In the book “Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition”, author Paul Pitchford talks about how difficult it is to keep and stay on a diet. Diets have a very high percentage of failure, so his advice is to look at four diets he thinks are best and to find which areas might work best for you. The Paleo diet, the Chinese Thermal Diet (aka Chinese Rural diet or Chinese Diet therapy), the Plant-based diet, and the Integrative Nutrition Pyramid are mentioned for the patient to explore. In past newsletter issues and with patients I’ve shared the Chinese Thermal diet with the lists of cold, cool, warm, and hot foods. In the future we hope to talk more about each one of these diets in more detail.
A little about the Integrative Food pyramid in image below. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and have some tea.
We have passed two major nodes on the Chinese calendar: “Pure Brightness” and “Corn Rain”. (Nodes info inspired by Henry McCann’s blog: HERE)
Pure Brightness was on April 4th a time when many trees started blossoming like the Cherry trees, Dogwoods, and Plum blossoms. It also marks a time when the liver organ gets very strong. “Liver Yang Rising” is a condition that can occur. It can be a headache, frustration, irritability from the spring’s heat. This is like hypertension and stress on the body due to the liver having an excessive upward and expansive energy. The normal behavior of the Liver is to spread Qi and blood out evenly in all directions according to Chinese medicine. Liver herbal formulas like Xiao Yao San or “Calm” can help. Exercise is recommended to help with the blood pressure.
The weather still gets chilly, so protect your inner warmth in this up and down weather. It is also windy and that wind is carrying pollen! With a mask, that should be helpful for many. It is still important to get out and do some gardening, yard work, or even do your Tai Chi or Qigong. If you are getting wind invasion which can show up as neck soreness, stuffy head or nose, headache, intolerance to cold or very mild fever, try sweating to purge it out! Exercise until you sweat, hot shower, hot bath, sauna, steam room, wear layers of clothes or get in a blanket and sweat! This helps to relieve external wind invasion that tends to get on the surface of the skin. Sweating “releases the exterior” in Chinese medicine.
Corn Rain was on April 20th. It is the time of year for more precipitation. Expect heavy thunderstorms to start to arrive soon. This is the rain that feeds the grains and crops. This is the last node of spring on the Chinese calendar, so get out and enjoy some sunshine before the summer heat takes over. Be careful of over eating as this can cause stomach qi to stagnate. Try to eat lighter foods and vegetables as previously mentioned.
Some good Tui-na (Chinese massage) techniques good for the Spring season is:
Massage around the navel. The navel is a point called Shenque (Ren 8) “Spirit Palace Gateway”, but you never needle it. It is used in other ways like burning moxa herbs for people with severe loss of body heat. You can massage around your navel 50 times in both directions. This helps harmonize three major channels in the body: Ren, Du and Chong, which are reservoirs or stores of internal energy.
Massaging the “Shi Xuan” or 10 dispersions points: These are at the tips of the fingers and toes. Massage them twice a day. All the channels end at the fingers and toes, so it benefits all the channels.
For this time of year Master Tung’s point called “Mu” meaning “wood” (11.17) is good to use to reinforce the lungs and help those dealing with allergy, sinus, runny nose, and itchy nose. It is a lung point in Master Tung’s acupuncture system located on the index finger. These two points are needled with a tiny special hand needle not commonly used in normal acupuncture. Ask me if you want to try this for allergy relief if your in the clinic.
Qigong of the month: “The 3 pills”. Your prescription is meditation on these three pills. Try this 5 times a day for about 5 minutes each. Inspired by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s book: Awakening the Luminous mind. Book can be found Here.
White pill (Stillness): Close eyes and sit in stillness of body and do some deep meditative breathing.
Red pill (Silence): find silence in the stillness, quieting inner speech and dialogue, listen to the breathing.
Blue pill (Spaciousness): find spaciousness in your mind. Feel this spaciousness in every cell of your body from breathing by sitting in stillness with silence. This is the beginning towards finding the true source of healing. If you are an experienced meditator try to extend the meditation to 15 to 30 minutes.
We’ve been vaccinated since January and many patients have returned and have been vaccinated as well.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2pm to 7pm.
Tuesday and Thursday 9am to 1pm,
3343 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314