17 Surprising Things That Are Screwing with Your Qi (Energy)

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Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

“So what you’re telling me,” Brian said, “is that eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough every night is screwing with my qi?”

He was smirking. It was obvious that Brian already knew the answer.

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the concept of qi (or vital energy), you probably know that ice cream isn’t exactly health food.

Think of qi as the natural flow of all your body’s systems — including the flow of blood, lymph, hormones, and information. Anything that screws with this flow also screws with your health.

Brian already knew that ice cream was screwing with his qi. But he didn’t know why.

Was it the sugar, the dairy, or something else that he hadn’t even thought of?

And that’s precisely why he came to see us.

By “us”, I’m referring to the dynamic healing duo that is commonly known as Dr. Akemi + Sifu Anthony.

Since 2006, my wife and I have been using our combined superpowers to fight crime.

Of course, by “crime” I mean “qi blockages,” and by “superpowers” I mean acupuncture and qigong.

But I quite like the image of us as superheroes, don’t you? (I’m sure my wife would enjoy wearing a costume.)

Speaking of costumes, here’s a picture from our wedding in 2010. (Duh, of course she knows kung fu too.)

Akemi and Anthony wedding

Crimefighting superheroes always know kung fu.

Here’s a quick history of this crimefighting duo: My wife and I met in acupuncture college in 2004, started collaborating in our work in 2006, and opened a wellness center together in 2008.

In 10 years of clinical practice, Akemi has done over 22,000 office visits. She is known to be a master diagnostician who gets to the bottom of even the most complex cases.

As for me, I’ve taught over 5000 classes to over 2000 people all over the world. I’ve also done hundreds of private consultations.

That’s why Brian decided to see BOTH of us. He wanted to benefit from our COMBINED experience.

In fact, Brian had a specific goal.

“I know you two will get to the bottom of this,” he said, “and I’m betting that you’ll find a way for me to keep some ice cream in the mix.”

I’ll talk more about Brian’s story in a little bit, but first, let’s look at all the suprising things screwing with your qi!

17 Surprising Things Screwing with Your Qi 

This list is not exhaustive, but instead focuses on some of the biggest issues that my wife and I have seen over the years.

Rather than list EVERYTHING that screws with your qi, I’ll discuss the things that might not even be on your radar.

I’ll also give you ideas for managing these things.

1. Sugar

Okay, this one isn’t surprising. You already know that sugar messes with your qi.

What’s surprising is WHERE sugar is found. For example, many of our clients are surprised to learn that pasta is still basically sugar because of the processed carbohydrates. Or that fruit juice contains a ton of fructose, which forces your liver to create triglycerides.

Cutting out sugar ain’t easy. Luckily, my wife and I found a great 30-day detox program called the Whole30. You can buy the book, or get tons of information on their website for free. They’ve really got the program down to a science.

(By the way, I’m an Amazon Affiliate, which basically means that you can send me an Amazon gift card, for free. If you purchase using any Amazon links in this article, then I get a tiny commission, at no extra cost to you. THANK YOU for helping to fund my addiction to reading.)

A Whole30 will not only give you a much-needed sugar detox, but it will help you to figure out where sugar might be sneaking into your diet.

For most of my life, I had a terrible sweet tooth. After doing a Whole30, I actually found it EASY to say no to sugar. Believe it or not, it’s easier to eliminate sugar when you go cold turkey with the Whole30 program.

2. Prescription Drugs

It’s a sad state of affairs when medicine that is prescribed by a physician can also harm you, but alas, that’s the world we live in. Here are some of the worst offenders:

Opioids that contain oxycodone (like OxyContin) are flat out dangerous. My wife and I have seen opioids wreak havoc on the lives of our clients. Please educate yourself about opioids, and only take them when absolutely necessary. It’s such a big issue that I’ve written an entire article on the subject

Synthetic hormones like birth control pills actually contribute to something call “leaky gut”, and also suppress your natural biorhythms (by design). I’m not saying you need to stop taking “the pill”, but you should be aware that it does screw with your qi.

Antibiotics are overprescribed in America. Period. Even when they are absolutely necessary, they still screw with the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system, thus inhibiting your immune system. A good probiotic will help, but remember that you need to take them for up to 6 months to restore the gut flora. 

Anti-depressants can be a godsend, but they can also raise your risk of suicide, which is so ironic that it hurts my head. However, getting off anti-depressants is tricky business, and should always be done with medical supervision. And of course, you will need an alternative to manage your depression. As a depressive myself, I’m passionate about helping other depressives, which is why I created an on-demand course called Battling Depression and Anxiety with Qigong. Qigong not a replacement for your antidepressants, but it can help tremendously.

3. Non-prescription Painkillers

It’s amazing how many people still don’t know that Advil and Tylenol can be dangerous. Yes, they are sometimes necessary, but if you are popping 800mg of Advil every day, the you are screwing with your Liver Qi and your detox mechanisms.

I’ve wrestled with chronic pain, and I empathize with the struggle. I know that painkillers often feel like an absolute necessity to sleep or just get through the day.

Luckily, there are better and safer solutions to pain, like qigong and acupuncture. Make it a goal to cut down on over-the-counter painkillers. Your liver will thank you.

4. Gluten

If you are sensitive to gluten, then cutting it out can make a huge difference.

Gluten is just a protein, but it can trigger or exacerbate autoimmune issues. It also contributes to leaky gut syndrome.

The problem is that gluten is ubiquitous in the West. Many people don’t know whether or not they are sensitive until they quit for 30 days.

Whole30 (see #1) will help you get to the bottom of this and other food sensitivities, and also teach you how easy it actually is to avoid gluten.

5. Diet Soda

You probably know that regular soda is bad for you. It has way too much sugar, among other junk.

But you might not know that diet soda contains neurotoxins.

My wife and I have been surprised how hard it is to get people to even TALK about quitting diet soda. The reactions are terrifying. It’s like trying to take the “Precious” away from Gollum.

But if you’re ready to admit that diet soda is screwing with your qi, then I recommend switching to Zevia colas, or better yet, sparkling water.

6. Nightshades

For people with auto-immune issues, nightshades like tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants can cause problems.

But most people are slow to learn that they have an autoimmune disease.

This article will help you to learn more about whether or not you might have an autoimmune issue.

If you do have an autoimmune issue, then something called the Autoimmune Protocol can be a big help

7. Cell Phones

It took me a while to accept this. I’m a techno-junkie. I love my iPhone.

At present, there’s no conclusive research that cell phone radiation causes definitive harm. But there’s also no conclusive evidence that it doesn’t.

Cell phones are big business, and there is a lot of money at stake. Like with tobacco, I believe it will take time for researchers to challenge the big money of cell phones.

You should know that this isn’t some sort of woo woo conspiracy theory. There’s already research that says that  “the regular and long term use of microwave devices (mobile phone, microwave oven) at domestic level can have negative impact upon biological system especially on brain.” [PubMed Source]

I’m sensitive to my own energy, so I was able to do my own experiments with my cell phone. I’m now convinced that the 3G signal screws with my qi. I have no idea how MUCH it screws with my qi, but I’m not taking chances.

That’s why I bought an anti-radiation case for my phone. I also keep it on airplane mode as often as possible.

8. Bad Feng Shui

Qigong is all about the flow of qi through humans.

Feng shui is another Chinese art, but it’s all about the flow of qi through spaces and buildings.

We all know that some rooms just feel right. And some rooms feel wrong. That’s feng shui.

If you live in a house or work in a place that has terrible feng shui, then it might be screwing with your qi.

Unfortunately, it’s very hard to feel the bad energy if you’ve been living or working there for a long time. This is yet another reason to go on a mindfulness retreat.

Getting out of your regular environment and into a new environment with amazing feng shui (like our retreat center in Costa Rica) can be a game changer.

Feng shui is greatly misunderstood in the West, but if you are curious to learn more, then I recommend this book as a primer.

9. Ejaculation

Sorry boys, but if you ejaculate too frequently, then you lose qi.

On the other hand, if you ejaculate too infrequently, your qi stagnates.

How are we to solve this conundrum? 

Two thousand years ago, the Su Nu Jing ( , a classic text on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), advised how frequently a man should ejaculate to maintain optimal health. The following chart shows the guidelines from that classic text.

Your miles may vary.



Average Health

Good Health


Every 4 days

1X Day

2x Day


Every 8 days

Every other day

1x Day


Every 16 days

Every 4 days

Every 3 days


Every 21 days

Every 10 days

Every 5 days


Every 30 days

Every 20 days

Every 10 days

10. Pregnancy

Some women feel fantastic during pregnancy. Some women don’t.

Either way, creating another human being from scratch undoubtedly drains your qi.

In China, women are given a least 1 full month, and often much longer, to rest and restore their qi. During this time, they are waited on like queens. Often, they aren’t even allowed to dress themselves because it is considered too strenuous!

We’ve got a lot of catching up to do in the West! Maternity leave here in the U.S. is awful. Women are hardly given any time to replenish their qi.

While it’s a testament to the inner strength of American mothers that they can give birth and then go back to work 2 weeks later, I think we can all agree that it would be better if they were given plenty of time to replenish their qi.

Regardless, practicing qigong after giving birth is the #1 way to replenish the qi that you’ve lost.

11. Structure

According to TCM, the proper alignment of your body matters. And this alignment depends on bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and also qi.

For example, if you are lordotic (abnormal lumbar curve) or kyphotic (abnormal thoracic curve), if one shoulder is higher than the other, if one leg is longer than the other — then your structure is off.

And according to TCM, when your structure is off, it blocks many other forms of treatment, including acupuncture and qigong.

In my qigong school, we address this issue with exercises that align the qi.

Here are some other good ways to work on a healthier structure: massage therapy, cupping therapy, yoga, pilates, and foam rolling.

12. Vampires

No, not the movie kind. I’m talking about [cue scary music] ENERGY vampires. 

You know the type — those people who suck your energy dry. They don’t necessarily do it on purpose. They can be good people.

But this is a real phenomenon.

If you don’t draw healthy boundaries., if you let the vampires continually drain your qi, then you’ll constantly be depleted.

Qigong also helps by strengthening your energy field, replenishing your lost qi, and by giving you the courage to draw healthy boundaries.

13. Cold Stuff

In TCM, the human metabolism is likened to a furnace. If too much of your food and drink is cold, then the body will need to use extra qi to heat it up before it can be metabolized.

If you eat a lot cold cereal, ice cream, or raw veggies, or if you drink a lot of iced beverages, then you may be screwing with your metabolism and your digestive system.

This is why acupuncturists will often tell you to stop putting ice in your beverages, or to cook your vegetables instead of eating them raw. 

14. Insomnia

According to TCM, sleep is a natural form of qigong that replenishes, harmonizes, and restores your qi.

If your’e not getting quality sleep, if you don’t wake up every morning feeling incredibly well rested, then you’ve got insomnia.

In the West, sleeping poorly has become the norm. We just accept it.

Thankfully, sleep hygiene is becoming a bigger issue, even in corporate America. Arian Huffington wrote an entire book on the subject of sleep.

Two things really help with improving sleep hygiene.

First, get yourself a pair of blue blocker goggles and put them on at dusk. My wife and I look ridiculous wearing them at night, but we don’t care.

Second, cut out all caffeine after 1pm. It ain’t easy, but it definitely helps.

15. Nutritional Deficiencies

Your body can’t generate qi without the right nutrients.

In other words, what’s screwing with your qi is something that you’re NOT getting, like vitamin D, B12, folate, vitamin K, or magnesium.

Sometimes, this is caused by a genetic issue, like with the MTHFR genetic mutation, which requires proper supplementation. Sometimes, you’re just not getting enough B12. Sometimes, you aren’t getting nearly enough sun. 

But one thing is for sure — the deficiencies will show on your blood work.

Often, you’ll need to ask for (and pay for) an expanded blood test in order to get to the bottom of these deficiencies. You also need someone who can interpret them correctly.

16. Hair, Skin, and Beauty Products

Modern makeup can have some awful stuff in it.

For example, lipstick often has lead in it. Yes, that poisonous substance that we go to great lengths to protect our children from — you’re putting it on your lips!

Other beauty products like perfumes and hair products often contain terrible things too, including carcinogens.

All of this junk screws with your immune system and your hormones.

Check your products here for a toxicity score.

17. Thoughts

Your thoughts affect your biology. Read Bruce Lipton’s work if you want to learn more about how this works.

In short, your thoughts affect your emotions, which affect your nervous system and your body chemistry.

In my experience, the single most effective way to change deep-rooted thoughts is to practice qigong (including sitting meditation).

Brian Lives Happily Ever After

I’m curious: How many of these were surprise for you? Let me know your score in the comments below.

As for Brian, he lived happily ever after.

My wife and I actually found a nice compromise that allowed him to continue eating ice cream.

After combining our superpowers, here’s what we did with Brian:

First, we encouraged Brian to take a 30-day break from ice cream using the Whole30 method described above. This gave his body a chance to detox.

Afterward, we figured out that dairy and sugar weren’t the real culprits (even though they were also screwing with his qi).

It turns out that the cold from the ice cream (see #13) was strongly aggravating Brian’s digestive system.

Thanks to the 30-day detox, Brian was able to easily cut down his portions of ice cream. He also eliminated iced beverages from his diet — a trade he was happy to make in exchange for ice cream.

And of course, I taught Brian specific qigong exercises to help heal and nourish his digestive system.

Brian does a Whole30 every year now, but otherwise, he is able to enjoy a small bowl of ice cream every night.

[cut to Brian riding off into the sunset with a bowl of ice cream] 

Mindfully yours,
Sifu Anthony

I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world to use qigong for their own stubborn health issues. I teach online courses, and also lead in-person retreats and workshops.

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39 Responses to 17 Surprising Things That Are Screwing with Your Qi (Energy)

  1. Maru September 13, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

    Loved it!

  2. Dee September 13, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    Thank you for the valuable info.

    But here is a question,”As for me, I’ve taught over 5000 classes to over 2000 people all over the world. I’ve also done hundreds of private consultations.”

    2,000 is too few, isn’t it?

    As for anti-depressants may raise the incidence of suicide, I have read a good explanation for it. When someone is in apathy, one cannot even muster enough energy or impetus to kill oneself. As one transitions out of total apathy to still very -ve but more energetic states, the suicide rate ironically may go up. Once you go up to anger, you are more liable to kill others than to kill yourself.

    The Feng Shui thing does bother me a bit. It is no small task moving to another place. There is no easy way to know whether a Feng Shui Sifu (yes they do call the person Sifu in Hong Kong) is a charlatan or not.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 13, 2016 at 4:24 pm #

      Hi Dee. 2000 is a conservative estimate of how many people I’ve taught in person. If I include online teaching and blog posts, then the number is much higher.

      I don’t think that explanation about antidepressants is satisfactory. I think we need more research into the overall safety of antidepressants — and I don’t think that Big Pharma should be paying for those studies!

      The Feng Shui issue is a big problem. I don’t really have a solution at the moment. I think good feng shui Sifus are probably as hard to find as good qigong Sifus.

      • yutgaung0yahoocom September 14, 2016 at 10:27 am #

        Since I consider myself a student of yours, you’d better include online teaching or I’ll hold a grudge. haha

        • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 14, 2016 at 10:30 am #

          Ha! Fair point. But the 2000 estimate includes you. 🙂

          What it doesn’t include is people who have taken a free course, or read a blog post, or anything like that.

          Basically, I’ve taught Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow to 2000 or so people. That’s how I count it. 🙂

  3. Vasanthi Vanniasingham, PhD , Dipl OM, AP September 14, 2016 at 7:29 am #

    Timely well written article as an Acupuncture Physician I would like to share with my patients !

  4. Sarah September 14, 2016 at 9:50 am #

    These blogs are filled with super information. This I will share with my students. I wish I could persuade the sweetener taking people that they’re not doing themselves any good.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 14, 2016 at 10:04 am #

      I’m so glad my blog is helpful! Please do share! And if you figure out a way to persuade them about sweeteners — please share it with me!

  5. Janet Levin September 14, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

    Wow – Your writing voice has really changed in the last year, in a good way, to my eyes! Great info as always, but the tone, rather than serious, is playful – and delightful.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 14, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

      Thanks for noticing! What a difference a year makes, right? I’ve done a lot of growing this past year. 🙂

      Do you live in Mexico? If so, will I perhaps see you at my workshop in 2 weeks?

      • Janet Levin September 15, 2016 at 1:05 am #

        Yes – nothing like a major life crisis to blow open the doorway to… something!
        Yes, I’m mostly in Mexico though will not return this fall until after your workshop.

  6. Watson (Caerananda) Ingley September 14, 2016 at 8:17 pm #

    G’day Anthony,
    I believe you have provided some very important information here and as Janet has noticed you kept the tone very light and entertaining despite the seriousness of the issues. To be honest I struggle with ‘adding to’, or commenting on, your information and sincerely hope that I am not “treading on your toes” as we say. If I am, then please tell me honestly and I will desist from any such future action.

    Firstly, I can relate first hand to many of the influences that have shaped your life style choices, compassion and dedication to healing.

    * Most people, and unfortunately far too many “Diabetic” organisations, such as those here in Australia, continue to REFUSE to accept that carbohydrates, and especially those from highly refined starches, have a huge negative affect/impact on sugar metabolisms. Such carbs can also cause &/or exaggerate excess in the Small Intestine meridian which can lead to ‘inescapable’ and invasive circular thinking – especially at night. This combined with depressive spectrum thoughts &/or suicidal ideation can literally be deadly. This thinking also contributes to Insomnia – especially when combined with excess caffeine.

    ** Dee’s point about anti depressive medications giving one the energy/qi to actually enact suicide is a good one. And there is undeniable truth in this (it has been backed up by several studies) but others, such as “Stillnox”, have been actually shown to increase depression and suicidal thinking in susceptible individuals. Unfortunately, I do not know what name this drug may be marketed under in the USA. Here, BigPharm, sees that this medication – Stillnox, continue to be prescribed as a legitimate alternative to barbiturates without the necessary labelling and caveat.

    *** Over the counter pain meds. Here in Australia warnings constantly decry excess usage of all non-prescription pain medications and the grounds that they can literally be deadly – and that a terminal overdose &/or organ failure are definite potential outcomes.

    One can also overdose, thereby facilitating a heart attack, on Coca-Cola and any beverage high in caffeine. If one combines such beverages in excess with illegal amphetamines the risk is magnified many fold. However, if one is intent on maintaining high caffeine intake throughout the day, which necessarily over stimulates and ‘heats’ the StomachSpleen/Pancrease (Earth Element) and Stomach meridian, then cups/glasses of room temperature water at a ratio of at least 2:1 can minimise &/or ameliorate the negative effects. On this topic, more and more research is showing that artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame, actually exacerbate Insulin metabolism sensitivities and deficiencies. And one must remember that beverages, such as Coke – possibly moreso if it is ‘Diet’, contribute every bit as dramatically to insomnia as coffee.

    ****I find Reverse Ejaculation (into the bladder) to be an absolutely necessary discipline as a mature and responsible male. Reverse ejaculation is relatively easy to do and can be facilitated externally/mechanically or Yogically/internally. It has removed the ‘burden’ of contraception from past partners (and especially when combined with “Vatican Roulette”) and is a necessary outcome of practicing Taoist and Kundalini tantras which greatly enhance male orgasm to a full-body cascade that is far more satisfying than simply “blowing” and releasing psychosexual “tension”.

    ***** Vampires. I am so glad to see someone else talking openly about the prevalence of of energetic vampires within contemporary society. Good news – one can cure one’s Self. As you say building and maintaining appropriate Boundaries is an extremely valuable defence. Unfortunately, this is dependent on an adequate sense of Self – so persons with self-worth &/or self-value issues, &/or Borderline Personality &/or Depressive Spectrum Disorders will be especially vulnerable to vampiric predation. It can be a very interesting (and satisfying) experience to ‘Name the Demon” when confronted by a vampire.

    ****** Thoughts. I am surprised to see that you have not included the Taoist Law:
    Yi (Mind/Intent) => (leads the) Qi => Li (‘Blood’ as a metaphor for all physicality) here. In this truism, Mind/Intent as an (if not THE) essential causative factor in creating one’s entire reality is emphatically emphasised. Mindfulness of one’s spoken languaging, resulting more constructive linguistic choices (NOTE: I very intentionally did not say “Positive” – as in ‘thinking’) will also help in the Conscious Creating. However, such personal creations will be moderated by ones Karma(s), Dharma and Grace.

    Blessed Be,

  7. Janice September 14, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

    The article was very interesting.. I am macrobiotic, aware of night shades, cold drinks etc.
    don’t eat dairy or even meat just a bit of fish..been this way for 20 years. went from taking 2 hour naps in the day to 10-20 minute naps…suffered with nausea for 20 years, totally gone and many other benefits.
    I am aware though that one modality is not enough to be healthy, I believe that QI gong and tai chi that you teach would be so beneficial. I actually sent this email to you on the contact page by never received a response…could you reply to this if you have time?

    Comments: Hi Sifu Anthony, My name is Janice Reddick. I am and have been for years interested in learning Qigong. I have been practicing a few of the movements.. I was wondering if in your online school, you will have a course for beginners? Where do I start? I feel so unorganized.. I have been reading all of your articles but still have not found a firm foundation to begin… I tried Spring Forest at one time but something felt wrong with it. The exercises were too long and for some reason I really didn’t enjoy it. I find you to be so authentic, I already trust you and would love to have you as my online teacher, with videos etc..a course for beginners.. I am doing the 30 day exhaustion exercise also. I hope to hear from you so as to begin my adventure. Thanks so much Janice

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 15, 2016 at 9:03 am #

      Hi Janice. I’m sorry that I didn’t get to your email yet. Since you posted it here, I’ll just answer it here.

      I’m working hard on a new program that will launch right after Thanksgiving. 
The program will guide you step-by-step through the secrets of qigong that are necessary for deep healing. 
It will include all of the lessons from my old 101 workshop, and much more.

      All of that confusion that you feel will be solved with the new program. Part of the problem is that I’m still transitioning from brick-and-mortar teaching to online.

      A lot of people have told me that Spring Forest Qigong wasn’t for them. Flowing Zen Qigong seems to be a good alternative for those people.

      So if you can be patient for a little while longer, I think you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for!

      • Janice September 15, 2016 at 9:10 am #

        I can’t wait!! Thanks so much for getting back to me..I am so looking forward to this new workshop..Janice

  8. Brent September 14, 2016 at 11:02 pm #

    Sifu, Why do you you always use the number 17?

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 15, 2016 at 9:00 am #

      Do I? If so, it’s a coincidence. The number in the headline comes last — after the article is written!

      • Brent September 26, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

        Well not always, but it recurs often enough that I wondered if there was any meaning behind it.

  9. Vera September 14, 2016 at 11:14 pm #

    Yep! Thanks for giving me something to chew on…. I am familiar with all these! My struggle with pollymyalgia brought on recognition that sugar is inflammatory.. And everything is sugar! Bread, pasta, rice sweet potatoes, all yammy stuff! So I took to stevia and cooked veggies , I’ m eating avocados,olive oil, coconut oil to satisfy my sweet tooth.. Of course I do eat some sweets – rarely. I teach body alignment, though I sadly realize most teachers don’t. And I like what Watson said about adequate sense of self!
    Makes a big difference.. But I would add to the list one more Qi depleting activity: sitting too long ( hours at coffee shops , restaurants , dinners with friends and family, hours on the bus, in the car…) Sitting Big time!
    Thank you for enforcing and reinforcing what I think, feel and know. 🙂

  10. Vera September 14, 2016 at 11:20 pm #

    BTW, I really like the picture on your wedding day!
    Hehehe…. 🙂 Good fun!

  11. Jeff September 15, 2016 at 3:15 am #

    OK, I normally fly under the radar with regard to these conversations, but I think I have to interject here. First of all, I have to say that for the most part this list is legit. And yes, Big Pharma is evil. And yes, opioids are deadly. (And it is “opioids”, not “opiods”). Yes, big corporations use money to influence studies and buy people off. Welcome to the real world. And yes, sugar and refined carbs are really bad for you and I have mostly purged them from my diet.

    But sometimes I have noticed a tendency in this community to veer into a sort of equally unquestioning embrace of the sort of pseudo-science found on many pro-naturopath sites. A lot of the info you find on the web that rails against aspartame, for example, comes from the kind of websites that claim you can change the ph of your body (you can’t) or that apple cider vinegar will cure all known diseases (it doesn’t). Now, I’m not saying that diet soda, for example, is good for you, or even that it’s not harmful. However, most of the evidence against it has been blown way out of proportion. A lot of this information is analyzed by people who don’t really know much about medicine or biology. Sort of the same way that people who believe analysis of the “evidence” shows that we never landed on the moon. Most of that evidence evaporates when examined by someone who actually knows something about, say, astronomy or astrophysics. BTW, you might want to check out the Snopes article on the aspartame controversy. And yes, before you object, the retort was written by a guy from the USFDA, so many of you will disregard it out of hand. But if you do enough objective research I think you will find the evidence is not particularly convincing on either side.

    There seems to be an attitude amongst many people that anything that is synthetic is inherently evil because it is synthetic, and reflexively, anything natural is inherently good. You know what’s natural? Poison ivy is natural. So are bee and black widow and scorpion stings. So are volcanoes and tsunamis. So is cholera and the Black Death. (Actually, anything that is composed of matter is “natural”, but I do understand what you mean.)

    When you say things like “there is no evidence that x is harmful, but there is no evidence that it isn’t”, that’s a bit like saying “there’s no evidence that my neighbors are from Venus, but there’s no evidence that they aren’t either”. That’s how crazy people think.

    I’m just saying I don’t think it is wise to adopt viewpoints that have no evidence to support them because they sound good to us. And we have to be wary of anecdotal evidence. It may be true, but it needs to looked at objectively. BTW, I’m also not sold on Feng Shui, either, for the same general reason. I know, I’m a skeptical pro-science guy that studies qigong and various forms of esotericism. I’m a man without a country. However, I agree with Sifu Anthony that a lot of what we study will eventually be verified by science. If we want the scientific community to take us seriously, that comes with the responsibility to be objective and not veer off into comfortable fantasies, you know, like ejaculating into your bladder, there’s no such thing. (Unless you can prove otherwise.)

    Thanks for your time. I have to go now, I think my neighbors are trying to signal Venus.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 15, 2016 at 8:39 am #

      Hi Jeff. Thanks for the edit. I have corrected that now.

      Regarding aspartame, you can read this article here by Chris Kresser. He’s a good resource because, although he’s an acupuncturist, he always delves deeply into the science before offering an educated opinion.

      My wife has her own TCM-based diagnostics to test aspartame. For years, we’ve seen that the diagnostics for patients who quit diet sodas improve, sometimes dramatically.

      It’s fine if you don’t believe in these methods. I do. I have years of experience watching them work.

      I’ll also mention that this is not quite the same as anecdotal evidence. All I can say is that you might change your mind if you worked in a clinic year after year and saw what my wife and I have.

      In other words, we are not simply sitting at a keyboard offering health theories on the internet. We are in the trenches, working with real people with real health problems (and seeing real results).

      Regarding cell phones, you seem to object to a “guilty until proven innocent” approach. Personally, I don’t think that’s wise of you. When there’s a new technology (3G) or a new food (aspartame), and especially when there’s a lot of money to be made, I think it’s wise to remain critical.

      When I say that there’s no evidence that 3G isn’t harmful, it’s not a crazy statement. You can only measure what you look for. Assuming that the science regarding 3G has been good, what if they are measuring the wrong things?

      That’s a danger with new technologies. We simply don’t know what we’re dealing with.

      And with something like 3G, what if the harm takes 10 years to manifest? How do you study that? This is where long-term studies come into play. That’s why 3G is still guilty until proven innocent, as far as I’m concerned. Until we have studies proving the longterm safety of 3G, I don’t think we can call it 100% safe.

      As for you “Venus” argument, it’s a straw man, and I think you probably know it. 🙂

      • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 15, 2016 at 8:41 am #

        Jeff, I should also mention that the issue of artificial sweeteners is widely discussed in the Paleo community. These are not people who blindly accept woo woo. You can read an example on Mark Sisson’s blog here.

        • Jeff September 15, 2016 at 11:46 am #

          The fact that something is “widely discussed” isn’t proof of anything. I am familiar with the Paleo community. The quality of their info varies, just as it does amongst an other group. some of them are reliable, some of them are very woo-woo indeed.

          • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 15, 2016 at 11:50 am #

            Hi Jeff. I didn’t mean to imply that it was proof of anything, but rather that there were some interesting discussions to be found, if you’re interested.

    • Watson (Caerananda) Ingley September 15, 2016 at 9:15 pm #

      G’day Jeff,
      As Anthony doesn’t reference reverse ejaculation in his blog, I have to assume that your comment on the “non-existence” of ejaculating into one’s bladder is directed at me and my commentary. I assure that Reverse Ejaculation is a very real practice and one I have been doing for more than 35 years.
      There is no Western “evidence” as such because the “West” is so far behind India and China (the two oldest continuous civilisations on earth by many thousands of years) in many areas of constructive sexuality – especially RESPONSIBLE & MATURE MALE SEXUAL PRACTICES – due to: Eurocentric Christian repressive and suppressive biases- especially regarding the [re]emergence of the extremely culturally significant and overt homosexuality, pederasty and paedophilia of the Hellenes (those same Hellenes [Greeks] that are widely considered to have given conceptual birth to Western Philosophy, Science, History, Democracy and Medicine); sexist and selfish male sexual prejudices and practices; many-layered, culturally omnipresent and objectifying sexism and misogyny; and the superficialities of materialistic & consumeristic chauvinism; and, the extraordinary male psychoemotional infantilism and fear/terror/profound ignorance of “SEX” and Gender Equality that fundamentalist Islam perpetrates.
      I very much question both the “logic” and the “rationale” behind their often unfortunate continuance. Western philosophers are certainly not exempt from these extremely questionable and anachronistic conceptual trajectories – as your complete ignorance of advanced male sexual praxis clearly evinces.
      I am also glad that my comment on “Aspartame” clearly started a new thread of debate betwixt yourself and Anthony.

      • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 16, 2016 at 9:48 am #

        Hi Watson. I’m unfamiliar with the concept of Reverse Ejaculation. I do, however, agree that Westerners have some major blockages regarding sex and sexuality. I wrote an article about it a few years back: http://flowingzen.com/10682/lets-try-to-talk-about-sex/

        • Watson (Caerananda) Ingley September 17, 2016 at 12:02 am #

          Hi Anthony,
          Reverse Ejaculation is a Taoist Tantra technique designed to preserve potentially all male Jing (Essence/semen) so that the only time one looses/sacarifices Jing through ejaculation is when one is consciously and mindfully intent on fathering a child. In this way the longevity and youthfullness the Taoist Sages/Mystics/Mages so prized is facilitated. Yogis often take the less sophistcated path of extreme celibacy/abstinence, but the ever-practical Chinese sought for, and developed, a much more pleasurable alternative. However, in the Chinese process the extremely important Indian techniques for psychospiritual development were lost. Consequently, one must look beyond the Chinese limitations to the physical and metaphysical Yogas and associated Pranayamas of India. The most important of these for this discussion is Kundalini Tantra.

          When combined with Kundalini Tantra, Jing & Kundalini Essence / Qi / Prana / Creative Subtle Energy are channelled upward through and around the three most important Nadis: Sushumna (underneath Du Mai/Governing Vessel & interpenetrating the cerebrospinal axis, it connects Maladhara [the Base chakra – behind and around the perineum / GV-1 & CV-1] with Saharara [the Crown Chakra Complex which extends beyond the physical limits of the body]); Ida [Comfort] might be described as Yin manifest within the human body- it runs from the left testicle to the left nostril and is about 3cms to the left of Du Mai; and, Pingala [Golden] which might be described as Yang manifest within the human body- it runs from the right testicle to the right nostril and about 3cms to the right of Du Mai. In women, I believe it runs from the left and right ovaries, along either side of the cervix and vagina, through the internal/minor labia [radiating to the external/major labia], and into the clitoris before backtracking and taking the usual paths up the back to the nostrils.
          Raising Kundalini is not limited to the sexual acts of couples. It is equally viable for masturbation and for completely non-sexual meditations involving the physical Yogas & pranayama, Wushu & Qigong with kung fu [breathing exercises]. Indeed, it is through the non-sexual activities that Raising Kundalini is most readily accessed and activated. It also equally accessible through sitting meditation.

          How far the Kundalini rises is dependent upon the ‘openness’ and ‘maturity’ of the 8 major chakras (in my experience) including Maladhara and Sahasrara. If one chakra is not open/mature enough, the rising energetic flow stops there. In this way we can know exactly what spiritual and psychoemotional issues we need to work on to facilitate our individual ‘Growth’ / ‘Evolution’ / ‘Return Home’; and, ultimately, Samadhi (the ‘Stopping’ or ‘Stilling’ or ‘Calming’ of the cognitive / desirous/ fearing Mind that is addicted to its own thinking – the truest ‘mental maturbation’.
          Samadhi then, in turn, facilitates Divine Reunion / Bodhi / Prajna / Satori / Kensho / Metanoia / Liberation / Awakening / Understanding / [Ultimate] Freedom: Samadhi is the fecund ground within which the seed of the final freedom takes root, grows and flowers into one’s 100% guaranteed and inevitable Divine Reunion.
          Kundalini Rising is a very real psychophysiological experience that is unmistakable. Anyone that says different has never felt it ! Could you mistake a sensation as raw and powerful as being hit, with full force by a giant, in the testicles with a baseball bat?
          Like I wrote- “Un-fracking-mistakable”!!!
          In the process of raising Kundalini there are many wonderful outcomes relative to each of the chakras and each one is part of an extraordinary process of ‘peak’ experiences that take us progressively closer and closer to Ourselves, Others and the Divine.

          I have to adopt my usual caveat at this point as all such personal evolution ismediated by one’s Karma, Dharma and Grace.

          • Vassilios March 10, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

            That is very interesting. My qigong teachers have always advised abstinence, but never mentioned reverse ejaculation. Perhaps you can give more information or specific techniques about this? Thanks 🙂

  12. Jeff September 15, 2016 at 11:42 am #

    Hi Sifu. Did you read the Kresser article? I quote: “However, this study cast a shadow of doubt over artificial sweeteners, and thanks in part to the media’s penchant for blowing things way out of proportion, the reputation of artificial sweeteners has never recovered.

    A later study suggested a link between aspartame consumption and brain tumors. The authors based this hypothesis on the fact that both brain cancer and aspartame consumption had increased since 1980 – despite not knowing whether the people getting brain tumors actually consumed artificial sweeteners – and on a rat study where aspartame supplemented diets led to the formation of brain tumors. (3)

    This association has been more or less dismissed by the research community because three case-control studies have found no association between brain tumors and aspartame consumption, and subsequent animal studies haven’t been able to replicate the aspartame-induced brain tumors found in the original rat study. (4)

    Artificial sweeteners have also been implicated in the development of lymphoma and leukemia, and one observational study found a weak link between artificial sweetener consumption and development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma in men, but not in women. (5) The study authors concluded that due to the inconsistency in their results, there isn’t likely a causal link, although it can’t be ruled out.”

    So much for that/

    And BTW, Kresser’s opinion is interesting, but in any case he’s not an M.D. and I am reluctant to accept anyone as an authority who states on his website that he has been featured on Dr. Oz, The Mercola site generally raises red flags, too, BTW.

    And the “Venus” comment is not a straw man argument. It was an exaggeration to make a point. I majored in philosophy. I know what a straw man argument is. And you’re right, I think “guilty until proven innocent” is a bad policy, “Err on the side of caution” might be preferable.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 15, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

      Hi Jeff. Yes I read the Kresser article. I linked it here specifically because I thought you would benefit from it. Specifically, I think he does a good job being impartial and also presenting a scientific-based analysis.

      If you read his conclusion, you know that Kresser still doesn’t recommend artificial sweeteners even after debunking some of the arguments against them. As you can see, he also subscribes to the “guilty until proven innocent” approach for things that are new to the human species.

      Dismissing Kresser simply because he was on Dr. Oz is unfair. Argue the issue, not the man. Dismiss his arguments if they don’t convince you, but don’t dismiss him and the good work he’s done simply because he appeared on Dr. Oz.

      If given the chance, I would go on Dr. Oz to spread awareness of qigong. I’m passionate about sharing what I know about qigong, and Dr. Oz would help me fulfill my mission.

      I don’t think your Venus argument proved your point very well. Perhaps it was not fully straw man, but by the end, it was pretty close to a passive aggressive ad hominem, yes?

      As for “err on the side of caution”, is that not what I’m doing with diet soda and 3G? I do not need diet sodas whatsoever, so avoiding them is easy. 3G is awfully convenient, and I still use it daily. But it’s easy enough to add an anti-radiation iPhone case, and to turn off my 3G when I’m not using it. That’s erring on the side of caution.

      • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

        Jeff, let me add that I take zero offense to anything you’ve said. I actually enjoy a lively discussion, and as I’ve said many times, I am serious about transparency. So being “challenged” about my ideas doesn’t bother me. In fact, I think it’s healthy.

        I mention this because the same is not typically true of traditional Asian teachers, which many people here probably have some experience with.

        • Jeff September 15, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

          Thank you, I fully agree and I appreciate it. 🙂

      • Jeff September 15, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

        I am not dismissing Kresser because he was on Dr. Oz. In fact I am not dismissing him at all. However, the Dr. Oz show has a terrible reputation in the medical and scientific community for pushing bogus claims and pseudoscience. If you went on Dr. Oz to promote qigong, you would be lumped in with a number of people that are considered “crackpots” by doctors and scientists. I’m not saying that’s fair or accurate, but it is the truth. I personally would not go on that show to promote anything, but that is your choice.

        For whatever reason you don’t seem to be getting the point of that Venus comment, not that it is terribly important. It is not a straw man argument. If, for example, person A says “we need to investigate why so many black men are being shot by policemen” and person B responds with “most black men are shot by other black men”, THAT is a straw man argument. It is also not an ad hominem argument, passive aggressive or otherwise, because I wasn’t attacking you personally, I was using a metaphor to show why it is important to not assert facts without proof. I don’t know why that is so difficult to see. And BTW, I don’t do passive aggressive, if I chose to attack you personally there would be no confusion about it, believe me. I hope you see that that is not my intention.

        Now that we have thoroughly kicked this otherwise dead horse, I hope we can move forward.

        • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 15, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

          Hi Jeff. I don’t see it as beating a dead horse. I know that communication is difficult, and often takes several attempts for the message sent to be the same as the message received, especially online.

          For example, you say that it wasn’t an ad hominem attack. But what you really mean is that it wasn’t meant as an ad hominem attack.

          The fact is that the message I received had an ad hominem feel to it, and I can explain why. Although your comment did not upset me, I still raised an eyebrow when I read the words “crazy people”. Perhaps this hasn’t occurred to you, but lots of my readers battle depression — a mental illness. To use the words “crazy people” with depressives is, quite frankly, in poor form.

          If I understand your “Venus” point now, you’re basically saying that one shouldn’t assert facts without proof. On this point, we agree.

          For example, I think we agree that one shouldn’t assert facts about cell phone radiation being dangerous without facts. However, the opposite is also true. One shouldn’t assert facts about cell phone radiation being safe without facts.

          If you are going to state that cell phones are safe, then the onus is on you to back it up with facts. But you can’t do that without a longterm study, which as far as I know doesn’t yet exist.

          Meanwhile, I have my own evidence that cell phones are unsafe enough to err on the side of caution, as well as the PubMed article I linked.

          As for Dr. Oz, I don’t understand why you brought him into the discussion in the first place if not to undermine Kresser and his credibility. My point was that Kresser has a good reputation, both in the acupuncture community and the larger functional medicine community, regardless of his association with Dr. Oz or anyone else.

          • Jeff September 15, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

            Hi Sifu. I see your point about the “crazy people” line, and in hindsight, I admit that was probably a mistake. I think the picture I had in mind (again, metaphorically) was that of the paranoid fantasies that schizophrenics sometimes concoct from making connections between things where none exist, but I did not mean it as a serious comment on anyone’s mental health. It was a flippant remark, and if you or anyone else took it as anything else, then I apologize. Apart from that, I think we are in general agreement, and you are right, it is sometimes difficult to make oneself clearly understood in an online forum such as this. That’s why I generally avoid them.

            • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 16, 2016 at 9:46 am #

              No worries, Jeff. And it was kind of you to apologize. That’s something that doesn’t happen very often on internet discussions!

              I’m of Greek origin, so I think the Socratic method is in my blood. 🙂 I hope you won’t give up on internet discussions. People who understand philosophy and logic are sorely needed. The world needs more critical thinking, not less!

              Regarding the picture that you had in your mind, I would encourage you to analyze it. If you go into a discussion thinking that everyone is paranoid — then it’s probably not going to be a productive conversation. And in that case, the real question is why are you having a discussion if you truly think that the people are paranoid?

              Not to belabor the point, but “schizophrenic” is an actual mental heal issue. I understand that it’s typically used with other connotations, the same way “crazy” and “paranoid” are used. We all need to be mindful of our choice of words.

              Be well, Jeff, and thank you for thinking critically.

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