out of danger quickly: breath, stability, stamina, legs plus back connection.

Because of the location and stabilizing function of the psoas, when it contracts, a lot of other muscles become affected. Clinically, the muscle I see most commonly affected is the piriformis, which is located deep in the hip. The piriformis pulls on the sacral iliac joint which causes the hips to be out of alignment and thereby mimicking sciatica.

Okay, if any of the above info seems related to your back or hip pain what can you do to assist the healing? One of the best things you can do is a body meditation with focus on the psoas. Lie down on your back with your legs propped up under several pillows or in the fetal position on your side with pillows assisting proper alignment. Imagine your psoas. When you get a good picture, ask it if there is any communication that would be good to share with you. It may not say anything, but just start hurting. That is just fine; it means that the stress of the day is being released instead of being added to the muscle’s storage. All muscles have this function, but the psoas is more pronounced due to its limbic system connection. If the original contraction happened in a car accident, then just getting in a car can trigger it. When a baby is held by its feet and slapped, the muscle that attempts to get baby back in the safe fetal position is the psoas. Future “slaps” from behind can create psoas contraction as a coping strategy. So, checking in with this muscle can be very powerful in helping it feel good again.

Other modalities that are useful are acupuncture and gentle massage: pain during session should never go past a 5 on a 1 to 10 scale. The psoas fights back by getting tighter if treated too aggressively. In the category of massage, I find therapeutic hot stone to be very helpful as the heat relaxes the muscle so that the therapist can go much deeper in a session without causing pain.

Standing Qi Kung is also another helpful tool. Check out Chad’s class as he incorporates this technique in his classes. This is a good addition for the long-term picture in prevention of future difficulties with the psoas.

Things to avoid when the psoas is healing: stairs, “crunches” or abdominal work (as these utilize psoas), walking up hill, riding bike up hill, any kind of jumping or kicking.


  1. Daily Meditation for the psoas at end of day (at least 10 minutes, or until pain lets up)

  2. Acupuncture

  3. Gentle Massage

  4. Avoid hills & ab work

  5. Be Gentle & go at the speed your body desires, in terms of healing this truly amazing muscle.

 - Leslie Moyer

Some reflections on last week’s qigong workshop

Saturday, June 30th, 2012 at 1:13 pm

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I love qi gong intensives with Michael.  I am even learning to recognize the internal resistance that comes up before these workshops as the friction that builds before a real breakthrough.  This past weekend’s seminar was no different.  I feel like my practice has turned a corner, as always, for the better.

What did I learn? What secret teaching did I glean?  None that has not been presented a hundred times or more over the years that I have practiced, but somehow, on Saturday, it clicked: Less Is More.  It sounds so simple, and it probably is, but for someone like me (who’s probably a lot like you) who has achieved almost everything of note in my life through asserting myself – by applying effort – it took a minor miracle for the message to finally get through.  For all my attempts at softness, relaxation and openness in my qigong practice, there has been an ever-present element of striving, of trying, of force.

During the standing meditation, I caught a glimpse of real allowing.  I simply felt what I felt without trying to change it.  The pendulum of experience that has swung so far to one side for all my lifetime, swung back a bit so that I became aware that another side exists.  I, like most, have so much momentum in the direction of action, of doing, that my sense of its compliment, allowing, has been only a vague idea.  Sure, I’ve heard (and probably repeated) verbal platitudes about it, but my embodied experience of it has been almost completely lacking.  I literally didn’t know how much I was pushing until I had a moment of true openness to illuminate what might be possible.  It felt Awesome!

So now another phase of work (see, the habit runs deep) begins.  That flash of openness stands almost alone in the face of immense inertia, both personal and cultural, that says to strive is the way.  “Try, and if that fails, try harder.”  It is perhaps an almost impossible task to not try for a while, yet how refreshing the possibility!  The carrot is dangling squarely in front of my nose.  I want more of that!

  • Chadwick Moyer

Qi Gong Workshop, June 22-23 and my thoughts…

Monday, June 11th, 2012 at 1:22 pm

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Everybody knows that exercise is important to feel energetic and healthy, right?  But what happens if you’re too tired to exercise?  Or maybe you feel great right after a workout, but spend the next several days completely flat, struggling to recover.  I know these are common cases because my patients confess these dilemmas with me daily.  So, what to do?

Enter Tai Chi and Qi Gong.  These gentle, rhythmic, meditative exercises are renowned worldwide for their restorative, strengthening, balancing effects on both mind and body.  Energy levels rise with practice.  High blood pressure recedes, hormones levels and digestion improve, and a hundred other maladies both simple and complex are showing in study after study to be ameliorated by these ancient practices.

Now, more than ever, theses disciplines are demonstrating their relevance and their worth for us moderns and our modern lifestyles.  Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, can practice and benefit from qi gong (for convenience sake, I will refer to both tai chi and qi gong collectively as simply “qi gong”).  I once had a friend who was blind and wheelchair bound from cerebral palsy who noticed definite improvements to his health when he practiced qi gong.  His practice?  To simply visualize the qi gong movements in his mind’s eye as our instructor lead our class.  So, I’m serious when I say that nobody is too sick, weak, or tired to benefit from qi gong.

Oh.  And it’s enjoyable too.  I thought I should mention that little fact (opinion, I suppose) because few of us seem to want one more thing we should (or shouldn’t) do “for our health”, whether we like it or not.  I don’t.  But what I find, repeatedly – both from my own experience and from those who report it to me – is that qi gong is very enjoyable; pleasurable even.

So now I’ll cut to the chase:  People’s Choice is cosponsoring a qi gong workshop on June 22nd and 23rd at the Medford Library.  Friday the 22nd will be an introduction and demonstration followed by two different workshops on Saturday the 23rdPlease follow this link for more details. 

I’m not much for a hard-sell, so I’ll wrap up with this:  You can’t go wrong by attending this event.  The visiting instructor, Michael Vasquez, has drunk deeply from the qi gong well for three and a half decades and you can’t help but be positively affected by both his words and presence.  Not sure if a workshop is for you?  Come to the free intro Friday night and find out.  Your healthy “Future You” will thank you.



Leslie’s Pho Recipe (Yum!)

Thursday, May 31st, 2012 at 10:59 am

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What is Pho?

Pho is a delicious Vietnamese soup that utilizes bone marrow as its base. Referring to the previous article regarding blood deficiency, bone marrow is one of the best “herbs” available.

The following is a recipe for pho. It may sound daunting, but you can make up the broth in big batches to freeze for later use.  A crock pot also helps tremendously. If you want to try pho first before making, our family finally found a place that serves authentic pho right here in Phoenix, thanks to a tip from a patient. It is called Pho Sur and is in Phoenix just to the right of the strip mall you dead-end into when entering the town from I5. I would recommend the beef base soup with beef added as it is the original recipe and is also the best for re-building blood. I would also suggest to request a large portion of fresh cilantro, etc., to add to your soup. The cilantro, basil and lime are particularly the flavor enhancers for this dish and are served on the side to be added by the customer.

I have been making pho at home for years due to my lack of finding anything authentic in the area. Until now! Pho is our 11-yearold daughter, Althea’s favorite meal. I enjoy mine with sans rice noodles and extra bean sprouts instead.


Vietnamese Bone Marrow Broth

Ingredients you will need:

2 Packages pre-sliced (ring shaped) beef bones; 12-14 total

Thai style fish sauce (anchovies, water, salt)

Thai style roasted chili paste (about 1 tsp. per serving)

Thai style rice noodles (optional): prepare as directed on package

Lime (about half large per serving)

Cilantro (1 to 2 large handfuls per serving)

Basil, fresh (1 large handful per serving)

Jalapeno, fresh, sliced (optional)

Bean sprouts (1 or more large handfuls per serving)

Green onions, thinly sliced (1 to 2 tbsp. per serving)

Baby Bok Choy, sliced into small pieces (optional)


To prepare stock, place bones in a crock pot layered twice (not a tight fit) and fill to the top with water. Cook for approximately 10 hours, replacing evaporated water to top of crock. The advantage to preparing this broth in a crock pot is that it can be prepared outside since the aroma at this stage is none too delicious.

Strain out the bones and cool remaining liquid sufficiently to finish in refrigerator. Chill the broth until fat has solidified: remove and discard. Line a strainer with a double layer of cheese cloth and strain the broth slowly as to not disrupt the cheesecloth, to remove any trace of fat. In this recipe fat, will ruin the delicate flavor of the broth.


Heat the broth just to boiling and fill one extra large bowl ½ full per person. Fish sauce is added individually to taste, anywhere from 1 to 5 tsp. Without this flavor the soup will stay very bland so don’t be afraid, it is better that it sounds. All other ingredients are added to the bowl per individual’s taste, as listed above. Yummmm! Makes my mouth water just thinking about it…………………………

Please let me know how it goes if you try making pho at home. This soup is quite good even in summer, because of its lightness (sans added meat) and its high volume of fresh uncooked produce.

Yours in Deliciousness,

Leslie Shanai

Ok, So I Have Blood Deficiency, But What Does That MEAN?

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

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My first acupuncturist helped me resolve my life-long issue of frequent urination, which I detailed in my last blog. When I first started receiving acupuncture treatments from my teacher, Dr. Lily Chang, I still had a deficient blood situation due to my weak digestive system. I was skinny as a rail (malnourished) and my blood pressure was 60 over 40!

At the time of my first treatment with Dr. Chang I had been a vegetarian for 16 years. So, you can probably guess what she suggested. Unlike my first acupuncturist, who intuitively knew how stubborn I could be, Dr. Chang gave me very firm instructions regarding my diet. She requested that I cook a bunch of herbs with a Cornish game hen to make a blood-tonifying soup. My response: “Does it have to be a Cornish game hen?”. Her response, an emphatic: “yes!”. To get some perspective, imagine a chi kung master who is also a 64th generation Taoist master, the first woman in the lineage. She is not exactly a person you could argue with, or at least that you would want to.

Shifu, aka Dr. Chang, explained that our blueprint is set up in the first 7 years of our life: our basic sources of protein especially. Because she is Taoist there is also the component of fate. If our parents are vegetarian then our fate is also being vegetarian, and vice versa. It doesn’t mean that we can’t be healthy going off our blueprint; it just means we will probably just have to work harder at it. In my case, my health was chronically in bad shape a long time before receiving care so turning it around while simultaneously staying vegetarian was probably not a viable solution. Generally, Shifu has witnessed patient’s health beginning to show signs of decline (in a noticeable to the patient way) in about 10 years after changing the diet. After 15 years, the signs of poorer health are generally not ignorable.

What does it mean if your acupuncturist reports that you are blood deficient? In general, it indicates that your digestive system is weak and unable to get enough nourishment. Blood deficiency is twofold from a Chinese medicine standpoint: volume and quality. Both are determined by:1) what we eat, and 2) how our bodies can process the food. Women tend to have more problems with this due to the monthly period, especially if heavy flow, and breast feeding which is equivalent to the same demand on the body. Women are also more likely to skip meals, eat on the run, multi-task while eating and “diet”: all of which make it harder for the digestive system to thrive.

If you are blood deficient the most important factor for correcting this is through diet. If you are vegetarian, but not raised as such, then adding herbs prescribed by your acupuncturist is essential. The second most important factor is herbs, which are considered food for the organs. One of the best “herbs” for blood deficiency is bone marrow soup. My next blog will be a recipe for making bone marrow plus a delicious soup that can be made from it.

Strategies (in a nutshell) for correcting blood deficiency:
1) Eat a large, hot, protein based breakfast; within 1 to 2 hours after arising. Please no smoothies, fruit, yogurt, oatmeal: these foods slow down the function of the pancreas if consumed as the first meal, which then further impairs the digestive system.
2) Chew food thoroughly and without distractions (such as driving for example).
3) Eat dinner by 6 or 6:30 pm.
4) Snacks in between meals are okay if protein based; such as nuts or seeds or bean dip with veggies, etc. This is the time to have that smoothie if not super cold.
5) Utilize Chinese herbs and /or bone marrow soup.
6) Receive acupuncture.
7) Be patient: blood deficiency takes a while to manifest and may take time to resolve.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask on the blog. I will do my best to assist you in reaching your health goals.
Yours in health,
Leslie Shanai

“Where’s the Bathroom?” (aka: frequent urination)

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 at 11:29 am

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My case of frequent urination began at a very early age: around 9 or 10 years old. By the time, I was a teenager, my life was controlled by the availability of a bathroom due to the need for using, about once per hour. After numerous tests, including a very painful procedure involving enlarging the urethra, I was assessed with having an untreatable condition with no known cause.

Sometime in my mid-twenties I developed digestive issues AND I still had frequent urination. I had the good fortune now, to meet an acupuncturist at a workshop. She noticed that I was making very frequent visits to the bathroom all through the workshop, and suggested acupuncture as a possible treatment to cure this problem. However, I was terrified of needles, plus I also felt hopeless about anything helping my condition. Over time, I became good friends with the acupuncturist and decided to allow her to insert one needle. Suffice it to say I discovered it was no big deal and proceeded to receive regular treatments, along with herbal therapy prescribed by my acupuncturist. After 1 & ½ years, my condition was completely reversed. Since I had the problem for close to 20 years, it felt like a reasonable time frame to reverse an “untreatable” condition.

In Chinese Medicine, we think of frequent urination as a problem with the kidneys not the urinary bladder. The kidneys provide the energy for the bladder to contain the urine. Frequency is a different measure than volume, with this model. If a person has frequent urination, the number of trips to the bathroom stays pretty much the same with just the volume changing, when the amount of water consumed is higher. The other important distinction of Chinese Medicine is that deficiency patterns, such as frequent urination, have a different strategy for treatment than excess patterns, such as kidney stones. For frequent urination, it is recommended to only drink water when you are thirsty as too much water makes the kidneys work harder. If you have kidney stones, then it is a good idea to drink lots of water.

If you have frequent urination what are some things you can do to help minimize or at least slow down the progression? First and foremost is getting enough rest. Going to bed by 9:30pm or 10pm to avoid cortisol surges, which negatively affects the adrenals, a significant part of the Kidney system. Rest also includes taking breaks when you are tired, such as those wonderful power naps Chad mentioned earlier, plus following the 70/30 rule. What that means is to only use 70% of your total available energy at any given time. This is potentially very challenging for Kidney deficient folks as they often use their will to power through, as a chronic coping strategy. In other-words, they rarely know what their 70% is. If you suspect this is an accurate picture of yourself, it’s very helpful to have an ally. Someone who can point out that you are in over-do-it mode and encourages you to take a break when you need one. Speaking from experience, it is potentially a difficult habit to break.

Seasons that are more challenging are winter and the transition into spring when temperatures go to extremes very quickly. One of the many functions of the Kidney system is to regulate our internal temperature: keeping us cool in summer and warm in winter. Heating is generally more demanding, so in times of cold weather it is even more important to get enough rest. Hibernating bears have the right idea.

Exercise that doesn’t require a huge exertion is more supportive for Kidney deficiency. This principal is sort of shunned in the west, where everyone is viewed as being the same kind of tree: exercise hard and use your will to power through. Some people are pine trees, some are coconut, etc. Each tree needs different conditions to thrive. For deficiency conditions, less is generally more.

My next comment will probably illicit annoyance from many of those reading this article. Here, in America, we like to think of ourselves as immortal. We expect to do just as much when we are 60 years old as 40 years old. However, to age gracefully, it may be more appropriate to tune in and really listen to see how much energy is in the savings account and spending it wisely. Therefore, middle aged and the elderly doing Chi Kung in the parks of China: they can no longer deny the effects of aging and wish to enhance their savings account and make it last. Age appropriate exercise has a very significant outcome. Some people age more quickly, due to what they have inherited, and of course the opposite is true. So, the important thing is to learn how to listen and feel what is right as an ongoing process.

I will end this article with an image that will hopefully be helpful to those of you reading that can’t help over-doing. Several years ago, when Chad and I were in the first stages of developing People’s Choice, I came home from work exhausted. On the couch was a gigantic pile of laundry. Rather than folding, I decided to read a little so I pushed the laundry aside to make room for myself. About 4 hours later, Chad came home and took one look and started to applaud. This had a huge impact for me and is an image I treasure. It contradicts all my up-bringing that says I was just being lazy. Does this sound familiar? We really are own worst critics and it is so important to avoid comparing ourselves to others. We inherit strengths and weaknesses and acknowledging this has the potential to empower and truly reveal our gifts.

Is my child old enough to receive acupuncture?

Sunday, March 4th, 2012 at 11:51 am

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I have an 8-month old baby.  At what age, can he receive acupuncture?

There’s really no one answer to this question.  Our daughter, Althea, asked to receive acupuncture when she was two years old.  However, both of her parents are acupuncturists, which puts her in a unique position.  In general, if your child can cooperate with the process (hold somewhat still, remain calm) then there is no set minimum age.

That said, however, most young children (through toddler age) don’t need acupuncture, and respond very nicely to less invasive therapies like massage, Gua Sha, or skin rolling.  We find good results recommending and demonstrating these treatments to the parents of young children so that they can help their little ones in the comfort and familiar surroundings of home.

We also recommend herbal medicine as a good option for care if your little one needs help overcoming an illness.  We use herbal powder formulas which are easily added to applesauce to make them more palatable. One advantage of using Chinese herbal medicine is our ability to fine tune formulas to fit the specific requirements of each patient at the current time. Plus, Chinese medicine has 2,500 years of practical application as its history and is therefore superior to most other herbal methods available.

If a child is too young to receive herbs one of the most effective treatments is skin rolling. Our daughter loved this treatment as a baby and toddler. It is easy to do plus enjoyable to the youngster. Skin rolling on the back, alongside the spine, activates and increases circulation to all the organs via the Urinary Bladder channel. It takes very little to help balance a baby or toddler and skin rolling easily fulfills that requirement.

If you have any questions or comments, please respond to Leslie here on the blog.  If you have specific questions or concerns about your own child, please call or schedule an appointment to meet us at People’s Choice.  We will do everything in our power to give you the answers you need or to point you in the right direction if we believe another approach could help you more.

Thanks again for taking time to check and read our blog. Anybody have any other questions I might be able to help you with?

To the health of your little ones,

Leslie Shanai

Sprain that (Quickly) Ended in No Pain!

Thursday, February 9th, 2012 at 10:04 am

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Have you ever sprained your ankle(s)? Throughout my life, I have sprained both ankles several times. Usually the sprains were not too severe so it would take about four weeks to heal each time, give or take a little. The most severe sprain was my last and only took three days to heal. Hmmmmm, what was the difference, you ask?

To highlight how severe this sprain was, allow me to give you a picture. I started running down a 100-yard hill to catch a car. The driver had left an item behind and I was attempting to deliver it. Unfortunately, about ten feet down said hill I tripped and sprained my ankle. Stubbornness and a bit of stupidity propelled me down the rest of the hill. Did I catch the car? Yes, but WOW did I pay! I had to turn into a snake to get back up the hill; sliding and dragging myself the whole way.

Upon finally reaching my car again my friend kindly took over driving duty. I got busy applying acupuncture needles and moxibustion. I repeated the treatment again that evening and the next morning. Frankly, I was amazed by the results. I was at that time, back in 1995, a recent graduate of Tai Hsuan Foundation Acupuncture school in Honolulu, Hawaii.  I knew from my training how effective acupuncture was for sprains, but I was sure it would take more than three days to heal such a significant sprain!

The keys in this particular happy ending are that I utilized acupuncture before swelling set in and thereby bypassed it altogether. I also used moxibustion which has the effect of increasing circulation. And…………….I didn’t use ice. Why no ice? From a Traditional Chinese Medicine standpoint ice, by itself, congeals the blood in the area that it is applied. Ice basically produces the opposite effect of circulation.

The moral of this story is: if you injure yourself, get some acupuncture and moxibustion as quickly as you can. Unlike chiropractic, massage, and physical therapy which require at least 48 hours before utilizing, acupuncture works best to use immediately. Injuries include sprains of all kinds, contusions, whiplash, etc. Anytime you think anti-inflammatory, think acupuncture for quicker results with no side effects.

Leslie Shanai

Tai Chi – Qi Gong Workshop Feb 24-26

Sunday, February 5th, 2012 at 4:38 pm

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Do-It-Yourself Chinese Medicine?  You Bet!  It’s called Tai Chi or Qi Gong.  Of the varying branches of Chinese Medicine, it is probably the most valuable.  Why?  Because it puts each one of us squarely in the driver’s seat about our own health and well-being.

My tai chi instructor, Michael Vasquez will be in Ashland, Feb 24-26 to teach a Wu Tai Chi short form workshop. I will be there and highly recommending this workshop for everyone – from the just curious to the devoted tai chi/ qi gong practitioner.  Michael will also be sharing some phenomenal teas from Taiwan.

I will also be presenting a short talk on Friday night during the free introduction called, “living in harmony with the seasons per Chinese medicine 5 element theory”.  It should be fun and informative.  Hope to see you all there!

Please register now by clicking here.

Tips for cold and flu prevention

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

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Tips for cold and flu prevention

We are in the middle of cold and flu season so here are a few tips that can help you avoid catching any unfriendly germs. These tips are for the early onset stage and if utilized can stop a cold/flu in its tracks.

1. Drink 4 cups fresh ginger root tea (recipe as follows).
2. Avoid sugar (lowers immune system within 30 minutes of consumption).
3. Get enough rest.
4. Receive acupuncture to boost immune system.

Fresh ginger is classified in the release the exterior category of Traditional Chinese Medicine. What this means is that herbs in this category help assist the body in flushing out pathogens that have entered the body from an external source. Dried ginger has a different property than fresh and is more useful in aiding weak digestion. Hence, using ginger tea bags in the following recipe will be ineffective in the releasing of cold or flu.

Ginger Tea recipe:
1. Slice approximately 2 inches of ginger root into thin slices (skin okay).
2. Place ginger into 4 cups boiling water.
3. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
4. Strain into cup and add honey, if desired, to mitigate spiciness.
5. Drink all tea in one sitting, one cup after the other until all gone.

It should be noted that this recipe is only applicable at the first signs of a cold or flu; usually the first day only. Once the disease has gotten a good foothold ginger tea will no longer be effective. It may even have a detrimental effect of adding unnecessary heat if the disease has fully manifested.

If you are feeling “off” or know you’re about to catch cold, come in right away for acupuncture. Do not worry about exposing the germs to us, the practitioners. Acupuncture stimulates and strengthens the immune system, and you can take advantage of “Sifu’s Immortality Treatment” which only costs $25, is a great treatment for prevention and is also good for an energy boost.

Do you have other tips for preventing colds? Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions. Thanks.

Leslie Shanai

Happy Chinese New Year!

Monday, January 23rd, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Comments (1)

Happy Chinese New Year and Welcome to our blog!

Today marks the one (lunar) year anniversary of our opening in our current center at 1640 Siskiyou Blvd. We LOVE it here and hope that you also find our setting nourishing, relaxing and healing!

At People’s Choice, we are always looking for ways to serve you and we are excited by the addition of the blog. It is a wonderful venue for us to interact and share information.

We plan on making this blog entertaining as well as useful. Check back to learn about eating in harmony with the seasons – including tasty recipes, tips for keeping yourself healthy, DIY Chinese medicine practices such as qigong and moxibustion and more. We want your comments and feedback! Let us know how we’re doing, how You’re doing and please share any stories or info you think we and the others here would appreciate.

To your health and happiness this Year of the Dragon, and beyond,

Leslie Shanai &Chadwick Moyer, Licensed Acupuncturists


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