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Overcoming Grief Through Chinese Nutritional Therapy

Last August, my younger brother passed away. My mother died 24 years ago and my dad, almost a decade since. The death of my brother was especially painful considering he was only 54 years old when he died of a heart attack, which the autopsy allegedly revealed.  Several years back, I also lost the mother of my children as well as my youngest child due to childbirth difficulties. We never married but she was the mother of my children. The death of my youngest was devastating. She entered the world suffering from severe cerebral palsy, and the part of her brain that controlled motor functions was damaged.  She was placed in the ICU for newborn babies where she never came out alive. Her complications were so severe that she could not perform basic physiological functions like gagging when something was forced down her throat. Her breathing was so feeble that she needed a respirator to survive. She had a special nurse who attended to her most basic needs. She died three months after she was born. Both my parents died young also. My mother barely reached 60 years of age before she succumbed to complications brought about by breast cancer, and my dad suffered a massive heart attack in his early 70s. I am no stranger to grief.

We all have lost people and animals we love. It is part of life. The promise of seeing all of them someday is the only thing that gives me the solace and what I need to prevent falling into sadness and despair. Their loss has taught me to love the ones I love even more. My eldest daughter Mary is the treasure of my life and my pet beloved cat Kitty Witty is the only soul who stays with me in every single day of my life here on earth. I dread the thought of my daughter departing from me one day as well as the thought of leaving her all alone in this dog eat dog world.

I admit there were people close to me who have left this world that I have not fully grieved. I did not cry when my mom passed away since I knew she wanted to die and that her cancer was at the terminal stage and that she wanted to end all her sufferings.  She hid her cancer from us, her family, which indicated that she was not happy with her life. I could not blame my father for my mother’s unhappiness since he himself was the product of a harsh and brutal life. In fact, it was the death of my father that me made cry so hard I almost fainted from grief. You see, when he died, I was living in another country and although he had been suffering from heart disease for years, his death still caught me by surprise. I had an issue with my passport then that prevented me from going home to attend his funeral and burial.  

As far as I know, only humans are capable of feeling grief when a loved one dies. Other mammaIs like the elephant also exhibit this trait, but we really don’t know for sure if it’s grief they are experiencing when a member of their herd dies.  The natural, complex cycle of life and death and the fact that we can’t change it is how we accept, adapt, and move on in a world that is in constant change. Yet somehow, we can’t seem to get over it completely.

In Marlton traditional Chinese medicine, grief is the emotion of the Metal element/Lung organ system (large intestine/lung). The Lung system pertains to release or letting go (large intestine is to bowel movements, and lungs is to expiration) and moving on. When it comes to the Five Element theory, people have their own unique constitution in which they are more of a certain element than any other element.  When I evaluated myself, I found out I was more of a Metal element person. This implied I was prone to avoiding disappointments, self-criticism, obsessive-compulsive behavior, inability to let go (as evidenced by constantly tight muscles), inflammation & sinus discomfort, and to hold on to the idea of how things ought to be rather than as they are (unresolved issues, living in the past).

Grief that is unreleased causes problems in letting go and weakens the lungs. We may manifest illogical predilections and be concerned about things unrelated to us. Unreleased grief forces the lungs to generate stagnation (constriction/tension) in the upper chest cavity, which prevents Chi from flowing smoothly throughout the body. This can lead to a number of issues: conditions in the lymphatic, vascular, skin (integumentary), and respiratory systems.

Depending on your imbalance, which for me is an excess of the Metal element, you’ll realize that there are certain foods that are good and foods that are bad for you. For an excess Metal person, foods that should not be eaten are bitter/warming foods (several autumn vegetables), sour foods (pickled foods) and warming/bitter drinks (herbal/decaf coffee). In my case, I prefer Fire element (spicy) foods, since the climate these days is colder and I catch cold more easily. I need to consume lots of Earth element foods from the sweet full section to shield myself against dryness, and to moisten and warm myself. Some Earth element foods include almonds, wheat, alfalfa sprouts, walnuts, apples, sweet potato/yam, bananas, squash, bok choy, rice, brown sugar, red meat, cauliflower, pears, chicken, peaches, coconut, papaya, corn, mushrooms (shiitake, white fungus), cucumber, molasses, dates, millet, eggplant, legumes, figs, and honey.

Also included in my diet are cooking herbs which many are my favorites: nutmeg, anise, licorice root, cardamom, ginger, fennel, clove, and cinnamon

Once the imbalance is rectified, to overcome my grief and strengthen my lungs, I can add a few pungent foods from the Metal element category.

Paida And Lajin Self-Healing Therapeutic Exercises

The best way to good health is to remain healthy.  But in the event you become ill, the conventional way we handle things, both in Cleveland TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Western medicine, is to go see a physician and have him or her prescribe some type of medication for you or perform some kind of surgery on you.  For addressing sickness, the conventional paradigm requires medical attention and help from traditionally, a licensed medical practitioner/doctor.  Wouldn’t it be a good idea if you have the means to cure your illnesses by yourself?  Is this merely wishful thinking just a fantasy?  Maybe, maybe not.  A man named Hongchi Xiao with a very interesting background, who in over the last decade, had been taught by several renowned medical doctors and masters throughout China and other countries of the world, including a lot recluses but with unique skills in the healing arts.  He not only learned acupressure, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, but has been taught and mastered Paida and Lajin self-healing therapies.  In Chinese, Paida means to slap and pat a person’s body parts and Laijin means to stretch your ligaments and tendons.

Hongchi Xiao has helped to resuscitate and made accessible to the public these age-old self-healing practices.  He has helped set up over a hundred successful workshops in various locations in Taiwan and China, as well as in the U.S, Switzerland, Germany, Malaysia, and Singapore. Legions have participated and benefited tremendously from these workshops.  In addition, aside from its effectiveness in curing illnesses, they also can detect health problems including the ones that have not obviously manifested.  Hence, these same group of exercises can be utilized to recognize and treat diseases, cure illnesses, and help maintain good health.  This article is an introduction to these exercises.

Before we proceed with the exercises, we need to discuss the background of Mr. Hongchi Xiao.  He was born in the Chinese province of Hubei and graduated from the University of Int’l Business and Economics in 1985. He worked in Jiangxi, Beijing and Tibet as a village school teacher, government official, and university lecturer. He later, he went to the States and acquired his MBA in 1990 from the American Graduate School of Int’l Management.  Then for more than ten years, Mr.  Xiao worked as an investment banker in Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

He collaborated with legendary director Ang Lee in 2006, and made a fruitful pitch for the concept proposal for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Although he has no educational background in medicine, he always had some connection to medicine, as his mother is a Western medical physician and his uncle, a Chinese doctor.  He had a special interest in TCM ever since he was a child.  Beginning around ten years ago, a chain of events caused him to take an extraordinary mission throughout China, and in other countries of the world, to rediscover and learn TCM.  He moved about aimlessly as a vagabond to temples, monasteries, and even in the forests of China and other areas of the world to search for and reach out to masters of TCM.  From them, he was able to learn and eventually master a wide variety of TCM practices, including unusual acupressure and acupuncture techniques and theories, Paida and Lajin self-healing therapies, needle-knife technique, and bone-setting therapies.

Of all the therapies that he learned, the Paida and Lajin self-healing techniques were the most interesting to him, simply due to the fact it is a DIY or a do-it-yourself method.  You are the captain of your own health; these practices will help you perform diagnostics on your health and help treat your illnesses.

The primary recorded study of TCM is the Yellow Emperor’s Journal of Internal Medicine or the Huang Di Nei Jing written over two millennia ago.  The Paida and Lajin self-healing techniques is founded on the principles of TCM (meridians, qi or chi, yin and yang) in which illnesses and disease are caused by imbalances and problems in the flow of these TCM concepts.  The human body has 14 primary energy channels or meridians.  Some of the benefits of Paida and Lajin self-healing techniques is that it isn’t necessary for you to know where each of the meridians are located, since they impact all the meridians anyway.

As earlier mentioned, Paida means to slap or pat parts of your body.  This exercise forces out and eliminates toxic substances in the body to bring back health and promotes unobstructed flow of chi in the meridians of the body.  The slapped and patted body areas will automatically gather blood and chi together, and then speed up circulation.  The accelerated chi flow can scan the body and clear out the blocked meridians, leading to a clearing of tumors, illnesses, and toxic body waste.  After Paida, symptoms of those illnesses and toxic body waste are manifested in the skin as greyish or darkish dots or spots.  Therefore, performing the Paida exercises can also help you be aware of early signs of sickness, occasionally, at an early stage when Western medicine methods may not be able to identify them.

Lajin means to stretch your ligaments and tendons.  Some practitioners say that stretching your ligaments and tendons (Jin) just by an inch will extend your lifespan by ten years.  A person dies when his Jin totally degenerates.  A set of Lajin exercises increases the flow of blood and chi within the body.  Good health is the product of a flexible Jin.  When this Jin dwindles, the body will exhibit a variety of symptoms including an inability to bend or extend the elbow, inability to squat down, muscle atrophy and contraction, back pain and stiffness, and neck pain and stiffness among others.  Therefore, performing Lajin exercises would help you be more aware of illness in your body, and many times, at an early stage when Western medicine techniques might not be able to detect them.

What health problems can be treated by the self-healing techniques of Paida and Lajin?  They can treat a wide range of illnesses because they blanket all the meridians.  In addition, because someone diagnosed with a certain illness may have multiple problems, you need to be careful with the name of a condition.  For instance, if you suffer from high blood pressure (or hypertension) you will often be told to take anti-hypertensive prescription medications.  However, many anti-hypertensive medications are also diuretics that could negatively affect the functions of the kidney.  This means, a person should really know the underlying issues that are causing his high blood pressure and use techniques to eliminate those underlying issues.

As we have mentioned at the start, Xiao has done over a hundred workshops in many parts of the world during the last three years.  The outcomes have been very encouraging.  For instance, here’s a part of the summary report from the organizers of Soweto Old Age Home workshop in South Africa:  “All the participants experienced benefits from the Paida and Lajin classes.  They are no longer dependent on others and can move again without outside help.  Some who are wheelchair bound can now walk without walkers.  What‘s noteworthy is that the patients who suffered strokes are much improved and are expected to fully recover over the coming months.  Noted also is that their spirit and mood have improved a lot.”

In fact, the outcomes have been so promising that many people asked the organizers whether they’re only announcing the treatments that are successful.  Xiao and his collaborators have asked medical experts to come to his workshops to document observations, perform tests, and take measurements.  No one has yet taken up his offers, unfortunately.

We believe that it won’t take long before the medical establishment takes seriously what Xiao and his team are claiming.  They are willing to perform the required experiments and observations.  These claims will be modified, refuted or verified.  If the Paida and Lajing self-healing exercises show even just a fraction of the benefits that Xiao and his team are asserting, then this will be already considered a major turn of events and will have huge benefits with respect to the cost of our healthcare and our health.

The Uses And Benefits Of Cupping Therapy

A major branch of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in Bellingham used to stimulate the flow of vital energy (Chi) and eliminate stagnation, Cupping therapy involves the warming and applying of medicinal cups, usually made of glass, on the skin to heal certain ailments and illnesses in the body. Chi naturally freely flows throughout the body and can be found in the world around us, if this flow is disturbed or blocked, it can lead to an imbalance or stagnation in the body.

What is Massage Cupping?

Massage cupping therapy is a deep tissue massage plus the warming and application of cups on certain areas of the body. A vacuum is produced when the air inside the cup is heated and when the cup is quickly applied to the skin, the pressure inside the cup draws the patient’s skin into it. This stimulates healing by causing blood flow to increase and loosening the connective tissue or fascia in the site of treatment. The deep tissue massage is designed to relieve pain and break up scar tissue. More often than not, the cups are placed on the site of pain, shoulders, neck, or back. Cupping may result in temporary some soreness and bruising, depending on the strength of suction generated by the vacuum and the degree of stagnation in the body. From the standpoint of TCM, this is a desired outcome since it means that treatment was successful in clearing stagnation and removing toxins from the body. To take out the cups, the practitioner lifts one edge of the cup allowing air into the cup breaking the seal and vacuum.

Various Forms of Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy can have different forms and the acupuncturist will choose the one that best meets the goals of the treatment. The cups also come in different types although glass cups are the ones most commonly used. Over a thousand years ago, however, practitioners used cups made of animal horns, clay, or bamboo.

Dry or Fire Cupping

Veteran acupuncturist and TCM practitioner Ann Michelle Casco, L.Ac., said that the cupping technique traditionally used was called ba guan zhi, or dry or fire cupping. This type of cupping entails placement of cups over an ashi point or ailing or painful acupuncture point on the body located along an energy channel called meridian. After the cups are applied in the area of treatment, they are left in place for about 5 to 20 minutes depending on the severity of the patient’s condition. Typically, a round of treatment may involve 4 to 6 sessions at intervals beginning from 3 to 10 day gaps.

Sliding Cups Technique

Another cupping technique called sliding cups is specifically designed to treat muscle spasms and pain. It’s usually administered on large muscle groups of the back. Prior to the placement of the cups, massage oil is applied to the skin which helps the cups to easily glide over the skin surface.

Air Cupping

Air cupping can be an optional substitute for fire cupping. This technique involves the use of a portable manual suction pump that extracts air from the inside of the cups, creating a vacuum without the need for heat. In China, some clinical studies show this novel approach in cupping technology provides more comfort to patients than fire cupping.

Wet Cupping

This form of cupping is distinguished via the inclusion of an acupuncture technique called bleeding. The therapist uses a lancet to pierce the skin before cupping therapy is administered. This causes a small amount of blood to come out of the treatment site. Wet cupping is designed to remove internal toxins from the body. Chinese practitioners of TCM utilize this method to help “cool” inflammatory problems.

What Can Cupping Therapy Do?

According to TCM, the stagnation of blood and chi leads to disease and pain. Cupping bolsters local blood and chi circulation in the treatment area, relieving tension, pain, and swelling. By pulling toxins and impurities to the skin surface, it cleanses and purifies the body. From the standpoint of Western physiology, cupping helps stimulate blood flow to the surface and relaxes fascia or connective tissue. It promotes better cell-to-cell communication and brings about tissue relaxation. Studies conducted by American acupuncturist and physiologist Helene Langevin showed that changes in cell-level recorded in an ultrasound camera implied that alternative treatment modalities like massage, acupuncture, and cupping can help lower inflammation markers and relax tissue. Chemical messengers called cytokines that facilitate relaxation and healing are increased while inflammatory cytokines are lessened.

The Advantages of Cupping Therapy

Muscle relaxation and local pain relief are just two of the benefits offered by cupping therapy. This ancient Chinese healing art enhances overall health by clearing the obstacles to chi flow that TCM practitioners have determined as hindrances to the circulation of positive chi or healthy energy. Athletes can also benefit from this therapy as it helps improve blood flow to a specific muscle group or help relieve pain. Several athletes, prominently, the members of the great U.S. swim team, during the 2016 Rio Olympics, have unabashedly and proudly displayed their cupping marks to the world.

Some Illnesses and Ailments that can be treated through Cupping Therapy

Cupping is often used in the treatment of conditions such as:

Pain

Stomach pain

Gastritis

Asthma

Bronchial congestion

Cough

Paralysis

Researchers in Chinese have mainly studied cupping, finding benefit in problems like

Anxiety

Gout

Depression

Insomnia

Back pain

Herpes zoster (shingles)

Varicose veins

Anemia

High blood pressure

Diabetes

Eczema

Fibromyalgia

Acne

Arthritis

Infertility

Although the quality of these clinical studies is not at par to U.S. standards, the results of actual benefit are substantial, especially when the low risk of side effects is taken into account.

What Kind of People Administer Cupping?

Cupping is generally done by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners.

Cupping procedures can be found and are depicted in TCM texts that are more than a 1000 years old. If you are considering cupping therapy for yourself or for others, look for a skilled and licensed practitioner such as an acupuncturist who is licensed to by the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) or the State of California Board of Acupuncture. Certified practitioners have undergone more than 3,000 hours of training at a distinguished institution and hurdled examinations required for the legal andsafe practice of cupping and acupuncture.

Does Cupping Therapy Produce Side Effects?

Expect to have marks on the skin when getting cupping therapy. This is brought about when the procedure brings blood to the skin surface, which may appear like a bruise. This treatment may not be your best option if you are currently taking anticoagulants or if you are suffering from hemophilia or any other bleeding disorder. People with these issues should talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment with their doctor or acupuncturist before the undergo treatment. Practitioners would not administer cupping on skin areas where there are open wounds, infection, burns, or active inflammation. Some level of pain or discomfort may result but they are not deemed a side effect. Temporary medium discomfort may be expected as stagnation is cleared and muscles as well as connective tissue are relaxed.

Western healthcare providers and practitioners should consider cupping as a mode of treatment. However, the discolorations and bruising in children expected after treatment may be mistaken as signs of child abuse.

How long does the bruising last?

Bruises associated with cupping therapy may linger for a few days to a couple of weeks. Casco, a practitioner of TCM stated that after a number of weeks of continuous cupping treatment sessions, the bruising will be gradually reduced as the stagnation heals. This suggests a fruitful cupping plan of treatment.

Naturally Banish Stress with These Qigong Exercises

Stress can come in different forms and in varying degrees since most of us have experienced it at some point in our lives. Some people experience stress as a physical feeling that can take the form of a tight back muscles, headache, fatigue, or stiff neck while others may experience it as a type of mental stress such as too much worrying about family, work, or school that can keep them awake late into the night and prevent them from falling asleep. Emotional stress can also come in the form of strong negative emotions such as loss, grief, depression, sadness, anger, fear, irritability, frustration, worry, chaos, nervousness and indecisiveness, just to name a few and is not any easier to handle. Some may suffer from the whole spectrum of stress that can affect them emotionally, mentally and physically. Fortunately, many of us have found a way to alleviate the stresses in our lives and for sure there is something that works really well for each of us. More and more people in the States have found Qigong a blessing in their lives helping them banish stress in a natural way within just a few minutes and without the need for drugs. But in order to achieve long lasting benefits, one must practice Qigong on a regular basis.

Pronounced Chee-Kung, Qigong is an age-old Chinese healing technique that combines deep breathing techniques similar to Tai Chi with graceful coordinated movements. Qigong is where acupuncture in Walla Walla and Tai Chi originated thousands of years ago. The word Qigong is derived from two Chinese words: “Qi,” which means vital energy, breath of life, or air that moves within all things everywhere and “Gong” which means the ability of self discipline, cultivating, or working with. Put together, Qi and gong means the technique of cultivating one’s life force. Qigong can help enhance the amount of positive qi or good oxygen in the body and blood, improving metabolism to help burn calories more efficiently and strengthening the immune systems to word off illness and disease. Another advantage in practicing Qigong is that it relieves stress naturally as one exhales while transforming the air inhaled into healing qi.

Practicing Qigong helps enhance qi vital energy to bring you health, longevity, weight loss inner peace, and to lower stress. It banishes stress in the body be it emotional stress, mental stress, or physical stress. It also increases the amount of oxygen in your body which helps balance the emotions, melt away muscular aches and pains, and endow one with optimal health. The breathing exercises is an aspect of this practice’s mystery that allows us full deep breaths which raise and fill the stomach and makes use of gravity to push gently the air out as we breathe out just like little babies do when sleeping.

We can start by pressing our tongue on the upper palette of our mouth just behind our upper teeth while gently breathing with our nose, and at the same time relaxing our body as we breathe. Start to become conscious of where your breath begins and ends. Are you pulling your breath downward to your stomach filling it first or is your chest rising first? You will know the answer by placing one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your chest, while you deeply breathe in through your nose and breathe out gently through your nose. Breathe a few more times if you find yourself breathing from your chest. Imagine your breath coming in through your nose and flowing down into your stomach. Imagine your stomach inflating like a beach ball, and imagine when breathing out, you use gravity to allow the stomach to fall gently towards your spine. Perfect, you have just done Qigong breathing.

The other aspect of Qigong wherein we utilize the tools and wisdom of qigong training to gather more life force or qi is known as Cultivation.

Qigong stance

Pelvic tuck forward, feet shoulder width apart while standing, knees bent slightly, toes aligned with your shoulders while facing straight forward and relaxing your buttocks while your stand straight as if you’re rooted like a tree planted firmly into the ground. With elbows bent, place your arms at your sides and your palms should face the outer part of your thighs keeping space between your fingers. Now visualize that you’re carrying under each arm a bag of rice. Maintain the Qigong deep breathing, and be aware as you breathe, your stomach rising and notice when breathing out, it gently falls back toward your spine. Relax your hands, arms, chest, and shoulders, maintaining a rounded shape with your arms at the sides and palms facing the outer part of your thigh and relax at the legs, buttocks, and waist. Next move out your hands in front on the level of your bellybutton, align the finger tips as you make a rounded shape with your arms as if you’re hugging a person. Then relax your shoulders and keep on doing for nine deep breaths, the Qigong deep stomach breathing.

At this point inhale and raise your arms outward laterally and upward towards the sky with your palms facing high up over your head. Bend your elbows as you exhale and lower your arms down to your front with your palms facing down. Perform this activity a few times. This is known as pulling down the heavens movement and it’s designed to purify your energy downward to the ground. This exercise can help lower high blood pressure, headaches, and stress. When treating high blood pressure, perform a longer exhale and a shorter inhale and as well as the movement of pulling down the heavens.

Finally, we’ll end the Qigong practice by bringing our two hands onto our bellybutton one over the other. Concentrate on the area under your hands and feel the warmth generated by your hands focused into the center of your bellybutton. Imagine the sun glowing brightly from your hands into the center of your belly button filling your lower stomach with brilliant light and gentle warmth. Perform 3 more Qigong deep breaths, with your bellybutton covered by your hands. Good work, you have just cultivated your qi for health successfully within just a few short moments.

Moxibustion Is A Healing Art To Treat And Prevent Flu Strains And Cold

Moxibustion is an alternative healing art that uses heat from a burning dried plant called “moxa” which is placed very close to the surface of the skin. It works by invigorating and warming the flow of blood and energy (Chi) in the body to remove certain pathogenic elements.

Moxa is often derived from the dried leaves of the Artemesia vulgaris or Artemesia argyi plant, aka Chinese mugwort although it can be made out of other substances as well.

How is Moxibustion administered?

Generally, moxibustion practitioners in the U.S. hold a stick of burning moxa stick very near the skin careful to avoid the stick from touching the surface of the patient’s skin.

The moxa stick is made by compressing the moxa material into a pole or stick or pole, making it look like a big cigar that can be ignited and allowed to smolder, generating a therapeutic type of extremely penetrating heat.

The flaming moxa stick is hovered over the site of treatment usually, though not always, associated with specific acupuncture points or acupoints. The moxa stick’s glowing end is held about one or a couple of inches above the skin surface until the site becomes saturated with warmth and reddens.

What can patients expect from the treatment?

Patients undergoing moxibustion therapy often experience an unexpected inundation of warmth that rapidly travels along a certain pathway (that oftentimes correspond to the jing luo meridian being treated) away from the area of treatment. This suggests a positive result, since this is a sign that the flow of xue and Chi has been released from the meridian.

What are the uses of moxibustion?

Moxibustion is used for:

  • Treatment and prevention against flu strains and cold
  • Conditions affecting women including breech presentation in late term pregnancy
  • Irregular bowel movement and digestive conditions
  • Pain caused by arthritis or injury, particularly when the application of heat leads to natural pain relief

Practitioners often perform moxibustion and Tarzana acupuncture together in the same treatment session proper to the diagnosis and plan of treatment. They think that when used together, the treatments augment each other’s effectiveness.

Moxibustion can be easily performed at home, not like acupuncture, which is often done in a clinic setting by a qualified acupuncturist. Chinese moxibustion practitioners, usually help teach their patients to use moxa for self-administration to boost the effects of the treatments between appointment sessions.

What smell does moxibustion create?

One small disadvantage of moxibustion therapy is the odor and smoke it produces. While there are “smokeless” forms of moxa, when burned, the chosen real moxa (produced from mugwort) produces a lot of smoke. Many TCM clinics are properly well equipped with a good air purification and ventilation system ventilation, so this is not a major issue.

Nevertheless, the prevailing smoke generated smells unfortunately a bit like marijuana. Many US practitioners of TCM, place signs in their office walls informing visitors and patients about the real nature of the smell that they may be smelling.

Study Shows That Acupressure Decreases Persistent Fatigue In Women With Breast Cancer

A new study has found that acupressure helped decrease persistent fatigue in women who have had breast cancer therapy.

One of the most common longstanding effects of breast cancer therapy is fatigue. About 1/3 of women suffer from moderate to extreme fatigue a decade after their therapy has ended.

The JAMA Oncology published the study that discovered acupressure has the ability to lessen fatigue by 27% – 34% after six weeks of treatment. 67% of women who used a certain type of healing method called relaxing acupressure attained normal levels of fatigue.

University of Michigan associate research professor of family medicine Suzanna Zick says “Across various types of chronic diseases, particularly cancer, fatigue is an underappreciated symptom. It can have a substantial impact on a person’s quality of life. Patients can do acupressure themselves and this therapy is easy to learn “.

Acupressure originated from a healing system known as traditional Chinese medicine or TCM. TCM involves the application of pressure with a device, thumbs, or fingers over specific pressure points on the body. Scientists examined two forms of acupressure: stimulating acupressure, which is utilized to increase energy and relaxing acupressure, which is used to traditionally treat insomnia. These two methods differ by which acupoints on the body are activated.

Researchers examined 424 breast cancer survivors from the Michigan Tumor Registry. These patients were randomly designated to usual care, which involves regular sleep-management methods, stimulating acupressure, or relaxing acupressure. The women learned how to locate and stimulate the pressure points so that they could do it at home once a day for one and a half months.

Both acupressure therapies lad sustained meaningful improvements in fatigue at the end of the study. However, it was only relaxing acupressure that improved the patients quality of sleep (that included overall quality of life and disrupted sleep).

Past research suggests acupuncture in Tarzana might work in relieving fatigue. Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not acupuncture therapies; in addition, it requires people go visit a therapist one or two times a week for at a month and a half.

On the other hand, acupressure proved it can be done at home and can be easy to learn in this study.

The subjects in the trial had 15 minutes of training and were able to locate precisely the proper pressure points and utilize the right amount of pressure. Some females experienced slight bruising at the selected acupressure points. About 12% of the subjects did not continue the study because they thought it was very time-intensive.

According to Zick, “Acupressure can be a low-cost option for the treatment of fatigue given the brief training required to learn it”.

To teach acupressure, the researchers have developed a mobile application. They intend to study why acupressure affects fatigue and whether it also works for patients in active therapy and with cancers other than cancers of the breast.

Acupressure Massage Therapy And Acupressure Massage Chairs

With an acupressure massage therapy, you can clean toxins and waste material that have accumulated out of the various systems of your body. This type of massage is a product of the ancient healing art of acupuncture but unlike acupuncture in Cleveland stimulates healing without the needles. Acupressure massage therapists administer light to medium pressure on selected trigger points on your body. This form of treatment bolsters the Chi or vital energy of the body in order to optimize immune function and restore balance in the body. Science has now given us the ability to identify and stimulate the acupressure points of the body via modern massage chair brands which are available in the market today.

Acupressure massage uses techniques that can liberate blocked energy in the meridians or energy channels of your body. Scientists have been able to prove the existence of Chi and the meridians using electrical techniques. For thousands of years, practitioners of Chinese medicine have been aware of the existence of these channels. Based on their observation, they discovered that certain junctures or centers can become blocked or inhibited causing imbalance in the body. Through the use of hard, medium or light pressure on selected pressure points in the body, the flow of energy can be restored.

Acupressure massage therapy can be administered through vibration, tapping, and kneading massage procedures. Combined with the activation of the acupressure points, these procedures can be implemented throughout the body. Acupressure massage therapy works by applying moderate pressure through rapid circular movements on selected trigger points in the body. The trigger points are then stimulated and body massage is performed to allow movement of blocked energy. Energy flow is then restored and the body returns to healthy balance.

Listed below are just a few benefits of massage acupressure therapy:

• Relieves pain
• Reduces stress
• Treats muscles tension and aches
• Removes toxins that have accumulated in the body

As toxins gradually build up in the body, it causes the muscles to harden. This stiffness adds adverse pressure on the lymphatic and circulatory systems and causes imbalances in the body putting it in disharmony.

Technology has given us massage chairs that can accurately locate the trigger points in our body. These points can be mapped in our bodies by software programs built in these chairs. Acupressure massage chairs can be programmed to specifically suit the user’s needs. There are over a hundred trigger points on our backs alone. These chairs are incredibly efficient in activating the acupressure points and in implementing massage techniques such as vibration, percussion, and kneading to the user. They can be quite helpful in relieving aliments such as soreness in the back, shoulder, and neck and in treating aches and pains.

Some acupressure massage chairs are designed with air compression systems that target the lower body. These systems come with uniquely designed airbags with special nodes to activate trigger points in the lower areas of your body. When turned on, the air compression system causes inflation of the airbag which causes the node to gently push into the trigger point. The trigger points are usually found in the back of the calves and bottom of the feet. When stimulated, these trigger points can free built up tension resulting in the relaxation of the body.

Current studies dealing with acupressure massage therapy suggest its effectiveness in the relief of digestive problems, constipation, insomnia, dizziness, motion sickness, and headaches. Western medicine is just starting to realize the incredible healing power of acupressure, which the ancient Chinese have already known for thousands of years. Using modern technology to manufacture reliable massage chair recliners has led to a very useful and efficient way of treating bodily ailments using the techniques of acupressure massage therapy. To manage stress in your body and to help you relax, make it a point to go for acupressure massage treatment on a daily basis. Each day, stress can be a major factor that can wear down your body and weaken you immune system; therefore it must be periodically alleviated.

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.

Conclusion

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.

Finding Your Center

Are you feeling disconnected from your body? Imagine spending 50 or even 80 hours a week in an office, extremely fatigued, and hunched over a computer. Working ourselves to death absolutely produces zero benefits in terms of general health and well being. In fact, it can ruin our lives and the lives of people who love and care for us

By neglecting the body, we pay a high price in our mental and physical health.

Getting centered is one of the most effective ways to connect with our bodies. Centering is an essential aspect of mind ~ physical practices such as dance, tai chi, martial arts yoga, and sports. Our center is called by different names: In Sanskrit, it’s called the Lower Chakra, in Japanese, Hara, in Chinese, Dantian, and the belly or gut in the United States.

The Location of the Center

The center lies in the middle of the body, approximately a couple of inches below our umbilicus or belly button. It is where our stability and balance originates. Strozzi Institute founder Richard Strozzi-Heckler said, “When people are centered, they become utterly relaxed. In this manner, they get an ally with gravity, rather than resisting it”.

You may recall a time when you felt grounded in your body and deeply relaxed even though things around you are beginning to turn chaotic. Maybe, you’ve felt time slowing down. This is the mystery of your center – the place or state of mind where your body and mind converge.

However, this center tends to be a moving one. Wherever you direct your consciousness, your center goes. The center could be in your head if you are deep in thought. It might be in your chest if you’re experiencing low heavy emotions.

The mind also becomes still and quiet when your center is in the midpoint of your body. Rather than thinking ahead to the future or dwelling in the past, you need to stay rooted in the present. Accept who where you are and who you are unconditionally without trying to change things. Chuang-Tzu said, “Let your mind be free and flow with whatever may happen: keep centered and accept whatever you are doing and whoever you are.”

The following is a list of basic recommendations for getting centered right now:

1. Align your body by standing up or sitting straight.
2. Take few slow and deep breaths.
3. Focus your attention on a point two inches below your belly button.
4. Allow your body to completely relax from head to toe and free any tension.

A few people think that, in theory, this sounds great, but do they have the time to perform this?
Tom Crum said that, any time can be the time to discover your center.

As an example, when a person takes a walk, with each step he takes, he may become more conscious of his center. From time to time, press your index finger on a point two inches below your umbilicus. When you do this, imagine that you’re pushing a button that energizes your center.

One other ideal time to become centered is when you’re stuck in traffic. Rather than getting stressing out, Crum recommends using the seat belt to center yourself. You can use the clicking sound of the seatbelt to remind you to connect with your center. Use a belt buckle, if you’re not in a car. Adjust the buckle so that it is comfortably placed on your center.

Most people unfortunately are off-centered for most of the day. So they become stressed and easily irritated which are surely signs that they have lost their center.

To restore your center, select certain times of the day to take centering breaks. Try it and see what happens! These times can be a great opportunity to regain the mystery of your center!

“Eastern Healing Solutions, LLC
10875 Grandview St #2200
Overland Park, KS 66210
(913) 549-4322
http://www.overlandparkacupuncturist.com

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.