Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture aren’t archaic unheard of treatments anymore. Most folks have heard about them and millions of people in the United States have actually tried them out. However, what most aren’t always aware of are the key benefits these therapies can give.
1. Compared to Western Allopathic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine has more specific diagnoses for common ailments. This can be ideally exemplified when one thinks about catching a cold.
Haven’t you noticed that each person catches a cold in his/her own way?
Almost all people catch colds. There are actually several types of colds in TCM and they are all different. You can, for example have a “Wind Heat”, “Wind Cold”, or even “Lung Heat” type of cold. To TCM practitioners, they appear different and are addressed in different ways. You utilize a different acupuncture therapy and prescribe a different herbal formula when treating each of the ten or twenty types of colds. TCM and acupuncture use a much more precise diagnosis and a much more precise treatment.
One of the things teachers dread is catching cold but since they work every day with several young people who are quite prone to cold infections, it is important for them to strengthen their immune system. One patient of mine who is a teacher tells me that she can’t afford to be sick. And so, when there is an epidemic of the flu or cold at school, she always takes preventative measures. Nevertheless, she still gets sick from time to time. She discovered that the best remedy for a flu or cold is to get acupuncture along with Chinese herbal medicine.
She seemed curious as to why I don’t prescribe to her the same herbal remedy each time she got sick. I told her that in TCM, there are various types of colds and because of that the practitioner needs to match both the herbal remedy and acupuncture to the patient’s manifested symptoms. Administering a treatment to a patient suffering from a “Wind Cold” a treatment designed for “Wind Heat” will not treat the problem; it can, in fact, even make it worse. This is analogous to the situation in standard Western Medicine when a physician addresses bacterial infection using a treatment meant for a viral infection. There wouldn’t be any likely result and actually may even cause stomach problems in the patient.
I was happy to know that even when my patient did get sick, she got better much quicker than her colleagues. The following is her testimonial:
“One of the amazing things about Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture is that I always get better faster than all of my colleagues who are using Western medicine treatments. Plus, after I have recovered, I actually feel stronger than before.”
2. TCM is a Holistic Therapy: It considers the whole person as well as the things happening in that person’s life.
I remembered a patient of who complained of an excruciating back pain. However, his medical exams and testing revealed nothing to back up his complain. After consulting with me, it became apparent that his job situation was the real problem. Recently, his employer cut back his work hours substantially and so he was very worried as to how he would pay his bills. Addressing his job problem and what his next steps will be were his main concerns. Besides acupuncture treatment for his back pain, I coached him around about a certain plan of action that would help solve his job situation.
The body uses pain to tell you that you need to pay attention to something happening in or on your body, whether it’s arthritis, a physical injury, or some other issues.
I can recall a certain patient who suffered from severe arthritis. He was a professional athlete now retired. He suffered from arthritis of the legs and hips. The pain was so severe that he could barely walk. I questioned him about his diet, because I had a suspicion that maybe something in his diet was actually causing him the kind of arthritis he had. I asked him if he ate a lot of dairy products or if he consumed alcohol, or ate a lot of sugar. It turned out he actually drank a moderate amount of alcohol. He asked me if cutting back on alcohol will ease his problem. I told him, “Actually, yes, I would like you to see if drinking less alcohol can help ease your pain.” So he substantially reduced his intake of alcohol, and after a while, he noticed that as he reduced his drinking even more, the more the swelling and pain in his hips and legs lessened. He was a really good patient because he had the desire to make the changes; he was remarkable in the sense that he was able to see the connection between his behavior and what would happen if he persisted on it. Ultimately, his decision was to change and reduce his drinking on an ongoing basis in order to improve his ability to walk and to relieve the pain.
3. Chinese herbal formulas are often more effective and safer than Western allopathic medications. One patient of mine working in the high tech industry suffered from severe stress. I noticed that she frequently experiences urinary tract infections. She would suffer secondary infection when she used antibiotics to address her symptoms because besides killing the pathogens causing the UTI, the antibiotics also destroyed the good bacteria in her gut. She got well much faster and never got a secondary infection when I treated her with Chinese herbal antibiotics and acupuncture.
TCM is indeed a powerful healing system because it takes into account the entire person and what’s happening in that person’s life. For common conditions, a lot of the diagnoses and recommendations TCM offers are more specific than those that Western Medicine offers. Even diagnoses and therapies for health issues not recognized by Western Medicine, TCM includes. More often than not, the non-pharmaceutical options that Chinese herbal remedies offer is much more effective than allopathic pharmaceutical therapies.
4. My patients are usually happy to find out that certain Chinese diagnoses exist that accurately describe their problems that are not offered by other forms of medicine.
I had an extremely health conscious female patient who visited an older sister in another state. When she returned home she was suffering from a highly unusual and very severe cough. She told me that visiting her sister was always a trying experience for her and her last visit was no different. She was puzzled by her cough because every time she coughed she felt that there was something stuck in her throat, but somehow she was unable to get it to go down her throat or cough it out. I told her that her problem was nothing new to me. I opened my textbook to the page that described a condition known as “plum pit throat” and told her that that’s exactly the condition she’s suffering from. She found it amazing to know that Chinese medicine had actually a name to describe her specific problem. I treated her with a specific herbal remedy and an acupuncture treatment, and sure enough, it worked.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is unable to function optimally. It was assumed till recently that only Western allopathic medicine can be used for treatment. However, promising results from alternative treatment, especially acupuncture, have been documented in the health industry. It has been shown that hypothyroid sufferers have experienced relief with acupuncture.
Located in the lower part and front of the neck, the thyroid gland is an endocrine gland that produces and releases the hormones triiodothyronine and thyroxine. These two hormones are generally responsible for balancing the body’s metabolic processes. The lack of these hormones is known as hypothyroidism. For reasons that are unknown, hypothyroidism is commonly found in women of reproductive age. It also can develop in children and males.
Among the Chinese people, acupuncture is a widely popular modality and has been highly touted as a successful way of treating various ailments. It has been discovered that certain areas of the human anatomy are related to peripheral nerves. In an acupuncture procedure, those acupuncture points are stuck with fine sharp needles specially designed for the purpose. The needles have the ability to stop the pain the, and help cure the patient’s complaint.
Among the Chinese, acupuncture has existed for many, many centuries, and is hugely respected. It is reputed to cure and treat several types of diseases, and has been officially adopted in many countries of Southeast Asia due to its versatility and efficacy. More studies are being conducted, to gauge the therapy’s effectiveness in resolving disease.
While Western medicine has still not confirmed a total cure for hypothyroidism, it is possible that acupuncture can help person live an energy-filled and healthy life. Therefore, if you think that Western allopathic medicine has let you down, “alternative” modalities such as acupuncture and herbal treatments are well worth considering. They have usually been proven over time to accomplish what Western allopathic medicine could not – resolve ailments.
Acupuncture in Overland Park can detoxify your body significantly. This treatment is a major branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a type of medical system that has been practiced for over 3,500 years. The functions of the body are harmonized and nourished by the balance of a vital life force known as Chi. This balance of Chi is the principle behind acupuncture.
Chinese doctors of yore strongly believed that “a better healer is one who resolves a disease before it manifests symptoms, while an inferior healer cures a disease only after it has led to discomfort or pain ” They suggested that prevention should be a physician’s primary objective for health instead of the treatment of a disease. Acupuncture was first designed and utilized as a preventative type of therapy.
Having a natural diuretic effect on the body, acupuncture aids in the body’s detoxification by helping eliminate toxins via the urinary tract. This is one reason why you will witness a widespread use of the treatment for drug detoxification programs.
Cravings and appetite can be reduced with an acupuncture treatment even as it removes blockage of the Chi. Once appetite is regained, you may not have as much desire for foods that are loaded with toxins. Eating toxic foods can instantly give you a feeling of body heaviness, as the flow of energy is once again disrupted. When you eat the right food, your body continues to feel energized. It quickly learns what foods can give the most benefit. This is the reason why acupuncture to help detoxify the body is so powerful and effective.
Acupuncture is also believed to be a helpful technique for the relief of pain and panful conditions. For some, the mention of needles is enough to send a tingle down their spines. Unfortunately, the only effective way to reach the acupuncture points is with the use of needles. A needle can be inserted in between joint, tendon, or muscle spaces. The truth is, an experienced and reputable acupuncturist can make acupuncture a very satisfying experience and less painful experience.
Actually, one can experience a sensation of heaviness, tingling, aching, or numbness when a needle comes into contact with an acupuncture point. This is known as the arrival of Chi. Some people may imagine that the needle causes pain. This is actually a sign that the body has toxins within it. These toxins may have been ingested through polluted water, and/or air, and harmful additives and foods. Even simple bad habits can also cause you to develop toxins.
As a means of detoxifying your body, practitioners of TCM very much recommend acupuncture. They believe that the more toxins you have, the stronger the effect of the treatment will be felt. . Pain is merely perceived than real. What is actually felt is discomfort which soon disappears in an instant. Practitioners believe that this is proof that the acupuncture used for the body’s detoxification works.
The spleen doesn’t get a lot of respect as far as Western medicine is involved. After all, a person can still live even without a spleen, right? The spleen plays a role in producing antibodies, and in creating and filtering blood; other organs take over the job if it is damaged. However in TCM, the spleen plays several extremely important roles.
The spleen, first and foremost, is connected with the blood – it holds the blood in the vessels. Issues in which the blood is not being contained appropriately such as easy bruising or varicose veins can be traced back to issues in the spleen. This “holding” function also covers the raised into the position they are meant to be in and keeping things in the body held in check. Thus a weak spleen will result in hernia, hemorrhoids, or prolapse of an organ.
It is also the spleen that controls the fluids of the body and is very much involved in digestion. The following are all spleen issues: loose stools, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and even edema (water retention). Digestive issues associated with the spleen are often followed by snakelike and long bowel movements.
The muscles are also controlled by the spleen. A deficiency of the spleen can lead to flaccid weak muscles as well as to weight issues, because the food simply does not move if the spleen is not processing foods properly. The body will suffer from a sluggish metabolism if the movement of food in the body is not moving properly and we all know what a sluggish metabolism can lead to.
The spleen from an emotional perspective is our nurturing and soft motherly side. This organ is connected to an obsession about things, overdoing for others, and over-thinking. The aspect of “holding in” covers the psychological aspect, as well: individuals who have a difficult time letting go, emotionally or otherwise, may need treatment for their spleen. People who tend to hoard things (old newspapers, bric-a-brac, clothing, etc.) may be suffering from spleen deficiency. So is the mother who at the thought of her middle-aged son leaving the nest overprotects her child and worries herself silly.
The spleen can cause and be damaged by over-thinking. So, if you have a weak spleen, you may be the type of person who can’t sleep because you’re holding on to a disagreement that happened a week ago. Unfortunately, if you keep on worrying more and more about it, the more your spleen becomes weak. Well now you have an idea why people who worry over small things tend to suffer from various digestive problems.
Five Points Acupuncture & Wellness
20 Pondmeadow Dr #107
Reading, MA 01867
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) has been helping people in China get well from various health conditions for thousands of years. It is supported and promoted by the Communist government of China through government-funded research and continuing education. Based on the Eastern philosophies of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, TCM is derived from a belief that all living things share life force energy and are interconnected with each other and that illness is the result of an energy imbalance in the body. Chinese medicine these days is widely practiced throughout the Central Asian Republics, Asia, at large, and in Europe and is gradually drawing adherents in the United States.
Preventative and Holistic
Traditional Chinese medicine’s main doctrine is that disease is prevented and good health comes about when the body is in balance. To attain that balance, what is needed, according to TCM, is the practice of moderation as it relates to alcohol consumption and diet, as well as the inclusion of daily routines of mental and physical tasks. During ancient times, the Chinese upper class used to go to physicians and paid them when they are in good health in order to preserve that health; if they got sick, their doctors were not paid.
As with other types of holistic care, practitioners of TCM encourage their patients to become proactive in maintaining their health and in their own healing process through the practice of meditation and by eating a healthy diet as well as through various forms of exercise programs that are known to promote the proper circulation of life force energy (chi).
The initial objective of TCM healers is to first identify the part of the body where chi flow has been blocked or stagnated. Then, they use their training and skill to determine the best plan of treatment that can heal the illness. These healers can use one or more TCM techniques that are best suited to treat the condition. These can include herbal medicines, topical herbs, acupressure, acupuncture and Chinese massage.
Yin and Yang
One of the most important tenets of TCM is that the human body is a balance of energy forces known as yin and yang. These two forces are diametrically polar opposites but yin cannot exist without the presence of yang and vice versa. The state of health of a person is defined by the imbalance or balance of yin and yang.
Various factors that are often in flux tend to disrupt the balance between yin and yang. They include the seasons of the year, the time of day, and the mood of the person. When an imbalance becomes fixed, it’s believed then that disease ensues. Yin is associated with nighttime and qualities that are quiet and watery; Yang, on the other hand represents daytime, activity, heat, and fire. The internal organs of the body, according to TCM, are also related to the qualities of yin and yang as well as the environment around us, the way we physically move our bodies, and the foods we eat.
Shen, in TCM, represents a person’s mental faculties and the vitality (or lack of it) of the spirit through how activities are managed and how consciousness is expressed. The systems will function in harmony and the body will be strong when the Shen is abundant. A weak Shen means the body’s systems are malfunctioning. A person’s emotional state can also be evaluated through Shen. With a strong Shen, the body is able to recover from illness more easily and quickly.
The Five Elements
The emotional and physical health of a person, according to TCM, can also be associated with their relationship to the qualities of the earth and to earth itself. The overall characteristics of health, physiological symptoms, the emotions, and a person’s personality are categorized based on the five natural elements of the earth: metal, earth, fire, wood, and water. If, say, the wood element is imbalanced, the person will manifest signs that he/she has too much wood and the prescribed therapies will associate with the element that counteracts the effects of wood the best.
Each one of the five elements also associates with specifics organs and parts of the body, including the mouth, tongue, nose, ears, and eyes, as well as with various factors including the weather, seasons, sounds, colors, and emotions. This holistic view of the person and the holistic world view of yin and yang obviously imply that TCM is a holistic type of medicine. TCM practitioners will search for imbalances in every area of your life and on the outside and inside of your physical body.
Getting Treatment from a TCM Practitioner
When you first visit a practitioner of Chinese medicine, you will first be asked a string of questions about yourself and your health. Then, your practitioner will perform a physical examination consisting of a tongue and pulse examination. Besides talking about your specific ailment, symptoms or complaint, you and your practitioner will also discuss about your energy levels, bowel function, sleep patterns, and exercise and diet habits.
Your practitioner may also take time smelling your breath and observing your skin. This type of diagnostic examination will provide the practitioner all the physical data and this information he/she needs in order identify the part of your body where your energy is imbalanced and what type of treatment you need to restore balance in your body. Typical modes of treatment include acupuncture, meditation, exercise, diet changes, and Chinese herbal medicine.
Acupuncture and TCM
In Chinese medicine, chi is believed to circulate via 12 energy channels known as meridians in the body. Each meridian is related to one or more organ systems. As mentioned a while ago, if the flow of chi is restricted or obstructed, the body is in not in balance. An imbalance results in illness which is somehow similar to what Western doctors refer to as symptoms (examples, constipation, upset stomach, or fatigue).
Acupuncture is a healing technique that is designed to restore the free and balanced flow of chi by applying pressure to selected acupuncture points along the meridians. There are several ways this pressure can be applied although acupuncturists mainly utilize very thin, tiny needles. Needles and other means of pressure activate nerve endings in order to reorient chi flow throughout the body. Acupuncture treatment in the West is usually for the relief of chronic pain. This is achieved by enabling the body to produce and release endorphins in the bloodstream to relieve pain in a natural way.
For those who have suffered from a severe hair loss condition known as telogen effluvium (temporary hair thinning or shedding), then they know that any type of treatment that would bring about some kind of relief or improvement would be very much welcome. And though there are a wide variety of external topicals for the scalp available in the market, many of these products are not specifically designed to address this condition since this type of hair loss is believed to have internal triggers.
This makes a lot of people with telogen effluvium search for internal treatments instead. One ideal internal remedy is acupuncture. Most people are unaware that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for hair loss. One day, my hair stylist noticed that my hair was gradually thinning on the scalp. I was surprised that she suggested acupuncture in Vancouver to stop and prevent my hair loss. She swore that the treatment was a painless procedure and said that it can address a wide variety of issues. Since my doctor told me that the condition I’m suffering from, telogen effluvium, was a temporary problem, I was not too sure that those thin needles would help me. Would it?”
Before trying to answer that question, I just want to be clear that I’m not a medical specialist nor do I have any personal or medical experience with acupuncture. My knowledge of the treatment comes from my own research and from those who’ve shared their experiences on my blog.
Acupuncture, which is a part of an ancient medical tradition known as TCM or Traditional Chinese medicine, is a treatment that helps restore or generate balance in the body. According to TCM, when some part in your body is out of balance, then this leads to illness, pain, or disease. Acupuncture, as you might already know, is now being used to help address a huge variety of medical conditions. The aim of TCM in treating hair loss is two-fold. One is to restore balance or tonify the body, and the other is to improve stimulation and blood circulation to the scalp. This stimulation is done by placing needles into certain points in the scalp, face, and body.
There have been people commenting on my blog who say the acupuncture has helped them somewhat; there weren’t sure if the help came from the alleviation of stress or from something else they have felt after the treatment. Although, I still have to hear from someone telling me that acupuncture cured them entirely, I don’t get discouraged by the procedure. Because when one sees that telogen effluvium implies that a trigger can place your hair in the rest or shedding phase and that the trigger needs to be removed in order to completely stop the hair loss, then this makes sense.
If a certain medical problem such as a hormonal imbalance serves as the trigger for the hair loss, then acupuncture can also be of help. Some patients have told tell me that acupuncture can help balance the hormones, which means acupuncture definitely can cure hair loss associated with hormonal issues.
But if factors such as childbirth or surgery are the reasons for your loss of hair, then your best medicine will probably be time since it may take a while for your hair to grow back into the growing phase. This does not mean that enhanced circulation of blood to your scalp won’t be a good thing. A lot of folks would agree that acupuncture is painless and relaxing. Therefore, there is no harm in trying it even if you only want to improve blood flow or relieve stress. And unless you try the procedure, you wouldn’t know if the benefits go beyond that.
What is Ménière’s disease?
A condition affecting the inner ear, Ménière’s disease causes problems in hearing and balance in a person. It is caused by a rise in the amount of fluid volume and pressure in the semicircular canals, causing increased and pathological pressure there. This usually results in vertigo or dizzy spells, which create feelings of violent whirling, rotation, spinning, and falling.
Meniére’s Disease (MD) is oftentimes an extremely distressing and disabling condition. Tinnitus is another symptom that can crop up in Meniére’s Disease. During spells, this ringing in the ears may not be noticeable but eventually will be constant during the later stages of the disorder.
Pressure or a sensation of fullness in the affected ear, nausea, and vomiting are oftentimes experienced, in an MD attack. However, after the episode, hearing loss may fail to recover once the disease is established. In the advanced stages of the disease, hearing loss can be quite constant and cannot be recovered, and may impact hearing in all ranges.
According to studies, one out of every thousand people is affected by Meniere’s disease. The condition can occur at any age, although people between 40 and 60 years of age are the ones to be likely affected.
Causes of Meniére’s Disease
There is no known cause for Ménière’s disease although certain factors are associated with it. They include:
• Anxiety and stress
• Too much salt in the diet (most likely due to a rise in fluid retention)
• Premenstrual syndrome that are connected to fluid retention
• Hormonal or glandular imbalance including hypothyroidism
• Severe head injury enough to cause a concussion
• Common factors such as wheat, dairy products, alcohol, smoking, and chocolate
• Elevated levels of cholesterol
The Symptoms of Meniére’s Disease
Each patient may manifest different kinds of symptoms. Symptoms can suddenly arise, and their duration and frequency may differ.
• A spinning sensation, even when you are stationary
• Vertigo – Meniere’s disease often most striking symptom, which includes:
A vertigo spell may last from a few minutes to a number of hours. It is hard to predict when an episode of vertigo may happen.
Palpitations (Irregular heartbeats)
Hearing loss – During the early stages of the disease, hearing loss may fluctuate. The patient may suffer from hypersensitivity to loud sounds. Most sufferers eventually, experience varying degrees of longstanding hearing loss.
Tinnitus – There may be hissing, whistling, buzzing, or ringing sensation in your ear that is created generated from inside your body. When you are tired or during quite times, you will be more aware of it.
Ménière’s Disease from the Viewpoint of Chinese Medicine
Chinese medicine usually considers health condition as disorders of the organs and organ systems (spleen, kidney, gallbladder, and liver). These organs usually apply to the traditional organ systems and may not be directly referring to the modern functional and structural connotations of the named organs.
Patterns of Disharmony in Chinese Medicine Associated with the Symptoms of Ménière’s Disease
1. Phlegm-fire syndrome: This pattern usually exhibits as intermittent ringing in the ears, such as the chirping of cicadas, occasionally combined with a feeling of blockage in the ear resulting in impaired hearing.
2. Hyperactive gallbladder and liver fire: This pattern comes out as a sudden rise of a type of tinnitus that has continual sound combined by excess syndrome symptoms such as constipation, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, a flushed face, and headache.
3. Qi deficiency: This shows up as tinnitus that occurs intermittently that can be aggravated with stress and assuaged with rest. Tiredness is another possible symptom of this deficiency.
4. Kidney yin hsu (xu): This a condition associated with tinnitus in which the tinnitus gradually gets worse (which may reach specific constant degrees and gets no worse after that) and is combined by symptoms of a deficiency type: back ache, dizziness, knee weakness, occasionally accompanied by flushing of the face and hot sensation of the soles and/or palms.
Tips for coping with symptoms and lessen the intensity and regularity of attacks related to Meniere’s disease.
1. Before resuming your regular activities, you need to rest during and after attacks.
2. Be aware of the tell-tale signs of an attack – when you start to feel dizzy, sit or lie down immediately.
3. Always have good lighting and as much as possible, walk on an even surface lest you start losing your balance.
4. Stay away from triggers that may aggravate your symptoms. This may include reading, watching TV, bright lights, or sudden movement.
5. Eat balanced meals – A balanced consumption of drink and food throughout the day can help stabilize your body fluids.
6. If you suffer from frequent spells of vertigo, do not drive or operate heavy machinery as this can lead to injury or accident.
7. Refrain from alcohol and caffeine – Too much alcohol or caffeine (in cola drinks, coffee, and tea) or alcohol can tighten up your blood vessels and worsen your symptoms.
8. Stop smoking – The intensity of your symptoms may increase if you smoke.
9. Lessen your intake of salt – Taking in too much sodium may not only worsen your symptoms and increase the fluid in your inner ear, it can also lead to high blood pressure.
Vickery Health & Wellness
18455 Burbank Blvd #306
Tarzana, CA 91356
As the old year slowly closes, the coming New Year is an ideal time to set new objectives, become more introspective, and nourish one’s entire mind and body, based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The philosophy in which TCM is rooted on espouses the idea that people should live in harmony with nature and so this means that during winter, we should slow down, keep ourselves well-rested and warm, and deeply nourish ourselves in order to revitalize for the incoming year. As nature hibernates and slows down during winter, the process of regeneration and new growth in the springtime has already internally started.
Based on the tenets of TCM, winter is related to the element of water and affects the health of the teeth, bone marrow and bones, adrenal glands, bladder, and kidneys. The kidneys, in TCM, are the main wellspring of heat, energy, vitality, and vital essence. From this wellspring, energy is drawn when the body requires healing or during times of anxiety and stress. In the frigid cold of winter, maintaining the health of the adrenal glands and the kidneys is critically important. This is done with good hydration, appropriate supplementation and diet, and through energetic programs such as Tai Chi and yoga that keep you well-nourished and your core warm.
The time for retrospection is ideally done during the winter season. This is an excellent opportunity for exploring profound issues, and a time for meditation and reflection. If we are to do this properly, we need to slow down. The fact is, we are often so busy that there’s no time for us to be aware how neurotic our deeds and thoughts really are. We might be shocked at knowing how full and fast we actually live our lives when we start to slow down through relaxation, meditation, or by simply taking some time off. Winter can give us a wonderful opportunity for deep introspection and internal insight only if we can take the time to truly slow down and relax. These processes can naturally give rise to “stuff” that has been stuck below the surface of our banal activities; patterns, thoughts, or issues we may have been holding off due to our ongoing busy lives. One allows these issues to occur, unravel, and slip away as the mind calms down through proper breathing practices and simple meditation techniques. Permitting these processes to unfold during winter time can produce a much better outcome than the peeling process that we undergo during springtime and fall cleanse. The final outcome can be the same although different patterns, emotions, and organ systems this time may be involved. This kind of heart/mind therapy is a key part of real integrative health and winter is the most ideal time to experience the holistic benefits of meditation.
Nourishing and Warming Foods
People tend to exercise less during the winter season. They also have an increased desire for calorie-packed comfort foods and remain sedentary during this time of the year. However, in winter, in order to avoid unwanted weight gain, it’s important to carefully choose the kind and amount of food you eat. It is also important, in TCM, to not eat a lot of raw foods during winter because they tend to cool the body, and our digestive “fire,” which is the capacity to digest food efficiently, can be depleted. The best foods to eat during winter are warming foods that have been cooked at lower temperature and cooked longer with less water. These foods can include root vegetables, stews and soups, seaweeds, whole grains, black sesame seeds, walnuts, black beans, kidney beans, and lots of dark leafy greens. They help conserve energy, keep you warm, nourish the body, raise the emotions, and strengthen the kidneys.
During the winter, nutrients and botanicals that boost immune health are ideal complements for surviving the flu and cold season. These can include vitamin D3, zinc, vitamin C, and high quality medicinal mushrooms which possess powerful immune modulating qualities. Other potent supplements for immune health include a Tibetan Herbal Formula with more than 30 years of medical research and Modified Citrus Pectin. Magnolia bark extract (Purified Honokiol), which can raise the mood support. For optimal nourishment, a comprehensive digestive formula that can support nutrient absorption and digestive strength is highly advised. TCM practitioners also recommend tonifying root herbs during winter due to their strengthening, grounding, and warming properties.
Winter, in TCM, is damp, cold, and inactive, which lead to feelings of depression and fear that tend to be strong during this season. A lot of people are diagnosed with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a Western medicine condition. This specific type of anxiety/ depression problem happens during the darker months mainly because of lack of sunshine exposure. SAD affects women more than men and it leads to fatigue, weight gain from overeating, irritability, lack of energy, and poor mood. To enhance blood flow and circulation, practitioners recommend Vitamin D3 supplementation as well as taking brisk walks (in the sunshine, if possible) and opening your curtains during daytime to allow any sunlight to come in. Meditating during winter can help calm the heart and mind which can be extremely valuable during this time of year.
As the cold weather challenges the immune system during winter, people are more prone to the flu and colds. In TCM, the primary modes of treatment for these are moxibustion, acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, dietary therapy, and Qi gong. Moxibustion is a process where a moxa herb is burnt around selected acupuncture points. All of these modalities are extremely helpful during winter, as they tend to remove energy stagnation caused by the cold weather and a lack of activity. TCM healers may also recommend lots of resting during winter. This helps in restoring vital energy and replenishing the kidneys. Early sleeping and rising from bed after the rise of the sun can help preserve your vitality and warmth.
Innate connection to nature is reflected in Traditional Chinese Medicine with each season providing chances for growth, healing, and transformation. Winter gives us an opportunity for nourishment and deeper introspection. This helps our seeds and intentions to internally grow before blossoming in the springtime. Hence, during these profound months of stillness, give yourself time to meditate, rest, slow down, and stay nourished, hydrated, and warm.
Pronounced’twee na,’Tui Na, (also called ‘anmo’) is a type of Chinese massage that has been practiced for thousands of years. It is one of the major components of Chinese medicine alongside diet therapy, qi gong/tai chi, Chinese herbal medicine, and acupuncture. Tui Na is deemed a major and popular form of treatment in China which is used in most hospitals in that country although it still is a bit uncommon in the West. Tui Na is more than 3000 years old, and a lot of modern forms of massage like Shiatsu and Swedish massage are derived from it.
Unlikeany other type of massage both in practice and theory,Tui Na deals with the energetic body and physical body; its practitioners utilize what one would recognize as massage styles to relieve the tension and knots of the muscles, and work with the meridians (energy channels) at the same time. It also regulates acupuncture points and balances the circulation of Qi (vital energy) in much the same way as acupuncture. This means that in Tui Na, there are a number of ‘acupressure’ techniques used, and sometimes it is referred to as ‘acupressure massage.’ This term is also used for less complex acupressure techniques that lack the understanding and underlying theories of Tui Na.
One can classify Tui Na into two styles: Yin and Yang styles. The Yin Style uses light touch and is an extremely mild healing practice. It balances and normalizes Qi energy, enhancing organ function and removing stress. The Yin style is a profoundly relaxing and calming therapy.
One the other hand, the more physical Yang style utilizes deep penetrating methods in order to dissolve muscular tension and knots. It is very effective on stiff and tight muscles, but without the pain associated with a lot of deep massages.
In reality, a qualified and well-trained practitioner will adopt both Yin and Yang techniques,if needed, and a lot of treatments are found somewhere between the two extremes. There is no one uniform treatment and treatments are always customized according to the needs of each patient.
Tui Na involves the same thorough diagnostic procedures and a sophisticated understanding of the mind and body used by acupuncture and other modalities of Chinese medicine. This is what makes Tui Na a unique type of physiotherapy separate from most other massage. The treatment is inseparable from the theory, in Tui Na.
This makes this therapy suitable for problems other muscular conditions. It can be used for a wide array of “internal” problems including hormonal imbalances, psycho-emotional conditions, digestive issues, and digestive, circulatory, and respiratory conditions and others. It also is quite effective in alleviating stress and in maintaining health.
A Tui Na Treament
At the start of the treatment, the patient will need to undergo a thorough Chinese Diagnosis before undergoing treatment. The patient will be asked by the practitioner about his general health and complaint, and then will take the patient’s pulse and examine his tongue.
The treatment is always customized based on the patient’s specific needs. Usually, you are not required to remove your clothes. But if oil is to be used, you may need to remove some of your clothing.
The practitioner will look for signs from your body to determine the correct strength of the techniques, especially when strong techniques are used. The treatment should not cause pain. In certain instances, only very gentle and light techniques are used, which nevertheless,is oftentimes quite effective.
Dr. Nelya de Brun, AP, DAOM
Classical Oriental Medicine, LLC
3459 Woolbright Rd
Boynton Beach, FL 33436
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is based on the theory that everything in nature and the Universe is a combination of opposites. This is especially true in the case of yin (cleansing, cold) and yang (building, hot), a lot of which we control through thought, environment, sex, exercise, and diet, among many others.
Infections of the ear (otitis, ear inflammation) are of two types: External and internal. External ear inflammation affects the outer ear and is also known as swimmers ear. It is usually the result of an upper respiratory infection. Otitis media commonly affects babies and children and occurs in the middle ear which is the part of the ear behind the tympanum (eardrum). Connecting the middle ear to the nasopharynx are the auditory canals and Eustachian tubes. These organs regulate moisture, temperature, and air pressure. Colder temperatures and low pressure tend to increase water and moisture in the ears, especially in infants and young children. Too much water and moisture in the Eustachian tubes and ear canals can collect, stagnate and become infected attracting and allowing viruses and bacteria to thrive which then pressurize and inflame the ear resulting in earache. This painful sensation can be dull, sharp or throbbing and can lead to high fever or a feeling of fullness in the ear. The infection and pain can be aggravated during cold temperatures and on high altitudes.
The part of the ears that connect to the nasal cavity is prone to an internal and external invasion of damp and cold. Damp and cold air is usually windborne and can easily penetrate the ears, mouth, and nose. In severe cases, this can cause condensation in the ears. Winter cold tends to harden and condense water in the air into ice, snow, and rain. Cold in the body can condense fluids in the ears, mouth, sinuses, throat, nose, lungs, etc. turning it into mucus, water, and phlegm. Viruses and bacteria seriously breed in watery, stagnant mediums (urine, cysts, phlegm, mucus, etc.) before festering and inflaming.
Children are prone to middle ear infections. As children are still in the process of development, they tend to be cold and weak. This lack of heat and energy and weakness makes them quite vulnerable to damp and cold, both internal and external.
The internal body derives heat in various ways: through locomotion, circulation, digestion, etc., and all of them are fueled and heated by fat, protein, nutrients, and blood. Fat and protein fuel and build the function and structure inside the body.
A huge source of heat within the body is digestion. Digestion and the bile and enzymes in the small intestines (28 ft long) and the abdomen, as well as acid can be activated by eating three square meals a day. This, in turn, produces heat, much in the same way a car is heated by its engine. Digestion creates heat that rises naturally to the ears, sinuses, nose, mouth, throat, and lungs drying and heating.
The lungs as well as the sinuses, nose, and throat are naturally moist. Water and moisture improve the exchange of gases (carbon dioxide and oxygen).Too little or too much water and moisture weaken the exchange, resulting in the disruption of breathing as well as inflammation and infection.
Children commonly suffer from weak digestion which creates less heat, resulting in a drop in temperature and subsequent moistening (phlegm, mucus, and water) and cooling of the throat, nose lungs, etc. In the evening and night time, cold temperatures naturally condense water in the air,turning it into morning dew. Cold temperatures in winter harden and thicken water in the air turning it into ice, snow, and rain. Colder temperatures in the body harden and thicken water in the sinuses, throat, nose, and lungs turning it into phlegm and mucus.
Low fat and low protein products (seeds, nuts, beans, cottage cheese, yogurt, and milk) as well as high carbohydrate foods, consumed in excessive amounts can dilute, cool, and weaken immunity (make one prone to the flu and colds), the ears (inflammation, infection, water), respiration (phlegm, mucus), elimination (loose stools), and digestion (enzymes, acids) among others. Cereal and milk are damp cold as is orange juice. Building and warming foods such as hot cereals with a little ginger or cinnamon are recommended.
The middle diet that includes spices (ginger, cayenne, fennel, coriander, cumin, etc.) is very much recommended. Spices should be used in desserts, stews, soups, etc. Spices promote dry dampness and digestion: too much fluid will result in cellulite, edema, loose stools, phlegm, mucus, etc. Cinnamon or ginger can be used in desserts and cookies. Fruits (pineapple, apples, etc.) and vegetables (yams, carrots) can be used as sweeteners, to deflate sugar cravings. Fats, protein, stews, soups, and cooked foods warm and stimulate the digestive organs, lungs, etc. Cold drinks, shakes, smoothies, tropical fruits, salads, ice cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, and milk moisten and cool the body.
To dry dampness in the ear you can use peppermint or garlic oil drops in the ear which can also kill the viruses and bacteria causing the inflammation and infection.