The Shoemaker’s Children – or in this case, the Shoemaker – Have No Shoes

by Jeanine Adinaro on July 15, 2009

in Customer Testimonials, General Health

Many moons ago, and I won’t tell you how many because I have reached that point in my life where I am getting vain about my age, before I started acupuncture school, I had a computer programming job in the financial services sector in Boston. My work place is not what I would describe as having been a nurturing or healthy environment. Probably toxic is the correct start to a description of the place.

In retrospect, it comes as no surprise that I had a lot of health problems. Migraine headaches, chronic neck pain, acne, digestive woes, atypically high susceptibility to colds and flues….I once had a double ear infection that ruptured both ear drums; nothing quite so comforting as waking up to find blood dripping out of both ears.

Blah, blah, blah, started getting acupuncture, blah, blah, realized my lifestyle was having a significant impact on my health, blah, blah, needed a career change, blah, started acupuncture school part time while continuing to work full time in the emotional super-fund sight. Wow, what a year that was.

Traditional Chinese medicine places a premium on the effects of lifestyle on physical health. When I started acupuncture school, I also started to make an extreme effort to improve my lifestyle. I cleaned up my diet (more vegetables, less French fries), I made sure I slept enough (I even got B’s on some of my tests because I prioritized sleeping over cramming), and started doing Tai Chi. My health got moderately better, but it was by no means perfect.

The first Christmas break I went to Texas to visit my family for 2 weeks. During that two weeks I did all sorts of things that are not in keeping with the TCM longevity lifestyle- I stayed out too late drinking too much alcohol, didn’t sleep enough, smoked stuff I shouldn’t have, and ate questionable food.I ate fried beef- it’s a Texas thing- more than once.And at the end of those 2 weeks, I felt better than I had in 6 months. And then I had my proverbial light bulb moment. I felt like crap most of the time because of my job.In hindsight, I would like to thank my boss at the time. If she had been even 10% qualified to have the job she had, I would probably still be working in financial services. Luckily for me, she was completely incompetent, and I figured out to quit, move to Austin and go to school full time.

OK, so what the heck does this lovely anecdote have to do with shoemakers? Or herbs for that matter?

To my way of thinking, the unsung hero of our herb line is a formula we call Decompress.It’s based on a traditional Chinese herbal formula called Xiao Yao San. This formula is usually translated into English as Free and Easy Wanderer. Personally, I think this is a terrible translation. In America, if you are a free and easy wanderer, it pretty much means you’re homeless. I think a better translation would be Unencumbered Spirit. But that was too long to fit on the label, so we went with Decompress.

People, those of us on the Herbalogic team included, often say this formula is for stress. But that is such a vague description. After all, taking Decompress yourself won’t make your boss magically competent. But it might make it moderately more tolerable to be in the same room with her. Decompress allows your mind to let go of the day to day trivialities that somehow seem to grow to mammoth proportions. And when that happens, the physical manifestations of emotional stress, see my list above, get under control. A lot like my 2 week Christmas vacation did, only without having to take time off work.


It’s true confession time. The other day, I was on the phone for the fourth time trying to straighten out a situation with my financial institution. Apparently, it cannot be straightened. I actually broke down crying with the customer service representative. I believe I concluded the conversation with, “I have a 7 month old baby and a husband in Iraq. I have spent hours on hold trying to get this resolved. Hours I don’t have to spare. And now you tell me you can’t help me?” Commence sobbing. “Well perhaps if you went into one of our offices?” “The next trip I take into one of your offices will be to close my accounts.”

Another light bulb moment- when was the last time I had some Decompress? Yeah, about that…

I am feeling much better now.

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