Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Classes Starting – Tapping Class Coming Up

On Wednesday night Patty Markham Peterson will lead off the Perfect Weight and Wellness class series with a session on "The Physical Body and the Energy Body." Patty is a wonderful and charismatic teacher, very knowledgeable about her topic. I expect her class will be fun (her classes usually are!) and it should also be a great lead-in to our class the following week, "Tapping for Wellness," which my spouse Kraig and I will lead.

So what exactly do I mean here by tapping? No, this is not about dancing! Tapping as a healing technique is based on acupuncture and meridian theory, the ancient Chinese medical belief that a number of pathways – meridians – conduct energy – or chi -- through the body, and that the flow of energy affects and maintains our emotional and physical health. With various tapping techniques, points along the meridians are tapped repeatedly in a certain order. The tapping protocol is often used in conjunction with belief statements, eye movements, and other techniques to relieve difficult emotional states or overcome phobias, blocks, and cravings. Tapping can be used as a therapy by health-care practitioners, or as a simple self-care technique by anyone.

There are a few different tapping-for-health systems out there, including:

• Roger Callahan's Thought Field Therapy (TFT), which is described in Callahan's book Tapping the Healer Within and is the first such system developed;

• Gary Craig's Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), developed as a simplification of Callahan's TFT after Craig was a student of Callahan's;

• the Energy Tapping outlined by Fred Gallo and Harry Vincenzi, and described in their book by the same name;

• the Mental Field Therapy / Technique (MFT) taught by Dietrich Klinghardt, MD PhD, which draws both on Callahan's work and on Dr. Klinghardt's expertise in neural therapy. Kraig and I are students of Dr. Klinghardt's, and it is his system we will be introducing in our class.

As you might figure from the names of these systems, emotional health so far has been the primary application of tapping – though not the only one. I have used tapping to quickly dispel intense anger, but I have also gotten good results from using it to help resolve a toothache. Dr. Klinghardt suggests that his patients tap on a regular basis to shift the body into a more parasympathetic or healing state. Among the many uses for tapping are improving digestion, decreasing food cravings, and removing emotional blocks.

We'll be talking more about how all this works and how to use it at the tapping class on June 3rd. In the meantime, I hope Copper Country folks can join us as our class series gets started with Patty's class on May 27th! Below is the full list of spring/summer classes for Perfect Weight and Wellness.

Bringing Balance to Your Relationship With Food and Your Body

Selected Wednesday evenings starting May 27, 2009
6:30 to 7:30 p.m. with informal discussion to follow
Jutila Center Room 324, 200 Michigan Street, Hancock
Classes are $10 per person at the door

Spring / Summer Class Schedule:
May 27 - Introduction: The Physical Body and the Energy Body, taught by Patty Peterson
June 3 - Tapping for Wellness, hosted by Katie Alvord
June 10 - Mindfulness and Body Image, taught by Kim Menzel
June 17 - Internal Cleansing of Toxins for Vitality & Weight Loss, taught by Vicki Usitalo
June 24 - Eating Without FEAR, taught by Patty Peterson
July 8 - Journaling for Perfect Weight and Wellness, taught by Katie Alvord
July 22 - Overcoming Self-Sabotage, taught by Kim Menzel
Aug 5 - Conscious & Unconscious Beliefs and Body Weight, taught by Patty Peterson
Aug 19 - Pop Diets vs. the Unique You, taught by Katie Alvord
Sept 9 - Food as a Metaphor, taught by Kim Menzel

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Measuring pH: Acid-Alkaline Balance, Part 4

I measure my pH every morning. Taking the measurements is easy; interpreting them can be tricky.

In this post I'll tell you what I do, but I encourage you to check out other sources -- including the books I've mentioned in this series -- to get further information.

My routine is to measure both my saliva and urine pH first thing when I get up. I keep sample collection jars, pH tape, 3x5 cards, and a pen or pencil ready to use on my bathroom shelf.

The pH tape I use comes from Body Rescue, and is available from several Internet sources. I use a small glass jar for urine collection and a small shot glass for saliva; I prefer glass because it's inert, but of course glass can break so others might prefer using plastic for greater safety. I collect my samples (for saliva, you only need a little in the bottom of the glass – maybe a teaspoon), then tear off about a one-to-two inch piece of pH tape for each sample.

For urine, I dip the tape, remove it right away, and read it by comparing the color to the chart that comes with the pH tape. For saliva, Body Rescue's instructions suggest leaving the tape in the sample for three seconds, then removing it and comparing it to the color chart. In both cases, I've noticed that exposure to air can slightly change the color of the tape, so it's most accurate right after being dipped. I record the pH numbers I get on my 3x5 card next to the date, so I can see trends in my acid-alkaline balance over time.

Now the tricky part. How do you interpret these numbers? Sometimes the results seem more clear. For instance, I've noticed that I tend to get more acid pH results if I've had more grains and fewer fresh vegetables the day before. I've also noticed that a good dose of aerobic exercise really helps shift my pH toward alkaline. At other times, though, my results don't seem straightforward. For instance, sometimes I get very alkaline urine pH readings but more acid saliva readings. In this case, I might be experiencing an imbalance that is causing my body to pull minerals from my bones to balance too much acidity in my blood. Or my body might be having trouble excreting acidic metabolic wastes.

Different authors have slightly different takes on where your numbers should be. I like Michelle Schoffro Cook's advice. "Ideally," she writes in The Ultimate pH Solution, "your saliva pH should be between 7.0 and 7.4, while your urine pH should be around 6.8." It makes sense to me that urine should be more acidic, since this is a key pathway for the body to rid itself of metabolic acids.

I have discussed pH levels with naturopaths I've consulted, but have not done so with my general practitioner. It's my understanding that mainstream MDs don't get training in this. However, I've read that some recent research on acid-alkaline balance is being pursued at University of California, San Francisco's respected medical school, so maybe that's in the process of changing.