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Apr 15

Ways to Prevent a Cold in Chinese Medicine

It’s Autumn already and that crisp cold bite in the air has appeared and with it, the return of sniffles, headaches and sore throats and if we haven’t been looking after ourselves and our immune system is quite compromised, the body aches and pains with chills and fevers of the flu, which can knock us out for many days and have us feeling quite miserable.

In Chinese Medicine, the main cause of common cold is Wind. The common cold caused by Wind is often associated with abnormal or sudden changes in weather, large variations in temperature, the body being wet by rain or blown by wind after sweating.
A few ways that we can minimise the chances of developing a cold are:
  • putting on warm clothes after sweating;
  • drying off and staying warm after getting wet in the rain;
  • wear a scarf to protect the back of our neck which is vulnerable to Wind;
  • being careful not to overwork and tax the immune system;
  • maintain moderate level of exercise to ensure your energy flows smoothly;
  • staying away from ill people as much as possible;
  • having spring onion, ginger and garlic regularly, or if you tend towards feeling hot, having cooling teas with chrysanthemum and/or honeysuckle, which you can buy from a Chinese grocery store; and
  • having acupuncture and herbal medicine treatment to boost weaknesses in your body so that your immune system is strong.

The best time to act is before you get sick! 

Prevention is the best medicine – we know this, yet we often forget it and when we get a cold and are wallowing in our misery, we’ll be able to think of the things that we should have or shouldn’t have done!

Around 4,500 years ago, the Chinese physician Qi Bo wrote,? To take medicine when you are sick is like digging a well only when you are thirsty ?- is it not already too late??

 

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/

Dec 30

Food for Summer

Summer is a Yang season, which means that lightness, brightness, liveliness, expansion, growth and creativity are the principles that hold true at this time of year. So to live in accordance with these natural principles to enhance your health, the lifestyle we live and the foods we eat are important. The last post focused on the Chinese Medicine summer lifestyle of waking early and being light-hearted (in Chinese Medicine, this is the season of the Heart) and this post will focus on its complementary component, the summer foods for good health!

Varied, many-coloured fruits and vegetables are the way to go this season and creating a visually appealing display of the food will enhance their benefits. The cooking style should be light, which means lightly sauteing at high heat, steaming and simmering foods quickly.
On particularly hot days, create a cooling atmosphere in which to eat, such as having a picnic under a tree or dining al-fresco on your back patio, and eat foods that are cooling. These include:

  • salads
  • sprouts (particularly mung, soy and alfalfa)
  • fruit (especially apples, watermelons, lemons and limes)
  • cucumber
  • tofu
  • flower and leaf teas such as chyrsanthemum, mint and chamomile

To help regulate your temperature, drinking hot drinks and having warm showers will cause sudden sweating and cool your body down. Also, having hot-flavoured spices will intially cause your body to become warmer but will actually disperse the heat from the inside to outside. Some of these foods include:

  • red and green hot peppers
  • cayenne red pepper
  • fresh ginger
  • horseradish
  • black pepper

As always, have these foods in moderation because if you have too much cooling food, it causes contraction in your body and you will hold in sweat and heat, and it will also affect your digestion. For this reason, it is also important to avoid icy drinks and cold foods such as ice-cream. If you have too much dispersing spices, it weakens your warming energy and being able to stay warm in the cooler seasons may be lost. Also avoid heavy foods such as meats, eggs and too many nuts, seeds and grains because they will create sluggishness.

If you find yourself with any combination of the following: red face, red eyes, a bright red tongue with a yellow coating, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, skin eruptions, nose bleeds, constipation, mouth ulcers or an unusually large appetite – it is possible that you have excessive heat in your body and following a diet as above, will help to cool you down!

Dec 10

Summer Lifestyle Advice from a Chinese Sage

Unfortunately, the Chinese sage is not I, but is the famous Yellow Emperor (Huang Di), an emperor who reigned in the middle of the third millenium BCE and wrote one of the most important classics of Taoism, the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine (Huang Di Nei Jing), which gives a holistic picture of human life.

Chinese Medicine Summer

Regarding living in summer (scroll down for summary):
“In the three months of summer, there is an abundance of sunshine and rain. The heavenly energy descends, and the earthly energy rises. When these energies merge, there is intercourse between heaven and earth. As a result, plants mature and animals, flowers and fruit appear abundantly.

One may retire somewhat later at this time of year, while still arising early. One should refrain from anger and stay physically active, to prevent the pores from closing and the qi from stagnating. One should not overindulge in sex, although one can indulge a bit more than in other seasons. Emotionally, it is important to be happy and easygoing and not hold grudges, so that the energy can flow freely and communicate between the external and the internal. In this way, illness may be averted in the fall. The season of fire and heart also encompasses late summer, which corresponds to the Earth element. Problems in the summer will cause injury to the heart and will manifest in autumn.”

In essence, to live accordance with nature in summer:

  • you can sleep later than usual whilst still waking early
  • avoid getting angry or hold grudges, and be happy and easygoing
  • stay physically active
  • you can have a bit more sex than usual, but be sure not to overindulge and deplete yourself

It’s not that summer-like in Melbourne just yet but keep some of these lifestyle tips in mind so illnesses and problems aren’t generated and passed through to autumn!

Sep 8

Spring to Life

Spring Blossoms

Spring is here – the bite in the air is gone, there is finally warmth you can actually bask in, the leaves are returning and the flowers are blooming. It is a season of birth and rejuvenation and in Chinese Medicine, for optimal health, it is best to live in accordance with these natural principles, both physically and emotionally.

Physically, wear loose comfortable clothing and exercise more often, much easier to do when the temperature is no longer in the single digits. It is also a good time to do more stretching to loosen up the tendons and muscles, and be supple like the new plant growth you see around you! Waking up early and going for a walk to take in this fresh invigorating energy and retiring early to allow your body to regenerate will see your body abound with energy.

Emotionally, equanimity is the goal. The Liver is the dominant Chinese Medicine organ in Spring, and becoming excessively angry, frustrated, depressed, sad or having an excess any other emotion, can damage the Liver. Sometimes, it is easy to get caught up in moments, both past and present, and react strongly but if you can be aware of this, take a step back and just appreciate the vibrant nature around you, the health, family and friends that you have, and perhaps you can realise that it’s not as bad as all that!

The energy of Spring is exciting and full of promise, so everyone please enjoy!