Health Intuitive

Archive for the ‘Chinese medicine’ Category

The Practicality Of Chinese Medicine – The Aspects Of Yin And Yang

This article is a short summary that strives to describe the complex relationships of the various systems in our body. Chinese medicine has certain obvious advantages over conventional Western medicine in that it tries to explain the cause of a health problem and also uses a holistic approach for treatment of a disease.

The five elements theory in Chinese medicine in Walla Walla is based on an apocryphal approach of connecting energy channels in the body. After all, if we’re able to control energy, we can also control our health. In the system of the Five Elements, there is no such thing as absolute law. The classical Chinese perspective of the universe doesn’t allow room for the existence of absolutes. The rules of the Five Elements pertain to the tendencies toward change based on the foundation of the Five Elements.

The connection between the organs of the human body (zang fu) and the Five elements are as follows:

Elements – Water, Wood, Metal Earth, Fire
Yin (Zang) – Kidney, Liver, Lung, Spleen, Heart
Yang (Fu) – Bladder, Gall Bladder, Large Intestine, Stomach, Small Intestine
Sensory organs – Ear, Eye, Nose, Mouth, Tongue
Tissues – Bone, Tendon, Hair/Skin, Muscle, Blood Vessel
Emotions – Fear/Fright, Anger, Melancholy/Grief, Worry, Joy
Notes – Yu, Jiao, Shang, Gong, Zheng

The energies of the Five Elements, as a means of expression, are believed to contain the following creative qualities.

Water has the tendency to create Wood

Wood has the tendency to create Fire

Fire has the tendency create Earth

Earth has the tendency to create Metal

Metal has the tendency to create Water

The Cycle of Control (or Controlling Cycle) brings balance and harmony through opposite and complementary qualities. It is a type of control in what would otherwise be an unending increase.

The Cycle of Control:

Water has the tendency to control Fire

Fire has the tendency to control Metal

Metal to control Wood

Wood has the tendency to control Earth

Earth has the tendency to control Water

Broken Balance

When the balance is broken, the Insulting and Over Acting sequences govern the irregular relationship among the Five Elements.

Both the Controlling Cycle and the Over Acting Cycle have the same pattern save for the fact that each Element over-acts on another by one Element being energetically in excess.

The Over Acting Cycle is the opposite of the Insulting Cycle. The former cycle deals with energetics that’s opposed to the latter cycle.

There are Ten Stems in the theory of the Five Elements

Each Element has an aspect of Yin and Yang with one balancing the other – this is essentially what defines Yin-Yang.

As Yin lowers, Yang rises

As Yang lowers, Yin rises

If Yin rises, Yang lowers

If Yang rises, Yin lowers

Within each Element, there is an opposite and complementary balance.

Cycle of Creation of the Ten Celestial Stems

The understanding of the Ten Celestial Stems following the tendencies of the Cycle of Creation demonstrates how the elements of Yang create each other and the elements of Yin create each other.

Were there no restriction on the tendencies to create, the outcome would be a incremental rise from one Element’s energy to the other.

One way this is balanced and checked is through the aspect of each Elements’ Yin and Yang with each Element balancing one another within the system.

The system can also maintain balance by balancing the Yin and Yang aspect of any Element by means of the Controlling Cycle.

These tendencies are discussed below:

Ten Celestial Stems

Cycle of Control Balances

The balances follow a Yin/Yang pattern and are bi-directional. If Yin decreases, Yang increases and vice versa.

Wood Yin generated by Water Yin generates Fire Yin.

Fire Yin generates Earth Yin generating Metal Yin, which generates Water Yin.

The Yang elements are the same as the just mentioned Yin energetics.

The entire system is a fragile balance of all its parts.

This system continues to maintain and generate itself in perfect harmony; however, any number of changes of this imbalance can arise if any imbalance or disharmony develops anywhere in the system. The impact of transformations may generate symptoms deemed to be negative effects. Some transformations may not manifest any symptoms at all. Any of the Element’s Yin/Yang energetics can influence the other Elements in a manner based on the specific strength of their Yin or Yang.

The key to harmony is balance.

There is a passage in the book Lu Shih Chun Chiu that perfectly illustrates the dangers of stagnation and the importance of movement.

“The reason the door’s hinge does not age, yet the door does or the water in the stream remains vital, yet stagnant water does not, is because they move. The association between the Chi and the form is the same. The Jing does stream if the form does not move. The Chi turns stagnant if the Jing does not stream. Stagnation becomes like wind or like a tumor if it’s in the head. Stagnation leads to deafness, if it’s in the ear.”

Chung points out in the Lun Hung, written around 82 AD, “Illness is like chaos and confusion. The Shen and Jing become mixed up and confused.”

In the Huai Nan Tzu, the complementary viewpoint is emphasized. Order is the “going through without commotion” that allows action.

Within the Ten Stems, this relationship can be an integral and vital approach and is a better guide to determine diagnosis, disease, symptoms, and energetics.

The exciting implication of this is that if we understand this order and facilitate it, we become more capable.


The key to wellbeing is certainly movement with the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the body intimately tied to each other.

If you try to enhance only the physical, the system will collapse eventually; without yin, yang cannot exist.

This article is designed to express an opinion about the myriad of relative energy or tendencies related to each other as well as the integrity of yin and yang and also to make the reader understand that besides soft and hard, weak and strong, negative and positive, and yin and yang, that there are other countless numbers of relative energies between those opposites.

There are weak and strong areas between the opposite poles at all distances between the opposites similar to the various lines of a magnetic field. Endless tendencies exist between yin and yang in constantly moving and vacillating strengths of energy.

This article has shown us why movement is extremely vital in all things. Joints solidify if they don’t move. Blood stagnates if it doesn’t flow the right way. Death follows if the lungs stopped breathing. There needs to be some changing of thought into the physical by doing, because thinking is not enough.

For optimum health, balance is necessary in all activity.

The Heart’s Role In TCM

Most of us would agree that the heart is the organ of the body most closely connected to emotion. When we talk about the heart, the terms heartache, heartbroken, sweetheart, or heartstring come to mind. This is the organ that’s notorious for not being subtle; it represents emotions that are on opposite poles, like ecstatic joy or intense sadness.

The heart, in traditional Chinese medicine in Fremont or TCM, has a physical function that has parallels in Western medicine. It is responsible for the function of sweating and the blood vessels. Excessive perspiration is a sign that the heart needs to be supported and built up (tonified). Because the heart also controls the tongue, it can also affect speech. Speech problems such as loss of words and stuttering are signs of heart deficiency.

But the most important responsibility of the heart is to manage the shen and store the mind. One’s “Shen” can be determined by the overall health and well being of the mind. You will know if a person is well spirited and healthy just by looking at his or her eyes. Their eyes have a sense of health and a certain bright lucidity that shines from within. Acupuncturists would consider this person as having good shen.

Conversely, you also have people with eyes that look cloudy and dull or shifty (that shift from side to side) when you observe them. These people are considered to have a weak or feeble shen. This weak shen are sometimes the product of distraction or mild depression; and if the shen is severely sick, it can also indicate a type of mental imbalance.

The heart is both the effect and cause of ecstatic joy. This type of joy is considered a good thing to most people, but its effect can cause ADHD or manic depression. ADHD is sometimes attributed to a heart that cannot control the mind properly.

Wise individuals argue that the heart’s job is to follow the principles of propriety. For instance, this would be a person wearing a bathing suit. If that person wears a bathing suit in a bank meeting, this just shows that his or her heart was not providing him or her with the appropriate information on what to wear on a specific occasion. But the heart is doing its job if the person wears the bathing suit in a swimming pool during summer. This would imply that the responsibility of the heart is to follow proper behavior for the situation at hand.

Gua Sha Therapy For Treatment Of Sports Injuries

In Chinese medicine, Gua Sha is an ancient hands-on therapy that’s been used to treat a wide range of conditions from tendonitis to tennis and golfer’s elbow to shin splints to heel and back pain.

In this therapy, the surface of the skin surrounding the affected area is oiled and then scraped with a round-edged instrument and applied with pressure; this process produces a “sha” – tiny bruises in the skin. Gua sha is also commonly known as scraping or tooling. It is designed to promote the healing process, boost flexibility, and break down recently developed scar tissue. The therapy is akin to re-injuring a body party in order to activate healing.

The instrument used in Gua Sha therapy is easy to hold. It enables the practitioner to work around bony areas where tendons are connected. These areas are non-porous which makes the therapy a hygienic and safe healing modality. The instrument’s edge is smooth and tends to generate an efficient and comfortable effect when a lubricant is applied on the site of treatment.

While clients are at first worried about the development of redness on their skin, they will be delighted at the enhanced function and flexibility of their muscles and joints and the decrease of their pain after treatment. The “bruising” produced by this procedure tends to last for merely a day or two after which it vanishes completely.

The number of treatments patients usually get is once to two times a year or every two to three months. Following treatment, there is no “down-time”. In a lot of instances, gua sha encourages a quick return to active function. It can be a great form of treatment for the following ailments:

• Tennis elbow
• Shin splints
• Rotator cuff tendonitis
• Posterior tibialis tendonitis
• Plantar fasciitis
• Patellar/knee tendonitis
• IT band or Iliotibial band tendonitis
• Tendonitis/Hamstring strain
• Golfer’s elbow
• DeQuervain’s
• Bicep tendonitis
• Back pain
• Achilles tendonitis

It’s important to work with your physical therapist who can set you up with a program that combines flexibility work and strength training in combination with Gua Sha and other types of manual therapies. This will enable you to return to sport activities faster than conventional rehabilitation therapy and physical therapy alone.

Dr. Guoen Wang is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and doctor of Chinese medicine in Austin Texas.

The Various Kinds Of Moxibustion Techniques And Their Applications

Moxibustion is a healing therapy involving the burning of Mugwort (Ai Ye) around, above, or on acupuncture points. Mugwort, the leaves of the Moxa plant, are typically sun-dried and finely grounded into a texture such as cotton or wool, and then sifted until a light green, soft texture is achieved. Moxa burns evenly, holds together well, and is quite inexpensive.

Moxa can be sold as long or tiny rolls. It can be shaped into cones or rolled into balls. The cones and balls can be indirectly placed on a substance in between the skin and the Moxa or directly burned on the skin. As in the Warm Needle method, tiny balls can be used on the upper tip of an acupuncture needle. “Shish” Moxa or small rolled Moxa is commercially available, and is used occasionally on the upper tip of a needle in lieu of loose Moxa. Longer Moxa sticks (eight to ten inches long) are often selected in a “sparrow pecking” (quickly moving the flaming end far and near the skin) or circular motion around an acupuncture point.

Various forms of herbs are sometimes included to both the commercially available Moxa and loose Moxa sticks to alter its healing qualities. Examples of these include frankincense, myrrh, atractylodes rhizone, root of angelica, asarum, realgar, sichuan pepper, cloves, dried ginger, cinnamon, and du hou.

Direct Moxibustion Techniques

These direct techniques can be either non-blister forming or blister forming therapies and each has its own healing attributes for a number of conditions.

Blistering Technique (Scarring Method)

Cones up to a centimeter long are completely burned on the skin in the more intense procedure. This causes blistering and burning of the skin as well as severe pain. Cold water and a sterile cloth may be used to soothe the skin and clean off the ashes after the complete burning of the Moxa. This procedure is usually repeated three to ten times. It is important that burn cream or salve is used on the burnt skin once a blister has formed along with a light clean dressing to prevent infection and to protect the burned area.

This kind of moxibustion therapy used on selected acupoints can help strengthen the Wei Qi or immune system of the body which boosts the overall health of the body and its resistance to disease. Ancient Chinese practitioners believed that scarring and blistering are signs of a good and successful treatment. These days, this technique is rarely used, due to the risk of pain, infection and permanent scarring.


• Non-Scarring/Non-Blistering Direct Method
• General Weakness of the Body
• Developmental Conditions
• Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders
• Asthma

1. In non-blistering moxibustion, the skin is directly burned by Moxa cones, but immediately removed when the embers come too close to the skin or when the burning begins to generate severe pain. This type of moxibustion often causes no burn but rather creates a red and small circular mark on the treatment area.


Mild deficient Cold

2. Another non-blistering or non-scarring procedure involves the rolling of Moxa into rice or wheat size grains and lighting three to seven of them on the skin directly. Because these rolls are small-sized and quickly, there is small risk that they will scar or blister the skin.


• Warts
• Vertigo
• Deficient Blood

Indirect Moxibustion Methods


Using a substance in between the skin and the burning Moxa is the most common way of implementing the healing attributes of moxibustion. A number of mediums can be used for this purpose. Some of them are as follows:


Fresh garlic thinly sliced and punctures with several small holes can be used on a non-ulcerated carbuncle or an acupoint. Practitioners usually use three to eight Moxa cones. During the course of the treatment, the garlic slice may need to be replaced. Due to the qualities of Garlic combined with the fire, blisters may develop.


• Pulmonary Tuberculosis
• Non-Ulcerated Carbuncles
• Stomach Masses


Practitioners may use fresh ginger, thinly sliced, that’s punctured with several small holes and then horizontally placed on top of the selected acupoints. Then a cone of moxa that’s been manually shaped is placed and lit in the center of the ginger. The practitioner should carefully remove the ginger slice and the burning Moxa once the heat becomes unbearable. This procedure can be repeated using a cone of fresh Moxa.


• Deficient Stomach and Spleen
• Aching or Pain in the Joints
• Diarrhea
• Deficient Cold conditions
• Cold Stomach Pain


A white pepper is finely grounded and assimilated with flour. The practitioner then spoons over the acupoint as a medium for the Moxa. In addition, a small hole in the center of the powder can be created using the finger to place cinnamon, cloves, or other powders. Then, a cone of Moxa is placed on the powder and ignited.


• Numbness and Stiffness
• Pain related to Cold type Arthritis


The navel is poured with salt until the salt is level with the stomach. A cone of moxa with a slice of ginger under it is then placed on the salt. This technique may also be used alone minus the ginger slice. This technique can be useful in keeping Yang from collapsing.


• Collapse of Yang: Weak pulse, cold limbs, profuse sweating
• Navel Pain
• Hernia Pain
• Prolonged or Chronic Dysentery
• Acute stomach pain with Diarrhea and/or Vomiting

Rolls of Moxa

One other popular form of indirect moxibustion uses thin and large moxa rolls wrapped in paper. The rolls look very similar to long cigars and are commercially available. They can be lit up and then comfortably held in the hand to distribute heat to certain parts of the body. Usually, the stick is moved close to the skin in small circles for about five to ten minutes, or until the targeted skin area turns red. The practitioner rapidly moves the stick to and fro from the treatment area in order to drive the heat deeper into the body. This procedure is often used when strong stimulation is required.

To extinguish a flaming Moxa stick, a small bowl of rice can be used and once more at a later time.


• Soft Tissue Injuries
• Skin Conditions
• Pain from Blockage or Stagnation such as Cold Arthritic Pain


A dried and thin slice of aconite, which is usually very hard and stiff, is placed on a selected acupoint. The Moxa is applied in the center of the aconite and ignited in the same manner as the Garlic and Ginger techniques. Aconite has spicy and hot qualities that can warm the Kidneys and tonify Yang. Hence, this technique is useful for the treatment of deficient Yang problems. Also, a paste derived from rice wine and grounded aconite can be used as a medium for this procedure.


• Carbuncles and Yin Abscesses that will not discharge
• Non-Healing Ulcers


For any of these procedures, it is vital that the patient is observed at all times and that the treatment area is properly ventilated (more so with patients suffering from asthma). One also needs to test the sensitivity of the patient to heat. This will make sure that the patient is not easily burned, even if he or she has a low sensitivity to heat or high tolerance for pain.

Heather Shultz is a licensed acupuncturist in Marlton, NJ with advanced training in modern acupuncture techniques and traditional Asian therapies.

Music And The Five Elements Theory

The Five Elements theory is the organizing of all facets of the phenomenological world into categories of Metal, Earth, Wood, Water, and Fire. Its theories became inseparably intertwined with the I-Ching or the principle of changes of Yin Yang, in 202 B.C., during the Han Dynasty. The Book of Changes Cycle of Elemental Music states that Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, and Earth correspond with the kidney, heart, liver, lung, and spleen respectively. Certain musical modalities also correspond with these body organs. Through the use of instrumentation, intensity, texture, and rhythm, these modalities (Yu, Ji, Cheu, Shang, and Kung) of ancient Chinese music, help in bringing in better efficient organ function.


The music associated with Water reinforces and resonates with the kidney organ-system. It can be used to treat high blood pressure, ear problems, and swelling.


The music associated with Fire strengthens and resonates with the heart organ-system, regulating the pulse.


The music related to Wood strengthens and resonates with the liver organ system, calming restlessness and nervousness in sleep.


The music related to Metal strengthens and resonates with the respiratory system and the lungs. It can help resolve all respiratory system discomfort and difficulties.


The music related to Earth strengthens and resonates with the pancreas/spleen organ-system, enhancing digestion and bolstering appetite. It also invigorates the Chi, a Chinese concept of balancing energy balance within each person.


The music associated with Regimen is made up of the principle of the five main elements — a lively balance of earth, fire, water, wood, and metal. This kind of music is appropriate for daily regimen and health-keeping.

Yin Music

Most helpful for people whose physical abilities are predisposed to Yang temperament. It matches people who are easily agitated, sturdy, strong, and people who suffer from paranoia, anxiety, and insomnia. People working and living in a male dominated environment are urged to listen to Yin Music.

Yang Music

This is for emotional/physical type people are predisposed to Yin temperament (i.e., people born with physical defects, who are timid, sensitive to cold, undernourished, or with weakening bodily functions, etc.). People working and living in humidity or darkness or in an environment dominated by females must replenish their masculine energies by listening to Yang Music.

Dr. Jignesh Panchal is an acupuncturist in Winter Park, FL who customizes treatment plans using Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine or Ozone Therapy.

Muscle Strength And Chi

According to the principles of Tai Chi, we establish an internal pattern of nerve and muscle activation which may feel like some sort of movement inside our bodies that will be sensed in different ways for each individual. This sensation tends to follow the path of the associated muscular action and sequential nerve stimulation – in other words, the habitual pattern that moving actually generates is an internal pattern that’s quite significant on a rather alternatively random environment that can then turn into a way of directing our development by observing the way the sensation progresses with practice and the manner we’re able to function in the world (e.g. in daily normal tasks and with other people). As a result, we can expect this sensation to become more defined and more noticeable as we practice.

This feeling, which we call Chi, can therefore provide us with a means to evaluate our body usage and to know the parts around us by which we can effectively function and to do so with strength and balance. This sets up a wide range of personal space that’s very organic in shape depicting various capabilities and scores of good abilities and scores of not so good as well as an outer limit of minimal skill (that can be quite close to the body or a long way out from it).

This comfort zone volume of operation describes the ways by which we can relate to others in a fight – that we should remain within the ranges of maximum ability and to lead our foe into areas of weakness so that we can establish control – we attain this by depriving them of their balance – by what is known as “finding their center” while simultaneously preventing them to do the same thing to us.

We neutralize and control when we unbalance our opponents making their attack futile.

In cultivating this sequential, segmental, whip-like motion, we carefully and slowly practice to bring about specified electrical pathways and neurological patterns.

The way of moving with internal power or Chi requires that the body move with each joint and muscle changing ever so slightly – allowing the best use of the fibers (that are more powerful and more efficient and at small changes near their mid-point) and working with the joints around their most effective angles and range of operation to generate the greatest leverage possible. Small unified motions prove to be more sensitive and stronger in application – and at the same time can be a bit gentler on the body.

This allows for greatest use of whatever muscle strength is ready for use and explains why for disabled and old people, Tai Chi is a very valuable practice – since it prepares us to exploit the use of the things we have.

The level of physical development and skill that a few practitioners of Tai Chi have can help preserve this style of functioning. And even with very low and extended postures, the level of physical development and skill makes it possible to attain skills with sufficient practice.

However, we still require powerful muscles when we desire to utilize power in order to counter the programming. To attain this, we need to cultivate the control system – i.e. the way of moving – before striving to build up power. From the viewpoint of people who’ve been practicing external martial arts forms, this can be interesting since it implies that until we have set up the Chi based flow of an internal control power system, we should set strength aside and concentrate on the soft details we have developed – the Chi based movement of an internal control power system. We should “invest in loss” as the Tai Chi masters tell us.

How is this dealt in Tai Chi?

Basically, Tai Chi is a structured program that originates from a very pragmatic and practical perspective that takes us through each natural stage which is designed to deal with external energies and change.

Kung Fu is a repetitive practice of fluid exercises and forms done every day involving consideration, observation, effort, exercise, and refining. It strives to cultivate the body and mind in a cyclical manner – developing skill first – then physical capacity – then skill again – then physical capacity and so on and so forth. At each cycles or step, there is expansion of physical ability or skill into the space generated on the previous cycle.

Chi Kung and Meditation – training body and mind independent of each other – and to cooperate together, both unconsciously and consciously

The six harmonies – establishing harmonious movement internally and externally including proper concentration on balance and posture

Partner work or pushing hands – We train jointly to elevate our skill level in Tai Chi partner practice – hence the relationship is a bit mixed in its intent – on one side, to disrupt and unbalance and on the other side, to do so in a creative manner that allows both parties to observe and grasp.

Sung state of mind and body – attaining a level of Wuji or potentiality and the power to instinctively produce harmonious movement

The eight energies (peng, kao, lu, zhou, ji, lie, cai, an) – Jin – means of applying energy from the extremely lightest to the strongest – ward off, body stroke, elbow, press, split, pluck, push.

Adhere, stick, follow and continue (nian, zhan, sui, lian)

Going down into emptiness – the skill to create emptiness we develop for the foe to fall into – so they are susceptible to the issuing of explosive power – Fajin.

Seasoned teachers whom we model to our own movement and to provide opportunities and examples for us to learn and practice skill

Words related to Taoist philosophy:

1. Wuji – being in a condition of potentiality
2. Wuwei resuting in Tai Chi – automatic generation from a condition of potentiality resulting in immediate harmonious action
3. Meditation in the style of Zen Buddhism – that promotes a mindful way of being.
4. Wuji – coming back to potentiality

Tai Chi practice physically speaking promotes development of tissue in a number of areas:

1. Major mobilizing muscles- by alleviating these mobilizing muscles, they are allowed to relax and can then can be strengthened in line with Qi style movement.
2. Support tissues- ligaments, tendons, joint capsules, fasciae, slow twitch components of major muscles, small internal support muscles, etc. are worked in such a way that they become more resilient and stronger.
3. Bones – through regular load based exercises from Chi Kung partner work and forms and the use of gravity, the strength and health of bones are maintained.

All these are offered by Tai Chi, which simultaneously encourages us to think deeply and observe about why it works and what we are doing.

Jamie Catlett is an acupuncturist in Jacksonville, FL and the founder of Jacksonville Acupuncture Clinic.

Lower Your Cholesterol Levels By Following A Few Healthy Tips

To lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, most people would prefer using natural alternative treatments instead of drugs such as statins. The following is a couple of recommendations formulated by dietitians and doctors to help people manage their cholesterol levels.

1. Add more fiber in your diet

Research shows that people who have the lowest rates of heart disease in the world tend to be the ones who eat a diet that is low in fats and rich in fiber. Some fascinating studies by the Cornell University traced the eating habits of over 6500 people in China. What they discovered was that the traditional Chinese diet contained a high amount of unrefined carbohydrates that’s low in fat (less than 16 % of calories) and high with fiber (comprising about 76 percent of the calories). The researchers observed that this diet was connected to rare instances of cardiovascular-related diseases and low levels of cholesterol.

A vital part of this research involved the foods that are high in fiber content. They observed that eating a minimum of 36 – 50 grams of total fiber each day led to the reduction of LDL cholesterol. Foods such as garbanzo and black beans, potatoes and sweet potatoes, beans or legumes, peas, yams, barley, oats, and oat bran have shown to be great sources of soluble fiber. Veggies such as carrots, beets, okra, and eggplant have also been proven to be excellent sources of soluble fiber.

2. Stay from foods that are high in trans fats

People should minimize their intake of foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats and need to stay away from foods that contain trans fats. The National Cholesterol Education Program, the American Heart Association, and other leading heart-health institutions in the US have stated that diets rich in trans fats and saturated fats tend to elevate blood cholesterol levels in people that can lead to leading to inflamed and clogged arteries and atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is one of the deadliest and unfortunately most common diseases in the US. It is also the main cause of strokes and heart attacks. It’s very important to refrain from eating the following unhealthy foods:

• Trans fats – found in partially hydrogenated oils, vegetable shortening, and margarine
• Cholesterol – this can be found in cheese, meat, and other animal products
• Saturated fats – found in palm oil, butter oil, coconut oil, meat fats, and milk fats

Dr. Jeda Boughton is a licensed acupuncture physician and the medical director of BodaHealth in Vancouver, BC.

Cool Yourself Down With Spicy Foods And A Warm Beverage

Humans are endothermic mammals or warm-blooded mammals, which are scientific ways of saying (independent of the environment) we can control our body temperature. We are able to achieve this because of our bodies’ ability to continually generate heat from our metabolism (chemical processes within).

How does this work?

In order for our bodies to function properly, we need a well functioning metabolic process. This includes digestive functions that break down nutrients from food, transport and absorption of the cells of those nutrients, and their transformation into building blocks of energy needed for physical activity.

The heat generated can be useful when the environment cools down, but when external temperatures increase, it’s important to prevent ourselves from overheating. While eating something cold such as ice cream, may seem a good idea to lower temperature, its initial cooling effect is quickly substituted by heat coming from digestive functions required to dissolve the nutrients in the ice cream. Ingesting foods rich in calories will result in a rise in body temperature.

Ice cream, therefore, is not really a good way to cool down.

How about cold drinks?

The transfer of heat between the digestive system and a cold drink can directly affect temperature. But this may depend on the caloric content of the drink and its temporary effect.

As a small amount of drink gets warmed up by the surrounding organs, it will lose its cooling ability quite rapidly. Also, drinking lots of cold drinks can cause flow of blood to slow down, making it less effective to transport heat throughout the body.

As one can imagine, drinks such as soft drinks having enormous amounts of calories will have the same effect as ice cream that set about our metabolism immediately after ingestion generating heat.

Cold drinks have cooling qualities that are likelier to be made clear by their effects on rehydration. A build up of heat can cause the body to lose excess heat by moving it away from the internal organs to the surface of the skin where it is directly dispersed to the environment via radiation and convection.

As mentioned before, cold drinks have cooling qualities that are likelier to be made clear by their effects on rehydration. This occurs when the ambient temperature is lower than our body temperature.

The fastest way our bodies lose heat is through sweating. It happens when the brain detects the rise in temperature in the core of our body, which reacts by activating the sweat glands scattered throughout the body to generate sweat.

Sweat or perspiration on the surface of the skin dries up, causing the cooling down of the skin (aka evaporative cooling). The blood circulating near the skin surface meanwhile gets cooled helping lower the body’s core temperature.

An adult, on average, may lose up to ½ to one liter of perspiration each day. However In hot environments, this can rise to about a liter just within half an hour. This is why it’s important to keep yourself rehydrated during hot weather.

Another Better Approach

Can alcoholic drinks cool you sufficiently? On a hot summer day, lots of people reach for a cold beer to help themselves cool down. Alcohol however, is a diuretic and this means that it can reduce the water content in your body thereby lessening your ability to lose heat through perspiration.

This may come as a surprise but warm beverages can be an ideal way to help you keep cool down. While it may be counter intuitive, drinking a warm beverage causes the receptors in your throat and mouth to stimulate a sweating reaction enabling you to cool down without having to drink lots of warm liquids.

Spicy foods have active ingredients that have similar effects as warm beverages; they also activate a perspiration reaction that helps the body to cool off. This is the reason these kinds of foods are widely used in tropical environments.

Therefore, while you can refresh and satisfy yourself with cold treats, eating spicy foods to get your sweat on is the best way to cool down and, most importantly to rehydrate.

Complementary Healthcare
1000 Valley Forge Cir #105
King of Prussia, PA 19406
(484) 392-7023

What Practice Is Best For You, Chi Kung Or Tai Chi?

Qigong and Taiji share one thing in common. They are both mind-body-spirit practices, including the distinct way they are spelled. This article will use Tai Chi/Taiji and Chi Kung/Qigong which may be both different spellings but still mean the same thing. They also have other key differences as well. What practice is best for you will depend on how you answer the following questions.

1. Are you interested in learning self defense?

Tai chi translated means ‘ Ultimate Supreme Fist.’ In the past, this practice was primarily designed for the martial arts that just happened to provide energy and health benefits. However, Tai Chi is now mainly practiced for its energy and health benefits; for some, it is practiced as a martial art.

While not a martial art, chi kung has special types of practice that can be used to enhance self-defense capabilities although it does not provide any self defense benefits. Chi Kung is mainly performed to develop spiritual and mental cultivation, enhance energy, and boost health.

2. How much free time do you need to learn the moves?

The main similarity between chi kung and tai chi is that they are a mix of mind, energy, and form. This implies that external gentle forms or movements are often coordinated with breathing techniques and practice in a contemplative state of mind.

While a set of Tai Chi typically comprises 24 – 108 distinct patterns, a set of qigong has three or four patterns. This implies that learning one set of Tai Chi takes a considerable longer time to master than a tai chi set and what we mean by a considerable longer time is months. The reason for this is besides not only do you have to remember ‘what comes next?,’ you should also be able to move from one pattern to the next in a flowing manner. People who practice tai chi usually commit their entire life to mastering one set of tai chi. If you have the time to invest in tai chi, then that’s absolutely fine.

On the other hand, a set of chi kung involves significantly fewer patterns, which means it can be mastered in a much easier and quicker way.

3. Are you interested in learning complex theory?

The Taoist practice of Tai Chi can be very confusing and complex, often intentionally so. The reason for this is that this art was originally taught in a very personal way (face to face by master to student). Because of this, the students comprehended what ‘bring chi to the dan tien’ meant and other esoteric terms and they, first and foremost, learned how to do it.

When one deems that such information was very valuable and usually attained at huge personal cost, it was then essential to keep it hidden so that only the initiated could correctly apply and understand the concepts even if this information fell into the wrong hands.

There are a lot of very complex theories to be mastered if you wish to become a Tai chi master and they can only be learned and applied when learned from a master of those theories. Such masters have always been rare and hard to find.

Chi kung theory, on the other hand, is relatively simple to perform when compared to Taiji. From Chi Kung’s point of view, there is just one disease and this disease is an issue dealing with energy. Disease, regardless of what name we give, it is deemed to be the result of obstructions to balanced flow of energy of the meridians or energy channels of the body. Chi Kung strives to eliminate these obstructions or obstacles and once balanced flow of energy is brought back good health will be also restored.

However, that’s just the initial step. Chi kung then boosts the circulation of energy once balanced flow of energy is brought back which then restores vitality. Finally, Chi Kung develops a wealth of energy which then extends your longevity.

Probably, the biggest benefit of chi kung is that as long as you practice it properly, there is no other theory that you need in order to benefit from its practice.

The main difference between chi kung and tai chi is that if taught properly, the latter can be used for self defense, whereas the former cannot. If there is no need to defend yourself, then the best way to decide between practicing Chi Kung or Tai Chi is to ask yourself how much time you can allocate to their practice. Chi Kung is probably the better choice if you haven’t much time to spare.

One ideal way to choose between chi kung and tai chi, if you still are undecided, is to attend a chi kung and tai chi class and see which you prefer. On this decision, you should trust your instincts.

Amy-SuiQun Lui, L.Ac.
Asian Health Center
27059 Grand Army of the Republic Hwy
Cleveland, OH 44143
Tel: (440) 833-0983

The Different Classifications Of Food In Chinese Nutritional Therapy

Aliment, nourishment, or nutrition, is the stockpile of food needed by cells and organisms to survive and thrive. In Chinese Medicine, nutritional therapy is a system that provides clients the right dietary choice combining food-like Chinese herbs and pertinent foods.

Foods, from the viewpoint of Chinese medicine, are arranged in a manner similar to herbal food therapies. For instance, we have foods with hot, warm, cool, and cold properties. We have foods that that help drain or dispel the pathogenic elements and we also have foods that nourish our bodies. When a pattern of disharmony is recognized by a practitioner, in addition to acupuncture treatments in Bellmore, specific foods are recommended to either destroy the pathogenic factors or tonify the body. We have Chinese herbs that are acceptable to be eaten as foods. These are known as food-like herbs and they are often mild, with zero or minimal side effect even when taken in the long term. According to the State Administration of Drugs of China, there are more than 60 herbs that are deemed food-like herbs. In Chinese nutritional therapy, these herbs can be indicated as part of the daily diets of the patient.

Commonly Eaten Foods that can be considered as Chinese Medicines

Chinese nutritional therapy involves the use of food-like herbs and foods in order to address disease illness and encourage health.

In Western dietary therapy, foods are assessed for their nutritional contents. These include vitamins, proteins, and calories. In both Western dietary therapy and Chinese nutritional therapy, foods as well as herbs are categorized into hot, warm, cold, and cold energies with five flavors. They can be prepared and appropriately chosen to regulate the balance of yin and yang of the body, eliminate pathogenic factors, and tonify the body.

The healing effects of foods with Different Thermal Properties (hot, warm, neutral, cool, and cold) and Flavors

The energy that foods generate refers to their ability to create sensations – either cold or hot – in the body. Neutral, cool, warm, hot, and cold are the five types of energy, and this pertains not to the food’s physical state but on its impact on the human body. Foods with cold or cool quality are usually indicated to patients with heat or warm constitutions or patients categorized as heat patterns. Foods with hot or warm quality are usually indicated for patients classified as cold patterns or patients with a cold constitution. Foods are also indicated based on their functions and flavor. When it comes to the aspect of nutrition, a balanced diet is of course the most important factor.

Foods with pungent flavor tend to bolster circulations, distributions, and perk up appetite.

Pungent tasting foods include among others wine, onion leeks, Sichuan peppercorn, green onion, garlic, Chinese radish, celery, mustard seed coriander, Chinese chives, kumquat fresh ginger, , tangerine peel radish leaf, spearmint, sweet peppers, turnips, chili pepper, leaf mustard, taro, cinnamon, Shanghai cabbage, and tangerine peel.

Foods with sweet flavor tend to nourish and lubricate the body, neutralize the toxicity of other foods, and impede acute reactions. Examples of sweet foods are abalone, carps, longan aril, lotus seed, grapes, chestnut, cherry, pears, apple, milk, peanut, sugar cane, corn, wheat, rice, soybean, peas, glutinous rice, carrot, pumpkin, potato, sweet potato, taro, shiitake mushroom, dates, and honey.

With their astringent quality, sour foods can help prevent heavy sweating, emission, diarrhea and other irregular fluid seepage from the body. Examples of sour foods include royal jelly, lemon, vinegar, tomatoes, tangerines, strawberry, pomelo, pomegranate, plums, pineapple, pears, peaches, papaya, oranges, olives, mango, loquat fruit, hawthorn fruit, grapes, and apple.

Foods classified as bitter tend to bolster depressing effects like bowel movements and urination, boost appetite, dry dampness, and eliminate heat. Examples of bitter foods include coffee, bitter gourd, wine, wild cucumber, vinegar, turnips, tea leaf, seaweed, plum kernel, pig’s liver, peach kernel, lotus leaf, lily bulb, Indian lettuce, gingko, bergamot, asparagus, arrowhead, and apricot seed.

Foods that are salty can emolliate intestines to stimulate bowel movements, tonify blood, soften hardness, and deplete accumulations. Examples of salty foods are cuttlefish, amaranths, seaweed, sea shrimps, sea cucumber, sea clams, razor clam, preserved jellyfish, pork, pigeon’s egg, pig’s organs, pig’s bone marrow, pig’s blood, oyster, millet, laver, kelp, ham, field snail, duck meat, dried mussel, crabs, barley, and abalone

Cold Foods

Soya sauce, bamboo shoot, wild rice stem, watermelon, watercress, water spinach, water chestnut, tomato, sugar cane, star fruit, sprouts, snails, seaweed, sea clams, salt, root of kudzu vine, preserved jellyfish, pomelo, pig’s bone marrow, persimmon, mulberry, lotus root, lettuces, kelp, grapefruit, cuttlefish, crabs, chrysanthemum, bitter gourd, banana, arrowhead, and angled luffa

Cool Foods

Barley, millet, buckwheat, wheat, eggplant, coix seed, wax gourd, cucumber, Chinese radish, loofah, celery, lettuce root, broccoli, peppermint, leaf mustard, cauliflower, Peking cabbage, spinach, amaranth, Chinese cabbage, lily bulb, Indian lettuce, , mung bean, pea, muskmelon, apple, pears, coconut, pineapple, orange, strawberry, loquat fruit, tangerine, papaya, mango, tea leaf, water caltrop, mushrooms, bean curb, duck egg, lily flower, pig skin, egg white, conch, rabbit meat, sesame oil, frogs, yogurt, cheese, and cream.

Neutral Foods

Sugar, round-grained rice, honey, white fungus, turnips, sweet potato, sunflower seed, soybeans, soybean milk, shiitake mushroom, sea shrimps, sea eels, royal jelly, rock sugar, radish leaf, quail egg, quail, potato, pork, plums, pistachio nut, peanut, oyster, olives, milk, lotus seed, loach, lemon, grapes, goose, fuzzy melon, fig, egg yolk, duck, corn, taro, cashew nut, carrot, cabbage, black sesame, black fungus, beetroot, beef, adzuki beans

Warm Foods

Chinese chives, coriander, wine, walnut, vinegar, venison, vegetable oil, tobacco, sword bean, sword bean, sweet peppers, sweet basil, star anise, spearmint, sparrow egg, sparrow, Sichuan peppercorn, sea cucumber, rosemary, rose bud, raspberry, pumpkin, pomegranate, pine nut, pig’s liver, peach, osmanthus flowers, onion, nutmeg, mutton, mussels, maltose, longan fruit, lobster, litchi, leeks, jasmine, ham, hairtail, green onion, goose egg, goat milk, glutinous rice, ginger (fresh), garlic, Garland chrysanthemum, fresh water shrimps, fresh water eels, fennel, dill seed, dates, cumin, coffee, clove, chicken, chestnut, cherry, carps, brown sugar, asparagus, apricot, and abalone.

Hot Foods

Mustard seed black pepper, ginger (dried), chili pepper, cinnamon, and mustard seed.

There are foods that may possess a bland flavor or foods with two kinds of flavors. Bland Foods often tend to bring about urination and can be used as diuretic. Wax gourd and coix seed, for example, can be utilized for this aim.

Moreover, there are foods that have a powerful scent that are considered “aromatic.” They include citrus fruits, peppermint, coriander, fennel, and basil. Eat these to stimulate the spleen’s circulation (In Chinese medicine, the spleen is the organ responsible for digestion, not the Western medicine concept of spleen), detoxify, eliminate turbidity and dampness, promote energy circulation, and boost appetite.