5 Things That Have The Biggest Impact On Your Health

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Attitude

Positive Attitude for Health : Chinese Medicine Livingthis adorable image from entrepreneur.com

As we are all beginning to realize, health is not just about the physical body, it is so much more than that. We all know how much better we feel when things in our lives are going well and we are happy. Staying positive is not always easy with the many stresses that our modern lives present to us, but it has been scientifically proven that people who are positive get sick less often and recover more quickly when they do get sick. Negative energy depresses the immune system as well as the psyche and makes us more susceptible to illnesses. Being cheerful has become more difficult as our lives become increasingly complex and we become more and more disconnected. This is why internal practices like meditation, qi gong and tai chi are excellent ways to cultivate the happiness and positivity we need to stay healthy. Also, zooming out and looking at the macro instead of the micro in any situation really helps to put problems into perspective. Zooming out also reminds us that we should be grateful for all we have and to try to focus on the positive instead of the negative (because it just FEELS better). Your attitude makes a huge difference when it comes to your health, a positive attitude will also ensure that you live a happy life. :)

What You Eat

Nutritious Food for Health : Chinese Medicine Livingthis beautiful image from www.brigitte.de

The food that we eat every day is the best medicine out there. Eating clean, fresh foods, free of chemicals and as unprocessed as possible is one of the best ways to ensure that we never get sick. Chinese medicine was designed as a preventative medicine, and nutritional therapy is one of its most important aspects. In a culture that tends to wait until there is an illness to get treatment, the Chinese believed in living a healthy life, with balance in all things so that illness never had a chance to develop. In modern society, it has become more difficult to live in a balanced way. Our lifestyle is often full of stresses with relationships, finances, work, etc... and eating in a healthy way has become particularly difficult in the age of industrial agriculture with huge factory farms that use pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Our foods are much further from their natural state, and our health suffers. Another factor when it comes to food is the way it is prepared. This is also emphasized in Chinese medicine, with the energy of the person preparing the food and their intention when preparing and cooking it having an effect. A meal prepared with love and care is more delicious, and indeed more healthful than one put together at a drive through window by a stranger. Having a connection to your food makes a big difference in the healing benefits it provides you. There is nothing more healing that lovingly preparing a meal for yourself, then mindfully sitting down to eat it, taking in its nutrients as well as its good healing energy derived from this beautiful earth.

Expressing Your Emotions

Expressing Emotions for Health : Chinese Medicine Livingthis excellent image from livingstingy.blogspot.com

Expressing our emotions is essential for being a healthy, happy human being. Unfortunately, our emotional health is not something considered by many mainstream doctors, but it is absolutely vital for our health. In Chinese medicine, each organ is associated with an emotion, and often, symptoms in a particular organ can point to a disharmony with its respective emotion. People are more likely to come into clinic with complaints about physical problems, but their symptoms often point back to emotional issues. In Chinese medicine, not expressing the emotions can be a cause of disease, which illustrates how important emotional health is in the TCM model, and how powerful our emotions are and how much impact they can have on our health. It is difficult to know what to do when you are struggling with powerful emotions. It certainly isn't always easy to express them. Acknowledging them is the first step, then working through your feelings and finding a way to express them in a way that is productive so that you can let them go and move on is a good road map of how to cope. Until you express emotions and let them go, they are taking up valuable space, which you could be filling with other, wonderful things. Suppressing emotions also uses an enormous amount of qi or energy and tends to stagnate and block the flow of things in your body and your life. Talking with a trusted friend, journaling or simply giving yourself the time to reflect and work through your feelings are some good ways to feel through things and be able to ultimately let them go.

Connecting With the Earth

Connect with Nature for Health : Chinese Medicine Livingthis is beautiful Vancouver island. This image from blog.hellobc.com

One of the great joys of life is being outside and connecting to this beautiful planet. There is nothing more healing than taking off your shoes and putting your feet onto the earth. If you are sensitive enough, you can literally feel the earth's healing energy being absorbed into your body and filling you with light. Chinese medicine was developed in a time when all people lived in complete harmony with their natural environment. People changed their daily habits according to the seasons and were very attuned to nature, their lives depended on it. A lot of illnesses today come from an almost complete disconnect from nature, and each other. If you want to do something good for your body, mind, and spirit, take a walk in a forest or on a beach, take off your shoes and walk through the grass, or sit outside and read a book. Instead of going to the gym, run outside, allowing yourself to absorb some of the earth's energy. We spend so much of our time indoors, sitting at computers or in front of televisions when we were designed to run and jump and MOVE outside, at one with the elements. Our modern lives have pulled us away from nature when our happiness and indeed our health depends on being connected to it. So go outside, it's good for your health!

Community

In a recent TED talk on longevity, some National Geographic researchers were investigating why there were some places on earth where the people lived much longer than others. The researcher giving the talk cites a study that found that only approximately 10% of how long a person will live is dictated by their genes, and the other 90% is lifestyle. 90%!!! They looked around the world for the places on earth (called Blue Zones) where people lived the longest and tried to figure out what is was about their lifestyles that they all had in common. The one thing these places shared was that they were part of small tight-knit communities that all knew each other and looked after one another. It turns out that connecting to others and a feeling of belonging had a huge impact on how long people lived.

I know this from treating patients too. I see so many patients that have problems with depression, sadness, and anxiety who feel alone and disconnected. People used to live in small communities where everybody knew each other, but now, many of us live in big cities, away from our families and friends. Humans are social animals, and we need to be connected to each other to be healthy. This has become increasingly difficult, and the results manifest in many health conditions, especially emotional and psychological ones. We also live in a society, at least in the West, that values the "self" and not necessarily the "other". Our connections, the love, and friendships we have in our lives, are just as important as the food we eat and the exercise we get when it comes to health. Even connecting with strangers - holding a door open for someone with their arms full, smiling at someone on the street who is looking like they need it, or just being friendly and open when you are out in the world lets people know that we really are all in this together and that we all care about each other. It will make you feel good too.

Trying to stay healthy can be daunting. There is so much information out there, and it is easy to get overwhelmed when trying to figure out what to do. Chinese medicine teaches us how to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle using common sense tools that are easy to apply. Nutrition, emotional health, exercise, internal practices like qi gong, tai chi, meditation as well as modalities like acupuncture, herbs, massage and listening to your body and knowing what you need when you need it, are all ways that this wonderful medicine teaches us how to live a long, healthy and happy life. Chinese Medicine Living is dedicated to helping you do just that. <3

 

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Resources

How to Live to be 100+ by Dan Buettner - http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100

The beautiful featured image photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

Would you like to learn more about Chinese Medicine and why it is so awesome? See our sister site Learn Chinese Medicine Living for downloadable info sheets and other resources to help you learn about this wonderful medicine. <3


Color Dietetics - With a Poster to Hang on the Wall

by John Voigt

Diets rich in a variety of colors and different fruits and vegetables are good for your heart and brain healthand may decrease stroke risk. American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Eat a variety of types and colors of vegetables and fruits to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs. Try dark leafy greens; brightly colored red, yellow and orange vegetables and fruits; and cooked tomatoes. A diet rich in produce can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check. Harvard School of Public Health.  

Introduction

For thousands of years, Chinese thinkers have known that within nature there is a complete code for health, harmony, and wellbeing. There have been many explanations and commentaries about each individual being made up of five ever-changing interacting universal vortexes of energy (qi), physicalness (e.g., bodily organs), and conscious sensation (the mind and emotions). Each of these five energies has a separate color.

Cut Out and print this chart and put it on a wall in your kitchen. The link to the printable PDF is below. :)

The Color of Foods Poster : Chinese Medicine Living

The Color of Foods Poster : Chinese Medicine Living

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The Color of Foods

Goal: Eat Daily From Each of These Groups. Aim for a Total of Five to Ten Servings

GREEN

Cruciferous - Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, turnip greens, watercress. (Go for one to two daily servings from this very important group.)

 Leafy Greens  - Spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, chicory, Swiss chard; also artichokes, asparagus.

RED

Apples (w skin), beets, cherries, cranberries, Chinese wolfberry (Gǒuqǐ),  guava,  pink grapefruit, pomegranates, radishes, raspberries, red grapes, strawberries, tomatoes (especially cooked, tomato juice, pasta sauce, tomato soup, tomato paste), and watermelon.

YELLOW-ORANGE

Apricots, avocados, butternut squash, cantaloupe, carrots, grapefruit, lemons, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, curcumin [in turmeric].

WHITE

Garlic (raw and freshly cut, mashed, or chewed. Onions, leeks.

BLUE-PURPLE

Blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, plums or prunes.

Other important produce: almonds, bananas, beans, cacao, flax, ginger, green or black tea, mushrooms, olive oil, soy (tofu, soy milk, edamame, etc.), sunflower seeds, walnuts, whole grains. Possibly (and in moderation) coffee, red wine.

Eat the rainbow : Chinese Medicine Livingthis delicious image from organicandhappy.tumblr.com

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Western Medical Science on a Color Produce Diet

Green Cruciferous. May induce detoxification of carcinogens, block tumor growth and work as antioxidants. American Institute for Cancer Research.

Leafy Greens. Some laboratory research has found that the carotenoids in dark green leafy vegetables can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells, skin cancer cells, lung cancer and stomach cancer. Rio Grande Cancer Foundation.

People who ate one to two servings of green leafy vegetables a day were cognitively 11 years younger than those who ate fewer greens. Blueberries may have the best cognitive perks. AARP.

Red - Fruits, Vegetables, [also beans].

Diets rich in these nutrients are being studied for their ability to fight heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s Disease as well as skin, breast and prostate cancers. fns.usda.gov.

Red - Tomatoes.

Epidemiological studies have associated tomato consumption with a decreased risk of prostate cancer. Annual Review Food Science Technology.  

Tomatoes may be considered a valuable component of a cardioprotective diet. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

Yellow - Orange

[Some possible benefits:] Research shows that these nutrients reduce the risk for cancer and heart attacks, boost immunity, help maintain good vision and strong bones/teeth/skin. fns.usda.gov. 

White. Garlic and other foods in the onion family may be included in the variety of vegetables that are recommended for lowering cancer risk. American Cancer Society.

Blue/Purple.

help your body defend against cancer, reduce the risk of age-related memory loss, help control high blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes complications and heart attacks. fns.usda.gov.

Rainbow Bowl : Chinese Medicine Livingthis delicious image from sheknows.com

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Additional Notes

Serving sizes are approximately one cup for leafy greens, berries, melon chunks, 100% juice or fresh juice. Approximately half a cup for other fruits and vegetables. American Heart Association recommends nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, about 4.5 cups.

One clove of garlic is often suggested as a serving size, but pragmatically with it (and onions) odor must be considered.

Frozen produce is often better than fresh.

Vegetables are best eaten lightly cooked (steamed, or lightly stir-fried or sautéed in vegetable oil).

As a suggestion from the author, shop with all your senses. Learn to sense the qi (the vital life energy) in your foods. Look at the qi of the colors: is it natural (no dyes), full, rich, vibrant? Is the Smell fresh, clean, invigorating? (people often do this with cantaloupes). Touch (maybe even squeeze those tomatoes). Shake it, tap it and Listen.  If possible Taste—perhaps you will even feel a tingle of the healing qi on the tip of your tongue.

What about your sixth sense? Become like an East Asian shaman and use your imagination and intuition. Have fun with this: Pick up that plant and playfully psych out if it will be good or not for you. As in, feel its vibe. Doubters and skeptics are invited to experiment and see what happens. The more you do these things the easier it gets, and for some it really does work.

More practically, as my daughters so lovingly taught me, make Smoothies, but go for more vegetables and fruits (in different colors of course) and less, if any, dairy and sweeteners. Smoothies are such a convenient way to “Eat Five A Day.”

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Why and How the Five Colors Work

In thousands of studies, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables promotes health. Western nutritionists say such produce contains important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients (aka phytochemicals).  Phyto means “plant” and especially interesting they often give produce its color. But what is difficult for western scientific investigators is there may be as many as 25,000 phytochemicals and they are in (analogous to TCM) constant holistic interactions. When pharmaceutical companies isolate one chemical out of food and process it into pills, the pills seldom work as efficiently as does the whole food itself.  [EN wiki]

Chinese cultural thought offers different theoretical explanations why choosing and eating fruits and vegetables by their colors enables wellbeing. What follows is an all too abbreviated explanation of how everything works in the universe.

From the Daodejing chapter 42 (excerpt) - Genesis

(Before the beginning was) Dao from which is born One (an unmanifested primordial energy called Qi).  This One gives birth to Two (the static polarities of Yin and Yang). Then Three—a dynamic Qi appears opening Yin and Yang into a harmony of infinite interactions.

And from Three, creation [in time and space] unfolds and all things are born… By blending the qi they achieve harmony. http://qi-encyclopedia.com/index.asp?article=Qi-in-the-Daodejing

Yin is negative passive energy; yang is positive active energy. Their continuous interactions produce cycling patterns of five; this is the basis of all existence in nature, man and the universe. These Five Element Energies in constant unfolding changes are called Wuxing. Wuxing is understood as Wood-Fire-Earth-Metal-Water, and in the body as the Five Organs: Liver-Heart-Spleen-Lung-Kidney. For our purposes Wuxing defines the colors of fruits and vegetables. [Endnote wuxing]

The reader with even a small amount of knowledge of TCM will notice familiar key terms. In TCM illness appears when qi and/or yin-yang are out of harmony and improperly effect the Five Element Organs.

There is more, but it is not often discussed in TCM.  Certain Confucian scholars suggested that deep within the confines of the Dao there was something even more deeply and profoundly hidden. They called it Li which is now defined as “form or pattern” but originally meant “markings in jade, grain in wood, fiber in muscle.”  In Chinese philosophy, in its merging of science, poetry, metaphysics and practicality, Li is considered to be the matrix of the proper order of all things in man and nature. Another very early meaning of Li was “cutting things according to their natural grain or divisions.”  When one lives in accordance with the Li—the natural laws of nature—one gains wellbeing. For example, in practicing a dietetics based on the colors of the wuxing one could gain health. The person is “cutting things according to their natural grain or divisions.”  If they eat too large quantities of processed meat and sweets and become obese they are not, they are working against the Li. [more about Li at https://liology.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/nature%E2%80%99s-organizing-principles-the-li/

Eat the rainbow : Chinese Medicine Livingthis yummy image from exploregram.com

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Endnotes

[EN wiki ]According to the American Cancer Society, "Available scientific evidence does not support claims that taking phytochemical supplements is as good for long-term health as consuming the fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains from which they are taken." “Phytochemical.” Wikipedia.

[EN-wuxing]

Wuxing (wǔ xíng - 五行, literally “five movements”). Pronounced “woo” [low tone] “shin” [rising tone].

Xing originally meant the place where roads intersect; therefore a strong implication of motion, along with subtle implications of someone walking the path (of the Dao). It is often too simplistically defined as the “Five Elements.” A better definition is the Five Universal Movements of Change.  More at Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

And  New World Encyclopedia.  

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Disclaimer: This article is offered for educational purposes. It is not meant to take the place of professional medical services. If you are or may be sick see a doctor. However, fruits and vegetables consumed in the normal amounts of a healthy diet by healthy people should prove to be helpful and unlikely to cause any serious problems.

However, if you are taking any medications talk to a health care provider about any potential risks. Certain medications may harmfully interact with certain foods: for example ACE inhibitors with bananas; or grapefruit and pomegranate juices with certain cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Eat the Rainbow : Chinese Medicine Livingthis lovely image by atastylovestory.com

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For more information about the health benefits of color dietetics from western perspectives click the link below

Color Dietetics Additional Info

To learn more about author and contributor  John Voigt, read his bio.


Oyster Noodles for Osteoporosis

By Vicky Chan of NourishU

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition of weakened bones caused by an imbalance in bone building and bone repair, which is usually accompanied by aging. It is a common problem affecting women after menopause when their bodies are not generating enough estrogen to build bone. People with low calcium intake, physically inactive, smoking, a small frame or very low body weight have a higher chance of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis may lead to easy bone fractures at the wrist, hip and spine, and eventual immobility.

Osteoporosis Recipe : Chinese Medicine Livingthis image from  cdn.nof.org

The Bandage Approach

After many decades of subscribing drugs and calcium supplements to treat osteoporosis by modern medicine, there is enough clinical evidence to show that these interventions did not work. The results showed not only no improvement in preventing bone fractures but worse, it caused serious side effects such as nausea, abdominal cramping, flatulence, diarrhea, severe constipation, inflammation and ulceration of the esophagus, chest pain, heartburn, difficulty swallowing, etc. It clearly demonstrates once again that the bandage approach used by modern medicine is doing more harm than good.

The fact is that by increasing bone mass artificially makes bones more brittle and makes fractures more likely when there is a fall. And when injecting a heavy dosage of calcium into the body, it can cause "calcium in the wrong place" such as calcification of joints and arteries causing heart disease which is so dangerous.

Leaking Calcium

To treat osteoporosis, it is the underlying problem of leaking calcium which needs to be addressed. Diet and other health problems should be the main concern in diagnosis and treatment. A diet that is highly acidic can upset the body's PH balance. To compensate, the body’s natural response will draw calcium from bones to neutralize the acidity. When the acidic condition persists, severe bone loss is the result. Stress is the main cause of depleting calcium from our bodies. Many people living very stressful lives are suffering from adrenal fatigue. The fight or flight response of the body will produce large quantities of the stress hormone cortisol in order to cope. Calcium is the main ingredient used to make cortisol, so it uses up calcium and depresses bone repair and bone formation. Calcium loss can also be a side effect of pharmaceutical drugs treating other health problems.

The Best Defense

The best defense to prevent and fight osteoporosis is through diet, exercise, and sleep. Exercise promotes better blood circulation which in turn promotes healthy metabolic functions of the body including the repair and building of bones. Weight lifting exercise is found to increase bone mass. Eating a healthy diet which is slightly more alkaline than acidic can prevent calcium loss. Fruits and vegetables are mostly alkaline. Meats, dairy products, soft drinks, coffee and tea are acidic, so milk is bad for bone not just cardiovascular health. Sleeping the eight hours sleep, especially at night is vital. The body detoxifies and makes new blood, repairs and builds bones at night.

Dark leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, turnip greens and cabbage are rich in calcium and vitamin K and are best to promote strong bone. Other foods with vitamin K include spinach and collard greens. Parsley, green olives, basil and thyme also have vitamin K. Garlic, onions and egg are rich in sulfur which is needed for healthy bones. Onion is found to be more effective than drugs to prevent osteoporosis. Egg yolks and organ meats such as liver are rich in vitamin K2. Canned salmon and sardines with bones, soy products, sesame seeds and almonds are all good for bones. Soy products, which are high in isoflavon, can reduce bone loss or even increase bone density. Shrimp is high in vitamin B12, which aids bone density and is crucial in the generation of new cells. It is also a good source of vitamin D, an essential ingredient for bone strength. Your best source of vitamin D is sunshine. You don’t need more than 20 minutes out in the sun to get all your vitamin D for the day.  Other food sources of vitamin D include salmon, mackerel, tuna fish, sardines, eggs, beef and cheese. Reduce sodium intake and use herbs and spices for natural flavoring. Selenium protects bones. The best source of selenium is Brazil nuts, which contain a whopping 544 micrograms in just one ounce. You can also get selenium from red meat, tuna, eggs and walnuts.

Chinese medicine sees osteoporosis as blood deficiency and blood coagulation, kidney and spleen deficiency. Food treatments are for promoting kidney health, improving blood production and circulation.

Oyster Noodles Recipe

SYMPTOMS

Blood deficiency syndrome of osteoporosis, constipation with hard stool, dizziness, dry lips and mouth, fatigue, fever, blurred vision, muscle spasm, pale complexion, and insomnia.

THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS

Act on the kidneys to produce bone marrow, energy (qi), and blood.

He Shou Wu : Chinese Medicine LivingHe Shou Wu Root
This lovely image from www.stemcellnutrition.net

INGREDIENTS

  • Chinese cornbind (he shou wu) 何首烏 - 10gm
  • Fresh oysters -100gm
  • Rice noodles - 50gm
  • Salt, soy sauce or miso

Oysters for Osteoporosis : Chinese Medicine Livingthis delicious image from www.tastewiththeeyes.com

  1. Cook cornbind with 3 cups of water over medium-low heat and boil down to 1 cup of tea and strain.
  2. Cook rice noodles in hot water for a few minutes and put noodles through cold water bath and drain.
  3. Wash oysters a few times, and then use a spoon of salt and then a spoon of corn starch to wash them again. Rinse clean and drain.
  4. Re-boil cornbind tea, add oysters and bring to a slow boil. Add noodles and seasoning to serve.

Oyster Noodles for Osteoporosis : Chinese Medicine Livingthis pretty image from www.dishinanddishes.com

USAGE

Eat as or with meal. No restrictions.

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**Featured image from foodamentals.com

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Chinese Silk Pulse Cushions : Chinese Medicine Living


What is Cupping?

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

With the close of the Olympics, there has been a sudden flurry of interest in Chinese cupping. It seems that many members of the US swim team were touting large red circular marks on their backs which got a lot of attention in the media and piqued people's curiosity about the ancient technique. Those marks are from a modality that is part of Chinese medicine and is many thousands of years old. It is called cupping.

There are many modalities that fall under the umbrella of Chinese medicine. Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, tui na (Chinese therapeutic massage), moxibustion (the burning of the Chinese herb Artemesia), auricular acupuncture (acupuncture of the ear), gua sha (scraping) and cupping are all the modalities of Chinese medicine and the tools that the TCM practitioner uses to rebalance and heal their patients.

Cupping is a little discussed (outside Chinese medicine circles) but much-loved practice by both practitioners and patients. Even though the results may look a bit alarming, it is painless and in fact, a very relaxing treatment and many of my patients request cupping when they are feeling stressed out or "wound up" because it helps them to unwind and relax. Cupping has many health benefits, which make it an invaluable part of the expansive toolbox that is Chinese medicine.

What Does Cupping Treat?

At the heart of Chinese medicine theory is the concept of "Qi". Qi can be described in many ways, energy, life force, prana... and all would be correct. It is the force that brings things to life and must be kept moving for us to be healthy. Each one of us has Qi. It is a close partner of blood and the two work together to keep things circulating throughout the body. If our Qi is abundant and moving smoothly, then we are healthy. However, if Qi becomes blocked, or "stagnant" then illness can occur. Diseases in Chinese medicine are seen as blockages of Qi, and often the longer the Qi has been blocked, the more severe the illness is seen to be. So, one of the main goals of all Chinese medicine modalities, including cupping is to move Qi. There are specific things, though, that cupping treats very well. They are listed below.

Cupping Treats the Following Conditions

  • Pain in the back, neck, legs and arms
  • Colds & flu
  • Detoxification
  • Inflammation
  • Respiratory illnesses - bronchitis, asthma, cough
  • Digestive problems - stomachaches, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Cellulite
  • Migraines
  • Edema (swelling)
  • Arthritis

How Does Cupping Work?

Chinese Bamboo Cupping : Chinese Medicine LivingBamboo Cups
this lovely image from ameliaislandmassages.com

There are different kinds of cups, the traditional type being made of bamboo, and the modern type usually made of glass. A cotton ball soaked in alcohol is lit on fire and placed briefly into the glass cup to heat the air inside. It is then immediately placed on the skin, the heat creating a suction. The skin and first layers of connective tissue and muscles are lifted into the cup, and a mark is usually formed, from a light red to a deep, dark purple. The cups are left on anywhere from a few minutes to 30 minutes depending on what is being treated. The theory is that the darker the mark left by the cup, the more toxins and stagnation are in the area being treated. The cups come in different sizes and are indicated for large muscle groups like the back, upper thighs and sometimes, the abdomen. The suction created inside the cup can be from heat (this is sometimes called fire cupping), or there are plastic cups that use a manual pump to suck out the air while they are sitting on the skin. The cups can also be moved, with the application of oil to the skin, along meridians or large muscle groups which have a distinct "massage-like" feel for the patient.

Cupping is used to relieve pain, remove heat, increase circulation and pull toxins out of the body. It is also excellent for digestive problems like stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea as well as respiratory problems like coughing and asthma. Cupping is an amazing modality for warming, dredging the meridians (where there is often blocked or "stagnant" Qi) and moving Qi and blood. Despite how the results may look, it happens to be incredibly relaxing and is like having a warming massage. The effect, in fact, is like having a reverse massage with the cups pulling up on skin and muscles, instead of applying pressure downwards. The red marks left are often used to diagnose the severity of the stagnation of Qi and blood or toxicity, and although they can look severe, they are painless and go away in a day or two.

How Does Cupping Work? : Chinese Medicine LivingGlass "Fire" Cupping
this helpful image from hoylasnoticias.com

Contraindications

There are several things that you want to look out for before you try cupping. You do not want to do cupping over areas of broken skin or rashes, edema (swelling), areas where there are large blood vessels, or if you have a high fever with convulsions. Also, pregnant women should never have cupping on the abdominal and sacral area. Cupping is also not appropriate if you have a bleeding disorder.

In conclusion, cupping is a wonderfully therapeutic treatment and one that patients always really love. It is warming to the muscles, and the sensation of the skin and muscles being pulled up into the cup is unique and relaxing as well as detoxifying. Cupping keeps Qi and blood flowing smoothly inside the body, which is the key to ultimate health. If you have never tried it, you definitely should. The marks it leaves behind are also always a great conversation starter!


Cooling Cucumber Salad - Summer Recipe

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Cucumbers are an important part of Chinese medicine food therapy and are packed with a multitude of health benefits. They are also the perfect food for summer. In Chinese medicine cucumbers are sweet, affecting the spleen, and cooling - helping the body stay cool in the hot weather. They have a high water content and are very moisturizing, helping you stay hydrated in the hot summer months. Cucumbers are also excellent detoxifiers, cleansing the body of impurities which build up no matter how hard we try to avoid toxins in our food and the environment. Cucumbers are great in a salad, delicious pickled, an excellent addition to any juice, and adding a few slices to your water will pack an extra punch of hydration niceness whether you are working out at the gym or on the beach doing yoga. Below is an impressive list of cucumbers health benefits.

Health Benefits

  • Clears heat from the body; resolves fevers from summer heat and helps to prevent heat stroke
  • Detoxifying
  • Anti-inflammatory (most inflammations are due to heat)
  • Cleanses & purifies the blood
  • Strengthens the spleen
  • Relieves thirst
  • Benefits the heart
  • Moistens the lungs
  • Moistens and cleanses the large intestine
  • Strongly alkalizing
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • Treats depression
  • Benefits the skin - cucumbers speed healing in the skin and the juice speeds the healing of burns and wounds
  • Aids digestion
  • Stimulate hair growth
  • Treats kidney and bladder infections
  • Promotes urination
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Anti-cancer
  • Aids constipation
  • Relieves bad breath
  • Promotes joint health
  • Benefits the eyes (placing cucumber slices over the eyes calms hot, puffy, dry or irritated eyes).
  • Kills tapeworms!

Cooling Cucumber Salad - Summer Recipe

Cooling Cucumber Salad : Chinese Medicine Living

Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 medium white onion (you can also use red onion)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (2oz)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Cooling Cucumber Salad : Chinese Medicine Living

Directions

*You can make this tasty salad with the skin on or peel it off, its up to you. There are many health benefits to eating cucumber skin but as cucumbers are sensitive to pesticides, always try to buy organic, or soak them in a little apple cider vinegar which will neutralize the pesticides.

  1. Peel and cut the cucumbers lengthwise, then slice into 1/4 inch slices (or thinner if you like)
  2. Slice the onion in half, then slice thin
  3. Add cucumber and onion to a bowl and mix
  4. Add salt (I like pink Himalayan salt) & pepper to taste
  5. Add the vinegar
  6. Mix thoroughly and serve

This dish actually gets tastier the longer it sits, so you might want to make it a couple of hours before you plan to eat it for maximum deliciousness. ;)

Enjoy!

Cooling Cucumber Salad : Chinese Medicine Living

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If you would like a downloadable information sheet that will tell you all about how to live in harmony with the Summer season in Chinese Medicine, you can find it here - The Summer Season in Chinese Medicine.


Gratitude. It's Good for Your Health.

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

I thought that in light of the events of the past few weeks that I would write about gratitude, and how it affects our health. I am not just talking about physical health, I am more talking about the health of your mind and spirit, which if course, directly affects your physical person.

The connection between how we feel and our health has been known about for a long time, certainly Chinese medicine puts great importance on the mental and emotional state of the patient and takes all aspects into account when evaluating overall health. Science now, has proven for example, that people with a positive outlook are generally healthier and get sick less often than people who tend to see things more negatively. Chinese medicine takes this a step further and partners specific emotions with their associated organs; sadness affects the lungs, anger the liver, fear the kidneys and worry the spleen, to name a few. This may sound strange, but I have seen it over and over again in practice, the connections are quite real.

Quantum physics now has postulated that reality can actually be changed by the observer ( see this double slit experiment which explains how) which just tells us what many of the Eastern philosophies have known for centuries, that we are creating our reality all the time. Buddhists spend a lifetime gaining mastery over their minds, because they believe that it is one of the elements that lead to great suffering for human beings. If we are creating the reality in which we live, it gives us all tremendous power to decide what that reality might be.

Gratitude is Good for Your Health : Chinese Medicine Living

The events of the past few weeks have been seriously bumming me out. There is the US election (which is bringing out the worst in a lot of people, and sparking such anger in so many), the mass shootings that seem to be happening on an almost daily basis, and the tensions between the black community and the police. Everyone seems on edge, scared, but most of all, angry. And as Chinese medicine dictates, people need an outlet for all those feelings or they can make you sick, and that seems to be what is happening.

One thing that I have found in my own life, is that in the past, when I was going through something difficult and feeling frustrated or sad about it, when I made a decision to change my attitude (which isn't easy, especially when you are in the dumps), I noticed that how I felt improved immeasurably. It may have taken some time for my situation to improve, but it inevitably did, and feeling good, hopeful, grateful, loving, made my reality a much lovelier place to be until that happened.

The biggest one for me is gratitude. This one is huge and has an enormous impact on how you feel, and what will come into your life if you are feeling it passionately. No matter what may be happening in your life, there are always things you can be grateful for. I have a ritual that I do every morning when I wake up. I go through all the things that I am grateful for (there are so many!) which floods me with good feelings and that sets the intention for the rest of the day. It is a lovely practice and I find it keeps me in a positive state of mind no matter what my day might throw at me.

There is another reason that I think that gratitude is so important. One of the most surprising, and the most profound things that I have learned in almost eleven years of being an acupuncturist is how many hard things people are dealing with on a daily basis. I have been so humbled by the things that my patients have shared with me about their struggles, their fears and their experiences in this life. I found that it made me a more compassionate, more patient, and more loving towards my fellow human being. It also, and this happened pretty early on, gave me an appreciation for how powerful gratitude can be. Every day on my way home from work I would think about those stories and remind myself of all I had to be grateful for, and, no matter what is happening in your life, you have a lot to be grateful for too. We are all alive, living on this beautiful planet and having this wonderful experience called life. It isn't always easy, but a little gratitude makes the journey one that is definitely worth taking.

Check out this fancy chart that lists the many health benefits of gratitude. Thank you to Megan Wilson and fix.com for sharing it. :)

The Health Benefits of Gratitude
Source: Fix.com Blog

Tips to Maintain Successful Gratitude Journal
Source: Fix.com Blog

30 Day Gratitude Challenge
Source: Fix.com Blog


Black Sesame Dessert for Constipation

By Vicky Chan of NourishU

Black Sesame Dessert for Constipation

Black Sesame Seeds : Chinese Medicine Livingthis pretty image from anediblemosaic.com

Symptoms

Difficulty in eliminating the bowels due to lack of energy after prolonged sickness or old age, swelling of abdomen, lack of appetite.

Therapeutic Effects

Lubricate dryness, nourish liver and kidney, relieve heat in blood, strengthen lung energy and improve qi, darken hair and promote yin energy.

Huang Qi : Chinese Medicine Living

this lovely image from humboldtherbals.com

Ingredients

  • Astragalus (huang qi) 黃耆- 24gm
  • Black sesame - 120gm
  • Honey - 40gm

Black Sesame Dessert : Chinese Medicine Living

Directions

  1. Rinse astragalus and simmer in 3 cups of water for about 45 minutes to 1 cup of tea. Strain and set aside.
  2. Rinse sesame and put in a grinder with half cup of water and grind to a paste.
  3. Cook the paste with the astragalus tea and add honey to serve.

Eat 2-3 times a week until symptoms are gone.

Enjoy!

Happy

*the lovely featured image from Miss Wong's Kitchen

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Peace Love & Acupuncture Button : Chinese Medicine Living


Eating an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

It has become clear in recent years that chronic inflammation is the cause of many devastating diseases including arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and cancer. Research has found that eating a diet high in anti inflammatory foods not only protects against disease, but speeds the metabolism and actually slows the aging process. Inflammation is the body's healing response, which sends a signal to direct more blood, nourishment and immune response to an area of injury or infection. Chronic infection however, is destructive to the body and can lead to disease. Inflammation can come from many sources; toxins in the environment, sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise, stress and emotional toxicity, genetics and most importantly, what we eat. Because the diet is so powerful when it comes to both harming and healing the body, below are some of the ways that we can all eat in a way that combats inflammation. Food therapy is a huge component of Chinese medicine, and what we eat is one of the easiest and most powerful ways that we can use to stay healthy now and long into the future.

One way to use food as medicine is to make sure that we are eating food that is as fresh and chemical free as possible. That means eating organic whenever possible to avoid pesticides and unnatural genetically modified foods that our bodies are not designed to consume. It is always best to eat fresh, local foods that are minimally processed to get the most benefits for your mind and body. The following foods are some of the best for fighting inflammation.

Steamed Vegetables

steamed veggies for inflammation : Chinese Medicine Livingthis image from thedailytea.com

There are many ways to cook vegetables, but steaming is one of the best because it improves the availability of nutrients helping us to absorb more of them as well as allowing the mucosa in the GI tract to repair itself. Use minimal raw foods (which are considered "cold" in Chinese medicine) except for occasional salads in warmer months to help keep you cool. Vegetables provide important flavonoids and carotenoids which have antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. Excellent vegetables for inflammation include eggplant, okra, onions, purple cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts and red peppers. You can add anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as turmeric and ginger to make those veggies even more delicious and enhance their anti-inflammatory effect. Eat 5-6 servings a day minimum. One serving is equal to 2 cups of salad greens, 1/2 cup of cooked, raw or juiced veggies.

Grains

Grains for inflammation : Chinese Medicine Livingthis lovely image from spoonuniversity.com

You can eat one to two cups of whole grains per day. The best for inflammation are barley and oatmeal. Be sure to consume high amounts of fiber as it contains naturally occurring anti inflammatory phytonutrients. Other grains that are good for inflammation include basmati, brown or wild rice, millet, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and rye. Rice crackers and wasa crackers are another grain food that you can eat with spreads like guacamole and hummus (excellent anti inflammatory fats!). Grains digest slowly, keeping blood sugar levels stable thus helping to combat inflammation. 3-5 servings a day. One serving is equal to 1/2 cup cooked grains.

Nuts & Seeds

nuts and seeds for inflammation : Chinese medicine Livingthis lovely image from thedolcediet.com

Nuts and seeds are a great food as they are so portable. You can carry with you raw, unsalted almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Flax and chia seeds are a great thing to add to smoothies or salads. Hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, cashews and walnuts are also packed with anti inflammatory properties. Nuts and seeds are whole foods, and really pack a punch when it comes to inflammation because they offer healthy fats, fiber, protein and vitamin E. Nuts and seeds contain either monounsaturated or omega-3 fats which help to reduce inflammation. 5-7 servings a day with one serving equal to 1 teaspoon of oil, or about 2 walnuts.

Legumes

legumes for inflammation : Chinese Medicine Livingthis pretty image from justhospitality.co.uk

Split peas, lentils, pinto beans, mung beans, chick peas, black beans and adzuki beans are great for inflammation. They are packed with folic acid, magnesium and potassium as well as soluble fiber. They also have a low glycemic index which makes them great for anyone concerned about high blood sugar. Make sure to eat legumes well cooked, as they can be hard to digest. A good way to consume them is pureed in spreads like hummus. 1-2 servings per day with one serving being equal to 1/2 cup of cooked legumes.

Fish

Anti-inflammatory foods : Chinese Medicine Livingthis pretty image from crystalcoveseafood.com

Because much of the earth's lakes and oceans are now polluted, it is best to eat deep sea fish, and smaller fish with less time to accumulate toxins. Fresh caught fish is preferable to farmed fish. The best choices are salmon, halibut, black cod, herring, sardines and mackerel. Fish should be poached, baked, steamed or broiled. Fish contain omega 3 fats which are a powerful anti inflammatory for the entire body, and particularly the brain. Recent research has also proven that the omega 3 fats in fish oils can protect the elderly brain, with the ability to maintain optimal brain function for longer than for people who don't eat fish or supplement with omega 3 fats. You want to have between 2-6 servings per week, with one serving being equal to 4 ounces.

Chicken & Turkey

the anti inflammation diet : Chinese Medicine Livingthis lovely image from finecooking.com

Most people eat a diet high in animal foods, which can lead to health issues. Remember moderation in all things! Meats also, because of the huge demand and factory farming contain hormones and other drugs that you are also consuming when you eat the animal. Another thing to consider, and Chinese medicine believes this, is if the animal is raised in terrible conditions and has lived an unhappy life, you are eating that energy as well. Best to reduce animal products, and choose grass fed, organic meats from happy animals. If you are lucky enough to live near a farm where you can develop a relationship with the farmer and ensure that the animals are both healthy and happy, all the better. For those of us who cannot, best to stick to grass fed, organic meats, and organic, cage free chickens and eggs. Remove skin from chicken and turkey (to avoid excess fats). Chicken and turkey should be baked, broiled or steamed. 1-2 servings per week, one serving being equal to 3 ounces of cooked chicken or turkey.

Fruit

Fruit for inflammation : Chinese Medicine Livingthis pretty image from medicalnewstoday.com

Fruits are a wonderful source of antioxidants and are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids. Try to eat the rainbow with lots of variety while eating fruits that are in season, fresh if possible, or frozen. Always buy organic if possible as fruits tend to be grown using a lot of pesticides. Fruits yield a ton of health benefits as well as being highly anti inflammatory. The best choices for their anti inflammatory properties are raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, nectarines, peaches, red grapes, pink grapefruit, pomegranates, plums, cherries, apples and pears. Eat 3-4 servings per day with one serving being equal to one medium sized piece of fruit.

Butter & Oils

Foods to fight inflammation : Chinese Medicine Livingthis lovely image from radiantlifecatalogue.com

When using butter, try mixing one pound of butter with one cup of extra virgin olive oil. Whip it at room temperature and store in the refrigerator. This mix provides the benefits and taste of butter and the essential fats found in olive oil. When using oil for cooking, try to use extra virgin olive oil. On salads try organic, expeller pressed sunflower or safflower oils, as well as walnut and hazelnut oils for a different flavour. Try not to heat the oil, but add it after foods are already cooked. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants.

Spices

Anti-inflammatory foods : Chinese Medicine Livingthis pretty image from ubizarre.com

Spices add flavour to the foods we eat, and some spices are loaded with anti inflammatory properties like turmeric and ginger. Some others are curry (which includes turmeric), parsley, savory, cardamom, garlic, chili peppers, thyme, rosemary, basil and cinnamon. You may use unlimited amounts of spices to add to any dish. Be creative, the right combination makes any meal even more delicious!

Herbal Teas & Water

Anti-inflammatory foods : Chinese Medicine Livingthis beautiful image from americanpregnancy

Everyone knows the importance of staying hydrated, so a minimum of 8 cups of clean, filtered (reverse osmosis filtered if possible) water a day is recommended to stay healthy and combat inflammation. Drink it at room temperature or warmed if you prefer, but do not add ice or drink it cold out of the fridge (this is very hard on your spleen!). A glass of lemon water in the morning is an excellent way to detox your body before you start your day. Drink herbal teas, preferably in the evening and sip them slowly. It is best not to drink with meals as it dilutes stomach acid and hinders efficient digesting. Tea is high in a compound called catechin, which reduces inflammation. Drink herbal teas 2-4 times per day. The best choices are high quality oolong, green and white teas. Research how to brew each type for maximum flavour and health benefits.

Eating in a healthy, balanced way is one of the best and easiest ways that we can not only combat inflammation, but maintain overall health. Other factors like managing stress and regular exercise are important for avoiding inflammation. Chinese medicine says balance in all things which it seems is getting harder and harder to do with lives that are increasingly complex and hectic. Remember to chew food well and always take time to eat, trying to just focus on eating rather than doing many things at the same time. This is difficult in a culture that values multitasking, but being mindful and focussing on eating is a way that we can help the digestion to be more efficient and process our food more thoroughly. There are many foods you can add to your diet to reduce inflammation and stay healthy and happy, right now and well into the future.

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The Ethics of Healing – The “Hippocratic” Oath of China’s King of Medicine, Sun Simiao

Compiled by John Voigt

Sun Simiao (581-682) was an outstanding Chinese physician, scholar and author who lived during the Tang Dynasty. Called the “King of Medicine” (Yaowang) Sun Simiao is said to have founded Chinese gynecology, pediatrics and geriatrics as individual healing modalities. [FN-1]

 The “Hippocratic” Oath of China’s King of Medicine, Sun Simiao : Chinese Medicine LivingThis image By 猫猫的日记本 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia

Sun Simiao wrote the earliest medical encyclopedia in China, the Essential Formulas for Emergencies [Worth] a Thousand Pieces of Gold (Beiji Qian Jin Yao Fang), and the Supplement to the Formulas of a Thousand Gold Worth (Qian Jin Yi Fang). The first book lists about 5,300 prescriptions for medicines, the second book 2,000. Each book is composed of thirty volumes.

He is also known for his essay "On the Absolute Sincerity of Great Physicians," which has been called "the Chinese Hippocratic Oath." It is found in the opening chapter of the first of the above mentioned books. This portion of the book is still required reading for Chinese physicians. [FN-2]

Sun Simiao - China's God of Medicine : Chinese Medicine Living

Sun Simiao is also portrayed as a god of medicine, here seated on a tiger and holding a dragon above his head.
This image from itmonline.org

On the Absolute Sincerity of Great Physicians: The Healer’s Oath of Sun Simiao [FN-3]

  • When I go to treat an illness I first must calm my mind and make steadfast my intentions.
  • I shall not give way to idle wishes and desires but should first develop an attitude of compassion.
  • I vow to rescue all living beings from their sufferings.
  • If anyone comes to me because of an illness or any other difficulty I will not concern myself with whether they are powerful or humble, rich or poor, old or young, beautiful or ugly.
  • Enemies, relatives, good friends, Chinese or barbarians, foolish and wise, they all are the same to me. I will think of each of them of them as a close and loved relative - or indeed as if it was I who had been struck down by an illness.
  • I shall not worry about my own life or my fortunes or misfortunes. My purpose is to preserve the life of others.
  • I shall not hide away in the mountains. Day and night, in cold and heat, in hunger, thirst and fatigue, I will single-mindedly go to the rescue.  If I am able to act in this manner I may approach being a great doctor for those who are sick. If I act contrary to these precepts I am no more than a great thief to those who are alive.
  • People all too often look with contempt on those who suffer from abominable things, such as ulcers or diarrhea, however I shall maintain an attitude of compassion, sympathy and care. Never in a great physician should there arise an attitude of rejection.
  • I will not glory in my reputation. I will not discredit other physicians while I praise my own virtues.
  • Thus I shall fulfill my responsibilities and my destiny as a physician until I am no longer capable of fulfilling my obligations, or until the end of my lifetime.

China’s King of Medicine, Sun Simiao : Chinese Medicine Living

Sun Simiao.
This image from chinaexpat.com

In many ways Sun Simiao was a product of Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian thought.

For example, Sun Simiao’s thoughts about showing complete compassion to all living things is distinctly Buddhist. In Essential Formulas for Emergencies [Worth] a Thousand Pieces of Gold he wrote: When love of life is concerned, man and animal are equal [therefore] I do not suggest the use of any living creature as a medicine or healing agent. This does not concern the gadflies and the leeches. They have already perished when they reach the market, and it is therefore permissible to use them. As to the hen's eggs, we have to say the following: before their content has been hatched out, they can be used in very urgent cases. Otherwise, one should not burden oneself with this. To avoid their use is a sign of great wisdom, but this will never be attained.

He also shows Daoist beliefs in rejecting the praise of others. He wrote: Lao-tzu has said, When the conduct of men visibly reveals virtue, the humans themselves will reward it. If, however, men commit virtues secretly, the spirits will reward them. When the conduct of men visibly reveals misdeeds, the humans themselves will take retribution. If, however, men commit their misdeeds secretly, the spirits will take retribution. When comparing these alternatives and the respective rewards that will be given in the time after this life and still during this life, how could one ever make a wrong decision?

Confucian ideology shows itself in various admonitions about the virtuous characteristics required of a physician: “In the homes of patients a physician must speak politely, and not indulge in fine food and drink.” “Wherever someone's life is at stake, one should neither act hastily, nor rely on one's own superiority and ability, and least of all keep one's own reputation in mind. This would not correspond to the demands of humaneness.”

Sun Simiao is not devoid of a sense of personal irony when he writes about physicians conceited about their own skills.  “Someone who has accidently healed a disease, walks about with head raised, shows conceit and proclaims that no one in the entire world can measure up to him.” … “In this respect all physicians are evidently incurable.”  When he write “all physicians” might he also be pointing a finger at himself?

In summary,  Sun Simiao placed the cause and treatment of illness within a social and spiritual context. He articulated the need for a physician to understand the relationship between the art of healing and their own inner state of being and enlightenment, and the society within which they and the patient lived. He believed such understanding would help the overall effectiveness of the provided treatment, as the healer recognized and gained a deeper connection to their role in restoring the patient to health. This is the basis of his code of ethics for physicians.

Further Comments

There is another classic Oath for Chinese Physicians which was written by Hua Tuo (c.140-208) [ https://www.britannica.com/biography/Hua-Tuo]. Sun Simiao may have used it as a starting point for his code.

The Vow of Hua Tuo

Treat people equally irrespective of their high or low status, of their poverty or wealth, of their distinction or obscurity.

Do not run after riches, fear no hardships and toils, and take it as your first duty to take pity on the old and help the young. [source: Bob Flaws. Master Hua’s Classic of the Central Viscera.]

Hua Tuo - Chinese Master Physician : Chinese Medicine LivingThis lovely image from alchetron.com

Footnotes

[FN-1] Newland magazine. [ http://www.newlandmagazine.com.au/vision/article/429]

[FN-2] [Wikipedia, “Sun Simiao.”] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Simiao

[FN-3] The translation used in this article was compiled from the following sources:

Gregory M. Casey. “Mystic Dao.” http://www.mysticdao.com/#!The-Healers-Oath/cfkc/2ECEF164-1D5B-4F27-94EE-F8600BA10F38

“Code of Ethics.” http://www.heartofhealingacupuncture.com/code_of_ethics

Albert R. Jonsen. A Short History of Medical Ethics. pp. 36-37.

“King of Medicine: Sun Simiao.” http://www.newlandmagazine.com.au/vision/article/429

“The Oath of Sun Si Miao for Physicians of Traditional Chinese Medicine.” http://www.heartofhealingacupuncture.com/code_of_ethics

“On the Sublime Sincerity of the Eminent Physician.” http://www.happygoatproductions.com/qianjinfang-ethics

Subhuti Dharmananda. Sun Simiao: Author of the Earliest Chinese Encyclopedia for Clinical Practice. http://www.itmonline.org/arts/sunsimiao.htm

Daniel Fu-Chang Tsai. “Ancient Chinese medical ethics and the four principles of biomedical ethics” [in] Journal of Medical Ethics 1999;25. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC479240/pdf/jmedeth00005-0025.pdf

Paul U. Unschuld. Medical Ethics in Imperial China, A Study in Historical Anthropology. https://books.google.com/books?id=T8mB9rfZCBMC&pg=PR3&lpg=PR3&dq=Medical+Ethics+in+Imperial+China,+A+Study+in+Historical+Anthropology&source=bl&ots=lMi2Gb4Eiu&sig=Otaed6OOK9rLv622amqw7qb58hA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjT0rOlrNvNAhWJVz4KHQpRBgAQ6AEIGjAB#v=onepage&q=whenever%20a%20great%20physician%20&f=false 1979 University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

For Further Information:

“Hua Tuo.” http://alchetron.com/Hua-Tuo-1042352-W

“King of Medicine: Sun Simiao.” http://www.newlandmagazine.com.au/vision/article/429

“Lessons from Sun Si Miao - a Chinese patron deity of physicians.” pss.org. http://www.pss.org.sg/whats-happening/e-bulletin/issue-no-30/lessons-sun-si-miao-chinese-patron-deity-physicians#.V30DEyMrJL8

The story of China’s ‘King of Medicine’ is being told through ancient art. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5jCXq97vO8

“Sun Simiao.” tcm.cchinesecio.com. [ http://tcm.chinesecio.com/en/article/2009-09/18/content_66490.htm]

“Sun Simiao.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Simiao

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*** The lovely feature image of Sun Simiao from Amazon.com

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How Acupuncture Can Improve Your Eyesight

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Did you know that acupuncture, Chinese herbs, acupressure, exercises and nutritional therapy can help to naturally improve your vision?

There are 2 organs that are largely responsible for the health of the eyes and vision in Chinese medicine, and they are the liver and the kidneys. The liver is said to open into the eyes, and an imbalance of the liver can result in ringing in the ears, red, blood shot eyes and floaters, so the health of the liver is important in maintaining good vision. The kidneys are responsible for the brain, the eyes, the marrow and bones, and a kidney imbalance can manifest as ringing in the ears, dizziness and vision problems. When someone presents with problems with their vision, these are the two organ systems we are looking to re-balance.

Improve Vision with Acupuncture : Chinese Medicine LivingThis beautiful eye image from deviantart.net

There are 400+ acupuncture points on the body, and on the face, there are 18 acupuncture points that surround the eyes. Each of these points stimulates and increases the circulation of Qi and blood to the eyes as well as stimulates the muscles and nerves that control the eyes, helping to improve vision. There are three acupuncture points that, if you apply pressure to them (called acupressure), can help to improve vision. They are Bladder 2, Stomach 2 and Stomach 3. You can use your fingers and apply gentle pressure to each of these points helps to stimulate optimal blood flow and nerve function. There are images of each point below for your reference.

Bladder 2

Improve Vision with Acupuncture : Chinese Medicine Living

Bladder 2 is located at the medial end of your eyebrows. These points are bilateral, meaning on both sides of the body. When applying gentle pressure, it is best to come up from underneath, placing your fingers on the body ridge of the brow bone. You can apply about 30 seconds of gentle pressure to the points simultaneously a few times in the morning when you get up, and in the evening before bed.

Stomach 2

Improve Vision with Acupuncture : Chinese Medicine Living

Stomach 2 is located directly under the pupil when looking straight ahead, right on the lower edge of the eye orbit (or socket). It is located about one finger width below the eyelid. Use your finger to gently find the point, you may feel a small notch there. Apply about 30 seconds of gentle pressure to the points simultaneously a few times in the morning when you get up, and in the evening before bed.

Stomach 3

Improve Vision with Acupuncture : Chinese Medicine Living

Stomach 3 is located directly under the pupil when looking straight ahead, directly below each cheek bone and level with the base of the nose. You can apply pressure to both stomach points simultaneously, or, if you are dexterous enough, all three points at the same time. Apply about 30 seconds of gentle pressure to the points simultaneously a few times in the morning when you get up, and in the evening before bed.

Muscles of the Eye

There are also 6 muscles that surround the eyes and one muscle inside the eye. If these muscles are too tight or too loose, it can affect our vision and ability to focus effectively. The muscles and their responsibilities are as follows..

  • Lateral rectus - Primarily moves your eye outward, away from your nose.
  • Medial rectus - Primarily moves your eye inward, toward your nose.
  • Superior rectus - Primarily moves your eye upward.
  • Inferior rectus - Primarily moves your eye downward.
  • Superior oblique - Primarily rotates the top of your eye toward your nose.
  • Inferior oblique - Primarily rotates the top of your eye away from your nose.

Improve Vision with Acupuncture : Chinese Medicine LivingThis image from kin450-neurophysiology.wikispaces.com

There are many exercises that you can do to strengthen the muscles of the eyes. Whether the muscles of your eyes are weak or strong determines what kind of vision problems you are having, if it is being near-sighted or myopic or far sighted or presbyopic.

One good, simple eye exercise that you can do every day is to relax sitting or lying and look directly up, to one side, down and to the other side, counting to ten at each position. Do this a few times and then reverse the direction. You will be able to feel a difference, as one direction will probably be easier than the other. Once you have done this a few times, try looking up and making a complete circle in one direction. Go slowly so you don't make yourself dizzy. Stop once you have reached the top and begin again. Do this a few times and then go in the opposite direction. Doing these exercises every day helps to use our eye muscles and keep them strong.

Here are some other things that you can do to help improve your vision and take some of the pressure off your eyes.

  1. If you work at a computer, take breaks. Take a walk and be sure to look into the distance (using different muscles in the eyes).
  2. Eat lots of antioxidants like cherries, pomegranates and blueberries. These foods help to protect the eyes from macular degeneration which is a leading cause of blindness.
  3. Eat foods high in lutein. Lutein is an antioxidant that helps to reduce free radical damage which can affect every part of the eyes. Foods high in lutein include eggs, leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, turnip and collard greens as well as romaine lettuce. Also high in lutein are broccoli, zucchini, brussel sprouts and green peas.
  4. Supplement with DHA. DHA is a fatty acid that is found in the retina of your eyes. DHA can actually help to heal some degenerative changes that occur with macular degeneration. DHA is found mainly is animal products like eggs, fish and meat. The highest concentration is found in oily fish such as mackerel, herring, salmon, trout and sardines.
  5. Stay away from hydrogenated fats. Trans fats are bad for the whole body, but especially for the small blood vessels that supply the eyes and brain.

Get An Acupuncture Treatment

If you are having vision problems, seeing an acupuncturist can help to isolate where the problems with your vision are coming from. Because diagnosis in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is individualistic, each patient is diagnosed based on their individual symptoms so that the treatment can be designed specifically for you. Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, acupressure, exercises and dietary therapy may all be used to correct your imbalance and improve your vision. You do not have to suffer with failing eyesight when Chinese medicine presents so many solutions to this common problem!

Here are some scientific studies that discuss acupuncture and its beneficial effects on the eyes

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Featured image from luxorclinic.com
Beautiful face original image from modernfashionblog.com

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