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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Daily Detox

We all hear the latest craze of detoxing the body, either thru fasting, juicing or taking certain special supplements. Do they work? Maybe. Rather than do a specific detox , that sometimes maybe to intense on the person, such as fasting or long hours in a sauna, the traditional Chinese medicinal way is less intense. It is also done regularly thru daily routines.

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You really wanna drink that?

According to TCM(traditional Chinese medicine) one’s body operates in a daily cycle that remains constant. Supplying the body with nutrients and energy, while dispersing waste is a natural way to keep the body healthy. A health risk may arrive should the waste fail to be discharged, causing toxins to accumulate in the body.

Physical signs are given by the body when such toxins have accumulated. By adjusting one’s daily patterns can aid in dispelling pathogens form different organs more productively.

In TCM ,there a generally two kinds of toxins, external and internal. External toxins are those penetrating the body from the outside such as pathogens like air and water pollution, as well as pesticide residue. They enter the body through the air, water, foods and skin contact.

Internal toxins are those that are produced by ones metabolism. These toxins will cause health problems if they accumulate and not discharged( through defecation, urination and sweating)  by the body in a prompt manner.

There are several physical signs that indicate a much needed cleansing of these toxins are needed.

  • Constipation

The most important method to expel bodily toxins is thru daily defecation. Toxins will start to accumulate if  one does not have a bowel movement at least once every three days(!) With fewer bowel movements, harmful substances in the stools may be reabsorbed should they remain in the colon for too long.

TCM doctors don’t recommend cleansing the colon by “natural” laxatives or so-called colon irrigation, as these may lead to digestive system disorders. They don’t sound like fun either! To aid in obstinate stools and help relieve constipation, it is better to add more fibrous foods  to ones diet and get regular exercise.

 

  • Bad Breath

Bad breath is often caused by heat toxins accumulated in the lungs, spleen and stomach. It can also be caused by the build-up of food in the stomach due to improper digestion.

Overeating, especially spicy and greasy foods, can cause toxins to accumulate within the body, generating issues like ulcers, and indigestion, which is accompanied by bad breath.

To help with this problem, changing to a plain diet , making sure to have daily bowel movements and getting advice from a TCM specialist on adjusting one’s digestion issues may help.

  • Chloasma

Chloasma,   large brown patches usually on the face, in TCM is considered a symptom of energy imbalance caused by the accumulation of toxins. It is often accompanied with  energy stagnation  in the liver and low energy in the spleen and kidneys.

A change in diet and daily exercise is strongly recommended.

  • Acne

Acne develops when there is excess body oil (sebum) secreted and ends up blocking the pores. Western medicine states the problem coming from the endocrine systems disorders. TCM believes that it is a result of toxins built up within the body.

This build up is generally caused by eating too much greasy and spicy foods, staying up late at night and irregular bowel movements.

Following a healthier diet with less spicy, fatty and sugary foods/drinks, more exercise and avoiding smoking , alcohol, caffeine amy help reduce one’s acne.

 

  • Dull complexion

A dull complexion is a symptom of an accumulation of toxins in the lungs. TCM consider the lungs and the skin are closely related. Healthy looking skin is a sign of healthy lungs too.

Get as much fresh air as possible and refrain from smoking(naturally!) Taking in deep breaths of fresh air can help dispel the toxins in the lungs.

 

A person in good health can generally get rid of wastes and toxins in the body naturally. Coordinating with the TCM body schedule’ one can  adjust their daily habits to aid in clearing out toxins more efficiently for the different organs.

According to TCM energy is transmitted throughout  the human body by 12 meridians. The meridian system is made up by a series of channels, which are sequential to each other in the circulation of Qi (vital energy). Each meridian is “activated” every two hours. During this activation period, extra blood and Qi flow to the specific meridian to keep it functioning. Therefore it is the perfect  time for organs related to that meridian to eliminate toxins.

 

 

 

Here are the time frames:

5:00 -7:00 = Large intestine

This meridian is active from 5 am to 7 am. The best way for the large intestine to dispel toxins is thru a proper bowel movement. To help relieve constipation, massaging the large intestine meridian, located through the outer arms.

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Large intestine meridian

 

7:00-9:00= Stomach

At this time the stomach meridian is active, therefore it is recommended to eat  breakfast within this time frame. Doing abdominal breathing before eating, can aid in accelerating blood and energy circulation in the stomach. This will then enhance ones metabolism and digestion.

 

9:00- 11:00= Spleen

With ample energy in the stomach , it will digest all the food and send the nutrients to the spleen meridian , which is activated at 9 am. The job of the spleen is to turn all the digested food into energy.

 

11:00- 13:00= Heart

To aid to dispel toxins from the heart, it is highly recommended to avoid intense physical exercises from 11am to 1 pm.

Taking a nap in this time frame will help eliminate toxins from the heart and help it function better. One must not take a nap immediately after eating, as this may cause stomach trouble. It is advisable to take mini walk before napping. Naps over an hour are not recommended as it can cause insomnia at night.

Foods such as longan and jujubes are considered to help the heart get its proper nutrients.

 

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longan fruit

 

13:00- 17:00= Small intestine and bladder

The main function of the is to separate and circulate digested nutrients. It forwards fluid to the bladder, waste to the large intestine and essence to the spleen where it forms blood and energy. The small intestine is critical to the absorption of nutrients.

Regarding the removal of toxins form the body, the bladder meridian is highly important. All toxins eliminated by other meridians go to the bladder and are dissipated thru one’s urine.

Drinking plenty of water during this time frame may aid detoxification through urination.

 

17:00- 19:00 = Kidneys

 

Edema, welling caused by excess fluid trapped in your body’s tissues, can be a sign that there is accumulation of toxins in the kidneys. Exercising during this time period can aid dispelling toxins from the kidneys. Fungus and kelp are considered good foods for the kidneys.

 

19:00-21:00 =Pericardium

The pericardium is a membrane that surrounds the heart and roots for the great blood vessels. It also helps regulate circulation in the major blood vessels that run in and out of the heart. During this time frame, it helps dispel toxic energy around the heart to protect it.

When the pericardium does not properly dispel toxins adequately, one may undergo sleeplessness or tightness in the chest.

Massaging the pericardium meridian can aid in stimulating the blood flow and energy circulation to the heart and improve the release of toxins.

pericardium-clear

Pericardium meridian

 

21:00- 23:00 = Triple Burner Meridian

According to the TCM meridian clock, this time slot is for the Triple Burner. This meridian is responsible for the movement and transformation of various solids and fluids throughout the system, as well as for the production and circulation of nourishing and protective energy. Since there is no specific organ connected to this meridian, there is not much importance in the subject of detoxification of one’s body.

 

23:00- 1:00 = Gall bladder
1:00 -3:00 = Liver
3:00 -5:00 = Lungs

These three are grouped together, because toxins are best dispelled from these organs when one is in a deep sleep. Therefore in TCM, it is highly recommended to go to sleep before 11 pm. The quality of sleep is of upmost importance too.

The gall bladder is responsible for the initial cleansing of all tissues, processes cholesterol, and  enhances brain function.

The liver is responsible for the cleansing of blood and processing of wastes. It is advised not to drink alcohol before going to sleep and highly suggested alcohol during the liver meridian time frame.

The lungs are responsible for respiration, oxygenation, and the expulsion of waste gasses.

 

Following these daily guidelines, rather than pursuing an intense detoxification, one can  see results come gradually to a healthier and gratifying life.

 

 

 

References: Zhang Qian, Shanghai Daily, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The most loved season is here, summer! The organ that is associated with this season is the Heart. As a rule, the Heart is very sensitive in the summertime. The Heart is in the Yin channel, and when the summer Yang arrives, it can increase the Qi level of the Heart and therefore cause issues to one’s health. Any disturbances that are considered harmful to the Heart are more severe during the summertime.

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Heart

The emotion connected to the Heart is happiness. Although happiness is viewed as something positive, sometimes too much of a good thing can cause harm. When one is excessively happy, they tend to be very excited. This over excitement causes an increase of Qi to the Heart. This causes an excess of the Heart Fire. This is illustrated by fever, delirium, fast heart beat, profound restlessness, insomnia, a bright red face and a red or blistered painful tongue. The color of the tongue reflects the condition of the heart blood.

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The main functions of the Heart are correlated with the Shen (spirit) and the blood vessels. The Heart governs the blood vessels and is responsible for circulating blood through them.     Shen (spirit) refers to the function of processing all incoming sensory and emotional information and supervising the body&mind reaction to it. Therefore, some forms of emotional distress, dizziness, palpitations, and shortness of breath.

Almost all the issues and disorders of the Heart are correlated with excess. There are four major types of Heart weaknesses. They are Deficient Heart Qi, Deficient Heart Yang, Deficient Heart Blood and Deficient Heart Yin.

Deficient Heart Qi has symptoms of by general lethargy, panting and shallow breathing and frequent sweating.
Deficient Heart Yang has symptoms of a swollen, with bluish-green color, and the limbs are cold.
Deficient Heart Blood has symptoms of restlessness, irritability, dizziness, absentmindedness, and insomnia.
Deficient Heart Yin has symptoms of flushed feelings in the palms and face, low grade fever, and night sweating.

Bitter is the flavor with direct connection to the Heart. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine,bitter taste  can clear heat from the body, especially from the heart. When someone has excess heat, the body will show symptoms such as ulcers in the mouth, red face, emotional, heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia and dreaminess. Usually the urine is dark or yellow. The tip of the tongue can be very red or burning, with a bitter taste in the mouth. Sometimes the origin of the heat comes from the liver or gall bladder. Eating some bitter foods can make your treatment more successful such as: bitter melon(ku gua),   mustard leaf and other bitter green vegetables.

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Ku Gua (bitter melon)

Qigong training, such as Baduanjin Qigong, during the summertime, will help regulate the Heart.

 

 

References: The Root of Chinese Qigong, Dr Yang,Jwing-Ming,1997

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Winter is now in full swing and it is important to talk about the kidneys,as they are the organ related to this season.

The kidneys are important for the regulation of our bodies Original Essence or Jing.
Since the weather is cold now, the surrounding air is also Yin and the  Qi levels of the kidneys are diminished.

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Kidneys in traditional Chinese medicine

Will, determination, and   memory are attributed to the kidney.Should the  kidney Jing becomes exhausted, it shall result in a weak will and poor memory  .

The kidneys are  in charge of water.Fluids reach the kidney after they have been absorbed by the stomach, raised upwards by the spleen, and moistened downwards by the lung

The kidneys are responsible for ones bones too.An ample amount of  kidney Jing, makes both the bone (supporting the body) and the brain (supporting the mind)   at a level of ideal energy. On the other hand, a low kidney Jing will bring about frail bones and a dull spirit.

Since the teeth are also part of are bone structure, they also rely on the nourishment of the kidney. If the Jing is plentiful, the teeth are firm; if not, they become loose or fall out.

Ancient texts often consider the head’s hair to be a direct outgrowth of the brain, which would relate it to the kidney. The growth pattern and general luster of the hair is an important indication for the condition of prenatal Jing( the condition of health we are born with).

F ear is the emotion connected to the kidneys . When one is living in fear, it weakens the kidneys. Fright, in a long-term notion turns into fear. Should one be abused (any sort), and becomes ongoing, this leads to fear of when this abuse will happen again.

 

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Living in fear damages the kidneys

 

Edema (fluid retention) is usually a sign of toxins accumulated in the kidneys. The body can naturally detox the kidneys. The kidneys naturally detox from 5pm-7pm. Therefore even light exercise during this time can aid the kidneys eliminate toxins. Types of fungus and kelp are considered  good food for the kidneys. Eating them at dinner time while also help.

It is also believed that slight increasing the  intake of salt, taken during the water season (winter) contributes to preserving the kidney against the cold.However,excessive consumption of salty foods is discouraged, as it will harm the kidneys.

When this happens, the Qi flow will be sluggish and the back will become sore and ache, especially the lower back. It is important that the kidney area be protected so that Qi will not be lost out of your body. One method is to wear warm clothes, especially around the waist. The other methods to improve Qi circulation in the kidney area, is to learn Qigong, such as Ba Duan Jin, and massage techniques using the Qi in your hands to help circulate the kidneys.

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Kidney massage

 

Reference: The Root of Chinese Qigong, by Dr.Yang,Jwing-Ming

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Your emotions and one’s kidneys

According to Chinese medicine, our emotions are tighly related to our organs. Anger affects the liver; Happiness affects the heart; melancholy affects the spleen; sadness affects the lungs; fear affects the kidneys.

Therefore to protect one’s kidneys, one should avoid fear. Fear originates from one’s mind. One should remembe that fear will not solve certain problems. One must face one’s personal dilemmas and search for the proper solutions.
Once one’s mind is clear, one will understand how to avoid situations that cause one to be in fear. This is the process of regulating one’s mind, and is the way to maintain your kidneys in better condition.

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Food and one’s kidneys

As we all know, to preserve one’s health and to hope to live a longer life, one must always be concerned on what one eats. Everything one eats will get converted into Qi and nourish one’s body.
According to Chinese medicine, highly acidic foods can make your body to Yang, and too much alkaline foods can make it Yin. For example, eating too much acidic food will increase the chances of hearburn, while soft drinks will cool down the fire and body heat. Therefore, different kinds of foods will place stress on different organs. For example, too much alcohol will increase the working load and stress on one’s liver.

There are also several food, which eaten in excess, will affect the condition of your kidneys. Too much salt can weaken one’s kidneys. Ginseng is good for the kidneys in the wintertime, but not as good in the summer since one always have enough Qi to nourish the kidneys then.

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Weather and your Kidneys

Our kidneys are part of the bodies Yin organs. In Chinese medicine, there are Yin and Yang organs.
On one hand, Yin means deficient. The Yin organs are the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen and pericardium.
The Yang, on the other hand, means excessive, overactive and overheated. The Yang organs are the gall bladder, large and small intestine, stomach, bladder and Triple Burner.

The kidneys are important for the regulation of our bodies Original Essence or Jing.
Since the weather is cold now, the surrounding air is also Yin and the  Qi levels of the kidneys are diminished. When this happens, the Qi flow will be sluggish and the back will become sore and ache, especially the lower back. It is important that the kidney area be protected so that Qi will not be lost out of your body. One method is to wear warm clothes, especially around the waist. The other methods to improve Qi circulation in the kidney area, is to learn Qigong, such as Ba Duan Jin, and massage techniques using the Qi in your hands to help circulate the kidneys.

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