The Microbiome

Inside your body there are trillions of microscopic organisms: bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea - collectively known as the microbiota. They live in the gut, on the skin and in the vagina. They have an affect on our mood our sleep and our health. They help to breakdown our food and help fight off hostile bacteria. This video from nature video explains what they are:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=c_ZRZkU-FEw&fbclid=IwAR0R9SdTjRdMTp_6eK-dN6xZvM3MiQzV08RVusvzT3X-VAqQGEzHgARZeZE

The British Medical Journal explains more about what the microbiome is. The human microbiome is composed of communities of bacteria (and viruses and fungi) that have a greater complexity than the human genome itself. The microbiome is dynamic and changes with early development, environmental factors such as diet and use of antibiotics and especially in response to disease.

https://ep.bmj.com/content/102/5/257

Innate Lymphoid Cells are a link between the nervous system and microbiota in intestinal networks. This study (Han et al, 2019) describes the link:

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/mi/2019/1978094/?fbclid=IwAR0XHd85Mv3CcO7Of_9Exshogh0yKiIMZzGjb-W80zRRsCnw35nB5O5ej3k

The microbiome affects our overall health. Social stress alters both the composition and behavior of gut bacteria, leading to self-destructive changes in the body’s immune system.New research (American Society for Microbiology) explores the health impacts of stress on the microbiome:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/neuronarrative/201906/could-stress-turn-our-gut-bacteria-against-us?fbclid=IwAR2j6-zXowcT78p-8cRL-E_f5eIn7moEGaY-NXzz82b7xH3GhJNA-EBA4xA

This podcast from Botanical Biohacking explains the link between microbiota, mucus, and Bipolar Disorder:

https://botanicalbiohacking.com/blog/2019/7/2/0p3dvh6ep1t5abp40m1gx5dconz7vs?fbclid=IwAR3A3d_hkNvRXdt4m_E6w_y5h_DT-A20y0b-7bkvuOfsMCXZYd8v8uqeYU4

Gut bacteria are critical for optimal muscle function. Nay et al, (2019) research a possible link with glucose homeostasis:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31039010?fbclid=IwAR3UCTyt2ryRxYXH67UzpdPpZd8anBpVwo50KN1_OazRLEyPeq4_Jj6Z2BA

A new study (Scheiman et al., 2019) looks at a possible link between Gut bacteria and exercise. They found that specific gut bacteria called Veillonella is correlated with increased aerobic exercise capacity in humans and mice:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201906/does-one-type-gut-bacteria-make-aerobic-exercise-easier?fbclid=IwAR2KzZrO6Ciu5TyIZ46I0QbI--_4iScXsKIrmemQlhWwy8Im4tow_Uy59DA

Medical News Today report that common food additive may impact gut bacteria, increase anxiety. A study in humans concluded that gut bacteria "can be directly impacted by these commonly used food additives, in a manner that subsequently drives intestinal inflammation."

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324232.php?fbclid=IwAR3BPq2LQpTxIcajXmyVFIic2SmlZZQyq2QbK2z2FWISZTCe6AGs-g1oE2U

Fibromyalgia is linked to the microbiome report Neuroscience News (2019). Scientists from McGill University have found a correlation between a disease involving chronic pain and alterations in the gut microbiome. Fibromyalgia is characterised by chronic pain, fatigue, and impaired sleep. It affects 2-4 percent of the population and has no known cure.:

https://neurosciencenews.com/mirobiome-fibromyalgia-14286/?fbclid=IwAR2OCewm7QieHiEaEr8ep6iE4_8raaDc8T3UN5H90izv2wYpwnM1euR_Kek

Anxiety might be alleviated by regulating gut bacteria report Science Daily (May 2019). A team of researchers from the Shanghai Mental Health Center reviewed 21 studies. They found that non probiotic interventions (i.e. a change in diet) were more effective than probiotic interventions for alleviating symptoms of anxiety.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190520190110.htm?fbclid=IwAR2hMXhoOu2FYtvEaZRQ6yQmGYS-dmNicIIWxSFlvDe6p6biHpeJ_EUIuqU

Gut bacteria associated with chronic pain for the first time, Medical Express.com report

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-06-gut-bacteria-chronic-pain.amp?fbclid=IwAR3XxfjQI33nwagJsLFt-24jXNxfXlEQEDEfgMtyKuvSMPlKKhXyIvF8q9U

Babies' Temperament Linked to Their Gut Bacteria according to scientists in the FinnBrain research project of the University of Turku (Technologynetworks.com, June 2019). “One of the findings was that greater diversity in gut bacteria is connected to lesser negative emotionality and fear reactivity”.:

https://www.technologynetworks.com/neuroscience/news/babies-gut-bacteria-linked-to-their-temperament-320836?fbclid=IwAR3_DMXdoNU6ZZ3G3J13LN1DN1Xf5QDStyuV7-YtwUJLnQqcu1pXb5RpEDA

Men's Testes Have a 'Microbiome.' Could It Affect Fertility? A study from Italy suggests that microorganisms may live naturally in this part of the male reproductive system. They also found that the testicular microbiome may be different in men with a type of infertility called azoospermia, who have no measurable sperm in their semen, than it is in fertile men:

https://www.livescience.com/62852-men-testes-microbiome-fertility.html?fbclid=IwAR0Mw_gZ7gc9-cHkonDX4qy3I-LSeZ7lrlOFwC_Q53eazSOPCJO-ByyE5AY

Food Diet and Nutrition

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Overeating and lack of exercise leads to diabetes and reduced brain function

An average person today eats far more calories than they used to according to Australian National University (ANU) as reported in Neuroscience News (June, 2013). It is the equivalent of eating an extra fast-food burger meal a day. This along with a sedentary lifestyle has led to an increase in type 2 diabetes and a decline in brain function. The ANU found that “We’ve found strong evidence that people’s unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise for sustained periods of time puts them at serious risk of developing type 2 diabetes and significant declines in brain function, such as dementia and brain shrinkage.” The research reports that 30% of the population is either overweight or obese and that 10% of the population has type 2 diabetes.

Breast milk is teeming with good bacteria

Breast-fed milk may nourish a baby’s microbiome in ways that bottled breast milk can’t. The New York Times (June, 2019) reports that in the early days of a babies life bacteria colonize the skin, mouth and gut. The microbiome has a far-reaching impact on the babies health. Gut bacteria in the first two years of life play a key role in the development of obesity at age 12 (Stanislawski et al, 2018). Furthermore, according to the NYT breast milk seems to be rich in beneficial bacteria only when it comes directly from the mother’s breast.

Heavy metals found in fruit juices

CBS News reported that heavy metals had been found in some popular fruit juices. They were found to contain lead, arsenic, and cadmium. 45 of packaged fruit juice were tested and all of them contained heavy metals. Although the levels of heavy metals had decreased since the last time they were tested the report recommended that parents give their children less fruit juice. The CDC says that long term exposure to heavy metals puts people at risk of kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, impaired ability to learn and certain types of cancer.

Banned bread: why does the US allow additives that Europe says are unsafe?

The Guardian (May, 2019) reports that China, Brazil and members of the EU have banned chemicals that America deems safe. This is particularly worrying with regard to Brexit. If we make a new deal with America we may end up importing a wide variety of foods with much lower safety standards. Chlorinated Chicken is just one example that has been in the news recently. The chemicals used in whiteners, rising agents and dough conditioners may be harmful to human health. Both Potassium Bromate and Azodicarbonamide (ACA) have been linked to cancer. Though the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers these to be “generally recognized as safe” many experts disagree. The FDA was asked to investigate but was unable to due to “limited availability of resources and other agency priorities”

Should Sugar be treated like Smoking

With sugary drinks are already being taxed a leading think tank has even suggested sweets, snacks and sugary drinks should be wrapped in plain packaging to help the population to make better choices and to reduce pester power for busy parents (BBC, June, 2019). The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) made that suggestion alongside a ban on junk food advertising. The food industry wants to keep packaging as is to maintain brand identity. However the government realises that bold moves are needed if the ambition to halve the child obesity rate by 2030 is to be achieved.

References

https://neurosciencenews.com/burger-brain-14230/?fbclid=IwAR0cbqJNyRjUZbmMOdVJFoswwTmxq5oH4zNZLVhasGNLLK-O1pqs7AVguAI

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/health/breastmilk-microbiome-parenting.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Health&fbclid=IwAR243R5EZnltXk6PknLx3V2WwbA68OxL-QmAIebWYZBFf2678AHzmM5GOFY

https://mbio.asm.org/content/9/5/e01751-18

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/heavy-metals-like-arsenic-and-lead-found-in-45-packaged-fruit-juices-report-finds/?fbclid=IwAR0s3UBWTJIDQT_pgvU6giQ0eS8uOLZHehoyOQZzsw7WKKaVF33WqSNOgqU

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/28/bread-additives-chemicals-us-toxic-america?fbclid=IwAR02OST8xXF_NjvQuaj7dFOCgNdhfld3gBRbHUC5hueQjGnEo5L35mGIXII

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-48499195?fbclid=IwAR3c3qSPIyZnudAFc5ChCbDdFSkevYIf_mxvCyV7O-L_y6lSms0yrZMGBF4

Intermittent Fasting

istockphoto-866306066-612x612.jpg

INTERMITTENT FASTING

 

Intermittent Fasting has been claimed to provide benefits. These include reduction in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, fat mass, blood glucose. There are people with certain conditions who should not fast. These include diabetes, anorexia and bulimia, pregnancy and adolescents.

 

Fasting for two days could regenerate the immune system, according to research

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/fasting-for-two-days-could-regenerate-the-immune-system-according-to-research-9506168.html?fbclid=IwAR10LxDJtbtm6fwYAdNFa1jD-KbTS5iELt745SaKLDU-RsbLCYceD097i5I

 

Healthline offer tips on how to fast safely

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-fast

 

Medical News offers advice on fasting

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324882.php

There are a number of diets including Alternate Day Fasting, 5:2 method. This involves a reduced calorie intake on 2 days of the week.

 

Harvard reviewed human and animal studies on intermittent fasting. Although animal studies showed great benefits these were not necessarily matched in human studies. They concluded that there was little difference between calorie restricted diets and intermittent fasting in humans. 

 

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/intermittent-fasting/

 

I have been trained in nutrition in Chinese Medicine and can offer dietary advice specific to a persons needs.

The Seasons in Chinese Medicine

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The Wood Element

The Wood Element

Spring Time and the Wood Element

Spring is a time for new beginnings when you should rise with the sun and take brisk walks (Pitchford, 2002.) Chinese Medicine evolved thousands of years ago in an agrarian society where people lived much closer to nature. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be used to explain how our internal environment reacts to the changing seasons. In Chinese Medicine Spring is the time of the Wood Element. Ideally the flow of energy is smooth like a flowing river. An example of this can be seen in the flowing movements of Taiji and Qigong. It’s energies are upwards and outwards. Imagine a newly growing plant. It pushes against boundaries like the earth in order to get sunlight. The buds, shoots and leaves are growing and expanding. People also start life with a plan to fulfil their capabilities and direction. They may encounter obstacles and frustrations along the way. The state of the Wood energy within them will determine whether they bend or break in the face of adversity. If it is good then they will be able to grow and flourish. If it is not then they may become stuck (Hicks et al, 2004). Spring is the season for the Liver and Gall Bladder. We naturally eat less, perhaps even fast to detoxify the body and the fats and heavy foods we have consumed over Winter. Ideal foods for this time of year are young plants, fresh greens, sprouts and immature wheat or other cereal grasses (Pitchford, 2002..)

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Summer Time and the Fire Element

There are five elements in Chinese Medicine: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Five element acupuncturists use this system to determine which element in a person requires most support. Working on that element helps to bring balance to the person. The Fire Element in Chinese Medicine relates to Summer, to heat, to the colour red, to laughing and to joy. The Sun is the Fire Element in nature. The following meridians are all related to the Fire Element: Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium and Triple Burner.  The Spirit of the Heart is called the Shen. The Shen can be seen in the sparkle in a persons eyes.

On a physical level the Fire Element relates to a persons sensitivity to hot and cold. On an emotional level it relates to joy. Communication with others is how it manifests. When the Fire Element is in balance we can communicate freely and effectively with others. We will laugh and smile at appropriate moments. We will be able to recall pleasurable moments. When Fire is in excess we may become over exuberant, we may laugh at inappropriate moments.  Manic behaviour can harm the Fire Element. When the Fire Element is deficient we may be discouraged from human contact. We may not be able to join in the joy of a group and may feel isolated. When Fire is deficient people may display joy but it will lack warmth and not feel genuine. Lack of human contact can be detrimental to the Fire Element.

In Summer you should use plenty of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. Light cooking is in order, steaming and boiling. You may decide to add spice or pungent flavours. Fruits to cool Summer Heat include apples, lemons and limes (Pitchford, 2002). Salads, sprouts and cucumber are suitable for picnics alongside herbal teas.


Harvest

Harvest

Harvest Time and Earth Element

Harvest

In Europe in the middle ages there was a tradition of crop rotation which helps to reduce crop specific pests (RHS, 2015). Fields would be left fallow, i.e. uncultivated every few years. Animal and plant compost would be used to nourish the earth. Hedgerows that separated fields shaped the landscape and were places where animals thrived. In modern times this tradition has disappeared. Large scale harvesting is more common and chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used to produce the largest crop. However this system doesn't nourish the soil and yields may reduce.

Earth Element in Life

On a physical level we are what we make of what we eat. The Earth state of the earth can range from dry like a desert or damp like a soggy field suited to planting rice. On a physical level if we are suffering from "Damp" our digestion will be sluggish and we will be reluctant to move. On a mental level if our Earth element is strong we should be able to reap a harvest in our life (Hicks et al, 2004). If it is not our thoughts will circle endlessly and we may suffer from dissatisfaction. In Chinese Medicine humans are pictured as having their head in the heavens, where they can take in the Qi, and their feet on the earth, where they feel grounded and steady. Earthquakes like the recent one in Nepal lead to feelings of shock and instability.

Diet

To attune to late Summer it’s best to pick foods for every meal that harmonize. These include millet, carrots, corn ,cabbage, beans and sweat potatoes (Pitchford, 2002)





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Autumn and the Metal Element

In Chinese Medicine the character for Metal (Jin) 金 represents something precious deep in the earth. It includes the character for Earth (see below). The Metal character has a sloping roof on top, representing something covered over. You could imagine it as a mine with nuggets of gold buried deep within the earth. Metal can be thought of like minerals in the body. Small but essential. In the body the Metal Element consists of the Lungs and Large Intestine. The Lungs take in air. In Chinese Medicine they take in the Qi from the Heavens. Exercises such as Qigong can help us to breath more deeply. Breathing meditations can be used as a tool to calm the mind. In dynamic meditation breathing can be used to trigger the emotions in order to express them and to get free and more detached from them (Osho, 1989). The Large Intestine lets go of waste material. On a more emotional level it's important to be able to freely accept gifts and compliments. To appreciate beauty in the world. It's also important to let go of things we no longer need. The Dhammapada (sayings of the Buddha) states "For see how the Jasmine flower releases and lets fall its withered flowers." So we must release the parts of us that no longer serve us rather than clinging to them. In Autumnal months the weather starts to get chilly and we would be wise to dress more warmly than the summer months. Summer salads should give way to more nourishing and warming foods such as soups and roasted vegetables. We should choose more astringent as well as heartier flavours and foods (Pitchford, 2002). Sourdough bread, sauerkraut, leaks, aduki beans sour apples and rose hip tea suit this season.



Gill Scrambling in Winter

Gill Scrambling in Winter

Winter and the Water Element

There are five elements in Chinese Medicine: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Five element acupuncturists use this system to determine which element in a person requires most support. Working on that element helps to bring balance to the person. The Water Element in Chinese Medicine relates to Winter, to cold, to the colour blue/black, to groaning and to fear (Hicks et al, 2004). Water is the most yin of all elements. It takes the shape of it's container such as a reservoir or a river bed. The Bladder and Kidney meridians are related to the Water Element. The Spirit of the Kidneys is called the Zhi. It gives us the drive and motivation to get things done.

On a physical level the excess and deficiency of the Water Element can cause problems. This can be seen in floods and drought. Water controls Fire. A fireman will use water to put out a fire. The power of Water is storage. Animals store food so the can hibernate over Winter. On an emotional level the Water Element relates to fear. Our response to fearful stimuli is how it manifests. When the Water Element is in balance we can use our fear to avoid dangerous situations like predators, cliff edges and fire. Such a person should be able to respond positively to reassurance. A lack of fear may lead us to engage in extreme sports. An excess of fear may lead to agitation of the mind body and spirit.

Diet

In terms of diet Winter is a good time for salty and bitter foods which aid the bodies capacity for storage. Examples of bitter foods are oats, rye, carrot top and quinoa. Seaweed, millet and barley are salty foods. It is advisable to avoid salads at this time of year as they are cooling in nature (Pitchford, 2002)..

References

Hicks, Hicks and Mole, 2004, Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture, Churchill Livingstone, London

Osho, 1989, The Everyday Meditator A Practical Guide, Labyrinth Publishing (UK) Ltd, London

Pitchford, 2002, Healing with Whole Foods Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley

Weiger L 1965 Chinese characters. New York: Dover







Stone Circles

I have been drawn to visit a number of Stone Circles recently including Castelrigg, Arbor Low, Nine Ladies and Avebury.

Nine Ladies

Nine Ladies

Nine Ladies Stone Circle is located on Stanton Moornear Youlgreave in Derbyshire. The site is managed by Englsih Heritage. I’ve provided a link below. It’s surrounded by Woodland including Silver Birch Trees. It’s possible to do some short walks including the stone circle. The land you pass through varies from heather moorland to spase woodland. I found the site to be relaxing and energising. There is a tenth stone 30-40 yards away. The rumor is that it was a man who turned the ladies to stone because they were dancing on the Sabbath day.

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

I have visited Castlerigg Stone Circle a number of times. It’s located in a large field not far from Keswick in The Lake District. On this occasion I came on the evening of the Summer Solstice. The energy was more intense than usual and there were still people drumming and enjoying the energies of the day.

Avebury

I visited Avebury Stone Circle last month and also had the chance to visit the Museum and the Manor House and Gardens. I was pleased to see that you could not only touch the items in the museum (apart from a few exceptions) you could also try om the costumes to see how they would look on you (as can be seen in the picture below.) The dresses made for girls weighed a surprising amount. From there I visited Silbury Hill and West Kennet Long Barrow. I was impressed by the scale of West Kennet Long Barrow. It stands out on the hillside. It is cool in barrow and you can get a sense of the world the creators must have lived in. I had hoped to see the white horse but I couldn’t see it from any of the ridges I was walking on. It will have to wait for another day.

Avebury Stone Circle

Avebury Stone Circle

Avebury

Avebury

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P1030563.JPG
The Manor House, Avebury

The Manor House, Avebury

Arbor Low

Arbor Low is a Neolithic henge monument atmospherically set amid high moorland . Nearby is enigmatic Gib Hill, a large burial mound. It is sometimes referred to as the Stone Henge of the Peak District. It is surrounded by beatiful countryside and commands great views of Derbyshire scenery. Gib Hill, a large burial mound, lies two hundred yards south-west. The barrow consists of one mound on top of another. It is a Neolithic oval barrow with an Early Bronze Age round barrow superimposed at one end (Wiki). In 1824 William Bateman excavated the site. Findings included a flint and an item that was probably a polished stone axe. “The earlier long barrow was made of clay mixed in layers with charcoal and cremated human bones” (Derbyshire Heritage). In 1848 Thomas Bateman excavated the site. He found flints and oxen bones. When the work was nearly complete a stone cist crashed through the roof of his tunnel. It was reerected in the grounds of Lomberdale House but has since been relocated to it’s original site.

stone-circle-arbor-low-derbyshire-1300.jpg

Autumn and the Metal Element in Chinese Medicine

The Metal Element

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In Chinese Medicine the character for Metal (Jin) 金 represents something precious deep in the earth. It includes the character for Earth (see below). The Metal character has a sloping roof on top, representing something covered over. You could imagine it as a mine with nuggets of gold buried deep within the earth. Metal can be thought of like minerals in the body. Small but essential. In the body the Metal Element consists of the Lungs and Large Intestine. The Lungs take in air. In Chinese Medicine they take in the Qi from the Heavens. Exercises such as Qigong can help us to breath more deeply. Breathing meditations can be used as a tool to calm the mind. In dynamic meditation breathing can be used to trigger the emotions in order to express them and to get free and more detached from them (Osho, 1989). The Large Intestine lets go of waste material. On a more emotional level it's important to be able to freely accept gifts and compliments. To appreciate beauty in the world. It's also important to let go of things we no longer need. The Dhammapada (sayings of the Buddha) states "For see how the Jasmine flower releases and lets fall its withered flowers." So we must release the parts of us that no longer serve us rather than clinging to them. In Autumnal months the weather starts to get chilly and we would be wise to dress more warmly than the summer months. Summer salads should give way to more nourishing and warming foods such as soups and roasted vegetables. We should choose more astringent as well as heartier flavours and foods (Pitchford, 1993). Sourdough bread, sauerkraut, leaks, aduki beans sour apples and rose hip tea suit this season.

Autumn

Autumn

Making space for ourselves

Autumn is the Season of the Metal Element. Trees freely let dead leaves fall to the ground. Similarly we should let go of people and objects that no longer serve us. I have been giving some books to charity. I am culling my Facebook friends list of people I no longer need and ofpeople I have been clinging onto. Now is the time to sever those connections. By clearing away these things we make space for ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally.

Chestnuts

Chestnuts

Foraging

Autumn is also a great time to go foraging for nuts and berries. It is vital to avoid damaging wildlife habitats or rare species, so check you are allowed to forage in the area before starting to pick (Countryfile). Hazelnuts, apples, blackberries, hawthorn, blackthorn, rowan, sloe berries, bilberry, sweet chestnut, beach nut, raspberries, wild strawberries, giant puffball, chicken of the woods, rosehips and elderberries can be foraged this time of year. Some of them can be eaten raw. Others can be used to make jams, wines and autumnal treats such as scones and crumbles (the Guardian). Sloe berries can be used to make Sloe Gin. A pair of scissors, a good pocket knife and a reusable shopping bag or other container is all that is needed (andhereweare.net).

References

Hicks, Hicks and Mole, 2004, Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture, Churchill Livingstone, London

Osho, 1989, The Everyday Meditator A Practical Guide, Labyrinth Publishing (UK) Ltd, London

Pitchford, 2002, Healing with Whole Foods Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/sep/19/beginners-guide-to-autumn-foraging - accessed 07/09/2018

https://andhereweare.net/top-10-things-to-forage-in-autumn/ - accessed 07/09/2018

http://www.countryfile.com/countryside/top-10-foods-forage-september - accessed 07/09/2018

The Wood Element in Chinese Medicine and a Healing for Spring Time

Lamb is Spring Time

Lamb is Spring Time

Spring in Chinese Medicine

In Chinese Medicine Spring is related to the Wood Element. The power of Wood is birth and as you can see in the picture above new plants and animals are born is Spring. The character of the Wood element is mu (Weiger, 1965). The vertical line is the tree trunk  and root, the horizontal line the earth and the diagonal lines are the roots. It is clear that much of the tree lies beneath the earth.

mu.png

 

Spring is a time when the yang energy of warmth and the increased sunlight seeds begin to sprout and trees are growing upwards and outwards. Branches will bend towards the sunlight to help their growth. They are flexible.  

The Wood Element

In people Wood energy manifests as creativity, flexibility, determination, expression and growth, both physical and mental. Ideally the flow of energy is smooth like a flowing river. An example of this can be seen in the flowing movements of Taiji and Qigong. However sometimes like a growing tree we can become stuck and frustrated, we may have difficulty adapting. Though a plant or tree cannot shift it's location humans often need to change their work or living place in order to thrive (Hicks, Hicks and Mole, 2004).

Sound of Wood

The sound of Wood is shouting. A voice that is shouting may sound angry. The rising qi may give the voice forcefullness. It will either sound loud or certain words will have more emphasis than would be normal. If you can hear someone having a normal conversation from a distance they probably have an imbalance in the Wood Element (Hicks, Hicks and Mole, 2004).

Wind and the Wood Element

The climate of Wood is Wind. Wind is a potent force in Spring. Many people can feel unconfortable in strong wind. Other people find it bracing and exhilarating. Wind can invade the body causing symptoms such as aversion to cold, fever, sneezing. It can also becreated internally casuing symptoms such as irratability, cramps, dizziness and itching (Maciocia, 2005, p683-687).

Food and Springtime

Too many heavy fatty foods clog the Liver causing spring fits and fevers. Foods that help to stimlate the Liver include tumeric, cumin and black pepper (Pitchford, 2002, p326). Some foods such as beans can cause wind whilst others naturally decrease  it. These include fennel, pine nuts, peppermint and celery (Tan, 2018.)

Anger is the Emotion of the Wood Element

There are times when anger is the natural response to a hurt or injustice. If you are cut up in traffic or you see something you perceive as being wrong you may be angry. This is normal and natural. If the anger passes in a normal amount of time this is fine. However we may instead have no response to an injustice or get overly angry at a perceived. Frustration is another emotion related to the Wood Element. Frustration can lead to rage if the Wood energy is high or to resignation and apathy if it is low (Maciocia, 2005, p247).

Spring Cleaning

In the past spring cleaning often involved taking objects outside in the wind to air them and get rid of the dust and cobwebs. On a personal level Spring is a time that emotions come to the surface. It is a good idea if we can consciously release these feelings. It is a good time to face challenges and stop procrastinating (Marguilis).

Acupuncture and the Wood Element

Acupuncture can be used to help with the Wood element in people. It can help to reduce anger, clear frustration and to help smooth the flow of energy around the body. It can help to reduce the pain and the frequency of headaches caused by an imbalance in the Wood Energy (Russel and Koppelman). If a persons main imbalance is in the Wood Element 5 element acupuncture can be used to diagnose and treat this element. This would help to bring balance and all the other elements in turn (Hicks, Hicks and Mole, 2004).

Healing Session

Looking Down on Ladybower Reservoir

Looking Down on Ladybower Reservoir

I've created a healing session to help with Spring Time and the Wood Element. To receive the healing you will need to call it in. This is done via intention. Here is how to do it: relax, and state your intention out loud or silently, to receive this Spring Time Healing from Geoff, for your highest good and highest healing. If you are visual you can concentrate on the picture above.

References

Hicks, Hicks and Mole, 2004, Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture, Churchill Livingstone, London

Maciocia, 2005, The Foundations of Chinese Medicine, Churchill Livingstone, London

Pitchford, 2002, Healing with Whole Foods Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California

Weiger L 1965 Chinese Characters, New York, Dover

Marguilis, Living with the Seasons https://www.chinesemedicineliving.com/nutrition/seasons/spring/

Acupuncture for Pain https://www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org/present-research/pain-2/

Tan, 2018, How to stay Healthy in Spring, http://straightbamboo.com/how-to-stay-healthy-in-spring/

 

A Healing for Chinese New Year 2017

Rooster

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival. Firecrackers and the colour red are used to scare away the mythical beast called Nian that was thought to eat villagers, especially children. In Chinese Astrology each year is associated with an animal and an element. This Chinese New Year is the Year of the Fire Rooster. Stephen Fry and Dawn French are famous Fire Roosters. People born in the Year of the Rooster are thought to be honest, punctual and healthy. They are talkative, sporty and self assured but they can also be sensitive stressed and moody. Lucky colours for Roosters are gold, yellow and brown. Lucky numbers are five, seven and eight.

The Fire Element

In Chinese Medicine the Fire Element relates to Summer, to heat, to the colour red, to laughing and to joy. Communication with others is how it manifests. When the Fire Element is in balance we can communicate freely and effectively with others. We will laugh and smile at appropriate moments. We will be able to recall pleasurable moments.

Healing Session

I've created a healing session to help with the Fire Element. To receive the healing you will need to call it in. This is done via intention. Here is how to do it: relax, and state your intention out loud or silently, to receive this Chinese New Year Healing from Geoff, for your highest good and highest healing. If you are visual you can concentrate on the picture above.

 

 

References

Hicks, Hicks and Mole, 2004, Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture, Churchill Livingstone

 

 

 

Summer Solstice and Full Moon Healing

Today is the Summer Solstice and also a full moon called the Strawberry Moon. The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year. The name Solstice means "sun stands still." A full moon in June was described by Native Americans as the Strawberry Moon since it was thought to mark the beginning of the strawberry season. Pagans and non pagans alike gather at mystical sites, such as Stonehenge, to celebrate sunrise on the solstice. Through the ages there was often dancing and bonfires, which were thought to keep the dark at bay. Pagans consider the solstice to be a day when the veil between this world and the next is thought to be at its thinnest.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Newgrange

Newgrange

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Healing Session

To receive the healing you will need to call it in. This is done via intention. Here is how to do it: relax, and state your intention out loud or silently, to receive this Summer Solstice and Full Moon Healing from Geoff, for your highest good and highest healing. If you are visual you can concentrate on the pictures above.

Sun and Wind Healing

Sun and Wind in Chinese Medicine

In Chinese Medicine sun and Summer relate to the Fire Element, and Wind and Spring relate to the Wood Element. Wood is the mother of Fire. This can be easily imagined since wood can be burned to make fire. Sun is warming and yang in nature. Wind is dynamic and yang in nature. Some people of a Woody nature can find being out in windy weather to be exhilarating. As I write we are coming to the end of Spring, the Wood element and soon will be heading into Summer and the Fire Element.

Sun and Wind Healing

I was outside earlier in the week doing some exercises and stretches. I was in the sunshine but a fairly strong wind was blowing. I found that I was being warmed by the sun and cooled by the wind. I found that if I kept moving I was warm enough to stay outside. The combination of sun and wind was invigorating and it kept me out exercising longer than normal. I wanted to create a healing that gave a similar fealing, one of warmth and invigoration.

To receive the healing you will need to call it in. This is done via intention. Here is how to do it: relax, and state your intention out loud or silently, to receive this Sun and Wind Healing from Geoff, for your highest good and highest healing. If you are visual you can concentrate on the picture below: 

References

Hicks, Hicks and Mole, 2004, Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture, Churchill Livingstone