by Deena Smith, CMT & Meditation Facilitator

As the year yawns into winter, and the sun sets earlier and earlier, wouldn’t it be great to simply breath in a little peace? Maybe just to punctuate (not an intended acupuncture pun) the end of the day, we could all simply practice breathing into peace. Everyone is researching this and everyone is coming to the same conclusions. Consciously changing the way you breathe appears to send a signal to the brain to adjust the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system (aka: rest and restore sensations). Really good things happen when we are able to move into this branch. It can slow the heart rate and digestion plus promote feelings of calm as well soothing the sympathetic branch of the nervous system, (aka: fight or flight feelings), which controls the release of stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol. I mean why end a perfectly good day by having to feel like you’re being chased by a bear?
All this research fortunately concludes that consciously breathing is good for you! There are literally dozens of proven methods (just google ‘meditative breathing’)…then pick one that works for you and, like meditation, proper breathing is healing. So even if you get bored, don’t stop and don’t quit when it feels difficult either, because, as the countless researchers have proven, that is when the really good stuff starts to happen. I have been practicing diaphragmatic breathing in times of stress and have gained wonderful results. The exercise shown below can bring great results for you too but it truly takes practice. Which is kind of strange, because it is technically ‘proper’ breathing. Just a note of caution to be mindful if you suffer from breathing conditions such as CoPD or Asthma, please consult your Primary Care practitioner about best ways to integrate better breathing habits.

Here’s the basic tried and true Conscious Breath Technique:
“The 4-7-8 Counting Method”

  1. Sit upright, place your right hand on your belly and your left hand on your chest. Your hands will act as guides and tell on you when you’re not using your diaphragm and reverting to your chest breathing.
  2. Slowly breathe in, expanding your diaphragm by pushing out your belly to the fullest and to the count of four.
  3. Pause (ideally for the count of seven).
  4. Slowly breathe out your mouth to the count of eight.
  5. Work your way up to practicing this pattern for 10 to 20 minutes a day. Truly a great way to reset from stress, lack of sleep or you can used to boost your energy too.

We hope you come in soon and ask your Practitioner to show you their favorite breathing technique or exercise when you come in for your next treatment. Breathing techniques are a perfect and simple way to complement our restorative and integrative modalities.

Give this breathing technique a try and tell us how you do you with it. We love hearing your success stories! Or maybe you have a question or topic you want us to cover in our next blog?  Let us know at

We at East West Integrative Medical Clinic wish you and yours

a happy, healthy and cozy winter season ahead.

Making a Postpartum Plan

Workshop: Making a Postpartum Plan

Are you expecting a baby? Congratulations! Undoubtedly you have heard a lot of opinions about how to take care of yourself during your pregnancy. But how do you plan to take care of yourself during the postpartum period? Care often drops off abruptly once baby arrives.

Chinese medicine encourages the “Golden Month” or “Sitting a Moon” tradition of spending 4-6 weeks postpartum focusing on recovery and replenishment. Specialized teas, soups, herbal formulas, and body care techniques provide warmth and nourishment to help new mothers heal. Make sure you’re prepared for this critical period!

Join licensed acupuncturist Courtney Moore as she shares information about how you can prepare for an optimal postpartum recovery. This 75-minute workshop will include:

  • Discussion of what you can expect immediately postpartum, and self-care suggestions
  • Demonstration of moxibustion techniques and acupressure massage routines
  • Supplementation strategies for the best possible recovery
  • Traditional soup and tea recipes, and ideas for creating meal plans
  • Tips for preparing for labor, naturally
  • Q&A session to address any concerns you have

Upcoming Dates:
June 4,2016
July 2, 2016
August 13, 2016
September 3, 2016
October 1, 2016

Craniosacral Massage Therapy

What is Craniosacral Massage Therapy?

Craniosacral massage therapy is a form of bodywork that bolsters the functioning of the central nervous system, allowing the body to enter a deeply restful state and unwind from the inside out. By applying therapeutic touch to the cranial and sacral bones, the practitioner works to enhance flow of the cerebral spinal fluid, which promotes whole body functioning. Recipients of CST report a calm, restful state during which muscle tension, as well as emotional tension, subsides.

The Results

As a result of massage, clients often experience relief from chronic pain or recent injury, in addition to emotional release and healing of past and recent trauma. CST may be a helpful modality for anyone facing pain or injury, emotional or physical, but offers particular relief for clients experiencing headaches, jaw pain, back and pelvic pain, arthritis, circulation issues, digestive challenges, and anxiety.

Written by Reed Kolber

Reed Kolber Massage Specialities: Craniosacral Therapy, Deep Tissue, Sports Massage, Injuries Trauma Available: WedReed Kolber is available: By Appointment at Glen Park and Bernal Heights offices.

New Office

New Location….New Practitioners….New Convenience

406 Cortland Ave. in Bernal Heights.

Book an appointment.

Find out more about EastWestSf Bernal and other 406 Cortland Ave. practitioners on Facebook.

Tips For Optimal Mental Health

Courtney Moore Acupuncture and Massage Specialities: Pain Management, Mental Health, Healthy Digestion Available: Mon, Thur, Fri, 1st Sat. of each month

Courtney Moore Acupuncture and Massage Specialities: Pain Management, Mental Health, Healthy Digestion Available: Mon, Thur, Fri, 1st Sat. of each month

Tips for optimal mental health, 7/19, 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the group room!

This weekend Courtney Moore will be teaching a class on how to best support your mental health naturally. She will focus on the importance of gut health in relation to mood. The class will end with a guided meditation.

Here are some interesting articles with a similar focus:

Dirty Dozen

Do you want to buy organic but feel like you can’t afford to do shop all fruits and veggies at the organic price?

Each year the Environmental Working Group produces a list of the top 12 most pesticide ridden foods. Here are those 12 for 2015-


Apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell pepper, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, hot peppers, kale and collards.


Asparagus, Avocado, Cabbage, Cantaloupe, Cauliflower, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, onion, papaya, pineapple, sweet corn, sweet peas, sweet potatoes.

Here is the link to the full report!


By Liz Williams

abio_lizWe are so often drawn by the busy mind to list all of the things we need to do to take care of ourselves – sleep more, eat well, stay hydrated, exercise, get a massage, take deeper breaths, relax…the list goes on and on. While I am a firm believer in all of these things, I also find value in stillness.

I’d like to introduce you to what I call the pause. It’s a practice I return to again and again when I get caught up in my busy mind. It’s fairly simple, and can be done anywhere at any time. And it can take as little as 15 seconds to complete. It goes like this:

Wherever you are – stop what you are doing. If it is appropriate, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Let the chaos of your day fade into the background – even if only for a few seconds. Chances are, when you open your eyes you will have a bit more clarity about what actually needs to happen next.

Cleanse Recipes

1/2 cup frozen bananas and strawberries
2 scoops SP Complete powder
2 scoops Whey Pro powder
1c water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp coconut oil

Spaghetti squash with capers, chili pepper flakes, caramelized onions, and collard greens
Roasted beet, mandarin, and avocado salad with shallot vinaigrette
Sliced strawberries with mint and balsamic vinegar for dessert