Holidays Have you Feeling Frazzled?

With the holidays fast approaching, busy schedules are about to be strained even more. To stay healthy and enjoy the holidays it is important to maintain a strong immune system. Most of us don’t become ill from exposure to germs. It’s when our immune system is compromised that we get sick.

Our immune system is compromised by a number of situations:

  • Exhaustion (most important)
  • Consuming too much junk food or foods that don’t nourish us (i.e. abundant sugar, dairy or carbohydrates).
  • Stress, which creates blocks in our flow of energy

When our body’s energy is free flowing we are symptom-free and feeling calm and well. We are able to navigate our lives fairly smoothly without losing our balance. If we are exhausted, every task becomes a burden and our frustration level increases at the slightest glitch in our routine.

Make time for yourself this holiday season. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy and schedule a bodywork session. The holidays can be joyful if we know our limits, simplify our plans and schedule ourselves into our lives.

Lung Meridian Most Active during Autumn

Last week we discussed the Large Intestine Meridian. Today I want to talk about its partner the Lung Meridian. The Lung energy pathway is associated with the emotion of sadness or grief, the skin, boundaries and the immune system. Since most pathogens enter through the respiratory and digestive systems, healthy lungs and large intestine are very important to overall health.

On a psychological level the lung represents our personal boundaries and sense of self. It is closely aligned with feelings of self esteem and self worth for ourselves and others.

To maintain a healthy Lung Meridian:

  • Eat pungent foods (i.e. ginger, garlic, onion, cloves, cayenne pepper, cinnamon…)
  • Dress for the weather to avoid colds
  • Walk in nature and breathe in crisp dry air
  • Find time for introspection and let go of that which no longer serves you.

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The Importance of Wholesome Food on our Health

I’ve been discussing the importance of balanced energy to our overall health and well being. Each season is associated with specific energies that can be supported by certain foods and stretching exercises especially Tai Chi or Yoga.

Today I want to talk about the importance of purchasing fresh, pesticide free, whole and local food and water that is relatively chemical and bacteria free. Most people are aware that our food supply is challenged. GMO”s, pesticide, heavy metals, salmonella and many other possible chemicals and bacteria seem to be a regular part of our food supply. Finding pure wholesome food can seem like an obstacle course but the impact on our health can’t be overstated. Our diet will, over time, make a difference on our health whether for better or worse. Anyone who saw the documentary “Supersize Me” can attest to that. A steady diet of heavy salt and unhealthy fats for a month can compromise the health of just about anyone.

No amount of exercise and energywork can make a difference in our well being if we have a diet of mostly GMO and pesticide laden food. If we are not eating relatively pure whole foods we are compromising our health.

Some of the most important foods to buy organic are:

  • Coffee
  • Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches

Buy Non GMO:

  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Wheat

When buying meat look for:
•   Pasture raised, hormone free, antibiotic free, grass fed

When buying fish:
•   Wild caught is best – if farm raised make sure they are antibiotic free and kept in clean circulating water.

Eggs should be cage free, antibiotic free and hormone free.

For more information on this topic The Self- Health Revolution by J. Michael Zenn is a good read. I’m including a link to an article on spraying wheat with glyphosate. “Why Is Glyphosate Sprayed on Crops Right Before Harvest?”

Hopefully with enough public outcry these practices can be changed.

The Effects of Sandals and Flip Flops on Bladder Meridian

It’s summer

and we’re all enjoying the warm weather and the freedom of summer clothing. Leaving the house without jackets and not having to worry about shoes and socks is great isn’t it?

I’ve been observing the last couple of months that many clients are coming in with very tight calf muscles, sore backs and low Bladder Meridian energy. Plantar Fascitis, an inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes, also seems to be more prevalent in this season. Though I’m sure there are many reasons for these symptoms including increased exercising during the warm weather, backless sandals and flip flops are playing a role here.

When we are wearing flip flops or backless sandals our toes are gripping the shoes to keep them on our feet. If we wear them for extended periods of time or for long walks our calf muscles contract and harden and begin to restrict the energy flow of the legs. There are six energy pathways in each leg but the longest of these is the Bladder Meridian.

The bladder Meridian begins at the corner of the eye goes up the forehead over the head and down the back (where it forms two branches), down the leg ending at the outside of the smallest toe. This meridian is associated with the amount of rest that we get. If we overdo physically many times it results in a sore back and legs. Bladder imbalances include: back problems, headaches, urinary problems, lack of energy, fearfulness and inflexibility.

The sandals and flip flops are great for short trips and for lounging around but keep the sneakers ready for any serious walking. Carrying water during your day is also helpful to support the body’s energy.

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Holiday!

Essential oils have been known to be a good support in balancing the body’s energy and meridians . It is important when selecting essential oils that you a choose high quality pure product. Doterra and Young Living are two brands that fit this criteria. You can contact me for more information.

Staying Healthy During Spring with TCM

In ancient times people patterned their lives in accordance with nature to maintain good health. They rose with the sun and went to bed with the beginning of night. They didn’t overeat and meals followed a regular schedule. Daily activities were also at set times and they never overworked. “In this way, they could maintain both in the body and in the spirit substantiality, and were able to live to the old age of more than 100 years.” This quote comes from The Huang Di Nei Jing one of the principal medical books of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Times have changed but living according to the changes in your environment is still a good idea to promote health. In spring the direction of energy is upward and outward. The element of spring is wood and the associated energies are liver and gallbladder. The liver and gallbladder also relate to our tendons and joints. The activity of Gallbladder Meridian is decision making and Liver Meridian is responsible for planning. In this way they give us “a connection to the future and the flexibility to plan and design in all areas of our lives.”

Since the liver helps the body to neutralize toxins it can become overheated with the increased activity of spring. Signs of an overheated liver are: dry skin, hair loss, headaches, high blood pressure, migraines and indigestion. Emotional symptoms of an overburdened liver are: anger, depression, mood swings, irritation, belligerence and impatience. A consistently overheated liver creates a burden for the heart.

The remedy for the liver in spring is :

  • Gentle exercise—yoga, light weights, meditation, light cardio, deep breathing
  • Outside air improves liver qi flow, exercise outside whenever possible
  • Eat smaller quantities and lighter foods
  • Steamed or raw foods- fresh greens, sprouts( basil, marjoram, rosemary, dill are good spices)
  • Eat fresh seasonal ,local foods
  • Spirulina, chlorella, apple cider vinegar and honey, omega 3-fatty acids and B complex vitamins are good for cleansing and support

Traditional Chinese Medicine Dietary Tips for Spring

The Spring Equinox occurs on the 21St of March and with the change of season comes the shifting of energy. We’ve seen this already with the return of the robins and budding plants and trees. In spring the energies of the Liver and Gallbladder Meridians are most active. The time of day when liver is most active is 1-3am and gallbladder is at its energy peak between 11pm and 1am. If you consistently wake at these times of day, the liver and gallbladder meridians are most likely out of balance.

Dietary factors which can create gallbladder imbalance are:

Excessive consumption of processed carbohydrates, greasy and fatty foods, trans fats, fructose and dairy, inadequate water intake, fried food and food sensitivities.

Dietary factors which can create liver imbalance are:

Overeating, excessive use of alcohol, overconsumption of fructose, omega 6 fats, trans fats, exposure to toxins and overuse of prescription drugs.

To improve functioning of the Liver and Gallbladder Meridians:

  • Juice or blend beets, lemon, apples, carrots and dandelion greens
  • Eat more garlic, onions ,cauliflower, broccoli, kale and cabbage
  • Liver cleansing foods include: cilantro, turmeric, leafy greens, apples, asparagus, lemon and lime (to name a few)
  • Drink dandelion tea
  • Have a cup of lemon water at the beginning of the day
  • Identify food sensitivities
  • Use coconut oil in lieu of vegetable oil. It does not have to be emulsified by the liver or gallbladder.

Early Spring – Beginning of Renewal

We’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 pen and paper on your night stand 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.
  • Drink a cup of warm water with lemon every morning. It aids with digestion and helps the gall bladder release toxins more quickly
  • Have your energy balanced or have some type of bodywork.
  • Take care of your body; it’s the only one you have.

Spring – A Time for Renewal

In a few weeks the Spring Equinox will herald the beginning of spring but we can already see the changes in nature all around us. The energy which retreated into the roots of plants and trees is now rising and creating buds and flowers. We are coming out of the season of energy conservation and entering a time of new beginnings and renewal. Our bodies which are a microcosm of the universe are also undergoing change. We look forward to the increased activity, warmer weather and expansion of spring.

The organ meridians associated with spring are the liver and gallbladder. The element of spring is wood and its energy has the ability to break through obstacles. In TCM the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of energy throughout the body; when liver energy is balanced the physical and emotional activity of the body functions optimally. Liver is also associated with ligaments and tendons and the eyes.

To promote health during spring:

  • Stretch- to maintain flexibility and tendon health, yoga, tai chi, Pilates
  • Eat greens- fresh leafy greens and sprouts can improve the liver’s function
  • Sour tasting food and drinks stimulate the liver’s function. Add lemon, vinegar and pickles to your diet.
  • Outdoor activity- fresh air improves liver flow
  • Eye exercises- take breaks when looking at a computer monitor or TV for extended periods of time and do eye exercises
  • Milk thistle tea is a great detox. It helps cleanse the liver from environmental toxins, alcohol, medications, pesticides and other substances

Have your energy balanced