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It’s officially Leo season, pod fam!! WE MADE IT! Bring on the fire, passion, energy, fun—and celebrations! You guys know I’ve been feeling my feelings this season, SO… let’s take a moment to get allllll up in our feels with this week’s podcast guest, Dr. Chloe H. Bañales, LAc. 

Dr. Chloe is a doctor of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), who is also certified in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), The Mukaino Method, Esoteric Acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and mental-emotional release (MER) therapy. She and I originally connected last year when my parents were sick and played SUCH a huge role in supporting me and my family during a really trying time. 

All you have to do is look at Dr. Chloe’s credentials, and you’ll KNOW where this convo is going. We’re getting deep into feeling and healing—acknowledging that our emotions matter, how they can manifest physically, and ways to support our full selves in the healing process. Other topics include breaking barriers between Eastern & Western medicine, how our perspective shapes our reality, and how the little things we do every day truly matter.

And with that being said, let’s get juicy!

What is TCM?

I love the unique way Dr. Chloe defines it as “a lens to view reality.” Essentially, she says, it’s “all-encompassing. It’s a choice to see the world a little bit differently.” To get a little more specific, she notes that TCM focuses on the mind-body-nature connection. It’s a way to identify patterns and be able to see where things are connected as they should be or where disconnection, blockages, or breakages might be happening. “It’s a lot more than just needles—a lot more than just herbs,” says Dr. Chloe.

Within TCM, one of Dr. Chloe’s specialties is acupuncture—more specifically, a practice called esoteric acupuncture. As with many practitioners, Dr. Chloe discovered the benefits of esoteric acupuncture as a patient and sought training under the doctor who helped her take huge strides in her own healing journey, Dr. Wong. 

What is Esoteric Acupuncture? 

Acupuncture is a well-known form of TCM, where needles are inserted into specific spots on the body to help balance your qi—helping to relieve physical and emotional stress and discomfort. Esoteric acupuncture is like acupuncture on steroids (in a completely positive way). Combining TCM acupuncture with the chakra system, the Kabbalah, and even a bit from quantum physics, Esoteric acupuncture essentially delivers or shares a very specific grid with someone via specific needle placements. 

As for how this grid is delivered, Dr. Chloe likens it to a combination lock—you have to go left and right in exactly the right order and hit the right points for the lock to work. Esoteric acupuncture is similar in that it’s “a specific sequence in a specific order, so that each point creates this ultimate like spin feeling or this grid,” says Dr. Chloe. “It mimics the different sacred geometry shapes, whether it’s the infinity sign with triangles that face upwards representing the fire element, heart love, or the downward triangle, which represents the kidneys—fear.”

On helping others heal themselves…

Dr. Chloe and I talk about a really humbling aspect of herbalism and TCM: it’s not about us. I’ve learned through my teachers over the years to recognize that I’m not actually helping anyone—the HERBS are. And Dr. Chloe shares a similar mindset. “We get to be the messenger and deliver something that was given to us,” she says, “and then we could give it to someone else.” Through her schooling, training, and certifications, Dr. Chloe learned how to help others access the healing powers around and within themselves.  

How do our emotions manifest in the physical body?

In this ep, Dr. Chloe shares some of the personal experiences that led her to realize just how connected our emotions are to our physical bodies. A severe anxiety attack was the catalyst that introduced her to TCM—by way of Western medicine (something she found immensely helpful at the time but ultimately turned to Eastern medicine to support herself in the long-term).

This anxiety attack—which was the result of a mental, emotional, spiritual breakdown—manifested itself as her physical body essentially shutting down. Because she had been so disconnected from her body and depleted in so many ways, she found herself in the hospital with an IV in her arm. Basically, her body said, if you’re not gonna slow down and tune in, I’m gonna make you do so. 

Sometimes, our emotions hit us hard like this, and sometimes, they’re more subtle (but can definitely hit us harder if we don’t learn to address the signals). For example, a heartache or something that is agitating you might manifest itself subtly as a rich scarlet color on the tip of your tongue. And poor posture—like constantly hunching over—isn’t always just poor posture. It can often mean that our emotions are literally weighing us down, and our body is trying to shield our heart. You know the term “hot headed”? You can literally feel the heat coming off of someone angry.

How do we start reestablishing connection with our mind, body, and nature?

Being attuned to your body’s signals, to your emotions, and to nature and those around you is SO important to overall wellness. Dr. Chloe shares a few questions to ask yourself when you’re feeling disconnected or like something is off:

  • When was the last time you got your feet on the ground?
  • How have you been sleeping?
  • When was your last meal?
  • Have you taken a good, nice drink of some mineral-rich fresh water?
  • When was the last time you had a conversation with someone you love?

Remember: You are completely unique.

After Dr. Chloe suffered from a debilitating anxiety attack, she found support in Western medicine: hospitalization, therapy, medication. And she recognizes the importance of those tools—they were teachers and helpers in the lessons she needed to learn at that point in her life. In the same way, acupuncture was a teacher in a later time, just like herbs and physical therapy and my morning walks have been for me. 

In the ep, Dr. Chloe talks about the importance of finding the teachers and tools that your body and mind need. And to recognize that what works for someone else and their goals might not be the right option for you and yours. We each have an incredible magic, an incredible bio-individuality, she says. “Whether it’s from the physiological perspective, the psychological perspective, we are all so unique.”

A few more ways to find connection within oneself or with nature…

Dr. Chloe offers SO much great info about reconnecting or connecting, and I want to leave you all with a few more tangible tips from her to get in touch with your feelings, your body, and what’s around you:

  • Find time to watch the sunset every evening 
  • Simply put your bare feet on the ground for five minutes 
  • Start that book that’s been on your shelf since last year 
  • Take time to journal more
  • Seek out great conversation 
  • Dance, walk, get moving 
  • Practice 2–3 minutes of deep, focused breathing each day
  • Eat a meal outside in the sunshine 

And the best piece of advice Dr. Chloe finds herself giving out these days…

“Within 30 minutes of waking up, allow the sun to turn love into your eyes,” she says, advising to get outside and soak up some sunshine to balance your circadian rhythm and connect with nature. “Bonus points if you go on a walk as well! Because then you really get to move into your day. You get to connect with the sun, you get to connect with this energy of like, there are new possibilities ahead of us. There’s no reason that yesterday needs to become today.”

xoxo,

Olivia

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