Homemade Hand Cream

It’s really satisfying to be able to make something that I thought could only be bought. It’s fun to learn how things are made, it’s fun to think about the ingredients. Exciting to be able to adjust to my own liking.

So. Here’s a new one.


Homemade hand cream!
Three edible ingredients only!

I am guessing there’s all sorts of variations along the same lines, but this is what I used today and how to do it. It could not be simpler.

Beeswax   1 oz
Rice bran oil    approx. 5 oz
Water    approx. 3.5 oz

Gently melt beeswax in double boiler, add oil, blend with immersion blender, add warm water gradually, blend more. Store in clean jar, let it cool.

Don’t you love it when your very first experiment turns out a glorious result? This cream has incredible texture. It’s got the right balance of lightness and richness. It didn’t take 30 minutes from start to end. This is revolutionary!

I am going to use this batch for a while and think what I want to do differently next time. Many ideas are bubbling in my head already.

Will report if I come up with something even better.

Existential Fear


Chisei Kono writes in his book about his experience while visiting refugee camps after the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami, that there were people with muscle tension in a particular area, between the scapula and the spine (T5-8). It is a diagonal line of tension. While this line remains it is hard to sleep, and the fear does not leave. So he advises to relax it if you find it.

Since San Francisco is supposedly waiting for the next big one, I took notes, while also wondering if I’d ever see it.

I have actually seen it several times since then. It seems to appear when we have existential fear, not just from natural disasters. A particularly prominent line was on my friend’s back, who was at the time really worried if her job was going to be around for next year.

I found it on my own back several days ago. As those of you who are friends with me on Facebook know, I got my purse snatched on a San Francisco sidewalk. I wasn’t physically hurt, and the bag came back in about 24 hours (minus the cash and some other items) so the damage was minimal. But what it did was remind me of my vulnerability. The knowledge that I am basically helpless if someone decides to attack shook me. I was tense for days afterwards, and I found this line on my back maybe on the second day.

Taking care of myself is a bit harder than taking care of my clients. For one thing, this tension on my back, I cannot feel it while relaxing. Twisting and relaxing do not mix well. I don’t feel like I am sleeping badly any more probably because it’s already been almost a week, but I might as well go see someone for a good session. It’s much easier when there is help.

Notes & Reference

Adzuki Tea


When the weather turns cool, I think about adzuki tea. I don’t know why, but I do.

I make it immediately. There is no recipe.

One handful, maybe two handfuls of adzuki beans, depending on the size of the pot and the amount of water, rinsed, go into the pot. Add water. Maybe two cups per handful of beans. Usually I soak all my seeds at least overnight, but this is an exception. I don’t.  I might add something else to the pot, today I have added half a big bamboo leaf. But most of the time it is just beans and water. I boil it for anywhere from several minutes to 20. This vagueness is intentional. I have made this enough times that I am hoping my body knows what I need that day, and will make it like it is good. I don’t know, of course, but that’s what I think.

If this is your first time, aim for about 10 minutes of low simmer, a little after the water starts to get reddish. When you are simmering adzuki beans for cooking, Japanese recipes often tell you to throw away this initial colored water. Don’t. When you are making adzuki tea, this water is what you want.

When it is done, I drink it while it is still hot. The gentle flavor is very calming. Share it with someone you like.

Adzuki is medicinal. It is said to support the kidneys, the bladder and the reproductive system. It is known to be especially good for women. It is diuretic. You don’t need to know any of these things to like it, and to want it during the cooler months. There is not much more work to make it than making a cup of tea, so please try it!

I sometimes serve adzuki tea instead of the usual glass of water after sessions. If you don’t like the flavor, please just tell me so.

What do I do with the cooked beans? Most often, they get cooked further until soft and go into a salad the next day. No big deal.

Don’t give up!

Had to share this, from NY Post. This woman is 85, see how much she’s straightened out. I have read this story as a reminder that things that might seem irreversible, might not be. The story goes beyond this one charming yoga instructor causing miracles. Miracles are probably everywhere, if we have the inclination to reach for it.

I’ve got some things that I’d like to change for my own body. HOPE!





Standardized Acupoints

I have wondered now and then why the description of the location of these points in various books sounded so very technical. They are not just technical, they are often dry. Even Japanese sources are strangely similar in their dryness. There are easier, friendlier ways to describe body parts, even when you are using technical language. Why make it harder to read for normal human beings?

Now I know.

WHO has a publication called WHO Standard Acupuncture Point Locations in the Western Pacific Region, and the language in that book is dry. It’s the source everyone is quoting from. I found the Japanese official translation of it too. There must be many other language versions.

Is it surprising to you that WHO has standardized the point locations?

It was to me, when I first heard about it. But it makes sense. It must have been a huge undertaking, in that a large number of experts in different countries and schools needed to come to an agreement. There was probably historic variation, too.

The screenshot below is from Amazon. The book is out of print and costs 200 dollars at least at the moment. You can see the way the points are described. Oh, so, impersonal. But I think we should forgive them for sounding a bit too technical and lofty, on the grounds that the compilation of this book was very likely an extremely difficult task. It’s useful for all beginning and intermediate learners, and wouldn’t have gotten done without someone like WHO.


Foot bath – Awesome points of the feet

One doesn’t need any knowledge of acupoints to benefit from a foot bath. But it’s fun to think about it, and I have found that the act of “thinking about it” itself is already good, in an awareness building kind of way.

These points are truly awesome. I don’t think I ever give a session without using Kidney 1, for example. Everyone needs some love at Kidney 1. It grounds and brings calmness. It nourishes and gives a bit of energy. If you pay attention, you too will feel the difference.

You will see in the list below that the reason we want our foot bath vessel to be a little deeper is Spleen 6. It is one of the main points used for obgyn conditions. It gives you a little bit of a lift. As in, you may find yourself wanting to stand taller, wanting to look forward into the future. I use it often for people with backache, too.

So here are some of the awesome points* of the feet.

Kidney 1 (gushing spring, yong quan, yusen 湧泉)

Indications: Energy depletion, Urinary problems, emotional release, revival for fainting and shock, later period, etc.

Kidney 6 (shining sea, zhao hai, shoukai 照海)

Indications: Insomnia, swollen throat, tonsilitis, dry or painful eyes, gynecological problems, ankle pain or swelling.


Liver 3 (great surge, tai chong, taishou 太衝)

Indications: Master tonic point, allergies, yin energy deficiency, foot cramps, tired eyes, toxicity, headache. (It’s supposed to be great for easing hangover symptoms. I’m waiting for an opportunity to try it myself.)


Spleen 6 (three yin crossing, san yin jiao, saninko 三陰交)

Indication: Labor (do not use during pregnancy!), genital and menstrual pain, nervous depression, nourish blood. Helps spleen, kidney and liver.


Bladder 60 (Kun Lun mountain, Kun Lun, konron 崑崙)

Indication: Headache, stiff neck, eye inflammation, back pain, sciatica and Achilles tendonitis, conditions of the uterus.


Gall Bladder 40 (Mound of Ruins, qiu xu, kyukyo 丘墟)

Indication: Sprained or painful ankle, weak joints, muscle spasms. Also diseases and conditions of the gall bladder, heartburn, shoulder discomfort, eye conditions, depression, weakness of the mind, irritability.



  • The term “awesome points” was invented one afternoon by the beloved instructor at McKinnon, Carl Johns. These really are awesome, so I call them that, too. They are used all the time, by pretty much all practitioners.
  • The points have many names. WHO standard numbering is the better known one in the US, so I have put it first. It is followed by – meaning of traditional name, Chinese reading, Japanese reading, Japanese writing. Those with knowledge of the Chinese writing system should be able to recognize most of the written Japanese names, too, since they were originally Chinese.


  • All the point location images come from the giant and wonderful book, A Manual Of Acupuncture. There is an app for it, too.
  • Many of the indications were taken from the McKinnon Acupressure Manual. It is a concise and friendly guide for beginnners. Too bad it isn’t sold outside the school.

Foot bath – find a tub!


Have I suggested regular foot baths for you yet?

Foot bath is easy, inexpensive, feels wonderful, simply awesome. It’s good for you, it’s good for me, good for pretty much everyone. (As always, please consult your doctor if you have any preexisting conditions. I am going to assume in this entry that you are in good enough health to try.)

DP122212-detailThe only thing you need is a bucket or a tub, large enough to comfortably hold both your feet. It should be deep enough to allow water to come up to about 2 inches above your ankle as well.

Which means, the tub we see in this Japanese woodblock print from early 19th century is just a little too shallow. That’s OK, since this guy is probably mostly washing his feet after a long day of walking. The picture is depicting a humorous scene in front of an inn. Two girls in the middle are literally pulling in more customers. Since it’s the 18th century, you see, the idea of making reservations doesn’t exist yet. Our guy on the right just checked in and has removed his footwear. Tub water might be warm, since it looks like the weather is a little cool. He’ll let out a sigh when his feet goes into the water.

We, too, are going to be soaking our feet. It’s going to be mostly for relaxation and health. To maximize the benefits, we need to get properly sized tubs to get the awesome acupoints of the feet warmed up.

Find a tub!

0251249_PE389842_S2.JPGThis flexible tub from IKEA seems just about right. 22 7/8 x 15 x 11, it says. Love the $4.99 price point.

(I’m not getting anything from the store when I put in links, these are just examples to show you what I am talking about.)

medium_yellow_compactOr maybe this bucket from Tugtrugs. Medium seems to be the right size at 15.5″ diameter and 12″ height. They’ve got all sorts of cheerful colors. I have a blue one in Small. It’s usable, but a bit too small. Medium recommended.


Other aspects of foot soaking, like how long to soak, how warm the water should be, do we put anything in the water, etc… I’ll get to those things in time. For now, just do it. Because warm water is great.

I will review the acupoints of the feet in my next entry.


Notes & Reference


Yey for Cupping!

Endorcement for cupping therapy from some Olympians, reported by the BBC and the NY Times. Nice! It’s good to see a great thing being recognized as such. I loooove cupping. Been using it for myself for ever.

Would you like to try it? Come in for a session!

Why are so many Olympians covered in large red circles?http://www.bbc.com/news/health-37009240_90708473_034465363-1.jpg

What Are the Purple Dots on Michael Phelps? Cupping Has an Olympic Moment

Water – cold or hot?


I have a glass of water to drink after each session for all of my clients.On warm days, it is a glass of cold water. On chilly days it is a warm mug.

Because hydration is awesome. It’s always a good idea. Common sense for me, more than anything else. It tastes good. Do we need more reason than that?

Reasons to drink water, from around the web.

China’s go-to beverage? Hot water. Really.

Ask Well: Massage and Toxins

6 Reasons to Drink Water