Postpartum Depression And Traditional Chinese Medicine

A baby’s birth can be an exciting and joyous event but some women may suffer from postpartum disorders following childbirth. This condition can negatively affect, sometimes severely, the mental health of a woman. PPD or postpartum depression is the most common experience women experience after giving birth and it’s mainly caused by hormonal changes occurring during blood loss and during post pregnancy (perinatal depression). Factors such as loss of free time, feeling overwhelmed, and loss of sleep, contribute to PPD.

TCM and Postpartum Depression

In TCM or traditional Chinese medicine, PPD is often explained in terms of Blood: the loss and exertion of blood that happen at childbirth lead to a TCM condition known as deficient Blood. This leads to fatigue, insomnia, mild anxiety, and depression: mentally, the mother may feel unable to cope. She may feel guilty, lose any libido, and become tearful. A more extreme type of deficiency can result in a more serious type of depression with more agitation, mental restlessness, insomnia, and extreme anxiety.

By definition, post-natal depression is depression that emerges soon after childbirth in a previously mentally-healthy woman. It is NOT post-natal depression if the woman was already suffering depression prior to pregnancy and childbirth.

We require adequate body fluids (Yin) – semen, mucus, blood, etc. – to sustain normal internal functions and healthy internal organs. We will become hungry or thirsty and feel dry and hot without this moisture. Because of this, there are not enough body fluids (Yin) to moisten all tissues. This may then lead to problems such as emotional distress, excess acid conditions, blood deficiency, and endocrine imbalances.

Yang deficiency leads to low endocrine function, fatigue, and even infertility. This deficiency can develop if the body lacks Yang energy (by nature, Yang is moving and is the energy that moves Yin fluids throughout the body). The eggs become weak and unable to settle in the uterus; menses either stops altogether (amenorrhea) or becomes irregular. The energies Yin and Yang are vital in supporting life (the fetus a woman carries). Yin is responsible for healthy eggs, sperm, and hormones; Yang is the force that supplies moving energy that keeps a woman pregnant. Hence, any disproportions existing in these processes before the woman becomes pregnant may be aggravated upon birthing and further develop into more imbalances that can manifest physically as well as emotionally.

In TCM, PPD is often clarified in terms of Blood: the loss and exertion of blood that happen at childbirth, the lack of sleep and appetite that often follows delivery, and the demands of breast-feeding, bring about a state of Blood and Qi deficiency, and perhaps Liver Qi Stagnation.

Blood is fundamental for the functions of the Heart; in other words, in order to carry out the heart’s physiological functions, it needs to be nourished by Blood. Also, the Heart is where the Shen (consciousness, mind) resides and when Blood- Heart is deficient, the Shen has no residence (Heart isn’t nourishing Blood so the physiological responsibility of housing the Mind is damaged) and the Mind becomes anxious and depressed. This leads to fatigue, insomnia, mild anxiety, and a state of depression: mentally, the mother may feel guilty or angry, loses her libido, becomes tearful, or feels unable to cope. From deficient Blood, other problems may crop up: in women who are susceptible to deficient Yin and who are also predisposed to deficient Yin, after some time, their condition may give rise to Empty Heat and Yin deficiency. This can lead to an even more severe type of depression with more intense agitation, mental restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety.

After childbirth, issues of psychotic, phobic, obsessive or neurotic behavior can come about usually due to Blood stagnancy vexing the Mind (rather than Heat-Phlegm, which is more common). In such instances, the woman is not only confused but also depressed. She may exhibit phobias, obsessive behaviors and, in severe cases, may exhibit schizophrenic and even psychotic behavior. She may be offensive and aggressive, may have delusions and hallucinations, display suicidal ideations, and even harbor harmful intents against her baby.

PPD Pathology and Etiology

While several patterns of disharmony exist, we will turn our attention on Blood pathologies: 1) Constitutional Predisposition to Emotional-Mental Problems, 2) Blood Stasis post Childbirth, and 3) Excessive Blood Loss during Childbirth:

  1. Constitutional Predisposition to Mental-Emotional Problems – Often the reason for the occurrence of mental problems post childbirth, a constitutional predisposition to emotional-mental problems leads to signs that may include a tongue with a deep Heart crack, a “hammer-shaped” tongue, eyes without shen or eyes lacking any glitter, and an extremely swollen tongue with a extremely sticky fur.
  1. Blood stasis post childbirth – This condition frequently occurs in women who have a past history of Blood stasis. In the Penetrating Vessel, Blood stagnancy rebels upwards and vexes the Heart (the organ by which the Penetrating Vessel flows): blood stagnancy blocks and vexes the Mind as the Heart houses the Mind and governs Blood. This is an example of Mind Blocked and Unsettled.
  1. Excessive blood loss during childbirth – This imbalance often leads to deficient Blood; since the Heart governs Blood and houses the consciousness (Mind), Heart Blood deficiency is unable to house the Mind. In women with a history Blood deficiency, this condition may develop even if the blood loss during childbirth is not that quite heavy. Blood Deficiency will lead to depression that, in turn, leads a case of Mind Weakened; if the Blood deficiency leads to insomnia and anxiety, it may result in Mind Unsettled and Weakened.

Clinical Signs and Treatment

Blood is central to PPD pathology: this may be either due to Blood stasis, deficient Blood turning into deficient Yin, or deficient Blood. For proper diagnosis and treatment, we very much recommend that the woman consult with a doctor of Chinese medicine.

Conclusion

PPD works extremely well Chinese nutritional therapy, herbal medicine, moxibustion, and acupuncture in Boca Raton. Almost all cases can be treated within a relatively short period of time.

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The State Of Silent Illumination

One Buddhist practice that has existed before the birth of Huineng (638–713) is a form of meditation called Silent illumination. Referred to as mozhao in the Chan tradition, silent illumination is symbolized by the Chinese characters mo meaning (silent) and zhao, meaning (illumination).

A synchronized practice of luminosity and quiescence or clarity and stillness, silent illumination is akin to the practice of vipashyana and shamatha, as long as we don’t consider them subsequent to each other, practicing shamatha first and then vipashyana. There is illumination in silence; clarity is always present in stillness.

We Are Already Enlightened

Usually, there are no stages or steps referred in the Chan tradition. Its core tenet is that, at heart, we are awake; our mind is originally without vexations, fixations, and abiding and essentially is without stages and divisions. This is the premise of the Chan perspective of sudden enlightenment. If the nature of our mind is not already free this would mean that only after we have practiced can we can become enlightened, which is not so. Since it’s conceivable to achieve enlightenment, we may be also at risk losing it as well.

We think about a room as spacious naturally but oftentimes, we arrange the furniture in the room that doesn’t impact its natural spaciousness. Though they may be temporary, we may build walls to segregate the room. And it won’t affect the room’s intrinsic spaciousness no matter if we leave it messy, cluttered or clean. Mind, by nature, is naturally spacious as well. While we may get caught up in our aversions and desires, we are naturally not affected by those vexations. We are inherently free.

Practice, therefore, is not about generating enlightenment in the tradition of Chan. One might pause to think, “What then am I doing practicing here?” The answer is that practice can indeed help tidy up the “furniture” in the “room.” You remove the furniture by, in a manner of speaking, not attaching to your thoughts. Rather than fixating on the tables, chairs, etc., once your mind is clean, you’ll be able to perceive its spaciousness. Only then can you rearrange the furniture in any way you want— for the benefit of others in the room and not merely for yourself.

Sitting without depending on your mind, body, tongue, nose, ears, or eyes is the ultimate way to pursue silent illumination. One sits without falling into a stupor, fabricating anything, or abiding anywhere. One neither enters into meditative intentness nor avail themselves of scattered thoughts. Mind simply is still and wakeful, without delusion and filled with clarity at this very moment. For a lot of practitioners, however, such a standard may be beyond reach.

Silent Illumination – The Three Steps

Master Sheng Yen’s style of silent illumination practice can be roughly divided into three stages: concentrated mentality, unified mentality, and no-mentality. There are infinite depths within each stage. The stages are not necessarily sequential nor does one need to go through all of them

Concentrated Mentality

Learning to sit in an uncontrived way without attempting to acquire things is the initial stage of practice. One simply sits with simplicity and clarity in the moment. This is known as zhiguan dazuo In Chinese, which translates to “just mind sitting yourself.”

To just sit is to realize you are sitting. Can you feel the presence of your whole body – its weight, posture, and other sensation when you’re sitting? At the very least, “just sitting” implies you clearly are aware that the complete body is there. It does not require minding any specific area of your body—just your posture, arms or legs — or experiencing every feeing of the body. The notion is to be conscious of the overall aggregate of your sitting experience. You know that your body is sitting which means your mind is sitting, as well. So, as you’re sitting, your mind and body are together. You’re not following the technique if you aren’t aware that you are sitting.

This technique is different from counting breaths from one to ten, which is very concrete – it is subtle. That may not mean there is nothing to do; definitely, there is something to do. Sit!

This technique does not entail scanning the body constantly, observing thoughts, or contemplating. It rather necessitates the process of sitting, staying moment to moment to moment with that reality. Your mind and body are together naturally when you mind your sitting. One doesn’t imagine the body or watch it, as if they’re looking in from the outside, which is some type of mental construct.

Your body might be drenched in sweat when you intensely and single-mindedly practice for half an hour, without gaps. But this tense, conventional mode of practicing the technique is not appropriate for a lot of today’s practitioners since most of them are already extremely stressed on a daily basis. (Another impediment of the tense way is that it isn’t sustainable after a prolonged amount of time, at most, thirty minutes to an hour.) Therefore, it is often recommended to apply the technique in a relaxed manner, whilst continuing to be fully consciousness that you’re sitting.

Learning to and getting to know your body can liberate you from negative emotions and familiar proclivities. One may observe that when wandering thoughts crop up, some areas of your body tighten up. This is also the case for deep-seated emotions, which are stuck in specific areas of the body. People often lead lives that that cause their mind and bodies to split; their bodies do one thing while their minds are elsewhere. When this initial stage is practiced, it can help unify the mind and body.

When a person is not caught up with wandering thoughts and is clear and wakeful in each moment, he lessens of his own free will. He lessens because he has a discriminating mind, which is attached to self-grasping. Your astute mind subsides because, as you are sitting, you’re conscious of the wholeness of the body. Without your thoughts wandering, you’re not grasping at things and are not repulsed or beguiled by certain sensations. In the first stage of silent illumination, the concentration developed isn’t a one dimensional mental focus but a clear, natural, and open presence. It is wisdom combined with concentration.

Unified Mind

Your straitjacketed sense of self also lessens whenever your astute mind wanes. Your sense of awareness—which is initially the completeness of the body—opens up naturally to include the outer environment. Outside and inside become one. You may still notice at the onset, that your mind follows various occurrences within the environment, such as someone moving or that a sound is coming from a certain direction. But these distinctions dissipate as you continue. You are conscious of situations around you, but they don’t leave traces. You are in the here and no longer sense that the environment is out there. The environment is just is and it does not appear to be a burden or a bother to you. The environment is you, sitting, if you’re sitting. If you have risen from your seat to walk, then the environment still is you, in all your actions. This second phase of silent illumination is an experience called the oneness of others and of self.

Can you urinate or get up to have a drink of water? Yes. Can you still hear sounds? Absolutely! Is there the process of thought? Definitely! Although thoughts are not self-referential, they arise whenever you need them to respond to the world. Compassion has no connection to emotions although compassion naturally arises whenever it is required. Around you, there’s a close intimacy with everything that is beyond descriptions and words. When you urinate, the urine, body, and toilet are not distinct.

You clearly see what needs to be done in this stage. Whenever you respond, you do so without any opposition or reference point. If you hear a bird, you are a bird. Whenever you interact with someone, your mind doesn’t stir. Things are a part of you, you are part of them, and you see them as one. It’s not that you believe, “I’m really big and they are part of me! The whole world is included!” Neither is it that you dissipate into the outer environment, not knowing anymore who you are. It is just that the feeling of self-reference is lessened and the onuses of typical vexations have disappeared albeit temporarily.

In this second stage, there are deeper, more progressive states. When you enter a state in which you are the environment, sitting, the environment may become infinite and boundless, ushering in a state of oneness with the universe. The whole world is your body sitting there. Space is infinite and time quickly passes by. You are not interested in the specifics of the environment. There is just a sense of the infinite and an openness of clarity and mind. While this is still not the awareness of no-self; it nevertheless, is the experience of great self.

Three more subtle experiences may arise at this point all associated with the experience of great self. Infinite light is the first. You are the light, and you experience a feeling of clarity, infinity, and oneness.

Infinite sound is the next experience. This does not refer to the sound of dogs, cars, or anything similar. Nor is it similar to music or any sound that you have ever heard. It is an elemental and primordial sound that is unified with the experience of vastness. In all places it is harmonious, without attribution or reference.

Voidness is the third and final experience although this not the experience of no-self that would make up enlightenment nor is it self-nature’s emptiness. This is a voidness that is spacious with nothing but the pure vastness of space. While you may not sense an experience of self, a subtle kind of object and self still exists.

These very deep states are progressively associated with the samadhi states. Whenever a person emerges from them, they must not try to think anymore about them because they can be extremely alluring. Say to yourself, “This state is not it; it’s just ordinary.” Or else, it can result to another kind of attachment.

Stillness

For a few minutes or a several weeks, you still might be in the first phase of the second stage of silent illumination. Nothing hinders you during this time; you feel the environment is you and when you are sitting, the environment is sitting; you feel attached to the environment when you’re walking about. In the second stage’s later phase, you might even believe you are already enlightened because the more profound levels of oneness can be extremely deep. Sometimes, practitioners think they have all of a sudden understood all the scriptures or have become smarter.

All the wonderful states of clarity can give you a strong belief in the practicality of buddhadharma and the potential of being in a state of zero vexations. They still however, do not constitute the third stage’s clarity—the awareness of silent illumination. Become connected to any of these states and you’ll be further from them. You need to let all of them go.

Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.

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The Growing Popularity Of Battlefield Acupuncture For Civilian And Military Applications

Pain is an inevitable consequence of military service for many servicemembers.

Long after their wounds have healed, military personnel hurt in battle can eventually suffer from chronic pain. For pain to develop an injury is not even a prerequisite; muscle and joint pain may develop over time due to the harshness of carrying equipment and heavy packs day after day.

At the battlefield acupuncture clinic, a participant sticks acupuncture needles into the ear of a volunteer patient. Participants at the workshop have all the opportunity to practice and to observe others practice the technique.

By studying the servicemembers deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, researchers have concluded that the rate of return-to-duty for musculoskeletal disorders such as spinal pain is lower compared to any other condition except mental illness. Of the servicemembers who left their units who were diagnosed with back pain, only 13 percent returned to duty.

One of the biggest concerns is to treat pain on the battlefield in a manner that does not affect the ability of servicemembers to do their job.  This concern also one of the reasons that among military doctors, the use of battlefield acupuncture has grown more and more in recent years.

Doctors and patients are more than willing to try acupuncture in Fort Lauderdale if the insertion of small needles to the ear of a patient can bring about relief where prescription analgesics (painkillers) have failed.

Dr. Richard Niemtzow, a retired Air Force Colonel, was a practicing radiation oncologist and was also the 27th Medical Group’s chief of staff at the Cannon Air Force Base when someone put a brochure regarding acupuncture treatment on his desk.

Niemtzow said, “What got my attention was the fact that I often treat problems with lasers on acupuncture points. This aroused my interest, and eventually, I decided to take a course on medical acupuncture for doctors at UCLA.”

When it came to the management of pain, the doctor found the procedures he learned in class worked very well in practice that he decided to open up an acupuncture clinic in New Jersey at the McGuire Air Force Base. According to Niemtzow, “It immediately grew into one of the most popular clinics on the base”.

“Because I could address chronic headaches and chronic back pain problems, there were a lot of referrals.” Niemtzow explained, “They were referring them to me rather than referring them to Walter Reed.” He could see patients walking out of the clinic enjoying relief or even complete elimination of their pain for hours, weeks and even longer.

Auricular Acupuncture

Dr. Niemtzow developed the auricular acupuncture treatment in 2001. Because of its ability to administer it in less than favorable conditions, he named it battlefield acupuncture. The procedure entails the insertion of five very small gold needles into specific acupoints in the ear of a patient until the pain diminishes.

At the acupuncture clinic, a patient volunteer is utilized to show how five gold needles inserted at specified acupoints on the ear can lead to a significant reduction in pain.

Niemtzow says, “If you’re a doctor, it’s easy to get to the ear. And people do not want to remove their clothes.” Even if only 10 needles are used and within a very localized body part, the process will lead to a complete or partial alleviation of pain.

It can also be a very easy gateway by which other doctors can be trained in acupuncture therapy. Dr. Niemtzow is presently working in the Joint Base Andrews at the Air Force Acupuncture Center. He has been awarded with a $5.4 million funding and his job is to educate as many doctors as possible who want to learn the procedure.

Niemtzow explains, “Doctors may expect a course lasting three to four hours, during which they study about the history of the development of the protocol, learn where the acupoints are situated in the ear, and how they should handle these tiny needles—measuring millimeters lengthwise — basically sticking them into predetermined acupoints on the ear.” He added, “The doctors would learn how to practice safety techniques and learn about potential side effects.”

Around 500 doctors from the VA and military services have finished the course. Niemtzow was even a guest lecturer in Beijing, China where he also taught a course on battlefield acupuncture.  The Chinese military were so impressed by his knowledge and grasp of the technique that they invited him as well as six other military doctors to visit a Chinese air force base to demonstrate the procedure to their doctors.

Controlling the Overuse of Opioids

These days, it may come as a pleasant surprise to many that a lot of military doctors are willing to accept what is still claimed by many to be pseudo-science. However, the response of military doctors is that they’re willing to try any alternative treatment so long as it halts the tide of opioid use and overuse among veterans and in the military.

From 2001 to 2009, prescription analgesic abuse and prescriptions for powerful analgesics rose fourfold and is the second biggest reason servicemembers enter the substance abuse programs of the military.

Dr Nimetzow says, “The primary reason for this entire project is to use acupuncture to help lessen the use of opioids.” Is it cost effective? Can it be a great substitute to some habit-forming painkilling drug?” “Is there a quick return to duty? And when returning to duty, will they be safe?

Since the funding comes with a timeline of only two years, Niemtzow will need to answer these questions fast. The center will monitor doctors who have taken the course and observe how they integrate acupuncture into their own clinics.

Niemtzow says, “There was a resistance to acupuncture in the beginning. Most people consider it as pseudo-science and medical schools do not offer courses for it”. “But for healthcare providers, results are all that matters. So when doctors start to see patients getting better, they pay attention.” It became a huge success because the results can be duplicated, it is easy to learn and could be learned within a few hours, it is inexpensive, and very portable.”

However, not all people respond to this treatment.  There have been patients who found the treatment ineffective. Nonetheless, doctors who have adopted this protocol have found it works very well in patients for whom drugs have proven ineffective. Prescription drugs and acupuncture have also been combined so that patients can reduce their intake of painkillers.

According to Niemtzow “Every day, we’re getting requests from military bases across the country and even from other countries requesting to be educated in the therapy”.

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The Benefits Of A Chinese Style Exercise Workout

A holistic time-honored daily Chinese exercise workout is comprised of techniques and exercises for your spirit, mind, and body. Why is holistic exercising important? It is important in the sense that if you don’t have control over your emotions and mind, you simply don’t enjoy harmonious and optimal health even if you have a flexible, toned, and strong body that may be desirable and beneficial for your appearance – you’re only doing a third of what you could and should be doing for your wellbeing! This has been known by Eastern martial artists, medical practitioners, Daoists, and Eastern yogis for at least a couple of millennia.

An average everyday Chinese exercise workout schedule is made up of:

  • Stretching & loosening exercises, warm ups
  • Strengthening workouts
  • Self-massage therapies
  • Meditation & breathing techniques

The benefits of a daily Chinese style exercise workout are varied and include:

  • Sound sleep
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Good balance & posture
  • Smooth digestion
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Clear eyes & skin
  • Balanced emotions
  • A flexible, toned, and strong body
  • A greater general sense of well-being
  • A calm mind and more

Will I benefit from an everyday Chinese style exercise workout?

Chinese health exercises can provide tremendous benefits to all people regardless of state of health, sex, age, and race. The techniques and exercises are grounded on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the continuously practiced and most ancient medical system in the world. If these techniques and exercises didn’t work, they simply wouldn’t be in use anymore. You obviously need to try Chinese style exercises for yourself if you haven’t done so before. All you need is a willingness to enhance your wellbeing and health, set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day for the exercise and a proper place to practice – no training partners, equipment, classes, or gyms necessary!

To your health!

Harmony Wellness Center
110 N Orlando Ave
Maitland, FL 32751
(407) 234-6454
http://www.harmonywellnesscenter.com/

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Avoid Dehydration By Adding This To Plain Water

In this article, I’m going to be sharing with you the benefits of one very common resource and one thing that you can add to plain water that’s going to give it a mega boost, especially if you suffer from symptoms like dry mouth, thirst, imbalance, dry skin, fatigue, lack of energy, yellow urination and even hunger and dizziness. All of these symptoms are directly related to dehydration.

Water is so important to our health. It makes up 50% to 60% of our body and our system. Without water, we are going to suffer from those symptoms and many other that we may not even know are related to dehydration. I’m going to be real with you, plain water just isn’t enough. It doesn’t have one of the key components that our cells need to feel full and replenished.

This vital resource is going to act like a key that’s going to unlock the cell door so that the cell can then take in the water. This lock and key metaphor is one that is used for several resources that cells need, so it’s just not specific to water. Once our cells have that key to unlock the door, then they can really start absorbing water.

So, I’ll say it again, plain water just isn’t enough. It is enough sometimes, but we really need to include that key in order to reap the full benefits of having ourselves absorb the water. So what is this one key that I keep alluding to? It’s the sour flavor! In Chinese medicine, the sour flavor has been used for thousands of years as an astringent.

Imagine when you bite into a lemon and it really makes your mouth pucker. Everything kind of closes and you go, “Whew!” That is the sour flavor astringing into your body. It’s going to help your body hold on to resources.

Western medicine confirms this to be true with the sour flavor. Research has shown that the sour flavor not only helps ourselves absorb fluid and act as that key that’s going to unlock the cellular door, but as a direct result, the sour flavor also helps with your balance, as well as with any dizziness, vertigo and muscle cramps.

Your cells need water, which is going to replenish your muscles, which are going to help your tissues, skin and even your brain. Other foods that possess the sour flavor are going to be obviously lemons, limes, grapefruit, sauerkraut, apple cider, vinegar and even green apples. One of the easiest ways that I suggest to my patients that they get the sour flavor in and help unlock that cellular door for reabsorption is with lemon water.

If you have a small lemon, you might want to consider adding half of the lemon to your water, or if you’ve got a larger lemon, add one fourth. Just simply fill your glass with water, 8 to 12 ounces is best, squeeze the lemon in and enjoy. I recommend not drinking water cold. Drink your water at room temperature or if you like, drink it warm.

The benefits of lemon in particular, besides not only being easy, will also include a high volume of vitamin C, which is going to help increase your immunity and help keep you healthy. Some of the simplest things that we have available to us are some of the best that are going to help keep our body healthy and strong. Lemon water is something that I’ve been doing for the past 15 years and I rely on it.

If I have a glass in the morning, and I’d then proceed the rest of the day drinking regular plain water, there is enough of that key sour element in me to continuously unlock the cell door so that my cells can absorb the plain water. But I will crave that sour flavor throughout the day continuously and some days more than others.

So I grab my lemons or I have some grapefruit juice and I give my body what it’s craving for.

Megan Dauphin is a California board certified acupuncturist and herbalist, with specialty certifications in infertility, sport’s medicine, and orthopedics.

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Chinese Medicine Can Help Improve Energy Balance In Your Entire Being

The notion of energy balance is based on medical systems that have been used in East Asia for thousands of years. All of these systems believe that there is a nonphysical and subtle energy that circulates and permeates the entire body.

This energy is called Chi or Qi in traditional Chinese medicine. The words that best describe this force would be vital energy or life force in English. The difference in the energy that you feel when you are healthy and when you have the flu is an example of changes in this form of energy.

Subtle energy in Chinese medicine is thought to be disseminated throughout the body via energy channels called meridians. To optimize and harmonize the flow of this energy is one of the most important goals of all energy-balance techniques. This is achieved by releasing or eliminating blockages to that flow. Blocked or obstructed Qi leads to stress, anxiety, tension and eventually illness. Chinese medicine actually traces all illnesses back to different degrees and types of blockages in the flow of life force.

Practicing energy balance techniques such as tai chi or yoga regularly can help release blockages to the natural flow of energy. It also can be accomplishedby receiving treatments from healing techniques that free up obstructions to subtle energy. This is especially true for acupuncture in Overland Park and for the various types of chiropractic and massage therapies.

The invisible “subtle body” or energy body,” which is the focus of Oriental medicine is closely associated with the physical body. It’s believed to offer a “template” or an energy matrix for the physical body. Energy balance exercises, on a strictly physical level, can help promote oxygenation and the flow of blood to the brain and tissues, stimulate the production of neurotransmitters and hormones, help the colon and kidneys in the body’s elimination process and boost arterial circulation.

However, the main goal of these energy balance techniques is to enhance mind-body integration and bring about balance and harmonious interrelationship among the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual facets of one’s total being. Wellness and wholeness are usually equated with each other. To the point one functions in a whole, integrated manner, a person can experience genuine well-being and fullness of health. To the point that the person is out of touch with the wholeness of his being, he or she will remain out of harmony with themselves and become prone to disorder, stress and anxiety.

Tai Chi

Designed to unite the mind and body, tai chi is an age-old form of exercise and movement that’s believed to have begun when a Chinese Taoist monk during the 13th century, watched a crane and a serpent fight. As the snake was being attacked by the crane, it would move its position to avoid the sharp talons and beak of the crane. From this observation, the monk created 13 moves that have been refined down through the centuries. Nowadays, millions of people in China are practicing tai chi. It is now one of the most widely practiced exercise in the world.

Tai chi is best seen as a type of moving meditation. It is made up of a set of movements that proceed gracefully and slowly, one movement flowing into another. These movements ground and strengthen the body whilst enhancing the flow of Qi. Students say that it imbibes the qualities of grace and fluidity; qualities that may be used to the way you live your whole life.

Since the movements are slowly performed, tai chi also teaches you how to slow down both in mind and body. Similar to meditation, tai chi can help you attain concentration, clarity and serenity. However, it is unlike meditation in that it imbibes a capacity to translate mental concentration and poise into movement.

Tai chi is similar to yoga in that it helps you to overcome blockages to the flow of your Qi as well as to help you massage your internal organs, strengthen your lower back and spinal cord, enhance the knees, loosenthe joints and other physical benefits. Since it is practiced with your full presence of mind and entire body, tai chi is a very effective and practical way to promote mind-body connection.

Tai chi classes are offered in martial art schools and health clubs. It is also offered in martial arts classes. There are other terrific ways to learn the basic movements such as tai chi video lessons.Thatis, if there are no classes offered near your area. The exercises are sometimes recommended as a complement to acupuncture therapies since it promotes the flow of Qi.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture came from China 3000 years ago a form of healing technique. Nowadays, it is widely practiced in North America and Europe. Similar to tai chi, acupuncture is based on the belief that health is determined by the proper and smooth flow of Qi, the subtle or vital energy that permeates all living things. Qi moves along meridians, with each meridian associated to a specific organ.

When the movement of energy is neither excessive nor restricted, the person enjoys good health. If the flow of energy is not balanced in either direction, both mental and physical symptoms of stress or disease may come about. For instance, fear is believed to be caused by excessive or blocked energy flow along the kidney energy channel. Acupuncture treatments are used to balance the kidney energy channels and other supporting energy channels to help alleviate fear.

In an acupuncture treatment, thin needles are inserted by the acupuncturist at certain points in the body. Most patients experience just a slight sensation but no pain when a needle is inserted into their body. The needles are usually left in place for at least 20 to 30 minutes. A few minutes after the needle is inserted, patients report feeling rejuvenated and very relaxed. Repeated treatment sessions two times a week for a few weeks is usually required to rectify a malady such as back pain, allergies or migraine headaches.

If one wishes to use acupuncture to help release their anxiety, regular sessions once a week or two times a week for several months are recommended. The acupuncturist will often use herbs in the form of capsules or teas, which the patient can make at home to boost the effects of the treatment. People who have a fear of needles can avail of acupressure or shiatsu massage. Both these therapies follow the same principles as acupuncture. Sometimes though, the balance and flow of energy along the energy channels can be enhanced by manual pressure instead of needles. Acupressure oftentimes is preferred because it is an inexpensive and simple form of energy balance approach used by many massage therapists. You can actually learn and perform acupressure on your own body.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic is a healing technique that strives to alleviate back pain caused by injury or stress. On a more simple level, it strives to boost health by optimizing the movement of energy signals down and up the spine and to other areas in the body. These include the various vital organs and the spinal cord. When a nerve signal is limited or weakened, the organ usually dysfunctions and produces symptoms that may range from pain to acute sickness. Spine misalignments may be due to injury although they are usually the result of stress.

Tight muscles under chronic stress can lead to the misalignment of the vertebrae. The spinal vertebrae may not continue their normal configuration even if the muscle tension is alleviated by massage or exercise. Hence, in order to bring about optimal levels of system function, a chiropractor needs to identify and rectify spinal misalignments, which can lead to the integrity of the whole body.

Chiropractic is useful for alleviating chronic tension regardless if it’s accompanied by pain. Occasionally visiting a chiropractor will likely lead to the improvement of your overall health. When looking for a qualified chiropractor within or near your area, try to get a referral from a relative or friend. If you don’twant to undergo direct spinal manipulations, there are some chiropractors who can perform non-manipulative types of adjustment, which is sometimes known as “gentle chiropractic.”

Massage

Massage is a healing therapeutic technique designed to enhance deep relaxation by means of masterful manipulation of the soft body tissues and muscles. Licensed and highly skilled massage therapists often accomplish 500 to 1000 hours of formal training in physiology, anatomy and other types of bodywork including shiatsu, acupressure, reflexology, deep tissue work and Swedish massage.

One can promote deep relaxation in their bodies by receiving massage therapy at least one hour a week or even two times a month. This can help free up the stress and tension in your body that has been building up for a long time. Massage can deepen and boost the benefits you have obtained from doing PMR or progressive muscle relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation can help release superficial tension in the muscles of your torso, neck, legs and arms.

Massage, especially deep tissue massage can loosen any long-term chronic tension that that have been building up in the deeper muscles of your body. And aside from freeing muscular tension, massage can help detoxify your body of built-up waste and toxins by mobilizing a slow and sluggish large intestine and by boosting lymphatic flow.

Finally, in terms of psychological health, getting a massage is perfect way to nourish yourself especially if you feel stressed. For survivors of abuse, massage can also offer a therapeutic emotional experience. Massage can help or treat any resistance or painful feelings around being touched, appropriately or inappropriately. This can be helpful for someone who grew up in a dysfunctional family. It can help increase your ease, which is an internal desire for all human beings.

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Chinese Medicine And The Human Microbiome

The microbiota are part of a complex ecosystem that affect all of the other systems of the body. They aren’t only involved in the breakdown of our food, but also the production of neurotransmitters and the regulation of hormones. The bacteria in our body have been shown to affect appetite and behavior, as well as regulate our metabolism and immune function.

Symptoms of Gut Imbalance

The symptoms of gut imbalance are not only seen in the gastrointestinal system. Most of our modern-day ailments can be related back to the microbiome. Autoimmune disease, for example, has been shown to be caused from the accumulation of pathogens in the microbiome over time. In addition, recurrent infections such as sinus, ear and urinary tract infections result from an imbalance in the microbiota of that system.

Use of antibiotics in these situations can worsen the underlying imbalance. Many studies have shown the relevance of the microbiome to health and disease. For example, we see that H. pylori is a common cause of ulcers. Prevotella bacteria is often found in autoimmune joint disease. Bacteria are also important in disease prevention and health maintenance.

Lactobacillus and bifido factor are often found to be helpful in warding off stress and anxiety as well as the prevention of intestinal conditions.

How is the Microbiome Established in the First Place?

The process begins before conception. The parents bacterial blueprint is passed on to the child. Following conception, we find that there is a diverse ecosystem in the placenta. The birthing process also plays a significant role in the establishment of the bacteria. In cesarean birth babies, it has been found that their microbes match those of the skin, rather than the necessary ones that were being colonized vaginally.

In the last few months of pregnancy, the mother’s microbes increase to meet the needs of the baby. For instance, in the production of bacteria that help to break down milk. When babies are born via C-section, they are not inoculated with these vital bacteria. Considering that one in three babies are born via C-section in the United States, there are significant downstream consequences.

Studies show higher rates of asthma, allergies and obesity in cesarean birth babies, and they are 80% more likely to develop celiac disease. Breast-feeding is essential to the inoculation of the gut with both probiotics and prebiotics. Formula fed infants have an over presentation of Clostridium bacteria, which has been associated with allergies and asthma.

Formula-based feedings disrupt the development of microbial communities that promote lifelong health in an infant’s digestive tract. The food, stress, medications and other chemicals we ask our body to contend with have vast consequences on our ecosystems, and in turn, our overall health. Chemicals such as fluoride, chlorine, antibiotics, steroids, birth control pills, hormones and pesticides all significantly impact our bacterial abundance and diversity.

Antibiotics are one of the biggest contributors to microbial imbalance. Antibiotics should be reserved for very serious and life-threatening situations. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics state that antibiotics should not be prescribed for routine sinus infections, coughs or ear infections. Even with these guidelines, programs to improve antibiotic prescribing are not widely used in the United States.

This is a particular concern to children, because they have the highest rates of antibiotic use and they are being prescribed at a time when they are building the ecosystem, which will be the foundation of their health for life. More than half of the antibiotics used in humans and much of the antibiotics used in animals are inappropriate and are creating resistant superbugs.

Traditional Chinese medicine has recognized the importance of gut health and its systemic role in the body for thousands of years. Doctors of Oriental medicine are educated in acupuncture, herbs, dietary counseling and lifestyle recommendations necessary to help balance the microbiome and prevent disease in the future.

Chinese herbal medicine is a crucial and significant role in the health of the microbiome. Natural herbal antibiotics prescribed by traditional Chinese healers have been used for more than 2000 years by millions of people. The proper use of Chinese herbal formulas can not only inhibit bacterial, viral and fungal infections, but also minimize the need for antibiotics with their adverse side effects.

Herbs can clear pathogenic bacteria, parasites and yeast. They clear inflammation, heal intestinal lining, repair leaky gut, move biliary stagnation and tonify digestive function. In addition to the analgesic effect of acupuncture in Walla Walla, an increasing number of studies have demonstrated that acupuncture treatment can control autonomic nervous system functions.

Clinical evidence also supports that acupuncture treatment is effective for various immunological diseases including allergic disorders, infections, autoimmune diseases, immunodeficiency syndromes, and the microbiome. The food that we put into our bodies has a significant impact on our microbiome. The more complex the food, the more bacteria that are needed to break down that food.

We know that an increased diversity of bacteria is better for our overall health; therefore, we need a complex plant-based diet to maintain a healthy microbiome.

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Chinese Medicine and the Three Most Common Forms of Cough

Traditional Chinese medicine or TCM is extremely effective in treating all kinds of coughs due its specific distinction of the different kinds of coughs. For instance, coughing associated with heat, generates sticky phlegm which can be extremely difficult to cough out; in TCM, this type of cough is addressed with moistening, cooling herbs and acupuncture that expel heat from the lungs. Also, a cold-related cough, marked by chills and abundant mucus is treated through the administration of warming and drying herbs and the use of moxibustion.

Without the use of differentiation, the treatment can worsen the cough or lead to unfruitful results due to the technique’s ineffectiveness. Here are some of the diagnoses in Chinese medicine of the common types of coughs and their own corresponding modalities.

  1. Wind Dryness Cough – Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment Used

Most of the time,this type of cough is acquired after being exposed to a dry environment. It is different from a dry chronic cough brought about by deficient lung yin (commonly due to smoking). The air’s dryness in a wind dryness cough, enables the external negative effect of the dryness to infiltrate the lungs. This form of cough causes symptoms such as sore throat with a ticklish sensation,headaches, and a dry cough, lips and mouth.

The treatment’s objective is to resolve the adverse effect of the dryness, stopping the cough, and moistening the lungs. For this type of cough,herbal therapies may include herbal formulas such as Sang Hsing Tang (Decoction of Mulberry Leaf and Apricot Seed), Chuan Bei Pi Pa Gao and Chuan Bei Pi Pa Gao.

With regard to diet, a person with this type of cough may require drinking lots of liquids and soups. Once the condition is gone, the person should every day take Hsi yang shen or American ginseng for a few weeks to help tonify lung’s yin and qi and stave off any future attack.

  • Cold or Damp Phlegm Cough – Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment Used

This condition type is marked by persistent coughing that coughs out abundant amounts of sticky white/clear phlegm, which tends to increase post meals or in the morning. Additional symptoms are a sensation of fullness in the stomach or chest, a heavy sensation, fatigue, weak appetite, and nausea. For this syndrome,the treatment’s goal is to boost digestion and expel phlegm from the lungs since an underlying deficient spleen qi can activate an overproduction of mucus.

Er Chen Tang or “Decoction of Two Old Things” is a classic formula plus additional herbs are prescribed to warm the lungs and kill the pathogen. If Cold or Damp Phlegm Cough is accompanied by nasal congestion, headache, stiff neck and other symptoms of wind-cold, then ChuanHsiong Cha Chao Wan, a patent medicine may be prescribed.

Chinese nutritional therapists may advise people with this syndrome to avoid eating foods that produce mucus in the body. These include dairy products, sweets and cold foods. Foods good for this condition include vegetables, whole grains, hot soups, raw juices in small amount (at room temperature) to help moisten the lungs and to trigger coughing (expectoration). Cold or Damp Phlegm Cough sufferers need to keep warm, get lots of rest and drink a lot of hot liquids, especially ginger tea. For this condition, hot vegetable soup is highly recommended.

  • Hot Phlegm Cough – Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment Used

This syndrome type of cough causes a buildup of phlegm and the heat causes the phlegm to turn sticky and thick. This syndrome can produce a loud, barking cough. The heat gives a dark coloration of the phlegm, which may ranges from yellow to brown or green. It’s quite difficult to expectorate the phlegm and this type of cough may require an aggressive therapy since the green color may indicate infection. When the mucus enters the lungs, bacteria can easily infect the mucus, which makes it extremely important to remove the mucus. Inducing expectoration and expelling the mucus can be achieved by using herbs that moisten the lungs.

The Pinellia Expectorant Pills an ideal herbal formula for treating hot phlegm cough. This formula can come other names, like Ching Chi Hua Tan Wan or Pinellia Root Teapills. The Pinellia Expectorant Pills works better when taken alongside Yin ChiaoJie Du Pian or Gan Mao Ling. Chinese nutritional therapy is similar to cold or damp phlegm cough.

Treatment Plan for Cough

Within a week, the acute cough of cough sufferers will not respond to the above mentioned treatments if they don’t get some rest and modify their diet. This can cause the cough to last for weeks, and the end result will be a series of colds and a weakened immunity. Acupuncture treatment in Cleveland works great for coughs due to any cause. Placing acupuncture needle in to points related to the Conception Vessel point found above the sternum can immediately stop the cough and help the patient breathing much better. Ina damp, cold form of cough, moxibustion is usually applied since heat is needed for that pattern.

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Chinese Herbs And Plants As Potential Cures For Dementia

For hundreds of years, herbs and plants have been used in Asian cultures long before medicines were discovered. They definitely offer outstanding results and they’re actually still being used today. But anyone who intends to try any new herbal and foods combinations, they should first consult with their doctor. As more researchers perform thorough testing on some of the common foods we eat, a few amazing evidences are slowly being unwrapped.

For instance, beetroot has recently been shown to improve the endurance of athletes after they drank half a liter of this herb. That certainly seems like a lot but actually, that’s only a couple of glasses every day, and if it provides you with extra energy and strength then get the juicer out. Beetroot has also proven to yield incredible results for hypertension, reducing it for a whole day after intake.

Another everyday drink for many is red wine food. Its main ingredient is resveratrol that has been getting results in the laboratory. Resveratrol fed to mice ended up looking younger, less obese, having more stamina, and lived longer than the mice that were not treated with resveratrol. While you may need to eat a lot to attain those dramatic results, it has been recommended for a long time to drink red wine at least once a day.

The West is slowly opening up to Chinese medicine which is gaining popularity for the simple fact that it works. And although the supplement and vitamin market is immense, it can be a lot beneficial to acquire your nutrients from the food you eat than from any other thing.

And of course, there is the most recent discovery of the benefits of caffeine on patients suffering from dementia. Drinking a cup or two short blacks each day has been shown to reverse the effects of dementia by by more than fifty percent. Findings such as this are being reported on a daily basis, as more people discover that some of their favorite foods have a real positive effect on their health and wellbeing.

Ni Nan Gilbert is a licensed acupuncturist in Bellmore, NY with certification in Chinese Herbology and over 16 years experience in traditional Chinese medicine.

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Chinese Nutritional Therapy – 10 Tips

This article will discuss the types of food you should eat and the types of food you should avoid as well as the benefit of Chinese nutritional therapy.

  1. Avoid processed food – the first food you should avoid is prepackaged foods and over processed foods. Usually, the nutritional content of these foods is already lost and there are a lot of chemicals or artificial additives in these foods. They are not really good for our body. Instead, we should eat food that still contains its original nutritional content, and foods that are minimally processed and cooked.
  • Avoid too much seasoning or sauce – the second food to avoid foods that contain too much seasoning when they are cooked or foods with too much sauce and hot and spicy foods. This is because most sauce usually contains corn syrup or artificial preservative or coloring, which is not really good for our body. If we can minimize over seasoning are foods, it will benefit our health significantly.
  • Foods that are cooked in high temperature – the third tip is to avoid deep-fried foods, foods cooked in too much oil, cooked in high temperature or foods cooked for too long. These cooking methods deplete the nutritional content of the food, making it unhealthy for us.
  • Watch the dairy product (egg, milk, cheese or bean) – the fourth tip is to be careful about dairy products like egg, milk or beans. Not everybody can tolerate dairy products and many people are actually allergic to them. These foods contain good nutritional content and they can be beneficial for kids. You can experiment and see if your health will improve if you don’t eat those products for two weeks or a month. If you don’t feel better, then maybe your body cannot process those foods. Some people can benefit from dairy products, but others may not be able to. Use your judgment and try to avoid them for a period of time and see if not eating these products will be good for your health.
  • Eat your meat in right portions – in Chinese medicine, eating meat is good and we don’t really recommend you becoming a vegetarian. I know there is some controversy in this because in these present times, most people just have too much meat, greasy foods or fatty foods. From a Chinese medicine point of view, a little bit of high quality protein is good. Beef, pork and lamb are good sources of protein. We need to eat a variety of foods and consume a balanced diet. A little bit of everything is good for your body.
  • Less white rice and noodles – for Asian peoples, white rice and noodles are main dishes. They have to eat it for every meal. However, too much of it is not good because they are considered refined carbohydrates. So, instead of white rice, we can add a variety of rice in their raw form, that’s not as processed as white rice. You can also mix white rice with different grains and soak it a little bit to make it softer and taste better.
  • Avoid stimulants (coffee, tea, soda or energy drink) – it is okay to drink a little bit of these products sometimes. However, many people become addicted to it, especially coffee and tea. These drinks also burden the body and are not really natural. Instead of them, we should drink more room temperature water – not too cold, not too hot or drinks without coffee.
  • Avoid naturally “cold” food – a lot of people have body types that are actually on the cold side. Cold food includes cucumber, turnip, melons, salads, ice cream, ice tea, etc. Large quantities of leafy green vegetables are considered cold too. If you have problems such as allergy, edema or digestion issues, you have to be very careful eating cold foods. If you stop eating cold foods, you’ll probably feel better soon.
  • Know your body type and the best foods for your health – are you a “hot” person or a “cold” person? Are you allergic or more sensitive to certain foods? You can always adjust what you’re eating with Chinese nutritional therapy or with herbal medicine. In Chinese medicine, people can be divided into five types via the five element theory. This is one way to categorize what type of element your body fits into, what you should eat and what lifestyle you should lead. In general, you should eat a variety of foods. Everything should be balanced and you don’t just eat a certain food group over and over or totally take out a certain food group from your diet. Portioning your foods is also important. You don’t want to overeat or eat very little food. It’s all about balance.
  1. Lifestyle changes – this is a topic not really directly related to food, but it’s very important in Chinese medicine. Keep a regular eating and sleeping schedule, find your own rhythm and then stick with it. This will help you sleep well and eat well. Don’t overwork or overthink. That’s the secret to staying healthy in Chinese medicine.

Vickery Health & Wellness
18455 Burbank Blvd #306
Tarzana, CA 91356
(818) 578-6730
http://www.vickeryhealth.com/

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