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Janelle: You're listening to "Staying in the Game," a Plum Dragon Herbs podcast where we have conversations about mindset and techniques for staying at the top of your game. I'm your host Janelle Leatherwood. Joining us today is Kenton Sefcik, a seasoned acupuncturist and martial artist, author, and mentor. He's also the creator of TCM Graduate TV where he provides online education to up and coming acupuncturists and naturopathic doctors. Welcome to our show today, Kenton.
Kenton: Thank you so much for having me again on your amazing podcast.
Janelle: Yeah. We are excited to have you again. So, how's it going lately? How's this COVID-19 outbreak affecting you and your business?
Kenton: Those are almost two separate questions. So, yeah. We can talk about business first, I guess, because I'm very much a huge part of my business and I have been forcibly unemployed for I believe now it's been three weeks. So, it has been mandated that all regulated and unregulated professionals whether you're an acupuncturist, naturopathic doctor, massage therapist, osteopath, physiotherapist, barber, etc., gym owner, you are mandated to close your doors. So, that's about where we're at. We are trying to do this thing that the scientists requests that we do this flattening of the curve. And there's absolutely no question that it probably took me a good two weeks of going a little bit crazy inside my own head until I calmed down and started getting back to a lot of those solo practices that I use to keep me level-headed. So, it definitely was a struggle in regards to what am I gonna do now? I mean, that's probably the biggest question that any small business owner asks themselves in a time like this. What am I going to do now? And, yeah, that's pretty much, you know, what has happened, where I'm at. I have been very blessed. I know that my situation is probably a lot different from a lot of other people's. I live in an amazing country. Justin Trudeau is giving all self-employed unemployed people that are not able to work $2,000 a month. So, that's a little bit of a bonus that I'm able to... Obviously, that's only $24 grand a year, but at the end of the day, it's a little bit. The banks are allowing people to defer their mortgage payments. The renters are decreasing rent. They've passed laws where you can't be evicted during this time. The Nova Scotia government where I'm living and practicing, they are working on grants for all small business owners.
And so there is a lot of financial help and financial understanding and compassion during this time. So, that has been helpful and that's just been kind of coming out more and more and more. So, that's very helpful. I'm also very blessed that I have my online business, so to speak. So, my mentorship and just, again, what you talked about in my intro, just helping as many people as possible. Obviously, not being able to be in the clinic is allowing me to work on other projects such as digital downloads. I'm also in the works of creating a very large, maybe six to eight-week-long course. It could be kind of two hours once a week for about six weeks or eight weeks for, again, up and coming acupuncturists who want to gain confidence in the skills they went to school for. So, that is being worked on. So, those sorts of things. So, I'm able to kind of pour myself into that. And then of course, being a martial artist since 1994, I have been able to kind of delve back into a lot of solo practices there. So, yeah, that's kind of what's been going on in my life in terms of business and life. And how am I doing? I think now I'm doing a lot better than I was three, four weeks ago.
Janelle: Right. I know. I think it took all of us some getting used to. This is definitely not something that I ever expected would happen. And other people maybe could imagine a pandemic of this sort happening and everything shutting down. It really had never crossed my mind. So, I've been thrown for a loop for sure. So, I can hear you're outside, though, right now. That sounds amazing and beautiful.
Kenton: Yes, I am outside. Yes, there's lots of sun today. There's many, many birds that are trying to call other birds over to them. And, yes, it's a beautiful, beautiful sunny day. It's springtime in Nova Scotia, which means that there is no snow on the ground as opposed to other parts in Canada, which unfortunately still have snow.
Janelle: Yeah. I know. It's so nice to be in springtime right now. Anyhow, let's get back to some of the other things that you alluded to. So, how are you continuing to train right now?
Kenton: Before the gyms were all shut down, I was making sure that I was getting to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class two to three times a week, and looking forward to that camaraderie, that challenge, that physical and mental challenge, and obviously, that is no longer. And that has kind of forced me back inside. And what I mean by that is a lot of my previous martial art experience was with Wing Chun Kung Fu, a little bit of Filipino stick fighting, boxing, etc. And Kung Fu has played a huge part of my life. So, I started in Kung Fu at the age of 14. And a lot of training for me was solo. I would learn something from my teacher and I'd have to take it home and I'd have to drill, drill, drill so that I could improve. And as you kind of get older in life, less and less people are able to train due to familial commitments and work commitments. So, I often found myself with time on my hands, maybe a patient canceled, maybe I had a two-hour gap in my day. And what am I gonna do with this time? So, you generally split that time between training and I split that time between online stuff. So, in regards to adapting during this time, I've gone back to a lot of my solo drills. And there's a really wonderful saying and it's probably been passed around the martial arts circle, but I first heard it from a martial artist, Steve Smith, from Seattle who was taught by Fok Yun who also taught Bruce Lee and was also taught with Jesse Glover, and that's where my non-classical Gung-Fu stuff comes from, through Jesse Glover. And it's basically, if you have an imagination, use that. If you don't have an imagination, use forms. And so there are days where I have an imagination and I will creatively think of something to do and there's some days that I think, "I just don't want to really think about this right now." And I will go back to my forms and drills that I learned over the years. So, that's definitely what I've been doing. The internet, oh my goodness, the martial arts community as a whole is phenomenal. The amount of solo Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu drills that people are putting online for free. Kung Fu drills, fitness drills, Filipino stick fight. There's so much stuff on the internet right now that people are giving away for free and I think that's just so good because it's allowing my creativity spark to be reignited.
Janelle: Yeah. It's so great. I know I've been able to join, like, my cousin in Germany who's doing her workouts and friends from all over. It is really kind of cool how it's bringing a community together online so that we can keep staying fit and keep staying connected with each other. I think it's really important.
Kenton: Yeah, most definitely. There's like a third part to the saying. It's actually when you have a partner, use a partner. When you don't have a partner, use your imagination. When you don't have an imagination, do forms. But right now we're in this phase where I can't have a partner.
Kenton: So, I'm going to use my creativity. And if I'm not feeling very creative, then I'm gonna go back to those Wing Chun Kung Fu forms that I learned years ago and I'm going to, as we say in Chinese martial arts and Chinese medicine, I'm going to play the forms. And I think that's very important, the language that we use. When you step up to the piano, you're gonna play the piano. And that becomes kind of a self-expression, a tool through which I self-express. Well, the forms are no different. So, even though the forms are you line everybody up and their forms look relatively the same, that's a tool for me to self-express. And I think that's really important right now is, I have my own personal acronym that we talked about last time when I was on the podcast, it's BPM, breathing, posture, movement. Breathing is really important. Deep belly breathing, bring it to the present moment. Posture, keep a good posture when you're standing, squatting, lifting, whatever you're doing, and movement. And I think now more than ever, we can feel really stagnant because we're not able to move even sometimes even move about in our communities. "Please stay home" is kind of the message that's being drilled home and rightfully so. However, being able to move, so, whether you've got a little bit of space in your kitchen and you can move there or you have a yard you can move there, on your deck you can move there. So, yeah, being able to move. In Chinese medicine you have two souls, you have a yin and a yang soul where your yin soul is your po, and it's housed in your lungs. And that came into your body when you were born and you took your first breath on this side of the world, outside your mother's womb, and that allows you to animate yourself. And because the lung and the large intestine are paired in Chinese medicine, it exits out the po gate which is the anus when we die and we are no longer able to animate ourselves. Of course, we have a yang soul called the hun housed in the liver and that was there before we were born and it will be there when we're after...after we die and it merges with the dust when we die. But it's really important. We've all been given this meat suit for an undetermined amount of time. And I really believe that part of our wellbeing exists within movement.
Janelle: Yeah, absolutely. So good. And you've said before how sometimes you didn't want to get up, you didn't want to go train. And how do you get those voices out of your head that tell us not to?
Kenton: At a time like this, I think that a little bit of routine is a good thing. Jordan Peterson, world-famous book author, speaker, etc., clinical psychologist says that the very first thing he tells his patients when they are suffering from depression is to get up at the same time every day, even on weekends. That type of routine, that type of habit improves mood. And so I think there's a lot of people that aren't able to go to work. I'm not able to get up and go to the clinic. I could sleep until 1:00 if I wanted to. But that's not the right thing to do because that's going to hurt my mood. So, having some sort of routine, getting up at the same time every day, even though there's maybe not a job, per se, to go to is really important. So, that's definitely something that I've been doing, making sure that I'm getting up at the same time every morning at 7:30. And I also think this is a really good time to point the finger back at ourselves and say, "Is there anything that I would like to do during this time?" in a very non-pressured or if you are that type of person, driven, pressured way. It could be either way. So, that's definitely something that I'm doing to help me cope with uncertainty. So, I've mapped out about two or three projects that I want to get done for my business. I have also, in my mind, thought about, "Wow. You know what? I've been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu now for two and a half years. And I've kind of neglected some of my other martial arts practices such as Wing Chun and some Filipino stick fighting stuff. I think this would be a really good time to kind of get back to that." And I think that's a really good thing. I think that people could say, "You know what. I really... It's been a long time since I picked up a guitar. It's been a long time since I painted a painting." This is, I think, a wonderful time to do that because, again, it's just forms of self-expression, it brings us to the present moment, and it will help us all cope and heal and adapt to these COVID-19 times.
Janelle: Yeah, absolutely. I know it's so important to just, like you said, have a routine. I said the same thing to my husband this morning, I'm like, "You know what? I've got to get back on a routine of getting up early because it just sort of like throws you off if you're waking up at different times of the day and your kids are doing the same thing and stuff." So, I love that. And I've heard you talk about how important it is just to, like, do some deep breathing to try and refocus what your thoughts are telling you, like, "Stay in bed. Don't train." Can you help me understand, like, the thought work that needs to happen when it's hard for us to stick to our routine or do the things that we know are good for us to do but we just don't feel like doing them?
Kenton: When I'm teaching a bunch of participants Qigong, Tai Chi, the very first thing I teach them is belly breathing. And I tell them, "We're gonna do a bunch of weird postures and fancy hand waving. And if you get your left mixed up with your right, I don't care. The only thing I want you to get right or go back to is the belly breathing." We are going to breathe whether we control it or not. It's a natural part of living, your heart's going to beat automatically and we're going to breathe automatically. It's just gonna happen whether we control it or not. So, the ancients believed that it was this bridge between the conscious and the subconscious. Oftentimes when we get into a car accident, when we get work stress, in a collective stress time like right now, we hold on to a lot of tension. And in Chinese medicine, we would say that this is stagnation. It would be like a river being dammed up and everything downstream is going to start to die. Belly breathing allows the diaphragm to move like it was designed. When we were babies, we breathe entirely from our abdomen, our tummy puffed in and puffed out as we breathed. And as we get older, we end up starting to stress breathe, the very top, top, top part of our chest. And I'm very much aware that there are yoga practices that emphasize chest breathing, that's totally fine. But what I'm talking about here is allowing the abdomen to relax, taking a breath in, allowing the abdomen to expand, the diaphragm to drop down, massage the large intestine to help move the stool, and then allowing the abdomen to come in when we breathe out.
So, it definitely can help from a physical standpoint whereby we're massaging organs within our abdomen. It can help from a mental-emotional standpoint where it helps us work through anxiety, it helps us work through tension that we might be holding somewhere, and it's very, very calming. It's a very good spiritual practice that you can take anywhere. You can be driving in the car, you can be belly breathing. You can be standing in line at the grocery store. And so many of us have to stand outside the grocery store six-feet away from people at this time. It's a really good opportunity to go to the belly breathing to center oneself. Now, one thing I have to caution is that if somebody is feeling sensations of anxiety, or maybe not, when we belly breathe, it can bring about funny sensations, flutterings, heart palpitations. And I think the most important lesson that meditative breathing, Chinese medicine, martial arts has taught me is to trust my body. My body is going to work its bugs out if I just let it. So, going back to the belly breathing, if you can't fall asleep at night, no problem. Just belly breathe. And meditative breathing, belly breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, whatever you wanna call it, it has to be very non-judgmental. So, oftentimes I'll refer to it as non-judgmental breathing. When we start breathing from our abdomen, one of two things happen. A thought might come into our mind and we will follow that thought. We don't wanna do that. We just wanna go back to the belly breathing. The other thing that can happen is we can be judgmental. So, we can follow a thought and think, "Oh, I'm not supposed to be thinking. Kenton told me to stop that. And oh, I'm..." And now you've gone down another path.
Kenton: The goal is just go back to the belly breathing. Become extremely non-judgmental about the thoughts that you have. You have an anchor point, just go back to it. So, that's another important part of belly breathing. Same thing, again, getting heart palpitations. Oh, what's that funny sensation? Trust your body. It's just shaking out the stress like a rabbit does after it's been chased by a fox. Just go back to the belly breathing. Another concept within Daoism is polishing the mirror. That's what meditation or non-judgmental breathing is. When you polish a mirror, it's clean, but then what does it start attracting? Dust automatically. So, just because a person has meditated once or 100 times, the mirror is going to attract dust. So, always going back to the belly breathing, always having it there as an anchor. So, I remind myself as many times during the day as possible to go back to my belly breathing.
Janelle: Yeah. It's so important to do that because it helps release that, like, stuck energy that we have that's causing our body to feel tense and can even, like, exasperate, like, illness and disease when we're holding on to that tension and stuff.
Kenton: Most definitely. Alan Watts, he translated a word a little bit better I think. In Buddhism, we talk about attachment and non-attachment. And I think we get the wrong idea. I'm not supposed to be attached to my partner. I'm not supposed to be attached to my children, to my dog. I'm not supposed to be attached to living things. I think that's a misnomer along with Alan. And Alan Watts says, "A better translation is hang-ups." When we get an emotion that usually comes after an event, a life event or stress, and we just can't seem to move past that, that's a hang-up. And that is exactly what a movement meditative martial arts practice is for. We are very much supposed to be attached to our partners and our children and our pets, but when we have a hang-up, that's when we can use the tools that have been given to us throughout the years.
Janelle: Right. And the body wants to balance itself and... What are some other things that take us out of balance? Would you say eating well is very important?
Kenton: I think, at a time like this, many of us are stuck at home. And again, I'm very compassionate to the fact that I might be in a different position than other people, but I'm in a position where I still have some money coming into my home, I have access to healthy and good food at the grocery stores. I might have to line up, it might take me an hour and a half to two hours to get my groceries, but at least in my home, I'm able to control what kind of food is going into my body. I'm able to cook. Again, so many amazing resources right now, so many people trying to promote healthy eating at home. Many of us are not able to go get that quick pop and pizza at lunch right now or Vietnamese food or Thai food. So, that's just not available right now. So, cooking at home is a really important thing. Not reaching for a bag of chips and a chocolate bar right now is a good thing. Not reaching for pop and copious amounts of alcohol right now is a good thing. So, again, there are so many people that are struggling right now. They're struggling to make ends meet and they're not able to buy a lot of food, period. And then you've got the other side of the coin where you've got people saying, "Oh my gosh, I'm gonna come out of quarantine with an extra 40 pounds." Well, what type of fuel we put in our body ultimately determines how we are going to feel and how we are going to be able to use our body.
In Chinese medicine, you have different tastes that refer, that link up to elements and organs, etc. But at the end of the day, my kind of four food groups are meats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Or I usually say, if Mother Earth provided it to us, put it in your mouth. If a human being made it, don't put it in your mouth or don't put as much of it in your mouth as possible. And what that has to do with is, most of the time if a human being made something, it's going to be laden with sugar, salt, flour, these sorts of things. And that copious amounts of sugar especially in a time where we should be guarding our immune system, it is scientifically proven that sugar, when eating copious amounts of pure white sugar whether it's in a cookie or a cake or a candy or chocolate bar, it decreases the immune system.
Kenton: I think that one thing we can really take away from what is happening around the world is there's absolutely no question, elderly people, the immune-compromised, they are passing away because of this very strong Coronavirus. The other thing that is very interesting to me is that factors, signs and symptoms created by obesity and lung disease are leading factors in COVID-19 causing death. So, what I'm trying to say is, is if somebody is overweight and is suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, etc., if somebody has a history of smoking and they have emphysema and COPD or they have some lung concerns because of smoking, now is the time to quit. Now is the time to do the full 180. It's time to right the ship before it hits the iceberg and turn that lifestyle around because whether this virus was a mutation, whether this virus was created in a lab, whether there's another virus in another five years from now, the news headlines keep saying the same thing. The patient contracted COVID-19 but passed away because they had other pre-existing conditions. It's not always the case, no question, because all human beings are different, but there's a huge amount of evidence coming out. And so as you're just saying, water, tea, meats, nuts, fruits, and veggies, all good things.
Janelle: Definitely. And that's hard to do especially when people are kind of feeling a little bit more stressed and kind of in this hibernating mode. Yeah. I love that. It's really important. It is super scary that these pre-existing states whether it's obesity or diabetes or lung issues are going to put us at more risk and, like you said, we need to consider if we can do a 180 and get our life back on track. I'm gonna move on now. Talking about your most recent blog post, "Points to Herbs: Thinking Like an Acupuncturist, Prescribing Like an Herbalist," you point out that a lot of students coming out of Chinese medicine college are still trying to wrap their heads around all there is to know about herbal medicine. So, tell us a little bit more about what your digital download does to help acupuncturists.
Kenton: Yeah. So, that's one of the projects that I'm working on. It's probably going to be one of my largest digital downloads that will be available at kentonsefcik.com. And it is something that is happening in most Chinese medicine colleges is when I went to Chinese medicine college, I learned all the ologies, so anatomy, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, so many of the Western courses kind of you learn first and you get them out of the way, then you learn foundations of Chinese medicine, which is very important, learning the language of Chinese medicine. And then you learn single herbs, how to pair herbs. You learn herbal formulas. And you also learn about what's called patents or herbs that have kind of remained the same that come in the little black tea pills. Among that knowledge, we also learn acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, scraping, etc. A little bit of tween on massage. Now, when I went to do my final practicum, I gave acupuncture. My school had a little bit of an apothecary, but not a huge one. And so I gave a lot of acupuncture. Now, I love acupuncture and I feel like I've become proficient at it. And it's happening everywhere that most people are going to a Chinese medicine college, you learn a ton of herbs, and you might even get to sample raw herbs, which I did as well, but acupuncture is the main focus in the student clinic. And the other thing that's interesting is that the market demands.
Now, here in Canada, we have third party insurance, like in the United States and elsewhere, but I know that if a patient has Blue Cross, Great-West Life, Sun Life, Manulife, etc., they will come to see me for acupuncture and they'll get anywhere from 80% to 100% off of their bill. That is for acupuncture only. If I'm going to use herbs, it's over and above. So, even the market is kind of dictating that, "Hey, you know what? Stick to that acupuncture business for the most part." And there are ways to get around this and that is kind of where this digital download is coming from. A lot of practitioners, they went to school, they learn Chinese herbs, but I think that we as a collective industry, if you will, could be doing a better job prescribing them, making them more financially accessible to patients. And there's over 11,000 standardized herbal formulas. That's a lot. In acupuncture land, there's 409 standardized acupuncture points. There are over 11,000 standardized herbal formulas. How is anybody supposed to learn that? And by learning a smaller Kung Fu system like Wing Chun Kung Fu, and then learning Jesse Glover's non-classical Gung-Fu, which is almost like a mini-system, and then learning Dr. Maoyi Cai's take on acupuncture and Chinese medicine, he was the dean at my college, he's now down in Austin, Texas, by learning kind of these micro-systems, that has really helped me hone in on what I call heavy hitters.
So, in acupuncture land, there are heavy-hitting acupuncture points that do most of the work. It's like dropping a huge bomb on a problem instead of shooting it with a sniper. This is also the approach that I'm taking with the herbs. The also approach that I'm taking with herbs is to help acupuncturists now transition back into herbs because I think we get so used to seeing a group of acupuncture points over a long period of time, if you've been practicing for a little while, you can see, "Hey, I know what that person is treating." Well, a lot of the acupuncture points have actions that the herbs have. So, that's kind of the length that I'm going to be making for practitioners is to say, "Hey, listen, if you're diagnosing this and you start thinking about these acupuncture points, start thinking about this herbal formula." And then I'm gonna take it to the next stage where, "And this is how I think we can sell it to our patients so that it's financially accessible." So, that's what that large digital download that I'm working on is all about.
Janelle: That's really good. It helps them not be so intimidated by pairing up herbs with the treatments that they're doing.
Kenton: Exactly. And if we can have a foundation, if we can have a place to start, then... And I'm gonna be talking about my top 21 herbal formulas that I use in the clinic. Now, that being said, someone could take that microsystem that I've created and create, like, a nano-system. So, instead of carrying 21 herbs, they could carry like 3 to 5. And the whole idea is that carrying herbal formulas for the most common conditions so that you don't have a bunch of herbs expiring on your shelf that you've got to write off as bad debt, that's not the whole point. The whole point is to get confident by prescribing the same herbs over and over and over again just like I do with my heavy-hitting acupuncture points that I teach people about or mentor them on. "Hey, let's use these acupuncture points for this condition. It's also good for this and this and this." And use them over and over and over again, and it builds confidence. And it's a huge feedback loop. So, if I prescribe herbs and I get the response that I want, that's gonna kind of go plus one in my brain and I'm gonna wanna do it again.
Janelle: Right, right. And they get more comfortable with prescribing the herbs and seeing that they are actually enhancing their work.
Janelle: So, now another thing that you've tried to educate other acupuncturists on is that we need to have some focus in our treatments. Even though, like, we're zooming out on the patient, taking a broad look at what could be happening inside the body, we can't just do, like, a one-size-fits-all approach.
Kenton: Definitely can't do a one-size-fits-all approach. Definitely can't do a "I'm going to treat everything at the exact same time right now" approach either. And that's where that perspective comes from. I often talk about how Chinese medicine helps us zoom out and look at the patient as a whole. The patient is not a patient. The patient is a tree with branches and roots, and we zoom out to see the branches and the roots at the same time. Oftentimes two to three branches relate to the exact same root and we can treat branch and root at the same time. That being said, there are often many signs and symptoms that a patient comes to us with. There are many branches and many roots, but we can't treat them all. I can't put 50 needles in my patient. That's like someone owns a business and we can kind of picture a traditional CEO sitting at their desk. We can't have five people come in at the exact same time and request something. The CEO will not be able to divide their time up to help everyone at the exact same time. One or two people, okay, it probably could happen. Anything over a couple demands or requests is gonna be very, very difficult. The body is the exact same way. When I see photos of practitioners who have put more than 15 needles in somebody, I do think in my mind, they are not focused in their approach. I have a four-step acupoint building process, if you will. And that really helps nail down how we can create focus in a medicine that zooms out.
Janelle: Yeah. And it's probably hard to sometimes get your patient started particularly where they want you to focus. Do you have people that come in to say, "Oh, I just feel... I feel bad everywhere?"
Kenton: Most definitely. On my intake form, I have five lines. And there are so many times that somebody says "See back." and I've got to turn the page over and they're continually writing, you know, six, seven, eight. At the same time, I always ask them, "What is the most important thing to you?" And this is definitely a dance or a little bit of a balance. So, let's say we have a patient who comes in and I find out that there are lots of things going on or they even write that there's lots of things going on, but then they say that their knee pain is top priority for them. Totally fine. Why put 50 needles in somebody when I could put 12, I could focus on the knee, and I could also treat a little bit of the root problem? That seems a lot more logical to me.
Kenton: And then what we're also doing is when a patient wants their knee pain treated and if I go ahead and stick 50 needles in willy-nilly and just go all over the place, well, I'm not developing any rapport with the patient for treating their chief concern and I'm still not gonna get anything done. The flip to this is, for example, if I have a patient who comes to me and just wants me to fix their knee pain and they only have one bowel movement every week, which is quite common, well, then, I might have a little bit of a conversation with them and say, "It might be a good idea if I took a little firepower out of your knee and helped move your stool and then we can get back to your knee. What do you think about that?" "Wow, you can do that? That would be wonderful." Or let's say another very common example in the clinic is I have a woman patient who is suffering from mental menorrhagia, so menstrual flooding. They will tell me that when their menstrual cycle comes, they menstruate for 8 days, 10 days, it's extremely heavy, they are almost bedridden, they're so tired, etc. "Hey, before you have to go get an ablation, before there is a threatened surgery coming up, how about I take a little firepower out of your knee and I help you with your menstrual flooding?" "Oh my gosh, you can do that." So, those are conversations that we definitely need to have with our patients. But again, I'm being very focused. The knee pain might not be as important as the menstrual flooding, so it might be okay to kind of switch gears, or maybe I take three treatments out, and I treat the knee and then I switch over to the menstrual flooding. So, those are a couple, three ideas that are kind of in my head all at the same time whereby I need to definitely treat the patient's chief concern. It's top priority. This helps build rapport, but also I need to have conversation with them if I feel that there's something more pertinent that I need to deal with right away.
Janelle: Yeah. Yeah. And that would apply also to herbs that you might recommend. Correct? Even though they can work synergistically together, the set of herbs can have a very specific and focused effect and you might be negating it by combining it with a bunch of other herbs.
Kenton: Yeah, most definitely. The whole idea is that we are poking, prodding, pardon the acupuncture pun, we are coaxing the body to kind of rebalance. And we don't need to do that by giving somebody five different herbal formulas at the same time. Again, priority needs to be given to the chief concern. Developing rapport, helping the patient heal is all part of that. And then, same thing with herbs, maybe I want to treat something with my herbal formula which is the patient...or the patient wants me to treat something with an herbal formula, but I might say, "Hey, you know what? I've got another herbal formula that's going to help you." Again, kind of the top two things that, for lack of a better way to say it, scare me are bowels that don't move on a regular basis, and then anything to do with excessive menstrual bleeding. Those two things they just don't...the patient just doesn't need to live with that. So, those are kind of... And there's risk involved when a patient is not...is suffering from those two conditions. So, yeah. So, the exact same thing applies to prescribed herbal formulas. Again, and that's definitely what the digital download will address, it's having that focus.
Janelle: Right. Okay. So, how do people get that digital download?
Kenton: Yeah. So, as I said, you can go to kentonsefcik.com. You can Google my name. I'm going to definitely be promoting it through my newsletter, on Instagram, etc. So, if anybody follows me, I'm @tcmgraduatetv, so that's Traditional Chinese Medicine, @tcmgraduatetv on Instagram. And it will be well known to the world. It's coming out in the summer. I also have a workbook that I sell that does quite well. And it's basically kind of the foundations of acupuncture point building and prescribing. And what I typically do is anytime that there's a new digital download out, I will bundle them. So, I'll say, "Hey, anybody who doesn't have a workbook yet? If you order now, you'll get my new digital download that I'm putting out." So, if somebody already has the workbook or they're not interested, they can obviously just get the digital download on the website.
Janelle: Okay. That's great. I'll provide links on our show notes to those as well.
Janelle: Yeah. And then another thing I saw that was really close, you recently put out a 60-minute acupressure and Chinese self-massage course. Can you tell me more about that?
Kenton: Yeah, that was a lot of fun. That was kind of part of my healing was when I realized that I couldn't be in the clinic and things were going to look a lot differently for a lot of us practitioners, I contacted my good friend, Jon Foster, who owns Abhaya MMA in Warsaw, Nova Scotia and I said, "Is there any chance that I can use your gym to film a thing? It's gonna be free." He said, "Of course, use the gym anytime for something like that." So, I jumped in there and I recorded a Chinese self-massage and acupressure video. And that was just kind of where that came from. It just kind of came from, I wanna do something for the acupuncture community. These are techniques that I often teach to my patients. So, it wasn't just for the practitioners to do themselves, it was something that they could learn and they could take into their clinics when they get back up and running. So, it's kind of a two-fold thing there.
Janelle: And now is that also on Instagram? Can you watch the full video or do you link to it from there?
Kenton: Yeah. So, again, if you go to my website, kentonsefcik.com, it is a video that's linked to my CEU courses. So, CEU in my industry is Continuing Education Unit. So, if they go to my website or they go to my Instagram, what you want to do is you want to click the "Take a CEU course" link and it'll take you right to the video and it's absolutely free. It'll take you to my Thinkific "acupuncture school."
Janelle: Okay. Well, I sure appreciate talking to you today. I think we gave people a ton of tips for how they can stay in the game during this crisis. And we've given them lots of things to think about with your breathing, posture, movement, with eating right and staying balanced, keeping to a routine and a lot of help for acupuncturists. I hope other acupuncturists will reach out to you and that you can get back in your clinic soon.
Kenton: That's right. The community, especially online is very, very healthy, is very, very kind and very compassionate. I'm very blessed to be within such an amazing acupuncture and Chinese community online. I have countless people checking in with me all the time. How are you doing? I'm checking in with them. How are you doing? There's definitely a lot of that going on and I'm super grateful for it.
Janelle: Yes, same here. We've noticed at Plum Dragon Herbs people are just super generous and nice and couldn't do it without them. So, anyways, thank you to all of our listeners and thank you, Kenton, for coming on today and we wish you a great rest of the day. Enjoy your spring weather.
Kenton: Thank you. Take care.
Janelle: Take care. To learn more from Kenton, visit us at plumdragonherbs.com. We will post show notes, a transcript and links to connect with Kenton. And if you liked what you heard today, be sure to click the Subscribe button, leave us a comment and rate us on iTunes, YouTube or wherever you like to listen. By doing this, more people will have a chance to hear what our amazing guests have to share. Until next time.