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Monthly Archives : November, 2018

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.

The Many Benefits Of Moxibustion Therapy

If you have been spending time researching Chinese medicine, you might have encountered a strange form of therapy called moxibustion. Generally speaking, moxibustion isn’t as popular as Chinese herbal medicine or acupuncture, nonetheless, it is a relaxing technique that carries a ton of health benefits – more so when it’s used in combination with regular acupuncture treatments.

If you are searching for a clinic that offers Chinese medicine, be sure to find one that provides moxibustion therapy, especially if you suffer from persistent health issues. According to the “Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor” or the Huang Di Nei Jing Ling Shu, which is considered the oldest known medical text in the world, diseases that cannot be resolved by acupuncture can be treated by moxibustion.” Moxibustion these days is usually used on people who are hypersensitive to or have found little or no success with either acupuncture or drug therapies.

This article will help you better understand what moxibustion therapy is and how it’s used, so you may have other options that can affect your well being.

What is moxibustion?

Chinese medicine practitioners have several types of moxibustion treatments to choose from. The practice of moxibustion is as old as acupuncture itself; actually, acupuncture in Chinese is called zhenjiu, which directly translates to moxibustion and acupuncture. Moxibustion is believed to have originated in China less than 3000 years ago. Some researchers believe that simpler forms of moxibustion have existed that are even older than acupuncture.

As with most ancient Chinese therapies, moxibustion is designed to balance in the body and ensure an uninterrupted flow of chi in the body. Balance, in this instance, can be accomplished by heating moxa or artemesia vulgaris or mugwort directly or very near the skin. The potent herb has been used for hundreds of years both in the West and in China, and in America it’s probably best known for its close association with the “witches” of 14th century Europe. This is due to the fact that it has been widely used as folk medicine to relieve abdominal pain, itchy skin, menstrual disorders, and anxiety.

Within a modern Western medical framework, moxa is considered as a natural diuretic and a form of mild stimulant. It can also activate additional flow of blood to the pelvic area – particularly in the uterus. It is therefore, used to treat uterine cramping and absent or light menstruation. Moxibustion can also be recommended for turning breech babies.

Through the application of therapeutic heat, moxibustion can aid in the stimulation of deficient, sluggish, or stagnated chi especially when it’s performed by a skilled Chinese medicine practitioner. It tends to amplify the benefits of acupuncture and helps ameliorate chronic stagnation.

Direct and Indirect Moxibustion

In direct moxibustion, the practitioner applies a flaming moxa ball directly on the skin. The practitioner will light up a stick of incense to ignite the moxa “wool” while the patient calmly lies on the acupuncture table. As the herb ball smolders, it generates heat that warms the affected acupoints. This heat can vary based on the condition and other personal attributes of the patient.

American practitioners commonly use indirect moxibustion as it is deemed to be a safer treatment than direct moxibustion. This procedure is typically administered in a couple of ways. One way is for the practitioner to hold very close to the skin the smoldering edge of the moxa stick, until the acupoint warms sufficiently. This indicates that the vital fluids including the blood of the patient have been properly channeled along the meridians, which leads to the treatment of the patient’s ailments. (Modern clinics these days avail of smokeless and slower-burning sticks of moxa that can be more tolerable if you’re sensitive to the smoke generated by the moxa). The practitioner can also use a tiger warmer in indirect moxibustion, or a buffer such as aconite, salt, or ginger or garlic slices between the moxa and the skin. This keeps the body extremely warm.

One other indirect moxibustion approach is to wrap smaller moxa balls around the acupuncture needles and ignite them. The heat then moves down the shaft of the needle and into the acupoint, augmenting the healing benefits of acupuncture. In each session, a moxa wool ball is usually placed on a single or a couple of needles. Most patients report soothing and warm sensations during and after a round of treatment.

Does moxibustion really work?

Despite ongoing research, scientists still do not know the exact mechanisms of moxibustion therapies. According to some experts, moxibustion and other heat-based therapies such as saunas, warming creams, hot tubs, and heat packs all work in a similar manner. While in Western medicine, moxibustion is used as a treatment for localized pain, in Chinese medicine, heat is used to alleviate whole-body and more systemic health problems.

Who should use moxibustion?

Moxibustion is widely used to eliminate stagnation and cold and the issues that arise because of them because yang or fire is the therapy’s central component. From Western medicine spectacles, ordinary illnesses that may be connected to stagnation and cold in some way or another include:

 Hypothyroidism
 Sluggish digestion
 Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
 Poor immunity
 Hypersensitivity to cold
 Depression and low mood
 Fluid retention
 Arthritis and joint pain

Western medical studies have slowly begun to verify the efficacy of moxibustion in treating those abovementioned conditions. Moxibustion has been shown to be very beneficial for people suffering from osteoarthritis in one placebo-controlled clinical trial. Researchers concluded at the end of the trial:

Moxibustion therapy is easy to perform, simple, and very cost-effective. It can be more easily replicated than acupuncture, which is subordinate to changes emanating from the different methods of needling of individual therapists. These findings indicate moxibustion to be an effective, easy-to-use, and safe therapy which can be used as a complement to conventional medicine for the relief of pain and for the functional improvements of patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis.

In another study, researchers used indirect moxibustion on two acupoints in 45 people suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Aside from taking prescription drugs, they discovered that group given moxa therapies experienced improved thyroid function compared to those that only took medications.

For women, the most intriguing uses of moxibustion are its capacity to turn breech babies. Almost all or 95 percent of breech babies need to be delivered via cesarean section, but most mothers prefer not to go through this very invasive procedure. Studies recently done have showed that when combined with acupuncture and postural methods, moxibustion can help turn babies over so they may be delivered in a natural position at birth. This can also be due to the ability of moxibustion to set off uterine contractions that can turn breech babies gently around.


As with acupuncture, moxibustion’s healing qualities to date have been backed by a considerable amount of medical studies. As knowledge of the safety and effectiveness of this therapy increases, more and more research studies will soon be looking into its mechanisms and applications soon.

People who failed to get adequate results with other treatments can also find moxibustion to be an effective treatment for their problems. It can be used on people who are still suffering from a wide range of conditions after trying both conventional and alternative treatments. Chinese medicine practitioners often provide their patients with moxa rolls and instruct them on how to heal themselves at home. Sustained and consistent application is key, as with most traditional Chinese treatments.

We recommend searching for experienced and qualified Chinese medicine healers in Overland Park who are willing to work with moxibustion and a wide range of treatments at their disposal.