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Acupuncture, herbal medicine and holistic healthcare for El Segundo, LAX, Manhattan Beach, and Los Angeles acupuncture residents since 2002.

 

Thank you for choosing L.A Wellness in El Segundo as your holistic healthcare provider. At L.A Wellness, we use a holistic approach to help you achieve both radiant health as well as balance and peace in your life. Our experienced and knowledgeable acupuncturists, massage therapists, energy healers and Chinese herbalists achieve this aim by employing a gentle yet effective treatment style that stimulates your body's innate healing capacity. We provide holistic lifestyle counseling in nutrition, exercise, and awareness practices, empowering you with the resources required to accelerate and sustain optimum health. Our friendly welcoming staff, serene environment, and highest quality Chinese herbs, supplements, and health care products further support you on your journey to radiant health.

Friday
Dec192014

The Return of Light

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

The longest night of the year happens this Sunday on the Winter Solstice, after which the days begin growing longer and brighter. I was born on the night of the Solstice and have often reflected on what significance, if any, this has for me in my life.  

The relevance dawned on me this morning during meditation (see what I did there?)  A few weeks ago, as an exercise from my men's group, I committed to journaling about my mission in life to clarify/refine/redefine it.  But, I had been putting it off.  Ironically, the terminology we use in my group to describe the part of ourselves that sabotages us or the part we keep hidden is "shadow."  Well, my shadow seems to have grown pretty long this time of year.

Grace unfolded as I sat on my meditation cushion and realized that a primary part of my mission in life is to bring light where there is darkness, both in my own life and in the lives of others. Looking back, I see this truth has been under my nose all along.  Whenever people ask me what brings me the greatest joy in life, I always answer in one of two ways.  I either talk about how I find joy in inquiring deeply to discover the truth, or I talk about the satisfaction I get in seeing "the light-bulb go on" when I share my ideas with others.  Both of these movements relate to illumination.  In the first instance, I discover freedom by shining light on the dark places within myself that have caused me suffering, and in the second way I endeavor to spread the light by sharing with others what I have found in these dark corners.  This path is brilliantly expressed in my favorite quote from Nisargadatta, which I have shared with you before: 

When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I look outside and see that I am everything, that is love. And between these two, my life turns.

So how does the love that Nisargadatta speaks about tie into my mission?  Over the past year, I have traversed some dark terrain.  Last year, around this time, I visited my mother to say goodbye to her.  She passed away the day after my birthday in the same hospital where she had given birth to me on the Chicago lakefront. Since that time, throughout 2014, I have passed through a series of other losses and challenges, during which time my lamp has become very dim at points. There have been many times during which I have had great difficulty seeing my way through.
Today, I asked myself, "what was it that got me through these tough spots?"  The answer that appeared was this: The fuel that kept the light shining within me was love itself.  Love is the source that becomes transmuted into light.  I think of how in the darkest moments, my friends and loved ones were there for me, nourishing me with their love.  I think of how my love for my daughter and the other loved ones in my life gave me the strength to endure the difficulties I faced.  I feel immense gratitude in my heart for the challenges that I have weathered, because they forced me to come face to face with what matters most in this life.  I have to come to realize that what sustains me on the deepest level in life is love. I have immense gratitude for those who love me and whom I love... those who remind me of who I am, reflect my light back to me, share their own light, and show me the light that surrounds us.

The Eleanor Roosevelt quote above is poignant for me, because it reminds me that I always have a choice to either play the victim of circumstance and "curse the darkness," or to "light a candle" and see that I create my life by choosing the lens through which I choose to view it.  Some days are easier than others to remember this choice.  In this moment, I choose to see myself as blessed beyond measure.

This holiday season I wish you LOVE and LIGHT in the most profound and truest sense.

Yours in wellness, love and light,
Joe Curcio

 

Thursday
Nov202014

STOP: You're Perfect as You Are!

I walked past this message earlier this week, and it made me smile.  Although our minds can manufacture very convincing arguments to the contrary, within each of us is a blueprint of perfection.  We are perfect as we are, and yet strive to be so much more.  This is a strange paradox... Everything is a mess, yet all is well.

 

As, I understand it, the path to awakening is not a process of attaining the ability to DO everything perfectly by obtaining special knowledge and skills. but rather a stripping away of all that is false until we recognize our inborn inherent perfection.  By examining the truth that lies beneath the surface reality, we come into communion with the formless light of awareness that illuminates all of our experiences.  This light IS us.  This light is what links us all together, as the light of consciousness that shines through your eyes when you awaken in the morning is the same light that shines through mine and everyone elses.


For me, the easiest way to have a conscious connection with this truth beyond thought is through meditation.  What is it for you?  Walks in nature? Looking in the mirror and telling yourself "I love you?" Volunteering to help others?  Whatever it is, I invite you to tap into this source.  I invite you to STOP!  You're perfect as you are!

 

 

Thursday
Nov062014

My Great-Grandfather

Today, I received an email from my eldest brother commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of my great-grandfather. Private John Fagan, a WW1 Irish guard, was killed in the first battle of Ypres on November 6th, 1914, at age 30.  I had never heard my mother or grandmother speak of him, and the email I received today was the first I had learned of my great grandfather.

 

Reading this message and imagining the anguish that Private Fagan and his family were experiencing 100 years ago as well as the sorrow experienced by countless people in war-torn countries today helped me to put my life's difficulties into perspective.  Thinking of the horrors and atrocities others face shows me how trivial my concerns are in comparison with what they could be. The reality is that we all face hardships on some level, and all simultaneously have the capacity to experience beauty and kindness as well.  The intensity of the difficulties as well as the joys vary widely for each of us, and are in continual flux. We can always find someone else in the world who is facing greater calamity, just as we can find examples of those with greater fortune.  Nothing is ever going perfectly, and nothing is ever going COMPLETELY wrong (although it may at times feel that way.)

 

What intrigues me is our human ability to shift our attitude to create an inner experience of greater joy and peace, independent of external conditions.  We can choose which aspect of our experience upon which to focus our attention, thereby shifting our perception of reality.  If I look hard enough I can always find something for which to be grateful.  I am blessed to not have to look very hard.  To begin, I have a healthy body, a sound mind (although there are those who would argue that), access to clean food and water, sanitation and shelter.  When I go to sleep at night, the greatest disturbance I may face is a yappy dog, as opposed to the sound of bombs and artillery fire. The safety and comfort afforded me is a privilege not to be taken for granted.  

 

A few months ago, I posted a blog about how to introduce gratitude into one's daily practice.  I have been doing this with relative consistency, and I have found the most valuable component of the practice for me has been reflecting at the end of my day on something positive that happened.  With rare exception, on any given day, I will encounter some conflict, difficulty or disappointment.  Because the mind is built to solve problems, I find that at night, unless I make a conscious effort to shift my thinking, the challenges of the day are circulating in my consciousness and seeking resolution.  By injecting an acknowledgment of what went well during my day, I shift my attitude to one of gratitude and my head lands on the pillow in a much more peaceful place.  I invite you to try it. Tonight, when I go to sleep, I will affirm how amazing it was to kiss my daughter goodnight and tuck her into her safe bed, the peaceful feeling I had standing in my backyard beholding the beautiful full moon to the sound of chirping crickets, and the deep lesson in humility and gratitude that I received from my great-grandfather a century after he left this earth.


Yours in wellness and gratitude,

Joe Curcio, L. Ac.

 

 

Friday
Oct312014

Raw Chocolate Macaroons

A couple days ago, L.A. Wellness beloved massage therapist, Dayva Savio, brought some delicious raw chocolate macaroons into the clinic to share with everyone.  And now, just in time for Halloween, we are sharing the recipe with you.  Enjoy!
Ingredients
1 Cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
3 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
3 Tbsp good quality cocoa or cacao powder
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
pinch sea salt
Instructions
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until well blended. The mixture will be very thick. Use your hands to roll into small balls, or use a small cookie scoop. Drop on parchment lined cookie sheet. Chill in refrigerator for an hour or two before serving. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Quick notes
If you prefer softer macaroons, allow them to come to room temperature before serving.
Variations
Melt a little white chocolate and drizzle on top before chilling the macaroons.
To get the full scoop and get other great recipes, visit Dayva's blog.
Yours in wellness,
Joe

 

Friday
Oct242014

Crashing Waves

A while back, I wrote an article entitled “I don’t mind what happens.”  Since creating this piece, I have been faced with a number of unexpected and difficult life situations, as if the universe has been saying to me, “Oh yeah, tough guy?  Let’s see if you mind this!”  During this time, I have been struggling with the question, “What is the lesson in all of this?” with the operative word being STRUGGLING! 

Then, this morning, I likened my current situation to swimming in the ocean among big waves.  Waves tend to come in sets… sometimes just a couple waves, and sometimes wave after wave after wave.  I have been amidst a long and strong set of big waves of late.  Those of you who swim in the ocean or surf know that the best thing to do when a wave pulls you under is to relax and let the powerful currents take you where they will, saving your energy for when you are back on the surface.  Then, once oriented above water, you can use your energy constructively; because, it is only upon surfacing that you can see the shore as well as any approaching waves.  Struggling underwater wastes precious energy that must be conserved for time above water.

However, to be immersed in the dark and tempestuous sea with no guarantees of where or when she will spew you out can be terrifying.  And when you do surface, will it be to have only a moment to gasp for air before another wave pummels you into the depths?  Will there even be time to get air?  There is no way to know.  This is the way life moves.  Sometimes the sea is placid and caresses you.  At other times she rages and crashes upon you… and eventually, one way or another, she kills you. LOL.

How do we face those times when we are in the dark and don’t know which way is up?  What do we do when we don’t know where to turn?  Yesterday, when experiencing strong emotional upheaval about my life situation, I found myself reaching out via phone for support.  After two calls that were greeted with two voicemail messages, I came to realize that I was running away from my pain.  I was running from feeling the depth of the fear that dwelled within me, seeking desperately for someone to offer a soothing salve to heal my wounds. But, the more I ran, the more I fed the fear.  The more I resisted, the deeper the cut went. The more I looked outside, the more lost I grew.

So, I stopped.  I allowed the pain to be as it was and for the flurry of thoughts to blow through my mind.  But, these thoughts and feelings were no longer the focal point.  I became still and I observed the flow of breath moving in and out of me.  I watched how the air surrounding me became a part of me as I inhaled and how I became a part of everything around me as I exhaled breath into the world.  Suddenly, without any effort or grasping, a sense of well-being and peace emerged.  At that moment, I realized that all of the reaching outside of myself in a desperate search for comfort and safety had simply been a rehearsal of my fear.  I saw how repeatedly sharing my story with others about how each of the waves had enveloped me and how future waves might strike gave a sense of permanence to something that in reality was simply moving water continuously reshaping itself in a never-ending flow.

When I perceive myself as an isolated fragment being tossed about by forces beyond my control, I suffer deeply.  However, when I recognize myself to be a part of the One Life that breathes breath into all of creation, I find peace. I find connection.  I find love.  I am the sea.

Ironically, oftentimes, the journey to find this sense of connection, love and peace is one that we must take alone in silence, with no fanfare, encouragement or reassurance.  However, what gives us the strength to survive the time alone in the dark depths of the ocean, is the love, wisdom and guidance of our friends, family and teachers.

You are a source for my strength.  By allowing me to share with you through words my journey, you act as a mirror that serves to clarify my own path.  Thank you for witnessing my dives into the depths of my own internal sea of thoughts and feelings so that I may resurface to share the treasures discovered while below.  I am grateful for you.

Yours in wellness and love,

Joe