We can feel like our true selves when we balance modern day living with nature’s grounding principles. We don’t feel vibrant and content when we’re bogged down by inflammation due to the foods we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, day-day life’s emotional stressors, and gravity pulling on our musculo-skeletal system. A great way to obtain optimal wellness, especially through a seasonal transition, is through customized treatment plans that offer food-is-medicine guidance to:
Boost your immune system!
Prevent winter weight gain!
Avoid seasonal depression!
Relieve pain & reduce inflammation!
A whole food, purification program and lifestyle that are in-tune with nature, are ideal ways to support your immune system, over-all body wellness, healthy weight, and an emotionally smooth transition through the coming months.
Schedule a complimentary purification program consultation ASAP: 727-677-8006.
Together, we can obtain optimal wellness this fall and into 2020!
I personally decided to “press the reset button” on Labor Day…. I’d love for you to join me in feeling fantastic!
Always yours in health,
Dr. Mära Kevan
Doctor of Acupuncture + Chinese Medicine (DACM)
Licensed Acupuncturist + Chinese herbalist (L.Ac., Dipl. Ac.)
Like a nautilus shell, our wellness goal is to obtain proportional perfection through cleansing, purifying, healing, expansion, and renewal.
The chambered nautilus is an ancient creature related to squids and octopuses and appeared in the seas long before the first dinosaurs. It is known as a “living fossil” because it has remained relatively unchanged in the past 450 million years.
The nautilus lives in a beautiful spiraled shell divided into increasingly larger chambers. When it first hatches from the egg, it has 4 chambers already formed. As it grows, it moves into the next largest space in the shell and builds a wall to seal off the old chamber.
Nautiluses are known to outgrow and build up to 30 chambers in the course of their adult lives. It’s interesting to note that these chambers do not go to waste, the nautilus keeps these inner chambers filled with gas to help control its buoyancy. When it wants to dive, it adds water to the chambers.
Seeing the cross-section of a chambered nautilus in real life is a sight to behold. It is shaped like an elegant spiral and lined with bright mother-of-pearl. It is a symbol of order amidst chaos, as reflected in its spiral precision.
Nautilus Shell Sacred Geometry
The spiral of the nautilus is not just any spiral. Measuring it reveals that it conforms to the shape of the Golden Ratio spiral,what is known as a “sacred geometry”.
It is considered sacredbecause it can be found in a wide variety of things in nature, such as the shape of our galaxy, of hurricanes, in the arrangements of sunflower seeds in the flower, in cauliflower, and pine-cones.
It is also sacred because it is based on the Golden Ratio, which is one of life’s great mysteries because it can be found in all living things.
We tend to think that things in the natural world are all different and grow in a free-form way. The idea that the Golden Ratio can be found in all living things is fascinating and mysterious because it seems to suggest that our natural world is not as random or irregular as it seems, but instead can be explained in the logic of numbers and mathematical equations.
And furthermore, it is intriguing that all living things have this ratio in common and are therefore inherently linked or somehow parts of a greater whole.
To understand this a little better, let me take you a little into the world of mathematics.
What is the Golden Ratio?
The Golden Ratio is based on the Fibonacci series, which is a series of numbers where the first two numbers add up to the succeeding number, like this: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, etc.
You can arrive at the Golden Ratio by dividing each number by the one before it and the further you go along the progression of numbers, the closer you get to the Golden Ratio number, which is 1.61803398…
This ratio (1.61803398…) can be found in every life form, from our DNA, to many plants, the human skeleton, shells, and the proportions in animals.
Plato called this number “the key for the universe physics” and mysteriously, studies have shown that when this ratio is incorporated into artwork and architecture, humans seem to find it more beautiful and elegant.
That the ratio is found in all living things implies that it is part of a “blueprint” of the universe, something that underlies the foundation of all living things and which serves to connect them to each other and to a greater whole.
Nautilus Shell Symbolism
As a symbol, the chambered nautilus is a powerful metaphor for one’s spiritual evolution.
From the moment we are born and begin to crawl, we continuously discover, learn and outgrow our previous thoughts and views of the world. To learn and grow requires us to think in a new or different way, essentially, to think “outside the box.”
Like the nautilus, once we’ve expanded our minds beyond the old box, we simply find ourselves in a new, bigger box, in which we continue to learn and grow.
We also find that once we have mentally moved into this new box, we can never go back to the smaller ones; they simply no longer fit us.
The nautilus can never stay in the same chamber because it continues to get bigger; it must build ever larger and larger chambers until the end of its life. And the spiral suggests that it can grow forever – there is never a design for a final chamber.
Similarly, we also must never stop growing, learning, and expanding, for to stay in the same place would lead to a kind of spiritual death.
The nautilus is also a symbol of strength because it can also withstand very high pressures in the ocean. It is thought that the shell can dive up to 2,600 feet or 800 meters before its shell will implode.
In conclusion, the nautilus is a reminder to us never to stop learning, growing and expanding our view of the world. And because it is in the shape of a Golden Ratio spiral, it reminds us that our own bodies contain the Golden Ratio and that we are all part of a greater whole.
Holistic Properties of the Nautilus
The Nautilus Shell embodies the element of water and intern enhances these living qualities such as cleansing, purification, and healing. Known for deflecting negative energies, the Nautilus also purifies the surrounding space and attracts loving energies. The shell may be used to assist in meditation and invokes calmness, provides strength, balance and renews the physical energy.
Turn the Nautilus up so you have the cross section of the shell facing you. Quiet your thoughts and focus on the beginning point of the spiral. With eyes open follow the spiral round and round, like a staircase as it opens to larger and larger chambers. Close your eyes and continue the exercise imagining you are very small at the beginning of the spiral climbing the stairs to the chambers. When you feel you have experienced the upward turning of the spiral look back to the center and reflect how far you have climbed.
Now relax, reflect and write down any knowledge you have received from the Nautilus and its accumulated 500 million years of growth and wisdom.
The human body mass is comprised of more than 60% muscle mass. Considering the muscle is responsible for all movement, it is understandable that our muscles are subjected to fatigue, overuse and injury.
The muscle contracts as we move, which is considered a voluntary action. When the muscle contracts involuntarily, this is a spasm. It is considered a trigger point when a small portion of the muscle contracts involuntarily, causing pain and dysfunction.
Trigger points, commonly referred to as muscle knots, form when the muscle is overworked or injured. Tiny knots form in the muscle and cause myalgia. The results and benefits of acupuncture therapy are releasing the muscular knots and relieving pain.
Inserting acupuncture needles into trigger points, muscular pain is relieved at its source by releasing soft tissue and increasing the blood flow. This reduces pain, such as neck pain, low back pain, headaches, menstrual cramps, arthritis, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, fibromyalgia, and other types of chronic pain. A 2018 study published in PubMed, explains the pathomechanism of trigger point needling to relieve myalgia: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30014676.
After just one treatment, you will feel a significant reduction in pain! Come, step-in to the healing and restorative acu-zone at MAR acupuncture + Medical Center.
According to the National Center for PTSD, about 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. This can occur at any age, including childhood. Those who suffer from PTSD are often war veterans and survivors of physical and sexual assault, abuse, accidents, or disasters; however, it should be recognized that not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. In fact, some people experience PTSD after a friend or family member experiences danger, or are harmed. This includes the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one.
The diagnosis of PTSD may be given when a group of symptoms, such as hyper-arousal, intense anxiety, avoidant behavior, intrusive memories, nightmares, and attempts to “numb” memories of the event continue for more than a month after the occurrence of traumatic event.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
At least one re-experiencing symptom
At least one avoidance symptom
At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
At least two cognition and mood symptoms
For a more detailed explanation of the symptoms of PTSD, please refer to the National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
PTSD and Addiction
Daily, people are functioning in crisis mode. Though their conflicts are not usually the result of a natural disaster, or war, many are the victims of poverty, childhood abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and traumatic physical injury. It’s not unusual for those struggling with PTSD to use drugs or alcohol in attempt to anesthetize the physical/emotional/spiritual pain they are feeling. Over time, if this cycle is not interrupted with healthier coping mechanisms, chronic substance abuse creates a more complex dual diagnosis, in which recovery from PTSD must include recovery from substance abuse.
Acupuncture and PTSD
Acupuncture can be helpful in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The most common treatment involves inserting tiny needles into the ear (auricular acupuncture). Auricular acupuncture is one of the most common forms of acupuncture. It can treat a wide range of complaints, and has a strong history in helping those who suffer from PTSD.
The NADA protocol was developed by Michael Smith in the mid-1970s (NADA stands for the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association). A medical doctor in the South Bronx, Smith was searching for a way to treat common drug addictions and offer an alternative to methadone. By modifying a common auricular treatment, the NADA protocol was born, and proved to be extremely effective. Though initially developed to help treat addiction, it quickly became clear that the NADA protocol was helpful in treating PTSD.
The NADA Protocol
According to the founder himself, the NADA protocol works because these specific points in the ear “enhance” overall functioning by doing the following:
As a non-verbal intervention, it helps in reaching resistant patients.
It reduces anxiety and agitation while facilitating calm and receptive behavior.
It helps develop an inner meditative core in even the most troubled and fearful persons.
The ear is a map of the body, with different areas (acupuncture points) representing the body’s internal organs and skeletal system. The vagus nerve (cranial nerve X) connects the brain to the body while innervating many organs, including the heart. Parasympathetic innervation of the heart is mediated by the vagus nerve. Specifically, the vagus nerve acts to lower the heart rate. The right vagus innervates the sinoatrial node. Parasympathetic hyperstimulation predisposes those affected to bradyarrhythmias.
The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is responsible for us feeling calm, sleeping well, having good digestion. We want to stimulate the PNS via the vagus nerve to lower the heart rate and thus relieve PTSD, anxiety, frustration, panic, and anger.
It is an effectively grounding and relaxing treatment that can be done anywhere, anytime. The NADA protocol consists of the insertion of small, stainless steel, disposable, acupuncture needles, into five points on the ear.
Normally, both ears are needled. Then the patient relaxes for 30-45 minutes in a safe, quiet space. Typically, the NADA protocol is done in a group setting to help build a support network among patients, and to help break down factors (and feelings) of isolation. Patients will often report an improved sense of well being after the treatment; I call it being in the Acu-zone and entering a state of Acu-phoria!
Recovery and Community
The mental and physical stress experienced by an individual caught in the middle of trauma, whether it is a natural disaster, a war zone, or a family in which abuse is happening is usually worsened by the breakdown of social infrastructure (including family, community, and government). This is where community acupuncture can play an important role in recovery. Treatment in a community acupuncture setting allows people to experience relief from stress and trauma together, as a community.
When the entire group feels calm and quiet and safe, strengths of the human spirit, like hope, determination and resiliency have the space to grow. There is less pain in the body, and less pain in the spirit. Put simply: Recovery from trauma involves physical relief, mental relief, accessible and affordable treatment, and a supportive, non-judgmental community.
Opening access to the treatment itself comes first. This occurs through eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic, socio-economic and environmental barriers to starting a program of recovery. The next task is to create a zone of peace (such as, The Wellness Ranch in Tumalo) within which patients can begin to experience their own inner strengths. Finally, and in respect to the other aspects, keep it simple. The NADA protocol is often used with other treatment modalities, such as counseling (equine assisted psychotherapy), support groups (community acupuncture) and self-help programs (trauma-informed yoga and meditation), to increase the overall effectiveness of care.
Dr. Mära S Kevan, DACM is a licensed acupuncturist & Chinese herbalist. The focus of her practice: Food Is Medicine.
Women who are “healthy” but still carrying those last 5-10 pounds: this post is for you! In contrast to gimmicky, quick-fix methods, this post examines the root of your problems.
You have low Progesterone:
Levels of this important steroid hormone peak in the second half of a woman’s cycle after ovulation (the reason for progesterone’s name, which literally means “promoting gestation”). When estrogen and progesterone are in balance, they work like yin and yang in the body. But hormonal imbalance in women is such a common modern world problem, that many women are getting by on the minimal amount of progesterone. And because of this, they are struggling emotionally and physically.
Many women, especially those of childbearing age, have an estrogen dominance problem. Shocking but true: strenuous, all-out exercise may not be your friend! If you exercise daily but still have excess weight around the hips, cellulite, and saggy skin, it’s likely that you’re using up your progesterone, and estrogen is dominating. Other causes of estrogen dominance include xenoestrogens found in environmental factors such as pesticides, plastics, industrial waste products, car exhaust, meat, topical beauty products, detergents, furniture and carpet.
We can order a hormone lab (Dutch Urine Test) to check your levels and then discuss which foods, supplements, and exercise regimens can bolster your progesterone (and decrease estrogen dominance).
You’re not getting enough vitamin D:
Possibly due to our awareness of skin cancer and the use of sunscreen, our levels of vitamin D are lower than they were decades ago. Vitamin D acts like a hormone in our bodies, and deficiency has been linked to allergies, asthma, weight gain, fatigue, food allergies, and even cancer. We can test your Vitamin D level and then the appropriate dosage of vitamin D3 can be prescribed.
You have high cortisol:
A high level of cortisol, our stress hormone, is a big reason we tend to keep weight on the abdominal area. Are you the kind of woman who wakes up very early to do an intense workout…then races home to get ready for work…then deals with family and home commitments? Well, this hectic, on the go lifestyle increases your cortisol levels and works against your goals of having a lean body. Think about our ancestors running from a saber tooth tiger: the body was only focused on survival (finding safety) and not focused on metabolism (because it didn’t know when the next meal would come, so held onto reserves). We haven’t evolved that much from our ancestors, we’ve just translated modern day running around to running from a predator! In time, we then experience adrenal fatigue. So that’s an awesome combo: overweight & dragging ass.
If you feel like you need to be on a caffeine drip at all times, it means you’re having too many highs and lows with cortisol as a big culprit. Cortisol is associated with increased appetite, cravings for sugar, and weight gain. You need to unwind everyday with whatever it is that shuts off your hypervigilance — even if it’s for 10 minutes per day. Take a nap, get acupuncture, meditate, melt into a yin-yoga class for true restoration, and always enjoy quiet time in nature.
You’re eating processed “healthy”:
Excess sodium, GMOs, sugar, inflammatory & carcinogenic ingredients are all hidden in modern day processed foods, which causes weight gain. Just because it’s at a health food store and it’s “gluten free” or “natural” DOES NOT mean it’s good for you. It’s misleading and may be confusing because packaging with the words “natural” and “healthy” are very enticing. If you have to read a label, it’s now how Mother Nature intended it. Be vigilant! Buy the whole orange, not orange juice in a container.
You’re eating too much (bad) fat:
Our bodies do well with a minimal source of whole fat from organic foods. My favs are: avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, ghee, and nuts – especially when added to greens! Our gallbladder needs fat in order to release bile, to aid our digestion. We assimilate protein more efficiently when it’s consumed with a little healthy fat (I.E. 1 egg + ½ small avocado). But a small amount is best, be careful not to over-do it. Quality over quantity!
Fat also tastes good! Avoid “low fat” and “no fat” foods because if the fat is removed, something has to be added in order to make it palatable. Typically the fat is substituted with sugar. Eck! This is NOT what Mother Nature intended.
You’re skimping on quality sleep:
Quality sleep provides time for the body to truly restore & heal. Your hormones need it to stay in balance, your muscles need it for repair, and your brain needs it to work optimally.
Do you find yourself waking in the middle of the night with anxiety, racing thoughts, and can’t fall back asleep? According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Liver correlates to the hours of 1-3AM and the organ is responsible for the smooth flow of emotions, Qi and blood. It is the organ that is most affected by excess stress or emotions. A simple remedy is to not drink alcohol at night; this will lessen the detoxification roll of the Liver and not spike the blood sugar. Letting the organ rest = you have a restful nights sleep, wake feeling fantastic, and look radiant! Healthy nighttime habits: herbal teas, meditation, hot baths, reading a book, and going to sleep by 10pm.
The two hormones that are key in the relationship between sleep and weight loss are ghrelin and leptin. Put very simply, leptin tells us when to stop eating and when you’re sleep deprived. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat. When you’re sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin so you want to eat unnecessarily…thus leading to excess weight. So go to bed early and keep a regular, relaxing nighttime routine!
You’re not eating your cruciferous vegetables:
Cruciferous vegetables from the vegetable family Brassicaceae include cabbage, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, broccoli and other similar green vegetables. Not only are they good for you because of the feeling of fullness you get from the fiber, but also they’re good for estrogen metabolism through a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C). It is a natural source of DIM (3,3-Diindolylmethane) that helps promote estrogen balance. This is the cheapest, easiest way to get your hormones — and your weight — in balance.
If you’re not feeling optimal, you may have a Vitamin B3 deficiency as EVERY part of your body needs it to function. Here’s how VIT B3 can support your wellbeing…
VIT B3 In The Body: B3 converts in the body to NADH, in different forms…
LIVER: VIT B3 transports fats through the body by synthesizing fats from carbs and turning carbs into glucose, to supply energy to the cells. This means you get increased energy and weight loss support!
BRAIN: VIT B3 increases serotonin activity that improves mood, decreases stress and lessens insomnia. Yeah to feeling happier and sleeping better!
HEART: Nicotinic Acid supports cardiovascular health and cholesterol by normalizing lipid blood levels; removes the bad, LDL & triglycerides and increases the good, HDL. From our heart to yours
INSULIN: Inositol (longer release of B3) improves insulin levels/sensitivity for diabetes support, aids in weight loss, supports fertility for women diagnosed with PCOS, and helps sex hormone production to relieve ED in men.
SKIN: Niacinamide is converted in the body from extra Niacin. It’s beneficial for skin health by reducing the sensitivity, redness and hyperpigmentation caused by acne, age and sun spots. It minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and strengthens the skin’s natural barrier for healthy, defended skin.
Food Rx: Your diet is likely to have the recommended daily amount of B3 if you have multiple daily servings of whole, natural foods across a wide variety of food groups.
*I highly recommend Nutritional Flakes (dried yeast): a delicious, vegetarian protein to use as a daily food complement: mix into soups, vegetables, smoothies, salads, etc. 1 TBSP = 4g protein. That’s almost as much protein as one egg (6g protein) but without any cholesterol!!! It’s also an ideal source of essential and non-essential amino acids.
*More excellent food sources of niacin: tuna, chicken, turkey, peanuts, and crimini mushrooms.
Supplement Rx: Dr. Kevan offers comprehensive health consults and the MAR acupuncture apothecary includes only the most efficacious and safe nutraceuticals. Together, we will discuss the appropriate Vit B3 dose and form of administration to relieve your unique symptoms. You will have the option of taking Vitamin B3 in the form of an oral tablet, liquid, or injection therapy.
To learn more about receiving vitamins via Acupuncture Injection Therapy (APIT), please go to MAR Acupuncture’s website at: https://maracupuncture.com/services/acupuncture-injection-therapy/