Health and Wellness

Herbal and natural remedies and wellness.

Traditional Thai Medicine, by C. Pierce Salguero

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Traditional Thai Medicine: Buddhism, Animism, Ayurveda, by C. Pierce Salguero
Hohm Press, 9781890772673, 134 pp. (incl. index and appendices), 2007

Thai Medicine is a tradition that began to form in the 13th Century in Thailand, a combination of beliefs and theories taken from the animistic indigenous religion, Buddhism, and medical theories from ayurveda and yoga. It remains a popular practice, existing alongside western medicine in 83% of hospitals in Thailand, but Salguero fears that it is a dying practice, mainly supported by the elderly and tourists, and practiced by the older generations.

As the older generations Continue reading


Healing with Form, Energy and Light, by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

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Healing with Form, Energy and LightHealing with Form, Energy and LightHealing with Form, Energy, and Light: The Five Elements in Tibetan Shamanism, Tantra, and Dzogchen, by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Snow Lion Publications, 1559391766, 159 pp (incl. glossary), 2002

Bön is the indigenous Tibetan religion that predates Buddhism, often called Tibetan Shamanism. As a religious belief it had historically suffered a social oppression under the Lama culture of Buddhist Tibet, but His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama has recognized Bön as one of the five major spiritual traditions in Tibet, which has led to a resurgence of information and interest in this traditions. Tenzin Wangyal is a Bön-po (practitioner), considered a Bön master and has spent his life studying Vajrayana and Bön. Due to this upbringing (and perhaps the modern state of the religion), the Bön in this book is heavily influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, as opposed to being “pure” Bön, which may not have existed for centuries and as a religion that mythologically dates its origin 17,000 years ago, one must expect some drift in beliefs and practices. Continue reading


Review: Shaolin Qi Gong, by Shi Xinggui and Eleonore Vogl

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Shaolin Qi Gong: Energy in Motion, by Shi Xinggui and Eleonore Vogl
Destiny Books, 9781594772641, 151 pp, 2008

Qi Gong is an ancient Chinese form of exercise for both the body and the spirit, having roots back as far as three to five thousand years in our past. This book unfortunately does not touch too much on what makes Shaolin Qi Gong different than other forms of Qi Gong, but does explain that this system draws a difference between Hard Qi Gong, the more physical and martial forms and usage, and Soft Qi Gong, the internal, energetic form with more of a focus on healing and support. This book and the included DVD focus on Continue reading


Review: Sacred Land, by Clea Danaan

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Sacred Land: Intuitive Gardening for Personal, Political and Environmental Change, by Clea Danaan
Llewellyn Worldwide, 9780738711461, 266 pp. (incl. end notes appendix, sources and index), 2004

Last year was the first I attempted to grow anything in our vegetable garden. I knew I wanted to grow organic, but I went in more or less blind. It wasn’t a raging success, but we did get a few peppers and tomatoes. This is the book I wish I had read prior to starting my garden, unfortunately it wasn’t published then, but, lucky you, it’s out now. Continue reading


Review: Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser

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Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, by Eric Schlosser
HarperCollins, 0060938455, 383 pp. (incl. photo credits, notes, bibliography, acknowledgements, and index.), 2001, 2002

Fast Food Nation is not for the faint of heart with its horrifying depictions of livestock farms, slaughterhouses, the fast food restaurants and school cafeterias so many of us come into contact with, utterly blind.

Schlosser takes the blinds off the utter lack of respect for human and animal rights efficiently and devastatingly, with personal stories and anecdotes from around the world. Harassment, theft, intimidation, lawsuits without an end in sight.

One assumes with any book like this that animal rights issues will crop up, but these – cruelty to the livestock with overfeeding, overcrowding – are only the tip of the iceberg. Seemingly far worse, and more personally devastating, are the gruesome working conditions of the employees. Slave wages, injury without compensation, blatant harassment, and the sanitation conditions of the slaughterhouses, restaurants, and cafeteria are obscene. Suffice to say, I’m glad I was a vegetarian long before reading the book.

Yet despite all this, Schlosser remains positive, believing that that one day ‘people can be fed without being fattened or deceived’ Perhaps even a little over-optimistic, he hopes that ‘this new century may bring an impatience with conformity, a refusal to be kept in the dark, less greed, more compassion, less speed, more common sense, a sense of humor about brand essences and loyalties, a view of food as more than just fuel. Things don’t have to be the way they are’.

Meticulously researched with a massive sixty-three page detailed notes section, Schlosser’s work is quite impressive. Often horrifying, but always educational Fast Food Nation is an absolute must read for all.


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