Spring for Traditional Chinese Medicine
Spring for Traditional Chinese Medicine
With the official start of spring here and now, there’s no better time than now to consider using popular forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). As Mother Nature comes out of its state of dormancy, flowers will begin to blossom, trees will develop leaves, and the snow-capped landscape will be replaced with flowing green grass. This massive change comes with some unwelcome side effects that TCM may prove useful in treating.
While cold and flu infection rates typically diminish by the start of spring, a new problem begins to emerge: allergies. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), approximately 50 million people in the United States suffer from seasonal allergies (source). When exposed to pollen or other plant allergens, the individual may develop a runny nose, nasal congestion, eye redness, headache, sore throat, and other related symptoms.
Whether you suffer from mild, moderate or severe seasonal allergies, however, acupuncture can help. This centuries-old TCM involves the placement of fine needles on specific areas throughout the body. Acupuncture is believed to restore the body’s flow of energy (referred to as Qi) while stimulating the body’s self-healing mechanism.
In Chinese astrology, spring falls under the Wood element, meaning this time of year is closely related to the gallbladder and liver. According to TCM, one of the liver’s primary functions is to regulate Qi through the body. If Qi is blocked or restricted in any way, the individual will be susceptible to disease and illness. The bottom line is that you want to keep your Qi moving this spring season for optimal health.
Here are some tips to keep your Qi moving:
- Limit (or eliminate) your intake of processed foods.
- Eat more fresh vegetables and fruit.
- Start your mornings off with a light stretching exercise like yoga or tai qi.
- The warm weather offers the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and exercise.
- Consume sour food and drinks. According to TCM, sour flavors stimulate the liver’s Qi.
- Seek acupuncture treatments.
There are over 2,000 acupuncture points spread across 20 meridians, but none hold as much weight for the spring season as the Liver 3. Located between the first and second toes, the Liver 3 (also known as the ‘springtime acupressure point’) is an acupuncture point that’s particularly beneficial for this time of year. It lives up to its namesake by channeling energy between the liver; therefore, conventional wisdom should tell you to focus on it during this spring. If you plan on scheduling on an acupuncture session, ask the physician if he or she can target the Liver 3.
Give me a call today to learn how you can get back on track to better health!
Spring Body Cleaning Tips
Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey
You can make a powerful, all-natural detoxifying beverage by mixing together one tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with the ‘Mother’), one tablespoon of honey, and 12 ounces of water. The vinegar works to stabilize your body’s internal pH level, while the honey works to regulate your blood sugar levels. When combined together, it offers a superb cleansing and detoxifying beverage that’s perfect for the spring season. Even the Greek philosopher Socrates prescribed apple cider vinegar to his patients.
Take Care of Your Eyes
Did you know that your eyes are connected to every organ in your body in some manner? With that said, the liver has the strongest connection to the eyes. When your eye health begins to decline, so does your liver. Take care of your eyes by limiting your time in front of electronic displays (e.g. computer monitors, television and tablets) and have an eye exam performed by a licensed optometrist at least once every two years.
Consuming chlorophyll – the pigment responsible for giving all green plants their color – will strengthen your liver. Chlorophyll is known to exhibit antioxidant properties, fighting harmful chemicals within the body known as free radicals. And according to a study conducted by the Linus Pauling Institute, both chlorophyll and chlorophyllin may bind with certain carcinogens like cigarette smoke. This doesn’t necessarily man that a chlorophyll-rich diet will protect you from cancer, but it’s just one more reason why you should include it in your diet.
Some excellent sources of chlorophyll include spinach, parsley, garden cress, green beans, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, green peas, asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers, green apples, melon, honeydew and kiwi.
The blooming plant life and warming temperatures offers the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and exercise. Exercise and fresh outdoor air stimulate the body’s energy (Qi), keeping it moving and flowing throughout the body. When Qi becomes stagnant, it increases the risk of disease and illness. Something as simple as a 30-minute jog around the neighborhood can make a world of difference in your health.
We can’t talk about ways to cleanse the body this spring without mentioning acupuncture. From relieving seasonal allergies to reducing pain and inflammation, the benefits of this Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are endless.
Give me a call today at 401-219-6446 to learn how you can get back on track to better health!
photo credits: iStock.com/zorankrstic, iStock.com/svetikd