The organs that correspond with summer are the Heart, and in late summer towards the transition to autumn when the weather is hot and humid, the Spleen. The Kidneys are also their lowest energy point in the cycle and need some support during the summer.
In Chinese medicine, the Heart is considered to be the Emperor of all organs. In other words, all organs are important to make our bodies strong and healthy, but the most important organ of all is still the Heart. The Heart controls the blood circulation and in charge of protecting the blood vessels. In addition, the Heart is directly responsible for our consciousness, sleep, memory functions. The Heart provides a haven for the spirit, commonly known as the Shen (神 –Please note that the character for Shen, the spirit, is the same character referring to God). The Heart is most susceptible to external and internal heat.
Those with healthy heart are well-grounded, not easily overwhelmed by outside influences. When the Heart-Kidney relationship is weak, the Shen escapes from its stable base in the Heart, and moved to the head, where thoughts rush around uncontrolled. Over time, this causes excessive worries, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, and wild dreams.
Those who already have heart-related conditions such as high blood pressures, atrial fibrillation (rapid and irregular heartbeat, fluttering or thumping on the chest, dizziness, shortness of breath, faintness or confusion, fatigue when exercising, etc.), or previous history of stokes need to be extra careful during the hot summer season. In addition to avoiding excessive heat, one needs to adopt a sensible diet, enough rest, and calm attitudes to protect the heart.
Wherever the pain and inflammation is, gently hold the area and focus on deep breathing for a few minutes. Heat, generated by heating pad or other infra-red lights are extremely helpful. Magnets are also extremely useful in relieving tension, inflammation, and pain on the joints.
Two important points for all arthritic and joint pains, both on the Gallbladder meridian.
GB 34 — Yang Ling Quian
Location: Four finger widths below the kneecap, one finger width to the outside of the leg. Benefits: Strengthens the body, benefits the joints, and relieves the fatigue that often results from the drain of dealing with arthritic pain.
GB 20 – Feng Chi (Wind Pool, Gates of Consciousness)
Location: Below the base of the skull, in the hollow between the two large, vertical neck muscles, two to three inches apart depending on the size of the head.
Benefits: Relieves arthritis, as well as the following common complaints that often accompany arthritic pain: headaches, insomnia, stiff neck, neck pain, fatigue, and general irritability.
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a skin disorder resulting in rough, red and itchy patches on the body. In addition, there can be a host of other symptoms and complications that can greatly vary between individuals.
For some, small blisters may be present that when scratched, may bleed or ooze fluid and then crust over when dry. For others, a persistent need to scratch itchy skin may cause anxiety and sleep problems. Other symptoms of eczema include nighttime itching, red or brown skin discoloration, bumps that ooze fluid and harden when dry, scaly-looking, thick, cracked or dry skin, skin inflammation or sensitive, uncomfortable skin sensations.
Complications that may arise from the symptoms of eczema include asthma, allergies, skin infections, insomnia, emotional problems or eye problems.
Chinese Medicine largely defines this condition as one related to heat. This manifestation of heat on the skin may stem from an internal imbalance (e.g. a weakened immune system), an allergic reaction (e.g. peanut allergy) or a combination of both these internal and external factors.
There are many reasons why the body may succumb to a heat condition and lead to the manifestation of eczema symptoms. Strong or prolonged emotions such as anger, rage or jealousy may contribute to a pathological buildup of heat.
Overworking may also be a contributing factor, as this may interfere with other activities such as exercise and things that bring joy and pleasure into one’s life.
Each patient will have a different set of circumstances. At the time of your visit, mention any emotional or behavioral difficulties you feel may be related to your eczema. This way, a treatment plan can be developed that will address all of your symptoms.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. People with insomnia have one or more of the following symptoms:
Difficulty falling asleep
Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
Waking up too early in the morning
Feeling tired upon waking
Major Causes of Insomnia
Significant life stress (job loss or change, death of a loved one, divorce, or moving)
Illness, pain, or discomfort at night
Environmental factors like noise, light, or extreme temperatures (hot or cold) that interfere with sleep
Medications (notably those used to treat depression, asthma, or high blood pressure) may interfere with sleep
Interferences in normal sleep schedule such as jet lag switching from a day to night shift
Depression and/or anxiety
Millions of people suffer from insomnia these days. Sleep deprivation is the root of many health issues like memory impairment, a weakened immune system and stress that can lead to cardiac disease, heart disease and digestive disorders. Sound sleep is the foundation of good health. We need 6-8 hours of sleep every night to recharge our batteries. Practicing good sleep hygiene and keeping your body in sync with the rhythm of day and night can help your body cope with sleep deprivation and give it an opportunity to get stronger and heal.
We can address the root cause of insomnia by applying the yin-yang principle. In Chinese medicine, sleep occurs when the yang energy of the day folds into the yin energy of night time. Yin energy of the body is cooling and restorative; it is the time of day when our bodies turn inward and regenerate. Conversely, day time is yang, which is expansive. We expend the energy we have built up from the process of sleeping. This yin-yang principle provides invaluable tips to improve our sleeping patterns.
What to Do:
Keep your body and mind as much Yin as possible by following: Exposure to the diminishing light at dusk, eating your last meal at least three hours before going to bed, gentle and slow-moving exercise such as yoga or Tai-Chi, and Unwind your mind through meditation (Meditation is best practiced dung the day to help improve your sleep patterns at night.)
What to Avoid:
Cool your Yang energy down by avoiding hot and spicy food and drink. Avoid alcohol, coffee, chocolate and any other stimulants, especially late in the day. Excessive lighting at night, evening shift work, evening computing, video games, television, and late-night eating all serve to counteract the body’s natural rhythms.
Just like any other human health issues, insomnia can be caused by: improper diet, immunological challenges, heavy metal or chemical toxins in your body, and unhealed scar tissues. Fruits and vegetables, seaweeds, bone-marrow soup, foods rich in minerals, and Vitamin B Complex can induce peaceful sleep at night..
If you or someone you know suffers from insomnia, call today to see what Acupuncture and Nutrition Response Testing can do for you!
February is the American Heart Association’s Heart Health Awareness Month. The cardiovascular system consists of the heart and blood vessels, and is responsible for carrying nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and removing carbon dioxide and other waste from them.
Diseases affecting the cardiovascular system include arteriosclerosis, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, arrhythmia, heart failure, hypertension, orthostatic hypotension, and congenital heart disease..
Cardiovascular disease is the leading health threat, with heart disease and stroke topping the list of leading causes of death worldwide. One out of every two men and one out of every three women will develop heart disease sometime in their life.
By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into your heart-healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 80 percent. Let’s take a look at how acupuncture can assist your cardiovascular health.
1. Manage High Blood Pressure
Acupuncture has been found to be particularly helpful in lowering blood pressure. By applying acupuncture needles at specific sites along the wrist, inside the forearm or in the leg, researchers at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, were able to stimulate the release of opioids, which decreases the heart’s activity and thus its need for oxygen. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease–all of which increase the risk of developing heart disease. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is an excellent adjunctive tool when it comes to losing weight. They can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite and reduce anxiety.
3. Reduce Stress
In Chinese Medicine, the Heart is the King of all of our physiological, emotional, and spiritual health. Excessive stress can easily damage the heart so that people with a high degree of stress often suffer from high blood pressure, chest pains, or irregular heartbeats. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and mental health.
4. Improve Sleep Quality
Poor sleep has been linked with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Acupuncture has shown great success treating a wide array of sleep problems without any of the side effects of prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids. The acupuncture treatments for problems sleeping focus on the root disharmony within the body that is causing the insomnia. Therefore, those who use acupuncture for insomnia achieve not only better sleep, but also an overall improvement of physical and mental health.
5. If You Smoke, Quit
Most people associate cigarette smoking with breathing problems and lung cancer. But did you know that smoking is also a major cause of coronary artery disease? In fact, about 20 percent of all deaths from heart disease are directly related to cigarette smoking.
Acupuncture has shown to be an effective treatment for smoking. Acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation focus on jitters, cravings, irritability and restlessness–symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.