Category Archives: TCM

Taming the Tiger

Get ready to roar ladies and gents – on 14 February 2010, we entered the Chinese Year of the Tiger. The tiger is dynamic, powerful, unpredictable, courageous and explosive, so expect a turbulent year full of big changes.

In terms of your health, it’s a year to be proactive so you can ride out the storm.

In the Chinese calendar, 2010 is represented by the elements metal and wood. Metal corresponds to the lungs, colon, skin and immune system so this year you may be more prone to sinus problems, infections, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, bowel problems, rashes, compromised immunity, arthritis and eczema. The wood element correlates to the liver, gall bladder and nervous system, which means 2010 may be bring increased stress and tension, depression, anxiety, gallstones, hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Combat this by eating foods that cleanse the liver, such as green leafy veg, carrot, beetroot and soy beans. Herbs and spices like dill, oregano, rosemary, sage, peppermint, turmeric, basil, coriander, fennel, anise, cardamom, ginger and parsley all boost the immune system. And I know it’s boring, but reducing your intake of dairy, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, wheat, deep fried and fatty foods, processed and refined foods will help too.

Regular exercise that strengthens the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, such as yoga and qigong, as well as breathing exercises and walking in the fresh air also can help you feel tip top at tiger time.

‘Til next time, take care tigers – it’s jungle out there.


Not Keen on Needles?

Neither am I. The idea of acupuncture makes me shiver with fear – probably not the best reaction when you’re having needles stuck into your flesh.
So I’ve been finding out about modern alternatives to traditional needle-based acupuncture that work on the same principles of manipulating the body’s energy meridians to balance chi (or life energy) – the foundation of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Shiatsu and tui na are massage therapies that use stimulation techniques based on acupressure. Shiatsu involves pressing and holding certain points for  a couple of minutes each. Tui na, meaning ‘push and grasp’, primarily uses the back of the hand to quickly roll back and forth over the acupoints.
Polarity therapy uses a combination of three levels of touch (soft, medium and firm), verbal interaction, exercise and nutrition, depending on the needs of the patient, to balance and restore the natural flow of energy in the body.

Emotional freedom technique, sometimes called tapping for health, uses gentle touch to stimulate chi. It involves tapping key points along the meridians in conjunction with other neurologically stimulating actions to free blockages.

Reiki also employs very gentle touch, minimising hands-on manipulation. The practitioner allows energy to flow through the hands to the recipient while placing hands at various points on the body to energise, clear and strengthen chi.

It isn’t even necessary for practitioners to touch specific acupoints in order to restore balance. Reflexology massage accesses the body through specific points on the feet or hands. When the points are stimulated, the resultant flow of energy removes blockages, aids detoxification, improves circulation and digestion, and helps relieve stress.

Reconnective healing is a completely hands-free technique where the practitioner scans the body for energy blocks. With hands held above the patient, the healer sends high frequency waves through the patient’s body to aid the healing process.

So you don’t have to become a pin cushion to get your energy back in balance. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried any of these techniques.

Love your Latte

Can’t give up your morning cuppa? Don’t worry, your daily latte may be doing you more good than harm. According to a study by The George Institute for International Health at the University of Sydney, the consumption of coffee and tea is independently associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In fact, go crazy, have an afternoon caffeine fix too. Results of the study found that the more coffee you drink, the less the risk of diabetes, with each cup linked to a 7% risk reduction.

These results actually make sense in regards to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which views type 2 diabetes as a result of inefficiency of the digestive system. TCM uses tea and coffee medicinally to increase digestive efficiency. Obviously, type 2 diabetes is also linked to weight and lifestyle, and tea and coffee shouldn’t be viewed as a cure for diabetes. However, it’s comforting to know that Melbourne’s much loved cafe culture is good for both mind and body.

Chi Cycle Healing

I’ve been reading a lot recently about nutrition (being three months pregnant has made my life revolve around food. My old passions of wine, cheese and socialising seem to be out of the question now I’m constantly tired and prone to heartburn!)

Jost Sauer, a Queensland-based author, acupuncturist and speaker, has written some great articles on traditional Chinese medicine and getting in sync with the body’s natural processes. Albeit sporadically, I’ve been trying to live by his chi cycle over the past week and I can honestly say that I’m feeling more energised.

Chi means universal life force energy and the cycle is all about achieving optimum balance. Here are the basics if you feel like giving it a go:

  • 5-7am. Organ = Large intestine. Intent = Transform. Actions = Get up, drink water, evacuate bowels, stretch, meditate, exercise.
  • 7-9am. Organ = Stomach. Intent = Balance. Actions = Be sweet to yourself, eat breakfast, arrive, become real.
  • 9-11am. Organ = Spleen. Intent = Develop. Actions = Act, make decisions, work hard, think, communicate, achieve.
  • 11am-1pm. Organ = Heart. Intent = Communion. Actions = Articulate vision and purpose, access your soul, spread the love.
  • 1pm-3pm. Organ = Small intestine. Intent = Refine. Actions = have lunch, go slow, ride the wave.
  • 3pm-5pm. Organ = Bladder. Intent = Alliance. Actions = Put cruise control on, go with the flow, feel the power.
  • 5-7pm. Organ = Kidneys. Intent = Embrace. Actions = Switch off, acknowledge strength and skills, have sex, share a laugh.
  • 7-9pm. Organ = Pericardium. Intent = Protect. Actions = Come home, feel safe, nurture, be yourself, be creative, have dinner.
  • 9pm-11pm. Organ = San Jiao. Intent = Passage. Actions = Go to bed, go to sleep.

What a perfect day… find more info on the chi cycle and chi cycle healing at Jost Sauer’s website.