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Oct 22nd
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Wellness: An Introduction

blog wellWhy I let people pour butter in my eyes 

Greetings, Good Times readers. It is with pleasure and deep consideration that I introduce you to Wellness, which formerly ran in the Santa Cruz Weekly every two weeks since February of 2012, and which will continue to do so here, starting today.

If you are bracing yourself for crystal energy and flower essences, or instructions on how to force-feed your kids kale, it’s understandable, considering how “wellness” is sometimes narrowly defined. But, while I have nothing against crystals, (and someday I’d like to get to the bottom of those alleged healing properties), it’s the science that I’m after. That and serving you, vibrant Santa Cruz.

I began writing about the wellness community here a year and a half ago, with an interview of a child who developed an app that displays Yoga positions—an electronic stand-in for your flesh and blood yoga teacher. My next story led me to stop eating sugar for ten days, in preparation to interview the Sugar Slayer of Capitola.

At the time, I welcomed the assigned column with the ravenous hunger to do what I love: investigate the truth and deliver the facts. Over the course of 56 and some odd columns, I’ve researched as much as possible first-hand: I’ve had hot ghee poured into my eye sockets, slurped Pu-erh tea with a barefoot zen master, and scrutinized my own plasma under a microscope for telltale signs of too much gluten. I’ve gone on a 10-day anti-candida cleanse, (promising to come back and willingly starve in a five day raw food cleanse), and entered a a public bath house for the first time, naked and afraid, to investigate the Science of Saunas.

Luckily for us all, Santa Cruz is a healing town. Our abundant farmers markets and health food stores runneth over with doctors and practitioners, shamans and healers. In Santa Cruz, you can’t walk on the beach without running into a bamboo stick-wielding chiropractor, or size up a bundle of dandelion greens without rubbing elbows with a self-proclaimed mystic. The very essence of this town vibrates with the delicate promise of physical, emotional and spiritual balance.

But as convenient as this is for a column that investigates the multitude of ways we seek to optimize our time spent on Earth, I’m loath to let Wellness be a mere vehicle for free advertising space; a tired regurgitation of the services available.

Wellness exists to answer the fundamental questions we have about how our bodies and minds work—how our brains store memories, for instance, or the role that dreams play in our overall well-being. It examines blossoming trends, like coconut water and life coaching, and delves into the nutritional properties of green tea versus coffee. It touches on the physical and psychological mechanisms of addiction, and it’s not afraid to investigate less-accepted modalities either, like energy healing and psychedelic research.

This is precisely where you come in, Santa Cruz. I’ve been wanting to take your pulse for a long time. What ails you? What makes you glow? What burning questions do you have about nutrition, health, spirituality, psychology and yes—wellness?

Do carrots really improve our vision? Can cigarette smokers be runners, too? Who can benefit from fasting, and how do we do it safely? What brain chemicals are at play when we fall in love, and how do we prolong the euphoria? These are a few of the questions simmering on my desktop, and I look forward to adding yours. Now, let’s collectively chant the sound of Om, three times.

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