A Few Of Our Favorite Organizations

By Mike Waters


A Few Of Our Favorite Organizations

Growing up Catholic, we were asked to tithe a portion of our earnings to the church. Today, in the Bay Area and Northern California, there are many organizations that do the kind of good works that churches can’t do. December is the season to offer dollars and support to those that strengthen our local community. Of course, there are also benefits like tax deductions — and maybe your company will match your donation!

Directed by the North Valley Community Foundation, this is a fund that grants money directly to individuals and families affected by the recent Camp Fire, as well as funneling financial support to local and regional organizations, agencies, and service providers that provide direct assistance to fire victims.
Visit Camp Fire Relief Foundation website >

Our beloved client and colleague, Dianne Crosby, sits on the board of this charity which aggregates donations from individuals and distributes grants to local organizations in Berkeley and Oakland serving the needs of seniors, children, and the homeless here in the East Bay.
Visit The Community Foundation website >

Arana Craftsman Painters regularly contributes to Misssey, whose work supports and advocates for young women and girls who have been victims of child-sex trafficking through providing services and education.
Visit website >

Longtime clients may remember (and new ones are welcome to look at the photos on our website!) back in 2016, when Arana donated expertise, labor, and materials to the creation of family suites for the new RMH at Stanford. Ronald McDonald Houses provides the family of a child who is receiving critical care at a hospital a comfortable and caring place to stay nearby.
Visit Ronald McDonald House at Stanford website >

What are your favorite charities? We love to promote the causes dear to our clients’ hearts! Email me at

Staying Well in Winter Using Ancient Medicine Techniques

By Catherine Baldi

Our Bay Area winter with its damp chill, blustery winds and reduced hours of sunlight brings constitutional challenges that can make us more susceptible to those persistent cold and flu viruses. In my experience, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture provide the most effective methods for treating colds and flus throughout this time of year.

Acupuncture is only one of five main branches of “Traditional Chinese Medicine.” In Acupuncture, the body’s illnesses are resolved by unblocking and directing energy through the rivers (meridians) that flow through the body — by stimulating points along these tributaries with fine-pointed needles. Acupuncture is the most well-known branch, but the other four equally-important branches, “Right Thinking,” balanced nutrition, herbal medicine, and massage all together create the TCM map to wholeness and health. In the United States, Traditional Chinese Medicine can be said to have been divorced from this map and its mystical and esoteric roots.

An even less-well-known fact: While Traditional Chinese Medicine is 2,500 years old and the most familiar to us of the non-Western medical modalities researchers have found that the same theories of the body, illness, and methods of treatment were also developing simultaneously in the ancient Mayan Civilization of southern Mexico and Northern Guatemala.

When our kids were babies, my in-laws, Ernesto’s family members, were always saying, “Cover their heads! Don’t let the wind get in their ears!” Ernesto is from Guatemala so when I read the book, Wind in the Blood: Mayan Healing and Chinese Medicine, I really understood why they would say these things!

Wind in the Blood details Mayan Healing practices using the lens of Traditional Chinese Medicine to gain a greater understanding of these Mayan practices. The Berkeley-based Hesperian Foundation translated and published this book in 1999. What started out as a Spanish-language field manual, written by two Mexican physicians for western health care practitioners working in the Mayan community, evolved into an extensive documentation of traditional Mayan Healing techniques. This book details the depth and breadth of Mayan cosmology and how it shares surprising parallels with Chinese medicine.

For example, in this excerpt from the book, the authors describe Mayan medical thought on root causes of illness:

Heat and Cold Imbalance

With respect to the entirety of causes, one relation is outstanding and seems to be integral to the entire body of Mayan medical thought: the concept of hot and cold. It seems that a great part of the causes of illness — dietary disorders, emotional imbalance, excess of work, weakness, etcetera — can be seen as representing qualities either hot or cold. Conditions, objects, food — all are classified as hot or cold and under certain conditions arise as the potential cause of illness. Both natural and supernatural winds are also considered to fit within this concept. (Wind in the Blood, page 42)

For anyone who is remotely familiar with Chinese medicine, cold and wind are considered highly impactful on our health in that modality. It is so interesting to see the same principles identified in historical Mayan culture.

I have asked Oakland-based Acupuncturist Aimee Ruiz, L.Ac., to give us specific tips from Traditional Chinese Medicine for staying warm and well in the winter, plus a recipe for a healing beverage, which we have presented on the adjoining page. Please enjoy these health-enhancing recommendations!

Winter Wellness Tips + Immunity Boosting Recipe
By Aimee Ruiz, L.Ac., East Bay Acupuncture,

In Chinese medicine, we always advocate for staying warm and that recommendation goes far wider than you might think.

Sure, you want to wear a coat when it's cold outside, but do you know what else would help you stay well?

Here are a few tips to boost your immunity:

  • Wear a scarf! Did you know that most pathogens (colds and flus) can enter your body through the back of your neck? Keeping your neck and chest covered can guard against colds and flus.
  • Wear socks or slippers at home. Bare feet inside and outside can introduce cold into your body and lower your immunity.
  • Warm from the inside. Consume (and enjoy) soup, broth, tea, warm water with lemon, stew, congee, curries, etc.
  • Avoid cold treats and ice during the winter months. Drink room temperature or warm beverages when possible.
  • Alter your smoothie recipes to include room temperature or refrigerated fruits and vegetables instead of frozen. Also, add ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or clove to bring even more warming elements to your drink.
  • Try soothing, warm, Epsom salt foot soaks at night. Especially if you have cold feet! Warm foot soaks before bed may help you sleep better as well.
  • Rest and get adequate sleep. Winter is a great time to slow down, do less, enjoy the quiet, and store up your energy for spring.


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