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Dec 5

What to Eat to so we can Nourish our Jing, our Life Essence

In Chinese Medicine, Jing is the essence of who we are, where we have come from and where we are going. It is a substance or energy that comes from our parents and from it, our growth and development occur. With weak Kidney Jing, people may experience infertility, chronic miscarriage, low quality sperm count, impotence and low libido as well as lower back pain, premature hair greying, or poor memory and concentration.

In people of traditional Chinese culture, one of their aims in life was to have a long life and the amount and quality of Jing is a good determinant of your longevity. Thus, people were taught to conserve Jing from an early age.

One of the ways was by taking life at a gentle pace, and not rushing around doing so much as is common in modern Western culture. Life doesn’t have to be such that you are sitting in the bush surrounded by birdsong and rustling leaves all the time. What is necessary is an inner quietness amidst any external busyness that happens in your life. This rushing about all the time doesn’t just make us stressed, it exhausts us and consumes Jing.

Jing is also consumed through major trauma such as recovery from an accident or serious illness. Events such as these draw deeply on life reserves.

Men can consume Jing through ejaculation because Jing is tied very closely to reproductive processes. It was encouraged in traditional Chinese thought to have sex without ejaculation to preserve Jing. For men with poor Jing and Kidney energy, it was recommended to limit sexual activity, including masturbation, and to having sex with their partner at their fertile time.

For women, sexual fluids do not affect Jing as much as it does Kidney Yin. It is the menstrual cycle, which affects a woman’s Jing. Any time ovulation occurs, Jing is consumed. It is also used up, along with Qi and Blood, during pregnancy, when a lot of energy is required to form a new human being.

In summary, Jing is consumed in the following ways:

  • Being over busy
  • Recovery from accident or serious illness
  • Excessive sexual activity in men
  • Menstruation and pregnancy in women

One way to nourish Jing is through the foods that we eat.

In general, the foods in nature which are designed to nourish offspring will enhance your Jing, as well as some animal organs and tissues:

  • Royal jelly
  • Eggs of birds e.g. Chickens or ducks
  • Fish eggs or roe
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Pollen
  • Bone marrow, particularly from pig spine
  • Brains
  • Kidneys
  • Oysters, delivery of nutrients to sperm-manufacturing cells
  • Seaweed and algae, includes trace elements for production of gametes and related hormones
  • Artichoke leaf
  • Nettles
  • Oats
  • Raw Milk

Chinese herbal medicine can also nourish Jing and acupuncture can reduce leakages of Jing that occurs with daily living. Please look after your Jing, one of our treasures, by moderating your lifestyle and eating well.

Sep 25

Pointing the Way – Stiff Neck

Recently, I woke up with a stiff neck from sleeping “funny”. It was one of those bothersome and painful stiff necks where you had to do head checks in the car with your whole body!

However, Chinese Medicine came to the rescue! There is an acupuncture point called “Luo Zhen”, which translates as “fall off pillow”, which I suppose is what may have happened.

The point is located in a small depression on the back of your hand just past the knuckles of the index and middle finger. It can be found by sliding a finger from between those two knuckles towards the wrist and your finger will drop into it.

Luo Zhen Acupuncture Point

To use this point effectively:

  • Locate the point on the opposite side of the pain. For example, if the right side of your neck hurts, press the Luo Zhen point on the left hand.
  • Press firmly with the tip of a finger into the depression of the point so that you feel a tender sensation. I find I get the best pressure by using the tip of my thumb.
  • Maintain the pressure whilst rubbing in small circles on the point.
  • Whilst pressing the point, turn your head from side to side and you will notice that with time, the amount you can turn increases and the amount of pain decreases.

For me, it took a couple of minutes and I could really notice the difference. I have heard that it may take longer for other people so keep persisting!

 

Sep 13

Spring into Action and Get on Top of Hayfever

Spring is so lovely – with all the leaves unfurling, blossoms budding and warmth returning to the world so we can step out into the sunshine and breathe it all in.

However, this time of year often has the effect of producing itchy and watery eyes, constantly running noses and sudden attacks of sneezing in people, which can all result in people feeling drained of energy. Many Melbournians understand very well the effect hayfever can have on their lives and Melbourne, even though it is the most liveable city in the world in 2016, does have a black mark against it as it is the hayfever capital of Australia! Even in inner city Melbourne or the Melbourne CBD, where there are less parks and you might think less allergens, hayfever is still rife!

Chinese Medicine treats hayfever by expelling pathogens, normalising the function of your immune system and treating any underlying energetic imbalances. We use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine as well giving you some diet and lifestyle advice if necessary.

A trial investigating the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture in the treatment of hayfever was conducted by RMIT, and it was found that there was significant improvement in hayfever symptoms. In clinical practice, we have found that it may take only 4 weeks to get rid of your hayfever symptoms but it is best to get on top of it early in the season. This way, you can frolick happily all you like in the parks when the weather is warm!

In the meantime, check out our post on acupressure points for temporary relief of hayfever symptoms here: http://healthinflow.com.au/pointing-the-way-hayfever/

Jun 1

How to Sleep Clean with this Sleep Hygiene Guide

Who doesn’t love that feeling of waking up in the morning, body rested, mind alert and all of your being ready to launch yourself into the day ahead? I sure do love good sleep! A good sleep is something that allows your mind and body to rest and it is essential to maintaining balance in your health – mental, emotional and physical.


I do have times when I have poor sleep – I might have difficulty falling asleep or I toss and turn restlessly through the night. If this continues, I find myself more reactive and irritable, less able to think clearly or be creative, and my body just feels heavy and sluggish. In these times, my first port of call is reviewing my sleep hygiene.


Sleep hygiene are habits that you develop and maintain to help you to have a good night’s sleep. Common sleeping problems are often caused by bad habits reinforced over years or even decades.


Sleep Environment
  • Maintain a dark room. Use black out curtains or blinds and turning off any devices which emit light.
  • Have a quiet room, or if quiet is not possible, try using some ear plugs.
  • Ensure that the temperature is comfortable. Is the blanket warm enough or is it too warm? Having warm hands and feet when sleeping is important.
  • Is your mattress comfortable? Consider seeing a mattress specialist.
  • Use the bedroom only for sleeping or intimacy. Don’t use it for watching TV, surfing the internet or for talking to friends on the phone.
  • De-clutter your sleep space. A messy sleep space can translate to inner stagnation and contribute to imbalances in Chinese Medicine.


Sleep Routine
  • Sleep and wake at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps to set your body clock. Avoid trying to make up for poor sleep or lack of sleep by sleeping in, though don’t be obsessive about this – occasional staying up late or sleeping in is okay.
  • Get enough early morning sunshine. This also helps to set your body clock.
  • Be asleep by 10:30pm as 11pm – 1am is the time when the Chinese Medicine Liver organ needs to be resting, allowing the circulating Blood to return and be processed.
  • Don’t ignore tiredness. Go to bed when your body tells you to.
  • Exercise daily but no vigorous exercise close to bed time.
  • Relaxing exercise such as yoga or tai chi, or some gentle stretching, before bed can help to relax you.
  • Try not to engage in mentally overly stimulating activities close to bed time.


Sleep No-No’s
  • No screens for one hour before sleep. The blue light affects melatonin levels, which helps us to regulate our sleep cycle.
  • No caffeinated substances e.g. coffee, caffeinated tea, coke, chocolate close to bedtime
  • No sugar close to bedtime
  • Avoid drugs. Nicotine is a stimulant and a sedative, and the initial “kick” causes an increase in blood pressure, heart rate and respiration rate. Alcohol is a depressant but it affects your sleep rhythm and the quality of sleep with alcohol in your system is usually poor.
  • Avoid sleeping pills. They can cause daytime sleepiness and doesn’t actually solve the sleep problem. They can also cause a “rebound” effect where your sleep quality is worse when you stop taking them.
  • Avoid napping during the day. This can affect your sleep rhythm.
  • Stay away from large meals close to bed time.
  • Minimise fluid intake close to bedtime if you have a tendency towards night-time urination.


If you can’t fall asleep
  • try a mindfulness app such as Headspace or Smiling Mind.
  • don’t worry about not falling asleep.
  • don’t look at the clock as it increases worry, creating tension.
  • write down any worries that you have or things that you have to do if your mind won’t stop thinking.
  • get up and do something else in another room (with dim lighting) such as reading a book.



If by following these guidelines, you find that your sleep is still not refreshing, there could be other factors such as obstructed breathing (sleep apnoea), pain, digestive issues, stress, anxiety or depression which are contributing to your poor sleep quality. Chinese Medicine, using acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, treats all of these conditions and can bring peaceful sleep back into your life.

Jul 8

Mindful Eating

When was the last time you really savoured your food? Do you find that you’re often in a rush in the morning, scoffing down your toast whilst finding your clothes for the day and making your lunch at the same time? Or you might even be eating it in the car in peak-hour traffic? Does multitasking at work with lunch and your e-mails sound familiar?

Food is the main source of energy that we get and it is vital that we absorb all we can from it using a digestive system that is functioning optimally. Eating mindfully, being present with the food and really savouring the tastes, smells and textures, helps us to do this. It can:

  • improve your digestion, particularly because chewing produces saliva which starts to break down the food in your mouth
  • reduce your overeating because it takes 20 minutes for your brain to realise that your stomach is full
  • help you be satisfied with less because you can trust yourself to feel satisfied after a couple of blocks of chocolate rather than the whole block

image

So, how do we mindfully eat?

  1. Start small: Choose one meal or snack a day with which you will be mindful of and build from there.
  2. Avoid multitasking: Remind yourself that eating is important, it is something that you are doing now, and the other things, including watching TV or reading a book, can wait whilst you are being present with your food.
  3. Only eat at the table: This will help you focus on your task at hand, which is eating, and not walking around doing something else.
  4. Breathe: This seems like a given but by taking a conscious breath, we bring ourselves to the present, which will help us to eat mindfully.
  5. Appreciate the appearance: Before you eat, allow yourself to drool over the food.
  6. Focus on each mouthful: Savour the aroma, the taste, the texture, the sensations and feelings that the food triggers in you. Does it bring you back to your grandmother’s kitchen? Does it make your throat feel warm?
  7. Chew: Take your time to thoroughly chew your food. Feelings of food lumps going down your throat is a sign more chewing is needed.
  8. Use cutlery and put it down between mouthfuls: Eating with cutlery makes each mouthful smaller and more digestible. Between each mouthful, putting your cutlery down gives yourself time to finish chewing and swallowing a bite of food before the next bite.
  9. Eat quality food: Eating quality food means that you will enjoy it more, be more satisfied and eat less.

The best time to have breakfast is between 7-9am, which is the time when your Stomach energy is strongest. I really enjoy having breakfast early in the morning, when the world is still quiet outside, and at this time of year, the sun is casting its first orange rays of light on the world – a great time for practicing mindful eating!