• Tired? It’s just Fall time

    Why am I so tired, I get a LOT of that in the clinic. Most of it I get in September. Why is that?

    The quick answer is. Have you noticed it is colder? You use more energy to keep warm at 15 degrees than when it is 30 degrees. The energy comes from you, if you did not “make” more then you will have less available for other things. Did you stop doing other things? Likely not. Therefore you feel tired.

    Other reasons have more to do with history. A hundred or more years ago, think about farming. Most of it is done by now. There is a rest before the hard winters. Are you resting more? Again likely not.

    In our modern culture it is just go, go, go. But for a few thousand years most humans in this hemisphere, would be going to bed earlier as before electric lights came around, once it’s dark, it’s bed time. You can only look at each other by coal oil lamp for so long. Or so my Grandpa used to say.

    In Chinese Medicine, fall time is one of coalescing, getting things together. But again in modern times, with out the need to prepare food and other necessities for winter we just keep going.

    What can you do? Watch a season or two of “Alaskan Survival” and head on up north and get back in tune with nature… Or

    Get a bit more to eat, get a bit more rest, put on a jacket. I know you just want to wear shorts for a bit longer, but it’s over. Finish the projects and settle back into the fall routine.

    If you have kids it can be very tempting to have them in something every night, soccer, basketball, music, swimming and our favorite Kung-Fu. Do the world a favor, give them some free time and more sleep.

    This is the season when I start to see the most “illnesses” versus just injuries. It is the natural time for things to wrap up and stop for the winter. Well historically that is.

    Do yourself a favor, take it easy in September and early October and then ramp up a bit for the winter sports and you will be glad you did. Otherwise, I’ll see you soon.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    Kelowna Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies




  • On the radio

    I recently did a NPR national radio interview with Ezreena Scott  a local trauma therapist. It was my first radio gig. You can listen to it here.

    Ezreena did a great job and I learned a lot by doing it. Radio time goes fast and then it’s gone.

    I would like to have said so much more on the subject, so I will touch on it here.

    We all have trauma, individually our personal trauma can be a 10 out of a 10. If you compare traumas from person to person, yours might not seem so bad in comparison. But only in comparison, personally if you think your broken leg is a 10 out of 10, then it is, for now anyway.

    If you compare your broken leg to watching your family die in a house fire, your broken leg may seem less important in that moment. But if you just reflected on your leg it can re-emerge at the 10 level.

    I think everyone would be well served by seeing a therapist from time to time. For trauma, life goals, mental thoughts, depression, anxiety, shyness, feelings of isolation…. lots of things.

    The more time people spend in “modern” culture of cellphones etc, the more trauma they will possess.

    Why is that? Well when I was a kid there was a BIG newspaper called the “Sunday edition of the New York Times”. It was said that one newspaper issue had more information in it than my Great-Grandad was exposed to in his whole life. True or not I don’t know but an interesting statement.

    When you consider in a day my child can be exposed to ANY information in the world. Much of it is not good, even trauma inducing. And yet all statistic show the world is safer, less poverty, longer lives, more conveniences. What is going on.

    Trauma is good business. The famous newspaper adage, “if it bleeds, it leads”. Meaning put the worst stories first and lets get people’s adrenaline (fear) going. We are hardwired to respond to stress inducing things. The response they want is you read, watch or listen all the way for their advertisements to sell you something.

    How does Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture help? I could have said more about this on the radio show, but…Read more

  • Trauma Talk

    I am getting interviewed by a psychotherapist on the subject of trauma, so I thought I would listen to her radio show and get an idea of what I am in for.

    I was listening to her guest Colin Stroud of Cambridge, England where he runs a trauma program. He said some very interesting things about children’s processing of trauma, which I ‘generally’ agree with.

    disclaimer: All situations are different and require an individual treatment solution, what follows is a discussion not specifically applicable to your child, get a professional to assess them.

    Children under the age of 7-8 normally have a different functionality to their brain than adults. They basically do not have as many connections inside their brain to think or process in a way adults do. This can be very difficult for an adult to understand and be patient with.

    Children from the ages of 8 to 16-ish, have a “normally” connected brain, like everyone else, BUT they just got the ‘fully functional model’ and they don’t necessarily know how to run all the options.Read more

  • Marine safety

    I had the great pleasure to teach a Marine Radio course this weekend with my Kelowna Power Squadron friends Clark and Howard.

    I lived on a ship for 6+ years in that time I did over 500,000 nautical miles (it’s a lot) and I have been lucky to sail quite a bit in the Caribbean and Gulf Islands. I even got to go to Antarctica by ship.

    I can not count the number of fatalities I have seen in that time. Lots, and many were preventable.

    The emergency’s generally happen very quickly. The set up for the emergency can take years of poor maintenance, bad luck and mostly not following safe boating practices.

    The easiest thing in the world that would save lives this year is, WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET!

    I bought a super cool one so I like to wear it, I put a big rescue knife on it to make it look even cooler.

    Read more

  • Season changes and a tune up

    Well, a season change is upon us. There is some color in the leaves and the cool mornings signal that fall is approaching. This season change, more than the others, I get people who are not well.

    People just feel off, their get up and go, went.

    What is going on? Well it is traditionally the time we slow down a bit. Harvest is just finishing, there are lots of party’s to celebrate getting the crops in. For much of recent history, we would take a couple of weeks easy, until we prepared for the winter.

    Now-a-days there are no “seasons”. My dad is out farming and getting the crops in, but it’s on a massive tractor. Not a machine pulled by horses, like when he was a child.

    Studying Traditional Chinese Medicine in school, I would read about the importance of getting treatments at season changes and thought they where kidding. Now after 20+ years I know they are serious about it.Read more

  • Sun lotion

    Recently there has been a lot of talk of children being chemically burned by sun lotion. It looks terrible and it must hurt those little people a lot, but what is it doing on them?

    A few years ago I did a TV interview for sun lotion and learned all about the history and ingredients in North American and European sun lotions and there are some big differences. If you can get the European stuff. Also get lotion with UVA and UVB protection.

    First off, my African friends do not use sun lotion growing up. They just stay OUT OF THE SUN, during the 10am-3pm times. They cover up, play under trees, inside or where ever they are not getting blasted by the sun.

    I lived in the Caribbean for about 5 years, the first year I used a lot of lotion and after that I only put a bit on my nose for the remaining years. After learning how to be in the sun and not be in the sun depending on the times of day.

    Now if your telling me that’s inconvenient for you, then don’t have children. A parental job is to keep your kids safe and keeping them out of peak UV exposure times is part of it. Sun lotion is really little bits of titanium and goo to hold it onto your skin. Really not very good for anyone.

    In the TV interview I was actually arguing for the use of it and the other guest said putting sun lotion onto a kid “is equivalent to child abuse”. Maybe a bit overstated but…

    I do think there are times a young person (think age 5 and up) may need some sun lotion. But I think you should not put it on a baby. They simply need to be kept out of the sun during peak times. I know that may interfere with your beach time, but it’s for the best.

    What about skin cancer and sun related damage? Stay out of peak sun times.

    I do keep a bottle of sun lotion on my boat and do use it if I am racing for the day. I do think there is times for sun lotion and you situation will be unique, but the less chemicals you put on a child the better.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    Kelowna Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies



  • Stationary bike at your stand up desk, good idea or bad idea?

    The world of stand up desks, have you got one yet? It’s going to save your world. But wait you also need to get a tread mill or a stationary bike with it.

    So is it a good idea or a bad one? The short answer is, bad and of course the longer answer is, it depends.

    The idea that standing up is better than sitting down for work entirely depends on the work you do. People will say it’s better for your posture, your thinking, your…. They are likely the same people that came 5 years ago and “ergonomized” your desk, saying the same things then.Read more

  • Are your senior parents lying to you?


    My University friend did a study that made the National news that shows seniors are not being honest about their state of health.

    I could have told you that without any study. Heck I can tell you, that you are likely not being honest about your health if someone asks either.

    Seniors are wildly fearful that their Independence is going to be taken away if they are deemed to be medically unwell. Yet the opposite is true. The more we understand their state of health the more appropriate resources can be  apply to their situation. Lengthening their independence.

    I encourage all of us with parents over the age of 70 to have regular, honest, health talks. Prepare them for the reality of moving to a ‘retirement resort’. Do everyone a favor, get them in one before they need to.

    I remember my Grandparents, we moved them from their 5 level split home of 45 years to an apartment. I was amazed at how they complained until they got there and where just amazed how much easier it was to live in.

    Then as they aged we moved them into a ‘retirement facility’. Ow did they resist, but again after a few weeks, they loved it. A whole group of like minded people, meals cooked, activities, music…

    I think we are all scared of aging and dying. I think we should adopt a culture where our parents come to live with us and we are all more communal. But, that’s not how we do it in North America, the next best thing is get them around some of their peer group. Versus living alone and scared all by themselves.

    We are not meant to be alone. We are social beings. It can be hard to get your parents to be honest about their health but start early and show them you care. Remember they changed you diapers, you owe them.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    Kelowna Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies


  • Calming with Temple Grandin

    Do you know who Temple Grandin is? She is a PhD. who has changed the cattle industry and Autism.

    She is a Autistic lady that grew up in the 60’s with a mom that would not put her in an institution (nut house). Instead she went to school and kept on going.

    There is a fantastic movie about her called “Temple Grandin” I urge you to rush out and watch it. It does a fantastic job of showing a different way to look at people.

    There are several lessons to learn from this movie, the one I point out is “Calming”.

    The ability to take a person from a high arousal state and bring it down to calm. How do you do that. Temple has an interesting way to do that, go watch the movie and see.

    I remember years ago watching a multi-multi millionaire business man speak about life at 75 and all his staff wants him to slow down, take it easy. He said NO WAY. I am not going to slow down I am going to ‘calm down’.

    I did not pick up on it then, I thought it was an odd statement, but now 15 years later I get it. At work I see most of us can use a calming mechanism, or several ways to calm ourselves.

    I have several things I have developed to calm myself down. I referred to it as ways to counteract periods of depression. Now I see it as ways to calm me down from an agitated state, which may be ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’.

    I play guitar, read, have tea, breath, do tai chi or kung fu moves.  Sometimes I’ll watch some YouTube or TV and when it’s bad I clean the house, who knew that’s my go to calming thing.

    I use different ones for different levels of stress and I normally observe how effective they are and modify my approaches as needed.

    I hope all of you can work on building your ‘calming’ repertoire you will be glad you did.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

  • Learning from Masters

    In North America we banter around the word “Master”. In Asia it is reserved for someone that really has it figured out. Not everything figured out but their piece of the pie, that they understand.

    I recently took a course on Neurology from a Master J. Yuen. He has a resume that is staggering. The short notes are, he’s the 88 generation Daoist of his lineage. How long is that! He has been working on people, on his own, since he was 11 years old.

    He sat there, no notes and just opened his mouth and it was like google was powering him. He just seemed to know everything and be able to explain it so anyone could understand. Then at the break I saw him holding the door open for a student. He just seemed so nice, normal and humble. A real treat to meet him.

    Then we had Suzanne Robidoux speak about pain. She has been living in China for the last 20 years and really must have been working hard. Her teacher is over 100 years old (picture of him). Now there is what you call the perfect picture of a TCM Doctor.

    Education is weightless and I like to get a lot of it. It takes years of learning and experience to piece together what to do with patients on any given day. It it the hardest jigsaw puzzle of them all. It was fun to go and see two people that have their pieces of the pie figured out.

    Here’s a pic of Master Yuen


    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies