The art of healing - sometimes you gotta break to find grace.
I stand in complete awe and amazement of the liver. Asian medicine views the liver as a unique being which has its own blood, Qi, soul and specific job as General of the armed forces in charge of keeping you alive. She can be your best friend or your worst enemy – depending on how you treat her. Your liver works 24/7 – the poor lass really does need a break.
One of the most common issues I see in the office is what's known in Asian medicine as Blood deficiency. And, yes, that's blood with a capital B because it's not the same blood we think of in biomedicine. This patient resource guide includes an explanation of Blood deficiency and suggests supplements that help build blood, food to boost nutrient absorption, and things to avoid.
If you live parallel to or north of Washington D.C., you happen to live in what's known as a Vitamin D Winter Zone. That means the tilt of the earth leaves you with little available UVB light for most of the year. Depending on what study you read, 60–85% of people in North America are deficient, which means most of us who aren't lifeguards or sunbathers need to supplement.
Bless Micheal Phelps for "mainstreaming" cupping as an amazeballs therapy. However, with the recent Rio Olympics my Facebook feed has blown up and articles are getting posted to the internet by the second with misinformation that's disconcerting. Cupping is something I do for patients on a daily basis and can make or break a treatment, so I wanted to offer up a few quick hit truth bombs on the subject.
I use castor oil packs in the office with patients on a daily basis. When viewed through the lens of Chinese medicine, when taken internally castor oil will aid your body in the removal of toxins through the bowels (hence antique posters of smiling babies with diapers ripe for changing). When used externally, it increases the circulation of blood and body fluids - which means it has potent pain management properties. There are hundreds of uses for castor oil, but the magic of castor oil shines when it comes to GYN and castor oil packs...
Our belly contains several pounds (yes, pounds!) of helpful bacteria that help us with things such as digesting last night's kebab and killing fungi or harmful bacteria that have managed to find their way into the gut. Good bacteria is a vital part of our immune system, and when the bacterial balance is off, we're off too. Learn how to shop for the right type of probiotic, recommended protocols, and the brands I'm always recommending.
This year's winter onset seems to have hit people particularly hard. The most common comment I'm hearing from the clinic to the subway is, "I can't BELIEVE how dark it is at 4:30pm. It's just so depressing." Allopathic medicine calls this S.A.D., or seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that's related to a change from fall to winter. Asian medicine calls it normal.
All healing starts with the heart - which means that the topic of dating often comes up in session. Different dating strategies regularly walk in my office door: complete aversion to dating, dating for fun, dating for temporary external fulfillment, or dating out of obligation. They all have their place, but they don't rank anywhere near the "soul vitamin" category – there's little to no lasting nourishment to be found in these circumstances. So where does one even start?
The proper home of spirit is in the heart. The element associated with the heart in Asian medicine is fire - and our fire meridians run through to our hands. This is a beautifully simple 3 minute meditation that Yogi Bhajan taught to calm the heart. Perfect for beginners to meditation warriors!
As part of her own adventures in wellness, Phoebe created a bi-weekly interview series on Google+ where she interviews various guests on health & wellness. I had the honor, along with Amie Valpone, of sitting down for an in-depth hour long discussion on thyroid dis-ease (something VERY near and dear to my heart).
Keeping your allergies to a minimum is all based on managing inflammation, minimizing allergen exposure and keeping immune response down to a dull roar. In addition to acupuncture, there are plenty of things you can do to control your body’s inflammatory response and reduce your exposure to allergens without having to rip out all the carpeting in your home.
During our hour long radio chat, Emma talks a bit about her own encounters with acupuncture in treating her thyroid disorder and we discuss how Eastern medicine approaches health through the lens of treating headaches - something we can all relate to! Allopathic medicine recognizes 5 types of headaches whereas Eastern medicine recognizes 13 types with over 50 different treatments.
It’s heartbreaking to think how Epsom salt has been relegated to the bottom shelf in the back of the pharmacy. Where’s the love? I grew up knowing the power of a good old-fashioned Epsom salt bath and was turned on to its clinical uses while studying Asian medicine. However, over the past year I've discovered 14 additional reasons why Epsom salt rocks!
Epsom salt is one of my medicine cabinet staples and I’m increasingly prescribing it to help patients with everything from migraines to TMJ to bone spurs to insomnia. So far, everyone has LOVED it!
Once upon a time in China, the Jade Emperor decided there should be a way of measuring time. He had already mastered the lessons of Yin and Yang, the five elements, and 111 constellations. But he needed a way to mark the hours, months and years in his majestic kingdom. So he created the divine Heavenly Cycle and used the animals who won a race to name each month, year, and hour of his Zodiac!
The year of the Spring Horse is going to knock your boots off! Take comfort in the fact that your trusty steed is here and that YOU are the knight in shining armor. Yee Haa!! Check out why 2014 is about be a once in every 2 generations type of year...
Outside of the standard "wash your hands" there are a whole host of things you can to do to stay healthy between now and spring. Some of the below suggestions will help you become a "Flu Day Prepper" by creating an autumn arsenal should the Flu-pocalypse hit. Other suggestions will help give you the best chances of it never happening - either way, stay healthy my friends!
Routine is key, and whatever your particular brand of "regular" is, it's important to keep it. There are six basic things that can help you from getting too bunged up: breathing, fiber, water, flora, exercise, and poo-sition.
At one point or another, most patients struggling with insomnia have tried melatonin. I usually hear one of two things: "I think it's working, but I'm not sure" or a simple "didn't work." Melatonin can be a phenomenal help – when taken correctly, that is. The magic lies within the timing, the dose, and your great-great-grandmother's bedtime routine.