Singing Dragon is building a new website – we’d love to hear your suggestions!

Singing Dragon’s new website will include some great features to make it easier for you to order books from us. We will be adding two of the most commonly requested features by making it possible to create a customer account, so that you won’t have to enter your details every time you order, and enabling you to pay using PayPal.

If you have any feedback on this or you’d like to make any suggestions about what you’d like to see on the new website, we’d love to hear from you. Either add a comment in the section below or email us directly at

Sign up to receive the Singing Dragon New Titles Catalogue, Autumn/Winter 2013-14

front coverOur Singing Dragon New Titles catalogue for Autumn and Winter 2013-14 is now available. With full information on our expanding list of books in Chinese Medicine, Qigong, Daoism, Yoga, Aromatherapy, and a variety of other disciplines, our new titles catalogue is an essential resource for complementary health practitioners and anyone interested in enhancing their own health, wellbeing and personal development.

To receive a free copy of the catalogue, please sign up for our mailing list

You may also request multiple copies to share with friends, family, colleagues and clients–simply note how many copies of the catalog you would like (up to 20) in the “any additional comments” box on the sign-up form. Please be sure to click any additional areas of interest as well. You should receive a copy of the catalogue within two to three weeks.

Singing Dragon’s US e-catalog is now online

We are happy to present Singing Dragon’s US catalog in an easy-to-use electronic format. This is a convenient way to explore Singing Dragon’s growing list of books on Qigong, Chinese Medicine, Bodywork, Martial Arts, Yoga and Alternative Health, complete with links back to our website for ordering or more information.

To browse this catalog, click the image below. It will enlarge automatically to allow for easy reading.

Although this catalog contains US pricing information, you can still use it if you reside outside the USA. All the links embedded in the catalog lead back to the Singing Dragon website where we process orders from around the world.

If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of this catalog…

Click here to sign up for our mailing list.

Summer reads 2013

Beach, mountain or garden reading. Adventurous personal journeys, imaginative historical fiction, and self-aware wisdom, all available in hard copy or to download to your e-reader.

Sheaffer-Ten Methods of the Heavenly Dragon-CoverTen Methods of the Heavenly Dragon by Robert Sheaffer

This book explores the author’s experiences on a journey towards spiritual enlightenment. However, this journey is not without its challenges, and the author has to look to his very core to overcome the obstacles that block his way.

“In the ordinary world we don’t often go to the ends of the earth to seek the extraordinary. Fortunately for us, Robert Sheaffer did, and wrote this book so that we could all travel the journey with him. I was captivated from his very first words, and felt like I was right there with him every step.”

– Amazon reviewer

Wei_Valley-Spirit-A_978-1-84819-131-0_colourjpg-webThe Valley Spirit by Lindsey Wei

Lindsey Wei, a young American-Chinese woman, is drawn to the Wudang Mountains on a quest to understand her ancestral roots and discover the hidden knowledge of Daoist martial arts and spiritual wisdom.

“Very well written and insightful, a true glimpse of another world while at the same time facing issues common to young people everywhere, especially women, and the answers she finds. I highly recommend this book to everyone seeking answers or for those who thought they have found their way.”

– Amazon reviewer

Eaton_I-Send-a-Voice_978-1-84819-100-6_colourjpg-webI Send a Voice by Evelyn Eaton

A gripping account of Evelyn Eaton’s experiences participating in Native American Sweat Lodge healing rituals, and being eventually deemed worthy of carrying a healing Pipe herself.

A beautifully written, unique and deeply touching account of the author’s transformative spiritual journey into the sacred ways of Native American sweat lodge ceremonies, rituals, teachings and shamanism… A page turner, written by a remarkable woman describing a remarkable journey.”

 – Christa Mackinnon, author of Shamanism and Spirituality in Therapeutic Practice

Eaton_Go-Ask-the-Rive_978-1-84819-092-4_colourjpg-webGo Ask the River by Evelyn Eaton

The haunting story of the female Chinese poet Hung Tu, tracing her rise from Flower-in-the-Mist to Official Hostess at the court of the governors of the Silk City, against the backdrop of the scholars, poets, officials, and warring factions of ninth century China.

There are many good novels about the trials and courage of Chinese women in various historical periods, but Eaton’s book is outstanding, in that as well as a tense and dramatic narrative, it also provides a most insightful but easily readable insight into classical Chinese poetry, and a thoughtful approach to life’s hardships through a Taoist philosophy. Not to be missed!”


More on these books, and many more, can be found at

© 2013 Singing Dragon blog. All Rights Reserved

Singing Dragon Complete Catalogue – Spring/Summer 2013

Featuring all of our titles, including books on Chinese medicine, qigong, martial arts and complementary therapies, the Singing Dragon catalogue has something for everyone. Feel free to browse, share and email the catalogue to anyone you think might be interested. Click on the catalogue to view full-screen. You can find out more information and order the books by clicking on the titles.

If you would like any physical copies of the catalogue please send an email to

Request a free copy of the new Singing Dragon Complete Catalog

Our 2013 Singing Dragon Complete Catalog is now available. With full information on our expanding list of books in Qigong, Bodywork, Yoga, Taiji, Aromatherapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Chinese Medicine and a variety of other disciplines, our complete catalog is a tremendous resource for complementary health practitioners and anyone interested in enhancing their own health, wellbeing and personal development.

To receive a free copy of the catalog, please sign up for our mailing list and we’ll get one out to you right away. You may also request multiple copies to share with friends, family, colleagues and clients–simply note how many copies of the catalog you would like (up to 20) in the “any additional comments” box on the sign-up form.

We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to get more information about our outstanding new and forthcoming titles such as Heavenly Streams by Damo Mitchell and recent releases in our Discovering Holistic Health series like Principles of Bach Flower Remedies and Principles of Tibetan Medicine. The catalog also contains information about the new paperback edition of Mudras of India by Cain and Revital Carroll and our forthcoming title Vital Face: Facial Exercises and Massage for Health and Beauty by Leena Kiviluoma along with over 150 additional books, DVDs and other resources.

Click this link to see a listing of new and recent titles from Singing Dragon.

To request a copy of the Singing Dragon complete catalog, please click here to fill out our sign-up sheet. Please be sure to click any additional areas of interest as well. You should receive a copy of the catalog within two weeks.

Request a copy of the UK Singing Dragon Complete Catalogue

Cover of the Singing Dragon UK Complete CatalogueMake sure not to miss Singing Dragon’s latest UK Complete Catalogue. If you have not yet received a copy, please sign up for our mailing list and we’ll send a free one out to you ASAP.

Readers in the UK and Europe who request a copy of the catalogue before February 15th, 2013 will also receive a voucher for a 15% discount on the entire Singing Dragon list of books, with free postage and packing.

Take advantage of this opportunity to find new, forthcoming and classic books on Chinese Medicine, Holistic Health, Taiji, Qigong, Herbal Medicine, Yoga, Spirituality and more. Also, sample health-promoting recipes with The Functional Nutrition Cookbook, and Make Yourself Better with Philip Weeks’ books. Delve into the history of Ayurvedic Medicine and the Mudras of India, and discover the Five Levels of Taijiquan, Daoist Nei Gong and Chinese Medical Qigong.

To request your copy of our Complete Catalogue, please click here. To receive your 15% discount voucher, please be sure to click the checkbox for “Singing Dragon” under area of interest or else mention this offer in the “any further comments” section.

If you have previously received a copy of the catalogue, and would like to take advantage of the 15% discount, please feel free to request a voucher via email at

A Meditation on Scent

By Jennifer Peace Rhind, author of Essential Oils 

Photo: Singing Dragon author Jennifer Peace Rhind

Author photo: Robert Taylor

The ultimate goal of meditative practice is to reach the state of pure awareness that is known as Nirvana, enlightenment or truth. However, it is the secondary benefits of meditation that are regarded as more achievable, and these are improvements in physical, mental and emotional health. Meditation allows us to detach ourselves from the transient realm of the mind and emotions, and enter a mode of awareness and allowing, or receptivity. There are two main approaches – concentration (associated with Yoga) and mindfulness (or insight, a Buddhist practice).

Scents, in the form of oils, candles or incense, are often used to enhance meditation. An appropriate fragrance can encourage a meditative state. Indeed, the preparation of the scent, such as lighting the candle or joss stick might even form part of a personal ritual that precedes meditation. However, despite this close association, scent is usually an adjunct, not the focus of the meditation. The focus might be concentrating on a flame, a mantra, or the breath, or, in the case of mindfulness meditation, allowing an unbroken, detached attentiveness to any thoughts and sensations that arise.

So, how has scent become linked with meditation? The use of aromatic substances to elicit particular responses via the sense of smell was integral to many cultures and life practices. These early uses included sacred and ritualistic practices such as anointing with fragrant oils and offering rites to gods; embalming and medicinal practices; as cosmetics, fumigants and mood-altering substances; as spiritual and philosophical healing systems; and for ritual stimulation of dreams and visions. Therefore aromatic substances were from the earliest times used as a means to alter mental states as well as for pleasure. It is now well established that scent can alter moods, perhaps by imparting a sense of calm, or clarity, or vitality. Some fragrances can even bringing about altered states of consciousness. For example, many shamanistic practices involve burning aromatic plants to alter consciousness and allow communication with the animal, plant and spirit worlds. It was priests and shamans who were the first healers of the psyche…

Meditation often begins by focussing the mind and attention on a sensory stimulus –usually a visual or auditory one. From there, you progress to the point of being alert and receptive, and eventually the division between the self and the focus of the meditation becomes blurred and disappears. As the mode of consciousness changes, different perceptions come and go.

Therefore scent too can become the initial focus of a meditation. We can focus on the scent, becoming aware of the different layers, as the top notes fade while the middle and base notes emerge. Analysis is not needed, and this removes us from the ‘problem solving’ state of mind and aids the shift to receptiveness – so we become centred in awareness rather than our mind. The interesting thing about scent meditation is that it seems to encourage creative awareness.

The following scent meditation can be used with the fragrances of essential oils, and you might like to start with the oils that we have highlighted. It is best to dispense a couple of drops on a smelling strip or blotting paper to allow an even and unhindered evaporation; this allows the true fragrance to evolve. The meditation was originally designed by the artisan perfumer and psychotherapist, Mandy Aftel, and has been adapted from her original script.

A meditation on scent

Prepare your chosen essential oil, and sit in a comfortable position, in a place away from other smells and distractions. You might like to close your eyes and count backwards from 30 to help to still your thoughts, or take a few unforced, deep, slow breaths. Then, hold the scent to your nose; sniff a few times to gain an initial impression. Then, focus your attention on your sense of smell, and continue to sniff, as needed, for a few moments. Notice the different notes that emerge, and then let them go. The scent will keep changing, sometimes obviously, sometimes this will be subtle. Discard any mental distractions that arise and keep returning to the scent. Then, holding the scent to your nose again, inhale deeply three times. You might like to open your eyes while you imagine your consciousness dissolving outward to the scent, feel as though you can touch it, merge with it, flow into it. When you feel you have reached the point of saturation, close your eyes again, and detach yourself from all senses but smell.

Descend deeply inside, bearing the essence of the scent you have chosen, and touch it with your vision of the scent. Build an inner picture of the essence – the essence of the essence. Imagine it as an object, or something abstract, a sound, a colour or shape, a plant, an animal, a scene, a place – anything that seems to you to be conjured by the deep impression of the scent. Turn outward again, and consciously smell the scent again. Repeat the outer phase and inner phase until you feel that the experience has reached a natural conclusion.

You will find that each scent you meditate upon creates a different internal image and meditative experience.

Meditation adapted from Aftel, M. (2001) Essence and Alchemy: a book of perfume London: Bloomsbury

© 2012 Singing Dragon blog. All Rights Reserved.

Five essential oils – an Introduction to Plant Derived Scents and their Role in Wellbeing. Part Five: Bitter Orange

This is the final post in Jennifer Peace Rhind‘s exploration of five essential oils and their roles in wellbeing. Click through to read earlier posts on NeroliBenzoinCardamom and Virginian Cedarwood.

Photo: Singing Dragon author Jennifer Peace Rhind

Author photo: Robert Taylor

Bitter orange

The bitter orange tree, Citrus aurantium subspecies amara, has been cultivated for its fragrance products for many years – as we have already learned how its blossoms yield neroli, the leaves and twigs yield petitgrain (meaning ‘little seed; look for the suffix ‘fol.’ to indicate that it is derived from leaves), also an important constituent of colognes, and the small fruits (suffix ‘fruct.’) yield bitter orange oil from their peel.

These fruits have a long history of culinary and medicinal uses. The liqueur, Curacao, is flavoured with the unripe fruits. The tree is native to Asia; and so its flowers and fruits form part of Oriental medicine – mainly as remedies for the myriad of disorders of the digestive system, as a cardiac tonic and for anxiety.

So, unlike the other aromatics in this short series, we turn exclusively to perfumery to discover bitter orange’s tradition of use. The citrus oils are some of the most volatile of raw materials of perfumery – they form the top notes – the ones that reach the nose first. Bitter orange oil has indeed a citrus odour, but in contrast with its close relation sweet orange, it is subtle, fresh, with a fairly tenacious floral undertone, and is considered by artisan perfumers to be more interesting. In perfumery, bitter orange is used in eaux de cologne (like its close botanical relatives neroli and petitgrain), but it is also is important in many other categories of fragrance. It gives a light, green-floral citrus freshness to the top notes of a composition; however like all of the citrus oils, this is short-lived and rapidly disappears as the fragrance heart develops. The tenacity and persistence of the citrus oils is poor in contrast to most of the other natural aroma materials.

However, in aromatherapy this tenacity issue is much less of a problem. The carrier oil used for massage will help slow down the rapid evaporation of the citrus oil in the prescription, and the scent is strong enough to be noticeable when first presented to a client. There have been several studies investigating the impact of citrus scents on mood, and it could be reasonably assumed that some of the mood benefits identified would apply to bitter orange. Citrus peel oils can decrease autonomic nervous system arousal (characteristic of stress) and promote feelings of cheerfulness and vigour, so the use of citrus oils to alleviate depression and stress is now a well-established aromatherapy practice.

The only caution regarding bitter orange, and some other citrus oils, is that they are phototoxic. This means that they should not be applied to skin that will be exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, because burning can result. Phototoxic compounds in citrus peel oils are present because they are obtained by an expression process (literally squeezing the volatile oil out of the peel) rather than distillation. These molecules are quite large in comparison to the small ones found in essential oils, and they are not volatile (that is, they don’t evaporate) so they cannot be distilled. The phototoxic molecules can also be absorbed in to the top layer of the skin, and stay there for a few hours. If the skin is then exposed to sunlight, the molecules can absorb the UV light and store it before releasing it into the skin in a quick burst. The IFRA (International Fragrance Research Association) issue safety guidelines regarding the levels of such oils in products; the maximum limit for bitter orange oil in fragrance is 1.4%, at time of writing.

When you smell bitter orange, the top notes will appear fast and fleeting – citrus zest first, then the green notes, the floral notes will appear, and the heart is sweeter and slightly fruity. It is difficult not to smile and feel more at ease when bitter orange starts to make its impact, frustration and anger can diminish, making space for clarity of thought and the energy for creativity and innovation, or simply leaving the negative behind and making a fresh start.

© 2012 Singing Dragon blog. All Rights Reserved.


Five essential oils – an Introduction to Plant Derived Scents and their Role in Wellbeing. Part Four: Virginian Cedarwood

This post continues Jennifer Peace Rhind‘s exploration of five essential oils and their roles in wellbeing. Click through to read earlier posts on NeroliBenzoin and Cardamom.

Photo: Singing Dragon author Jennifer Peace Rhind

Author photo: Robert Taylor

Virginian cedarwood

Although it is commonly called cedar, Virginian cedarwood essential oil is in fact derived from a species of juniper – Juniperus virginiana. This tree and its wood, and the incense derived from its wood holds an important place in Northwest/Pacific Indian tradition. The Cherokee tell that cedar wood holds powerful protective spirits. Pieces of cedar wood are placed in medicine bags, and also above the doors of homes to ward off evil spirits. Cedar wood was also used to make totem poles and ceremonial drums. In ceremony and prayer, cedar is burned – and in common with other practices involving incense/smoke this is to carry the prayers to the Creator. In traditional and contemporary sweat lodges, cedar wood is used along with sage and other herbs such as sweetgrass, having a purifying function, and similarly cedar branches are used in house blessing ceremonies. It is interesting that the Pacific Northwest tribes say that not only does cedar drive away evil and negative energies but also brings in good energies.

Virginian cedarwood oil is distilled from the waste, powdered wood from sawmills, as the wood itself is an important commodity. The main use is in the manufacture of pencils, but it is also used in furniture manufacture, including the traditional ‘cedar chest’.

In aromatherapy, it is the essential oil from a true cedar – Atlas cedarwood – that is used in preference to that of Virginian cedarwood. This is possibly because of the mention in some texts that Virginian cedarwood is not recommended in pregnancy – although this is an unsupported caution. However, it is widely used in perfumery to impart woody notes in scented soaps and other toiletries. In artisan perfumery it is a useful top note, contributing soft, fresh, woody and faintly earthy characteristics, giving a very ‘natural’ sensation.

When you engage with the smell of Virginian cedarwood essential oil there are no real surprises – it really is reminiscent of the wood itself – with a gentle, fresh coniferous, slightly resinous, woody top, a more balsamic woody body and a dry, woody dryout. The scent will be ‘familiar’ to many of us, and is reminiscent of the forest environment too, so perhaps this is connected with its ability to promote a sense of resilience and inner strength. The scent can be likened to having an ‘inner anchor’, and can help in times of transformation, such as when redundant negative habits are being discarded and replaced with independence of mind and spirit.

Read tomorrow’s post to discover the properties of Bitter Orange.

© 2012 Singing Dragon blog. All Rights Reserved.