Getting Well With Oriental Medicine
“I’m not getting sick, but my wife and daughter are. I haven’t gotten sick once this season and I attribute this to seeing Kitty regularly for acupuncture and taking herbs.” ~ Testimonial
When you start to feel ‘something coming on’ … usually it’s past the point where the scallion broth or ginger tea remedies will be most effective in helping you fight off a cold. These remedies work best when you take them as soon as you have an inkling of a ‘chill’ or ‘not feeling quite right.’ The more sensitive you are to how you feel, the better able you’ll be in stopping a cold or flu before it has time to take root.
Whenever you start to feel sick is a good time to recall where you’ve been, what you’ve been doing, and anything else that will help inform you about what might have enabled the illness to get in. This awareness can help you avoid getting sick the next time some pathogen is looking to set up shop inside of you.
Oriental Medicine has four basic components: acupuncture, Chinese medicinal herbs, diet, and Chi Kung exercise. When you’re sick Chinese medicinal herbs, minimal acupuncture and dietary suggestions are the primary way back to health; Chi Kung is added back into the treatment process once the pathogen has been dealt with by your immune system and your body is ready to rebuild its energy/Chi.
IMPORTANT: Chinese medicinal herbs can help alleviate symptoms once the bug has taken hold, and help your body rebuild its strength to fight off the pathogen and regain its health. Keep in mind that while it’s tempting to try to buy Chinese herbal formulas over the internet, it’s not wise to do so because without a prescritpion from a qualified practitioner you could wind up with the wrong formula and make the illness worse.
Whether you use Chinese medicinal herbs or not, the best course of action once you’ve gotten a cold or flu is to rest-rest-rest. Just go to bed and stay there for a day or two. When our pets get sick, they know they need to conserve energy, so they rest in a warm spot and let their immune system fight the pathogen. That’s what we need to do too when we get sick.
“At BIOM, you help me become aware of my body, and what I need to do to maintain it and keep it healthy, and that’s not my experience elsewhere.” ~ Testimonial
Also, drink plenty of fluids. If you have an appetite, only eat things that are easily digestible— soups, oats, noodles, rice, grains, vegetables, chicken broth are easy on the digestive system; pizza, burgers, ice cream and the like are NOT.
Take it easy: Don’t let your thoughts and emotions get the best of you. Ignore the voice in your head when you hear it say things like: “I don’t want people to think I’m lazy.” “I just have to get this done.” “Being sick is for weak people.”
Working with an Oriental Medicine Practitioner
If you want to work with an Oriental Medicine practitioner, what they will usually do is have you come in and perform a diagnosis to get a sense of your body’s overall health, taking into account your current illness, and then prescribe an appropriate herb formula.
The next step in the healing process is to keep in close contact to see how you’re progressing because colds and flu have the ability to change quickly. So the herb formula you start out with most likely will not be the one you end up with at the end of the illness.
Remember: “Health is the first wealth.” ~ Emerson
Staying Healthy In Autumn
Seasons change, and your body and mental outlook change with them in predictable ways. Oriental medicine combines knowledge of seasonal characteristics with your unique health situation to balance your energy (chi) to help you adapt and thrive during the cool, crisp months of autumn.
In this episode of ‘Seasonal Health Tips,’ Kitty talks about how the Metal element of Autumn affects your health, and how to stay healthy during this season of cooler days and longer nights. (To get the most out of what Kitty has to say, open the 5 Element Theory chart in a new window while listening.)
(Length 07:39, Size 8.8 MB)
The Metal Element
Every season is associated with one of the Five Elements, and for autumn, the element is Metal—the energetic force that governs the health and functionality of your Lungs and Large Intestine.
According to Taoist 5 Element Theory, the Lungs are the primary influence affecting the immune system. So during autumn, it’s important to eat food that builds the overall health of the Lungs to strengthen your immune system now, and in preparation for winter.
Autumn Health Problems
Because the Lungs are most sensitive during autumn, this is a time to focus on preventing or responding to colds, coughs, sore throat, and the like. And for people already predisposed to lung problems, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and emphysema, autumn is the time to take precautions to minimize your vulnerability as we advance towards winter.
Avoid Drafts and Breezes. Temperatures are dropping, evenings are getting cooler, and in some places breezes are picking up as seasonal winds begin to blow. During this time, you need to be mindful of breezes that make you feel chilly. To avoid getting sick, keep your neck, wrists, and ankles from being exposed to wind and drafts. This is a likely way for an illness to start.
Be Aware of Dryness. During autumn, slowly increasing wind and cold begins to create dryness in the air, which affects your skin and Lungs. The effects of the natural tendency toward dryness in autumn are magnified as you begin to turn on the heat—at home, at work, and in the car—to take the chill out of the air.
Your skin and Lungs don’t like dryness, so it’s important to drink enough fluids to make sure they don’t get dried out.
Eat Less Spicy Food. Because the Lungs are especially sensitive during the autumn months, it’s a good idea to minimize the amount of spicy food you eat, to avoid irritating them. As a result, your Lungs will be less vulnerable to pathogens.
Autumn Health Tips
It’s important to pay attention to how you feel. As soon as you feel a “cold” coming on, it’s time to take preventive action by enjoying one of these nourishing, natural home brews.
This simple broth will help you sweat lightly, and is an excellent remedy for preventing and getting rid of colds:
- Take one scallion, and chop it up.
- Boil in water for 5 to 10 minutes. (Keep the lid on the pot to prevent vapor from escaping.)
- Flavor with tamari.
- Sip it slowly, bundle up, then lie down, or go to sleep.
If scallion broth doesn’t suit your culinary fancy, try ginger tea:
- Put a couple of slices of fresh ginger in one and one-half cups of water.
- Boil for 5 to 10 minutes. (Time it based on how strong you like your ginger tea.)
- Keep the lid on the pot to prevent vapor from escaping.
- Add a little honey and lemon.
- Sip it slowly, bundle up, then lie down, or go to sleep.
Scallion broth is the more effective of the two remedies, but if for some reason it doesn’t appeal to you, ginger tea is a good alternative
Balance is Key
Strive to balance your diet so that it includes some vegetables, some fruit, some grain, and a handful of moderately spicy foods.
Get Help If You Need It
If you experience any lung-related, or other symptoms that don’t clear up quickly, call BIOM for an appointment to get a prescribed formula of medical herbs to help alleviate your symptoms and address the problem—before it becomes more advanced.
Autumn Equinox: The Yin Deepens
As the days continue to shorten and the nights get longer, remember to slow down to match the deepening of the seasonal energy.
Autumn Equinox is a time of discernible BALANCE in Nature; where in the northern hemisphere the number of hours of daylight and darkness are about equal: then we gently tip into predominant Darkness ... DEEPENING YIN ...
Unlike the Spring Equinox ... when we rise up into the Warmth and luxious growth of Summer (YANG) ... we’re now going the other way ... sinking ... into YIN ... Winter ... Cold ... Darkness. Not a darkness of gloom or despondency ... not at all ... we’re sinking into the fecundity of YIN.
To be able to sink ... fluidly and gracefully ... into the Yin ... one must understand one’s own Yin, and the Yin of Nature.
Yin needs to be understood so we know how to moderate our ‘lifestyles’ during the Yin seasons we call Autumn and Winter.
YIN: A Time of Receptivity
In the Yin time of year—from Summer Solstice to Winter Solstice—to be in BALANCE, one must recognize and practice the dynamic of RECEIVING.
Interestingly, at this time of Autumn Equinox, as we ready ourselves to move deeper into YIN ... Emptiness ... we’re equally ready to Harvest the bounty of YANG ... Fullness ... that has been growing in our fields and gardens since Spring.
Conserve Your Reserve
Health-WISE, we have just received the bounty of Yang energy we call Summer. Our bodies have been warmed and strengthened, and are now better prepared to combat the microorganisms trying to infect us through our LUNGS in Autumn and Winter.
Like our ancestors, who understood the necessity of storing as much of their harvest as possible, we need to CONSERVE the Energy ... the Chi ... we’ve cultivated throughout Spring and Summer so that we have an energy RESERVE to receive from as the easy energy of late-Summer wanes and cold and darkness expand.
How can Emptiness, the essence of Yin, be appreciated and enjoyed? Emptiness waits, exists, until something fills it. Appreciate Emptiness for the opportunity it provides to be filled. How? Be receptive—ready to receive. Savor your capacity to be FULL-filled.
Don’t accept the negative connotation of emptiness. Emptiness is the precondition to being fulfilled. And fulfillment is a reason for being alive.