Fatness and Health

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Fatness and Health

Fatness and Health

By: Saruh Lacoff

In our society, as is the norm in many societies, we have come to equate health with being thin. Conversely, we equate fatness with “disease” and being unhealthy. This phenomena is called “fat phobia”. For decades, doctors have been citing scientific research that posits that being overweight, fat, or obese, is a medically unhealthy, if not dangerous condition. Ask any fat person you know, and they will likely have at least one story of a doctor dismissing a health concern as the need to lose weight. In some instances, they will have stories of a doctor misdiagnosing a potentially life-threatening condition because of their fatness. Many will likely have at least one story of a doctor telling them that the answer to all of their health problems is to lose weight. While doctors and scientists have operated with the understanding that "fat=unhealthy", studies have been demonstrating that this notion is untrue. With this new information, it is critical that we reexamine our personal and societal relationship to fatness and fat phobia in order to create a world where fatness is de-stigmatized and subsequently normalized.

De-stigmatizing and normalizing fatness enables people to live without judgment, scrutiny and shame. Many people will experience resistance to the idea of normalizing fatness because we have spent our entire lives learning that fat is bad, unhealthy, and unattractive. Many believe that doing so will normalize an “unhealthy lifestyle”. In some ways, we associate fatness with a threat to our survival. The threat of not being seen as attractive and thus not finding or maintaining a partnership due to fat phobia, the threat of difficulty finding a job due to biases in the work place, and thus the threat of poverty. Our resistance to accepting fatness is a defense mechanism against these survival fears. As was previously mentioned, there is no current science to back up the view points at the root of our societal fat phobia. The reality is that we have been sold a harmful, even deadly idea, by the diet industry, which profits off of our unhappiness and self-consciousness, and it is not rooted in scientific fact. 

So, if we know there is no scientific foundation to the idea that fatness is unhealthy, it is imperative that we change our thinking, actions, and cultural relationship to fatness. As we all experience internalized fat phobia, the work we will have to do to change our behaviors and thought-processes will be very involved. In many cases, it will involve a gradual and complete overhaul of thoughts, actions and institutions. In spite of how daunting of a task this seems to be, it is imperative that we do the work to make the shift. Not only will it create a better quality of life (and liberation!) for fat people, but it will also have the same positive effects on the thin community. Thin people are also victims of fat phobia and the false beliefs we have toward fatness, because it creates pressure to remain thin. Thus, liberation for fat people is liberation for all shapes.

Being aware of the dangers of our unfounded beliefs and biases is only the first step in unlearning fat phobia. The next step is figuring out what we can do to shift ourselves and our society so that we stop harming fat people. Here are some examples of personal and institutional changes we can make to make the world less fat phobic, and subsequently, more fat-friendly. 

PERSONAL LEVEL

  1. Refrain from commenting on weight loss or weight gain. Oftentimes, we congratulate weight loss. Doing so perpetuates the idea that "thinness=good", and "fatness=bad".

  2. Refrain from using fatness as a negative descriptor. Oftentimes, we use language around fatness to indicate laziness, ugliness, evilness, poor character and generally negative physicality. Doing so perpetuates the idea that fatness is disgusting, and a sign of poor character.

  3. Refrain from policing your food and body. This is a harder one for us to wrap our heads around and fully embrace. Allowing yourself to gain weight without judgment is one of the hardest things we can do. Allow your weight to fluctuate without judgment and reactionary dieting.

  4. Refrain from speaking negatively about your body to yourself and to young children. Children learn both positive and negative body associations from the adults in their lives. The less they hear fat phobic ideas, and the adults in their lives speaking negatively about their own bodies, the less they will internalize those beliefs about themselves.

  5. Refrain from categorizing food as “good” and “bad”. There are no true definitions for “good” and “bad” foods. The science around what foods are "healthy" is ever-evolving, and makes categorization incorrect. Eating cake once a week is fine. Eating cake everyday is fine. Avoiding the notion that some foods are “bad” and to be avoided as much as possible goes a long way toward fat acceptance in our society.

  6. Refrain from correcting fat people when they refer to themselves as fat. Fat is not an insult in the world we are trying to create. Fat is just a descriptor with no inherent negativity and positivity.

  7. Refrain from disparaging your own weight gain, or perceived fatness. Referring to yourself as fat is not an insult inherently, but is insulting to people who are fat because of how it implies you view fatness.

  8. Refrain from saying things like “I shouldn’t eat that”, “I’m being bad”, or “I’m rewarding myself” when referring to certain foods. The notion that certain foods are bad is rooted in the fear of fatness. Some alternatives are “I want to eat that”, “I am going to enjoy this cake!”, and “I love how this tastes”. Reframing your relationship and thus your language to “bad” foods helps de-stigmatize fatness.

  9. Remember that large-bodied fat people experience greater oppression and marginalization than smaller fat people, and thin people. Although there can be stigma against all body types (even skinny bodies), it is critical to remember that the larger a person is, the more likely they are to be denied medical care, jobs, and other benefits that smaller folks take for granted. Everyone’s struggle is valid, but acknowledge where your privileges are, and where you fit on the spectrum of marginalization in order to be the best supporter of the movement that you can be.

INSTITUTIONAL LEVEL

  1. Support doctors with fat-positive views and practices. Ask your doctor if they are aware of research indicating that being fat is not an inherent issue. Ask them their perspective on fatness and challenge their fat phobic perspectives and practices.

  2. If you notice fat coworkers being treated differently, speak up. Let them know that you see what is happening and that you are committed to working with them to improve working conditions. Ask them what you can do to be of help, and when appropriate, bring up concerning behavior and practices to human resources.

  3. Stop dieting. Diets are the creation of the weight loss industry, and scientific studies have shown time and again that they do not work. Recognize the political weight of divorcing oneself from the predatory diet industry. It is critical to undermine this industry and thus, eliminate it. Research has shown that children are beginning diets at younger and younger ages. For many children, diets begin before puberty, and can wreck havoc on the developing body and hormones. Putting the diet industry out of business is imperative if we are going to create a fat-inclusive future for ourselves and our children.

  4. Understand where you fit in this movement, especially in relation to more marginalized bodies. Refrain from taking up space in the Body Positive Movement if you are not fat, a person of color, LGBTQ+, and/or differently-abled. While the body positive movement has been coopted by white, fit, cis-gender, heteronormative women, the movement was created to provide a platform for marginalized people and their bodies. In a world that does not positively represent the bodies of fat people, people of color, LGBTQ+, and differently-abled people, the body positive movement is a space created for that representation. While the phrase “body positivity” resonates with so many of us because of how we have all been conditioned to view our bodies as an enemy, the body positive movement was not, and is still not for non-marginalized identities. It is important not to take up space in movements that don’t belong to us. The self-love movement is a great alternative for those of us who do not fit the identities previously mentioned, but who want to celebrate the awesomeness of our identities. We all deserve to celebrate our bodies, and to divorce ourselves from the harmful institutions of fat phobia that affect everyone, but it is important to always think critically about where we take up space, and who may need certain spaces the most.

  5. Amplify the representation and availability of fat content, products, art and people. It is one of the best ways to normalize fatness and create access to more resources for fat people. We have seen time and again the importance of representation of marginalized groups, and fat bodies are no exception.

  6. Support movies, shows, music, visual art that treats fatness as normal and avoids fetishization and stereotyping.

  7. Support brands that make clothing for large bodies. Encourage brands that don’t support size inclusion start expanding the sizes they offer.

  8. Support media that does not stigmatize fatness, and call out problematic expressions of fatness where you witness them.

  9. Follow the multitudes of body positive activists who have spent time and emotional energy educating the public about fatness and the intersections of oppression that fat people face. Not only is it educational, but celebratory. Following people who celebrate their fatness helps shift our own perspectives on fatness.


This essay is merely the tip of the ice berg when it comes to unlearning fat phobia. Unlearning fat phobia and embracing fat-positivity may likely be a lifelong process that is never finished. Regardless of how much work it will be, it is critical that we begin the work so that future generations don’t have to endure the marginalization and oppression that we have experienced in our lifetimes. 


For more ideas on how to shift toward a fat-positive perspective, here are some great articles and social media accounts to check out. 

51 Ways to Make the World Less Hostile to Fat People
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/mb4e7n/how-to-treat-fat-people-ally-fatphobia

Fat Bias Starts Early and Takes a Serious Toll
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/21/well/live/fat-bias-starts-early-and-takes-a-serious-toll.html

Instagram:
@virgietovar
@Nerdabouttown
@iamdaniadriana
@ihartericka
@thefatsextherapist
@sassy_latte
@fatgirlflowfam

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Fascia and the Channels Of Acupuncture

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Fascia and the Channels Of Acupuncture

I feel like “fascia” has rapidly become a buzzword and frankly it totally deserves it.   It’s pretty amazing stuff and it connects all parts of our body. Fascia is a thin membrane that wraps muscles, nerves, arteries, organs, bones — virtually everything.  Wherever you look in the body fascia is there. Earlier in medical history when doing cadaver dissections, anatomists used to cut it out of the way to get to the stuff they were looking for, a specific muscle, an organ, a bone.  Part of this lack of knowledge of fascia could be the reason western anatomy has a tendency to compartmentalized and keep things separate. Now that fascia itself is under the microscope its showing connections to all parts of the body.  In some cases these connections are very similar to the pathways of the acupuncture channels laid out 2000 years ago in the Ling Shu, one of the oldest medical texts in human history and the foundation of the medicine we practice here at BAP.  It just may be that fascia plays an integral part in the way Chinese Medicine works and why we acupuncturists do the things we do.

There’s a lot of data that’s being transmitted through fascia, its like if you had a taut suspension cable, tap one end and the vibration will travel to the other.  Every time a force is applied to the body it is transmitted through this web to be processed. Where the fascia is and it’s thickness determines what it is referred to. For example “retinaculum” is used to describe the fascia of the wrist and is involved in the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome, or “aponeurotic” tissue which can be found over the low back and is associated with that achy back pain of yours.  It’s all ways of classifying the fascia. It’s in these tissues where a lot of free nerve endings exist that are constantly monitoring the body, where, for example, the wrist is in relation to the elbow. How one muscle is contracting so its opposing muscle can relax in order for things to move smoothly. 

Fascia helps your body know where it is in space, something known as proprioception.  Think of it like a big net full of GPS sensors sending data to the brain so it can calibrate where all your limbs are in relation to each other.  This allows complex movements that we take for granted such as picking up a glass of water to drink or opening a door.  A lot of this information is gathered in dense accumulations of fascia. Most of these accumulations occur around the joints, where the limbs come together with the trunk, the low back, down the center of the chest and abdomen, and the back of the neck.  When you think about it, it’s often where we acupuncturists place our needles. There’s even fascia that entangles our organs and holds them in place by suspending them from the spine. So if you ever hear a practitioner say they’re treating your internal conditions via your back, there’s a theory that this is how that works.

In order for fascia to communicate effectively across the body this tissue has to be smooth and free.  If not the result will often be pain and poor range of motion. Often if you take someone in pain and examine the fascia it looks clumped up and knotted, it could even throw off the body’s sense of where things are and in turn affect how you move.  Think about those little GPS sensors, if they’re not in their right place they will send the brain distorted information. A “knot” in one area can in turn affect distant parts of the body. Take the clothes you’re wearing as an example: find a spot and twist a knot in it, that knot pulls the fabric from every corner of the garment.  This can happen in the body, too, when the fascia in one area is tight and clumped together, it’ll pull on the regions its connected too, in some cases far away. It’s why if you come in with low back pain I may end up sticking needles in your legs and feet. Wherever the problem is, the back say, everything that connects to it can be affected, such as the lower limbs.  

This is why Chinese Medicine can be so effective.  It has been studying these lines (we refer to them as channels or meridians) for generations.  Seeing how they all connect and work together. Even when you look at someone doing the exercise known as Qi Gong, which can be used in Chinese medicine as physical therapy, all the movements involve the whole body.  There’s an appreciation for everything being connected. Nothing is ever isolated to just one muscle. This is a reason why your practitioner may put needles far from the area in pain, not just locally where it hurts.  

I was trained to combine Tui Na (Chinese Medical Massage) and Acupuncture to treat pain and discomfort.  Through bodywork and touch, one can get a sense of the fascia and how it reacts, by physically moving and manipulating it, it’ll begin to relax and smooth out.  In Chinese medicine, we refer to this as opening the channels to allow the free flow of Qi and Blood. The acupuncture then continues this treatment allowing the body to relax into it and return to a neutral state.  This allows for the body to move freely and without pain and discomfort, as all the channels of communication are now open and free. It’s pretty amazing to read these ancient texts describing where the acupuncture channels go, how they’re described as starting in the foot, knotting around the knee, going up the leg and into the back etc.  Then reading modern anatomy texts on fascia and seeing the same trajectories but with more detail and photos to show it. To me, it’s the same thing, a progression of the same concept that started 2000 years ago and keeps getting more and more detailed as we look closer at the body. For more information I’d recommend looking up Carla Stecco, author of Functional Atlas of the Human Fascial System, or Dr. Helene Langevin who studies acupuncture and its connection to fascia.

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The Dérive

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The Dérive

"In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there… But the dérive includes both this letting go and its necessary contradiction: the domination of psychogeographical variations by the knowledge and calculation of their possibilities." - Guy Debord, Theory of the Dérive.

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Organs Vs. Officials

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Organs Vs. Officials

Organs Vs. Officials

Or the Key to Understanding Your Acupuncturist’s Unusual Anatomy Talk.

Author: Jasmine Stine

Have you ever come in to BAP for a treatment and heard something like this: “Well your Liver isn’t moving so great” or “Your Kidneys could use a little extra juice” or “Cold foods are hard on the Spleen”? Hopefully this didn’t send you into a tailspin of worry over your biological liver, a large lobed organ in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen; or keep you up at night fretting about your biological spleen, the tiny immune organ that processes dead blood cells. Because, you see, when we talk about organs in Chinese medicine we are really referring to a much bigger concept than just the discrete anatomical organs of Western medicine. We call this bigger concept “the Officials.”

In Chinese medicine there is a significant difference between, for example, the Liver Official (capital L) and the liver organ (lower case L). The Liver Official includes the anatomical organ (the liver) plus the entire Liver energy channel that runs from the big toe up to the rib cage, as well as a host of essential functions in the mind, body, and spirit that the Liver is responsible for. This means that a disharmony in the Liver doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a biological problem with the liver in the Western medical sense. There could be a issue anywhere along the channel (inner legs, genitals, abdomen, hypochondriac area) or in one of the many functions the Liver is responsible for.

Are you still with me? 

Let’s explore this concept a little further by taking a look at an Official which, like the Liver, is associated with spring: The Gall Bladder. You know the gall bladder to be a tiny little sac under the liver that stores bile. Bile breaks down fats, and when the time is right the gallbladder empties its contents into the small intestine to aid with digestion. As acupuncturists, the Gallbladder does all this and so much more!

According to classical Chinese medicine texts, the Gall Bladder is responsible for that which is “just” and “exact.” The whole being depends on it for both action and discernment. It works closely with the Liver, which is in charge of visioning and developing a life plan that is inline with who we really are. The Gall Bladder takes the vision empowered by the Liver, then sets goals worth achieving and executes the plan accordingly. It is also intimately involved in the Liver’s functions of storing the blood and dreaming at night. Because it empowers perspective, courage, and decisiveness, it supports the capacity for balance - intellectually through decision making, emotionally through compassion, and physically through proprioception. 

On an energetic level, a healthy Gall Bladder will manifest in a clear sense of direction, the ability to move in alignment with one’s purpose, the capacity to discern our path, and the courage to take a stand for what is right. Conversely, an imbalanced Gall Bladder might manifest as chronic indecision, excess rigidity, floundering about in one’s life, imbalance in judgement, or physically as unilateral pain or complaints within the body. Sometimes the Gallbladder takes on the processing of excess anger becomes inflamed. 

The Gall Bladder channel begins at the lateral corner of the fourth toenail, travels up the sides of the body, zig zags back and forth across the sides of the head, and terminates at the outside corner of the eye. The criss-crossing of the channel on the head especially speaks to its role in logical thought and decision making. Your acupuncturist might choose to treat points on the Gallbladder channel if you have eye complaints, lateral headaches, tight shoulders, trouble twisting your torso, or sciatica. Some common Gallbladder points include GB-37 Bright and Clear, which is good for eye issues but also supports the capacity to make sound decisions, and  GB-24 Sun and Moon, which empowers perspective and balance, and can help a patient see other points of view.

So next time your acupuncturist mentions, say, your Pericardium ask them: Is that the organ or the Official?


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Spring Cleaning For the Body

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Spring Cleaning For the Body

BAP’s spring cleanse is coming right up!

May 1st - 22nd

Nancy Campbell of Radiant Health and I will gather a group of ten people who are ready to meet their most healthy selves. 


There are so many ways to go about cleansing and indeed it has become a buzz word in the health and nutrition world. As Chinese medicine sees moderation, balance, and consistency as the main ingredients to health, there is not a traditional ‘cleanse’ in the modern sense of the word. The regular diet is a cleansing diet, and if the body is working optimally, all detox pathways are open and functioning to keep us in tip top shape.  

This belief, of course, emerged in a time and a place where there was not the regular onslaught of toxins that we see today nor the variety of options from climates and soils far from our own.  Even those of us who strive to eat as clean as possible on a regular basis could do well to have a yearly, or twice a year, simple cleanse to give the body a chance to rest and renew. 


The BAP spring cleanse is a gentle yet deeply effective way to: 

  • Strengthening your immune system; 

  • Reenergizing your metabolism;

  • Recalibrating your digestive system; 

  • Balancing your hormones;

  • Supporting your nervous system; and

  • Cleaning-up your diet and simplify your life 


The basic flow of the cleanse is one week of peeling back the heavy hitters like alcohol, coffee, tobacco, and sugar. The second week consists of very simple and delicious foods that are known to detox the body from accumulations.

Tuna Salad..Yum :)

Tuna Salad..Yum :)

The third week is an opportunity to reenter into your optimal diet, exploring which foods are most supportive. This cleanse is sometimes called an “elimination diet” in the nutrition world. It is a way to both cleanse the major organs and blood at the same time as discovering which foods may have been triggering reactions formerly. 

Reactions to trigger foods can range anywhere skin breakouts and mood imbalances to full blown allergic reactions. After the two weeks of clean eating, when the usual suspects (wheat, dairy, soy, nightshades, sugars) are reintroduced, you have a chance to really see what they do to you without the masking of so many other factors.

“It’s not you..it’s me!”

“It’s not you..it’s me!”

It is not hard to change habits at this point.

The cleanse is also a time to simplify other patterns in your life like screen time, extra stuff in your home/papers in your office, excess social events, and a scattered schedule etc… It is a time to possibly set new patterns of mediation, exercise, and activities that support your highest vibrancy and health. 

Nancy and I support you though the cleanse every step of the way. It has been so wonderful to see peoples lives transform from this short cleanse. We hope you will join us this year!! 


Kick-off Date:

April 28th

7 - 8 pm


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Finding Connections: Be It Furry or Friendly

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Finding Connections: Be It Furry or Friendly

Finding Connections


With the coming of the new year, many people feel invigorated by the idea of a "new me." We give ourselves goals and aspirations that guide us towards healthy living, and challenge us to be better versions of ourselves. As February comes to a close, many of us will find ourselves fully devoted to these new goals and challenges. While finding commitment to your work and to yourself is of utmost importance, it is also essential to remember that balance in one's life should be maintained, and understanding who or what in your life brings you that balance can be a fulfilling goal in and of itself. 


Women’s March with Friends :)

Women’s March with Friends :)

Friends. Family. Partners. Our connections to the world are what ground us in life. They remind us of who we are, who we were and who we want to be going forward. Whether these are long time friends, or newly acquired acquaintances, it is important to remember those in our lives who have brought us joy and taught us compassion. It's easy to let our connections fall away when we're enveloped in our personal projects. "I'll text them tomorrow," "Maybe I'll see them next week," are all phrases we tell ourselves that begin the chain of non-communication. I try to make a point of reaching out to my friends, no matter how deeply I'm invested in my personal tasks. When I take a moment to remember the unique joy and comfort each connection I have brings to my life, reaching out becomes effortless. A simple "I love you", or "Hope you have a great day!" can easily change the course of someone's day, as well as mine! Taking time for ourselves doesn't always mean having to take time away from our connections. Love and compassion are renewable resources that people often forget can be tapped into. 


Tucker the Pitbull!

Tucker the Pitbull!

I've been a dog walker and pet sitter for about five years, and the same can be said for our non-human companions. While I don't do as much walking as I used to, I can't deny just how much joy I get from my lengthy list of furry friends- be it dogs, cats, or even bunnies. My cat, Grey, LOVES to keep me up with his meowing (at four in the morning, no less), but I can't imagine not having his company, especially on days when I'm feeling down, or alone. A couple of years ago, when my dad was hospitalized after a pretty severe stroke, I was surprised by the comfort I found in my dogs. One of my favorite boys, Tucker, refused to walk the day I came back to work, and instead opted to sit on his stoop with me, with his head in my lap. We must have stayed like that for an hour or so. It was like he knew something was up, and wanted me to rest, and take a much needed breather. It's something I'll never forget. The animals in my life are just as important to me as my people, and the impact that both have on my overall well-being is astounding. 


As important as is it to commit ourselves to our practices and our goals, I always try to stay grounded in the world. Keeping in touch and checking in on friends, both human and furry, is a little action that not only brings light into my life, but is sure to bring them some light into theirs.

Ty and Saruh Snuggles!

Ty and Saruh Snuggles!

Flip and Flop <3

Flip and Flop <3


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The Importance of Our Guts

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The Importance of Our Guts


In the last few years I've come to understand how important our gut is to maintaining and thriving in this crazy world. What we eat really does affect every aspect of our lives.

My story…

In order to truly heal I've had to go to extremes with my diet. This road is not for everyone and can have detrimental ramifications if not careful. For me though it saved my life. I was on the path to self destruction; eating and drinking whatever I wanted. Needless to say I did not feel great. My physical, mental, emotional and spiritual body was starving from the malnutrition.

It wasn't until a health crisis scared the bajeebus out of me that I made a commitment to my wellbeing. I gave up alcohol, sugar, dairy, carbs and salt. Not before long the changes began to show. With the help of acupuncture, herbs and my diet changes, I was able to reverse some of the major health conditions that I was experiencing. Literally every aspect improved! Physically I was able to do things I hadn't done in years. My mental clarity improved. I was motivated in my personal and professional life. I was connecting with people in an authentic way and it was coming back to me ten fold. 

All this by making a few simple changes.

Moral of the story... Eat well! Listen to what your body is telling you. Your body has all the answers if you just listen. Take a moment or 3 and just listen.


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Staying Warm in Winter

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Staying Warm in Winter

Bundle up!

Bundle up!


The depth and cold of winter is upon us. This season offers us time to slow down, deeply nourish our Kidneys (an organ system associated with winter) and engage in ways to stay warm both internally and externally. Keeping cold out the body as temperatures drop is more than just a comfort; it also protects us from getting sick and can reduce pain and stiffness in the body.

In the past, winter was my most hated season because of the cold and the lack of sun. Over time (and with acupuncture) I have come to embrace the gifts of the season and be in awe of the beautiful snow dusts over the trees. I manage the cold by making lifestyle changes which have given me the giggling title of “cold weather expert” amongst the BAP family :)

I’ll start with the gear…

When looking for a suitable winter coat consider length (regular length, 3⁄4 length, or full length). How will you maneuver a full length coat getting in and out of cars? When walking up and down train steps or bus steps? Consider the material and thickness. Is that wool going to be enough for you or will you need a layer underneath when the temperatures drop below zero? Will you choose a down or synthetically filled coat? If you choose down, do the manufactures follow animal welfare standards? Pockets… are they large enough for your hands? Are they lined? What about the hood? Is it deep? Are there drawstrings for when the winds begin to whip?

When considering winter boots, go for warm, comfortable and waterproof.

Layering is another important aspect to consider. Wearing leggings under pants is a good start especially if you can spring for silk ones. A few other layering options to offer versatility are leg warmers, scarves and haramakis (belly/center warmers from Japanese culture). These items can be removed if your temperature gets too high, so to avoid overheating. Fleece lined jeans are great when temperatures drop below freezing. The head, neck, ankles and back are vulnerable areas where wind and cold enter the body; protect them so you don’t “catch a cold”. Avoid sitting on cold benches or steps which is another way cold enters the lower back, kidneys and uterus. And don’t walking around barefooted. If cold does seep in, taking a hot bath, using moxa or using a heating pad can help to disperse the cold. True warmth and strong defenses from cold comes from within. Build yourself up by consuming nutritious warm foods and drinks and rest more.

Some of my personal warm winter habits include:

  • Consuming fresh ginger tea regularly, and sometimes adding cloves and cinnamon

  • Slowly cooking foods..My crock pots gets heavy use during this time of year (Hearty soups and stews offer complete meals in one!)

  • Napping and sleeping more

  • Eating only warm food (Switch out salads for steamed/sautéed kale)

  • Including warm spices in cooking like crushed cardamom pods, ginger powder, cumin, coriander, fresh hot peppa sauce, garlic

  • Drinking plenty room temperature water or warmed up water (esp. first thing in the morning!)

  • Adding some meat in my diet (hormone free from reputable sources). This was a hard piece for me after being vegetarian for 10 yrs, however I found my energy improve and I am noticeably warmer in the winter

  • Including foods that nourish the Kidneys - Sea vegetables, beans (adzuki, black and kidney), bones, black sesame seeds and other dark foods, leafy green vegetables.

Wishing you a warm, cozy, restful winter season!


Leg warmers to reduce joint stiffness in the legs!

Leg warmers to reduce joint stiffness in the legs!

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Food with Family

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Food with Family

Family Recipes


One of my favorite parts about the Holidays is sharing food and drinks with family and friends. Gathering together around old family recipes is not only great for the belly but it also feeds the soul.

My favorite dish during this time of year is a yummy root vegetable and meat wrap called Pasteles. Each of my grandmother’s has their own “Secret Recipe”. For me, the best one, is all of them :)

Now – I would never give away a family recipe – but here is a recipe that you can follow along with to make your own Pasteles (It’s in Spanish but pretty easy to translate)

Start with this…

Start with this…

Final product in the works!

Final product in the works!


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Medicinal Mushrooms!

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Medicinal Mushrooms!

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Did you know that as an organism mushrooms are more closely related to animals than they are to plants? Mushrooms are full of many medicinal properties that can support the human body. They have been used in Chinese medicine for over 1000s of years and are great allies to support our immune system and more! 

One reason why mushrooms are such good helpers of the immune system is because they are rich in polysaccharides that help to strengthen and maintain the structure of our cells. Another fun fact about mushrooms is that because they do not have stomachs, mushrooms digest their food outside their bodies! They do this by excreting enzymes and acids to break down their food before it enters and is then absorbed by the mushroom. This is why mushrooms are known for being great decomposers in the garden, they have the ability to break down a large variety of things and use them as food. 

So, mushrooms and us! There are over 10,000 known mushrooms in the world, and even more still unidentified and unknown. Personally, I have really enjoyed getting to know mushrooms better and adding them to my daily and weekly up keep for my healthy being in the world. I like to ingest them either by making a tea or through a tincture. A tincture is a liquid extract of an herb or mushroom that is taken by the mouth. Tinctures are usually made by soaking an herb or mushroom in alcohol to infuse and concentrate the useful chemical constituents and medicinal properties of the mushroom or herb into a liquid that is then taken orally. Alcohol is a great mode of transportation for these medicinal properties because it allows them to enter the body through the mucus membrane in the mouth, and is directly absorbed into the blood stream. This means fast acting results in the body for you!

Some of the most exciting mushrooms to me these days include Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, and Lion’s Mane! 

I take my Reishi mushroom tincture daily to give a boost to my immune system! Reishi, or scientifically known as Ganoderma Lucium, has been used in Chinese medicine for more than 200 years. It’s first use was documented by the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 AD). Reishi is known for boosting the immune system and protects the body from pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It also helps to protect your cellular DNA and mitochondria that is responsible for the biochemical processes of respiration and energy production in the cell. 

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Next is Chaga. With Chaga I like to have a crock pot going with big chunks of Chaga in it so that I always have some chaga tea on hand. It is great on it's own and it can also be a good base for any type of cooking I choose to do.  Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus) is great for warding off the common cold. It is known for lowering inflammation caused by stress and can even keep your hair shinny !  This mushroom dates back to Russian folk medicine of the 17th century and grows on birch trees. Chaga is a powerful immune booster because of its polysaccharides, specifically its beta-glucans that have the ability to boost the production of the specific white blood cells called lymphocytes, that regulate the immune response to infectious micro organisms. 

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The next mushroom to mention is Cordyceps! Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) are known to increase energy, stamina, alleviate asthma and bronchitis. It also can help to invigorate the labido, improve blood flow, and it is an anti-inflammatory. This is a great mushroom for athletes and the elderly because it contains beta-glucans, a type of sugar found in it's cell wall that delivers oxygen to the human body on a cellular level and boost ATP, the body's main source of energy. It's first recorded use dates back to the Tang Dynasty of 620 AD. 

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Though there are many more medicinal mushrooms to mention, I want to note Lion's Maine because this one truly fascinates me. This mushroom has a very particular look to it. Unlike a classic mushroom cap, or the dancing mushrooms you may have seen in the beloved movie Fantasia, this one looks like a white pom-pom or like a long haired lion's mane (hence the name). This mushroom aides to improve memory, boost concentration, and helps to protect the nervous system. In general, it also stimulates the immune system, is an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, but it is most known for its remarkable properties to repair and regenerate neurons.  This property of Lion's Mane can be great for supporting people with neurological diseases and general maintenance of the nervous system. 

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There is always more to learn about mushrooms and it is an easy and effective way to boost the immune system. Who knew so much goodness could come from these little fugi growing in the forest. 


Madeline Lynch is a receptionist at the Brooklyn Acupuncture Project. She is an artist, massage therapist, reiki practitioner, and currently studying the bridge between psychology and spirituality in a masters program at Teachers College, Columbia University. 

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Yoga and Chinese Medicine: Getting to the Root of It

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Yoga and Chinese Medicine: Getting to the Root of It

Yoga and Chinese Medicine: Getting to the Root of It

Marie Mendicino

Having recently gone through and completed a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, I wanted to bring forth some information surrounding the Root Chakra. Specifically I want to dive into the tangible relationship that can be made between the root chakra its respective yin and yang meridian counterparts in Chinese Medicine. At the end I will provide some yoga poses that help to open this chakra and alleviate some of the negative emotions that are associated.

 So, what is a chakra?

There are seven main chakras that are focused on. A chakra is an energy “vortex” located deep within the body along the path where the main “nadis” (energy pathways in the physical body) come together. Depending on the source there is said to be around 72,00 to 350,000 nadis. The seven main chakras are: 

  1. Muladhara - Root Chakra

  2. Svadisthana - Sacral Chakra

  3. Manipura -  Solar Plexus Chakra

  4. Anahata - Heart Chakra

  5. Vishuddi - Throat Chakra

  6. Ajna - Third Eye Chakra

  7. Sahasrara - Crown Chakra

Each chakra has a very specific yin and yang meridian counterpart. The Root Chakra corresponds to the Kidney meridian (yin) and the Bladder meridian (yang). The emotions associated with these meridian pathways are fear and shock. They embody the concept of the sympathetic nervous system which holds the key function of the fight or flight response. In combination with these two meridians, the root chakra holds the consciousness of self defense and survival.

What is a Meridian?

 Meridians are also energy pathways in the physical body, that come from ancient Chinese schools of thought. There are 12 main meridians in the body and 8 extraordinary channels. The 12 main meridians run along the surface of the body and have bilateral symmetry. They are connected to and named after the abdominal organs and relate to physiological processes, musculoskeletal functions and emotions in the body. The meridians also have corresponding myofascial pathways (consisting of muscle and connective tissue). 

Yoga and Meridians?

 Yoga is a wonderful way to connect to the body and release any physical or emotional tension that may be stangnent within the body. Yoga also helps to move the physical structures of the body which in turn can facilitate clearing of energy along the meridian pathways.

 The physical structures associated with the bladder meridian are the urinary bladder, the hamstrings, the kidneys, the adrenals, the pelvic floor, the gluteus maximus, the posterior calf muscles, the spinal erectors and the quadratus lumborum. The physical structures associated with the kidney meridian are the kidneys, the adrenals, the pelvic floor, the quadratus lumborum, and the posterior thigh adductors.

Yoga Poses for Root Chakra and Kidney and Bladder Meridians?

Forward Fold - Uttanasana

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  • Focus on connecting the belly to the thighs before straightening the legs in order to get your sits bones extended high towards the sky

  • The focus of this pose is to spread the sits bones apart making room for the pelvic floor to relax and the Root Chakra to open up

  • This pose stretches the hamstrings and the gluteus maximus muscles and the connective tissue that extends from the tip of the toes all the way up the back body and around the scalp

Wide Leg Forward Fold - Prasarita Padottanasana I

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  • Focus on engaging the front thigh muscles (pull your kneecap up) to maintain support and stability in this pose

  • Keep toes facing straight ahead

  • Bring hands towards or on the ground for support - use a block to place hands on for extra support

  • Focus on spreading sits bones wide apart and up towards the sky

Downward Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana

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  • Spread fingers wide open and press firmly down into hands - focusing on distributing weight evenly between the fingers and palm

  • Relax shoulders and allow scapulas to retract down the back

  • Allow the stomach to hollow out and fall close to the thighs

  • Focus on spreading the sits bones apart and up towards the sky

  • Focus on keeping length along the spine (remembering that the neck spine is part of the spine)

  • Allow legs to straighten to stretch the hamstrings - ONLY IF - the spine is able to stay straight

Source:

Vaughan, R. E. (2017). Science of Points & Pathways: A Handbook of Meridians & Chakras for Practical Application 

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Acupuncture Sound Bath Elemental Series 2018, Starting this weekend!

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Acupuncture Sound Bath Elemental Series 2018, Starting this weekend!

Dear Community,

In celebration of BAP's 10 year anniversary and the Spring Equinox, we welcome you all to join us for the first weekend of the Acupuncture Sound Bath Elemental Series 2018. We will talk about the virtues of the season, practice vocal toning, and then relax into the acupuncture sound journey for new perspective and vitality. 

There are still a few spots left!

Pre-registration required, don't miss your chance to sign up!

Saturday, March 17th - 7-9 PM at BAP

Sunday, March 18th - 4:30-6:30 PM at BAP

$55.00 per session

Please wear loose comfortable and warm clothing that you can roll up past your elbows and knees.

The Medicine of the Acupuncture Sound Bath:

As both acupuncture and sound have deep roots in the ancient wisdom traditions, weaving together the modalities brings an approach to healing that is thorough, reliable, beautiful, and fun.Through vocal meditation, Qigong, and a short discussion of Taoist cosmology informing the treatment, we enter into the acupuncture sound journey with intention and coherence. With the intelligence held in acupoints and the guidance offered through sound, the meditative state is easily accessible and we can resonate with the highest form of health. Sarah has been practicing acupuncture since 2005 and is the founder of the Brooklyn Acupuncture Project. She has dedicated her life to making this medicine affordable and available to all. Lev has been working as a coach and sound therapist since 2006 and is the founder of the Medicine Tree Center. They have been collaborating on the Acupuncture Sound Bath since 2013 and are happy to share their particular piece of healing with the BAP community.


Look forward to seeing you there!

Sarah Natan MAcOM

Founder/owner at BAP

 

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BAP Celebrates 10 Years!

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BAP Celebrates 10 Years!

Dear BAP family, 

Our clinic turns ten years old this month!!!! 

At some point I will write down the whole Brooklyn Acupuncture Project story thus far, as it has been one that is sure to inspire and fill the hearts of all who hear. For now, I will tell a little more of the story (I shared some in a newsletter last year at this time) and let it continue to unfold. 

I had the vision for the clinic in a Vipassana mediation in June 2007; though I saw it in either DUMBO or Northampton, Mass at that time. Through a sequence of events I can only describe as grace, the people/places/and things to move the project forward in Gowanus opened into manifestation. 

In the early days, we were in a smaller space on the 4th floor. We had the "invisible receptionist," a somewhat reliable system of registration and payment that allowed people to sign up on a sheet of paper on the wall and pay with envelopes in a drop box.  We flyered at the farmers markets, gave talks at the Park Slope Food Coop, and showed up every day even when there were no people on the schedule. The sliding scale was 18-30 dollars and our logo was lady liberty with a revolution fist.  We definitely did not have a computer.  At that time, only the pizza place downstairs and the two restaurants on the corners of 12th and 13th were here. Though the magic of word of mouth, we got steadily busier over the next few months and by the summer, we were humming along with 5-10 people/day. 

We have continued to grow in a natural pace that has surprised and greatly pushed me out of my comfort zone continuously. Indeed, the past ten years has taught me more about love, leadership, and letting go than I would have ever imagined. Today, we see over 200 people/week, have an all star reception team, and some of the finest healers in the city offering treatments. We are now officially the "Best of Brooklyn" and have the utmost sweetest clients of all time. We always joke that even if you are not so nice, when you walk past the elevator doors into the clinic, somehow you are transformed. There is a beautiful energy field that we all create that is responsible for the healing vibration that occurs here. 

I want to thank each and every one of you (which is all of you) that have played a part in shaping BAP. I want to especially thank the people who have given so much love to the clinic through the years and who continue to share their light with us! 

Brittany Griffen, Melissa Little, Kidada Fields, Christopher Peacock, Alexandra Garcia, Donna Hernandez, Evie Ellman, Nikole Sturgis, Jennifer Sawyer, Kate Flynn, Saruh Lacoff, Erica Evans, Liz Roper, and Madeline Lynch; thank you. To all the therapists who share the space with us and offer their healing ways, thank you. To all the people who have come and gone and shared some of your heart with us, thank you. 

May the growing light of this season shine on the clinic and each and every person who walks through our doors. May the healing and illumination cultivated at BAP be shared with all beings.

We will celebrate with two Acupuncture Sound Bath's next weekend!  Please register to hold your place as space is limited and we are bound to fill up. 

See you there! 

With Love,

Sarah Natan

Founder/owner at BAP 

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Light, Liver, and Sound

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Light, Liver, and Sound

Dear Friends, 

The Light returns! :) 

Even though it is still quite cold, spring is rustling beneath the frost as the Yang energy begins to rise. In Chinese cosmology, this time belongs to Hexagram 19 of the IChing, "Lin." Hexagram 19 is represented by two Yang (active, hot, rising) lines moving up through four Yin (still, cold, sinking) lines.  "Lin" translates as something like "approach."  

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The IChing is comprised of 64 hexagrams, six lines of varying combinations of Yin (open) and Yang (closed) lines.  By the time we get to the Spring Equinox in mid-March, we have equal light and dark and thusly three Yang lines under 3 Yin lines.  This upcoming new moon will mark the Chinese New Year and the beginning of the next cycle.  In my own cultural heritages, this time is noted by the Irish Celts as "Imbolc," when the sap begins to rise, and by the Jews as Tu B'shvat, the birthday of the Trees. Indeed, you can follow all cultural lineages back to nature based wisdom. 

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There are 12 particular hexagrams that represent the 12 months of the year, 12 hours in the clock, 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, and 12 organ systems in Chinese medicine. This time of early spring "Lin" is  associated with this month of February, the hours of 1-3 in the morning, the ox, and the Liver organ network.  If the winter solstice and darkest time is like midnight, this time of "approach" is still quite dark and quiet but with a very different quality. There is some subtle yet palpable action. 

The quality of the Liver can be learned though looking at Hexagram 19.  The upper three Yin lines mean "Earth" and the lower 3 lines represent "Thunder." Thunder rumbles under the Earth, awakening and empowering the seeds, the roots of the trees, the sap, and us!  Sometimes, the Liver is likened to the "general" of the body as it is in charge of moving QI and Blood and nourishing the tendons that move our muscles. It is associated with the eyes as it is the Liver that holds our vision strong, even in the darkest times. The top of the Liver channel ends at the top of the head as it has a direct connection to the North Star, or our guiding light. It is the energy of the Liver which is said to travel in dream and return to inform our hearts though the blood. 

The energy of the Liver meridian flows next into the Lung which rules our immune system. By working right now with the Liver energy we can prevent spring allergies and some of the possible stagnation that comes with waking up out of winter. Just like the ice that starts to melt as that Yang rises, old patterns can start to creek and crack as you yourself stretch into a new cycle. When Liver Qi flows freely, all systems of the body are humming along and the mind is free and easy to dream, vision, and plan. 

What are those visions and aspirations for you? What are you stretching into? What is it that is waking up, rumbling under you? 

For me..it is all about getting organized!  Visualizing and planning is a challenge for me so scheduling can be tough :)  Thank you all for being patient  as I crack open into this new commuter lifestyle and find the best ways to balance out my work in Massachusetts and NY. 

Luckily, my husband and healing partner in sound, Lev, has a good healthy Liver ;)   His supreme organizational skills mixed with my love of BAP sound baths and a desire to continue led us to..... 

(drumroll please....) 

Plan, confirm, and announce our  2018 Sound bath Series!

The first one will be in Mid-March, right around the time of the Equinox. As always, we will correspond the treatments with the energy of the season as indeed heath is aligning with what is! As above so below, macrocosm /microcosm. We have so much to learn from the elements. Every year we can go deeper. 

Please join us for one or all of these awesome events. We will talk about the season, practice vocal toning, then relax into the acupuncture sound journey for new perspective and vitality.  

Sign Up Here

Last, but not at all least, thank you all who voted us into wining the BEST OF BROOKLYN for acupuncture in 2017!!!!  We love creating this clinic with you and will continue to be the best that we can be. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank You.

 

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Seeds of the Anaconda: Artistic Activism Fundraiser

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Seeds of the Anaconda: Artistic Activism Fundraiser

Here at the clinic, we are constantly trying to find the best ways to stand for the true, the good, and the beautiful parts of humanity.  Each season, we fundraise for a environmental or social justice group that are already doing the good work.  Last fall and winter we were able to send a hearty amount to the Standing Rock legal fund and this spring and summer we helped raise funds for an indigenous family in Ecuador's upper Amazon to build a traditional healing lodge for their community that is being torn apart by oil.  This season we will be supporting a beautiful expression of artistic activism. 

Seeds of the Anaconda is a visionary art gathering that seeks to share Ancestral Wisdom through exhibitions, art workshops, artist talks, ceremony, and community outreach.  From 2012 to 2020, gatherings across the Americas and the world will unite Indigenous tribes and non-Indian tribes to come together in one purpose and one heart, for peace, harmony, and the restoration of unity with all living Beings and the Earth. This year Seeds of the Anaconda are raising money to have this gathering in a remote tribal community  in Santa Marta, Sierra Nevada, Colombia, where the people have never had the opportunity to access artwork usually only seen in city museums and private collections.

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The Medicine of the Sliding Scale

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The Medicine of the Sliding Scale

Over the past ten years I have witnessed the efficacy of the sliding scale and have seen how, in many ways, the sliding scale itself is a healing influence.  For people seeking sustainable ways to stay healthy, for the health care community as a whole, and for business owners like me; the sliding scale offers a refreshing reframe to the dominant paradigm of business as usual and how we look at health.

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The Bright Yang of Pride

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The Bright Yang of Pride

I'm not sure if there is a correlation between the arrival of the summer solstice and gay pride month, but I would like to think that there is.  The timing, in fact, was meant to fall roughly on the anniversary of the famous Stonewall riots which sparked the gay rights movement. 

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Acupuncture Sound Bath for Your Practical Everyday Life

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Acupuncture Sound Bath for Your Practical Everyday Life

Working with the combination of acupuncture and sound therapy stimulates a creative environment where resilience is amplified.  In our personal lives, families and workplace organizations, we often feel overstressed, and thus lack creativity and aliveness.  Healing vibrations enliven and animate our imagination, rejuvenate the energy in our bodies, and therefore, revive the vigor in our spirits to go back out there and give it everything we’ve got.

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"Its use came into my hands"

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"Its use came into my hands"

I recently came across this phrase in a book on Kampo, the Japanese system of herbal medicine with close ties to classical Chinese herbal traditions. I was strangely moved; for as a student and young practitioner in this tradition of herbalism, the saying seemed to describe so well my experience of learning this vast, complex, and subtle art: a sense of being taught not only by my teachers but by the tradition itself.

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Ring in the Spring with BAP

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Ring in the Spring with BAP

Congratulations on moving through another winter and keeping hope alive :) 

In these unprecedented and trying times, we could all stand to strengthen our capacity for hope.  It just so happens that the spring season, as seen through the eyes of Chinese medical cosmology, gives us exactly this opportunity. 

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