i’m still here

I’m still here. I just stopped writing. I see that new people are still reading what I’ve written, and that’s awesome. I hope something I’ve talked about was helped you or lead you to being helped in some way.  Not that I don’t have anything to say; if something comes up maybe I’l post something. And continue to keep doing la-jin and pai-da if you are!

If anyone has questions for me, just e-mail me or comment below. I’d be happy to talk.

Barefoot jogging

Tried barefoot jogging for the first time (I don’t remember doing it) on Sunday. No special shoes or anything though. I tried it on the local track. It was actually pretty ‘fun’, which is weird since normally jogging is extremely uncomfortable since my back is so stiff. I feel like now at least my legs seem normal enough to move around, but then my spine is holding me back… its kind of like my legs moving with my whole upper body held together like a rock.. But yeah it was funny because half of the track was cool, covered from the shadows of the trees; whenever I started entering the hot part of the track (I suppose asphalt), I would jog really quickly haha. Its like running over ‘hot coals’ or whatever except its for like the whole track. Its a nice feeling for your feet. And its definitely a good thing if you understand a bit about chinese medicine (keeping warm is good, get hot foot baths, etc).

Tried it again today, and after 30 minutes I could already feel the rocks digging into my feet and huge blisters on my feet. I’m goina wait about 1-2 days and repeat.

Not much of an update on la jin and pai da but I’ll bring it up when I have something more to say about it.

Greetings. (allergies anyone?) part 1

Again I have that obligatory comment about how its been x weeks since I’ve written anything. Its funny. I guess it just means that when I do write its at least with a certain amount of passion such that I can’t not write something down. I’m just going to say this is part 1 so that I can add more to it if I feel like I have to – but I will say now I will probably write too much for anyone but myself to read… =D

I was going to write about an allergy incident the day it happened but guess what I didn’t and here I am. Not the best timing since now its past but I remember what happened and took some pictures.

So I went to a dinner party with my family.. given that the food there is Chinese, it just so happened I ate something that probably had like peanuts or something I was allergic to in it (and of course I didn’t know or couldn’t tell just looking at it). Still not sure what it was, but about 5 minutes after eating I already noticed that I had troubling swallowing and that my throat was itchy and my lip felt swollen. I felt like I could manage it and just moved on. A lot of people went outside and I joined them. After coming back I just felt weird. I don’t know if it was the grass, or fertilizer, or what but I remember feeling… why is my face so numb and I couldn’t move it? I felt kind of hot too… Then I looked in the mirror and lol I saw like a billion bumps on my face and that it was really red. My lips were so swollen and were probably like 3x normal size. Basically I got hives (I assume Acute urticaria: the symptoms are just a lot of bumps over the body that are extremely itchy). Then I checked my arms and realized that it was like everywhere. To get the idea, just picture like a thousand mosquito bites everywhere.

Adding the pictures! if you don’t like bumps or whatever then caution.

Not sure if you can tell from the pictures but those bumps and red spots shouldn’t be there haha.

Normally (this happened multiple times before and probably to a lot of other people) you have to do something drastic like take anti-histamines (benadryl or something similar), maybe epi-pen (never had one so maybe not), or go to the emergency room. In my case, I have never that it happen so badly.. Normally I would just get a few bumps on my arm or feel like I couldn’t breathe. This time I just felt like a puffy pillow or something weird where everything was itchy and my skin was really red.

This case is extremely similar to another incident I get with allergies. I think I talked about it before. I’m kind of undermining how miraculous it was but basically I ate some peanuts on the plane and some a similar reaction but felt my heart hurt and had trouble breathing. Ironically no medicine there and the attendants didn’t exactly help lol so I just did pai-da (slapping) because it was really the only option I had since we were in the middle of the ocean. After like 30 minutes of it I started feeling better and eventually everything was alright… and this was when the people around me started waking up and were confused to why I was hitting myself while at the same time no one asked what the problem was.

Anyways back to that other night. Similarly, I didn’t have any medicine on me and the people there probably didn’t have any at there house. My parents weren’t there at the time. I talked with another parent who did pai da and she asked if we should do it. Again I felt some initial hesitation just like on the plane. I knew that the pai-da method worked for me before but I just felt awkward doing it in front of people even though my health was kind of on the line. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and gave in. She helped pai-da my arm and after about 30 minutes the swelling and bumps on my face started to fade away and I felt a bit more relaxed. Then I went home and my mom helped me do it on my arms and legs since if I didn’t continue I wouldn’t have been able to sleep since it was so itchy. After like maybe another 30 minutes, everything basically went away. Just for comparison, taking medicine would require finding the medicine, and then waiting like 30 minutes for any effect at all, and going to the emergency room would require transportation and time (x minutes), waiting and a lot of money. We both felt amazed (and this is even after I know it works). Its weird that just knowing things or saying things are just on a lower level that actually doing or seeing it in action. Its why understanding is doing.

Sometimes for the things that count, you really just have to see it for yourself and try it before you dismiss it. If it ever happens again I know what to do.

Recently: Working on pushups and pullups again. Up to 30 pushups and 9 pullups? I progressed from 3 pullups by increasing about 1 a week. I also found out I can do clap pushups when I couldn’t even lift off the ground before. Still doing la-jin and walking in the morning. I do need to work on my back/butt since I need some muscle there. Yeah it really just is commitment and a change of heart to do something and nothing more. One probably needs motivation though (most likely negative: the suffering of your problems gives you a warning).

Hello Again!

Well I waited another few weeks to write something again =O. I’l get used to writing more often at some point. So as far as I know, I have really been improving in my health a lot. I can’t even believe it. Its funny because I don’t feel like I’m actually doing that much too be more healthy. Its probably because at this point I know what I need to be doing, that each day something needs to be done and while it was a pain before to keep that on my mind at all times, now it can partially be unconscious like it is for most people who are healthy. Its makes sense since being healthy is a lifestyle – its a part of daily routine, not something you do for x days. Of course when you are sick, you might need to change something and be more serious about it and do more than you need to. That’s kind of the irony of it. When you are sick or have problems, you need to do more (exercise more, sleep early, etc). When you are healthy, you ‘can’ do less of all of it.

But for some reason, when a lot of us become sick – we mentally become ill as well and become lazy, tired, and sad. In my history of being sick, I remember lying in bed, watching tv, and all that stereotypical stuff that kids do. I think in our society today, being sick gives us the wrong attitude. That you are allowed to just sit there, rest, and eat some pills and be okay. Its ok in the short run, but in the long run people start depending on outside help (the doctor, medicine) to get them out of it. We forget that we ourselves can help ourselves. Its like we are teaching ourselves something and doing something different. Doctors can constantly tell us to ‘exercise, eat healthy, stay positive’, but what they do is give us some pills, treatment, surgery, etc. Its up to both sides to change this. In this way its more about caring about your patient and understanding what they are going through. Its more psychology than ‘medicine’. Its about getting to the root of their problem (which he/she only knows). Its about getting that person to change their lifestyle because ultimately that’s how most of our problems come about. Taking that pill only helps change the symptoms they have currently. What pill do we have to change the symptoms they get in the future? What technology to do we have that eliminates the diseases the get in the future?

We have the answers already. We have solutions already that all of us know (doctors and patients). Its important we don’t forget about them in this age of technology. Most of us are trying to solve the wrong problem. Its similar to this article: http://www.jaynathan.org/2012/03/solving-the-wrong-problem/. Basically our end goal (I think) is a sustainable (including environmental I suppose but repeatable, uncostly, simple) way to cure our diseases. Currently we are focusing on what we learned through the germ theory of disease and other things. We focus on the fact that everyone is made up smaller entities and we just need to remove them to make diseases go away, since those things cause disease. Many prominent doctors and research talk about how x% (>50%) of diseases are preventable and that not that many people have to do to the hospital in the first place. There have been a ton of articles taking about over-diagonsis (not sure that’s the right word actually), too much ‘testing’, too many people being admitted to hospitals and emergency rooms.They created the Heritage Health Prize – Identify patients who will be admitted to a hospital within the next year, using historical claims data, which has a prize of $3 million.

 Like in any subject, field, or venture, its important to look at multiple sides and try new things. Since no one in the field will try anything alternative, its up to the ‘stupid’ patients to try these things out. Just because there isn’t a theory behind the method or evidence based on your understanding doesn’t mean its not true. Obviously if there is an explanation its going to be outside of your knowledge or else you would understand it already. It’s worth the chance for these people to try these things on their own because a lot of the time the alternative of doing whatever is standard is bad enough. I took a chance and fortunately got to where I am today. Yes, I attribute my improved health because of what I did and not because of chance. Right now I’m not telling everyone to do what I’ve done because if they are willing to try it, they will come. For the people who didn’t care before, nothing I say can change their mind; for everyone else I can try.

I’m just a kid. My experience is 1 in billions, so it has no impact so far in the world. I don’t expect my experience to just change everything, I can just improve my life and through that see what happens. However, ancedotes are how theories and solutions are started. That’s how it all comes together.

-I should probably find the articles..

Pi Mile (Part 1: its tomorrow!)

Well time to run some more in the Pi mile tomorrow! One interesting thing to note is that I that I find myself becoming self-conscious of my ability/health again. Although I am doing all of this to be healthy and not for competition, the fact that its a still a ‘competition’ for everyone one someone makes my want to try really hard. In turn it makes me feel maybe scared, fearful, etc. I’m sure that’s why a lot of people don’t participate in things like these. Its like we have to prove to ourselves we have to improve and that we are worth something. Only if you are the best, if you are in your top form should you participate. I know I shouldn’t be thinking like this, but part of me … I think everyone does this a lot. My goal is that its just an opportunity to show that I am committed to improving my health. Easier said than done to say that you shouldn’t care enough about your appearance or ability to compete but I really shouldn’t be bothered by it since I’m only worrying myself. No one else knows my feelings and its only my perception of everyone’s else future opinion of me (and people I don’t know). I guess it goes back to the saying that the world acts in the the way that you act.

I ask other people or other people ask if me if I have been “blank” (where blank can be for example: running). Then if we aren’t, we make the excuse that because we haven’t “blank” in “x” years (usually > 1 year) that we don’t do it, even though each time its more reason to do so. When we get sick, we try to move less, to think less, to act less responsible. We begin to pity ourselves, depend on others, and basically lose hope to live (physically/mentally whether its conscious or not). It’s the same with everything else, such as aging. When we stay with the status quo, stay in the same mindset, or think we know it all… we stop learning.

A lot of what we think is wrong, and sometimes its funny when you realize that its sometimes completely the opposite. Hopefully we can all continue to discover these things, as thinking that we are 100% correct and then not even knowing we are wrong is probably our worst flaw, and knowing so will make us more humble, more godly people. =D

Lets set a goal.

So since I’m back from a week’s worth of healthy lifestyle during spring break, I should set some goals. I signed up for our school’s pi mile in a few weeks, so I’m preparing for that. My goal is just to finish. I realize that I did it last year in about 40 minutes which is unbelievable to me since right now I jog under walking speed. Its not that important but I can be confident that continuing to wake up early and run each day well lead to many positive results. And even if I don’t get any faster at least I’m finally doing what’s right and good for my health. At least I’m putting in the effort, whether not anything happens shouldn’t be my concern or a worry because its out of my control at that point. I guess this is the distinction between making a good decision and having a good outcome. The outcome isn’t always dependent how well the decision was made since anything happens.

I’m making it my other goal to get rid of my ezcema before this semester is over. I think it’s possible.

Addition: I’ve done it before. The reason it came back was for a lot of reasons. The last time I did the yixingtianxia workshop in Atlanta, my ezcema improved at least like 80%. After a while I came back home and it went back to a worse state. This was the cause of 1. its extremely likely the problem is a lot deeper than just a skin problem 2. the years of using steroids on my skin problem pushed the problem deeper and deeper so that their are like ‘layers’ of it 3. each day I sin and make more mistakes which may lead to disease 4. I stopped doing pai-da frequently at school because it was weird (uncomfortable for others, loud, etc). Haven’t found a good solution for that other than asking. Its funny thinking about where you could go do something like that other than your own room. I’ll write a post soon (probably long) on my new thoughts about disease, where it comes from, and how we should (really) fix it.

The heart. (xin)

I wrote this a few months ago and didn’t post it. Writing another blog post probably tomorrow or the next day on yixingtianxia Days 5-7 and my thoughts on this break.

As hard as it was and is to admit it, much of the disease and problems I’ve had were mostly a result of  the problems with my 心 (xin).  This is the word for heart (which in Chinese refers to both the body part and the mind itself in different contexts). Too often we think that we do no wrong while everyone else does. Its way to often we blame other people, the environment, etc. We put ourselves in front of everyone else, in front of god. We believe we don’t deserve this fate (and only complain about it). In most situations we feel powerless and feel like the result was because of only external forces.

I never would of expected after going to the yixingtianxia health camp that what I would be learning there would literally change my life. I really thought the pai-da and la jin method/therapy was some dumb exercise (well of course at first I was as skeptical as anyone else). Of the course of that week and then the other two weeks, I realized how much all of this ‘medicine’ was about meditation and my heart.Somehow through all that pain, suffering, thinking, mediation you come out thinking that maybe you were wrong. I slowly realized and was finally looking at my own mistakes instead of others and finding that hey I made a bunch of decisions that were negative for my own health (whether it not it contributed specifically to the problems I have today they certainly affected me negatively).

It continues to be almost impossible to think, but somehow disease is a signal from your body to yourself that you are wrong. You have problems, and through lifestyle changes you can improve. Medicine sure can help but if you stay the same way as you are, everything will come back the way it was before. Not everything is just some virus eating at your system. Try to notice how your worst enemy might be yourself (you didn’t even know). Its a gift to you, an opportunity to change. Heed the warning…else you suffer.. else you die.

You might have seen a change in me through my writing even just looking back at my first post (written (not posted) about ~ 1 year from this week).

random: It’s interesting my Chinese name (朱心宇) translates to something like “big red heart” or something. Definitions: 朱 is vermilion (red-ish) and a surname. 心 is the heart/mind. 宇 is the universe. I guess 宇 tries to signify that my ‘red heart’ is as big as the universe. I think that’s pretty great goal to accomplish.

Days 2-4. (yixingtianxia at home)

Although a lot of this blog will probably be updates about my health and the people around me, I think it would be helpful to me to explain what I’ve learned through this process just talking generally about disease and writing specific posts not focusing too much on medicine/treatment. It certainly doesn’t have to be correct but is just what I am learning in this life-long process. This way I won’t leave everyone in the dark talking about pai-da and la-jin (for people who might think not be interested in any of that). – I’l do something like this really soon.

But back to before. The mini class (yixingtianxia class) is already halfway over. Running at 6 am is getting harder and harder, but since we stopped fasting (so its only 3 days) it will probably be fine for the rest of the 7 days. I’ve been able to consistently get sha now (on my forearms, arms, thighs). I’ve been able to do around 30 minutes of la-jin per leg which is an improvement from before at school when I just did 20 minutes. I think everyone has improved a lot in terms of these exercises as well as notice physical changes. Simply staying away from the computer probably helped as well as not having any stress (from school or anything really). Hopefully going back there to the ‘real world’ won’t be any different from now since I can see myself getting better extremely quickly with this schedule.

Can’t believe it’s basically been a year since… (yixingtianxia Day 1)

I can’t believe it’s basically been a year since… I really started to take care of my health. Like many of you know, I took a week off of school the week after spring break to go to a health workshop thing in Atlanta to learn about how to improve my health. There I met a lot of people like me, people with their own problems and diseases. Together we laughed, cried, learned, and exercised. I’m sure most of us came out of the week feeling good that we had accomplished so much in so little time. Most of us probably went back home to normal life with a new attitude and lifestyle, focused on health as the priority. Now that’s its been a year already, I can think back to myself that I’ve really come pretty far. I haven’t had anything serious happen to me, no reason to take any more medicine or go back to the doctor, and I feel in control of my thoughts and my life. Of course I must continue in this way, remembering what it was like before and knowing that I shouldn’t sacrifice something like fun, money, school, etc in favor of doing what is necessary for a healthy life. It’s been nice to change.

So its already Spring Break again. My mom, friend, and I are going to do mini-workshop thing at home, trying to do as close as possible to what we did at the actual class. Of course it won’t be as strenuous and serious as before, but it will help all of us get in the mindset of continuing to improve ourselves when we go back to school/work. I kind of didn’t want to do it that badly, but since my friend wanted to do so, why wouldn’t I? I’m excited that he is embracing this method and that it is working for him. This kind of thing is weird because you are always scared of whether it works. You hear stories of other people and even when it works well for you, it might be another step to keep continuing. I guess I’m saying that even though something is really effective and works, if you are willing to put in the effort, you won’t get anywhere. I guess its similar to knowing that eating healthy/sleeping at the right time and right amount/exercising is good to keep you healthy, but that knowing that doesn’t change most people’s mindset at all. In addition to that however, not many people are focused on changing their own attitude either. I personally don’t need any scientific evidence to know that having a negative attitude or sinning can have negative results on your actual body. The disease of the mind -> disease of the body and vice versa.

Today was the first day. Woke up at 5:40 and ran at 6 for an hour. Then we had date/ginger tea and just meditated (just telling yourself to relax) for 15 minutes. Then we did pai da for a while.For me, I finally tried hitting in a different place other than the elbow where I had ezcema and guess what I had sha (translation is literally ‘poisoned blood’) come out.

Explanation (if you’re interested): Basically its just bad stuff. Doing pai da (slapping) and having that come out is both a treatment and diagnosis. If it hurts patting there, it means that area has a problem, and if you continue to hit – the sha will appear (it can be red,blue,purple, w.e and can have different shapes/forms). Some people will get bumps/swelling which is also ‘good’.

Putting that in quotes to just say that most people will think hitting yourself is the stupidest thing ever and that getting sha to come out must be a bad thing. I think that reaction is similar to I guess the philosophy that the reactions/symptoms you get from diseases are bad. Some examples are: having high blood pressure, getting a fever, etc. They are symptoms not the cause. Treating the symptoms probably isn’t the best answer since you never take out the root. Its probably similar to how treating a skin disease with creams/steroids kind of mask the problem when its something that’s causing the skin to act in a certain way. I have personal experience with this since all the creams I used worked until a point where I had to get stronger and stronger types because they all stopped working. When I didn’t use the creams, the skin would get even worse and it felt like the skin was getting thinner.

The most common response is that hitting yourself will make your blood vessels like pop or something or cause internal bleeding that cannot be stopped. Well lets just say that if you keep doing pai-da (slapping) on that area – the sha ‘melts’ away. If you don’t want to do that, then you can just wait a few days and everything we look as normal as before.

Edit: removed the picture

What happened (really quickly): We ate some porridge for breakfast/lunch. We slept for an hour after lunch. Then we did la jin. After that we wrote down what we did and reflected upon the day, writing down how we were feeling after a day’s worth of work. Everyone seemed to have positive outcomes: My Imom said her allergies weren’t that bad, my back and left leg wasn’t hurting and I felt great and not tired, and my friend said he hadn’t felt as good as he did since before he started having problems/pain. Huge news right there.

I definitely can’t say I know everything, rather that I know nothing. I just know my own experience and am trying to learn from others. My experience and the experiences of others tells me that although the normal method of treatment (your role to get sick and the doctor’s role to treat you) worked well before, the current state of technology and knowledge is far too limited. So much has changed in the past years – transportation, communication, the availability of food, etc has caused our lifestyles to change. We are still learning and figuring out life. Only until pretty recently has the public known about how smoking is harmful. I guess in due time we will figure out a lot more. However, for the people who are currently sick and need help, they have the opportunity to try something else. I don’t know whether any of us has the responsibility and authority to tell anyone how they should live and how they should treat their disease. You can say that most of the people in the world are bad or that all alternative medicine (treatment that isn’t currently used) is bad, but I think the people suffering have a different perspective. The percentage of survivors isn’t the best indicator to someone whether they should try a treatment because it cannot apply directly to them. Yes it is hard or depending on the person, impossible to guarantee anything. However, I guess some of us can’t wait till the time when it’s finally established that we have figured something out. Probably going to add to this part later.