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March 2012

Healing Allergies with Acupuncture



Dr. Amaro_Dr. Richel
Dr. John Amaro and his wife Dr. Debra Richel 

I had a fascinating experience today. I'm out in Arizona visiting my brother who is recovering from an awful bout of pneumonia that turned septic and threatened his kidneys. I'm thrilled to say that he's doing really well...a combination of my sister -in- laws incredible commitment to cooking the right foods for him, exercise and a fabulous Chiropractor/ Acupuncturist named John Amaro.  who runs a most amazing clinic in Carefree , Arizona with his wife, Dr. Debra Richel.

Healing Allergies through Acupuncture

I'm a huge fan of accupuncture having witnessed it's miracles firsthand ( one treatment literally dissolved a heel spur) so I was delighted to find that my brother going to see one on a regular basis. He's reporting huge breakthroughs in his energy and stamina and he says that if the Docs didn't keep reminding him of how sick he'd been that he'd never know it. So about two weeks ago his allergies started flaring up on top of everything else that he was dealing with. Dr. Amaro successfully treated him for them and then for his next visit asked him to bring him a clipping of everything that was blooming and/ or greening around his home. So today my brother walked around with garden shears and filled a gallon size bag with all of the clippings. You'll know that I had to go with him to his appointment to see for myself what this Doc was doing! I was amazed....Dr. Amaro sat him down and spread all of the clippings onto a pillow and put my brothers hands on top of them. Then he placed needles strategically in the pattern called "The 4 gates", a pattern used specifically to relieve stress and open the energies outward. It is a technique for healing allergies and disease that he has used many times with pathogens like black mold to the formaldehyde in new carpets and couches. 

It was amazing to watch and even more interesting to talk to Dr. Amaro about it. When I asked how it worked, he said "I can't really give you a mathematical equation for thinking about this" and I laughed and said "It's the energy?" and he smiled and nodded emphatically!  We spent the next 20 minutes sharing stories and experiences and I watched my brother relax and his energy grow even stronger under this competent care. I'm not sure if any other accupuncturist is treating allergies this way , but   I'd fly to Scottsdale in a heartbeat to have a session with this guy if I ever needed one.

Quite frankly, my brother is getting stronger everyday because of the work that he's doing with Dr. Amaro ;   the traditional physicians are only treating the symptoms of an already broken down system. I was reminded again today just how important it is to approach healing from a standpoint of proactiveness and to honor all of the things that we can't see. There's no real language in our culture to explain the success of Dr. Amaro's treatments, but I know from my own experiences that in many other cultures success is judged by how we prevent disease, not treat it once it's there. If you're game enough to enter into your own healing journey by treating your disharmony with unknowable and perhaps even unfathomable modalities then you're opening up the space where healing can really happen. I can leave Arizona knowing in my heart that my brother is walking his healing journey in the most powerful way possible and with the greatest of allies by his side.

You can contact Dr. Amaro at : 

(480) 488-9647

His offices are located at : 7518 East Elbow Bend Road
Carefree, AZ 85377
Picture of Dr. Amaro from the Sonoran News

Sláinte...In honor of St. Paddy's Day here's my favorite hunting flask recipe!




Most know that when I was a wee little girl I fell madly in love with horses. This is a love affair that has trancended many men and many years...and thankfully I found the one man to marry who not only could tolerate playing second fiddle to the 4 legged men in my life but could also cherish them almost as much as I do. When my horse Shimmeree, a delightful gray arabian with a very happy nature snuggled up to him 30 plus years ago I knew that he was the one. That horse was always a fabulous judge of character. 

One of my first trainers when I was a little girl was an Irish woman name Noreen Bailey, who like most Irishmen and women that I've known had a way with horses that was absolutely magical and at times downright infuriating. I spent well over a decade with her and became known for my ability to speak with a bit of a brogue.  I loved and hated her at the same time...I'd be having an issue with one of my ponies and she'd hop on and whisper to him in a bit of gaelic and he'd be eating out of her hands..doing whatever she wanted him to do which was usually exactly what he'd refused to do for me seconds before. Mrs. Bailey taught me many things and was perhaps my first introduction  to natural horsekeeping. She made all of her own linaments and boiled down flaxseed on the stove to make a jelly that is still far superior as a gut and coat remedy to anything that you can buy. She'd toss pine boughs out into the pasture to keep down the worms and at least 3 times a week would fix a bran mash for the horses that you or I would eat happily. Lameness, diabetes, laminitis...all of these things were rare in her barns because she knew how to keep her horses in as natural a state as possible. They were outside morning ,noon and most evenings when it wasn't too buggy. They lived a life unlike most horses that you know today because for the most part they were free.

I used to love to spend the night there before a horse show...her apartments were right on top of the barns so I could fall asleep listening to snorting, snuffling and the occasional wall kick. The warm hay smell would follow me up the steps and I'd settle happily on her couch with a bowl of soup. Sadly her culinary skills did not transfer to humans but I loved her cooking just the same! However she did  make a mean hot toddy which really could cure whatever ailed you. Several times I'd have a cold the night before an important horse show and she'd mix me up this drink. It would go down the hatch easily, I'd fall asleep and in the morning I'd be ready to go! I didn't question her wisdom of giving it to an 8 year old and of course my mother never knew, but to this day I'm grateful and it's what I drink when I'm under the weather. It's also what I put into my flask when I go to hunter trials or foxhunting as it's a perfect sip for a cold fall morning when the leaves are falling, the horses are fresh and the air is sweet and brisk. It's really quite simple....Bushmills, Honey , lemon, cinnamon, butter and raisins  in whatever proportions you like! If you need a toddy, add some hot tea (she used Constant Comment ,a blend which this author still admits to enjoying!) and if you want it for your flask, put it all into a bottle and let it steep overnight , shaking the bottle every now and then. If you don't like lemon and butter you can use Baileys...It's pretty good either way!

Although she's been gone for many years now, I've never forgotten her.Although she could be quite mean, I could never have been the rider that I am today without her. She gave me my seat and she ignited a passion that's lasted a lifetime.  Here's to you Mrs. Bailey wherever you are...Happy St. Patricks Day...I'm hoping that all of your horses are fresh and your men are young and that you know just how much I loved you!



Witchy Alchemy: Old sweaters become adorable new planters!


Seriously..How cute are these?

This is a great idea brought to me this fine spring (dare I say it?) morning by one of my favorite websites Green Renaissance! I love the idea of recycling old sweaters this way. Every year I spend a fortune on planters and these are so cute! They didn't say anything about how to make them so I am going to assume by the picture that a sewing machine (or at the very least one of those handheld ones) would be useful in this process as well as strong wire for hanging.  The other thing that I am sure would be needed is wax coated thread as regular thread would wear down pretty quickly.  These are so cute and purposeful  that I don't think that it would matter to anyone if they were only useful for one season, but I am sure that if you wanted to you could line them. I'm so excited...I can't wait to fill these with my herbs so stay tuned for the results!

Wise Woman Traditions : French Green and other Healing Clays


Ohio Blue Clay


Over the years I have discovered several things that I return to over and over again because they work so very well that I always have them as part of my healing arsenal. French Green Clay is one of those things. I learned about the healing properties of clay originally when I was a very young girl. I had horse trainers from England and Ireland who swore by the old ways , eschewing newer synthesized medicines for the herbal and natural remedies that they brought with them from their countries. One of my trainers taught me that clay makes the loveliest poultice for a horse with any sort of muscular strain because it's so absorbent...I love to mix it with warm water, a bit of olive oil and some essential oils of birch and lavender. I just pat it when its warm onto the tendons, wrap it up under a bit of saran wrap, top that with a layer of vet wrap and then let it do its magic for a few hours. Rinse off and voila....You've got a firm leg again without any trace of edema and a very happy horse! Here in Ohio we have generous deposits of blue clay and when I had my horses at a barn where they allowed it I would  line the floor of their stalls with about 9 inches of it before bedding them in fresh straw. Their feet always stayed healthy and I didn't have the sort of lameness that can occur when horse stands on a floor of concrete. The clay absorbed everything and every other year I'd dig the stall out and replace it, backbreaking work but completely worth it. Hoof problems were non-existent and the smell was so much better! 

One of my favorite places to be in the world is in Western North Carolina up in the Blue Ridge mountains.The are many wonderful stream and waterfalls that run through that part of the world and it's also well known for rich deposits of sapphire and other semi precious gemstones, even the occasional diamond and veins of gold. This clay is  mineral rich and flecked with mica and I love to spend hours there with my feet soaking in the warm mud.   Clay of any sort makes a fabulous drawing salve , but French green clay in particular seems to have a magical quality to it that is subtle yet strong. I have literally brought animals (and a occasional friend !) back from the dead with it. The French drink it in their juice routinely as a tonic to purify the system and draw parasites from the deepest recesses of the colon. I discovered it's ability to draw poison one night long ago when one of my dogs came in from outside and was dragging his hind end. Upon further inspection I saw that his tongue was blackened and he was panting heavily, pretty sure signs of poisoning in a dog. Because this was well in the day before emergency pet clinics, I had to think fast because he was slipping. I mixed up a loose soup of chicken broth, a few grains of white rice and some of my precious green clay and began to slowly spoon it down his throat. Slowly but surely the clay worked it's magic and by morning a trip to the vet wasn't even necessary. Last summer when a friend of mine was very ill and suffering from terrible lupus like symptoms, I started her on a course of French clay which she mixed with her juice. It took about a month but she continued drinking it for several weeks and when I next saw her the Rosacea was almost gone and she reported a substantial reduction in inflammation.


Green Clay Poultice
French Green Clay Poultice


 Whenever I have a stomach pains from my IBS or a bit of nausea I mix a teaspoon of French green clay with some spring water, raw honey and freshly minced ginger and I always feel better in no time! For a springtime (or anytime) cleanse I have a son who is allergic to bees and when he would get stung often I'd make a poultice of vinegar and green clay to neutralize the venom. It never replaced the trip to the emergency room , but often when we'd get there the clay had already worked it's magic and drawn out most of the venom and reduced the swelling.  For a beauty mask there's nothing better than a couple of tablespoons of clay mixed with a bit of almond or coconut milk and a little bit of hydrogenated coconut oil.The clay powerfully absorbs dirt and oil as well as the bacteria and other toxins that can make our skin dull and listless. Mix into a soft loose paste and apply to a freshly washed face for about 15 minutes or until fairly dry. You'll notice a soft drawing sensation and when you rinse it off with cool water you'll notice that your skin will be smooth and feel really refreshed. Then rub a bit of olive oil between your hands until it's warm and then work it into your skin. This is really nice to do right before you go to bed especially if you combine it with a warm bath.  You can turn it into a facial scrub by substituting raw sugar for the almond milk and adding more oil...it's super soothing and really effective.  

French green clay and many others can be purchased online but I do think that this is one of the best sources of infomation that I've found   as well as Mountain Rose Herbs which you will love. I urge you to try some green clay, both internally and externally. Don't be squeamish because you'll barely taste it or notice any grittiness. It's funny to think about because it's dirt, but French Green Clay is something that my body perceives as food, unlike synthesized supplements that barely resemble the plants they came from. Make it a part of your weekly or daily regimen and your body will thank you with glowing skin, fuller hair and nails and a brighter disposition. At the very (my dogs will tell you!) least it should always be in your medicine cabinet for emergencies. I love it for those at home spa weekends when you just need a bit of something extra and so will you! 


Check out these excellent articles:

Photograph of Blue Clay from : http://nineappletrees.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/blue-clay-blues/

Photograph of French Green Clay poultice from: http://shimfarm.blogspot.com/2011/06/benefits-of-green-clay.html