Qi Gong Workshop

taichi hughesMaster Jeff Hughes has been training martial arts since 1974.  He has been teaching Chinese Kung Fu in Austin since 1995 to thousands of students.  His own health journey led him to practicing the Asian art of Qi Gong.

There are different types of Qi Gong exercises.  At this workshop, you will learn the “8 Brocade Qi Gong.”  There are 8 movements, each of which strengthens and conditions a different organ or body part.

This Qi Gong is a gentle exercise used to heal your internal organs and improve your health.  It’s considered “medical Qi Gong” that almost everyone can practice it regardless of your current health condition.

Conditions benefitted from Qi Gong exercises:

  1. Anxiety / Stress / PTSD / Insomnia / Depression
  2. Joint Pain (back, hips, knees, ankles, fingers, elbows, shoulders, neck, wrist, etc.)
  3. Weight Gain
  4. Immune Disorders
  5. Fatigue


10 am – 12 noon

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Acupuncture and Science

aiguille-1280088_640I love the skeptics:  “I’m a scientist, so I have a hard time believing in acupuncture.”

My response:  “People used to not believe in bacteria, but they would still get sick.”  

What I remember from 4th grade science class is that the scientific process consists of these steps:

  1. make an observation (I had a headache, then I had acupuncture and now my headache is gone.)
  2. form a question (Does acupuncture get rid of headaches?)
  3. form a hypothesis (Acupuncture gets rid of pain in the body, including, but not limited to headaches.)
  4. conduct an experiment
  5. analyze the data and draw a conclusion

We’ve had tons of steps 1 through 3, but not too many steps 4 and 5.  Why?  

Because it’s very time-consuming and expensive AND because there’s very little money in natural healing.  Not like the pharmaceutical industry anyway.

hexanol-835644_640One single clinical trial for a new medication can run $100 million (Forbes, 2/10/12, The Truly Staggering Cost of Inventing New Drugs).  I’m not sure if we added up the money made by every single acupuncturist in the US for one year if we could come up with $100 million.

Some studies have been done on acupuncture, and have shown favorable results, but the studies are limited.  The population tested was limited and the acupuncture techniques tested were limited.  The health conditions tested were limited.  Limited not by imagination or desire but….money.

I know plenty of under-employed acupuncturists who would love to run a clinical trial.  The problem comes down to funding.  Most acupuncturists, if they’re not busy treating patients or hustling up new patients, have no money!  Not big money, anyway.  Not $100 mill by far.

anatomy-254120_640Then you have to consider the economic and political climate this is happening in.  

If a very thorough experiment on the effectiveness of acupuncture is ran, and proven(!), then what happens???

Results get published; more people start using acupuncture instead of prescription drugs and surgeries; and the medical and pharma industries become outraged.

Maybe nothing would happen then except a big shift in the medical world, a shift that if you ask me is long-overdue.  

But usually when these big companies take a hit, they don’t go quietly out; they come back swinging.  I’m sure you could come up with some imaginative movie-plot-like ideas of what they could do.  Like buy out all the acupuncture schools and either make it obsolete or make it highly exclusive and hard to learn.  Or change the laws governing acupuncture and make it more difficult to obtain a license.  I don’t know.

I still think acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine as well are worthy of studies but maybe we don’t even need that.

Traditionally, Chinese medicine research and development was based on real-life experience.  Instead of the scientific process, it’s more like

  1. theorize
  2. try
  3. adjust theory
  4. try
  5. successful?  Yes:  done; proven.  No:  Repeat steps 1-5.History-of-Acupuncture




And continue this for 5,000 years.  Another scientific theory, the theory of evolution states that organisms change over time as a result of changes in physical or behavioral traits. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring.   China has the most populous country in the world, right?  Also, if a characteristic is ineffective for human evolution, it becomes extinct.  Acupuncture is showing no signs of slowing.

What do you think?  Should we do more clinical trials proving acupuncture’s effectiveness?  Is just knowing that it works good enough?   

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grocery-store-aisle-2While I think we all know which foods we need to eat less of to stay healthy (hello, Cheetos!), what about the foods we need to be eating MORE of?

These 5 superfoods are items I could recommend for everyone to add into their diet.  Your need for dietary supplementation (herbs and vitamins) will be reduced according to how much of these superfoods you regularly consume.  Shoot for 3 – 4 times a week per item.

If there’s a superfood that just really grosses you out, no worries.  You can always take these in pill / supplement form.  “Take it or eat it!”

1.  Fermented foods.  

Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, pickled vegetables are full of naturally occurring probiotics.  So, do you need a probiotic for your gut health?  Not if you’re regularly eating these.  Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that live in your intestines.  If they get out of balance you end up with problems like poor immunity, skin issues, and even cancer.  I wrote this article years ago on how to make your own fermented vegetables.

1NzPuhBl2.  Organ meats.

To be honest, this is one that I just take in pill form.  They’re so good for you, but I just can’t stomach the taste.  If you want to eat it,  you can find good quality organ meats, even in ground meat or sausage form at  www.uswellnessmeats.com.  Organ meats have a lot of the vitamins and trace minerals that we become deficient in on a regular basis.


  • Adrenal Gland:  great source of Vitamin C.  Your adrenal glands are your stress glands.   That’s why when you are stressed out, you tend to get sick.  You use up your adrenal energy which is Vitamin C.
  • Liver:  if there was one food I wish I could eat it’s Liver.  It’s a great source of Vitamin A, B-vitamins, zinc (eating sugar depletes your body of zinc), folate, and iron.  Anyone with chronic Liver problems such as anemia, fatigue, menstrual irregularities, skin problems, or moodiness should take Liver on a regular basis.
  • Heart:  the best source of CoQ10.  CoQ10, which you can also buy in pill form, is the enzyme that your body stops producing when you take cholesterol medication.  CoQ10 is food for your muscles, including your Heart.  To prevent or treat Heart dis-ease, especially if you’re on statin drugs, eat Heart organ.  Heart is also a good source of amino acids, B12 and collagen for your skin and tendons.
  • Kidney:  source of Vitamin A, B12, riboflavin, and iron.
  • Tendon:  in general, if you have a problem area in your body, eat that type of animal organ.  It helps to heal on a cellular level.

3.  Bone broth.bonebroth

I know this is the hottest new food fad, but bear with me here.  Remember back in the old days when people would make “stock?”  That’s what bone broth is.  It’s vegetable broth + bones.  To make it on your own, you’re going to need 48 hours of preparation time.  You can Google how to do it if you’re super-motivated.  OR you can do what I do and what lots of other lazy cooks who happen to want to eat healthy do:  we buy it already made.

Once you have your bone broth, you use it as a base for soup recipes or any type of recipe that calls for “broth.”  You can have it by itself as a drink as well.  Bone broth is full of trace minerals that are difficult to get through a regular, American-ized diet.  It helps heal your joints and digestive tract because it is super-alkalizing and ph-balancing.  The minerals help your nerves communicate better.

4.  Seaweed.

Seaweed is the #1 way to heal your hormones, thyroid included.  Seaweed is nourishing with tons of trace minerals that help your body work better.  At the same time it is cleansing, helping your body get rid of excess fluid and toxins, especially those in the hormone areas, like cysts, fibroids, and goiter.

Good seaweed options are nori (those wrap-thingies they use on sushi); kelp (I take this in tablet form twice daily); kombu (def an acquired taste, but I cooked it into a soup once); you could put spirulina into a smoothie; use seaweed flakes for seasoning; or make / order a seaweed salad.

file00014534741975.  Raw dairy.

Pasteurization of dairy (milk, cheese, cream, yogurt) kills bacteria, but it also kills off the precious enzymes that allow your body to digest dairy products and absorb the nutrients.  

If you’re looking for a place to find raw dairy around you, check out www.realmilk.com.  You can also check your local farmer’s market.

If you haven’t had raw, full-fat dairy before, you’re in for a treat!  This stuff is yummy.  And so good for you and your family.  90% of the time, even people who are lactose-intolerant can digest raw dairy.

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Beauty and Aging

Suresh Natarajan

Suresh Natarajan

When the 10s unit of your age goes up one digit, you stop and pay attention.  10s…almost an adult!  20s…party time!  30s…oh, so mature.  40s…wise and not-too-old yet.  50s…distinguished.  60s…been there, done that, and going to do some more.  70s…this could be a good thing / could be a bad thing.  80s…look at me, I’m 80!  90s…I need an award or something.  100s…would you like to know my secrets?

I love to read Vogue magazine and I subscribe to it even, but I absolutely can’t stand their articles on “beauty,” because they’re always about how to mask your age with lasers, chemical-based potions, and other invasive – albeit high-tech –  procedures.  Can’t a woman (or man) age naturally anymore?

I never in my life worried about my skin (except in the 80s when “everyone” was tan and I was – at the most – slightly less white in the summer) until recently when I had to face the fact that I had wrinkles.  My face was looking my age.  So I did what any other sane person would do and go to my hippy-cosmetics store (everything there is so natural you could eat it, I think), and buy a $400 face cream.

The good news is that I think it’s working.  But in the meantime I have some other (mostly free / affordable) snippets of wisdom for maintaining fresh-ish skin as you age.

These I hope you already know:  drink more water and less alcohol / caffeine / junk beverages.  Alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and those god-awful sugary drinks dehydrate you.  Dehydrated skin is dry, wrinkled skin.

Same goes for smoking.  More smoke –> more wrinkles.

Other foods that are super-hydrating for your skin:  vegetables.  Vegetables literally make you more beautiful.  There’s a phytonutrient in vegetables called astaxanthin that has been found to make your skin more resistant to sun-damage and aging.  Also, chlorophyll literally helps regenerate your skin cells.  

Exercise.  An essential part of staying young (physically and mentally) is with regular exercise and movement.  Exercise improves circulation; and circulation to your skin is what keeps the cells turning over and staying fresh.  Studies show that exercisers over age 40 have skin with elasticity that resembles those in their 20s and 30s.  Other studies have found a link between regular exercise and the lengthening of the telomeres, the part of your chromosomes that control aging.  Aging occurs as your telomeres shorten.  Plus, the endorphin release of exercise reduces stress and we all know that stress will age you.  

Relax your eyes.  Have you ever looked in a mirror when you’re pissed off at someone?  That line people get between their eyebrows is from being chronically pissed off.

There’s a time to be angry and a time to just let it go.  Learn the difference and when you’re not pissed off, practice letting your eyeballs just hang out in their sockets.  Don’t try to strain your eyes too hard to see something or understand someone.  Just let them hang out.  Trust me; it’s easier said than done.

When you’re walking and sitting, make sure your neck is in a straight line with your spine.  From there, your eyes should be perfectly positioned to look straight ahead and shouldn’t need to strain too hard.

Sleep.  They don’t call it beauty rest for nothing.

Quality skin care products.  Read your labels!  Don’t use anything on your skin that you can’t pronounce or that is based in alcohol.  All those toxins and alcohol dry your skin up.  Dry = wrinkles.  Unfortunately, this also means you can’t buy like 90% of the beauty products on the market because they’re all full of alcohol and other crap ingredients.  I’ve found a few brands at the health food stores that are good and I also like W3LL cosmetics for their makeup as well as cleaners and moisturizers.  Yes, it’s pricey, but there are less expensive options out there too; you just have to look.

elixir vitae

“Tata Harper” – the infamous $400 cream / worth every penny

one love

“One Love” – awesome daily cleanser


“May Lindstrom Cosmetics” – clean dirt is made of spices and you can literally eat it! Plus, exfoliation.


also May Lindstrom – honey mud. I want to eat spoonfuls of this stuff. Can be used as a mask or cleanser.









Last but certainly not least:  facial acupuncture!  This is how the illustrious empresses and concubines of ancient China kept their beauty.  No, not “Pearl Cream” with “special Oriental ingredients.”

Facial acupuncture consists of several super-tiny needles, like the smallest needles we have, going into the upper most layer of skin.  

facial acupuncture

This resurfaces the skin cells via collagen release, which is a process that slows down as we age.  Instantly you see brighter, softer, and more toned skin.  It’s really quite amazing.  You look more relaxed and awake.  And all so very natural.  You will not look like you had a facelift, but rather like a spa vacation!  See typical results below:

before_after before_and_after


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Fire Rooster Year 2017

If you’ve ever eaten at a Chinese restaurant, you’re probably at least a little familiar with the Chinese zodiac.  

On your placemat you see the 12 animals with years written underneath.  What a great conversation starter that is.  “What is your year / animal?”  

But what trips people up is the actual start date of the Chinese new year.  It’s not the same day every year because it is a LUNAR (moon-based) calendar.  The new year starts on the new moon in Aquarius (some time between January 20 – February 18) every year.  So if you were born in the beginning of January like me, your Chinese astrology sign is actually for the year before.  For example, if a baby was born this year on January 1st, they are not the Rooster, they are the Monkey year.  My mom thought for years I was a Snake, but I had to inform her that I am a Dragon!  How dare you insult the mighty Dragon!  I’m only kidding.  



Here’s another fun part:  if you want to find out how old someone is, just ask their Chinese sign, then, according to one of my teachers, Richard Teh-Fu Tan, “count their wrinkles.”  The Chinese zodiac repeats itself every 12 years.  Am I 28, 40 or 52?  Easy to tell, most of the time.  

2017 (starting on January 27th) is the Fire Rooster year.  

The “Fire” part is called the “stem” and the Rooster – associated with yin metal – is one of the “branches.”  There are 10 stems (yin and yang of each of the 5 elements) and 12 branches (the 12 animals), so 120 possible combinations.  Every 120 years, the cycle repeats.  


Yin metal – the element of the Rooster – is symbolic of the Lungs (the yin metal organ system), the emotion of sadness, the direction of the west, and the season of autumn.  

What does all that mean?

This year, if you tend to have lung problems which may include, but is not limited to:  allergies, asthma, skin rashes, coughs, colds, flu, bronchitis, COPD, or dry skin, you need to be extra careful of your health because in a fire year, your “metal” organ systems are more vulnerable.  

Fire – the stem of the year – has an antagonistic relationship to metal – the branch of the year.  

So pay extra caution to your lung and respiratory system.  Also use caution when traveling  as metal also rules airplanes, ships, and automobiles.  

The combination of metal and fire is the same as last year, so this year has a prediction of similar “fortune” for each person as the year before, 2016.  

This year is the yin fire, or “ding,” year.  Last year was the yang fire, “bing,” year.  Whereas yang fire is more confident, yin fire is more calculated and reserved.  Both fire types are, well, fun.  Fire years are fun years, generally, although with the conflict of metal, it tends to be more of an “interesting” time than a fun time.  But you may notice more parties, more fashion, and more joking around.  People may like to make bold moves and travel more.  People in fire years tend to spend more money.  The entertainment industry is strong in fire years.  

The rooster, whose natural element is yin metal, is known for its accuracy which may show in how they dress (very clean and neat), how they present themselves at work (very organized and productive), as well as in their pride of achievement.  After all, this is the rooster, and they need to strut around!  

happy new yearOh, and please let me know in the comments below:  what is YOUR Chinese sign and do you feel that it describes your personality?  Do you feel changes in energy when the Chinese new year starts?  

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Pain in the Neck – GONE

I’ve had chronic neck pain for over 20 years.  Conventional doctors masked the pain with muscle relaxers and pain killers.  Chiropractors aggravated it with their treatments.  Just a few visits to Natural Health Center has it feeling better than it has in years.  Thanks so much!

Kevin M.

Stomach Soothed

I started coming to the Health Center for issues I was having with my stomach.  Even while making the initial appointment I felt like the person I was speaking with was empathetic about my situation.  I had gone to two medical doctors before trying NAET and acupuncture, but had not seen results.  After my treatments at the Health Center, my stomach feels better than it has in years and continues to get better every day with the help and support of the staff.  I am thankful for all they do for me and our community.

Kristina U.

Baby is Better

My son came here for treatment for eczema when he was 3 years old.  He is 4 now and completely cured of it.  My youngest son has the same issue at age 1, so we’re back!

Jane D.

Stress Less!

Stress!  Stress!  & More Stress!  Coming to this office gives me one hour to decompress and slow down.  I look forward to my visits.  They are the highlight of the day and week for me.  Positive energy. 🙂  This has given me another (or better) avenue to release tension and bad mojo.  Thank you.  The doctors really connect with you and truly care about your well-being.

Kerri T.

Shoulder Pain and More

I originally came in for a tweak in my shoulder which soon disappeared with regular treatments.  Since I’ve had the pleasure of treatments from Nicole and her outstanding staff, my inner calm and overall attitude toward the stresses of life have vastly improved.  I’ve come in crying, anxious, distressed, in pain and leave – every time – well-cared for and successfully treated.  I wholeheartedly believe that acupuncture can be so much more than a go-to for emergency pains.  I intend to incorporate it into my regular lifelong health regime.

Molly C.

Back is Stronger

My back has been feeling significantly better.  I no longer have the daily aches and pains that I had before.  My back feels stronger and my posture feels better.  Before acupuncture, I tried stretching to relieve my pain, but the results were unsatisfactory.  Stretching is great, but does nothing if it is not done in conjunction with acupuncture.


Chron’s Relief

I’ve been going to the NHC for acupuncture and NAET for my Chron’s disease.  To say that the treatments helped me would be an understatement.  I have been hospitalized multiple times for my condition and was in constant, severe pain before I decided to go to the NHC.  I can’t remember the last time I felt this good.  The staff are all friendly, care for their patients and are truly there to make you better.  I can’t say enough great things about these ladies.


Fibromyalgia Support

A few months ago at my wits end with extreme pain, I attended a Fibromyalgia support meeting and met Nicole Lentfer.  From that night on, I am a different person.  Like many others I tried all the conventional Western medicines with no relief.  After having a mini-trial of acupressure that night, I put 100% trust in Nicole and her staff and the Natural Health Center.  After starting the acupuncture and NAET treatments, I am much calmer, and I have less pain and more energy.

Becky Goad

Allergy-Free Family

My son and I had both food and environmental allergies.  We tried over the counter medications and different supplements over the past 2 years or so. We were both suffering with skin rashes, runny noses, and itchy eyes.  We started coming to the NHCA for treatment after a recommendation from a friend.  My son and I saw a big improvement of our symptoms.  We are happy to be allergy-free at the end of our treatments!

Sandra Ojong

Mental Relaxation

I started acupuncture for numerous reasons but primarily anxiety.  The process has helped me feel calmer, more relaxed, and less like I am living in a mental box.  It has helped me feel free.


Inhaler is Out

I came to acupuncture due to constant short breaths which made working out difficult.  I also had tension in my neck and shoulders that felt like I had been holding a shrug for 10+ years.  Now I’m more comfortable since my neck and shoulders have relaxed.  I can work out harder and for longer periods of time since I don’t need to use my inhaler anymore.


PTSD and Pain Managed

I found the NHCA after 10 years of pain and discomfort.  I was a mixed martial artist, high school football player, and infantryman in the Marine Corps.  I had put my body through entirely too much torture, and I was suffering for it.  When I left the Marine Corps in 2009, I had ankle, knee, hip, back, shoulder and neck pain.  I suffered from insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and post traumatic stress disorder.  I would take close to 20 painkillers a day, and I was still in pain.  I was hurting far from happy.  With acupuncture, I felt instant improvement and I’ve been coming to the office ever since.  I do acupuncture and NAET treatments and I have never felt better in my life.  I’m able to live again.  Thank you.


Fibro Improving

I have fibromyalgia and have had severe body pain for the past 5 years.  Every day, hands were numb, feet throbbed, sternum hurt, shoulders and hips were sore, calves and thighs hurt, arms were heavy.  Doctors really don’t know what to do for me since I didn’t want pharmaceuticals.  I can’t believe acupuncture has helped me so much.  I noticed it right away.  Things aren’t perfect yet, but they’re improving with each treatment.  I am so thankful.

Happy Patient!

Healing From the Inside Out

I came to the NHCA for food sensitivities, poor sleep, moodiness, and lack of energy.  Now I sleep better so I am more awake and in a much better mood during the day.  I was surprised by how well I felt after treatments and feeling my body heal from the inside out.  Unlike Western doctors, this office runs on time, all the time.  Nicole explains everything, answers all your questions and doesn’t talk down to you.


Less Medication

My chronic pain and fatigue are much better.  I’ve been able to come off some medications completely and reduce the dosage of others.  I had never tried acupuncture before but decided to try it.  Nicole and her staff are very informative and I was surprised that the needles don’t hurt.  The services are affordable, relaxing, and it works!


Sports Injury Healed

I was surprised how the treatment was able to heal my sports injury when regular doctors could not.  Sometimes a pill won’t cure everything!


Health Answers

Western medicine has left me with no answers to help me manage a long-standing condition of inflammation that comes and goes in various body parts and for various lengths of time.  I am not fond of taking pills and found the Natural health Center at a point when I was feeling tired, flamed and with no solutions in sight.  The herbal tonics, weekly visits, acupuncture and encouragement to lose weight eventually led to a healthier, happier, pain-free existence!  My energy is back; I do not hurt.  I repeat; I do not hurt.  Such a joy!

Cathy C.

Quality of Life Improved

I came in due to pain from fibromyalgia.  Constant pain from the neck down to my toes and could never sleep more than a couple of hours at a time.  I tried antidepressants, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills and several types of pain pills.  Nothing would work.  I used to sit, sleep and eat in a recliner.  After coming here, my quality of life is so much better.  I can actually plan outings and enjoy myself.  I don’t have as much pain and I can actually sleep at night in my bed!


From Anxious Exhaustion to Calm Energy

I started acupuncture treatments for extreme adrenal fatigue and body pains that I had for over 3 years.  I didn’t sleep and had panic attacks.  I had been to numerous doctors and they’d spend 5 minutes with me and prescribe something; I was on a lot of different medication.  I’ve had absolutely incredible results!  I was at my wits end trying to get help from doctors but no one could figure out what to do other than give me pills.  Nicole listens to what you have to say and then designs a plan to get you back to optimal health.  She completely turned my life around and I don’t say that lightly.  I had given up hope that I’d be the same person I was 4 years ago.  Even my family is amazed at the change and I will recommend her services to everyone I know!


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