Wellness Blog

  • In my last post, we discussed how grief afffects the body.  

    Now we lean into the reality, that while grief may seem the proverbial "long night of the soul" there is always a way out...and as I have shared with many...and many have shared with during my own descent to grief and darkness, the only way out is through.

    When the lungs are impacted so heavily by emotions of grief and sadness, taking the next breath can seem daunting. Overwhelm is an easy extension of grief and sadness as it reflects the physical constriction that grief causes in the lungs. We attempt to breathe and find the physical restraints of the tension in our ribcage. The pent up emotion, stagnation as we describe it in Chinese medicine, that impedes deeper breath. This can lead to panic as we are unable to "take our next breath" and initiate change in our bodies.

    The first breathing exercise I would like to introduce helps you to shift focus from what is no longer (your loss and equally the ability to take a deep breath) to RELEASE. 

    Let's try Release breathing. Our intention is to focus on the exhale. The letting go of what is stuck.

    Find a comfortable position. I personally prefer remaining seated for this exercise, as longterm grief tends to make deeper breathing difficult and by sitting you let gravity assist deeper breath. If sitting is difficult, lying comfortably face up with one hand on below your navel and one hand at the middle of your chest is recommended.
    Take three short breaths, allowing your abdomen to gently inflate as you inhale and gently fall as you exhale. Focus your attention on the exhale. Allow these first few breaths to be as deep or as shallow as your body allows. We are simply setting our focus on allowing the breath in and flow out.

    Then inhale as deeply as you can comfortably through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth making a long “sssssssss” sound.

    Pay attention the the soft deflating of your chest and relaxation it brings as the breath releases.  Allow yourself to visualize the "ssss" sound as a balloon deflating.

    I find this practice helpful before bed to help fall gently into sleep but actually stumbled upon this naturally while going through my own grief and restrained breathing pattern. I found myself "ssssssss" breathing in times of intense sadness and found profound relief in staying in the moment of breath and abandoning the recurring thoughts of sadness that accompany our passage through grief.

    Return to this breath in times of stress and circular thinking. Stay focused on the exhale.







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  • Chinese Medicine in all it's wholistic glory makes a fine point in assessment of disease and it's roots that are spread from material/physical symptomology to mental/emotional states as well as spiritual origins of disease; it even touches on the newly recognized field of epigenetics and inherited patterns of disease through our genetic lineages. 

    Dis-ease in the body manifests from any one of the levels: physical, emotional/mental, spiritual...from a turn of the ankle during a run to an inherited predisposition to diabetes or the emotional state that can lay down the path for Diabetes Mellitus to take hold in the body.

    Once the body chooses a route of expression for the dis-ease, the longer the pattern or expression remains, the more we see it spread ..eventually to all levels and aspects of the body and mind.

    Over the years of my practice, I have seen this slow progression of illness time and again.  In deep sadness, a client overcome with grief and loss begins to feel the heaviness in the chest, breathing begins to change, the ribcage heavy with emotion, tense with the intensity of emotion becomes restricted, further impacting the lungs; the organs associated with grief in Chinese 5 Phase theory. Unable to let go of grief reshapes the body as well, closing the front of the chest, the shoulders slumping forward to comfort the lungs in their labored function, the spine curves forward, the head nodding deeply as well causing further restriction and pain. In Chinese medicine we say grief/sadness dissolves the Qi (the energy of the body that infuses every cell and animates life, some people call it bio-electricity) and impacts the kidneys. Western medicine now recognizes the links between lung and kidney function that Chinese medicine has spoken about for millenia.

    Longstanding grief alters the chemistry of the body, changing us quite literally from happy chemical factories to a state of withdrawal. Not only do we mourn, we are also deprived of the endorphins: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and other feel-good substances. The cascade continues...low dopamine inhibits immune function, it makes us less resilient physically and makes it difficult for our body to fight off inflammation on a systemic level.

    Chinese medicine recognizes that the entire system is affected when any emotion is not in balance. Every cell connected. Every cell remembers.

    This is why when grief enters our world and takes up residence, no matter how the physical symptoms of grief, acknowledged or undiagnosed, are treated, they will only resolve to a certain extent or oscillate back to the original pathological pattern. This is also why early trauma and inherent grief/loss encountered with that trauma often sets the stage for so many diseases from the many faces of cancer to autoimmune disorders and respiratory conditions.






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  • This post will be continuously updated...

    From Meditation techniques to Health routines and Mindset to Fasting; Here are my all time favorite resources:

    If you are interested in exploring the books/authors I have mentioned here. These are Amazon affiliate links:


    The Law of Attraction by Esther Hicks https://amzn.to/46zVUop

    Ask and it is Given by Esther Hicks https://amzn.to/3tLCUF0

    The Astonishing Power of Emotions by Esther Hicks https://amzn.to/46Hh6ZO

    This is a free version of Ram Dass' work with meditation https://www.amazon.com/Journey-of-Awakening-Ram-Dass-audiobook/dp/B0000544S9/ref=sr_1_10?crid=1RUHCQNDHOWUF&keywords=ram+dass+books&qid=1698182644&s=audible&sprefix=ram+dass+books%2Caudible%2C102&sr=1-10



    When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron https://amzn.to/3Scxwok

    F*%K Death:Hardcore Grief Recovery Workbook by Steve Case https://amzn.to/47hbe9m

    Grief Day By Day by Jan Warner https://amzn.to/45ZgwFt

    Anxiety: the Missing Stage of Grief by Claire Bidwell Smith https://amzn.to/46FPjZN

    On Grief & Grieving by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross & David Kessler https://amzn.to/3tJnAIW


    Reading the Body, The Art of Looking:

    Reading the Body by Wataru Ohashi https://amzn.to/3skhJcM

    Your Body Never Lies by Michio Kushi https://amzn.to/3SsOOOr

    The Body Keeps the Score by Dr. Bessel Vad Der Kork  https://amzn.to/4754bAK



    Dr. Mindy Pelz:

    Fast Like a Girl https://amzn.to/494SH1M

    Fast Like a Girl Workbook https://amzn.to/3Mf4gd8

    The Menopause Reset https://amzn.to/3Mf4gd8

    The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung https://amzn.to/3QuiGIz


    Chinese Medicine Resources:

    Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford https://amzn.to/49l61iG

    Healing Ourselves by Daverick Leggett https://amzn.to/3SnPULf

    Between Heaven and Earth by Beinfeld & Korngold https://amzn.to/3QKfubU

    The Web That Has No Weaver by Ted Kaptchuk https://amzn.to/3QtGco3


    Psychology & Personal Understanding

    Team You by Jeanine Cerundolo https://amzn.to/47hJoKi

    The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut https://amzn.to/40ucfZt


    Self Healing:

    Heal Your Body by Louise Hay https://amzn.to/3MvaAgK

    Mirror Work by Louise Hay https://amzn.to/3SsXSm7

    Gratitude: A Way of Life by Louise Hay https://amzn.to/3QKXmOf

    The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer https://amzn.to/3u3WzAb

    Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch https://amzn.to/49qT5YL

    Updated in November 2023
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  • Welcome Dear Reader, 

    If you found your way here, it was not by accident. This inaugural blog post is a starting point for both of us.

    My name is Suzan Fleck and for almost 25 years, I have practiced Japanese/Chinese medicine, guiding people through life and health challenges with the tools of acupuncture, herbs, bodywork, meditation and mindfulness. My intention with this blog is to formalize the guidance, tools, resources and actions I have shared with my clients since 1998. 

    This is a deeply personal endeavor for me and I intend to share my own journey, having both used each of tools and concepts in my own life. Therefore, it is integral for me to share at this time; I am not a psychotherapist (we have psychotherapists on staff here at Circle of Health if you are seeking those services). I am not a Western Allopathic physician (Circle of Health has those too). I am not nutritionist or trainer.  I approach this blog as both a fellow traveler seeking to LIVE MY BEST LIFE as well as a Chinese medicine provider.  The information herein is for your consideration and hopefully, will resonate with you in a way that inspires you to embrace your highest potential and live a life of health, vitality, loving your NOW, and growing into everything life has to offer you.

    There is no right way to read this blog. The blogs are stream of consciousness. They cover many different topics and orientations. All are intended to serve you to explore from the point of your own attraction to the material and are discreet units of information. Each post will have a basic topic, some discussion and in most cases, links to materials and tools to help you further explore or implement the information in your daily life.

    Because really, what I have found is the greatest determiner of what you experience mentally, emotionally and physically is what you DO every day.

    As the mindset maven Esther/Abraham Hicks says, 'You get what you pay attention to, whether you like it or not'.

    And this is where it all begins, my friends.

    Our bodies, these incredibly elegant systems designed to survive and perpetuate our genetic line, drive us through life with the unconscious autonomic system. Allowing us to breathe, blink, salivate, digest, and countless other tasks without a thought. Our unconscious stockpiles information and creates a safe and reliable road map for life for us, aiming for stability, trusting the comfortable predictable and narrowing our future experiences with every event, whether traumatic or ecstatic, as mentioned in books like "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD.

     Our bodies' shapes and health shift and change, contract and expand according to our experiences. I know that seems like an obvious statement but pause a moment and reflect on how unconsciously we as a culture move through modern life. 

    When was the last time you heard someone say, 'I have a migraine today' and someone replies conversationally, 'do you know why?' or is it more likely the offer of a painkiller to ease the discomfort?

    In a culture where comfort is offered to us at every turn, it is easy to forget that your body is your vehicle, your space suit, as Ram Dass/Richard Alpert, spiritual leader and author describes it, a guidance system that provides you with non-stop feedback regarding your operational systems. Every pain, every symptom from a muscle cramp to an acne breakout, insomnia to chronic fatigue is telling you that your system needs tweaking or a tune up, and learning to listen to your body is one of the greatest conversations you will ever have. 

    Step One is becoming conscious of and listening and learning the language of the body in all it's aspects.

    Step Two is taking action to help your body to fall back to health, which it is always striving to do with each signal it gives requesting change in the routines that you carry out daily.

    And Step Three is allowing yourself to abandon the early cultural, familial and peer conditioning we have all received that says living by default, staying caught in the rat race of busy, unintentional living is really living at all.  This is also the step where you step INTO a relationship with your body, your spirit and your divine purpose and really experience health and vitality.

    So if you have made it this far, you may be someone looking for answers, maybe even THE answer to living a more fulfilling life mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically. Welcome. These are the tools that have worked for me. 

    Stay tuned...here is a bit of what we will be exploring:

    The Tipping Point & The Choice

    The Classical Chinese Medicine Theory of the 5 Phases and how you can use it to understand inner/interpersonal relationship

    Epigenetics and Family Conditioning & Entanglements 

    The Importance of Ritual

    The Default Button

    Survivor Mode

    Transforming Overwhelm to Opportunity Mindset

    Trusting your Gut/The Role of Intuition in your Daily life

    Grief in all its' Forms & Stages

    The Silent Partnership of Anxiety & Depression

    When the Light Goes Out/Finding Purpose

    The 7 Emotions as Described by Chinese Medicine

    Gratitude Practices

    Patterns, Loops & Resets

    The Firehose of Stimulation

    Ancestral Entanglements

    Creator Mindset

    Mindfulness Tools

    If you are interested in exploring the books/authors I have mentioned here. These are Amazon affiliate links:

    The Body Keeps the Score by Dr. Bessel Vad Der Kork  https://amzn.to/4754bAK

    The Law of Attraction by Esther Hicks https://amzn.to/46zVUop

    Ask and it is Given by Esther Hicks https://amzn.to/3tLCUF0

    The Astonishing Power of Emotions by Esther Hicks https://amzn.to/46Hh6ZO

    This is a free version of Ram Dass' work with meditation https://www.amazon.com/Journey-of-Awakening-Ram-Dass-audiobook/dp/B0000544S9/ref=sr_1_10?crid=1RUHCQNDHOWUF&keywords=ram+dass+books&qid=1698182644&s=audible&sprefix=ram+dass+books%2Caudible%2C102&sr=1-10

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  • Acupuncture can be successfully used to treat tennis elbow and provide natural drug-free pain relief. Tennis elbow occurs when the outside of the elbow becomes painful and tender as a result of inflammation, damage or tearing of the tendons and muscles of this area.


    Updated in May 2021
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  • What keeps a professional athletic team playing at the top of its game? If you ask the San Francisco Giants baseball team, part of their response would include giving credit to acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

    Updated in May 2021
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  • High performance athletes, like NBA players are turning to Acupuncture for drug-free & natural pain relief. Retired players like Kobe BryantShaquille O’NealSteve NashJason KiddCharles BarkleyYao MingGrant HillJeff Hornacek and Kevin Johnson among others reportedly used acupuncture during their playing days to enhance their recovery.

    Updated in May 2021
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  • Acupuncture is commonly utilized in the intervention of pain and has also been gaining popularity in sports medicine. Athletes are treated with acupuncture for the relief of soft tissue injuries such as sprains, muscle strains, and tendonitis.

    Updated in May 2021
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  • Recovering from workouts has become nearly as important as training itself. Are far infrared saunas the new go-to for recovery?

    Updated in April 2021
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  • After finishing a workout, or a long day at work, those in the know find the relaxing heat of a sauna a very attractive option. Why? Well, in addition to being incredibly relaxing, regular saunas also offer many health benefits for athletes — like improving muscular endurance and shortening recovery time after exercise.

    Updated in April 2021
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