Treating Anxiety with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Anxiety can be a tricky thing. For some people it seems to come out of nowhere and creep up at unexpected moments. For others, anxiety is predictable and associated with certain events, fears, or situations. Things like driving on the highway, eating in restaurants, and spiders all have the potential to create anxiety.
There are a number of causes of anxiety. Traumatic events top the list. People who have been exposed to trauma, violence, emotional duress, or threats of any kind know the source of their anxiety. This includes unrelenting stress and worry over a life event or situation that’s not easily resolved.
Unfortunately, many people experience anxiety symptoms and don’t know why, which only makes the anxiety worse. These are the people who think they’re going crazy because they seemingly have no reason to feel anxious. However, it’s important to know that anxiety can be caused by physical problems, such as hormonal imbalances, digestive issues, heart problems, and drug side effects.
Anxiety can run in families. I have found that many of my patients who suffer from anxiety have either a parent or a child who also struggles with anxiety, too. This may be due to genetic makeup or how a particular family copes with stressful life events. Whether anxiety in families is due to nature or nurture, it’s not uncommon that family members will have similar triggers for their anxiety.
In Chinese medicine, there are three organ systems related to anxiety; the Heart, Spleen, and Kidneys.
The Chinese view anxiety as worry that has gotten out of control. Each organ system is associated with an emotion, and worry is the emotion associated with the Chinese Spleen. The Spleen is also your organ system of digestion. It sifts and sorts what you’ve eaten, takes what is useful, turns it into nutrients to fuel your body, and gets rid of what is not needed. While your Spleen primarily digests foods, it also plays a role in the sifting and sorting of ideas. While the emotion associated with the Spleen is worry, it is essentially the same as not being able to sort through and let go of unnecessary ideas. Worry is a kind of unhealthy rumination, and when it gets out of control, worry becomes anxiety and fear.
While your Spleen is the organ of digestion, your Heart is the Chinese organ of feelings. We intuitively know that the Heart is an emotional organ. We feel things with all our heart, have our heart broken, or thank someone from the bottom of our heart. Your Heart is home to the Shen, or your spirit, according to Chinese theory. Its function is similar to that of your brain in Western biomedicine. As such your Heart is the home to consciousness, memory, emotions, and thinking. Whenever someone suffers from any kind of emotional upset or condition, such as anxiety, the Heart is always involved.
Finally, the Chinese Kidney also plays a role in anxiety in a couple of ways. First, the emotion related to the Kidney is fear, which is the underlying component of anxiety. Secondly, the Kidney is the deepest and most nourishing of our organs. It’s responsible for how well you age, your underlying body constitution, and is the source of all the fundamental substances in your body, such as Yin, Yang, and Essence. Your Kidney is the organ system most damaged by stress and anxiety. The Western condition of adrenal fatigue (from stress, anxiety, overwork, etc.) correlates to a severe Kidney depletion in Chinese medicine.
Chinese medicine and acupuncture can offer a number of strategies to help someone suffering from anxiety. Your practitioner would work by first calming your Shen using acupuncture. This is an effective first line of defense, as research has documented the positive effects that acupuncture has on brain chemistry. It has been found that acupuncture increases the secretion of endorphins in the brain, the feel good substance associated with pain relief and runner’s high. This effect accounts for the relaxing and calming sensation patients feel both during and after their treatments.
A practitioner of Chinese medicine might also address your anxiety by nourishing your Spleen and restoring your Kidney health. Beyond acupuncture, there are a number of safe and effective herbal formulas that can help calm anxiety. Your practitioner can prescribe the combination of herbs that is most appropriate to your individual needs.
Food therapy and lifestyle changes may also be part of your treatment for anxiety. This may include at-home calming strategies, avoiding stimulants such as coffee or tea, dietary changes, and breathing techniques—all of which can be effective in relieving anxiety.
By Your Acupuncture Specialist, on March 30th
Emotions: Anger, Stress, Resentment, Pent-up emotions, ability to control all of the emotions
Related organs: Liver (yin)/Gallbladder(yang)
Body tissue: Tendons
Climatic Qi: Wind
Sense organ: Eyes
Move Your Qi
When our energy does not move, it becomes stagnant. This is true for the body, mind and spirit. Patients always seem surprised when I inform them that the way that we think and feel predetermine the health of our bodies. Somewhere in our lives many of us lost our innocence and forgot how tightly intertwined we are, physically, mentally and spiritually.
When I studied Comparative Medical History, I learned where in history western medicine took on a different path of the world’s other medical practices, including Chinese medicine. The body had become separate from the mind and spirit. This was due primarily to newly instated religious doctrines. The beauty of Chinese medicine is that the body, mind and spirit have always been revered as one entity; never separate entities.
I named my website MOVE YOUR QI because that is what EVERY practitioner of Chinese medicine does. Acupuncture moves qi. Herbs work on qi also, but it also has a more profound effect on the fluids of the body, such as blood and phlegm.
Why is moving qi extremely important? Because qi = energy, which is a very loose translation from Chinese to English. We do not want qi to become stagnant. Stagnant qi is one way for the body’s health to decline very fast.
The standard emotion for the wood element is anger. In my practice, I include the other emotions stated above. It was what my teachers had taught me and what I have observed over the past nine years in practice.
I understand anger, pent-up emotions, stress, resentment, which end up causing me to be unable to control all of my other emotions. I was raised in a home of domestic violence. I read a bumper sticker the other day that stated, “THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.” The statement, driven by a man in charge of his large street-cleaning machine, brought me to grateful tears. I survived my horrid past. My life is pure alchemy. Like a lotus, I have grown and blossomed from the mud that life had dealt me from birth. I trudged in that mud well into my 20s. For those who can relate, we all must know that the only way we can live without stagnant qi is by forgiving the past, EVEN when the person(s) who abused us does not feel that they need or want forgiveness. The only person one requires to accept completely in order to live in good health is one’s self.
One of my first classes in college was a class on building self-esteem. It was a mandatory class required by my university. My homework every day was to look at myself in the mirror and state:
“I LOVE MYSELF FOR WHO I AM. I AM GREAT.”
Because I usually was a very good student, I did my homework. This one, I did not like. I lied to myself every day. I felt angry and ashamed of my past because of too many memories that should never be spoken out loud. My broken heart felt empty. The ruins of my past haunted me every moment and though it looked on the outside like I kept everything together, I did not even know myself well enough to realize how much I allowed my childhood to depress me more and more every day. This simple homework activity was my first exposure in moving my qi. I said that statement every day, initially lying to myself, until I finally believed how much I must love myself if what I really want to do in life is to thrive. My anger and depression began to lift, though at age 18, there were many more years of work to do in order to become completely healthy.
Being a devout child to religion helped me to survive, but it did not cure my hidden insanity. My religion and my faithful practices did not bring me into conscious awareness. God taught me outside His house and worldly doctrines how I would grow into the individual that He had meant for me to become. The people that I had begun to attract into my life moved my qi. Their inspirations showed me the beauty of God’s creation. The moment I decided to let go of all stagnation in my life, the right people at the right time in the right places came to me. Chinese medicine came to me. There was something in Chinese medicine that made me whole. There was nothing wrong in my personal religion and there was nothing missing in my worship. What was missing was a complete understanding of how only I can allow my qi to move. God can only give a person the tools to heal. It is up to the individual to use her freedom of will to allow herself to heal.
I mention religion because people come to me for help with their health issues and I ask them, “What do you think is the lesson to learn from this issue? Why do you think life is teaching you this lesson?” The natural response for most devout religious worshipers is, “I don’t know. I have no clue why God is doing this to me. This must be what He wants me to go through.” It is as if many of us succumb to the idea that God wants us to suffer without trying to think outside of the box to help heal ourselves. I believe that God gave us many languages to make us a more colorful world. I believe that God gave us many types of healing therapies as a way to help us work together in order to find the different keys that open up the pathways to authentic healing. I do not believe that when we are afflicted with a disease, no matter how slight or severe, that we are meant to surrender to our bodies’ afflictions. I believe that when disharmony happens in our bodies, it is God saying to us, “Listen to what I am telling you. There is a lesson to learn from this. I am giving you an opportunity to learn, grow and transform.” So many of us push ourselves emotionally and physically to the point that we are helplessly exhausted. The law of detachment does not resonate with some of us. When someone offends us, we take it so personally that the initial offense causes us to create unnecessary resentment. Unchecked resentment easily leads way to anger. Anger, like fire, can move so fast and affect every aspect of our lives. Fire diminishes water. Yang consumes yin. There is no more balance in a person’s body. The origin of the disharmony began with the emotions being unchecked. It would be ideal if before our health declines, we ask ourselves if being angry is worth the suffering that we may eventually experience. Why do so many of us behave self-destructively? We see this on an individual level and as a behavior of empires. In the midst of chaos, we rarely see clearly that self-righteousness is the nemesis to humility. Which is more important to you? Is it more important to be justified, while holding on to anger, resentment and an air of self-righteousness or to develop healthy and happy relationships with those you care about most and possibly with people who may end up becoming good friends?
We can fight for a cause without letting anger consume us. Diplomacy is the key. We can practice this in our daily lives, make our point and live more healthily than if we argue to a point where it causes headaches, migraines, indigestion, menstrual issues, miscarriages, fertility issues, hypertension, congenital heart disease and a myriad of other serious health issues. We do not always have to be right. This is not an ideal world, though hopeful people like me believe that trying is better than full-speed destruction. There are people like me, even if few, who believe that letting go of anger and resentment brings a dichotomy of ideas together and can eventually lead to peace of mind, freedom of the individual and ultimate healing of the spirit. The spirit leads the mind and the mind leads the body. The body shows manifestations of disharmonies in the spirit and mind.
Imagine a world where our spirits are detached from anger, resentment, depression and the inability to control our emotions. It is a healthier world. A happier world. A world where qi moves freely and nothing is stagnant. And it could only happen with one person at a time.
Move your qi. It is the healthy way to live.
~By Anna at Elements In Harmony
5 Ways Acupuncture Creates Lasting New Year’s Resolutions
New Year’s Rejuvenation
It is the beginning of a new year and, once again, a time to reflect on what changes we can make to improve our lives. If you are intent on improving your health this year, acupuncture and Chinese medicine may be the very thing you need to “stick” to those resolutions.
Here’s how acupuncture can help you achieve your goals:
Resolution 1: Reach Target Weight and Stay There
Losing weight is the #1 most common New Year’s Resolution. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can help you reach your goal weight and maintain it by promoting better digestion, smoothing emotions, reducing appetite, improving metabolism, and eliminating food cravings.
From an Oriental medicine perspective, the acupuncture points, foods and herbs that are chosen to assist with weight loss directly influence the Qi of the Spleen and Liver systems to treat the root imbalances that are causing the weight gain.
From a Western perspective, acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been shown to have an effect on the function of the nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system, food cravings, and metabolism. All of which can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite, and reduce anxiety.
The beauty of acupuncture is that each treatment is catered to the needs of the individual patient. Acupuncture points on the body will be chosen for overall well being with the objective of increasing circulation of the blood and Qi (stimulating the metabolism) and calming the nervous system.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are powerful tools for healthy weight loss, by themselves or as a supportive treatment in conjunction with other weight management programs.
Resolution 2: Stay Sharp
Your New Year’s resolution may be to learn a new language or take a class at your local college. However you choose to exercise your brain, acupuncture can help. Numerous studies suggest that acupuncture can help improve memory, mental clarity, concentration and cognitive function.
One recently published study (see below) shows how acupuncture can be used to treat memory impairment induced by diabetes and cerebral ischemia. Other studies have looked at how acupuncture affects the performance of students during an exam, post-menopausal “brain fog”, Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. All results, thus far, have been positive.
Resolution 3: Relieve Pain Naturally
If pain is keeping you from living your life to the fullest, acupuncture can help. Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medications. Acupuncture has no side effects and can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of what is causing the pain or where the pain is located. Some studies have shown the pain relief it provides can last for months.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain before and after acupuncture treatment for pain shows dramatic decreases in activity in the pain centers of the brain – up to 70%.
In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area.
Resolution 4: Quit Smoking
Acupuncture has turned a growing number of cigarette cravers into permanent ex-smokers. In fact, researchers say that acupuncture is a promising treatment for all types of addiction from cigarettes to heroin.
In one study, a team from Yale University successfully used auricular (ear) acupuncture to treat cocaine addiction. Results showed that 54.8% of participants tested free of cocaine during the last week of treatment, compared to 23.5% and 9.1% in the two control groups. Those who completed acupuncture treatment also had longer periods of sustained abstinence compared to participants in the control groups.
The acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation focus on jitters, cravings, irritability, and restlessness; symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.
Resolution 5: Eliminate Stress
Stress reduction is always on the top ten list for New Year’s resolutions and for a good reason. Stress is often the cause of illness and the deterioration of health. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and lowering blood pressure
In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a whole gamut of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home.
Needless to say, if the stress in your life is throwing you off balance, consider coming in for a treatment to regain peace of mind and stay healthy.
Contact Sabeeha Kurji and Andrea Lamont to see how Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you with your New Year’s Resolutions!
By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM
Treatment of Neurological Disorders with Acupuncture
By: Acufinder Staff Writer
A neurological disorder refers to a problem with the nervous system, which is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates the body’s activities. Nerve pain can arise from trauma, inflammation, stroke, disease, infection, nerve degeneration, exposure to toxic chemicals, and nutrient deficiencies.
Nerve pain is usually a sharp shooting pain or a constant burning sensation. Typically occurring in the same location with each episode, it can often be traced along the nerve pathway. Sometimes weakness or impaired function in the affected area occurs and the skin may be either overly sensitive or numb.
Some common neurological disorders acupuncture treats include:
Peripheral Neuropathy – damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to every other part of the body. Neuropathy caused by diabetes often affects the feet.
Trigeminal Neuralgia – facial pain, sometimes called Tic Douloureux, affects the trigeminal nerve which is responsible for impulses of touch, pain, pressure and temperature sent to the brain from the face, jaw, and gums.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – also known as median nerve entrapment, it occurs when swelling or irritation of the nerve or tendons in the carpal tunnel results in pressure on the median nerve.
Headaches – Headaches that can be treated with acupuncture include migraines, tension headaches, headaches occurring around the menstrual cycle, sinus headaches and stress-related headaches.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been found effective as a conjunctive therapy for neurological disorders and in treating pain and inflammation. Visit Glow Acupuncture & Wellness Center today to learn more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be integrated into your neurological health plan!
Read more about acupuncture and Oriental medicine for neurological disorders:
In Part 1 we learned why autumn is a great time to work on getting healthier in the lungs and large intestine, and a few tips on how to do it. In today’s follow up post, we’ll find out even more ways to stay healthy when the leaves begin to fall.
Dr. Elson Haas in Staying Healthy with the Seasons uses a holistic approach and suggests we can use autumn’s characteristics to boost our immune systems. The following is merely a synopsis so if any of it resonates with you, the book would definitely be a good investment!
A week-long juice cleanse in early to mid-autumn will give us a boost of energy and eliminate any potential illnesses we’ve stored away by flushing out excesses or by improving organ functions.
Since this is harvest time, we’ve got a plethora of fruits and veggies to choose from, including the Master Cleanse recipe (lemon juice, cayenne pepper and organic maple syrup). Apples, pears and grapes are in season, and Doc Haas even suggests eating only grapes for a week coupled with a daily lemonade if the juices are too sweet.
Also, try a teaspoon of cold-pressed olive oil twice daily, as well as one cup of an herbal laxative tea (see below for some choices) on rising and before bed to keep the intestines moving.
With an internal cleanse, we might want to pay some attention to facilitating the cleansing process. Dr. Haas says to:
- Brush our teeth and tongue (there will be more coating during a cleanse), and to floss regularly.
- Bathe daily and brush our skin with a loofa sponge or skin brush to remove dead skin cells and to stimulate the clearing of toxins.
- Exercise, with a good sweat, is beneficial to cleansing before bathing.
- At the end of bath or shower, use cold water to close the skin pores and prevent heat loss and vulnerability to colds, as well as stimulate skin circulation.
This plant and herb is a lung aid that also facilitates cleansing and healing; it’s been used for centuries by many cultures as a food and medicine for a variety of ailments. The health benefits of garlic deserves its own post, so for now, Dr. Haas says if it’s eaten regularly, it can help prevent colds, flus and other infections.
Try taking a couple of cloves a day, pressed into water or juice (it’s so potent it needs to be diluted), or as garlic capsules, taking two twice daily. Chewing parsley will help balance the strong breath odour. When your body begins to eliminate garlic odor through the skin, it’s said this is when you’ve had enough.
I’ve tried a few of the interesting recipes found in Staying Healthy with the Seasons (like this tonic made with garlic), yet one of the best has to be garlic olive oil!
- Peel and chop enough cloves to fill a half of a quart jar.
- Cover the cloves with cold-pressed olive oil to about one or two inches above the garlic and place in a sunlit window for five to seven days, shaking once daily.
- Strain it well through cheese cloth, and you have strong smelling garlic oil.
The soaked cloves can be refrigerated and used in cooking. The garlic oil will last for months and can be used both internally (like on salads) and externally (like rubbing it on a congested chest or even on the soles of the feet to prevent or remedy early colds)!
This autumn cleansing tip is controversial but Dr. Haas is a believer in its benefits. He says,
Many doctors have stated that constipation is one of the main causes of disease, and I feel that aging and death may well begin in the colon… Constipation can create a backup of toxicity through the body, and affect the muscular or nervous system, creating tensions and exhaustion.
Colon hydrotherapy is a non-toxic method of cleansing the large intestine and has been used for thousands of years as a natural internal bath. Before today’s machines, it was done by entering a river or lake and using a hollow reed or bamboo tube to allow water to enter the rectum.
This section alone is worth the cost of the book! Meditation is a deep subject and Dr. Haas does a fantastic job in explaining the mind’s potential and using meditation to develop the different parts of our brain for better functioning.
For instance, he talks about how the bimodal character of our brain is crucial to how we experience life. One mode is active, thinking, time-oriented, and attempts to organize and manipulate our world. The other is receptive, sensing, timeless, and perceives and understands our external and internal environment without judgement.
Meditation is a practice which helps expand awareness and moves us to a new balance, which is neither active or receptive. It takes us to the center to experience both of these realms and has been used over the centuries to enhance sensory awareness and alter perception of the environment and oneself. Haas says,
It is important to staying healthy as it facilitates a greater communication between our inner and outer worlds, and allows a deep state of rest and rejuvenation. Physiologically, meditation lowers the respiratory rate, increases the frequency of alpha brain waves, and facilitates muscular relaxation.
Try setting aside 15 to 30 minutes once or twice a day for quiet conscious relaxation and clearing your mind of old and congested thoughts. Many people like to do this in the morning to set their day off right. Just avoid meditating on a full stomach.
Haas even hints that meditation will strengthen our will power: “You may learn how to guide your energies rather than being controlled by your impulses.”
Another fascinating section of this chapter in Staying Healthy with the Seasons, Dr. Haas says that drugs can be helpful but should be reserved as a last resort because they all affect our physical, mental, and emotional states. The use of drugs as medicines is part of the same picture as using drugs to alter psychological states.
He suggests that therapeutic options should be:
- Lifestyle changes first
- Natural therapies second
- Drugs last
Short-term use of any drug may lead to weakened resistance to illness and more vulnerable to colds, flus, hepatitis, lung and skin problems. Long-range effects help create many of the degenerating and chronic diseases through toxin build up in the body, and by weakening specific organs and systems.
Haas says it’s time to break the patterns of relying on drugs (including sugar as a stimulant!) to make us feel better:
Understanding your natural cycles will help you see the importance of creating healthier bodies by the use of good foods, exercise, and eliminating toxins in your life. Pleasure drugs are a lazy way to alter and control your energy. And the body will not be able to re-experience this relaxed or stimulated state without drugs unless you take the time to tune your machine to its most healthful state.
If you have habits or addictions you’d like to overcome, it’s helpful to change other aspects of your life, such as diet, exercise and attitudes. (And as we learned, meditation may also help strengthen your mind and resolve for change!)
After the week-long juice fast (or, in my case, I just started a month-long mini-cleanse), an autumn diet is a bit heavier and builds on the late summer diet. For meat eaters, this means more meats and dairy products. For vegetarians, autumn requires an increase in grains, nuts, beans and seeds, and eggs and dairy if used.
Although we need these heat-producing foods to combat the colder weather, too many congesting foods (or simply overeating) tends to keep our internal state at the level of physical sensations and indulgences.
How do we know how much of what to choose?
Dr. Haas says diets are totally individual and related to personal character, activity and to the climate in which you live. We must listen to our bodies for clues as to its preferences. This Food Balance Breakdown might help when choosing certain food types, combinations and proportions:
- Builders: Animal proteins and beans
- Cleansers: Fruits and vegetables
- Congestors: Sweets, cheese and breads
- Lubricators: Nuts, seeds, and their oils
While there are less fruits available in the autumn, an abundance of veggies helps us balance out our diets.
The longer nights make the season and our energy more yin (quiet, inward and contracting) so Dr. Haas says we might want to concentrate on staying loose and relaxed:
Stretching, calisthenics, running, and hiking will all help. A strengthening program using weights and isometric exercises will build more muscles from your higher protein meals. Exercise keeps your weight in balance, too, with the heavier autumn diet. It is natural to gain a few pounds during autumn and winter, so turn some of it into muscle as well as a little fat to keep you warmer.
In the colder months, just as our energy turns inward, so does the energy in plants. To gain energy in autumn and winter for us, we use root herbs. Dr. Haas suggests quite a few herbs, mainly those that facilitate cleansing in the lungs, skin and large intestine.
For instance, burdock root and comfrey root can both be used as tonics, the former for skin disorders and the latter for intestinal lining, mucous membranes and the lungs. He also suggests simmering fresh ginger root for 15-20 minutes (which I do regularly since reading this book) for more body heat and clearer lungs.
To tone and clear out the intestine, casara sagrada is an effective laxative and tonic. So is licorice root and oregon root.
Dr. Haas imparts a wealth of knowledge and many more tips in his chapter on staying healthy in autumn. Try these out and when you’re ready, get the book so you can stay healthy throughout the year!
Are you doing an autumn cleanse or juice fast? I’ve got ginger, pumpkin, squash, olive oil and garlic so far on my shopping list for this week!
The first traces of therapeutic activities in the territories that are now considered China date from the Shang dynasty (14th-11th centuries BCE). Though the Shang did not have a concept of “medicine” as distinct from other fields, their oracular inscriptions on bones and tortoise shells refer to illnesses that affected the Shang royal family: eye disorders, toothaches, bloated abdomen, etc., which Shang elites usually attributed to curses sent by their ancestors. There is no evidence that the Shang nobility used herbal remedies.
Stone and bone needles found in ancient tombs have made Joseph Needham speculate that acupuncture might have originated in the Shang dynasty. But most historians now make a distinction between medical lancing (or bloodletting) and acupuncture in the narrower sense of using metal needles to treat illnesses by stimulating specific points along circulation channels (“meridians”) in accordance with theories related to the circulation of Qi. The earliest evidence for acupuncture in this sense dates to the second or first century BCE.
The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon, the oldest received work of Chinese medical theory, was compiled around the first century BCE on the basis of shorter texts from different medical lineages. Written in the form of dialogues between the legendary Yellow Emperor and his ministers, it offers explanations on the relation between humans, their environment, and the cosmos, on the contents of the body, on human vitality and pathology, on the symptoms of illness, and on how to make diagnostic and therapeutic decisions in light of all these factors. Unlike earlier texts like Recipes for Fifty-Two Ailments, which was excavated in the 1970s from a tomb that had been sealed in 168 BCE, the Inner Canon rejected the influence of spirits and the use of magic. It was also one of the first books in which the cosmological doctrines of Yinyang and the Five Phases were brought to a mature synthesis.
The Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders and Miscellaneous Illnesses was collated by Zhang Zhongjing sometime between 196 and 220 CE, at the end of the Han dynasty. Focusing on drug prescriptions rather than acupuncture, it was the first medical work to combine Yinyang and the Five Phases with drug therapy. This formulary was also the earliest Chinese medical text to group symptoms into clinically useful “patterns” (zheng 證) that could serve as targets for therapy. Having gone through numerous changes over time, it now circulates as two distinct books: the Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders and the Essential Prescriptions of the Golden Casket, which were edited separately in the eleventh century, under the Song dynasty.
In the centuries that followed the completion of the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon, several shorter books tried to summarize or systematize its contents. The Canon of Problems (probably second century CE) tried to reconcile divergent doctrines from the Inner Canon and developed a complete medical system centered on needling therapy. The AB Canon of Acupuncture and Moxibustion (Zhenjiu jiayi jing 針灸甲乙經, compiled by Huangfu Mi sometime between 256 and 282 CE) assembled a consistent body of doctrines concerning acupuncture; whereas the Canon of the Pulse (Maijing 脈經; ca. 280) presented itself as a “comprehensive handbook of diagnostics and therapy.”
Famous historical physicians
Autumn marks the turning point between the heat of summer and the cold of winter. The cooling weather ushers in the harvest and heralds the dying cycle in nature. The seasonal change also causes the respiratory system to constrict, leading to cough, asthma, bronchitis, and even pneumonia. Chinese medicine has always associated autumn with the lungs and large intestine. The Yellow Emperor advises early to bed and early to rise, practice breathing exercises, avoid pungent flavors but increase sour ones in the diet, drink fluids and eat soups, and remain calm and relaxed to avoid the diseases typical of autumn.
Some Important Autumn Foods
The apple, a universally loved fruit, has long been a symbol of passion and temptation – and now, scientists have confirmed that it also contributes to a healthy heart. Eating two to three apples per day results in decreased cholesterol levels, thanks to the fruit’s rich pectin content. Pectin also helps prevent colon cancer, which ranks among the top causes of death in adults over the age of sixty.
Sweet Potatoes and Yams
These powerhouse foods contain higher amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin C than carrots, more protein than wheat and rice, and more fiber than oat bran. Sweet potatoes and yams also happen to be a rich source of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). This is a precursor hormone – a substance that remains latent until it converts into a hormone that the body needs. DHEA can become estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone, all essential for your body’s ant-aging defenses to work. As one ages, however, the body’s level of precursor hormones like DHEA drop precipitously.
Oat bran, the outer coating of oats, contains high concentrations of soluble fibers, which help trap cholesterol and move it quickly through the intestines. Unfortunately, most people eat their oats in the refined form, which contains very little of the precious bran that contains beta-glucan and saponins. Whole oats are also rich in the antioxidants that stop cholesterol oxidation, the process that enables it to stick to artery walls.
More benefits: oats prevent colon cancer by binding toxic minerals and acids; they balance the body’s blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates; and the saponins in oats increase production of “killer cells,” a critical part of the body’s immune surveillance system. Try substituting a warm bowl of whole oats for your cold cereal in the morning. Your body will thank you – for years.
Excerpts from Dr. Maoshing Ni’s book, Secrets of Longevity Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100
Article By Dr. Maoshing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., Ph.D. via Acupuncture.com
(NaturalNews) New research adds more evidence proving that acupuncture is effective at reducing and eliminating pain. Presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), the new findings include functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans that clearly show a positive change in the metabolic activity of patients’ brains receiving acupuncture treatment.
“Functional MRI gives us the opportunity to directly observe areas of the brain that are activated during pain perception and see the variances that occur with acupuncture,” explained lead researcher Nina Theysohn, MD, from the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology at University Hospital in Essen, Germany. “Activation of brain areas involved in pain perception was significantly reduced or modulated under acupuncture.”
Eighteen volunteers agreed to participate in the study, and all were observed using fMRI technology. Researchers applied electrical pain stimuli to the participants’ left ankles and observed their brain activity both with and without acupuncture treatment. The team found that the pain activation centers in the participants’ brains became less active and even deactivated in the presence of acupuncture treatment.
The findings also challenge some notions that acupuncture works primarily as a placebo. While certain brain responses to acupuncture indicate facets of a placebo response, others clearly highlight specific mechanical activities in the brain that demonstrably reduce pain symptoms.
“Acupuncture is supposed to act through at least two mechanisms — nonspecific expectancy-based effects and specific modulation of the incoming pain signal,” said Theysohn. “Our findings support that both these nonspecific and specific mechanisms exist, suggesting that acupuncture can help relieve pain.”
Acupuncture has also been found to help improve fertility, increase heart function, and assist in helping people sleep.
To learn more about acupuncture, visit:
Glow’s own Sabeeha T. Kurji, R. TCM.P practices a rare form of Acupuncture called Classical Five Element Acupunture. Below is an article written by her teach Professor Neil R. Gumenick where he offers suggestions on tending our own inner fires, and living in harmony.
TENDING OUR FIREWe experience Fire, one of the elemental powers, most fully in the season of summer, the time when young energy that arose in the spring expands to its maximum potential. We, who are part of Nature just as surely as all that surrounds us, can enhance our own health by understanding the special functions of the hottest of all the seasons. Through this awareness we can help balance our own Fire energy.
When Nature’s energy flourishes and blossoms in the summer, it is time to enjoy the fruit from the seeds we have planted and the visions and plans we have made. If a tree doesn’t flower and bear fruit, there can be no harvest; for us, similarly, if we do not allow ourselves to flower during this season, we will deprive ourselves of a late summer harvest to carry us through the year. Autumn, the season of letting go, will be all the more difficult for us if we haven’t experienced the fruition of our hopes and plans.
CYCLES: LATE SUMMER
THE SEASON OF EARTHOnce summer has reached its height, the year’s cycle begins its inevitable decline into the season of late summer – the season of Earth.
To us, late summer seems a welcome relief from the intense heat and brightness of summer. From the Chinese perspective, it is a season unto itself with a unique energy and function in the cycle of the year. The Chinese associated the power of “decrease” with late summer and, at the same time, referred to it as the period of abundance. With the coming of late summer, nature returns the fruits it has made, which are ripe and ready to be picked. A good harvest fills the larder. It means autumn and winter can be survived without scarcity, and that energy can be conserved during the cold period when outer growth ceases.
As it is for the seasons of the year, so it is for life’s seasons. The work done on ourselves during the earlier part of our lives – the growth and strengthening of the body, cultivating meaningful relationships, challenging and developing the intellect, spiritual practice – all determine the quality of the harvest we reap – and what we have to share with others. Whether at the breast of the physical mother or the breast of Mother Nature, the earth and the archetype of Mother have always been connected – survival would be impossible without the nourishment both freely give. Though most of us today may not grow our own food, we ought to keep sight of the fact that prior to being put in packets and stacked in supermarkets, the food we consume is nonetheless a gift from the earth. Despite the abuse it has to endure, the earth is forgiving and continues to feed and provide for us.
The Chinese associated the power of “decrease” with late summer and, at the same time, referred to it as the period of abundance. Physically and spiritually, this period of late summer is a time for slowing down and gathering in. It is a time when we recognize and hold the fruits of our labor.
In our spiritual lives, the Earth element grants us the ability to internalize the mother by learning to nourish and care for ourselves. Imagine a child who hasn’t experienced the security derived from being properly loved and cared for; an imbalance in the Earth element may well be a result of this lack of mothering. The infant nursing at the breast, receiving the milk and (as importantly) the love of its mother, is the very perfection of Earth.
But mothering does not stop in infancy. The patience and compassion that come from the mother are needed for years, as we grow and learn how to care for ourselves. What if this essential teaching and nourishment are missing? A preoccupation and search develops for the mother that we lacked. If we have had no nurturing, there is a feeling of being deprived and misunderstood. We are in continual need, seeking from the external that which is lacked internally. Unless the imbalance caused by this trauma to the Earth element is resolved, a search for mothering may continue right through life.
The emotion associated with the Earth element is sympathy, an important emotion when expressed in appropriate circumstances. Compassion and empathy arise spontaneously when the moment is right. I marvel at how my six-year-old knows in an instant just how to comfort a friend who is hurt or crying.
As well as the ability to express sympathy toward others, however, we must be able to receive it, too. It is necessary that others understand how and when we hurt, that others know what we are going through. When a child is in pain, it calls immediately for its mother, the source for sympathy and understanding. But with an Earth imbalance, the need for sympathy can become excessive and insatiable; or, in its opposite manifestation, sympathy may be completely absent. We all know people from whom we can expect no compassion, regardless of circumstance. And there are also those who cannot receive sympathy or help at all – the sort who say, “No, I can do it myself.”
An identical imbalance can be created by over-mothering, which can stunt a child’s capacity to care for itself and to learn from its own experience. In either extreme, rather than expressing real needs, a person develops manipulative ways of relating to others – exaggerating, over-complaining, whining to attract sympathy, or keeping silent and denying real needs, distrusting other people’s motives, and feeling that no one understands.
In our bodies, the earth is represented by the stomach and spleen, the organs that receive food and enable us to be nourished by its essence. As the process of digestion begins in the mouth, food should be chewed thoroughly and mixed with saliva, the bodily secretion of the Earth element. Icy cold foods and drink should generally be avoided, as extreme cold strains our Fire element (whose job it is to maintain a normal body temperature). The period between 7 and 9 a.m. is the time in which nature gives the stomach a measure of extra energy, so that this is the optimum time to take in nourishment. Yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day – we should instinctively begin the day as we did when we were infants, with fuel in the tank.
The Chinese did not view the vital organs as physical entities only, but also as officials, with functions that manifest on a non-physical level. Parallel to body functions, how information and feelings are taken in and “digested” is largely a function of the Stomach official, seen as the agent who receives and processes emotional and mental “food.” A failure of this function means that thoughts and feelings churn endlessly, ultimately developing into obsessions that can’t be processed and rendered useful.
There are forty-five acupuncture points on the stomach meridian (energy pathway). Each point has a unique and specific purpose in restoring balance and harmony to the stomach function as Nature ordained it, healing in ways that are often suggested by the name of a point. The following is an example:
Stomach 20: “Receiving Fullness”
The experience of an inner harvest may be unknown and unavailable to someone whose Earth element has been traumatized. Feeling barren, such a person seems to bring nothing to fruition. Even in the presence of caring friends with helpful ideas, or in any other nourishing environment, nothing can be received or made one’s own. For a person in such a state of depletion, Stomach 20 can open the empty storehouse so the person can begin to receive the abundance that Nature offers to us all.
The other Earth official, the Spleen, according to Chinese medicine is the official of transport. As such, it takes what the stomach has prepared and moves it on to nourish the cells in the body. A healthy Spleen not only nourishes us at the physical level, but also makes sure the nourishment reaches our minds and spirits. In the following example, we see how an acupuncturist may use one of the twenty-one points on the Spleen meridian to assist in restoring health to body, mind, and spirit.
Spleen 8: “Earth Motivator”
This point gets the official of transport moving. Even if the granaries and storehouses are full, we will starve if the means of transportation fail. “Earth Motivator” invigorates and prepares the earth within us for planting. Imagine scattering seeds on hard, unyielding soil – few, if any, will take root. Like a bulldozer, this point breaks up, moves and turns the soil within us. Then new growth can occur, promising a richer harvest. A new vitality begins to be felt. Hardness and stubbornness, which manifest as selfishness and lack of sympathy, are transformed into greater thoughtfulness and care in relations with others.
We can see that if the Earth element is out of balance, we may be prone to digestive disorders – as well as illness in any other organ or function of the body, for all are dependent on the stomach and spleen for nourishment.
Consider these everyday expressions, heard but often unnoticed, from someone whose Earth element could be in distress: “I just can’t stomach it… I can’t digest it… Let’s get down to earth… The ground was pulled out from under me… Stand on your own two feet… I have to care for everyone else but nobody takes care of me… I’m always hungry… Nothing fills me up.”
In summary, every process must invariably pass through its period of harvest, grand or small as it may be. Physically and spiritually, the period of late summer is a time for slowing down and gathering in. It is a time when we recognize and hold the fruits of labor. Imagine the farmer filling the silo after the harvest: Now that the heavy work is over, he can reflect contentedly on all that has brought him to this moment and this season.
It is appropriate for us, too, to acknowledge this stage of our own life cycle. From the harvest of our experience, we develop a natural inclination to share and serve others. Well nourished ourselves, we can recognize where needs exist and how best to fill them. Exercising our compassion, we can become caretakers of the earth.
Suggestions for living in harmony with the late summer season
- Enjoy the abundance of fruits and fresh vegetables
Be aware of their special qualities, each succulence different from the next. Carrots are crisp, cucumbers cool, tomatoes luscious, peaches sweet. Look at the seeds, and reflect on the fact that within each harvest lie the seeds of the next.
- Be thoughtful of how you can nourish others.
In this season when nature gives her bounty, we also rejoice in giving, with attention to the special needs of others. You need not wait until you can give a “great gift.” A word, a courtesy, a thoughtfulness – given today – is a great gift.
- Be conscious of the harvest of your life.
Think about yourself, your relationships, and your work. What parts of your life are bearing fruit? Where is the harvest rich? Where do you find it stunted?
- Consider what you need to do to make ready for the letting go of autumn.
Holding your harvest in mind, ask what is overgrown or unneeded. What distracts you from your dearest concerns? What might you wish to simplify in yourself or in your life?
Copyright 1997 by Neil Gumenick
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of healing known to mankind. It originated in China nearly five thousand years ago. The fact that it is still being practiced today speaks much for the efficacy of this treatment and for the laws and principles on which it is based. These are nature’s laws and principles that underlie all of creation and apply to every human being.
How does it work?
Chinese medicine recognizes that there is a vital force (called Chi energy) in the body which controls the working of every organ and system. This energy must flow freely and in the correct strength and quality if the body is to function correctly. In all illness, the flow of vital energy is impaired. Acupuncture directly affects this energy at special points located on the energy pathways (meridians). When gently inserted into these acupuncture points, the needles produce various effects. According to the manipulation of the needles, energy can be drawn to a deficient organ, an excess dispersed, blockages removed, and so on, according to the individual need of the patient. As the balance and harmony of the vital energy is restored, symptoms of illness disappear. If all of the functions and organs of the body are working properly and harmoniously, there can not be sickness within the body or mind.
Sometimes, points are heated with a special herb, Artemesia Vulgaris Latiflora (called moxa), which resembles a brown colored wool. Usually, a tiny cone of moxa is placed on the skin over an acupuncture point, ignited, and removed when the heat is felt. Like needles, moxa revitalizes, reinforces, invigorates, and restores balance and harmony to the vital energy.
Does it hurt?
Because the needles are about the thinness of a hair, insertion is often hardly felt at all. There may be an occasional sharpness or a dull ache, but these sensations are only momentary and far less unpleasant than a western injection.
What happens during the initial examination?
The initial examination takes up to two hours and includes a thorough medical and personal history, description of complaints, a review of the functioning of the systems of the body, and a physical examination. This includes the taking of the Chinese pulses [usually felt at the wrist] from which your acupuncturist can determine the state of the energy in each of the major organs and functions. Using the diagnostic tools of classical Chinese medicine, which include analyzing a patients predominant facial color, vocal sound, emotion, and odor, your acupuncturist can assess the condition of the Chi energy and determine the underlying cause of the condition. From all of this information, a treatment plan is developed, unique to the individual patient.
How many treatments are necessary and how often?
This varies from person to person and one cannot be guided by the experience of other patients. Much depends on the severity of the disease, how long the patient has suffered from it, as well as the lifestyle and other factors contributing to it. Typically, treatments are given once per week for the first six to eight weeks. As the patient improves, visits are reduced to once every ten days, two weeks, once a month, and so on. As classical acupuncture is a preventative system of medicine, as well as curative, it is advisable for healthy patients to come in periodically for checkups and maintenance, as the pulses can reveal if anything is going wrong in the body long before it manifests itself as a visible symptom. Most of us don’t wait for our cars to break down before taking them in to be checked. We should not pay less attention to our bodies!
How long does a treatment take and what actually happens?
Appointments are generally scheduled for one hour. Prior to each treatment, patients have ample time to talk about how they’ve been, how they feel, and what’s happening in their lives, which is essential information for me to determine exactly the treatment that is called for at that time. The pulses are read and moxa and/or needles are applied. The response to the treatment will be assessed by reading the pulses. Often, after treatment, the patient will spend a few minutes simply relaxing, lying on the treatment table, to allow the energetic changes to settle in. Dietary and other lifestyle recommendations will be discussed at appropriate times throughout treatment.
Can acupuncture treatment help with non-physical problems?
Yes, indeed. It must be emphasized that classical acupuncture views the body, mind, and spirit as a whole. All physical disorders will cause an imbalance in the mental outlook and spirit of a person. This may manifest as depression, anxiety, anger, sadness, and the like. Mental disturbances, stress, and emotional conflict will cause effect in the physical body such as insomnia, lack of appetite, fatigue, menstrual disorders, migraines, susceptibility to disease, aches, pains, and any labeled disease one can imagine. Any imbalance must manifest on all levels, all part of the whole. All classical acupuncture treatments aim to restore the harmony of body, mind, and spirit. Thus, the physical and non-physical sides of a patient are treated together.
What about medication and other medical care?
Classical acupuncture may certainly be used in cooperation with other medical care. It is important to your practitioner to know what medication a patient is taking as this is taken into account in the planning and assessing of treatment. As acupuncture treatment progresses, the need for certain drugs may well decrease and it may be appropriate to reduce or discontinue medication, but this should be done with the cooperation and approval of the prescribing doctor. For medical emergencies, ones personal physician or an emergency service facility should be contacted.
Is acupuncture effective on children?
There is no age limit. Often, young children respond quite well to moxa alone or with a very minimal use of needles. There are also special pediatric acupuncture devices which merely tap the skin surface and are quite painless.
To find out more about Professor Neil R. Gumenick please visit 5elements.com
Visit Glow Acupuncture & Wellness Centre to book your appointment with Sabeeha T. Kurji today!
If you want younger, better looking skin, think beyond the sunscreen (but use that too) and tinker with your diet. “Good nutrition is a fundamental building block of healthy skin,” says Leslie Baumann, MD, a dermatologist in Miami Beach. The natural ingredients in food help do everything from speed the pace of exfoliation to protect skin from the UV damage that causes brown spots and wrinkles. Here, 7 everyday foods that are guaranteed to make you glow.
1. Romaine Lettuce
Why You’ll Glow: Six leaves provide more than 100% of your DV of vitamin A, which revitalizes skin by increasing cell turnover. The mineral potassium in romaine “gives skin a refreshing boost of nutrients and oxygen by improving circulation,” says Lisa Drayer, RD, author of The Beauty Diet.
Health Bonus: That same serving of romaine contains 45% of the DV of vitamin K, which a recent study shows activates a protein that supports vascular health–making a future with bulging leg veins less likely.
Why You’ll Glow: Eating red helps keep skin from turning red. Volunteers who consumed 5 tablespoons of high-in-lycopene tomato paste daily for 3 months had nearly 25% more protection against sunburn in one study. Even better, skin had more collagen, which prevents sagging. Another reason to toss an extra tomato into your salad: German scientists report that higher skin levels of this antioxidant correlate to fewer fine lines and furrows.
Health Bonus: Research suggests that lycopene may also lower your chances of heart disease: In one study, women with the highest levels of it had a 34% reduced risk.
Why You’ll Glow: A cup has up to 130% of the DV of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that boosts production of collagen fibers that help keep skin smooth and firm. More C may mean fewer fine lines too: Women with lower intakes were likelier to have dry, wrinkled skin. Early research also shows that ellagic acid, an antioxidant abundant in strawberries, protects the elastic fibers that keep skin from sagging.
Health Bonus: Strawberries may lower your risk of cancer by inhibiting the development of malignant cancer cells. In one study, people eating the most strawberries were 3 times less likely to develop the disease.
Why You’ll Glow: Quercetin, an antioxidant in the peel of many varieties, provides hefty protection from the “burning” UVB rays that trigger skin cancer. A few offering the biggest dose: Monroe, Cortland, and Golden Delicious.
Health Bonus: Eating two or more apples a week for 1 year reduced the risk of dying from heart disease by 15% in one study of 34,000 healthy postmenopausal women. Whatever variety you choose, be sure to eat the peel, the source of nearly all the antioxidants.
Why You’ll Glow: Lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in eggs, more than quadrupled protection against the UV damage that leads to lines, brown spots, and cancer in one study on women. Skin was also markedly softer, firmer, and better hydrated.
Health Bonus: Eating just one egg a day significantly increases blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin (but not cholesterol), which may stave off macular degeneration by protecting the retina from light damage, finds a study in the Journal of Nutrition.
Why You’ll Glow: “Eating a handful of almonds every day boosts levels of vitamin E, one of the most important antioxidants for skin health,” says Baumann. You’ll get a surge in moisture too–a boon for those prone to dryness.
Health Bonus: Though nuts are high in calories, women who ate them at least twice a week were less likely to gain weight than those who rarely did, in a new study of over 50,000 women.
Why You’ll Glow: These nuts are storehouses of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat that’s a key component of the lubricating layer that keeps skin moist and supple. A 1/2-ounce serving of walnuts provides 100% of the recommended daily intake of ALA.
Health Bonus: Eating walnuts at dinner may deliver better shut-eye. Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center discovered that walnuts contain melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.
More Skin and Beauty Tips from Prevention
[photo credit: Getty Images]