More Chinese Medicine Tips for Winter

The Bladder Meridian is the longest and most influential of all the energy pathways since it crosses all the other meridians. During winter the energies are most active in Bladder and Kidney Meridians; this is the time of the water element. When the Bladder Meridian is out of balance both physical and emotional symptoms can occur.

Some physical symptoms associated with an imbalance in the Bladder Meridian are: headaches, urinary problems (i.e. frequent urination, incontinence), back pain, eye pain, colds. Emotional symptoms of Bladder Imbalance include: being fearful and inflexible, low energy, resisting change and a persistent negative attitude.

The Bladder Meridian is closely aligned with the autonomic nervous system because it runs down the entire length of the spine with two branches on either side of the backbone. These four branches directly influence the sympathetic and parasympathetic trunks of the autonomic nervous system which regulate our flight or fight response and all the body’s basic functions.

In today’s stressful world many people have overly stimulated sympathetic nervous systems; creating a constant state of fear or anxiety. Over time this anxiety tightens the muscles of the spine creating pain. Back tension and pain can be relieved by stimulating the energy flow along the Bladder Meridian.

Opening the energy channels of the Bladder Meridian will create a state of total relaxation and switch the autonomic nervous system over to the restful parasympathetic mode. Having your energy balanced with acupressure or acupuncture will positively affect both body and mind.

Navigating the Holidays

Christmas displayThe holiday season can be joyous but also challenging. There is so much to do and so little time. Spending time with family and friends can bring up wonderful memories and memories that are not so wonderful. Keeping our emotional balance is most important. Try not to overdo, stay in the present moment, get plenty of rest and know your limits. At the end of another year, it is time for reflection. Not just on the past but also on how we want to live our lives going forward. It is time for letting go of that which no longer serves us. Old grievances or hurts only bring us down if we hang on to them. Forgiveness frees us.

In this world of multitasking, violence, and chaos we need to create a peaceful space; space where we can find clarity, creativity, and calm. Whether we find this space in meditation, bodywork, yoga or just long walks it will rejuvenate us and make our journey so much better.

Wishing Everyone a Wonderful Holiday Season!

Tips for Optimum Health during Summer

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The season of summer is one of maximum energy and heat. It is represented by the fire element. Nature is in full bloom as the energy moves outward. It is also a time for us to be more outgoing and enjoy being with friends and spending time outdoors.

The fire element rules the heart, mind, and spirit. In Chinese Medicine, the heart is associated with mental activity, memory, emotional well-being, and thought processes. The emotion associated with the fire element is joy. This is a time to relax and enjoy the warm weather.

Some symptoms of imbalance in the fire element are agitationheartburn, insomnia, and nervousness.

Tips for staying healthy in summer:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Awaken earlier in the morning
  • Go to bed later in the evening
  • Rest at midday
  • eat light, cooling foods

Some foods that help the body stay cool are

  • watermelon
  • apricot
  • lemon
  • asparagus
  • sprouts
  • cucumber
  • spinach
  • snow peas
  • mint

Take Time to Recharge

relaxationWe’ve spoken about the progression of the seasons with winter being the time to rest and conserve our energy and spring a time of activity and expanding our energy. If you are a person who was unable to rest and recharge during the winter months, you may be feeling worn thin by now. When our bodies are continually exhausted our immune system is weakened and we can easily get sick.

Our exhaustion is not just physical but many times physical, mental and emotional. This is a good description of modern-day stress.

Here are some tips to alleviate this cycle of exhaustion.

  • Try to get to bed around the same time every night. The routine will help the body to relax.
  • A few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow can promote relaxation.
  • Try to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night.
  • To calm your mind, write down any to do lists or things to remember before you go to bed. Get these thoughts out of your head and onto paper. You can also keep a pen and paper on your nightstand if your thoughts wake you up.
  • Develop the habit of deep breathing. Breathe from the bottom of your diaphragm. You can’t deep breathe and be stressed at the same time.
  • Do some type of exercise, yoga, walking, running, etc. at least 3 times a week.
  • Meditation is wonderful for self-realization. If you are stuck in your head, you may not be aware of exhaustion until it overcomes you.
  • Have your energy balanced or have some type of bodywork.
  • Take care of your body; it’s the only one you have.

Herbs that Support a Strong Immune System

Last week I spoke about the importance of a strong immune system to prevent illness and maintain good health. To continue with that theme, there are eight herbs that Chinese Medicine considers invaluable to bring balance and boost the immune system.
They are:

  • Echinacea- anti-viral and anti-bacterial
  • Astragalus- fights stress and can improve blood count
  • Honeysuckle Forsythia- good for lungs and stomach
  • Garlic- anti-oxidant
  • Elderberry-good anti-inflammatory
  • Andrographis-fights infection
  • Ginger- antihistamine, and decongestant
  • Medicinal Mushrooms- i.e. shitake, reishi, maitake

When taking any herbs, it’s always good to consult with an acupuncturist or herbalist to get the correct formulation.

You can read more here: www.mindbodygreen.com/Essential herbs to boost immunity

Maintaining Health During Autumn

Now that the weather has finally changed it’s time to prepare for autumn.  In nature, the energies begin to pull back and go deeper into the trees, shrubs, and earth. In our bodies, our vital energies also begin to circulate deeper into our organs to protect us from the cold.

To maintain health and balance during the fall season we need to align our energies and lifestyle to our environment.

To prepare for autumn:

  • A food-based detox helps to protect and prepare our lungs and large intestine meridians (the metal element most active in fall) for the seasonal change
  • Let go of that which no longer serves you. Declutter your environment with a deep cleaning. Let go of old wounds and hard feelings to prepare for the meditative season of winter.  Hard feelings and negative thoughts interfere with our ability to move forward in our lives.
  • Eat warming foods i.e. soups, stews, nuts, and root vegetables.  Use spices such as: horseradish, garlic, cloves, ginger and cinnamon to protect against colds and flu.
  • Dress for the weather.  When exercising outdoors dress in layers.  Remember to carry a scarf or jacket for weather changes.
  • Essential oils such as Thieves (Young Living) or On Guard (Doterra) can help thwart a cold or sore throat. Prepare for and enjoy the change of season!

www.orientalmedicinespecialist.com/Autumn Equinox-Preparing for Change

Chinese Medicine in Late Summer

The weather in late summer is usually hotter and heavier with humidity than the rest of the season. Dampness is associated with the earth element which is most active this time of year. Late summer is a time for slowing down and gathering in. The earth element gives us the ability to nourish and care for ourselves.

The excessive rain and hot weather we’ve been having are a perfect medium for a damp condition. The dampness can mix with pathogens to create ailments such as abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, aching joints and heaviness in the chest. These conditions impede the flow of chi through the body.

“Inner dampness is caused by excess cold consumption of liquor, tea, cold melons and sweet greasy foods. These impede spleen functions.”

To counteract dampness, eat a healthy, nutritional diet, rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, get a good night’s sleep and exercise at least three times a week.

PacificCollege.edu/Summer and Traditional Chinese Medicine

The Value of Living in the Present Moment

enjoy life now

“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry- all forms of fear- are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”

– Eckhart Tolle

 

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

– Buddha

 

“Remember then: there is only one time that is important- Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.”

-Leo Tolstoy

Pal Dan Gum- a Way to Balance Energy and Increase Awareness

Pal Dan GumPal Dan Gum or the eight silken movements are a set of qigong exercises used in Korea and China for thousands of years to increase spiritual awareness and promote health and longevity. These 8 silken movements take only 10 minutes to perform and when done daily along with focused breathing strengthen the vital essence and balance the energy in the meridians.  They also increase circulation, promote flexibility and strength. Each movement stretches the energy in a specific meridian.

You can find a video of the Pal Dan Gum exercises on YouTube.

Staying and Healthy All Year Round

We’ve talked about the energy pathways most active in summer and the importance of staying balanced both physically and emotionally to promote optimum health.  The advice for the summer season includes staying hydrated with fluids and eating cooling foods such as fruits and salads to maintain a comfortable body temperature.

The importance of eating healthy food cannot be understated to maintain good health.  It is also important to minimize the ingestion of stimulating foods every season of the year.  Foods such as coffee, sugar, and chocolate, which are also addicting, if overdone will deplete our adrenal glands.

In today’s world where so many people are multitasking and subject to deadlines; coffee, chocolate, and sugar can be very comforting.  When these foods are used as an energy source adrenal exhaustion which may lead to chronic fatigue and a weakened immune system may result.

The adage “everything in moderation” still makes sense.  Have fun outside during the beautiful weather!