Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Five Foods that Fight Phlegm

Photo Credit: sxc.hu
In Chinese medicine, we blame a lot of problems on phlegm. There's your garden variety snot, of course, which you find up your nose and in your head when you have sinus problems.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mending Meditation

Today, I hemmed some slacks. I know, it doesn't sound earth-shattering. But for some reason, anything related to sewing seems to scare me. I tried making a dress in college. After cutting a hole in the (very expensive wool) fabric with a serger, I burnt a larger hole in the material while trying to patch the original damage. For years, I carried the dress around, thinking someday I would finish it and finally wear my creating. It never happened.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Basics of Rest vs. Exercise

I've been dealing with a cold for the past couple of weeks. The only symptom I have left is extreme fatigue, and that is finally easing off, too. I try to use any health problems that turn up to put myself in my patients' shoes so I can serve them better. My fatigue for the past few weeks made me think about the balance of rest and exercise.

Many people who come into my clinic are tired. Really, really tired. Sometimes they aren't sleeping well, but some sleep fine. Usually a well-meaning friend or medical practitioner recommends they exercise to improve their energy. Again, for some this does the trick. Others say "Exercise only made me more tired. Should I keep exercising, even if it exhausts me?"

Monday, September 24, 2012

Marvels of Moxa

My hand isn't actually this big--it's the angle!
I often feel the need to kick myself when I suffer needlessly from something I know how to fix. I usually think of all  the possibilities for my patients, but when I'm the one who's sick or hurting, my memory is not as wonderful. Today was one of those 'kick me' days. I have felt listless, tired, and achy off and on for a week or so, and yesterday had a headache and thought I was catching a cold. After moping around for the morning, I remembered the marvels of moxibustion.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rising Like A Phoenix From Burnout

Burnout affects you in every area of life: food doesn't taste as good, people are not as much fun, memories are reduced to 'the time when I was happy' and 'the times when I was hurt.' Burnout is depression, disappointment, anger and sadness run together until you have no passion left. You're just here, and where you want to be is there, and no road seems to connect the two. The 'stuckness' and frustration that comes with burnout can be deadly when you decide it will never end. People have taken their own lives because they couldn't face another day of getting nowhere. As soon as you realize you are in a burnout situation, take steps to address it. Get professional help if you need it. These tips can also help.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

An Awesome Autumn the Chinese Medicine Way

It seems like summer is barely over, and here it is time to write about autumn. Autumn is a time dominated by the Metal Element, which involves the Lung and Large Intestine function and meridians. Its quality is dryness, although as summer turns to autumn there can still be dampness afoot. Some schools of Chinese medicine see the first weeks of switching from one season to the next as pertaining to Earth element, in which Spleen and Stomach function is dominant. If you have digestive issues, they can flare up as your body makes the transition from one season to the other. A mild cleanse of broth-based soup and simple grains will warm your stomach and get your digestion ready for the heartier foods of winter. Eating warm, natural foods, with ginger, mint, or other mild herbs (oregano, basil, etc.) will usually calm mild belly jitters.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summertime, and the Living is. . .


It took a while for summer to be recognizable here in my home state of Virginia, but it's here now! We've had several days over 100 degrees, and many more close to it. The unusually low humidity we've enjoyed is also a thing of the past.

I once suffered with the heat much more than I do since I became a student of Chinese medicine. Here are some of the things I've learned that help me and my patients deal with the heat and make the hot weather more enjoyable.

Summertime has its own special challenges according to Chinese medicine. Here are a few of the problems that can be more pronounced in the summer: