Sylvia Salcedo is a health and wellness expert, and a self healing advocate.
As a Chinese medicine doctor, certified health coach, and breath and sound facilitator, she has over a decade of experience working with patients, including professionals, entrepreneurs, and moms, helping them to heal and to thrive. She's the founder of the Acupuncture Lounge, which serves thousands of patients each year; is the co-founder of the Feel Good Collective, and has been featured in Shape Magazine and Thrive Global.
She's taught at the University of Colorado Medical School, and is on the board of directors at the Integrative Health Department at Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colorado. Today we talk about a lot of ways high-achievers can change their habits to create better lives, and we discuss stress, her struggle with miscarriages and infertility, and her decision to change her life so she could self-heal and create the family she desired.
- Follow Sylvia @Sylvia.Salcedo on Instagram
- Find her on Facebook
- Morning Routine Article
- Brendon Burchard
- Esther Hicks [affiliate link]
- Roots & Bones – Holistic Herb Company
- Moon Juice (We talked about Star Dust and Moon Dust ~ affiliate link)
04:00 Chinese and Tibetan medicine in a nutshell
06:50 Symptoms versus the root of the problem
15:00 Western medicine in a nutshell
16:32 Her experience with infertility and recurrent miscarriages
22:00 We talk Chinese herbs
29:00 What is increasing your positive vibration?
32:00 Stress and disease
37:00 A discussion on meditation and breathwork tips
Dina Cataldo: Well hi, Sylvia. How are you doing today?
Sylvia Salcedo: I'm so good. I'm really excited to be with you this evening.
Dina Cataldo: Oh my gosh, this is fabulous. I'm glad that we're having the opportunity to talk, because when I read about you, you were really interesting to me; and specifically, Chinese medicine really stuck out to me. I am going to let you introduce yourself to our listeners, because you've got a lot of great healing energy and a lot of great things that you do to help self heal. I want to introduce people to you.
Sylvia Salcedo: Awesome.
Dina Cataldo: Can you start us off?
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah, thank you. I have been practicing alternative medicine for, I would say over 20 years; just from a young age, just really into herbs and things. Formally, I am trained Chinese medicine practitioner. I've been practicing Chinese medicine for over 13 years. I've also done some functional medicine, which is understanding the body and how to use blood work, and understanding what's happening with your body to get a better grasp of why you fatigued, or what's going on with your digestion. Then, a few years ago, I began to shift even deeper into my practice. I really began to study more about the spiritual and emotional side of healing; because it just became so apparent while I had been practicing for so long what issues were showing up. My heart led me to just go deeper into that realm.
Sylvia Salcedo: I practice a combination of coaching, sound and breath work, and the acupuncture. It's like this … We put it all together. That's what I'm doing these days is really helping people get to the root of what's happening in their body. Particularly focusing on the emotional spiritual wellbeing.
Dina Cataldo: Okay. My experience with Chinese medicine has been … Actually, it would be in San Francisco, being taken to a Chinese medicine doctor who prescribed … Who like basically kind of read your energy.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: Like, kind of saw what you needed, and then prescribed some different herbs, and different things that you brew. Then, you've got to drink it, and it tastes awful.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: Have you had … anything that you've ever had experience with?
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah. I think that what really drew me to Chinese medicine was the whole perspective of how they look at the body. Chinese medicine has this beautiful wholistic perspective. When we're learning in school, we kind of look at it as a gardener versus a mechanic. The mechanic is a system, is our Western medical system. It's like a part of the body breaks down, and you fix that part. Chinese medicine, we're considered more of a gardener. Your plant is dying, and why is that? Is it because there's too … not enough water? Is it getting too much sunlight? Is what part of the environment is affecting the plant? It's really beautiful when we start to look at the body, we begin to see it in this larger, wholistic perspective. It's not one thing.
Sylvia Salcedo: Let's say that somebody comes in for fertility, for instance. Often times, you're just looking at these functional numbers. What's your FSH? What's your AMH? What's your FH? You're just looking at these numbers. Where in Chinese medicine, we're taking a look at the entire person. What's your stress level? What are you eating? What's your body temperature? We have this beautiful perspective where we can dive deeper into the body and understand what's happening. By taking a look at the pulse, we can see if the body is running too quickly, or if it's too deficient. Looking at the tongue, we can analyze and see what's happening with your digestive system. How is that supporting the rest of your body? With how you're feeling emotionally, that gives us a tap into what organ system might be out of balance. It's really a beautiful understanding this wholistic perspective of what's going on in the body.
Sylvia Salcedo: Before I studied Chinese medicine, I actually was studying Tibetan medicine.
Dina Cataldo: Oh, okay.
Sylvia Salcedo: The reason I bring this up is because Tibetan medicine has this beautiful perspective of the body as well. It sees disease as a tree. The branches are the symptoms, and the root of the disease is literally the root of the trees. When we're dealing with medicine, we're going down to that level to understand why are those symptoms showing up? Starting from something different.
Sylvia Salcedo: Let's say it's autoimmune, fibromyalgia, MS, insomnia, digestive. Those are the symptoms. You're going further down and actually understanding what is at the root of the body? In Tibetan medicine, what I just … really kind of clicked for me, especially as I started shifting my practice more into the emotional and spiritual side was that they believe that disease starts in the mind. That literally what's happening, what's happened in our life actually is going to play a role in how our body either activates certain genes or doesn't.
Sylvia Salcedo: Epigenetics is this incredible study right now of how we can actually shift and change where we're headed by the foods that we eat, the exercise that we do, our thoughts in our body. It's kind of cool because it's making … It's justifying this old traditional medicine. Then yes, like how much our emotional health has to do with what's showing up today.
Sylvia Salcedo: Another really cool research that I've seen recently talks about in the first seven years of your life, the amount of trauma that you have had or suffered from directly impacts your connection to getting chronic health disease as you grow older.
Dina Cataldo: Really?
Sylvia Salcedo: Yes. It's just amazing. Abuse, addiction, neglect, trauma, whatever that was, then those first seven years are going to directly impact cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, pneumonia; these chronic health issues that we have older. Children who've had that type of environment are like three times more likely to get chronic health issues than other people. It's pretty extensive. Again, that's relating back to that philosophy in Tibetan medicine of disease is at the root of our body. Then, when we tap into Chinese medicine, we're seeing what is actually the whole … What's going on with the entire body? How … What do we need to do to help bring that body back into balance?
Dina Cataldo: Tell us how you got into really this wholistic, this whole getting to the root of the problem in Tibetan medicine and Chinese medicine. What really drew you to that?
Sylvia Salcedo: I come from a medical background. My father's a cardiologist. I knew I wanted to go into medicine since I was really little. We actually have a lineage of doctors in our family. My grandfather was a physician. I've got uncles. We've got this line of Western medics and doctors. When I was little, I used to follow my dad around the house on rounds, on the weekends. I just loved it. I loved what he was doing. I loved the interaction.
Sylvia Salcedo: When I was in my teens, I kind of started having a little bit of a heart pull. I was being drawn more connected to nature. I was being drawn into something else. There was this shift that started happening for me. There was a moment when I was older and I was following my dad around that this patient had just got out of a cardiac surgery. On his table was a Big Gulp.
Dina Cataldo: [crosstalk 00:08:15] Was a what?
Sylvia Salcedo: A Big Gulp, which is like a big soda pop from like 7 Eleven.
Dina Cataldo: Big Gulp? Oh.
Sylvia Salcedo: This guy had just gotten out of surgery, and there was no discussion about the health and about the overall well being of this man's diet. It was just like ‘Here are your medicines. How are you doing? What's going on,' but there wasn't this … It was such a big shocking moment to me that I was like, ‘There's something majorly missing here in this system.' It was through that and my own coming into myself that I realized that, that was kind of my path started heading down towards alternative medicine. It became really strong in my 20s, and I started studying herbal medicine. I starting cooking for healing, and cooking for just eating well.
Dina Cataldo: What does your family think about all of this?
Sylvia Salcedo: I was a witch doctor. … I was totally the witch doctor, and like for a long time; because I started studying acupuncture over 20 years ago. No, it was like 18 years ago. At that time, acupuncture was not as nearly as accepted as it is today. Now my family obviously supports me, but when I initially started, it was just like … I have this story.
Sylvia Salcedo: I went to go … I was studying … When I went to … I went to the University of Hawaii to study ethnobotany, which is the study of medicinal plants. That's how I got into Tibetan medicine, because I did my thesis on Tibetan medicine. Anyways, before I started this program, there was an acupuncture school there. I went into the school, and I just immediately was so excited about it.
Sylvia Salcedo: I called my dad, and I'm like, “Hey dad, I think I want to go to acupuncture school.”
Sylvia Salcedo: “No. You need to go get your masters degree. This is a much more … You know, that's a more serious path. You need to do that.” Me, still listening to my family, I went and did that.
Sylvia Salcedo: Then, the day that I graduated, I was like, “I'm going to acupuncture school.” It was definitely … It's been this push and pull from my family. At the same time, I really admired, because now I live in both worlds. A lot of my patients are physicians and nurses, because they understand that I can speak the language. I can … I understand where they're coming from. I kind of am that bridge of what else is out there? What else is possible?
Sylvia Salcedo: I started my own clients when they were comfortable first with acupuncture, and now doing the breath work with them, doing the sound work. Now they trust me as this ally for them to shift into that next level. What else is out there for me? Then really making a lot of movement with them once we start getting into that area.
Dina Cataldo: Because you're working with a lot of people who have high powered jobs. Like, if you're a doctor, if you're a nurse, if you're doing anything like that where you are under a lot of pressure, most of the time, in my experience, you don't start looking for what we, in the West, term ‘alternative medicine.'
Sylvia Salcedo: Right.
Dina Cataldo: Until things are pretty grim.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: Is that your experience with people who start coming to you?
Sylvia Salcedo: Totally. The majority of my clients are clients who are coming in absolutely stressed out. They've got insomnia. They've got an autoimmune issue that's shown up. They haven't gotten the support that they needed, or have wanted. Their life is kind of a hot mess. That's where the coaching starts coming in, really giving them a little bit of space to like, ‘Hey, how are … Are you enjoying what you're doing? Can we create a little bit more happiness, or joy,' or just coaching them through their well being. What is happening in their well being?
Sylvia Salcedo: For instance, let's say you have insomnia. You go to your doctor's office. They're going to give you some sleeping pill. They might talk to you about something else, but usually, ‘Here's your sleeping pill,' and you move on. Then, what I initially started doing acupuncture, it was like they would come and see me, and I would treat them with acupuncture and give them herbs. Then, they would hopefully get better or if something didn't shift, they would move on. It wasn't until I started actually asking them, ‘What are you stressed out about? What is happening in your life right now?' Where we really started to make the big shifts. Bringing that awareness to that insomnia that they're feeling, bringing that awareness to the emotional component of the stress that's going on.
Sylvia Salcedo: When we started bringing those to the forefront, then big shifts started to change. Even if it was just an awareness, it wasn't this whole radical thing that they had to do, but it was just an awareness. It was almost like, ‘Hi, I see you now. I see me.' They would just give themselves more compassion and understanding, and that's when really things start to shift for you. When you are not feeling well.
Dina Cataldo: Oh yeah, oh yeah. That was my experience, because that's … I didn't … I guess I turned to yoga after a cancer diagnosis. Once I got in there, I mean I had been resisting for a very long time. It was only at the point where it was like, ‘I need to do something different.'
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: ‘Because clearly whatever I'm doing isn't working.'
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: That I got into that whole world of yoga, and then you start learning about chakras, and you hear about all these different things. You're like, ‘Really? Am I really using these words now? Are these … that I talk about?' …
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah. I think that the options … What our medical system has to offer us for options is very limited. Time wise, to speak with your doctor about lifestyle medicine, it's 15, 20 minutes in and out of your Western … of your doctor, seeing your MD. Then, their tools. They are amazing at the medicines that they have, but they don't have the tools of understanding how do I coach somebody out of a stressful thought pattern that's been lodged in their mind? How do I get them to relax? They don't have the time for that, and that's a really … Alternative medicine comes in and starts hugging, and starts giving that support that they need. It's really coming from that side.
Sylvia Salcedo: I think it's like a lot of people waking up, but they don't want the medicine. They just don't want medication, that they want to empower themselves, or they want to step into the process of healing themselves, rather than handing it over to somebody else and saying, ‘Okay, no. I don't want to take this pill. What can I do?' That's a lot of people that I find, too. It's like they want another natural option. They want to do something that's natural for them.
Dina Cataldo: You're speaking a lot about these natural remedies.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: From what I was reading about you, you actually have some personal experience with this. You've actually used a lot of this on yourself.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yup.
Dina Cataldo: Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah, and all different kinds of ways. This entire … I'm alive, right? So I have … Stuff happens. I have had … One of the biggest issues that I dealt with was infertility and recurrent miscarriages. It was through each loss that I had that I was able to shift something in my life. That's a beautiful message that I really like to teach now is that when something shows up inside of balance of your body, it's a messenger. It's a messenger for a bigger thing that's happening. What is that messenger?
Sylvia Salcedo: When I began to have recurrent miscarriages, I needed to take a look at how I was running my life. I had just finished a masters. I was finishing my second masters degree. I was trying to start a business and make babies. In Chinese medicine, that is way too much coming from your core energy. I didn't have enough vital energy to support a baby. There wasn't enough side of me to give that energy, or you would look the chakras. They're all coming from the same place. I needed to start shifting my life. I needed to not be a type A person. As a type A person, I needed to learn how to shift my life. I couldn't be doing so much. I couldn't ask so much of my body. I needed to learn to say ‘no' more often.
Sylvia Salcedo: One of the biggest, biggest lessons was that I didn't need to be in such a rush. We had such this innate internal thing that … We gotta go. We gotta get it done. We gotta happen now. Whatever it is, especially as entrepreneurs. It's like we've got this fire of like it has to be done now. That kind of energy burns us. It was a really good awakening and understanding that it wasn't going to … That wasn't going to be my path. That I had to live my life, slow down, take care of myself so that I could [crosstalk 00:16:50] last for the long run. Each one of those miscarriages was a stronger message in that sense.
Dina Cataldo: I hear little ones in the background, so clearly it happened. … It worked.
Sylvia Salcedo: Mm-hmm (affirmative), it worked. It totally worked after … Yeah, and I had two beautiful girls naturally. It was that shift. Then, I also did Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine is really wonderful and understanding in how to strengthen our core body, and the kidney function, which is what I was depleted in.
Dina Cataldo: That's a question that I have for you, because I have friends who struggle with infertility. That would mean a lot to them hearing your story, if you could just tell a little bit about what you researched, what you learned about … and what you could do to help heal yourself naturally.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah. Overall, Chinese medicine has five different organ systems that we focus on. It's the kidneys, the liver, the heart, the spleen, and the lungs. Each one of those organ systems does a particular function in the body. If somebody comes in for digestive disorders, then we're going to be looking at the spleen. If somebody comes in with anxiety or emotional issues, we're going to be looking at the heart. PMS and irritability is going to be the liver. Depression or skin diseases is going to be the lungs, or also like physical lung things.
Sylvia Salcedo: The kidney is one of the most important organ systems in our body, because the kidney in Chinese medicine … not in Western medicine, in Chinese medicine, is the root of the core of our body. It's where our adrenals sit. It has to do with the functioning of our endocrine system. It's this very innate, natural core energy of our systems. It's the one where looking at fertility, that's one of the organ systems that needs to have enough vital energy and chi so that it can do everything it needs to do.
Sylvia Salcedo: We come from a very over driven, running society that we end up burning that. When I got … When I was dealing with infertility, I was also dealing with adrenal fatigue; so this deep exhaustion. I had to nourish that and heal that so that I could strengthen my systems, and I was able to support what I needed to do.
Dina Cataldo: How did you go about doing that?
Sylvia Salcedo: Okay, so one of the things like I had mentioned was I had to shift my life. I had to get out of my mindset that I needed to work all the time, that it was okay to rest, that it was okay to take a break to find things that made me laugh, and to find joy … more joy in life. Then, on the other side, I was taking the super tonic herbs that we have in Chinese medicine. That's your reishi. That's your ginseng. That's ashwagandha is a really big powerful one. There are these super tonic herbs that are really wonderful, that are safe to use, that you can help nourish and strengthen.
Sylvia Salcedo: I actually continue to take them, because I'm active mom. I'm running the businesses. It's like I continue to take that to help support my systems. They're really wonderful tonics that you can use at any time of your life, but they're really wonderful when you're trying to build up that kidney energy and something like have children.
Dina Cataldo: Wow. I appreciate you for sharing that, because that's something that a lot of women struggle with, especially as women are having children later in life; just because we're focused on our careers. Now, we're just getting around to thinking, ‘Oh, well maybe I want a child.'
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: That's … Thank you.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah. Or, even if you're just exhausted. Even if you're just finding yourself tired, and you already have the babies, or you don't want babies. If you're just tired, that fatigue is a message telling you something. In Chinese medicine, we're going to look at that message as the kidneys. Using these tonic herbs, there's a really great company. There's a couple of them. … Bones … Roots and Bones is developed by this Chinese acupuncturist. She has all these amazing powders that you can add into your smoothies. You can add them to tea, add them to your coffee. The powerhouse Chinese herbs that are going to boost you up.
Sylvia Salcedo: There's also another company, it's called Moon Juice. They do these star dusts, moon dusts. They have these adaptogenic Chinese herbs in them; but again, they come in powders. You put them in recipes, in your coffee, in your tea. I use them all the time. They're wonderful to help support my system.
Dina Cataldo: I'm going to link to those in the show notes.
Sylvia Salcedo: Awesome.
Dina Cataldo: For anyone listening or watching this, they can find that information; because I think that's really valuable to know.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah, it's such … It's really good stuff to keep us going nice and strong.
Dina Cataldo: Do you have another example of how you healed yourself and did it naturally? Kind of to give an example?
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah. Actually, okay, I had two, but this one's going to show up into the forefront first.
Dina Cataldo: Okay.
Sylvia Salcedo: The year after my last child was born, I was almost 200 pounds. I mean, I was … really … I had just piled on the baby weight, and it had just stayed. A little bit … A few months before that, I had this amazing experience with a shaman. My practice started shifting, and that's when I actually started my work into the spiritual and emotional work. When I shifted my attention and my focus on myself and self love, and self joy and happiness, the weight started to just fall off.
Dina Cataldo: Really?
Sylvia Salcedo: The weight was so connected to, for me, of like emotional eating, stressful eating. It was like the only thing I was finding joy around, I was just … Eating was such a big thing for me. When I was able to really start doing the emotional work and the spiritual work, I began to be happier. With that, the weight started to come off. I didn't need that sugar to give me joy, because I was so grounded and moving in my own happiness. That was a really powerful way that I was able to use not medicines, but my own kind of self healing to do something so big as that, to lose a lot of weight like that.
Dina Cataldo: That is really tied in, like just what you're talking about with … being very connected to our emotions.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: I don't know about your experience, but in my experience, a lot of us simply are not. If we've got a lot going on, we tend to disconnect, because we're so focused on doing. We're excellent at doing, getting things done, checking things off our to-do list. We don't … A lot of us don't take that moment to pause and reflect, and say, ‘Okay, am I doing the things that I need to be doing, want to be doing, and are healthy for me, so that I can be my best self?'
Sylvia Salcedo: Right.
Dina Cataldo: That's [crosstalk 00:23:59] something I ever did when I was going through working 50-70 hours a week.
Sylvia Salcedo: Right? Yeah. It's like that stepping back.
Dina Cataldo: Right. What would you suggest to people who are maybe listening to this and thinking, ‘I fall into that category of being super busy, and having a lot to do, but I'm not really sure if this whole touchy-feeling type conversation is for me.' What would you suggest to them?
Sylvia Salcedo: One of the things that I like to share is taking a bird's eye view of what's happening in your life. Okay, just stepping back for a moment and analyzing how … In coaching, we learned about primary foods and secondary foods. Secondary foods are literally like the foods that you eat. Your exercise will come with that. Pills, and treatments, and stuff. But, your primary food is taking a look at how are you feeding your soul? How are your relationships? How is your spiritual practice? What is your connection to nature? What is your connection to yourself? It's just taking that perspective of how am I doing with primary foods versus secondary foods? In primary foods, how am I doing there? What can I amp up a little bit? How do my relationships feel?
Sylvia Salcedo: When we are in a continual pattern of fighting with our children or our spouse, or are irritable at work, those relationships are affecting us on a different level. They're affecting us continually with stress, or we're just not feeling well. Are you getting out at lunch time? So often, so many people work right through lunch. Can you take some time and start reconnecting to nature and going for a walk? Or just being outside in the morning time and spending a moment seeing … being and breathing the fresh air. Are you putting any time towards self help work, or just having a time to just be? What is it that you love to do?
Sylvia Salcedo: I really like to continue to learn, so I'm always looking for self help books. I love to read, or something that just feels good on my soul. Are you reading things that inspire you? Because we have to learn to increase our vibration and the way that we live. What you are experiencing right now, and everything that's showing up for you is because of what you've done and where you're at. If you want something different, you have to start shifting and doing different things.
Dina Cataldo: Thank you.
Sylvia Salcedo: Right?
Dina Cataldo: Thank you. I don't think that's said enough. It's like what got you here isn't necessarily going to get you there.
Sylvia Salcedo: It's not going to get you there. It's not going to get you there. It's like it's developing this new way. Think about it in energy vibration. There's this incredible teacher. Her name is Esther Hicks. She brings in this beautiful concept of manifestation, and law of attraction, where you talk about where you are … Everything around you is from the vibrational energy of what you brought into your life. If you want to bring something else in, you have to begin to increase your vibration. Beginning to increase your vibration is increasing the positive thoughts in your mind, or just increasing wherever you are, just a little bit different.
Sylvia Salcedo: It's focusing on things that can help elevate you and help elevate your energy. If you've been very stressed out, and you're living in that place, it's kind of like ‘Hey, what you're doing is not working. How do we shift into something else?'
Dina Cataldo: While you're talking about manifestation, because … we could have the whole other conversation on manifestation. That entire conversation and what you've talked about with Esther Hicks, that is very consistent with Tibetan and Chinese medicine. It's a wholistic approach and it is doing those things that create health from the inside, from the core, in order to draw those good things to you, and in order to create that health that you want to have, that vibrancy.
Sylvia Salcedo: Right.
Dina Cataldo: If anyone's listening to this, and hears the word ‘manifest,' and starts to get triggered from that word, and thinks, ‘Oh, what is that?' I mean, if you hear through the ages the discussion about health and creating a healthy life, whether it's inside reflected outside. It's all one.
Sylvia Salcedo: It's all one.
Dina Cataldo: That conversation is all one; so thanks for bringing that up.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah, and when we can start looking at our health and our well being like that, I think it's a really powerful way of seeing it. It's like, ‘Okay, so I've come up to this place and I've got this disease, or I'm stressed out, or I'm not feeling well. Okay, so that is this creation from where I was. Now, what can I do and shift to change the way that I'm going forward?' It's listening to podcasts like this. It's tapping into things that increase your vibration, that make you feel good. That you're like, ‘What else is out there?' Tapping into more of those, bringing more of that into your life so that you can feel better.
Dina Cataldo: Love that.
Sylvia Salcedo: We're talking about this emotions, and we're talking about spirituality and the emotions; but where does that actually come from? I believe that the body, mind, and spirit, when we really look at that as our overall health and well being, it's really important. When we break down the body, that is our physical body. That's the cells that we see. That's our bones. That's everything that science has really mastered is the body.
Sylvia Salcedo: Now, the mind is a combination of thoughts and emotions. Our thoughts are an accumulation of what we learned in the past. Accumulation of our experiences. Our emotions are what we feel about those thoughts. Then, we have the spirit. Now, the spirit is our ability to actually step back from our emotions and thoughts, and decide what we want to do with that.
Sylvia Salcedo: The reason this is so important is because … stress causes a lot of disease. Stress really impacts the body in so many ways. It's going to affect your blood pressure. It's going to affect your sleep. It's going to create inflammation in your body. Stress really impacts the way that our bodies function. Stress is the way that you are seeing something. Stress is not real, but in your mind, it's the way that you are seeing something.
Sylvia Salcedo: When we can step back and start to see where are we getting stressed out? What are our triggers? What are the situations that causes stress? We can begin to make bigger shifts in our lives. That's why, for me, the spiritual component is such an important proponent because it is our truth. It is who we are. It's our ability to separate from what we have learned, from patterns that have been built up into our mind, and also cultivate and create our future of where we want to go. It is through the level of the soul that we can really create our forefront. We can really create where we want to go by separating, by choosing, by being something different.
Sylvia Salcedo: When we talk about the mind and how do we get that mind under control, and even start to make that space, that's where I love to bring in the breath work. It is through the breath work that we can create space to understand that we are not our thoughts, that we are not our emotions, that we have this ocean of continual thoughts, and thinking, and mind hopping all over the place. That is when we've just not had that training to understand, and to control our thoughts a little bit.
Sylvia Salcedo: One of the things I like to always bring up is we spend so much time in school learning about English, learning about mathematics, and science, and biology, and all of these things; and zero time learning how to control this beast that runs our lives.
Dina Cataldo: Yeah.
Sylvia Salcedo: From like how to handle rejection when we were little, and that it's followed us all the way through. Now we're self … We have a lack of self confidence, or whatever it is. It's like there has … there comes a point in our lives where it's really important that we start to reign in the mind. We start to create a little separation from our thoughts, understanding belief that our thoughts are not really who we are, and that we can choose something different.
Sylvia Salcedo: One of the things that used to really get me stressed out was financial money. I would open up my bank account and I would just look at how little there was, and it would just bring this fear. I would be living in this place of fear. Then, I would go, and I'd like throw it up on my husband. I'd be like, ‘You got to be working more, and you [crosstalk 00:33:42] … and blah, blah, blah.' Okay? [crosstalk 00:33:46] So that made for a [crosstalk 00:33:46] …
Sylvia Salcedo: It wasn't until I began to understand and practice these ideas of my spirit, and separating from my mind that I really was able to work that angle. I would open up my bank account, because I check it pretty regularly. I'd open up my bank account and I could feel it. I could see my trigger. I would allow myself to go to the bathroom, scream, yell, cry, do whatever it was that I needed. Then, I would bring myself back down again. It was that moment of acknowledgement that I needed to create a little bit of space, and then I would say, I'm willing to see this differently.
Sylvia Salcedo: As my relationship with money shifted, so did the finances coming in shifted. Like again, that's where you go into abundance, and manifestation. It's like you cannot be thinking about the stuff that you don't want, because you're just going to continue to attract things that you don't want.
Dina Cataldo: Right.
Sylvia Salcedo: It's through something like breath work that you can just create a little bit of space there. You can create some quietness in your mind by bringing your awareness and attention into your body. It's like bringing yourself into the moment right now, and allowing your mind to just control it a little better, or guide it to what's a healthier thought.
Dina Cataldo: I like the word ‘guide,' because when I think of the word ‘control,' I mean a lot of people … I'm going to say me. I'll use me as the example, so that I'm not talking about everybody. Everybody maybe have some control freak in them.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: It's part of being in charge all the time. It's part of that's who you end up being. It's because you have to have the answer. You must know what's going on.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: It's part of your job, and then it internalizes in you, in myself. That's something that has been my work. For me, when I'm working on guiding my thoughts, I try to not to think of it as controlling them because this brain's going to do whatever it's going to do. It's just chatter. It's just chatter all the time, but you at least recognize it and observe what's happening, then it makes it … for me, easier to accept some of the crazy chatter that's in my brain. It's like, ‘Okay, that's not actually me. I don't actually … I'm not actually a … Let's say, bad person. Let's say I'm thinking about something, and I'm not a bad person for thinking that. It's just my brain just chattering away.'
Sylvia Salcedo: Right.
Dina Cataldo: I recognize it, and then I guide my thoughts back.
Sylvia Salcedo: I love that.
Dina Cataldo: This breath work that you're talking about, I mean that is really essential. I understand that you have some tips maybe for us?
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah. I have been using breath in a variety of different ways. I'm going to start first by talking about how I use it in therapy and treatment, because I … It's been one of the most powerful tools that I have learned and used. When we do a breath work session, I actually guide people into this active meditation space where they're breathing in from their belly. They breathe in from their chest. They breathe out their mouth. It's all of this breath … It's all coming from the mouth, but this kind of breath work brings your subconscious up to the level. You get into this work, and I'll have them breathe for about 20 minutes doing this breath work. It can be uncomfortable. It can shift. It can move, like things can come up that you never thought about before. People cry. People laugh. We have this variety of emotional excitement that comes in.
Sylvia Salcedo: The reason why I like to do it is because I believe that the emotions play such a powerful role in our health and well being. Once we start to do this active meditation breath work, we release the superficial layers that are affecting the body. We release the stress. We release some of the pain. Some of the different things that are lodged in our body, we begin to release them. That's where some deeper healing comes through.
Sylvia Salcedo: When I'm working with clients, that's what I'm doing. I believe everybody needs to learn the relaxation breath. This is the one that I want to bring to the forefront for all of our listeners. The relaxation breath goes like this. When you breathe in, your belly expands. When you breathe out, your belly contracts. All the work is happening from this belly movement. It doesn't come from your chest. It's all from the belly.
Sylvia Salcedo: A way that you can find out if you're doing it right is by lying on the ground and putting a book on your belly. As you breathe in, that book should rise. As you breathe out, that book should go down. You can visualize it when you're breathing in, you're bringing all of this oxygen. In Chinese medicine, we'll call it chi. You bring in all this vital energy into your body. When you breathe out, you're just releasing that. You're releasing that which you no longer need. You bring it, and you're letting it out, and your belly contracts.
Dina Cataldo: Are you breathing in through your nose or your mouth?
Sylvia Salcedo: Whichever one is more comfortable for you. I kind of leave that up to whatever feels comfortable, because you want to be able to do this breath. The idea about this breath work is that it becomes part of your habit throughout the day. A great place to start is before you go to bed. While you're lying in your bed, you start this breath work. You're already there. You're already going to bed. Just start doing this breath work pattern. You're breathing in when your belly expands, and breathing out when your belly contracts. You'll see how quickly your body begins to relax. Your body begins to just feel good. You can get to sleep quicker. Another great time to start this practice is in the morning.
Sylvia Salcedo: I was looking on your website and you've got some really cool things about how to get you started in the morning, how to get you in the right place.
Dina Cataldo: Thank you.
Sylvia Salcedo: This breath work is one of those awesome tools that you can use alongside of that. It's like right when you wake up, what you do in the morning is really important. How you get your day started and the things that you're doing. Taking a couple few breaths is like, ‘Okay, great. I'm just connecting with my body. I'm bringing the chatter of the mind down, just keeping everything at bay.' Where you really start amping up the practices, you're doing it throughout the day. You're really using it. If you have a lot of stress in your life, if you feel a lot of stress, then you're using it while you're driving in your car, or whatever transportation you're taking. You're taking a couple minutes every hour to do this breath work. That's when you really start integrating it throughout your day, where it becomes part of you.
Dina Cataldo: You can set your phone for an alarm if you feel like you need a reminder.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah. [Brendon Burchard 00:40:29] talks about this beautiful 50 minute punch work … work punches.
Sylvia Salcedo: He's like, “You set your clock at 10:00 and you work for 50 minutes, and then you take 10 minutes every hour to breathe, drink water, do a little chi gong.” He does like-
Dina Cataldo: [crosstalk 00:40:44] I love him.
Sylvia Salcedo: … technique. Right? … I think that's such a brilliant idea. It just so goes along with this. It's like, yeah, if you're breathing at night, or if you're doing this every once in a while, sure, it's going to be better than not doing it; but the goal is, is like how am I bringing this to my life on a regular basis? Especially if you feel very stressed out. Throughout the day, it's like you need to be putting things in that's going to bring back down that stress response.
Dina Cataldo: Well, that also is beneficial for people who need to perform at a high level; speaking of Brendon Burchard, right?
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: If you are somebody who is working their behind off all day, you're a doctor and you are going from surgery to surgery without taking a moment for yourself, then this is a great opportunity to create that balance in your life. Then, when you go into the next appointment, you're re-energized.
Sylvia Salcedo: Right. Yes, exactly. You're building. You're oxygenating your body. You're getting that … on the physical level. Then, also that moment of just dropping in. When you drop in, when you connect with your body, and you're connecting with your intuition, you're connecting with your inner wisdom. You're able to make decisions from the core of your body, rather than this reactive ‘Ugh, kind of scared. What do I need to do?' By practicing that breath work, it just brings you in.
Sylvia Salcedo: I've been doing this for years now. I'm actually able to tell right when my body starts to shift.
Dina Cataldo: Okay.
Sylvia Salcedo: [crosstalk 00:42:13] … I woke up and I was kind of in a bad mood, or maybe something kind of got … Still getting me a little bit, but I can feel my body starting to shift. I'll take those deep breaths. It grounds me. It brings me back into my body, back into my knowing, back into who I am. When I'm working from that place, then there's a lot of strength. There's a lot of conviction. There's a lot of knowing of what I'm doing.
Dina Cataldo: I love that. [crosstalk 00:42:42] … For when you're doing these breaths, how many do you do? Do you just kind of sit there for a few minutes taking breaths?
Sylvia Salcedo: A few minutes.
Dina Cataldo: Okay.
Sylvia Salcedo: A few minutes. I mean, I would kind of depend on where you're at in the spectrum. Let's say on a scale of zero to ten, and you feel like you are just running at a ten. Then, you're going to want to amp that up a little bit. That's like your body is out of balance. You're going in fight or flight too much. You're just running too much. Then, you're going to need more of that yin work.
Sylvia Salcedo: Beautiful concept we have in Chinese medicine is yin and yang. Yin is that inwards, that nourishment, that breath work, that … stillness. Yang is the going and the getting. I've got to go. I've got to keep on running. That kind of excess energy. In America, we have a very excess energy type of work force, belief system. We are going. The more that you have that in your life, then the more you need to do things that are yin, that are more relaxing, that are more inwards, more breathing work. Until you find that happy place where you're not running like I used to run, where you're learning how to bring that back and bring it into balance.
Sylvia Salcedo: When I get into my mind where I'm like, ‘Oh, I just got to do better. Oh, I'll just stay up another night.'
Dina Cataldo: Oh no.
Sylvia Salcedo: I'm like, ‘Okay, do that breath work.' It's like it's not going to be a switch that turns on and off. It is a new way that our bodies need to learn to function, removing old thinking patterns and creating new ones that bring us health.
Dina Cataldo: When you said that, that reminded me of the phrase, ‘If you don't have time to meditate for 10 minutes, then you need to meditate for an hour.'
Sylvia Salcedo: Oh my god, I love that. Yes. [crosstalk 00:44:33] Yes. Right? … That's exactly it. That's exactly it. How much are you going? You're going to know. If you are not feeling well, then you need to be doing it longer.
Sylvia Salcedo: It's like it is the most simple tool, but the most powerful tool. It's like you don't have to go buy all these supplements, and do all these things. It's like you have got the power inside of you, one simple way of learning how to breathe can shift your body. It can shift the way you feel your life. It's like just practicing that, having the moment of stillness. A lot of people are like, ‘I can't quiet my mind. I can't even think about meditating.' Yeah, well, it's a process.
Dina Cataldo: Yeah.
Sylvia Salcedo: The more that you say it, it's like yeah. It's just a process. It's like how much are you willing to do? When you were child, when you were a baby, you were crawling, right? You had to go from crawling to walking. It wasn't like, ‘I can't do that. I'm done,' right?
Dina Cataldo: Right.
Sylvia Salcedo: All of us got through it. All of us got into walking. It's the same kind of thing, because breath work. It's like you just have not been taught. You've allowed the mind to go monkey mind for so long, but you can teach it again.
Dina Cataldo: So maybe instead of reaching for your cell phone before you go to bed to check Facebook, or Instagram, or whatever; you take a few moments to take a few breaths.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah, that's … very beautiful. That's a really good one. … That's a really, really, really, really, really good one. Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: Wow. You have shared so much today. I really appreciate it. This is … I mean I really think that we need to have more conversations like this one. I think that the more I see in popular culture, a reaching out for a wholistic type of health, one that's not so reactive to somebody who already has an ailment.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: The better we're going to be. We need more conversations like this.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yeah. Yeah, exactly; and more conversations on the mindset, and what we're thinking, and how to shift what we're thinking.
Dina Cataldo: Where can people learn more about you?
Sylvia Salcedo: People can find me at my website, which is SylviaSalcedo.com. I've got a lot of free coaching there. I've got classes, and all kinds of good stuff. Then, you can also find me at Sylvia.Salcedo on Instagram and SylviaSalcedoLAC over on Facebook.
Dina Cataldo: That's fantastic. I will link to all of that in the show notes, so you don't need to write anything down.
Sylvia Salcedo: Thank you.
Dina Cataldo: I will make sure that, that's in there for you. Oh my gosh, thank you so much Sylvia.
Sylvia Salcedo: Yay. Thank you. Thank you, thank you. It was so wonderful being on here. I really appreciate what you're doing, and the work that you're doing for the world. It's just such a powerful work. I'm grateful to have you doing it and allowing me to come up and share.