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Chinese Medical Perspectives on Tinnitus

Let’s talk about about tinnitus a bit. Affecting one out of every 20 Americans, tinnitus (the Latin word for ringing) is a condition that causes unwelcome noises in the ears such as buzzing, clicking, whistling, or high-pitched ringing sounds. It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, although its occurrence increases with age. Some speculate that usage of cell phones may have contributed to the rise of tinnitus.

tinnitusTinnitus is almost always associated with hearing loss. The sounds may be intermittent, continuous, or pulsing. It may interfere with normal activities, tend to get worse during the evenings and night. Causes of tinnitus include a degenerative auditory nerve, ear infections, neurological problems, sensorineural hearing loss, and Meniere’s disease. Some prescription medications and chemotherapy can also cause tinnitus. Well, that’s what western medicine says about tinnitus.

Chinese medicine, on the other hand, says that tinnitus (or any other hearing issues) is caused by:

  1. Kidney-Bladder network weakness, usually brought on by extreme fatigue caused by overexertion, lack of sleep, lower backache, and/or excessive sexual activity(interesting, isn’t it?). In modern days, drug usage and dependence on narcotics medications would certainly damage the kidneys.
  2. Negative emotions such as anger, frustration, resentment, and hatred disrupt the liver channel and become a “liver fire” over time. This “liver fire” rises up to the head and damage hearing.
  3. Overconsumption of cold and raw foods and dairy products promotes the formation of mucus, causing congestion and preventing proper nourishment of the ears.

Resolving any hearing problems, Chinese or otherwise, is a daunting task. It may be kidneysear photo

because our ears are directly connected with the kidneys (they look strikingly similar) which are considered to be the deepest organs in our body. 

Once the kidneys are damaged, it’s really difficult to restore the optimal health. Let’s figure out how Qigong exercise can help in resolving tinnitus.

Ringing in the Ears? Try Qigong Exercise

A few months ago, a patient came in, complaining about clogged/blocked Eustachian tube, which she thought was caused by having a cold on a plane. A few days after her flight, she started experiencing ringing in both ears, which was getting worse daily.

rining in the earsHer ENT doctor has prescribed antibiotics, but neither clogging nor ringing was getting any better. We tried acupuncture, modified her diet, and used nutritional supplements, all of which helped only marginally. Then, she became dramatically better after I asked her to practice simple Qigong exercises called “Beating the Heavenly Drum.” First day, she said tinnitus went away about 50%; and it took about another 10 days to resolve ear-ringing all together. If you have ringing in the ears, you should definitely try this amazing Qigong exercise.

How to Get Rid of Heartburn (It’s a Long-Term Project)

1. What to Eat

Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (except wheat). papayaFavor enzyme rich foods, including papayas, mangoes, sweet potatoes, yams, figs, brown rice, oats, pearl barley, daikon radish, apples, parsley, coriander, mint, dill, rosemary, ginger, bay leaf, fennel, dill, oregano, cilantro, sage, and anise.

2. What Not To Eat

Avoid Wheat, Dairies, and Sugar as much as possible. If you can do this, you can win half a battle. If you get rid of these three items, all there’s left are protein, vegetables, fruits, fat, and non-wheat grains. Avoid acidic foods, such as tomatoes, coffee, tea, wine, citrus fruits, pineapple, rich sauces, cream, greasy and fried foods, processed foods, and alcohol. Vinegar is an interesting subject here as many natural doctors recommend apple cider vinegar to treat heartburn.

3. How to Eat

mindful eatingEat slowly and in small amounts more frequently- you should leave the table only three-quarters full. Chew each bite thoroughly – remember that digestion begins in the mouth and that your stomach doesn’t have teeth. Eat with mindfulness – savor and be grateful with each bite and do not eat while stressed, angry, or preoccupied. Don’t watch television or read the newspaper while you eat, as the distraction takes energy away from the digestive system and makes its job that much harder.

4. What to Avoid

  • Avoid lying down immediately after eating. Lying down enables the acid to reflux from the stomach into the esophagus. During a flare-up, avoid lying flat on your prop-upback when you sleep- instead prop up your head and upper body with pillows at a 45-degree angle.
  • Certain drugs, including antidepressants and sedatives, as they can worsen heartburn. Talk to your doctor about alternatives. Avoid smoking, as nicotine is a muscle relaxant and can relax the esophageal opening in the stomach, making it easier for acid to spill into it.

5.  Home Remedies for Heartburn

  • potato juiceJuice 1 large or 2 small white russet potatoes. Discard the pulp, mix the juice with an equal amount of hot water, and drink on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.

 

  • JDaikonuice 1 medium daikon radish. Discard the pulp, mix the juice with an equal amount of hot water, and drink once a day after eating.
  • For really bad heartburn, dissolve 1 teaspoon baking soda in an 8- ounce cup of warm water for immediate relief.baking soda
  • Make a tea by boiling 1 tablespoon licorice root in 3 1/2 cups of water Make a tea by boiling 1 tablespoon licorice root in 3 1/2 cups of water for 15 minutes. Strain, and drink 1 cup after each meal 3 times a day for 2 weeks. Licorice is neutralizing and helps with digestion. licorice

Lastly, acupuncture can provide quick symptom relief and restore the natural flow of the intestinal tract. You may also need to consider nutritional support to support a healthy esophageal and stomach lining and normal gastric juice production.

 

Chinese Medicine Says Heartburn is Caused by Three Things

Heartburn happens when the excessive food and liquid in the stomach churns up stomach acid which spills up into the esophagus and irritates the lining of the upper stomach and esophagus, as shown in this picture. acid reflux

Heartburn is often experienced as pain, a burning sensation in the stomach or chest, abdominal bloating, gurgling, distention, or belching.

Let’s jump right into what Chinese medicine says about heartburn, or overall indigestion.Chinese medicine says there are three main causes of indigestion:

  1. Poor diet damages the spleen-pancreas-stomach network.
  2. Emotional turmoil stressed the liver-gallbladder network, slows down the digestive process, and potentially cause hiatal hernia by pulling the stomach upward into the diaphragm.
  3. Pathogens in a post-nasal mucus drip or food-borne microbes can invade the stomach, causing upheaval.

In a nutshell, Chinese medicine views heartburn is not just a digestive malfunction, rather it is a mixed bag of poor diet, emotional/psychological issues, and immune functions relating to sinuses. I can vouch for this theory as almost all of the heartburn patients I have treated demonstrated stress/anxiety syndromes, chronic mucus drips, and relatively poor diet patterns.

 

Does Your Heartburn Make You Sick?

Many of us suffer from acid reflux or heartburn, especially we eat more than we can chew. Eating too much of fatty, rich, spicy or acidic foods, alcohol, or drinking a lot of coffee make things worse. Eating while stressed, on the run, or late at night are actually silent killers. heartburnChronic heartburn or acid reflux is not a minor issue as it can easily develop into gastritis or esophagitis–the condition that erodes and ulcerates the esophagus, which can ultimately lead to cancer of esophagus. Let’s figure out what we can do to get rid of heartburn.

What To Do with Dry, Itchy Skin?

Skin care during the winter season has become a multibillion dollar industry, yet most of these products contain drugs or harsh chemical that often do little to improve the root cause of skin conditions, and in some cases may actually worsen the problem. Effective treatment for skin conditions, therefore, must include both internal and external approaches. However strong steroid-based cream or lotion one would  apply, unless internal conditions are addressed, it will be short-lived and recurring once the medication stops.

Internal Approach

  1. Strengthen the lungs. The best and most effective way of fortifying the lungs is deep breathing, or abdomen-breathing. Conscious slow-breathing techniques work as well.
  2. lung9Massage the Lung Source Point (Lung 9, Taiyuan, Great Abyss–located at the wrist joint) for 3-5 minutes every day. This point is particularly effective in treating asthma. 

 

 

 

 

3. li11Massage Large Intestine 11(LI 11, QuChi, on the outside of elbow) to clear “heat” in the body.

 

 

4. Remove Dampness caused by water retention, and insufficient flushing of water and toxins. Constipation is a real killer here.

5.Eat “white-colored” food that strengthens the lungs, e.g., Asian pears, white peaches, white beans, cauliflower, garlic, artichokes, onions, parsnips, potatoes, shallots, turnips, etc. Pork is considered a white meat in Chinese medicine. White-colored fishes such as sea bass, halibut should be good also. Stay away from white sugar, white flour, or white rice—these are really bad “white” foods.

External Approach

  1. epsom salt bathEpsom Salt Bath–Take relaxing, stress-relieving epsom salt baths as often as you can by adding 2-4 cups of ultra epsom salt (no fragrance) to a warm bath water and soak for at least 15 minutes. In water, epsom salt is broken down to magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. It has numerous health benefits, and it moistens the skin while removing the toxins.

2. potatoApply grated potatoes on the distressed skin areas (You can also drink raw potato juice by grating potatoes and extracting its juice). Raw potatoes are very good in fighting infections, relieving pains, and healing the wounds.

 

 

3. infraredApply infrared or far infrared heat directly on the affected skin areas for 10-15 minutes a day.

 

 

 

 

4. destinFor itchiness, try apple cider vinegar, salt water, or witch hazel. Extreme itchiness can be relieved by applying Desitin–a baby diaper rash cream

 

5. emu-oil-skincare2Protect the skin with oil. Among all oils, emu oil is touted to be the best in dealing with dry, itchy skin. The aboriginal people of Australia have long used emu oil to treat inflammation, wounds, and musculoskeletal pain.

There could be other issues such as metal toxicity or hormonal imbalance that can wreak havoc on skin conditions, however, the above items will produce significant relief for severely dry, and itchy skin conditions during the winter.

 

Why Skin Conditions Get Worse During the Winter?

Do you know what is the largest organ of the body? It’s not your heart, liver, or even the lungs–it’s your skin. Skin is not only our largest organ, it happens to be the most vulnerable and visible organ. Why so many people experience worsening skin conditions during the winter time?

Interestingly, in China, eczema is called “skin asthma,” due to the fact that many of the children with eczema will also develop, or already have, asthma. So, what’s the relationship between the skin and asthma?

eczema      In Chinese medicine, skin is directly controlled by the lungs. During the winter season, our lungs are so busy in protecting us from the external evil, i.e., cold and harsh outside weather, that the lungs can’t keep up with dealing with internal evils trapped somewhere in the body.  In most cases, people with chronic skin conditions tend to have weak lungs to being with. Those who suffer from eczema, psoriasis, or even severe acnes have a lot of “damp heat” in the body. These skin problems are nothing but the body dumping toxic heat onto the skin. During the cold season, their skin conditions tend to exacerbate because their lung Qi is simply too weak to deal with attacks from outside as well as toxic heat created internally. There are many other issues to consider, but in a nutshell, dry & itchy skins are primarily caused by weak lung Qi.

Is Dry, Itchy Skin Driving You Crazy?

It has been brutally cold lately. One of the most common health issues during the winter season is dry, itchy skin conditions. Those with chronic skin issues tend to experience worsening conditions during the winter. Some can’t even sleep due to maddening itchiness. excema

 I will offer some advices on how to deal with skin conditions whether it is eczema(dry, scaly patches of skin affecting children particularly), psoriasis (usually appears on the elbows and knees with red and whitish scaly patches), rosacea (an uneven and often permanent blush across a person’s forehead, cheeks, and chin),  or just severely dry, itchy skin throughout the body.

The Second Point: Pericardium 8 (Laogong) “Palace of Labor”

Laogong or Pericardium 8 is in the center of the palm, between the 2nd and 3rd metacarpal bones, closer to the 3rd metacarpal bone. laogong-56a92d8b5f9b58b7d0f8f31eWhen a fist is made, the point is where the tip of the middle finger touches.

Taoist practitioners and other energy healers who use Qigong emission (external qi therapy) techniques to amplify and balance another person’s Qi frequently use this point from which to emit energy. This point has a direct connection with Kidney 1. Any change at Kidney 1, for example a weight shift, has an immediate and direct reflection on Laogong. In Qigong practices, these four points must connect to Dantien at the lower abdomen for the Qi of the entire body to be integrated.

This point must be open and hollow for Qi to spread into the hand and fingers, and to the entire upper body. It is extremely important point to release pent-up heat in the heart and the head. Laogong is excellent in calming the spirit and resolving exhaustion and fatigue.

HOW TO ACTIVATE LAO GONG

pc8To massage your own Lao Gong, simply rest one hand, palm up, then use the other hand’s thumb to locate and press Laogong. Apply moderate pressure, with your thumb, moving it in tiny circles, as you place your mental focus gently upon the point. Again, two or three minutes will be sufficient.

The sequence of massaging is left Yongquan, left Laogong, right Laogong, then right Yongquan, to make a full circle. It’s best to use this technique before bed, however, it can be used anytime of the day. One full week of self-massaging  these four points will renew your vitality tremendously.

The First Point: KID 1 (Yongquan) “Bubbling Well”

acu-points-kid-1The first point is Kidney 1, or YongQuan, located at the sole of the foot. This point lies in the depression that appears when the toes are curled. It is between the second and third metatarsals, about one third of the distance between the base of the second toe and the heel.

Yongquan is the only acupuncture point on the sole of the foot, the lowest and most Yin part of the body. In my clinical experiences, I’ve found that Kidney 1 is almost completely blocked for most people. Perhaps, it means that in this cyberage, we have simply lost the key in connecting with Mother Earth.

Actually, we use Kidney 1 all the time when our feet are on the ground. Through this point, we maintain our contact with the Earth. This point can be used as a portal through which we can draw upon the energy of the Earth as a tree’s roots draw nourishment from the soil.

Yongquan is a major energy vortex that has the ability to revitalize body, mind and spirit. When a person lacks stamina, strength, will or perseverance, Kidney 1 can help him/her to draw on reserves in order to get a kick-start.This point can also be used in restoring consciousness when someone has fainted. Additionally, this point has been widely used in treating dizziness, headaches, brain-fog, blurred vision, nosebleed and hypertension.

kidney1acupointApply a gentle but firm pressure on this point for two or three minutes. In the beginning, it can be very painful, but the the pressure will lessen as you progress. Always start with left Kidney 1, then progress to your left hand point, LaoGong.