It took me more than 30 hours and six movies, but here I am safe
and sound in Kyoto, Japan. I've never been to Asia and everything
is very different from what I've seen in other countries. Before
starting the Japanese acupuncture training I had 2 days to walk
around and be a tourist.
I've seen a couple of temples, the Philosopher's Path, some
shrines, cherry bloosoms, their architecture, malls, residential
areas and of course geishas. People are friendly and very polite,
most of them don't speak any English but you can still get around
if you do your homework, have a map and just show them where you
want to go. We walked an entire day around Kyoto, had some green
tea cake and yudzu icecream, browsed the stores and bought made in
I'll come back next week with more details but until then enjoy
Week 10 is almost over and so are midterms. Some of us are
packing for Japan and some of us are planning for a spring break
trip to China organized by NUHS.
Flight to Japan or China is roughly
about 15 hours if you're lucky and have a nonstop one. If you stop
somewhere in Europe or Canada, it's going to be about 20 hours. It
is a long flight and it can get uncomfortable very fast. I've been
flying back home to Romania for the last 12 years and I still feel
a bit tired at the end of the flight.
How do I keep myself healthy while flying?
I'm sure you all know that first you have to keep yourself
hydrated. I hate ice water and I always carry my pouch water bottle
with me and make sure I fill it with the best water I can find in
the airport. Yes, I'll probably pay more, but I prefer to drink
good water and not something that will taste like chlorine! If I
have enough space in my overnight bag I'll buy a couple of water
bottles or some fresh squeezed juice depending on what you can find
around your gate. At O'Hare airport I'm always happy if I'm close
to Frontera so I can have fresh squeezed juice and some good
Long flights mean very dry skin, poor feet circulation, red and
itchy eyes, and so on… So, I'll have some compression socks,
homeopathic eye drops and facial toner, layers, travel-size
blanket, foldable tote (think Longchamp but the search on Amazon
will show you totes that look exactly the same and are so much
cheaper!), a pair of foldable flats, and a change of clothes
Trying to describe all the things I have in my overnight bag
(which just sits on top of my carry on) I realized I have so many
things! I'll just give you my list and you choose whatever you feel
is more important to you:
Hope this list will make your trips and flights smoother and
If you've been following my blog, you probably know by now that
I really like to have as many tools as I can in my practice
toolbox. I might be doing a Master's in Acupuncture and Oriental
Medicine, but I definitely don't focus only on this type of
medicine. One of my "tools" for diagnosis in my future practice
will be Iridology.
What is Iridology and how did it start?
By definition, Iridology is the science where the practitioner
can tell the reflex condition of various organs of the body from
the markings in the iris of the eye. "It can determine acute,
sub-acute, chronic, and destructive stages in the affected organs
of the body through their corresponding areas in the iris." - Dr.
Bernard Jensen, DC
History says that Iridology was discovered by Dr. Ignatz von
Peczely of Egervar (Hungary) quite by accident when he was about 10
years old. While playing with an owl, he happened to break one of
its legs. He also happened to notice the appearance of a dark
stripe in the lower region of the bird's iris. Eventually, while
the bird was healing, the stripe became a tiny black spot, around
which were white lines and shading. As a child he didn't pay too
much attention to all those discoveries, but later on as a doctor,
he remembered what he saw in the iris, started researching more
into the subject, and published a book in 1866.
Nowadays, lots of practitioners use Iridology. Some of them are
so passionate about it that they only focus on this part and just
read the eye. Then they give you two beautiful iris photos and a
report. and then it's your job to decide what you want to do and
with whom you want to work on all those findings.
I am definitely not an expert in Iridology, but I can decently
read the main issues. I'm also lucky that I can use cheat sheets,
software, and even a very small and chic camera that attaches to my
iPhone and allows me to take better pictures of the eyes.
If you are interested in learning more about Iridology, check
out Dr. Bernard Jensen's books. He was a pioneer in the field, and
I love that all his case studies come with a ton of pictures.
Now back to my papers and midterms!
Last weekend I attended the seminar, "Five Phases and Root
Treatment in Japanese Acupuncture" in downtown Chicago. I got to
practice again my Japanese needling technique, contact needling,
abdominal palpation, and diagnosis.
The style taught is based on the book Introduction to
Meridian Therapy by Shudo Denmai. Personally, I would have
loved a deeper insight into the Japanese treatments, but for just
one day, the seminar was still OK.
Japanese acupuncture uses the abdominal diagnosis much more than
TCM. When you hear about abdominal diagnosis it doesn't seem like
much, but when you get the chance to palpate and feel the
differences on people, then it starts to make sense. I had the
chance to feel the "bumps" on the skin (excess), I felt my finger
sinking (deficiency) and even the differences in the roughness of
the skin. Japanese protocol seems more fluent, and a bit more
focused on the patient since they diagnose mainly on palpation.
After dipping into Japanese acupuncture, we thought appropriate
to enjoy a matcha latte for lunch break and organic yummy food at
Le Pain Quotidien.
Downtown was sunny, streets were full of people, and as usual,
we enjoyed every minute of it! How can you not enjoy it when it's
almost midterms time but all we can think about is spring!
One of the biggest challenges when you're a full time student
and also working full time is not to jump on one of the vending
machines and eat junk food just because you don't have time to shop
or cook something healthier. At some point it happens to all of us
and even if we know it is not the best option, sometimes it's all
I am one of those people who prefer to fast and not give in to
temptation in front of the vending machine, but I also don't like
the idea of eating late in the evening after I am done with
A low carb diet opened up a whole new path for me and the last
couple of months I played with different recipes and chose the ones
that worked better for my body.
My breakfast is either a Bulletproof coffee with some added
grass fed collagen peptides and cocoa butter, or a green smoothie
with lots of healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil and hemp seeds.
It keeps me full for 3-4 hours and then if I get hungry and don't
have time for lunch, I always carry with me some fat bombs.
The name must sound strange but I discovered they can keep me
full a long time, don't make me cranky, help with energy and weight
loss, and I don't crave sugar anymore! So, what's a fat bomb?
It's a bunch of healthy fats: coconut oil, cocoa butter, nut
butters, tahini blended with other healthy ingredients like cacao
powder, berries, sometimes superfoods powders, poured into
chocolate molds and ready to eat whenever you need them.
Every weekend I try and make a fresh batch, freeze them for an
hour, and then store them in a glass container in the fridge.
I recently discovered a recipe on the Calmful Living website that
was using Natural Vitality Magnesium Powder and I decided to give
it a try. I never used magnesium powder or oil before going on a
low carb diet, but since then whenever I don't pay attention to my
magnesium intake I start having muscle cramps in my legs.
I twisted the original recipe a bit and here is my version:
You just have to melt the butter and oil on a low temperature
and then mix everything together. Pour the composition in whatever
molds you have (ice cube trays work too), freeze it for an hour,
and then store them in your fridge.
If you want to take them with you, you're going to need a
chilled container so they don't melt.
The possibilities are endless! Instead of lemon flavor you can
add some strawberries, blueberries, orange, peppermint, cacao and
tahini, cacao and walnuts, etc. Choose the flavor you really like
and you've got a winner!
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