Mudra is a Sanskrit term for gesture, mark or seal and is used in yoga, meditation and other types of healing.
There are numerous mudras, each with a specific purpose and benefit. As a perpetual student of Eastern Medicine and energy healing, I feel its important to reference the similarities of these sciences.
In Chinese medicine, the hand is one of many microsystems or fractals in our body with acupuncture points (Marma points in the Ayurvedic system). Mudras, acupuncture, and massage therapy activate the energy in these points. In both systems, the palmar surface of the hand contains the internal organ points, and relates to the physical, mental and emotional aspects of the organ.
The Mushti Mudra, pictured above, heals our restrained emotions and digestion. Anger and frustration are connected to the liver; grief and letting go are connected to the lungs and large intestine.
We all know being upset stagnates our digestion. Often we will try to soothe our feelings by either not eating or overeating; both responses make the problem worse. When we make a fist, the Mushti Mudra activates these points and starts the healing process in both your mind and body. Essentially you are telling your brain to wring out your emotions and your gut.
Next time you feel upset, try this easy Mushti Mudra:
Inhale and make a fist, squeezing your thumb over your fingers
Exhale and let your fist relax open.
As you inhale and exhale notice the sensation of your breath through your body, and how your body feels afterward. Also note if you felt the emotional or the physical discomfort first. This will help you get in tune with and heal your body.
I like to start with both hands at the same time, then alternate between left and right one at a time, and then back to both hands together.
I’d love to hear how this mudra works for you. Send me an email if you have questions or would like to share your experience.
I’m excited to offer Shirodhara to my patients. Shirodhara is a deeply nourishing Ayurvedic treatment that calms the body and mind.
Benefits of Shirodhara:
Reduces headaches, fatigue, stress, anxiety, and irritability
Leaves your hair soft and silky, and prevents hair fall
Regulates the endocrine system
Softens facial lines and refreshes your complexion
Engages your parasympathetic nervous system, providing deep relaxation and mental clarity
Enhances other therapies, such as yoga, acupuncture, massage and meditation
Journey through a seamless rhythm of traditional Tibetan bodywork modalities that conclude with the pouring of a luxurious stream of warm infused oil over the forehead. Available at the Seattle clinic location.
Introducing a new service at Merulli Acupuncture: The Express Acupuncture Treatment.
Enjoy an abbreviated treatment for the perfect “pick me up”. Take a break and perk up your day with a quick and effective boost. This wellness treatment focuses on relaxation of your body and mind so you can return to your day refreshed and calm.
Enjoy gentle acupuncture of the hands, feet and ears. Includes Merulli Signature Scalp Massage with essential oils.
30 minute treatment. Available now at both clinics. $60. Book Now
I was introduced to my first steamy bowl of Pho while I was in massage school in the winter of 1998. I was intrigued by the mysterious subtle spices that I couldn’t quite place. I began experimenting with any recipe I could find and came up with this express version. Traditional Pho is an art form, simmered over 24 hours and and doesn’t contain sake like my recipe here. I use the sake to enhance the sweetness of the star anise. I have tried various pre-made Pho broths in the stores but I find they are too heavy with cloves, sugar and salt. Pho is really all about the broth and is great alone without the toppings. This dish is very nourishing and has become a staple in my home year round.
Pho For Two
6-inch piece fresh ginger
2 yellow or sweet onions
3 cinnamon sticks
5 star anise
3 teaspoons coriander seeds
1-32 oz box of low-sodium chicken, vegetable or beef broth (or bone broth would be ideal)
2 T Sake or Rum
4 Green Onions
Mung Bean Sprouts
Fresh Hot Pepper of your choice: Serrano, Jalapeno, Thai Chili.
Mint, Cilantro and Basil
Sriracha-I love the Thai True brand Its gluten and GMO free and nicely hot!
Optional-10 prawns with shell on, or any other meat or tofu of your choice.
Fresh ground black pepper
Peel and slice the onions. Slice the ginger into thin strips. Roast the onions and ginger: Drizzle sesame oil into an iron wok or heavy pan and roast the onions and ginger over medium heat until charred and remove. You may also broil them with sesame oil in the oven. Toss any pieces that get burnt.
Roast the spices: Using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush your spices and place in your iron wok or heavy pan and dry roast over medium heat until aromatic. This will also make your home smell fragrant and welcoming.
Place the roasted ginger and onions back into your pan, with the roasted spices and add the broth and sake. Bring to a quick boil, and then simmer on low for 30-40 minutes while preparing your fresh herbs and noodles for serving. Its a good idea to have extra broth in case you end up cooking it longer or it reduces down and you need more broth before serving. The idea is to infuse the broth with the roasted herbs and barely reduce the liquid. (If you were making a traditional 24 hour Pho, starting from the meat bones, then you would just keep adding water.)
Boil the rice noodles. This only takes a few minutes; be careful not to overcook. If you do overcook and they are mush, its better to compost the noodles and start over.
Assemble your Pho toppings on a side plate. You may either make one big platter of toppings to share or make individual plates. Thinly slice the hot peppers and green onions. Wash and pat dry the basil, mint and cilantro, quarter the limes and arrange on side plates with the mung bean sprouts and green onions. Set out the fish sauce and Sriracha. Offer generous amounts of fresh herbs. The herbs are an important part of the dish, and not a simple garnish.
Strain the broth. Compost the used spices, ginger, onions and other scraps.
Return the strained broth to the stove and quickly blanch the prawns (or other meat) in the broth until done. Leaving the shells on the prawns while cooking imparts an earthy flavor to the broth. Remove the shells before serving.
Portion the noodles into the bowls and top with prawns or your other protein.
Pour the broth into the bowls and serve with the Pho toppings.
Most people are surprised to learn that acupuncture works for seasonal allergies. By strengthening the body’s immune mechanism it can process the offending allergens out more efficiently. And acupuncture, unlike allergy medications does not mask symptoms or have unpleasant side effects.
While taking allergy medication to survive daily life is sometimes necessary, acupuncture treatments have been shown to provide a safe, effective alternative. The effects of acupuncture are cumulative and require a series of sessions, but most patients report they can already breathe more freely after their first treatment. Many patients have reduced or stopped taking their allergy medications with acupuncture.
This year has had effected my patients’ allergies more than the last 2 years. There seems to be a new pollen or allergen blooming every 2 weeks in the Puget Sound.
I’ve prepared a list of Do It Yourself Allergy tips to help survive the allergy season. These will also complement your acupuncture treatments.
1. Rinse hands and face often, when pollen or dust is present.
2. Wash bedding frequently or at least the pillowcase. You can also buy some inexpensive hand towels at Bed Bath and Beyond (they come bundled) and place a new one over your pillow each night. Make sure you wash the towels before using. See Tip# 4.
3. Get rid of any scented household cleaning products, personal care products, and candles. Opt for natural, chemical free ones. Avoid using any air fresheners altogether.
4. Wash all new clothes, towels and bedding before using to remove the chemicals used in manufacturing.
5. Scalp massage-access the scalp points, and hey you feel foggy when suffering from allergies so go for it. Gently massage the whole scalp and spend extra time on any tender areas you find.
6. Acupressure: See points I drew on the image at left. UB2, St 3, Qiuhou, Gb1, yuyao, ub1, basically circling the orbits of the eyes, then press Li 20 and then massage GB21. Also firm tapping or massage of GB21 (located at the top of your shoulders in the trapezius muscle) with “bongers” (bongers are a ball on a flex stick used for massage tapotement).
7. Change air filters often if you have a heating or cooling system in your home or work place. This will save on your energy bill too. Also wipe down and clean your fans in your office or home.
8. Eucalyptus steam using pure medical grade essential oil. Boil some water and remove from stove, add a few drops and cover head with towel while leaning over pot. Also gives your home a refreshing uplifting scent.
9. Move the lymph fluids in the body by gently applying rolling pressure to the area around the armpits and neck and clavicle. You can do this lightly with your hand. The lymph system is a passive drainage and firm pressure doesn’t work as well as light.
10. Drink plenty of water to keep your organs working optimum levels.
Most of us are quite concerned and upset about Ebola and there is a quite a bit of fear spreading along with the virus. The Washington Department of Health has a resource page for learning about Ebola, the risk factors, and how to protect yourself.
We really weren’t made to sit for long periods of time. Sitting causes pain in your body and increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease. See this article by Maureen O’Hagan.
Catena, who is starting a new Gait and Posture Biomechanics lab at WSU, said that as counterintuitive as it may sound, sitting puts more stress on the spine than standing.
“Our body is configured to stand. In our evolutionary history, people didn’t sit for long periods of time. They stood or they walked,” he said. “So sitting actually takes us out of our natural position.”
In a standing position, your spine is gently curved. “That curvature basically dampens the load of your body weight pushing down due to gravity,” Catena said.
If you’d like more information about how sitting messes with your metabolism and body fat along with tips on finding a standing desk check this out.
Merulli Acupuncture is pleased to announce the addition of Group Health PPO plans to the Seattle Clinic. Access PPO, Options PPO starting Jan. 1, 2014, expands access to contracted providers and offers enhanced benefits when members use providers within designated care systems.
Questions about coverage? Please call my office 206-388-3349; I’m happy to check if your plan has coverage for acupuncture.
We need to stop GMO all over the world. I don’t believe you can isolate the location of a GMO or any crop even if you wanted to due to wind, rain and pollination. GMO wheat plants were found on an Oregon farmer’s land that he did not plant. Many countries oppose GMO crops. I believe if we allow GMO farming in our country, it will hurt our economy.
Read this article by Agriculture Correspondent Dan Charles of NPR:
Genetically modified wheat has been discovered growing in a field in Oregon. GMO wheat is not approved for sale in the U.S. Above, a wheat field in Arkansas.
A farmer in Oregon has found some genetically engineered wheat growing on his land. It’s an unwelcome surprise, because this type of wheat has never been approved for commercial planting.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it’s , trying to find out how this wheat got there. The USDA says there’s no risk to public health, but wheat are worried about how their customers in Asia and Europe will react.
In fact, worry about export markets is the main reason why genetically engineered wheat isn’t on the market in the first place.
The biotech company Monsanto did create varieties of wheat that tolerate the weedkiller glyphosate, or Roundup — just as it created “Roundup Ready” corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. It also carried out field trials of this wheat in 16 different states.