Building Protective Qi with TCM

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Everybody gets sick at some point in their life. For some, it’s just a quick weekend thing. For others, it can last for several days and even weeks. Why do some people always get sick whenever there is a bug going around and others don’t? It all comes down to immunity. People who have a stronger immune system, tend to be sick less often. Those with compromised or weak immune systems, seem to get sick at the drop of a hat. There are many things that can be done to strengthen the immune system though. And Traditional Chinese Medicine is probably one of the best and least invasive ways to boost the immune system, not just during the winter months, but all year long.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the immune system is called Wei Qi (pronounced “way chee”). The Wei Qi is closely associated with the internal organs, specifically the lungs. When the energy of the lungs is well-balanced, Wei Qi is strong and can easily fight off any external attacks. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the lungs dominate the skin and breathing. If lung function is deficient or compromised in any way, then the body is more open to external pathogens like viruses and bacteria. Common symptoms of decreased Wei Qi or immunity include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat, headaches, fever and/or chills.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a medical system that has been around for nearly 4,000 years. There are many tools in the kit of a TCM practitioner. Probably the most commonly used tools for building Wei Qi are acupuncture and herbal formulas. Acupuncture uses hair-thin stainless steel, single-use needles that are placed on specific acupressure points that can boost immunity and balance hormones. When the hormones are stressed and unbalanced, illness can occur. Acupuncture points associated with Wei Qi can strengthen the circulation of energy and blood, which will then boost the body’s defense mechanisms, thus helping to prevent illness. Regular acupuncture treatments can also cause the brain to increase T-cells in the body. T-cells destroy bacteria and viruses. Acupuncture needles provoke the body’s immune response by sending T-cells and white cells to the needle sites to fight off the invaders. These effects can last for several days, which keeps immunity higher than normal.

Chinese botanicals are another great way to build up Wei Qi. Any herb or herb combination that boosts or enhances the immune system will keep the body functioning at its optimal level. In TCM, there are many individual herbs that boost the Qi and some specifically boost the Wei Qi. Astragalus (huang qi) is one of the more frequently used Chinese herbs. It is used to tonify the Wei Qi, fortify the lungs and protect against pathogens. Studies show huang qi increases white blood cells, which can help fight off infection and pathogenic invasions.

Cordyceps (dong chong xia cao) is another immune-boosting herb. Cordyceps enhances immunity by increasing white blood cells, T-cells and interferon. It also can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. While cordyceps works very well by itself, it works even better when used as part of a formula, as do most Chinese herbs. When looking to use Chinese herbs, be sure to seek out a qualified herbalist and TCM practitioner to insure overall safety of the herb or formula.

TCM and all of its modalities can be very helpful in staying well and healthy. When added to the practices of proper sleep and nutrition, drinking lots of water and mild exercise, TCM will help keep the body’s immune system healthy. And hopefully if illness does occur, it will only be mild. Here’s to your health!

By: Kim M. Filkins, L.Ac.

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Four Ways to Overcome Childhood Obesity

Four Ways to Overcome Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is a serious health issue affecting more than 12 million children in the United States. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, obesity is related to a weakness in the digestive energy, a stagnation of energy in the body, heat accumulating in the stomach or an accumulation of dampness and phlegm. These imbalances may be inherited or may be products of the environment, lifestyle, diet and stress of the patient.
There is no magic pill for obesity – but in most cases, childhood obesity can be prevented or treated with lifestyle modifications and natural medicine. Here are four ways to help your child overcome obesity.
1. Move!

Exercise is incredibly important in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. It is important, especially for kids, to make exercise fun! Try different team sports and individual athletic endeavors, competitive sports and collaborative activities, high intensity exercise and more gentle forms of movement like yoga or tai chi. The important thing is to find what is right for your child – what he or she will keep doing on a regular basis (at least four times per week).

2. Eat a Spleen-friendly Diet

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the spleen is what controls digestion. It is in charge of transforming the food we eat into nutrients the body can use, and then transporting those nutrients around the body. When the spleen is constantly fed food that is overly processed, sweet or greasy, it can’t function optimally. This leads to the formation of dampness and excess fat. The metabolism will suffer as the spleen is weakened, compounding the problem. That is why it is important to be sure your child largely eats a spleen-friendly diet.

To nourish the spleen, avoid foods that have a lot of sugar, are overly processed or are particularly greasy. Also, limit the intake of cold temperature foods and beverages. The spleen exerts a lot of energy heating up the food you eat to be 98.6 degrees – you can help it out and give it warm foods or room temperature beverages, allowing it to use its resources on digestion, transformation and transportation.
3. Heal the Gut.

A spleen-friendly diet is a great way to prevent obesity and to teach your child how to stay healthy long-term. However, in order to reverse direction when obesity is already present, it is important to take steps to heal the digestive system, as it is clearly already compromised. Taking age-appropriate probiotics is a great place to start. Probiotics introduce good, healthy bacteria into your gut, so that there isn’t space for unhealthy bacteria to make themselves a home. More and more research shows how integral our microflora biodome is to our overall health, and probiotics are an essential piece of creating healthy gut flora. Another way to heal the digestive tract is to introduce bone broth. Bone broth refers to soup or broth made from cooking animal bones (ie, from beef, pork or chicken) for a long time, allowing the broth to leech out the good, healing nutrients from the bone marrow. Bone broth is incredibly nourishing to the digestive system as well as other core energy systems in the body. It helps repair a damaged gut.

4. Get Acupuncture

Acupuncture can be a terrific therapy for helping your child through this process of losing weight and shifting their lifestyle. Depending on the age of your child, acupuncture or acupressure may be more appropriate, and both serve to move stuck energy, strengthen the spleen and stomach, reduce heat or inflammation, and transform dampness and phlegm. They can improve metabolism, reduce cravings, regulate appetite and offer support during these difficult lifestyle changes.
It may be hard work, for both you and your child, but overcoming childhood obesity is essential in setting your child up for health as an adult.
3 Sitting Exercises for Weight Loss

Whether we are at the office, in the car or at home, we spend much of our day sitting down. So much time in fact that it can impact how active we are throughout the remainder of our day. Because of the amount of sitting we do, it can be hard to find times to be active and burn calories. If you still want to lose weight, but can’t avoid the huge amount of sitting throughout your day, check out these three sitting exercises that promote healthy weight loss.

1. Replace your chair

This is a super easy way to get in some key exercise while you are sitting at work. Take your old office chair and replace it with an exercise ball. More specifically, a stability ball. A stability ball will help you tighten and strengthen various parts of your body, including your core, leg and back muscles. It has been proven that when you do this you can burn up to an extra 100 calories a day!

2. Set healthy reminders for yourself

This is a simple practice that can greatly improve your health, quality of life and weight. If you set healthy reminders for yourself throughout the day while at work you can avoid staying stagnant and eating potentially unhealthy foods. For example, set reminders on your phone to tell yourself to get up and walk around the office for a few minutes, or to walk up and down a set of stairs. In addition, you can set reminders telling yourself what snacks you should eat during the work day, or what healthy option you should have during your lunch break.

3. Drink lots of water

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Keeping yourself properly hydrated is very important. And by doing this you can even help yourself lose weight without getting up and impacting your work day. Drinking lots of water ensures that your metabolism and other bodily functions can work to the best of their ability. Keeping your metabolism hydrated and fully operational helps reduce your calorie intake. http://ow.ly/i/xPd5X

Research Update – Electroacupuncture for

Research Update – Electroacupuncture for Pain

A study published in Anesthesiology: The Journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc., tested electroacupuncture for its effectiveness in treating persistent pain. Although the subjects used in the study were animals. However, the findings can be easily translated and adjusted so the same methods can be used to treat human beings. The studies showed electroacupuncture can greatly decrease several types of pain, including neuropathic, inflammatory, cancer-related and visceral pain. The studies showed solid evidence that electroacupuncture can indeed be used for analgesia in patients that are suffering from chronic pain, regardless of the type of pain.

http://anesthesiology.pubs.asahq.org/article.aspx?articleid=1917956#66563380

Acupuncture is a modality used in Traditional Chinese Medicine in which a practitioner inserts hair-thin, solid, stainless steel needles into the body, under the skin along energetic pathways. These energetic pathways, or meridians, are invisible lines that run throughout the body. These meridians allow energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) to flow throughout the body, keeping the body in balance and alignment. For optimal health to be achieved, Qi must flow freely without any blockages. Blocked or stagnant energy can result in disease or decreased vitality.

Electroacupuncture is a variation on acupuncture. Electroacupuncture works the same way as regular acupuncture, but it uses the needles as conduits that administer small jolts of electricity that invigorate the skin and muscles of the body. Electricity increases the effects of acupuncture. This can lead to increased energy, pain relief, and much, much more. The electrical charges encourage additional physiological processes that go beyond the mere stimulation of Qi. Acupuncture coupled with electricity, encourages the body to release neurotransmitters that can act as natural painkillers. Because of this, electroacupuncture is becoming more common in the treatment of pain.

Electroacupuncture is especially useful for conditions in which there is an accumulation of Qi, such as chronic pain. This type of acupuncture can be used as a pain reliever for muscle spasms, neurological disorders and possibly even heart disease. There is evidence that electrical stimulation of acupressure points can activate the endorphin system. This can actually lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease.

Electroacupuncture produces a rhythmic, non-painful muscle twitch just below the needle through the use of a very small milliamp current. This stimulation triggers perfusion of blood flow locally. This blood flow carries essential nutrients that promote muscle regeneration. The use of electroacupuncture can break pain cycles, while smoothing the way for a person’s own pain-relieving mechanisms. Electroacupuncture also relaxes muscles.
Electroacupuncture does come with risks and it is not appropriate for everybody. Anybody who has a history of seizures, epilepsy or stroke, would not be an ideal candidate for the use of electroacupuncture. Also it is not recommended for people who have pacemakers, as it can interfere with the electrical current of the devices. Before trying electroacupuncture, the practitioner should verify you are not at risk. If they do not, it is vital for the patient to bring this up to avoid any complications.
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Mercury Retrograde Begins August 13- Sep

Mercury Retrograde Begins August 13- September 5

The Meaning of Mercury Retrograde

We are all influenced when Mercury is in retrograde. But what does this mean? Let us explain …

Sometimes, the other planets appear to be traveling backward through the zodiac; this is an illusion. We call this illusion retrograde motion.

Several times a year, it appears as if Mercury is going backwards. This time was traditionally associated with confusions, delay, and frustration.

Perhaps Mercury’s retrograde periods can cause our plans to go awry. However, this is an excellent time to reflect on the past. Intuition is high during these periods, and coincidences can be extraordinary.

What to Do When Mercury is Retrograde?

The planet Mercury rules communication, travel, contracts, automobiles, and such. So,when Mercury is retrograde, remain flexible, allow time for extra travel, and avoid signing contracts. Review projects and plans at these times, but wait until Mercury is direct again to make any final decisions.

About a week or two before Mercury retrogrades, finish any tasks or projects at hand. You can’t stop your life, but plan ahead, have back-up plans, and be prepared for angrier people and miscommunication.

Some people blame Mercury retrograde for “bad” things that happen in their lives. Instead, take this time to sit back and review where you put your energy in your life. For example, if family and faith are important to you, are you putting your energies there or just overextended in other areas? Take a moment to reflect.

The next Retrograde this year is •December 3 to 23 : Plan ahead!

Research Update: Acupuncture and Intesti

Research Update: Acupuncture and Intestinal Health
A study conducted by researchers at the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and published by the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, revealed the possible mechanism by which acupuncture treats Crohn’s Disease. This mechanism had been previously unknown, although studies concluded acupuncture and moxibustion can relieve intestinal inflammation in patients suffering from the disease. This study identified there are two subsets of T-lymphocytes, Th17 and Treg cells, that are involved in the development of Crohn’s Disease and that acupuncture and moxibustion can help restore the balance between the cells, which could lead to a breakthrough in treatment of the disease.
http://ow.ly/6pLq30dvbTa

More than 95 million Americans suffer from some sort of digestive disorder. This includes diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. There is evidence suggesting many of the ailments affecting the digestive system are occurring because of increased pesticides, artificial colorings, additives and preservatives that are being found in our food. Also the overuse of antibiotics has led to an epidemic in the United States that is actually killing the healthy intestinal bacteria that is needed to keep the body functioning properly.

TCM has been used to treat digestive disorders for centuries. According to Chinese medical theory, most digestive disorders are caused by a disharmony of the spleen and stomach. The spleen plays a vital role in the health of the body and it helps to assimilate the nutrients from the food that we ingest. The spleen turns digested food from the stomach into vital energy that is known as Qi (pronounced “chee’).

More and more scientific data is coming out that shows the gut is acting like a second brain. The ability of the gastrointestinal system to constantly transform us is being studied extensively. Specifically the bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract is a major focus. The project known as the Human Microbiome Project may have a lot to teach us about our bodies and also how we utilize medicine. This project is confirming that microscopic bacteria colonies within the digestive tract play important roles for both our mental and physical health. The project is confirming that when we nourish these bacterial colonies, we also nourish our bodies.

Research shows we can actually reshape and repopulate damaged bacterial colonies within the gastrointestinal tract. This can be accomplished by tonifying the spleen and stomach during regular acupuncture sessions. One such way to do this is by using a point along the stomach meridian in every single acupuncture treatment. Stomach 36 is a wonderful tonifying point that can help with nearly every intestinal issue. But in addition to utilizing regular acupuncture treatments, acupuncturists can provide dietary supplements and herbs that may help, such as probiotics. Also recommending foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha may be helpful in repopulating the gut flora.

If you deal with gastrointestinal issues, acupuncture and TCM can be of benefit to you. Just be sure to locate a fully trained and properly licensed acupuncturist for all of your health and wellness needs. http://ow.ly/i/wBp4d

Research Update: Acupuncture and Ophthal

Research Update: Acupuncture and Ophthalmologic Health

A study conducted by researchers at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and published by the Journal of Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, demonstrates how acupuncture can improve visual acuity, reduce light sensitivity and decrease visual defects. The study tested the efficacy of a four point acupuncture prescription in the treatment of loss of vision. The researchers used three acupuncture points around the eye and one point in the suboccipital region. All of the points are classically indicated in Traditional Chinese Medicine for the treatment of eye problems. The test concluded acupuncture is beneficial in the treatment of vision problems.

http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1625-acupuncture-improves-visual-acuity-and-reduces-defects

The eyes can reflect a lot of things regarding a person’s overall health. Illnesses can be detected by the ophthalmologist in the very early stages. And conditions like glaucoma, neuritis and even vision loss can be indicators of systemic health problems. TCM has always known about the connection between the eyes and a person’s health. Many eye conditions respond well to acupuncture treatments and these methods have been used for centuries to assist in keeping the eyes healthy.

TCM pays very close attention to the relationship between the organs and the tissues. Imbalances within the body can sometimes manifest as problems in the eyes. If a person is treated for eye problems, the underlying imbalances that have caused these issues will also be treated by the licensed acupuncturist.

The main concept behind acupuncture is the nourishment and movement of blood and energy throughout the body to create harmonic balance. Quite frequently, there are imbalances in more than one organ system that lead to problems in the eyes. But the organ system most closely associated with the eyes in TCM is the liver. In TCM, the liver “opens to the eyes.” The liver provides the primary energy flow that is responsible for the support of healthy vision. Within the eye, certain meridians have primary influence over specific areas. For instance, the pupil is influenced by the kidney meridian, the retina is influenced by the liver and kidney meridians, and the sclera is influenced by the lung meridian. Reading the eye is one of the tools acupuncturists utilize when diagnosing a patient.

Receiving regular acupuncture treatments can be very beneficial in the prevention and treatment of ophthalmologic conditions. But there are some things that can be done at home too that may also help. Acupressure massage can reduce tension in the eyes and contribute to overall eye health. This can be done multiple times throughout the day to help stimulate blood flow and positive energy into the area. There are also several frequently used Chinese herbs that can help keep the eyes healthy, including goji berries and chrysanthemum flowers. Both of these herbs can be steeped into green tea for a nice eye rejuvenation tonic.

To find out how acupuncture and TCM can help you with any vision issues you might have, locate a licensed acupuncturist in your area and set up a consultation or appointment.
http://ow.ly/tHQE30dvbB5 http://ow.ly/i/wBopk

Fermented Foods and Intestinal Health Th

Fermented Foods and Intestinal Health
The modern world is changing every single day. Because of this constant state of change, our bodies are frequently having to adjust. We have a food supply being degraded and depleted of nutritional content, which in turn, causes our bodies to become depleted. Our soil and water is contaminated with antibiotics and deadly fertilizers. All of which become part of the food chain we rely upon. Because of this, antibiotics are failing and superbugs like MRSA are on the rise. Lack of nutrition and the overuse of antibiotics are just a couple of the things wreaking havoc on our intestinal health. But there are ways to combat this and keep the gut healthy.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been around for thousands of years and the approach of this medical system is to treat the patient holistically. TCM has been shown to be effective at treating a wide variety of ailments, including digestive issues. Part of this is because TCM focuses heavily on diet and nutrition.
Qi is equated with energy and every organ, pathway and cell in the human body is composed of energy. For the body to function properly, Qi needs to be sufficient at all times. One of the best ways to maintain sufficient Qi is through our daily diet. Science is proving what TCM practitioners have known for centuries, our digestive health is vital for the cells of the body to function optimally.
The gastrointestinal tract acts as a “second brain.” It has the ability to constantly transform us. The Human Microbiome Project is an ongoing study confirming microscopic bacterial colonies in our digestive tract have very important jobs to do. The bacterial colonies help keep us healthy both physically and mentally. But because of human intervention, these bacterial colonies in our guts are becoming sick, depleted and are dying.
To rejuvenate these gastrointestinal bacterial colonies, many people are turning to TCM for help. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas are great methods of reviving our gastrointestinal Qi. The stomach and spleen are the two main pathways TCM practitioners focus on when treating somebody who exhibits digestive Qi deficiencies. TCM can help to repair the Qi of the spleen and stomach meridians. But TCM can’t do it alone.
This is where fermented foods come into play. Fermented foods have been around for centuries as well. Fermentation is one of the oldest attempts to preserve food. But in today’s world, fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi and yogurt are being utilized to help restore the healthy bacterial colonies found within the gastrointestinal tract. In fermentation, bacteria or yeast feed on natural sugars found in foods. This makes certain foods easier for the gut to digest and allows for the nutrients to be absorbed during digestion. People who do not ingest fermented foods can actually develop immune deficiencies which can lead to serious illness and disease. For instance, sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, actually has anti-carcinogenic components that can help prevent cancer. Yogurt can help prevent colorectal cancer, breast cancer and yeast infections. Kimchi has been shown to help improve symptoms of asthma and other allergic reactions, while also lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels.
Incorporating fermented foods into the daily diet and getting regular acupuncture treatments that help balance out the body’s Qi, can lead to a very healthy gastrointestinal tract. And when the gut is happy, the body is happy. http://ow.ly/i/wBoI5

Are Your Eyes Red or Inflamed? In the wo

Are Your Eyes Red or Inflamed?
In the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver energy flows upward into the eyes. When this energy is flowing smoothly and working as it should, your vision is clear and sharp, you have efficient night vision and the eyes are bright and well-lubricated.
When out of balance, the liver can generate heat that rises upward. This heat can manifest in dry eyes, itchy eyes or eyes that are red and irritated. Think about how red one’s eyes can get after a night of drinking. Alcohol adds heat to the liver, which in turn rises upward and creates hot, red eyes. The facial flushing you see after a night of imbibing is also indicative of this heat.
When the liver blood is deficient, you will see symptoms of dryness throughout the body, particularly in the eyes. Dry, scratchy eyes are a sign of liver blood deficiency, and floaters (those little black spots that can appear in the periphery of your vision) are also indicative of this deficiency.
When liver blood deficiency becomes more pronounced, patients can develop something we acupuncturists refer to as “Internal Wind.” Wind manifests as symptoms of shaking, tics, tremors or issues such as rashes that move around from place to place within the body. You know that annoying eye twitch you get that you are convinced the world can see, even though everyone tells you they don’t notice it? Those tics are a sign the body is deficient in energy, and wind has developed to shake things up. Internal wind can also show up as issues that itch, such as dry, itchy eyes.
The kidney plays a role in keeping the body well-oiled and lubricated. If the kidney yin is lacking, you might experience dry, creaky joints, dry skin and eyes. http://ow.ly/i/wBnY7

Need to Flip your Perspective try some I

Need to Flip your Perspective try some Inversions & remember Yoga is Saturday Mornings @ 7am at the Campbellsport Public Library.

Whether you sit for a living or you’re active, putting your legs up the wall is therapeutic because it brings the blood that’s been in your legs through the circulatory and lymph systems, and is calming for your nervous system. Nourish + Bloom’s yoga expert, Emily Louise recommends inversions after a stressful day. “Inversions reverse the effects of gravity. They allow blood to flood toward the brain, nourishing it. They improve circulation, venous return, and lymph drainage. It is understood that the primary intention of inversions is to gain the physiological benefits of this ‘active reversal’ known as viparita karani.”
She suggests two variations of this pose:
Placing a bolster or folded blanket up against the wall for your pelvis to rest on. This emphasizes the inversion aspect of this pose as the hips (along with the legs) become higher than the head and heart.
If you feel like you have to maintain some sort of tension to keep the legs from splaying open, wrap a strap (or any other item) around your feet or ankles, so they stay together and you can relax.
If you’re feeling adventurous, combine this with meditation, essential oils, multi-masking…or all of the above.
Read More Below:
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Whether you or someone you love struggle

Whether you or someone you love struggles with a smoking habit, quitting can be a daunting and overwhelming task… quitting any habit is difficult, but one as addictive as smoking is that much more so.
The Centers For Disease Control calls cigarette smoking the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Considering most people know this and they’re aware of the severe damage smoking can cause to every organ in the body, why don’t they just stop? It’s because nicotine is a powerful drug and addiction is extremely difficult to overcome. Not only is there a physical dependence that includes a strong desire to smoke and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to quit, there’s also a very real psychological dependence. While withdrawal symptoms can be managed by nicotine replacement therapy or fought through with a cold turkey approach for some, psychological dependence is another story…
The International Journal of Nursing Studies did a 10 week research study to find out if ear acupressure can help you quit…
Wanna see their results?
To read about the study and see what they concluded, click here. http://ow.ly/udIR30cTx7V http://ow.ly/i/wa7h0