Category Archives: Acupuncture

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.

There is NO!!! good posture after about 45 minutes of being in it. Once you hit the 45 min mark your body will start to change into that shape thinking it’s the new normal.

Likely the best advice I ever heard, and many of you have heard this at my work, after 45 min take a 5 second stretch.

Yes, that’s all it seems to take. Just get in the edges of your regular flexibility for a few seconds and it will reset your “proprioceptor” and that will allow you to get back at it.

But what is bad about a bike at your work desk? Blood flow.

You have a certain amount of blood inside you. Think of it like workers, there is a limited amount. If you push some of those workers into your legs to move them around, you will have LESS to run your brain. Basically lowering your brains level of function.

Now say your job is easy, get a bike you’ll love it.

Otherwise take a 30-60 pace walk, moving your arms, twice an hour and you will be farther ahead as the movement will draw some blood away from the brain. Your brain can get congested, a bit of movement can help the brain re-balance.

How can I prove this? That’s easy. Get on your bike and start doing long division in your head. Or do anything complicated for you and you will see, you have stopped pedaling. You need all the blood you can get to run your brains processors.

I have done a lot of research into maximizing my brains potential (I know, could do more). Everyone will have some variation to this but. Work for 45 min, take a 15 min break. Then work for 30 min and take a 15 min break. Then work for 15 min and take a 45 min break. Then go back to the start.

If you can measure what you do, measure what you get done now. Then try that schedule for 2-3 weeks to get used to it and then measure what you are getting done. Let me know how that goes for you.

As for your desk, a variety of body positions is the answer, with regular breaks. Sitting, standing, laying down they are all fine. The real question is how can you work at 85% of your capacity vs 25%. I’ll cover that another time, for now try the schedule I talked about in this article.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Kelowna Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

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

Perspective from a Sailor’s point of view

My wife recently competed in the Re/Max Women’s Keel boat sailing championships. Held at the Kelowna Yacht Club. It was fantastic, the wind did what it does here (a bit irregular) but the event was run perfectly.

I had the opportunity to be in the group that listened to protests from competitors on rule infractions and was that interesting.

To protect the innocent I will modify the story a bit. A competitor protested another boat for fouling them. Lets say, boat ‘B’ said boat ‘A’ cut off boat B and sailed upwind of them. A said they did no such thing and A sailed happily downwind of them!

Forget the alleged ‘cut off’, one group said they went up and the other said down and they where very, very sure of their stories. How can this be? The actual “judge” that came into town to make sure we did things correctly said this happens all the time.

He normally goes out on the water with his tape recorder and records all close calls and fouls he sees so when they get back to the protest room he can refresh his memory and have the correct decision, otherwise most of these protests would never get solved.

We had some video from a drone helicopter showing some of these situations and when you hear the boats describe it before you see the video you could not believe it when you actually see what did happen. Lets just say the video normally told a different story.

Why is this? Well it has to do with stress and memory. The more stressed out you get the more of your senses go haywire. But your senses don’t tell you that. So you can literally have one eye turn off and get monocular vision, which will radically limit your depth perception. You can read hundreds of stories of quarterbacks in big games not hearing the crowds yell. They are so focused and wound up their ears turn off, amazing but true.

Then there is your memory, or specifically how you transfer sensory data into short and medium term memory. Put it like this, if you don’t do it a lot, take a race, process it and sort out the ‘facts’ in your short term memory and then push it to medium term memory all while continuing to race, your going to do a poor job. But again your memory is not going to tell you that. Heck even if you do, the judge has been to world championships and the world best sailors have opposing stories as well.

What has this to do with regular life. Well I have spent a few afternoons talking to people about their recollection of past traumas, life events and other various memories. I can tell you their recalled stories are about as true and clear as a sailors. But again their memory is just not letting them know that, and most of us are suffering for it.

Many, many of our experiences are not as good or bad as we think. I encourage you to challenge your thinking and memory. Ask yourself is there any possibility you could be a little, or a lot, off on your recollection.  Ask some others about the event and be open to what you hear, because neither of you likely have the story correct.

I am not saying your abuse did not happen or you did not suffer when a loved one died. More the guy that cut you off in traffic was not out to get you. Or the office worker that ‘snubbed’ you for not saying hello, likely was not out to get you either. So many of life’s protests are not exactly as you remember them.

If you want to see how you observe and transfer information to your brain with a few tests try these youtube video’s here.

To see some of the pics of the race click here.

To see a cool drone video of it click here.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Daddy Daughter Day

If you have children then you know they magically get bigger. One day I am holding a little bundle of joy and what seems the next day I have a four and a half foot monster saying, NO NO NO!!! How may times have I treated parents for stress because of their teenagers? Lots.

I moved out of my parents house at 18 to go and finish my apprenticeship in Calgary, my daughter is half way there. I get a lot of comments at work about: “just you wait till her teens”. So like everything I don’t understand I go get some books on it and read.

The books say if I build and keep a strong relationship with her all may be well. Nothing is for certain but for sure if I don’t build and keep a strong relationship with her the chances for happy teenage years are slim.

To build that relationship is simple, it takes time. Lots of time, not quality (it would help) but quantity. The other day we did the beach, forgot to bring toys (remember it’s the dad, we where lucky I brought swim suits and some sun lotion). My daughter built this whole game out of “floating rocks” and we did that for a few hours.

To get the quantity I decided to take a day off work. That will cause some challenges at work. I am hoping it will cause less challenges with my child as she grows up. I’ll let you know.

Study’s and my own experience shows some days I don’t see my child when she is awake. I have left early for work and returned home late from meetings and she is in bed. I remember my parents doing that and as a kid I never understood it.

I was looking through baby photo albums and remembering the fun times we have had so far. I am glad I can take time off work to go and have more “memory making experiences”. With some luck I can also avoid some of the horror stories I hear weekly at work about teenagers.

See where you can carve out some more time with your kids, spouse, friends, even yourself. You may be amazed how fun it is.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Gold medal, The closest I’ll ever get to the Olympics

Recently our clinic won the “Gold” medal in “Best of Kelowna”, for the Healer category. Last year we won the silver. It is an interesting thing to me as I immediately think of the clients I am having a hard time healing and wonder how everyone else is doing.

We are really grateful to our clients and others who voted for us. The time they spend to vote is precious (if you tried to vote you’ll know just how difficult the company made the process) and we recognize people have lots of things to do.

I credit the win to my teacher, Elisabeth’s, training. She taught me to treat one person at a time and to treat them. Not their sore shoulder, their asthma, their insomnia. But them and that treats the shoulder, asthma, etc. When I talk to clients about their past experiences in clinics I hear some terrible stories. I always wonder how many people have those stories about my clinic.

That is one of the reasons we continue to take courses, buy books, research on-line (yes some information on-line is good) and think about solutions to problems people can have.
The support Heather brings to the clinic is invaluable, really for those that know her, how many of you have said I can just leave her with you and I can go jump in the lake…. I am lucky to have found her at one of those courses we have taken.

At the end of the day the award is a signal we do some things right at All Body Care and we look for ways to make other things improve. Heather and I thank all of you for voting for us and supporting our clinic over the last 15+ years.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Mothers Day

As Mothers Day approaches I think of all the luck people that still have mothers that are living. I also think of all those that don’t talk, visit, respect their mothers. Some have good reasons but with out mom’s there would be no one here in a generation.

Talking to hundreds of mom’s a year at work has given me all sorts of appreciations for the modern burdens on women. Women have many different roles often overlapping. Women, wife, mother, home-life, work-life, social-life etc. It can really mess with a person.

For all you mom’s out there take time for yourself, never loose yourself in your own life. You are the most important person in your life. You will get a LOT of noise to do this and that, often leaving you “no time” to do anything you want. Things that can nourish you, support you and further your life.

I think it is very difficult to carve out time in our lives for our own personal wants and desires, start small be consistent and remember it is important for you.

Where we live is one of the best spots in the world. Spend your time enjoying the gift of living here. From time to time imagine what life is like in Bangladesh or Somalia and likely we have it better. Enjoy that better, life is short don’t wait.

And for all you you mom’s our there, happy Mother’s Day and thank you.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Bullying stop it with you first

Today is National stop bullying day. One of my kids books is on bullying, it says bullying is part of life but not one anybody enjoys. I tend to agree. I do not see bullying stopping, I hope the abusive forms end and I hope we can work towards a day when it is gone altogether, but we’ll see.

How do I make a difference? Stop abusing myself is a great start. While I was bullied a lot in school by other kids, that was not as bad as the bullying I gave to myself.

There is a true saying I tell many clients. “If someone you know spoke to you in the way you speak to yourself, would you spend more time with them?” No is often the answer.

Be kinder to yourself than you think you need to be and see what happens. So many people are filled with anger, rage, self hate, self doubt and when they find someone to unload it on, they do, and we often call that bullying.

Okay I am nice to myself, but my life still sucks! Keep being nice to yourself, Rome was not build in a day. It can take some time to change your overall mental state, to one that normally likes yourself.

I think there are always going to be sometimes when we have destructive self talk, or at least that is my experience. Overtime you get less negative self-talk, and more positive or neutral self-talk and that’s a better place to live from.

From that place we can now go out into our world and be an example for others who are struggling. Lets face it bullying is a form of violence, from mild school yard teasing to full out wars on other countries. When more of us are living in a peaceful mindset, then violence is more difficult to happen and things become better.

There are many hundreds of ways to lessen bullying and this is only one. Find one that works for you and start by stopping bullying to yourself.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Take a moment

I got up this morning to fresh snow. Ugh, go shovel the driveway. But I looked out the window and it was almost done! But my wife was in the house. I looked and there was my daughter doing it. I just could not believe my eyes, the shovel is as big as her.
She got it all done. It seemed like yesterday we would have to put her in a toboggan and pull her and now she’s shoveling the driveway.
It was another reminder that our time with a little person is short. It can be a lot of work being with a little person. Mostly the work is patients, some breathing and some more patients. But days like these I realizes the time is a gift and I must enjoy it as much as I can, because people are small for a short time and big for a long time.
I hope all of us can take a moment to actually experience the moment. Slow down, enjoy what is happening now and if you have the chance to spend time with a little person, breathe.