Holiday Bash, Sat. Dec. 1, 5-8pm

Holiday Bash, Saturday, December 1, 5-8pm

Join us for a potluck and receive a free Center & Balance CD (while supplies last)

Get your shopping done early!  Jewelry by Laurie Kirk. Art by Craig Scoffone.  Tai Chi by Chris Shelton. Bellydancing by Mizarah.

Parking is available in the back of the building.

or call (408) 391-2846



 Friday, November 23, 2012

 8:30am Fit & Firm

9:30am Pilates Mat

 Space limited

Call (408) 391-2846 to register in advance


By Brenda Billings, M.Sc

Do you find yourself feeling angrier, agitated, and short of patience?  Is it becoming more difficult to relax and focus on the things you enjoy? Do you lay awake at night dwelling on the day’s conflicts, unpaid bills, or other common stressors?  When stress becomes overpowering it can leave us feeling powerless. It can cloud our judgment, and limit our ability to think lucidly. Moreover, allowing ourselves to become puppets in the hands of our stressors can take a heavy toll on both our physical and mental health.

If I told you I’d found a new miracle drug that relieved most, if not all, of my stress and anxiety, without any adverse side effects, would you rush out and purchase a bottle?  I would.  Unfortunately, easy fixes are hard to come by, and I tend to be a skeptic when it comes to companies and individuals making such broad, unsubstantiated claims. I’ve grown weary of the numerous ads and advice columns advocating additional supplements, quick fixes, and in many instances, what amounts to pure quackery to “cure” my stress. While medical science may provide some relief, turning to prescription drugs often times can result in unforeseen side effects.  Fortunately, there is something you can do to curb anxiety, reduce blood pressure, and eliminate that feeling of powerlessness.  Enter meditation, an age old technique for combatting stress.

So how does meditation actually help us reduce stress? First and foremost, it takes the attention away from the source of your stress; the constant repetition involved blocks the brain’s ability to focus on its worries. This quiets the mind, giving you an opportunity to change your perspective and bring objectivity to the situation you are addressing.

According to Hyman (2012) the power of mediation has been verified through science, and it’s application has been successful in treating a wide range of ailments and illnesses, including chronic pain, blood pressure, headaches, and anxiety / stress.

Often, stress is caused when we perceive a situation to be beyond our capacity or control, and this perception may or may not be based on reality. The secret to coping with stress lies in training our minds to remain calm, altering our initial reactions, and enabling us to make more realistic assessments of the demands being placed on us. This in turn helps our bodies and minds to formulate a more reasoned coping strategy.

According to Prasad, Wahner-Roedler, & Sood, (2011) “…stress is a ubiquitous problem and a mediator of symptoms for a variety of medical conditions. Excessive stress is associated with adverse medical outcomes, unhealthy coping mechanisms, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and overall poor quality of life (QOL). No specific pharmacologic treatment is available for treating stress. Further, it is often difficult or impossible to change the reality of circumstances causing stress in an individual. Therefore, increasing individual coping mechanisms and the ability of a person to handle stress might be a reasonable strategy to adapt toward reducing stress.”

Additionally, meditation can also help us foster better anger control mechanisms. Whether it’s driving through rush hour traffic, dealing with an annoying boss, or watching the latest political ads, anger gets the best of all of us at times. As noted by Gold (2010), “meditation does have health benefits, particularly for neurotics with anger and anxiety issues. The American academics published the results of their research into the joys of transcendental meditation (TM). Apparently guinea pigs (human ones) who practiced TM showed a 48% decline in depressive symptoms. Last year another study indicated that there were 47% fewer heart attacks, strokes and premature deaths among transcendental meditation.”

Meditation is also a great tool for understanding anger and its root causes, as noted by Nanaimo News (2007). “Whenever you see anger arise either within yourself or within another, understand that what you are seeing is the frustration of losing perceived control of the experience.” As a result, meditation will produce a kinder, wiser you, putting you in control of your thoughts and emotions.

There are several schools of thought surrounding meditation, and each puts forward its own particular technique. But the basic concept of focusing on a particular object is common to all. Below are a few techniques to try on your own:

  • Beginners are generally advised to focus on their breathing and count each exhalation from 1 to 10 and then begin from 1 again.
  • Another very effective technique to achieve a meditative state is reciting a mantra. This mantra may be chosen from your own scriptures, either religious or secular, depending on your belief system.
  • For those who find mantras distracting, a common effective technique is to focus on a dot on a sheet kept a meter away from you.
  • Meditation advises you to observe your thoughts and the awareness that is created by focusing on your thoughts and emotions. As you become aware of your true thoughts and reactions, you can begin to come under your control.
  • People who have a strong imagination and are very susceptible to negative situations find guided imagery extremely helpful. This can be practiced in a group or with the help of DVDs.
  • Music meditation with its binaural beats is a good way to practice meditation and induce relaxation.


Avoid anger by embracing yoga and meditation. (2007, Jun 05). Nanaimo News Bulletin. Retrieved from

Gold, T. (2010, Apr 09). G2: Shhh, I’m in my happy place: Meditation, says a new report, can do wonders for anger, anxiety and depression. but could it rid Tanya Gold of her constant bad temper? The Guardian. Retrieved from

Hyman, M. (2012, Jun 18). Why doing nothing is the key to happiness. Dr. Hyman’s Blog. Retrieved from

Prasad, K., Wahner-Roedler, D., Cha, S. S., M.S., & Sood, A. (2011). Effect of a single-session meditation training to reduce stress and improve the quality of life among health care professionals: A “dose-ranging” feasibility study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 17(3), 46-9. Retrieved from

Destress for the Holidays, November 2012 Newsletter

Brace yourself, the holiday season has begun! With the passing of Halloween and the start of November it’s official. Although the holidays can be a stressful time of year, Morning Crane is your place to “De-stress for the Holidays!” We are your one-stop shop for all things health and wellness. Whatever your journey calls for — fitness classes, mind-body work, Medical Qigong, Acupuncture, or massage — we can help. Experience our commitment to your health & vitality TODAY!

Seasonal guidance and information:

Winter is a time to go inward. Just like a bear hibernates in the winter we all need to slow down and take time for ourselves. This winter is a particularly powerful time due to the collective energies that are affecting our lives and perspectives. Many of us are experiencing dramatic changes that are turning everything in our lives upside down, spinning us into opposite directions from where we thought they we going. We are being asked to LET GO, of prior plans, intentions, beliefs, relationships, jobs, whatever does not have relevance in this powerful transition. Then we can prepare to welcome in the new way of Being that is unfolding. The Mayan Calendar holds December 21, 2012 as “The Beginning” of a new phase of existence. In spite of the demands our consumer culture puts on us during this time of year, make sure to create lots of quiet time to tune in energetically and emotionally to what is changing in your life, and who is moving through these changes with you. Then you can feel connected to yourself, so you can focus on your dreams and passions of the larger version of your life coming into fruition during the next year. Make sure to take care of your physical body as it is all connected. During the next few months, we transfer from the Metal Element of Autumn and transition into the Water Element of winter. To support this change Chinese Medicine encourages us to pay attention the Water Element by nurturing your Kidneys. Now is the time to nurture you Kidneys by eating more fresh water fish like salmon, sole, code, sea bass, halibut. Sea veggies like kelp, sea weed and beef marrow broth are some of the recommended foods to help tonify your Kidneys. Look below to find a beautiful Kicharee winter recipe that will delight your taste buds and nurture you Kidneys. You may feel that you want to go to bed earlier. Listen to your body. Get plenty of rest. The “White Pearl” Meditation on Chris Shelton’s Center and Balance CD is a great way to fill you cup and strengthening your Kidneys.

Supplement recommendations:

Consider trying Vitamin D3 for your immune health this winter. Vitamin D’s role in immune health has long been established; vitamin D receptors are found on a number of immune cells, including lymphocytes and macrophages, supporting healthy immune cell activation. Vitamin D promotes the essential mechanisms for maintaining proper calcium levels in the body and for healthy bone composition. Vitamin D supports cardiovascular function in some individuals. A role for vitamin D is supporting colon health by promoting healthy cellular function. Furthermore, vitamin D is believed to provide general cellular support, including for the breast and prostate, in part by helping to maintain healthy angiogenesis balance, supporting immune cell activity, and maintaining healthy cell metabolism. Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 is available at Morning Crane in either capsule or liquid form. (Source:

Warming Winter Kitchery Recipe: Delicious, Nutritious & Building

 Warming Winter Kitchery Recipe: Delicious, Nutritious & Building

Wonderful warming winter food that nourishes to the core- great for strengthening our stomach, sleep, and kidneys.


10 cups of filtered water

½ cup of red lentils

1 cup of millet

½ cup basmati rice

2 T ghee or canola oil

1 large onion,

8 to 10 cloves of garlic, minced

1 burdock root, thinly sliced

2 pieces of astragalus root

2 carrots, sliced

minced 2 cups of butternut or kabocha squash (leave skin on kabocha)

5 slices of fresh ginger ( ½” thick)

4 T parsley, minced

2 T fresh cilantro, minced

2 T nettles

2 t mustard seed

1 t turmeric

1/3 cup Arame seaweed

1.5 t coriander powder

1.25 t cumin powder

¼ t saffron

¼ t black pepper

¼ t cayenne pepper

Pinch of asafoetida

  • Rinse grains well
  • Saute onion, burdock and garlic in ghee or canola oil
  • Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, asafetida and mustard seed- sauté for 2-3 more minutes
  • Add water and grains, astragalus, ginger, saffron, nettles, arame
  • Simmer for 45-60 minutes on low heat
  • Add carrots, squash, parsley, black and cayenne pepper
  • Check if Kicharee need more water, if so, add a cup
  • Simmer another 30 minutes or until veggies are tender
  • Remove from heat and add fresh cilantro and salt.

Pilates Improves Life Satisfaction for Women

Pilates Improves Life Satisfaction for Women,

IDEA Fitness Journal March 2012

Women who practice mat-based Pilates consistently for at least 6 months may improve life satisfaction, total physical self-concept and perceptions of their own appearance, functionality and health status, according to research published in Women & Health (2011; 51 [3], 240-55)

Researchers from Portugal and Germany set out to examine weather practicing Pilates as a mind-body exercise would positively impact a woman’s individual attitude toward herself and her health.  They randomly assigned 80 healthy women, aged 25-55, to either a Pilates group or a control group. No participants had prior Pilates experience. To remain in the trial, Pilates group members were required to attend 85% of the 2-hour Pilates classes, were offered four times weekly for 6 months. Sixty-two women completed the study. Control group members received no training but were instructed to maintain existing physical activity levels.

At baseline, after 3 months and at program’s end, an assessor (who did not know group member assignments) supervised participants’ self-completion of a questionnaire. Questions used the Satisfaction With life Scale, the Physical Self-Concept Scale, and the EQ VAS, a part of the EQ-SD that measures perception of health– all valid and reliable tools.

Data analysis showed no significant differences between control and Pilates group members at baseline or after 3 months. After 6 months, however, Pilates group members showed significant improvements in life satisfaction, total physical self-concept, perceptions of appreciation by other people and perceptions of their own physical appearance, functionality and health status. Limitations of the study included its small sample size and the fact that a non-Pilates-based exercise group was not included as a control group, so researchers could not compare the results of one style of exercise with those of another.

“The significance of this study,” said lead author Ana Cruz-Ferreira, MA, an assistant professor at the department of sport and health at the University of Evora, in Portugal, “is that the Pialtes method can be used to improve a healthy woman’s quality of life, which contributes to her psychological well-being. And, by improving life satisfaction, physical self-concept and perception of health status are all improved.”

Pilates Improves life Satisfaction for Women

Pilates Improves life Satisfaction for Women

Study finds Tai Chi helps people with Parkinson’s

Study finds Tai Chi helps people with Parkinson’s

The Chinese exercise of Tai Chi improved balance and lowered the risk of falls in a study of people with Parkinson’s disease.

Symptoms of the brain disorder include tremors and stiff, jerky movements that can affect walking and other activities.  Medications and surgery can help, and doctors often recommend exercise or physical therapy.

Tai Chi, with it’s slow, graceful movements, has been shown to improve strength and aid stability in older people, and has been studied for a number of ailments.  In the latest study, led by Fuzhong Li of the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, Tai Chi was tested in 195 people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s.

The participants attended twice-weekly group classes of either Tai Chi or two other kinds of exercise– stretching and resistance training, which included steps and lunges with ankle weights and a weighted vest.

After six months of classes, the Tai Chi group did significantly better than the stretching group in tests of balance, control, walking and other measures.  Compared with resistance training, the Tai Chi group did better in balance, control and stride, and about the same in other tests.

The findings are in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The study was paid for by the the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Associate Press

Morning Crane teams up with Living Social! Special Deal until Friday

One Month of Unlimited Fitness Classes for $25 (value $150, 83% savings)

You’ve heard the same adage a thousand times — the early bird gets the worm. Score the proverbial worm when you hurry up and snatch today’s deal from Morning Crane Healing Arts & Fitness Center: Pay $25 (regularly $150) for one month of unlimited group fitness classes that can help balance your day and well-being. Choose from tension-melting hour-long classes like Mat Pilates, Qigong, TRX Suspension, TRX Cardio Kickboxing, Tai Chi, and Beginning Belly Dancing. Work your core muscles with Chris Shelton and his team of experienced trainers in this beautiful, newly expanded Willow Glen facility. You’ll strengthen your mind and body with today’s deal before the early bird even sees it coming.


Click here to purchase ->

Effectiveness of Acupuncture? ​By Brenda Billings M.Sc

Acupuncture treatments proven successful

Effectiveness of Acupuncture? By Brenda Billings M.Sc

Acupuncture treatments proven successful

When western medicine fails to adequately alleviate a patient’s pain, many turn to acupuncture or other forms of alternative medicine to find relief. As practiced for more than 2,500 years, acupuncture is widely accepted as a remedy for a variety of diseases, and reliance on this art as an alternative treatment has increased worldwide particularly since the 1970s. Moreover, acupuncture has been shown to improve neurological disorders, severe to moderate dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps), and to relieve chronic pain in children and adolescents. By example, a comparative study in which patients with ischemic cerebro-vascular disease, also known commonly as a stoke, who were treated with acupuncture, were compared with those treated with conventional drugs (Chen, et al. 1990). The researchers then assessed the patients’ nerve functions using the electroencephalographic map and the somatosensory evoked procedure. The results demonstrated significantly better health outcomes among patients who were treated with acupuncture than among their counterparts treated with traditional medicine. These results may be related to the way the brain functions and how those networks operate.

As noted by Qin, Bai, Dai, Liu, & Dong, (2011) “Stimulating different acupoints for treating various clinical conditions is usually accompanied with multidimensional physiological as well as psychological responses, indicating that the peripheral acupoint-brain interaction may engage complex neural substrates. The brain regions are organized into interleaved networks to accomplish various functions or healing effects when a neural intervention is triggered.”

In other research, acupuncture was administered to a group of patients suffering from severe to moderate dysmenorrhea, also known as menstrual cramps (Lorno, 2008). Dysmenorrhea can be classified as primary or secondary. The pain associated with dysmenorrhea can impair working activities and other functions. The objective of the study was to measure the efficacy of acupuncture in a number of women who had primary and secondary dysmenorrhea that was resistant to non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAID). The efficacy of acupuncture was then measured according to pain control and impact on NSAID consumption. The results of the application of acupuncture revealed a substantial pain reduction in 13 out of 15 patients; even among those whose pain had been resistant to NSAID. The pain control that was obtained at the end of the treatment was maintained for at least 6 months in 50% of cases.

These results confirmed that acupuncture treatments provides not only more than just a temporary symptomatic effect, but that acupuncture may be indicated to treat dysmenorrhea related pain; particularly in individuals in whom NSAID are contraindicated. Furthermore, the significant reduction of pain suggested that acupuncture had a true therapeutic effect because a placebo effect of any type of treatment is unlikely to occur in more than 50% of cases. Moreover, acupuncture’s short term effects on Dysmenorrhea are helpful in decreasing pain, as noted by Chung at el 2012 findings indicates that acupoint stimulation, especially noninvasive acupoint stimulation, could have good short term effects on pain of primary dysmenorrhea.

Inference in some studies was somewhat restricted due to low methodological rigor. We suggest well-designed, methodologically rigorous, exhaustive trial, evaluating both short and long-term effects on pain and other outcomes in comparison with the available standard treatments. Acupuncture has also been proven useful on children. Lin and associates conducted a study among 53 children and adolescents aged between 2 and 18 years to determine the benefits of acupuncture on children and adolescents suffering from chronic pain as well as chronic fatigue due to diverse health conditions (Lin, Bioteau & Lee, 2003). After administering acupuncture, the children reported significant reductions in pain in the visual analog scale (VAS) ratings. From the findings in the aforementioned studies, it is obvious that acupuncture has considerable promise as a treatment modality. For this reason, additional research continues to be conducted to try and establish physiologic rationale for incorporating acupuncture into ordinary care.

Acupuncture undoubtedly has many benefits, so whats stopping doctors from referring patients to an acupuncturist? As noted by Abrams (2012) “The bigger trouble, if acupuncture’s effectiveness can’t be explained by the placebo effect, may be that we don’t have a good alternative for how it might work … attempts have been made to look beyond traditional Chinese concepts of balanced qi and body channels to theories about triggering the release endorphins and the anatomic locations of loose connective tissues, but no robust evidence exists for any of the proposed plausible explanations.”

Although, we do not fully understand how acupuncture works, evidence has proven its benefits. We still have more research to perform on this topic, but I for one am not dismissing its promise as an alternative to traditional forms of pain alievement.



Abrams, L. (2012, September 11). Biological Implausibility Aside, Acupuncture Works. The Atlantic Retrieved from

Atlantic.Chari, P, et al. (1988). Acupuncture therapy in allergic rhinitis. American Journal of Acupuncture, 16(2):143–147.

Chen, D.Z. et al. (1990). Evaluation of therapeutic effects of acupuncture in treat in ischaemic cerebrovascular disease. Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine, 10 (9):526–528

Chung, Yu-Chu; Chen, Hsing-Hsia; Yeh, Mei-Ling. Acupoint stimulation intervention for people with primary dysmenorrhea: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials Complementary Therapies in Medicine20. 5 (Oct 2012): 353-63.

Lin, Y., Bioteau, A. B., & Lee, A. C. (2003). Acupuncture for the management of pediatric pain: a pilot study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 14, 45–46

Lorno, V. (2008). Acupuncture treatment of dysmenorrhea resistant to conventional medical treatment. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 5(2): 227–230. doi:  10.1093/ecam/nem020

Qin, WeiBai, LijunDai, JianpingLiu, PengDong, Minghao; et al. The temporal-spatial encoding of acupuncture effects in the brain Molecular Pain 7. 1 (2011): 19.


5 Element Tai Chi

5 Element Tai Chi with Chris Shelton @ Willow Glen Yoga


Saturday, October 27, 2012 1:30-4pm

Register @

This ancient art of Tai Chi is a powerful and effective way to increase your health, vitality, awareness and athletic performance.  Come learn the breathing techniques, gentle movements and meditations of Tai Chi.