How to meditate in turbulent times

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A turbulent/stressful time calls for non-conventional ways to calm the mind.

One method that I’ve used successfully with combat veterans and people with severe PTSD is body-awareness meditation.

It allows you to ground in your physical body yet not identifying with the body.

It guides you to becoming aware of bodily sensations yet you don’t get bogged down by any tense or aching spots.

It allows your mind to relax naturally by strengthening your connection to the earth, the earth element that’s in and around you.

Here’s a recording of my body-awareness meditation from Day 1 of my “9-day de-stress challenge”.


Let me know how you like it by leaving me a comment below.

By the way, for other alternative ways to do seated meditation check out my blog post in June 2020 ‘When not to meditate”.

Dr. Dan ZhouHow to meditate in turbulent times
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Mom’s secrets to thriving during pandemic

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My 79-year old mom lives alone in Wuhan.

When the lockdown started there, it didn’t matter that my sister lives close by. Nobody was allowed to leave their apartments except to pick up groceries in their own gated communities. The gates to outside world were guarded and locked.

The social isolation, the monotony of dietary choices, the lack of activities was much more severe over there than what most of us in the western world are experiencing.

Throughout the pandemic when she scantly saw a soul for 70-some days, Mom stayed upbeat. Her voice was loud. Her spirit was joyful.

Here’s how she did it.

  1. She kept up her daily routine as much as possible.
    For decades she’s been up around 4:30am every day. The first thing she does after attending to her morning hygiene is to mop the floor of her apartment. She does it the old fashioned way:with a bucket of water and a shredded cloth mop on a wooden stick.Nobody came in & out of her apartment. There was not much dust. Certainly whatever there was didn’t warrant the floor being mopped everyday.Yet she stubbornly and proudly carried on throughout the lockdown.She also cooked and ate her daily three meals right on schedule.
  2. She kept her exercise regimen.
    Before the lockdown Mom walked around the lake outside her community every day. When my father was alive they took a walk twice a day.When the lockdown first started she stopped walking.Pretty soon she figured out that she could walk inside her little 800-square feet apartment.She walked the floor of the apartment, from the living room to the master-bedroom to the small bedroom, before returning to the living room.She would walk twice a day for 30 minutes each, swinging her arms as if she was outside by the lake.
  3. She kept her brain sharp by learning songs.
    Mom’s been in a senior’s choir for the past 15 years. A few years ago she learned to read simplified music notes.Even though her choir wasn’t getting together, every day after breakfast she went through her binders of songs to learn something new.

All those little things add up.

It’s been a blessing to me and my sister that Mom handled the lockdown like a pro! I’m sure it was harder than it looked, something I’ll explore in the following months.

What have you done that kept you healthy and vibrant during the past 6 months? Share with me in the comment section below.

PS: You can still join my FREE 9-day de-stress challenge in the next three days. The door closes on Saturday 9/19 midnight. The challenge starts on Sunday 6am EST. Check here to enroll.

Dr. Dan ZhouMom’s secrets to thriving during pandemic
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How to effectively de-stress in 3 minutes

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Here’s my go-to energy exercise for de-stressing. The exercise, ‘Calm the Fighter’, takes 3 minutes to do.

Check it out! You deserve the investment of your time.

Let me know how you like it by leaving me a comment below.

Take good care of your precious self!

Dr. Dan ZhouHow to effectively de-stress in 3 minutes
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Do you go to sleep at the right time?

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Is there a right time to go to sleep?

Are you hurting your chance of a good night’s sleep by going to bed too late?

Is that right time the same for everyone?

Lately, I’ve worked with several clients on adjusting their sleep routine, not because of their problem with sleep, but because of their other health challenges. Improving the quality of one’s sleep is an essential part of my comprehensive healing approach. For some, it’s one of the most important aspects.

Most of us have a set routine around sleeping and waking up, even though we may not think of it as a routine. We go to sleep around the same time. We’ve formed habits, either out of necessity or by choice.

Over time, the routine takes over, and we say we’re a “morning person” or “night owl”.

As a routine’s formed, a routine can change, too, if you have a darn good reason to change it.

Now back to my original question. Are you hurting yourself by going to sleep too late? Is there a right time to go to sleep?

Yes, as a matter of fact, because of how your body is designed.

In Chinese Medicine, we work with meridians, the energy pathways on the surface of the human body. Each organ has a meridian associated with it. Meridians and organs work together to optimize our bodily functions.

Much like some hormones and many physical functions, the meridians in your body go through a 24-hour cycle. Each meridian energy has a high and low tide in a 24-hour period.

You may have noticed that you get a little bit drowsy around 8 or 9pm. But if you push through that period, your mind becomes alert around 10 or 11pm. You get a second wind.

That’s because three of your meridians come alive late at night. The Triple Warmer meridian enters high tide from 9-11pm. The Gall Bladder meridian enters high tide from 11pm-1am. The Liver meridian enters high tide from 1-3am.

Around midnight, the yang energy in your body starts to grow, setting the stage for a new day. Yang energy is what makes you feel vibrant and healthy. It’s what protects you from the energies that cause illnesses. The best time for your body to nurture your yang energy is from 11pm-1am, which means that you should be in bed and asleep.

In addition, your liver rejuvenates from 11pm-3am. During that time, if you stay awake, you’re interfering with your liver’s ability to do a good job at the 100+ functions it performs for the body. Over time, it gets taxed because of that interference.

An unbalanced liver meridian is one of the main reasons that people have trouble sleeping, including both falling asleep or sleeping through the night.

So, you want to protect the health of your liver meridian.

The more minutes or hours that you sleep before midnight, the better off your liver will be.

If you currently go to sleep after midnight, I suggest that you set a goal to gradually move it to midnight over a two-week period.

If you currently go to sleep around midnight, I suggest that you gradually move it to before 11pm.

This simple change alone goes a long way in ensuring a healthy body.

BTW, I once mentioned the fact that the Liver meridian is at its high tide from 11pm-1am in a workshop. An MD in the audience commented that, according to Western Medicine, your liver is most effective in processing cholesterol from 1-3am. This coincides nicely with the peak hour of the Liver meridian that Chinese Medicine speaks of.

I hope this information provides enough incentive for you to look into when you go to sleep.

If, on the other hand, you do go to sleep before 11pm and still have trouble sleeping, stay tuned! I’ll discuss more about sleep in the coming weeks and months.

Dr. Dan ZhouDo you go to sleep at the right time?
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One simple tip for more energy: massage K-27

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Are you tired a lot? Here’s a tip for you to have more energy.

Here’s a video on Tip #3: Massage K-27. I’ve received a lot of inquiry over the years on finding the exact location of the acupressure points & how to work with them. I made this video to clarify those questions.

In this video you’ll discover:

  • How to locate K-27
  • How long you massage it and how often
  • An alternate way to work with K-27
Dr. Dan ZhouOne simple tip for more energy: massage K-27
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When not to meditate

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Do you find your mind spins when you’re under stress?
Do you want to be able to think clearly during turmoil?
Do you want to be more centered and less emotional when you’re in a crisis?

Despite what you may have been told, when you’re stressed, it may not be the best time to meditate.

Don’t get me wrong. I love meditation! I’ve been doing it for the past twenty-some years. I’ve even been leading meditation practices regularly (up until social distancing got started).

However, when there’s a lot swirling around, like in the world we live in today with the pandemic and the protests, I actually advise against doing seated meditation as a way to quiet the mind. Not as my first choice anyways.

Why? Because it won’t quiet the mind that’s spinning out of control. It won’t calm the emotion that’s been boiling. It won’t provide you peace amidst the storm.

I experienced this firsthand last year. After hearing the shocking news of my father’s sudden passing, my very foundation was shaken up.

But sitting quietly was agitating me more than anything. It was like braking hard on a fast moving train. The train wouldn’t come to a full stop right away. Mechanically, it wasn’t able to do that. The momentum would keep it going for quite a while.

So, what’s helpful in a situation like this?

Simple practices with movements that anchor you in your physical body are more effective in bringing you a sense of calm and peace. Here are some of my go-to practices:

    1. Walking
    2. Stretching
    3. Dancing
    4. Chanting
    5. Gardening
    6. Cooking
    7. Tai Chi

The items on this list engage my mind in a minimal way. They’re gentle. They create movement in my body, allowing emotional and mental energies to move in a way that they see fit.

They are physical by nature, anchoring the mind in the physical. That alone provides a floor, a foundation, a grounding in the midst of shifting sand, of turmoil, of crisis.

These practices are especially effective when you perform them with mindfulness. That is, to be aware of some aspect of the movements, like your feet on the ground while walking.

Among all these practices, Tai Chi is my favorite. It requests a little more attention than walking or weeding. It requires no equipment. It doesn’t need any special gear.

Tai Chi has a lot of other benefits that you can learn more about online. To get a feel of Tai Chi check out my YouTube video on eight standing movements for health, a Qi Gong exercise that is closely related.

For those of you who’re local to South Florida, I have a weekly Tai Chi class at Boca Regional Hospital that’s on hold right now. Drop me a note if you want to be notified when it resumes.

What’s your go-to practice when you’re stressed? If you don’t have one yet, which one will you incorporate in the next 30 days? Please share with me here.

Dr. Dan ZhouWhen not to meditate
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A natural way to better your sleep & immune system

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Do you want to sleep better?
Do you want a simple way to boost your immune system?
Do you know sunlight’s role in these?

Most of us are aware that sunlight helps the body create Vitamin D, which helps with calcium absorption in the gut and supports bone health.

But do you know other ways that sunlight makes your body healthy and strong? It blew my mind when I researched the topic.

Firstly, exposure to sunlight helps to set up a proper daily rhythm for body’s two major hormones, cortisol and melatonin. Hormones are control signals that instruct the body’s organs to function in certain ways. Both of these hormones play a role in better sleep.

Secondly, exposure to sunlight also helps our body to produce Vitamin D, which plays a key role in our immune health.

Here’s a closer look at these hormones & Vitamin D.

  1. Melatonin
    • Melatonin, a 3-billion old molecule secreted by the tiny pineal gland, is known for its ability usher in sleep.
    • In addition, researchers have discovered that it’s your body’s best antioxidant. They also discovered its supra ability to boost immune system & treat cancer in lab animals.
    • Melatonin secretion goes through a 24-hour cycle. It’s highest at night and lowest during the daytime.
    • When you exposure sufficiently to sunlight, your body secrets a healthy amount melatonin at the right time.
  2. Cortisol
    • Our sense of being alive is fueled by hormone cortisol. It enables you to jump off the bed in the morning. It provides you with energy to go from task to task during the day.
    • Cortisol also goes through a 24-hour cycle. It rises around midnight and falls around the midday. It peaks in the morning to give you that boost to start your day on the right note.
    • Cortisol is also a stress hormone. Stress from daily life can cause cortisol to deviate from a healthy 24-hour rhythm. It can be low when it should be high and vice versa.
    • Exposure to sunlight in the morning, helps to trigger cortisol secretion, the right amount at the right time. Getting it in line with body’s natural circadian rhythm allows you to sleep better at night.
  3. Vitamin D
    • According to research papers from National Institute of Health and Harvard University, Vitamin D helps your body to boost immune function, reduces inflammation and fight infection.Studies found that Vitamin D reduces the onset of flu by about 40%. It may also prevent people from getting flu.
    • A recent study found out that there is correlation of Vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 infection.

BTW, sunlight exposure through windows in your car, home or office is far less effective than being exposed to sunlight directly. So go outside & soak in the sun, especially between 6am and 8:30am. Do it while protecting the safety of your skin.

Even though it’s not certain that sunlight can prevent you from getting flu or COVID-19, it for sure can boost your immune system & improve the quality of your sleep.

Let me know what else you’re doing to sleep better & strengthen your immune system. Leave me a comment below.

Medical disclaimer:
The content on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.

Dr. Dan ZhouA natural way to better your sleep & immune system
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How to calm anxiousness in times of chaos

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Do you feel overwhelmed or anxious?
Do you want to remain centered in times of chaos?
Do you want to be an island that supports your family & protects your friends?
With this energy movement you can learn how to calm anxiousness, the prevalent emotion that’s floating around us.
Please let me know how I can support you in these uncertain times.   I’m offering remote healing sessions to clients to help them stay centered, calm anxiousness, and boost their immune systems.
Email me directly for a free consultation.

Dr. Dan ZhouHow to calm anxiousness in times of chaos
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One proven exercise for this time of uncertainty

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It’s been a few weeks now since we’ve been practicing social distancing.  That is, your normal routine has been interrupted for a few weeks now.
A routine is something that centers you.  It’s familiar.  It’s what gives you comfort.
Without a routine, you have nothings to ground you.  More than the scare of the COVID-19, it contributes to that sense of being anxious and nervous.  Especially when it affects your ability to engage in physical activities, that feeling of being anxious can really undermine your immune system.
It’s a time of uncertainty for sure.
I’ve been dealing with this very issue myself, having made a decision to be contained in my house.
Fortunately I have re-discovered one proven, simple activity that can anchors you in this time of uncertainty.  It gives you a way to move physically in a small space. It calms nervous system, loosens up joints, and boosts your immune system.
It is the ancient Qi Gong practice for health, the Eight Standing Movements, a Qi Gong practice with over a thousand year history.
I’ve made a video of this 10-minute, ancient Qi Gong practice for Health.
Add this to your routine if you have established one already.  Or create one if you have been struggling with it.  Do it daily, early morning is great.  So is late in the evening before you go to sleep.
Take good care of your precious self & be safe. Leave me a comment below on how this works out for you.
Dr. Dan ZhouOne proven exercise for this time of uncertainty
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9 Natural Remedies to Boost Your Immune System against Cold, Flu & COVID-19

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Oregano oil

Oregano oil

Given the ever-increasing measures that are in place to keep us safe from COVID-19, are you wondering:

  • Do I have sufficient protection for myself and my loved ones?
  • What else can I do to better protect us?
  • Is there anything that provides the ultimate protection against this highly contagious yet invisible virus?

As I’ve been following the spread of COVID-19 from Wuhan across the globe, one thing I learned from the experts is that the last line of defense is your immune system.

That’s right. The strength of your immune system is your ultimate protection.

There are various things that can help boost your immune system: exercise, diet, energy movements, comedy, and natural remedies.

Here is a list of natural remedies that you may already have in your panty that can help you better safeguard your family. I’ve been using all of them before the outbreak of this pandemic.

If you don’t have these on hand, many of them are still available through Amazon or other health food sites (Vitacost.com is one such example).

  1. Baking soda: Baking soda mixed with water balances the acid in your body. Viruses don’t do well in a body that’s alkalized; they thrive in an acidic environment. Mix a pinch of baking soda with water and drink between meals. Don’t do so if you have high blood pressure.
  2. Apple cider vinegar: It is antiseptic, antifungal, and antiviral. It supports the microbiome and immune balance of the body. Mix apple cider vinegar with water and drink first thing in the morning.
  3. Lemon juice: It has benefits like apple cider vinegar. Squeeze lemon juice into warm water and drink with a meal.
  4. Sea salt: A sea salt solution can help clear out bacteria and viruses from your mouth. Gargle it in the morning.
  5. Oregano oil: Research has shown that oregano oil is antiviral and antioxidant. It’s a popular alternative remedy for cold & flu symptoms. Mix a few drops in a glass of water and drink up to 3 times a day. Only ingest oils made for internal consumption.
  6. Grape seed extract: According to a research paper by the National Institute of Health, grape seed extract has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Mix a few drops with water and drink.
  7. Colloidal silver solution: Its antibacterial and antiviral properties have been known through the ages. Spray into your throat/mouth and hold under your tongue for 30 seconds before swallowing.
  8. Bach Rescue Remedy: It is a popular type of Bach flower remedy. It helps calm the nervous system, therefore stopping emotions that might weaken your immune system. It comes in a liquid and candy format. Use as directed.
  9. White sage leaves: The smoke of white sage leaves has been scientifically proven to clean air. What’s more, the smoke gets inhaled into the your respiratory system. It weakens whatever viruses and bacteria have lodged there. Burn the leaves inside a cast iron, urn or a ceramic container. Use with caution.

Please do your own research before ingesting any of these natural remedies.

What do you already have in your pantry? What do you want to add? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Dr. Dan Zhou9 Natural Remedies to Boost Your Immune System against Cold, Flu & COVID-19
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