From Tea to Shining Qi

POSTED BY Karyla Gaines | Aug, 16, 2014 |

Once upon a time, in the Holy City by the sea, an exciting blog began…


From Tea to Shining Qi is a blog about finding health every day in simple and easy ways.  Health, from my perspective, is an entire story about who you are and how you spend your days and nights.  “From Tea…” tells you that I will be exploring how herbal medicines can become a part of daily life through something as simple as a soothing cup of hot tea (or a tall cold glass of iced tea for my southerners). I want to explore interesting ways to bring simple practices into your everyday routine whether it is planting a windowsill herb garden or making fresh berry popsicles to enjoy on the go. By empowering yourself one cup, one walk, one decision at a time, improving your health can become accessible and fun. The path to improved health should be treated as an exciting choose your-own-adventure journey that energizes, inspires, and leads you ultimately to Shining Qi!


Personally, I define “Shining Qi” as a balance between your heart and your head.  To become authentically who you are, your mind has enough clarity to experience life through your heart space.  Shining Qi comes from my belief that physiology follows psychology, which is followed by spirit.  When they all line up, they overlap and become one – a very harmonious and unique creation indeed!


And who am I?  As the blog title playfully references, I am a practitioner living in the United States (America the Beautiful, that is), more specifically in Charleston, South Carolina. The pieces of paper I’ve put in shiny frames on my walls, remind me of years of broken book spines, research papers using the Dewey Decimal System, coffee houses with friends singing for world peace, and commencement ceremonies that lasted way too long.  The end result is having an office of my own to display those framed certificates, showing that I have dedicated my life to a deep understanding and practice of healing.  My educational journey included an education by the Benedictine Monks at the now Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois.  I forged ahead and completed a Master’s in Clinical Counseling from The Citadel, in Charleston, SC (yes, THAT Citadel).  And then, some years later, went on to study Oriental Medicine in New York at Tri-State College of Acupuncture.  Now, in these many years after graduation, I continue to study herbal medicine, mostly from the Western herbalist perspective. I firmly believe in the life-long journey of learning and continue to seek new experiences, perspective, and research that I will share through this blog.


But this doesn’t tell you who I am, really.


I am a lover of all things involving music, piano, dancing, singing, cooking, herbs, environment and animal protection, Oriental Medicine, Carl Jung, science and religion, and the medicine of the old ones.  I adore teaching, guiding, listening, honoring sacred space, and sitting around the kitchen table telling stories over coffee or tea and a homemade- from scratch -goodie or two.  I love my solitude (I am an INFP for those who are interested) and I enjoy the company of the friends I call family.  And, I cannot forget to mention my best friend, my beloved 13 year old Coton de Tulear, Daisy.


Daisy 2012-10-08 002



In the weeks to come, you will find profiles on herbs, tips on including medicinal herbs daily in your food and drink, discussions on our psychological make-up and health, musings on various topics including acupuncture, nutrition, adding ritual to your day, music and gardening to name a few.


Until we meet again…..


With all my Heart, Karyla