Begin Again

Every time I walked past a mirror or examined my skin a silent scream would fill my mind and pierced every cell of my body. The animal inside raged as I watched my form continue to bloat beyond belief, and my skin literally yellow before my eyes. I kept thinking, “All my work. All the sacrifice. All of my discipline. None of it mattered.” It’s as though my work was being stolen from me slowly. As though my results were being reeled in by some invisible thing that was delighting in my torment. But not only was I tormented, I was terrified. No amount of self discipline or diligence made a difference. I was obsessed with doing everything right. Despite my teachers assurances I was scared I had done something terribly wrong in my internal practice. I followed all the rules that my coach laid down. And I was convinced that if I messed up anything be it my supplements, my macronutrients, my electrolytes; or if I didn’t get to the gym twice a day … if I deviated in any way the consequences would be so dire that I would never salvage my life.


Read More
Kimberly McNeil
The "Fuzz"

The scientific truth is that the entire collagenous net starts as one piece. It can be cut by a surgeon’s scalpel, torn by injury, and it will (alas) fray with age. But it remains one single net. Gil has resolved an anomaly I frequently observe in dissection with his concept of ‘perifascial’ membranes. This concept of transitional layers between one set of consistent histology to another is key to understanding movement and stability in fascia, and we will take this up in another post, when he settles down long enough that we can get an interview.

Read More
Allied Healthcare Providers - The Evolution of Healthcare

Healthcare continues to be a fevered debate between Republicans and Democrats. The problem is that throughout this debate neither the politicians nor the media are acknowledging the real reasons that healthcare in this country is floundering. The three reasons that our current system is destined to fail are 1) our modern diet and lifestyle are out of alignment with our genes and our biology, 2) our current system is not well-suited to tackle chronic disease, and 3) our model for delivering care doesn't support the interventions that would have the biggest impact on preventing and reversing chronic disease. How do we change this?

Read More
The "Rise" of Liver Qi.

In the beginning stages of training it's important that we first strive towards an optimal foundation of health. As a student advances in their training the emphasis on building a body that is ideal for the internal arts becomes much greater. The reason is that the energy system of a physical body that has achieved a strong degree of health, can be awakened much more easily. However this can only be done by keeping in mind the physical root that we are working from. Because they are a direct product of five spiritual pulses, the vital organs are a key aspect of this physical root and illustrate the close relation between physicality and consciousness. Proper body alignment, fascia tone, strength and flexibility are important factors in a students development, which depends on the practitioners ability to balance and support their liver qi.

Read More
Food Therapy in Chinese Medicine

If you’re looking for a diet that boosts your energy levels, smooth digestion and harmonize with the seasons, consider turning to whole food therapy. Daoist practitioners and healers in the eastern arts used a wide array of different techniques to cultivate qi, including diet. Alongside exercise, meditation and healing techniques like acupressure, a qi-enhancing diet can promote excellent health, improve your athletic performance and extend your longevity.

Humans live in a constant state of change. From the turning of the seasons to the daily fluctuations of emotions to our chaotic thoughts and not to mention our sleep cycle, an individual is never the same from moment to moment. A qi diet uses food to correct trends of imbalances that arise from the changes in our environment as well as predispositions. In harmonizing the shifting conditions, your diet can minimize the impact on your health and derive qi from food more efficiently. In general, the more pure your food is the better quality your energy.

Read More
Kimberly McNeil
The Threefold Path of Daoism

Classically, the martial, medical and alchemical paths were always studied together, although students of the internal arts will often specialize in one of those paths after many years of diligent study. Typically, the ‘warrior path’ was studied first as it develops the physical body, thus providing a strong basis to move on to the more arcane aspects of Daoism. The ‘healer path’ may come second as the ‘alchemical path’ was considered the most arduous one, and so it was often studied last. Practically speaking, these three paths help us grasp key aspects of the human mind. The martial path allows us to override our insecurities and embrace the aggressive component that is intrinsic to human experience. 

Read More
Kimberly McNeil
Martial Arts - Realm of The Deeply Insecure

There is an inherent danger within the martial arts world and that is that the most insecure are the people who stay within the arts the longest. They are the ones whose inner nature sees the potential for change, even if they don’t consciously understand what this crazy drive is that borders on obsession. This means that, almost inevitably, they become the teachers of the arts, those with the most experience and the most years of dedicated effort put into the arts. By the very nature of what it means to be a teacher students will come to you and then look to you for guidance. On the surface they may be looking to you for martial technique but subconsciously they are also looking for something else, a way to deal with that same insecurity that most likely led their newfound teacher into the arts in the first place. This is a responsibility that all teachers need to recognise and take on board.

Read More
Kimberly McNeil
Physical Stress and Neuroplasticity

It seems that the connections between the brain and the adrenal medulla are much more elaborate than previously understood. Complex networks throughout the primary sensory and motor cortices are tied directly to our stress responses.

That discovery transformed Stricks’ understanding of how bodily movements influence our health. He’s starting pilates.

“This is suggesting a much more decentralized process,” said Bruno of the findings. He was not involved in the study.“You have lots of different circuits built on top of one another, and they’re all feeding back to one of our most primitive and primordial response systems. They've really shown that stress is controlled by more than the traditional high-level cognitive areas. I think that’s a big deal.”

Read More
Kimberly McNeil