Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vegan for a Month: Day 16 (many links!)

Well, if pure weight loss was a goal of this pursuit, week two was a negative one, as a pound was gained. I'll blame the bad weather.

Maybe I need to read/view some of the links Dr. Duckworth has passed along. It's not a small grouping of readings, so pick-and-choose, as you have time (from, unless otherwise noted):

New veg show on cooking channel

Milk intake and osteoporosis examined

A speech on "The Starch Solution" by John McDougall, MD

Time Magazine: Veggies still good for you

A debate over the book "The China Study"

Vegetarianism as long-life indicator

High fructose corn syrup's fat-inducing effects

High-end vegan dining in SF

Food Democracy Now: a clearinghouse for issues relating to good eating

Monday, December 13, 2010

Qs for Dr. Duckworth: Natural Remedy for Dry Skin?

Question for Dr. Duckworth,

Do you have any thoughts on natural remedies for dry skin? As we've moved into winter, I'm finding that over-the-counter lotions aren't completely doing the trick. Thanks.

M. Graham


You can make a lotion out of ginger and sesame oil. Take the ginger and chop it up, very fine. Then pour in sesame oil, or even olive oil. Use one part ginger to three parts oil. You could even go as high as a one part-to-one part. Mix it up over three days' time. The ginger will activate properties in the oil to make a nice ointment for the skin.

Dr. Duckworth

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vegan for a Month: Day 9

It's good to get some information in your system, when you're about to make a change in lifestyle, even for a shorter term eyb. As someone who built up about three years of veganism in smaller chunks, I wanted to read up on some supporting literature, while also looking for any drawbacks that might occur, any nutritional deficits that I might be inviting.

The two main bits of media that I took in while transitioning in December would certainly be considered advocacy of a more vegetarian and, by extension, locavore diet. Readers of this blog would be sympathetic, I'm guessing, to many of the ideas expressed in them and may have already taken in the works.

As someone who lists the books that I read, I noticed that I'd recently consumed two by Anthony Bourdain, the world-renowned chef, traveler, author, curmudgeon and champion of meat-eating. In response, I picked up "The Face on Your Plate" by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, a writer unknown to me, despite myriad titles to his credit. He's a sensitive man, and I don't say that with disrespect. The process of killing animals for food revolts him at that base level, he's even squeamish around sustainable family farms that grow animals for meat. The book's smart and you'll learn something about how your meal came to be; for sushi fans, his describing the way eels are killed will be something you won't forget the next time you're checking off boxes at your local sushi restaurant. His calls, though, for more happiness for farm animals is one of the ideas that probably won't resonate with most Americans. On the other hand, his discussions of how he, in his late 60s, keeps up with his young children, while still able to work out at a highly effective clip might sway more. In fact, his advocacy for a Meatless Monday is likely pointing to a way to bring people into a more vegetarian lifestyle, if at a slower pace. For those that labor over books, it's a quick, "readable" read.

"Food Inc." is a film that's made a mark in a short period of time, the 2008 documentary (available for online streaming at Netflix) tackling factory farming, American families and their over-reliance on fast food, the ability of companies like WalMart to make a major dent in the ecological future of our world, and a variety pack of other major-and-minor themes involving our country's food production and checkout line desires. Though it's a strident film, with clear points of view from the first few frames, the doc's got enough subtlety to not wear you out with jackhammering of messages. (That said, I watched it in two sittings, so I might be countering my own point; the early section on chicken farms might have you walking around the block, on a search for some perspective.) The film's probably going to find an audience already caring about these issues, but if it somehow made it into schools, public television and other mainstream viewing circles, the effect could be profound. The images and messages explored are so universally troubling, only the most unthinking people could resist making some change for the better after watching.


Oh yeah! An update, or two, on the last entry. Lost five pounds the first week of the vegan plan. Ate one massive pot of healthy soup to do so; once exercise kicks into higher year, the results should even even better. And the sugar cravings are largely past. There's still that temptation to grab an Amp when they're around, but those afternoon and early-evening crashes are starting to abate. Shew.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Vegan for a Month: Day 4

Greetings. My name's Thomas and I'm generally the person who posts up videos and other blog items here. I've been a patient of Dr. Duckworth (and occasionally Jason Hackler) for the past 18-or-so months. During that time, I've welcomed the approaches and care given at NLTC. But no one can monitor you all the time, and I've allowed some personal habits to push me to a personal-high weight of 231 pounds.

As a former athlete (not a good one, but an active one), this is completely galling. It pains me to even type in those numbers. 2. 3. 1. Together. In a row. AYIE.

To combat the creep of pounds and to establish some better habits going forward, I called a truce with drinking, giving myself a break from alcohol for the last seven weeks of the year. That process I'm well into and it's not been a bad thing; it hasn't been that rough to adapt, actually. But I'm also tapping into a vegan diet for the month of December, figuring that there's no rougher month to attempt some dietary changes, what with holiday parties, cookies set out on every available surface and the wintry temperatures keeping outdoor exercise to a minimum.

Dr. Duckworth thought it'd be interesting, maybe informative, for me to punch up some thoughts over the next month. I've given myself a few days worth of veganism before jotting down the first thoughts, but I'd like to diverge from the meat-and-dairy talk for this first entry. Instead, I'd like to point out that energy drinks can be as addictive as anything I've come across.

While they probably disgust no lack of readers here, energy drinks have been a daily dose for me over the past year, or two. I'm partial to Rockstar, Amp and Full Throttle, while passing on Monster, Rip It and Xyence. (Though, if handed one of those for free after a concert, I've willingly broken my own rules.) For the first three-plus days of the new diet settings, what's bothered me most is a serious, mid-day craving for these caffeine-and-sugar bombs.

Used to be, I'd grab one before an afternoon class "to help keep me sharp." Or I'd grab one before working nights "just to stay awake." And sometimes I'd find myself with one in-hand, solely because I'd be paying for gasoline, or standing in the checkout aisle at a store, with the drinks within super-easy reach.

Cheese, oh, I'll miss it soon enough, I'm sure. A pizza? Oh! They're so delicious! But I just watched a friend dine at the awesome Good Pie without having a stress attack. After being vegetarian for 20 years, I've worked in a fair amount into my weekly meals and I'll certainly want some sushi, eventually.

The energy drinks, though? I miss them already, like old friends. It's mid-day of day four and mind's keeping with the program, but my body's detoxing. It ain't fun. But it is necessary.

More soon...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A natural medicine approach to warts

In western terms, warts are the result of viral activity in an environment conducive to that particular life form’s health and well being. In oriental natural medicine terms, warts thrive because of the over consumption of animal protein, especially red meat and shell fish, and sugar which create an acidic environment. Either point of view, in order to be rid of warts, you must change the eco-system.

In Japanese Naturopathic practices, the acidic environment is altered by introducing ume tea internally through the digestive system and eliminating sugars and animal protein from the diet. This would, of course, include dairy, artificial sweeteners and tropical fruits.

Genital warts should be washed or soaked with an ume solution and/or moxa tea; other external warts, including plantar warts, can be ‘burned’ off by applying raw eggplant to the wart. This procedure involves cutting thick pieces of the flesh of the eggplant and bandaging onto the wart. Most warts or wart clusters can be covered with a slice of eggplant that fits under a 2 inch band-aid. Ideally, the eggplant should be changed about every 4-8 hours and the eggplant compress maintained 24 four hours a day. However, using the eggplant just in the evening/through the night can be very powerful. Direct moxibustion (Japanese ½ grain size kyu, once a day for 2-3 days) is also very powerful. Another approach is to use thick slices of garlic in the same manner as eggplant. Either one should begin to show results in 3-10 days.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


As you enter Natural Life Therapy Clinic, directly in front of you there is a place of honor for my studies. There is a portrait of M. Masahilo Nakazono Osensei, founder of Kototama Life Medicine and my teacher. It is a beautiful pastel chalk on sandpaper painting by an extraordinary artist, Kitty Wallis. Sensei was about 64 when she painted him. To the left of Sensei's painting is a portrait of the three legendary emperors: Fu Hsi ([2852-2738 BCE], the Father of Philosophy and Divination who brought us the Principle of Tai Chi, Yin/Yang and authored The Book of Change (I CHING),(invented writing and fishing with nets); Shen Nung [28th Century BCE], Emperor of the Five Grains, Father of Agriculture and herbal identification; he is considered the Father of Chinese Medicine (who invented the plow, tamed the cow, yoked the horse and used fire to clear farm land); and Huang Ti [26997-2597 BCE], the author of the 'Yellow Emperior's Classic of Internal Medicine' and Father of Acupuncture. It is a copy by Judy Stone Sawyer from a 1798 Japanese scroll by Sibi Wake that I commissioned in 1989.

To the right of Sensei is the Medicine Buddha poster from the Tibetan Medical Center at Dharamsala. This 'clinic warming gift' travelled from the Dalai Lama's Clinic to mine via Larry Brilliant, MD, a World Health Organization physician involved in the eradication of small pox and a co-founder of SEVA, an international service organization serving the vision needs of indigenous people throughout the world Larry presented it soon after I opened my practice in June 1980. Our connection is through our beloved guru, Neem Karoli Baba Maharaji who instructed his followers to "Feed everyone; Serve everyone." In front of the painting is a sword resting on a small wooden bench.

On left side of the bench is a 'medicine bone' from Africa, a reminder that the art of healing comes in many forms; on the other side is a sand dollar, an object of beauty that remarkably resembles the symbol for Kototama Medicine that was designed by Sensei. It is round, contains a five-pointed 'flower,' has five holes and inside, has five 'doves,' continual reminders of the five dimensions of life energy and the multi-faceted ways the five energies create a whole. In front of the bench is a wooden plaque that reads "I have no sword, I make absence of self my sword."

On the shelf below is a copy of the 'Long Landscape Scroll' (1486), by Sesshu, considered Japan’s greatest artist; it depicts the gentle, gradual flow of the seasons from spring to winter. (The original is 51-feet long by 1 1/4-feet tall.) This too was gift from Sensei. In front of the scroll is a length of braided sweetgrass that Jason Hackler bestowed upon me. Sweetgrass is a spiritual ceremonial plant used by the First People of this continent and is referred to as "the Hair of Mother Earth." It is held that Earth gives us life and any person who thinks he is more important than Earth is truly and sadly lost.

On the middle shelf is a photo of Jason and me. It's a good picture. In front of the photo is a wild turkey feather I brought home from a retreat in Texas. Ben Franklin was a strong advocate of declaring the wild turkey as the national bird. It is a gentle social creature that clusters in large flocks and though they can fly, seemed rooted to the earth. Franklin felt the eagle to be a stand-alone bully that kills anything it sees and, as Franklin observed, "is a carrion beast." If things get tight, won't hesitate to eat 'road kill.' He didn't think the eagle represented the heart of America. Now, of course, he would see the eagle very much represents America, flying around killing whatever it sees.

Below that is a five picture frame presentation of cartoon samurai ducks… and you were expecting what?

Back to the top shelf. The sword came from a long time martial arts practitioner who wished to acknowledge the study and practice of Kototama Life Medicine as being in the tradition of the warrior-priest. The bench was a present from another extraordinary artist, Steve Auger. (The large painting on the north wall behind the puja table is an Auger creation.) The bench is a traditional tool of the shaman of South America. It was used as a seat for the physician, as a chopping block where he prepared his herbal medicines and as a headrest when he slept. The symbolism and grace of this simple piece of furniture never ceases to awe me. And the wooden plaque...

The wooden plaque is a gift from my close friend, student extraordinaire and long-time clinical associate, Jason Hackler, DOM, L.Ac. It is a constant reminder of the path I have chosen, the goals I seek and the attitude that best serves my quest. The lines, "I have no sword, I make absence of self my sword," are the final lines of a prayer/poem penned by a 14th Century samurai.

From Catholic seminarian to psychedelic explorer; Hindu devotee to Buddhist meditation practitioner; shaman and Shinto student and, finally, mastery of the Kototama Principle; my path has been long, intense, varied in form yet singular in purpose. I have sought and still seek to embrace everything with attachment to nothing; I have attempted to be whole and to be zero. My pride is my distraction, my determination, which some term arrogance, is fueled from deep within and in this poem/prayer I have found a sensible guide to physical life, spiritual development and intellectual integrity.

"I have no parents;
I make the heavens and earth my parents.
I have no home;
I make awareness my home.
I have no life or death;
I make the tides of breathing my life and death.
I have no divine power;
I make honesty my divine power.
I have no means;
I make understanding my means.
I have no magic secrets;
I make character my magic secret.
I have no body;
I make endurance my body.
I have no eye;
I make the flash of lightening my eyes.
I have no ears;
I make sensibility my ears.
I have no limbs;
I make promptness my limbs.
I have no strategy;
I make 'unshadowed by thought' my strategy.
I have no designs;
I make 'seizing the opportunity by the forelock' my design.
I have no miracles;
I make right-action my miracles.
I have no principles;
I make adaptability to all circumstances my principles.
I have no tactics;
I make emptiness and fullness my tactics.
I have no talents;
I make ready wit my talent.
I have no friends;
I make my mind my friend.
I have no enemy;
I make carelessness my enemy.
I have no armor;
I make benevolence and righteousness my armor.
I have no castle;
I make immovable-mind my castle.
I have no sword;
I make absence of self my sword."

This then is what greets me each time I walk through the door of Natural Life Therapy Clinic. When I greet you, this is what I am seeking to convey.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kirtan Sacred Chanting: Friday, October 1

Benjy & Heather Wertheimer

Kirtana Sacred Chanting
Unity in the Community Tour
Friday, October 1, 7 p.m.

Presented by Jan & Mitch Herzog and JennTara Ward

First Unitarian Church
5007 Waterman Blvd.
$20 in advance, $25 day of show
Advance tickets:

For more info, call Jan or JennTara at: 314-497-8452; or at

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What Is Natural Medicine?

By Thomas E. Duckworth, DKM, L.Ac.
Copywritten 2002

Perhaps I should be speaking of HUMAN medicine instead of NATURAL medicine because I believe that natural medicine is first and foremost, person-centered health care which is based on the premise that the well-being of the person is more important than the outcome of the procedure. You’ve heard the old joke: “The procedure worked perfectly but the patient died”.

Natural medicine is the recognition that the body is the sum of body/mind/spirit-in its environment.

Much of natural medicine has evolved from those cultures which have had no dichotomy between Mind and Body and which recognized that a living organism is part and parcel of the “external” environment in which it dwells.

In modern times we hear and read of the mind-body connection or mind/body/spirit unification. Modern physics and biology continue to confirm this phenomena but in Oriental medicine, this fact is not spoken of in hyphenated words. The functioning body, operating mind and living spirit are/is the base of human life. For brevity sake, I’ll use the term ‘body’.

The other important distinction is the dynamic environment in which the body lives - Nature. The western philosophies which provided the fiction that living is happening independent of environment has lead to some interesting ideas. Like the statement, “I love to get out in Nature on the weekends.” It has also led to the erroneous belief that the body (and mind) is made up of separate components. Now we have cardiologists who know nothing about the lungs, heart medicines that weaken the kidneys and specialists who say, “I checked your stomach and I couldn’t find anything that would cause you pain. Wait a few weeks and if it persists, we’ll run some more tests.” I liked the young doctor who told me, “What you eat has nothing to do with health.”

The body is always in an environment. It can not be separated from environment. It can change environments but it is always interacting with its outside. The mall may not be “natural” but it is the nature that body is in at the moment. The body is quite sensitive and is continually adapting (or attempting to adapt) to changes in the environment - changes in nature. This adaptation occurs according to certain principles - what we can call “natural principles.” That is, they are happening - period.

We all know how certain life forces are influenced by gravitational pull, lunar activity, by the ebb and flow of oceans and solar activity. “Natural Medicine" recognizes that all parts and systems of the body are interconnected, closely related, cooperative and functionally affect each other physiologically and pathologically. We are a Unified System.

In Oriental Medicine, for example, seasons and climatic changes in the environment are basic to understanding the health of each individual. In this Unified Field, we know not only that in the Spring it is warm but that there is a growing abundance of Ki (Qi) [Life energy] and Blood [Life force and nourishment].. We know the body is going to behave (if it can) in accordance with the same environmental principles that cause seeds to sprout, plants to develop leaves, animals to procreate, winds to blow and the earth to shift so as to allow an increase of sunlight. With the heat of summer we have full abundance and the energy is not only strong on the surface of the planet but on the surface of the body. The body will sweat more, urinate less and crave or need foods much different then what is needed in the winter. When taking the pulses, we find the pulse to be big and floating - that is, abundant and on the surface.. If the pulse is not like this, that person is known to be out of sync with his/her environment which will result in a weakening in the system.

So too with the coolness of fall and cold of winter - the Ki and Blood go deep inside, like the sap of the tree returning to the roots. There is scant sweat and profuse urine; the pulse is deep and fine and the inclinations, cravings and activities will be opposite to summer.

Even each day is different. From dusk to midnight, our yang (expansive) energy decreases and the mind too gets quiet.. From dawn to midday, our yang energy increases and so does our mind.

Even in sickness, a person with a fever (yang energy) will have less fever and less restlessness in the early morning hours but then have the fever ‘spike’ in late afternoon or early evening. This is the Wholeness of the body.

Any system of medicine that acknowledges this and attempts to work with the whole person is “Natural Medicine.” You can not say that Acupuncture is Natural Medicine or that surgery or psychiatry is not natural medicine. Natural Medicine is any health care provision that operates without a dichotomy and within the holism of Body/.Mind/Spirit/Nature(environment).

For years in our society there has been a preoccupation with disease. Consumers and health care providers seem to believe “that the body is fundamentally flawed, subject to disintegration at any moment, always on the verge of mortal disease, always in need of continual monitoring and support by health care professionals......” (Lewis Thomas 1977). As the story goes, a young medical doctor in residency training was asked, “What is the definition of health?” To which he quickly replied, “A situation where not enough tests were conducted.

I call it Natural Medicine. Other terms are: Holistic, Bio-social and Vitalistic. Whatever it is called, it is predicated on the assumption that a person is a single, unified organism, complex and intricate and so inner & interrelated that a malfunction in any one system affects and reflects on all subsystems.

Natural Medicine also recognizes that living organisms can influence normal biological processes and can even reverse processes that seen to be unchangeable.

Natural Medicine recognizes that there is such diversity of individuals at the gross anatomical level, the subtle bio-chemical level, the very subtle mental level and the even more subtle ‘karmic’ level that it is highly unlikely that a treatment correct for one person is necessarily correct for another - even if their symptoms are similar and their gross diagnosis is the same. Natural Medicine believes, “It is more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of disease a patient has.” (William Osler)

In Oriental Medicine, classification of illness is based on SHO (profile or picture), in which the sho of the illness is at the same time the sho of the course of treatment. It is said, the treatment is in the diagnosis. The sho is not only the name of the sickness; included are the individual's body type, constitution and condition; differences in environment; whether a condition is heavy or light, chronic or acute, the duration of the illness, etc. Thus, in the examination, individual differences, even small differences, are not overlooked. All facts must be fit together to arrive at the proper sho.

In Oriental medicine's system, several individuals may all exhibit the condition known in the West as Asthma, but each individual may be described by a different sho and thus will receive a different treatment. Conversely, different individuals may exhibit different symptoms, say bronchitis versus laryngitis, or gastric ulcer versus cholecystitis but the same sho may be involved. In which case, the same combination of acupuncture points may be used for both conditions. What is important is the sho, not any one symptom.

When even one element of the pattern is different, treatment can be radically different. For example, in cases where the main condition is identical, but one person shows out strong pulses and another with weak pulses, the treatment of these individuals is quite different. Oriental medicine is very much rooted in the here-now of each patient in comparison to Western medicine, which is much more theoretical - homogenizing and generalizing patients and diseases.

Natural Medicine will also seek diagnostic systems that are inexpensive and non-intrusive. When intrusive diagnostic techniques are needed, the Natural Medicine physician will approach the procedure with compassion and human concern, seeking to “do no further harm” as decreed by the medical Hippocratic oath. The Natural Medicine physician will never look at nor treat a living organism from the mechanistic model viewpoint.

No medical/industrial complex underlies acupuncture medicine. Its tools are extremely simple: needles and moxibustion and hands. Diagnostic tools are readily available - hands and ears and eyes. Compared to technological medicine, it is inexpensive both for the patient and for society.

So maybe I will stop calling what I do “Natural Life Medicine. I should call it “Vital Life Reaffirming Therapy”. Whatever it is called, I urge you to seek, to demand that your Physical, Mental and Spiritual physicians understand and incorporate into their practices a few basic truths concerning health and well-being:

1) A symptom can never be considered in isolation. A symptom is a part of an on-going, complex process. The symptom is a visible link in a chain of processes. To treat one part of the process is unrealistic, simplistic and inadequate and can actually prevent lasting improvement of health.

2) Symptoms are the body’s attempt to heal itself. Even mechanistic medicine is beginning to appreciate that often fevers are not part of the illness but are in fact, part of the healing. In many cases, the symptom, while being a problem can also be informative concerning that person’s Mind/Body/Spirit/Nature state. Sometimes a symptom is nothing more than an opportunity to rest or stop doing whatever it was that allowed a chain of events to finally show up as a symptom.

3) The body is a Mental/Physical phenomenon. A physician who doesn’t grasp this is a “I don’t care” practitioner. A true doctor is as concerned for your mental health as for your physical health.

4) You are an excellent source of information. This is especially true concerning your own body, symptoms AND treatment. The days of the physician-centered, patient-dependent treatment method are done with. Medical doctors don’t study nutrition and I don’t know anything about bio-feedback. You are a learning resource for your physician.

5) Information and knowledge is preferable to treatmentI. Both the consumer and the physician must always be learning. The doctor must seek to educate the consumer, as well as himself/herself. The consumer too must seek to educate the physician and herself/himself. “Treatment, by definition, implies that either the patient or the physician has waited too long before taking corrective action.” That’s not correct; that’s not natural.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Free Children's Health Care: Tuesday, August 24, 2010

(If a patient mentions seeing this note on the blog, they get free pediatric care for the rest of the month of August. Mention this at the time of your appointment.)

The Traditional Oriental Pediatric Medicine provided at Natural Life Therapy Clinic includes the techniques of Shonishin (Pediatric ‘acupuncture without needles’) and Anma (Japanese Massage) which incorporates Shiatsu principles. In my practice, this system is referred to as Pediatric Tai Ki Shonishin and Te a Te (handwork, with and without touching). It is an aspect of Traditional Oriental pediatric health care that has been evolving for over 1,100 years.

There have been many books written on this subject; some of the Classic Chinese texts are:

New Book of Pediatric Medicine - (1132 C.E.) 40 volumes, 547 chapters; Principles of Pediatrics (1549 C.E.) 2 volumes; Collected Works of Pediatrics (1750 C.E.) 6 volumes. Classic Japanese texts include: Essentials of Medicine (982 C.E.) 30 volumes; Treasure Book of Women (1726 C.E.) 6 volumes; Treaties on Needling Technique [of children] (1736 C.E.).

By the early 18th Century, development of traditional Japanese Pediatrics had centered in Osaka where the Nakano family was famous for many generations for its pediatric health care system. As was the tradition, shonishin techniques, children’s acupuncture, with and without needles, were family secrets until the end of World War II. Dr. Mori published the Shonishin system after the Second World War.

My studies of pediatric health care began in the early Sixties when the first of my six children was born. It progressed as I studied massage, herbal medicine, midwifery, and Emergency Medical procedures. I then spent 10 years with Dr.Masahilo Nakazono Osensei studying Kototama Life Medicine, Tai Ki Te A Te and Traditional Oriental Medicine, including Shonishin (traditional Japanese pediatric meridian therapy ), Anma (traditional Japanese massage), Shiatsu (modern Japanese meridian tactile therapy), Ampuku (specialized abdominal massage), Sakai Hon Li Te A Te (unique abdominal energetic tactile therapy developed and taught by Sakai Sensei), Sotai (modern Japanese physical therapy), Kappo (traditional manipulative therapy and first aid developed in the martial arts), Japanese naturopathic medicine and tama-nutrition. Nakazono Sensei also instructed me in Aikido and trout fishing.

Traditionally, in Osaka, on the full moon in August, all children were treated for free for health preservation. In keeping with that tradition, Natural Life Therapy Clinic will provide free preventive shonishin on Tuesday, August 24th to all children under the age of 8 who show up here between 8:30 am and 7:00 pm.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Wonders of Miso

The Japanese have been using miso as a medicinal food for the past 2500 years. It is said that a Japanese homemaker has an average of 365 different recipes for miso soup. In the West, miso is becoming more and more popular and many of its health benefits are emerging.

Miso is a fermented soybean paste. Through the fermentation process miso creates enzymes that help in the digestive process of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Miso contains powerful microflora called Lactic Acid Bacteria which are vital in the digestive process. As many of you have heard, broad spectrum antibiotics kill off all bacteria including the friendly microflora which has many health benefits. Miso helps restore the friendly bacteria which is lost from antibiotic treatment.

Miso is also a way to help maintain the blood more alkaline. American diets tend to be very acidic in nature and keeping the blood more alkaline is important for efficient calcium absorption. Acidic diets, containing meats, sugar and soft drinks, encourages the body to leech calcium and other minerals from the bones. Miso is thus a positive dietary tool in the prevention of osteoporosis.

There are other healthy benefits of miso, including research showing that miso may help to combat estrogen sensitive cancers: “Miso produces a compound called Genistein, which blocks the growth of new capillaries that supply tumors and deters the proliferation of cancer cells.”(Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science)

Dr. Duckworth and I frequently drink miso ourselves and often recommend it to our patients. Miso can be consumed in many ways and one of the easiest is making a miso broth; just take a large teaspoon of miso paste and dissolve it in 6-8 ounces of hot water. Drink it any time of day.

You can also make a simple miso soup; see below for the recipe. Remember, miso is said to be a “live food”, so don’t boil it because that destroys the beneficial enzymes.

Simple Miso Soup (serving for 2)

2-4 inch piece of Wakame sea vegetable

2 oz tofu (cut in cubes)

1 small or 2 stalks green onion (cut up)

2 cups water

2 large teaspoons of miso

1 small teaspoon of fresh grated ginger

Soak Wakame for 5 minutes in a small amount of water. Drain and cut off harder edges. Bring everything to a boil except the miso and tofu. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes with pot covered. Turn heat to low, add tofu and miso, stirring miso until dissolved. Then simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Miso is good anytime of year, even Summer. Preparing the body for the next season, especially a cooler season, is especially wise.

Have a Healthy Summer!

Jason R. Hackler, L.Ac., Associate NLTC

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Conversations with Practitioners

Notes concerning treatment, with answers from Dr. Thomas Duckworth.

Do womens' pulses commonly change with the onset of their menses?
The pulses reflect the activity of Life Energy flowing (through the body). This is happening in an environment that includes the moon/sun; circadian cycle, hormonal chemistry, yesterday's dinner, what was eaten three months ago, age, reproductive history/activity and karma. The master of pulses should be able to tell a woman when her next period will start - even if she has had a hysterectomy - even if it happened many years ago. The energy needed to manifest a organ is still existing even if the organ is gone. For example, as you know, a patient could have a jitsu (excessive) gall bladder meridian pulse but not have a gall bladder organ. Female energy arises out of Sho Yin and manifests through Tai Yin. Jingie could be 1x, 2x or 3x. Must read the individual pulses to see how/where this individual woman is utilizing her chu myaku (Life Energy). Yes, they change. Often, you'll find left wrist Kan Yin and Shaku Yin pulse deficient and left Kan Yang Jitsu, as well as, right side Kan Yin Kyo. (Sugar may be an issue.) Another configuration might be left Sun Yin and Kan Yin Kyo and left Sun Yang and right Sun Yang Jitsu.(fatty diet or emotional component may be in picture). Once menses has begun, the pulses often 'smooth out' and are less obvious in activity. U dimension energy is very much at play in the female reproductive realm.

Other question is: if a noisy pulse quiets down and consolidates but the beats per minute do not change, what can one do?
Breathe deeply, relax, turn off your mind and, did I mention, Breathe deeply? A noisy pulse is a noisy pulse, whether it is beating at 100 beats a minute or 70 beats a minute. Noisy is a quality unto itself. It is incredibly important to differentiate between a Do pulse and a So pulse and the most likely space for grasping a noisy pulse is when you are in a quite space yourself. If your thoughts and ideas and concepts are busy running around your head, there is no place to hear noisy ('cause your head is too noisy.) So, if you have treated based on a noisy pulse and it is no longer noisy, stop. You have done enough. Next treatment time, you can checck and see if the condition held or is it noisy again? If the pulse is not noisy but is rapid, it should, through treatment, calm down. If not, why not? Maybe hot weather is causing it, maybe food allergy, maybe a thyroid condition, maybe patient just has a rapid heat rate. Years ago, I had a patient who had an extraordinary slow pulse. I was treating him for asthma induced by animals and yes, treatments were successful and he was able to get a dog for his children. However, after he was balanced, symptom-free and feeling strong, he still had a very slow heart rate and I recommended that he consult with a cardiologist which he did and was told that he just had a very slow heart beat. So, some folk have a slow heart beat, some have a fast one but noisy... that's always interesting.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Inochi Studies Program: This Fall

From Jason R. Hackler:

In the late Fall of 2010 I will be beginning an Inochi studies program, Foundations of Inochi (Life) Medicine. It will be a 500 hour program lasting 15 months. The studies will include: Inochi Tai Kyoku (Study of the Human Vital Force; Tanden, Hand-Ki and Reflections through the mirror of the Kototama), Pulse and Abdominal Diagnosis, Te a Te (Inochi Handwork), Moxibustion Therapy (direct and indirect), and Diet Therapy.

I was first shown "The Way of the Hands" by Dr. Duckworth in the early part of 1994 in Santa Fe, NM. It has been a journey ever since... I am very excited and pleased to be offering a program in Life Medicine.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Clinic News

Jill Crowley-Dwyer, NCCAOM certified Oriental Bodywork Therapist, has been spenting the month of July here at Natural Life Therapy Clinic studying advanced diagnostic and treatment techniques and assisting Dr. Duckworth in developing a Continuing Education Seminar for acupuncturists on the subtle art of Jingei Pulse diagnosis. It is currently under review for approval by the NCCAOM (National Certifcation Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine).

This autumn and winter, Dr. Duckworth will be conducting this workshop in Portland, Maine; Boulder, Colo; Santa Fe, NM; Seattle, Wash; and, of course, St. Louis. More info on this as dates become firm.

Jingei Pulse Diagnosis is an ancient art that got lost in history for several centuries and resurfaced about 40years ago. Dr. Duckworth has utilized Jingei diagnosisi longer than any other practitioner in this country because he was taught this system in the late 1970's by his Sensei and has used this method for over thirty years. In recent times, more and more people have heard about this technique but no one seems to understands all of its ramifications and that is why requests from all corners of the U.S. are coming in for Dr. Duckworth to teach. Dr. Duckworth's workshops on Pediatric healthcare and treatments have been presented here, in New Mexico, California and Oklahoma. Seems he'll be taking more of his diagnosistic and treatment skills 'on the road.'

He is currently developing online study courses in the Oriental esoteric art of meridian therapy; further developing Tama-Touch (c), a system of meridian handwork he has developed; and writing articles for the North American Journal of Oriental Medicine. Stay blogged-in for further developments.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stress Arrest: July 10

Please also know that this Saturday July 10, 2010 Natural Life Therapy is holding a "Stress Arrest" session from 9 am - 9:45 am.

"Stress Arrest" teaches techniques for using your breath to over come stressful situations. No need to sign up, just show up. We hope to see you this Saturday. Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Clinic/Class Updates

Below are the latest and greatest updates and reminders from Natural Life Therapy Clinic.

Every second Saturday of the month is a clinic day. The next Saturday both practitioners are available is Saturday July 10, 2010.

"Stress Arrest - Accessing the Quiet Within" will also take place on the second Saturday, July 10th, from 9:00am - 9:45am. Practice meditative calming techniques with breath and sound.

"Kototama Sound Meditation Class" is held every Tuesday evening from 6:00pm - 7:00pm.

A small, good will donation to the Institute of American Acupuncture and Life Medicine, a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization, is appreciated for the classes, but is not required.

The classes are open to everyone. Please join us and bring a friend or family member if you'd like.

That's all for updates. Now please read on for an interesting article summary on how brown rice can help fight heart disease.

"Brown Rice & Heart Disease" Brown rice has always been known to be a nutritious and medicinal food in Oriental Medicine, and recently, a new study at Temple University School of Medicine, showed that an ingredient in brown rice seems to combat a protein known as angiotensin II that contributes to high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries (artherosclerosis).

The ingredient is in a layer of rice that is stripped away when brown rice is converted into white rice. Traditionally in Japan, there are two types of rice, Kinme-mai (unmilled) and Haiga-mai (half- milled). Both types contain the ingredient that may help combat arterial health issues. A long or short grain brown rice, Basmati brown, and some types of wild rice naturally preserve this important ingredient.

Wishing you the very best health as the Summer begins.

-The Staff of Natural Life Therapy Clinic

Monday, May 17, 2010

Video: Intro to Meridian Readings

Introduction to Kototama Medicine: Reading Meridians from Thomas Crone on Vimeo.

Pregnancy & Acupuncture

Jason Hackler's posted an article from the Wall Street Journal to the homepage of Natural Life Therapy Clinic, It centers on the benefits of acupuncture for those pregnant members of our society.

You can read the piece here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Clinic Hours, Changes in May

Clinic hours: Doctors Duckworth and Hackler are doing some traveling these days for both professional and personal purposes (next week Dr. Duckworth will be in Albuquerque attending the high school graduation of his oldest grandchild) but we are extending clinic hours to accommodate our friends and clientele. We are now scheduling appointments on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month and on Thursday evenings. Saturday clinics will be on May 15th, May 29th and June 12th. We will be closed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31st. See you at the Gypsy Caravan?

We are continuing with our Kototama Sound meditation class on Tuesday evenings at 6pm.

We are still providing free and low-cost healthcare to the less fortunate of our society through the Institute of American Acupuncture & Life Medicine (IAALM). We conduct IAALM’s clinic on the first and third Wednesday’s of the month. Yes, IAALM is a donation supported 501(c)(3) tax deductible organization that can use a lot of help. Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Video: What is Kototama Medicine?

We ask Dr. Duckworth an essential question, on that many clients and patients of Natural Life Therapy Clinic may have: what is Kototama medicine?

For the next weeks, we'll feature conversations with Dr. Duckworth on a variety of topics. Please check back often. And feel free to suggest conversation topics. Also, patients who are open to appearing on camera for discussion of your treatment: please contact us.

Conversations with Dr. Duckworth: What Is Kototama? from Thomas Crone on Vimeo.

Video: Dr. Duckworth and Mary O'Herin

In our first video update, Dr. Duckworth speaks with Mary O'Herin. Many of you may have met her recently, while she was in St. Louis to study with Dr. Duckworth, seeing many patients during that stay. In this conversation, they discuss the basics concepts of Kototama medicine and her relationship with her studies, etc.

As we're just learning to work with a Flip video camera, please boost your sound for this particular video, which has relatively light audio levels.

Also, feel free to suggest questions for Dr. Duckworth to discuss via this new conversation series.

A Discussion of Kototama Medicine from Thomas Crone on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

An Invite: One Day Without Shoes

The members of Natural Life Therapy Clinic are inviting patients to join them in observing One Day Without Shoes, an event described thusly: "One Day Without Shoes is the day we spread awareness about the impact a simple pair of shoes can have on a child’s life. On April 8th, we ask people to go the day, part of the day or even just a few minutes, barefoot, to experience a life without shoes first-hand, and inspire others at the same time."

You can find out about One Day Without Shoes at its website.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Meditation Class: Saturday

Just a friendly reminder...
This Saturday, April 3rd, 9:30 - 10:30am at
Natural Life Therapy Clinic
Learn meditative calming techniques with breath and sound
Free and open to everyone! Hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jason R. Hackler: Thoughts on Energetic Breathing

Ki, or energy, creates form. Our Body is the form which is made up of the continual flow of Ki (energy). In Acupuncture Medicine and Meridian Therapy we think of the Body with a capital B, as in Body, Mind, Spirit. In actuality, these are not three separate capacities, but, one. They are one with various aspects. The beginning place of Ki in our Body is in our Tanden, situated in our lower belly, 2-4 fingers below our navel. This is where we should begin our breath from. As my medicine teacher, Dr. Duckworth, has shared, "the first thing a child does born of natural childbirth is take a deep breath from their center." To breathe correctly is the single most important thing we can do for our health, physically, spiritually, and mentally.

Lie down, place a book or weight over the area of your Tanden, and breathe through your nose, making the weight or book rise each time you inhale. Your inhale should cause your abdomen to expand first. You're not trying to 'belly breathe' per say, you're practicing beginning your breath from your center, deep in your abdomen, and allowing it to rise and expand into your chest and back. For a beginning practice, don't pause between the inhale and exhale - just allow for a continuous flow as you breathe. Your thinking brain will usually be noisy; don't try to stop your thinking, just return your focus to your breathing. To start, just take five minutes twice daily to practice deep breathing.

Deep breathing actually raises levels of blood oxygen. More blood oxygen means that all the organs and tissues are oxygenated more thus creating the potential for improved digestion and mental performance; a more relaxed nervous system helping to deal with anxiety, stress, insomnia, body pain, hormonal fluctuations; and much more.

A well known Taoist sage, Chuang Tzu, once said: "most of us breathe from our throats, and that real human beings breathe from their heels." (I think we can safely say that "real" human being means a 'whole,' as in holistic, human being.) Dr. Andrew Weil says, "if I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would simply be to learn how to breathe correctly."

So, all of us please, take a deep, relaxed breath from your Tanden, and continue practicing for a lifetime. Happy Spring!

Jason R. Hackler, Dipl.Ac., Associate Natural Life Therapy Clinic

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tribute to Aline

Tribute To Aline

This past Saturday, March 19, 2010, my friend Aline Crawford left her physical form. She was a student of the Kototama sound practice and contributor to the Institute of American Acupuncture and Life Medicine. She was generous in all things. I feel honored to have shared a small portion of her life. She inspired me.

Aline found the medicine shortly after I began my studies. She became interested in the Kototama sound studies. I was privileged to be her ferry to and from sound meditation/study and Jizo Bosatsu celebrations. After those sessions, she would riddle me with questions that stretched me and took me in directions I would have otherwise probably not gone. And she provided me incredible insights in the sounds, in the aspects of the celebrations that I had missed, in life in general. She gobbled up life. And she never stopped learning. It kept her young and vibrant, in spite of physical maladies that challenged her.

I have had uncles, aunts, grandparents, my mother, my step mother, a brother, and friends, some who are my contemporaries, move out of the physical realm. Each of their lives have left an indelible mark on mine. In the quiet that follows comes the true appreciation for that which they have bestowed upon me. I intend to recognize those attributes while they are with me in the moment. Aline has helped teach me that awareness. I intend to continue to learn, truly experiencing life until my final breath in this form. I intend to honor family and friends as the precious gift that they are.

Since my mother's death I have recognized that the ripples of energy that people in our lives cause, like the ripples on water from a pebble drop, continue in me. Now I carry with me all who have touched my life. And those lives continue to touch more lives through me. I am grateful. And the work of Masuro Emoto provides us with factual evidence, that human vibrational energy, thoughts, words, ideas and music, affect the molecular structure of water. The words, thoughts, idea of gratitude creates beautiful crystal structures in frozen water. Aline was fascinated by Emoto's work, as am I. Since people are largely made up of water, spreading gratitude has its merit.

Thank you Aline! You laughed, loved, mourned, cried, giggled, and meditated with the sound of "su". I will think of you often, and it will make me smile.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mindful Meditation

In The Moment – Meditation & Breathing, Contemplation & Renewal

In modern terminology, it is sometimes called “Mindful Meditation” or “Mindfulness Meditation”; it is also termed “One-pointedness of Mind Meditation.” People often think of Hinduism, Buddhism or Zen Buddhism when they speak of meditation but this practice is not about religion, though it definitely is about the spiritual realm. The realm of stress-free, relaxed, peacefulness that comes when the mind is quiet; when the mind is focused on one thought or (better still) no thought.

Research has suggested that meditation may improve mood, decrease stress, and boost immune function. It has long been shown to lower heart rate, blood pressure and calm the spirit.

What is One Pointedness of Mind Meditation?

One Pointedness of Mind is a form of meditation that essentially involves focusing the mind on the present; in Shinto terminology, Naka-ima (Center-Now). Naka-yima is to be aware of your thoughts and actions in the present, without judging yourself.

How to Practice One-Pointed Meditation

1. Find a quiet and comfortable place. Sit in a chair or on the floor with your head, neck and back straight but not stiff. Sitting on the floor can be with legs crossed (tailor style), legs folded onto themselves (Lotus or half-lotus position) or legs bend under yourself (suwaru – Japanese style). Whether on a chair or the floor, try to position yourself so that the crown of your head, your shoulders, hips and tip of your tailbone are aligned.

2. Put aside all thoughts of the past and the future and stay in the present. This is the core result for which we are striving. This will take time. For me, initially, it took a great deal of time. Be patient. If you have expectations of results, you are not being present; you are in the future.

3. Be aware of your breathing, focus on the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. Feel your chest or belly rise and fall; feel the air enter your nostrils and leave your mouth. Pay attention to each breath, how each breath changes and is different; yet don’t think about the sameness or differences. Just breathe.

4. Watch every thought come and go, whether it is a worrisome thought, fear, anxiety, fantasy or just wondering if the light in the refrigerator is on. When thoughts appear, don't ignore or suppress them, just note them and let them go. Stay calm and use your breathing as an anchor.

5. When you find yourself getting carried away by your thoughts, observe where your mind went, without judging, and simply return to your breathing. Don’t be hard on yourself when this happens; it’s just stuff. As my beloved teacher, Baba Ram Dass, once told me, “To chastise oneself for worldliness is just more worldliness.”

6. As the ending time arrives, just sit for a minute or two and let your mind reactivate, becoming aware of where you are. Get up gradually.

Focusing on breath is a technique for quieting the brain/mind – the thinking self. When you first begin this work, the inclination is to think about not thinking and while you can see the paradox of such a head trip, none-the-less, that is what you will do. There is almost a fear that if you are not thinking, you’ll die or go crazy or something. However, when you stop thinking incessantly, you will begin to truly live or become sane. You will relax.

There are variations of this practice. You can focus on your breath, you can focus on your anatomy of breathing where you note “rising” with each inhalation and “falling” with each exhalation. With your eyes open, you can focus on a single burning candle in front of you. Each time you find yourself thinking, resettle on the flame. The goal is to be in the moment – Naka-ima. The result is relaxation.

Being in the moment is furthered through sound. Use of mantra is an excellent method for reducing stress, tension and other stress-related symptoms.

Herbert Benson, MD, coined the term Relaxation Response, “a state that is opposite to the stress response”, after he investigated Transcendental Meditation and found that people who practiced TM could lower their heart rate, their blood pressure and slow their breathing by significant percentages.

The practice of focused attention on a prayer, a sound or a mantra, is a multi-thousand year old practice. The repetitious use of a word, group of words or vocal utterance has long been used in spiritual traditions to achieve and maintain a “super-state” of relaxed awareness. It is the practice of repeating a word, prayer, sound or phrase so as to exclude other thoughts or mental activity. Mahatma Gandhi uttered the word, “Ram” (GOD) all his life; so much so, that at the moment of his assassination, the last word he uttered was ‘Ram’.

How to Do It

The wonderful thing about using sound for meditation and relaxation is that you can do it anywhere and anytime, alone and with others. It is incredible to sit with several hundred people and chant a sacred sound over and over again. This is how you can begin your practice and use it for your own private mental health exercises.

1. Find a quiet place and sit in a comfortable position. Relax your muscles. (I have read instructions where it is said to “try and relax your muscles” but this is a contradiction of terms, if you TRY to relax, you aren’t relaxing. Don’t try to relax, just relax.)

2. Close your eyes. Breathe into and out of your belly.

3. Use a focus word, phrase, or prayer that has special meaning to you; one that is rooted in your belief system, or makes you feel peaceful. For example, the word "peace", “Om”, “shalom”, “Ram”, “Shiva”; the phrase "The Lord is my shepherd", "Hail Mary full of grace", or the prayer “Lord have mercy on my soul”, “Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”, “Hari Krishna, Hari Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hari, Hari”, “Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram.” I commonly utter the sounds “SU”, “Su A Wa” or “Rama”.

4. Breathe slowly and naturally. Inhale through your nose and pause for a few seconds. Exhale through your mouth, again pausing for a few seconds. Quietly say your focus word, phrase, or prayer as you exhale. You may silently say your sound but it is more powerful if you can hear yourself utter your ‘prayer’.

5. Don't worry about how well you are doing and don't feel bad if thoughts or feelings intrude. Just say to yourself “and this too” and return to your repetition.

6. As the time comes to a close, continue to be aware of your breathing but sit quietly. Becoming aware of where you are, slowly open your eyes and get up gradually.

This technique is usually practiced for ten to 20 minutes per day, or at least three to four times a week.

If you have to keep track of the time, try using an alarm or timer set on the lowest volume, so you don't have to keep looking at your watch or clock.

Breathe into Your Belly
(Breathing from your tanden)

Calm Your Mind

Stress, poor posture, snug clothes, and habit are some of the reasons that keep us from breathing properly. We wind up using our chest muscles instead of our abdomen.

Belly breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, is a simple deep breathing technique that teaches you how to use your diaphragm, a sheet of muscle at the bottom of our lungs and the most important muscle for breathing.

Tanden breathing is deep abdominal breathing developed through the martial arts. It is also employed in yoga practices and opera singing. Belly breathing is very good, tanden breathing is much better.

It is often used as a complementary therapy for anxiety disorders and may also help to boost energy and stamina.

The goal should be to breathe this way all of the time.

Calm your mind. Forget about what you’re going to make for dinner tonight, the emails you still have to respond to, and the birthday gift you still have to get for your mother-in-law. Just let go of thoughts.

Don’t force it, just let go of any thought that pops into your mind.

Improve Your Posture

Proper posture gets air into your lungs and helps energy flow through your body.

Sit up straight, imagining a string lifting up your chest. You should feel the area between your chest and your navel lengthen. Sit in a chair, stand, or lie on your back. You don't have to sit cross-legged but whether sitting on the floor, on a chair, standing or lying on your back, be straight, be aligned. Although the classic posture is to sit cross-legged, what is more important is finding a position that is comfortable for you. Instead of sitting on a cushion or on the floor, you can also sit in a chair. Your feet should touch the ground. If they don't, place a stool under your feet.

As you try to improve your posture, you may find your muscles tensing up, especially around the abdomen. Consciously seek to release any tension from your body.

Breathe In Through Your Nose

Place one hand flat against the lower abdomen. Your thumb should be around/near your navel.

Breathe in through your nose at an even rate.

Allow your abdomen to expand, rather than your upper chest. You should feel the hand on your abdomen being pushed away from your body as your abdomen rises.

Count silently starting from "one".

Breathe Out Through Your Mouth

Breathe out slowly and evenly through your mouth.

Again, count silently. Exhalation should take about twice as long as inhalation. So if you counted to three when you inhaled, strive to count to six when you exhale, but don't force it.


If you feel light-headed at any time, you may be breathing too quickly. If you are standing, try practicing while sitting down.

I usually suggest starting with five to ten minute meditation sessions in the first week. Although that may seem short, as you may have already discovered, trying to clear the mind of thoughts can actually be quite difficult! Some people even feel a bit anxious in the beginning. So start slow and work your way up.

Try not to set time goals. Concentrate on the quality of your meditation sessions and on meditating consistently.

Eventually, you will naturally find yourself meditating for 20 or more minutes, a good length of time to calm and quiet the mind. You can also try meditating for ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening.

If you have to keep track of the time, try an alarm or timer set on the lowest volume, so you don't have to keep looking at your watch or clock.

Rest your hands palm-down on your thighs or knees.

Energy flows better through the body when you are sitting upright, so it is important to sit up straight. It may help to imagine your body being pulled up from the top of your head so you are upright without being stiff.

Monday, March 1, 2010

WSJ Weighs in on Acupunture & Pregnancy

The Wall Street Journal's published an article by Shirley S. Wang, discussing acupuncture's effectiveness towards pregnant patients.

The piece begins, "Acupuncture designed to treat depression appears to improve symptoms in pregnant women, suggesting it as an alternative to antidepressant medication during pregnancy, a study found."

Here's a link to the entire piece.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Linked?: Soda and Pancreatic Cancer

If you're a soda drinker, Dr. Duckworth suggests you take in this piece at Vegsource. com, which begins, "Drinking as little as two soft drinks a week appears to nearly double the risk of getting pancreatic cancer, according to a new study."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dr. Duckworth On: Cancer/Report from Johns Hopkins

Why this blog?

Perhaps because my 68th birthday is upon me and my own health issues command attention; perhaps, because in the past couple of years friends have had to face serious cancer issues including terminal; perhaps, because I have been called upon, for years, to assist people coping with a cancer diagnosis.

They have sought acupuncture and meridian therapy as an adjunct to chemotherapy and radiation; they have sought help dealing with the side effects of those therapies; they have sought my medicine as an alternative to modern medicine’s offerings.

Modern medicine is a system of fixing what is broken, very mechanical. Surgeons need to cut and internists need to write prescriptions. Preventive medicine is quite a new concept to the contemporary medical practitioner. Nutritional studies are not part of the medical curriculum. Health is not studied, disease is.

Consumers want to know, want to be involved in their own health care and are constantly asking “What can I do? What should I be eating? What are the alternatives?

For practitioners of Far-Eastern medicine and other natural medicine modalities, the answers often include diet and the elimination of harmful ingestible stuff (that which is harmful by its nature, e.g. sugar, can not be labeled ‘food’), acid/alkalinity balance, herbal medicine, nutritional supplements, poultices, attitude adjustment, addressing digestive issues, strengthening the immune system, etc. The focus being the individual, not the treatment.

Perhaps we are entering into an “Age of Enlightenment” but there certainly has been a paradigm shift and the MD’s are beginning to look outside of their own constructed boxes.

I was recently informed by two friends who are themselves dealing with cancer issues that Johns Hopkins Medical School Hospital has finally acknowledged that there are very legitimate alternatives to treating cancer.

After years of telling people chemotherapy is the only way to try (‘try’ being the operative word) to eliminate cancer, Johns Hopkins is finally starting to tell folk there is an alternative way.

Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins:

1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.

2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person's lifetime.

3 When the person's immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors.

4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors.

5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and including supplements will strengthen the immune system.

6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract, etc, and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.

7. Radiation, while destroying cancer cells, also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.

8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However, prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction.

9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications.

10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.

11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it the foods it needs to multiply..


a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses, but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in color. Better alternative is Bragg's aminos or sea salt.

b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk cancer cells are being starved.

c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish and a little chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer.

d. A diet of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruit helps the body regain an alkaline environment. [including ume’ concentrate in your diet is very powerful for assisting the body to regain an alkaline environment. Editor’s note]. About 20% can be from cooked food including dry beans, peas and lentils. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).

e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high levels of caffeine. Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer fighting properties. However, if you are receiving chemotherapy, avoid green tea. Water: best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.

12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines becomes putrefied and leads to more toxic buildup.

13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat, more enzymes are free to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body's killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.

14. Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Flor-ssence, Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body’s own killer cells to destroy cancer cells.. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body's normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells.

15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.

16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily and deep breathing help to get more oxygen to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.


1. No plastic containers in microwave.

2. No water bottles in the freezer.

3. No plastic wrap in the microwave.

Johns Hopkins has recently sent this information out in its newsletters. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well.

Dioxin chemicals cause cancer, especially breast cancer. Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies. Don't freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic. Recently, Dr. Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital, was on a TV program to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This especially applies to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body. Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food. You get the same results, only without the dioxin. So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else. Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. It's just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc. He reminded us that awhile ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons.

Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Saran, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food. Cover food with a paper towel instead.

This is an article that should be sent to anyone important in your life.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Q's for Dr. Duckworth: The Future of Kototama

Hello Again Dr. Duckworth,

I am writing because I am curious as to your take on the future of Kototama medicine. I was profoundly impacted by a practitioner in my teens, which later led me to research a little. I was able to purchase some of Nakazono's books, but I otherwise found very little about Kototama medicine specifically. I suppose that I have some strange concern that this profound practice would remain obscure.

Do you have thoughts about this? Again, please feel free no pressure. I'm just a curious component over here, sort of bored at work.



Dear Jacob,

When Nakazono Sensei opened the Kototama Institute in 1978, he explained that traditionally in Japan it was held that quality instruction and guidance in the study and practice of Acupuncture should yield 1 adequate practitioner out of every 100 students; proper herb studies should yield 10 quality herbalists out of 100 students. This is understandable because the study and practice of diagnosing KI and professionally applying the principles of Hari (needling) is at least 10x more difficult than memorizing symptoms and medicines. He told us these statistics because he believed that the study of Kototama medicine would prove to be 10x more powerful than normal acupuncture training. In addition, he believed he was only allowing the "creme de creme" of applicants into his school and that those who pursued Kototama Life Medicine would, by their nature, ascend to the highest realms within the art and science of natural medicine and thus he could produce 10 qualified practitioners out of every 100 who studied the medicine. He stated that he expected 10 out of 100 of his students would "get it."

With that in mind, he intended to close the Kototama Institute when it had produced 100 students (graduates). His first formal class began in the Autumn of 1978; the graduating class of 1985 brought the number of graduates to 107 and he closed the Institute. Later he told me his head had been too big and that he regretted allowing some people into the Institute and turning away others; in other words, his judgment capacity was still in development and he was quite wrong concerning the quality of students he choose to train.

Many of his students were drawn to the Institute because they wished to be near a "Master," but they didn't want to be a "Master." Therefore, they never got what he was teaching. They had no capacity to take on the responsibility of complementing or adding to his discoveries. Some of those people have spent their lives living in a cult-kind of worship of Sensei and the Kototama Principle without adding one sentence to the dialog and others have just disappeared. Probably less than 40 of the graduates of the Kototama Institute ever went into practice at all and probably less than 20 are in practice today. Of those 20, less than 15 ever attempted to pursue in-depth studies with Sensei and of them, only one person studied longer than four years in post-graduate studies of Kototama Medicine. That one peson is me.

My 10 years as Sensei's apprentice led to my discovery of Kototama Pulse Diagnosis and that led to Sensei awarding me the degree of Doctor of Kototama Life Medicine, the only Doctorate earned by a graduate of the Kototama Institute. So, yes, I do have thoughts about that which you ponder. There are nine practitioners in the US who completed studies with me and have gone into practice; there are two practitioners who studied elsewhere and then studied with me after becoming licensed. Of these 11, perhaps three-four of them will continue to study and make discoveries yet unimaginable. Will the way of this medicine remain obscure? Probably, but if one person holds on to it and passes it on, someday the world will appreciate what Sensei discovered. Many great scientists and artists go to their graves unappreciated. That's the way it is. "It doesn't matter" (Sensei quote). But not to worry, I am working on Kototama Medicine texts and there is the Natural Life Therapy Clinic where I and my senior student, Jason Hackler, practice and which has been in continuous operations since June, 1980, providing Kototama Life Medicine.

Check out:;;

Be well.

Thomas Duckworth, DKM