Welcome to Summer!
Summer is finally here! Summer is the time of the heart, so it is a great time to cultivate joy in your life, and the world around you. Outdoor activities, soaking up the sunshine, reconnecting with old friends and celebrating the good things all nourish the heart. We wish you a happy heart and will see you in July!
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Here Are This Months Articles...
The Summer Season in Chinese Medicine
By Emma Suttie, D.Ac
There are 5 seasons in TCM, corresponding to the 5 elements – Fire / Earth / Metal / Water / Wood. They correspond to Summer, Late Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring respectively.
Summer represents the outward expression of energy, expansiveness, movement and activity. It is the most yang of the seasons and is ruled by fire. Life and energies are at their peak. Summer in TCM is the season associated with the heart and the small intestine. The colour is red, the emotion joy, and it is a time for growth, expansion, light, abundance and is the manifestation of all we have been cultivating throughout the spring.
Many look forward to summer all year round. The weather is hot and the sun is out, improving people’s moods and people are drawn outdoors to participate in all the activities they have been longing for all winter. Plants grow quickly, people are full of energy and the body’s qi and vitality are at their peak. It is a time to cultivate the yang energy (fire), while making sure that it does not come to excess. In TCM, the heart, mind and spirit are ruled by the fire element, so priority should be given to these important aspects of ourselves in the summer season.
Rising early in the summer allows us to benefit from the suns nourishing rays. Being up early enables us to get all of the suns nourishing energy which is the most bountiful at this time of year. In summer, our work, play and relationships should be filled with joy and should instill in us a feeling of happiness and delight. We should live our lives and go about our daily activities with joy, passion, and laughter. This is how we know that the heart energy is balanced in us.
Physically, when we are properly balanced, the heart circulates oxygen rich blood throughout the body, and assures proper assimilation in the beginning stages of digestion in the small intestine. In Chinese medicine, mental acuity is associated with the heart therefore memory, thought processes, emotional well being and consciousness are also attributed to the heart and the fire element. This is a time to nourish our spirits, realize our life’s potential, finding joy in hot summer days and warm summer nights.
How To Strengthen Your Spleen With Chinese Medicine
Every organ is important in Chinese medicine and that is because they all work in tandem, each benefiting the other. Chinese medicine is a holistic system and each part of the human being is integral to the balance that is necessary to achieve and maintain health.
The organs are in a constant state of flux, moving between excess and deficiency, yin and yang. Nothing in the body is static, it is a dynamic system, always attempting to heal itself and rebalance. If we are able to give the body everything it needs, it is able to heal itself from almost anything. Like a garden, it must be tended, watered, weeded and if it is cared for, it will grow nothing but the most beautiful and healthy plants and flowers that are resilient and able to fight disease.
One of the first steps on the path to health is figuring out what it is that the body needs so that it can heal itself and remain healthy and strong. This, unfortunately is not easy. This is why we read books on nutrition, exercise and go to doctors, we are all trying to figure out what it is our bodies are asking for. In Chinese medicine, there are organ systems that each have specific responsibilities. Each organ system works with the others to keep the body in balance. The spleen is one of the organs that, because of the society in which many of us live, becomes weak and can cause all kinds of health problems that are very common – from digestive problems, to insomnia, to weight gain to depression. Because the spleen is like the hub at the centre of the wheel, it is the foundation for many of the body’s important processes and therefore, we must try to keep it strong and healthy.
Here are some simple (but powerful) things you can do to strengthen your spleen.
AVOID ICE IN YOUR DRINKS
The spleen in Chinese medicine is the main organ of digestion. The difference is that it is not only digesting food and drink, but the emotions and everything that comes in through the sense organs. So, you can see that the spleen is busy. The spleen likes to be warm and dry and dislikes cold. It slows down its processes and cold is seen to extinguish its digestive fire. So, cold foods, like foods with a cold thermal nature, like many raw foods and seafood in Chinese medicine, as well as foods that are physically cold like ice cream, and frozen foods and desserts are very hard on the spleen. A simple way to give your spleen some love is to drink water and other drinks at room temperature and not add ice. Your spleen will love you for it. Unfortunately, ice cream too is a bit of a nono, but moderation! Everybody needs ice cream sometimes, no?
As stated above, the spleen has the important task of processing all of the stimulus that comes into our bodies from the outside world. That is no small task considering that we are constantly being bombarded with stimulus. Thanks to advances in technology, we are *always* connected and able to receive phone calls, texts and emails, but this also means that we never really get a break or time to be away or unavailable. The spleen loves to focus, and do one thing at a time. That way it can concentrate its energy fully and completely to the task at hand, get the job done efficiently and excellently and then can move on to the next thing. The spleen loves to get things done, but it needs to be mindful and concentrate on one thing at a time.
DO ONE THING AT A TIME
Yes! We are a culture that loves to multitask. We are often praised at work or school for the sheer number of things that we can do at the same time with the thinking that it makes us more productive humans. As life becomes more complex and we are more connected that we ever have been it becomes ever more difficult to be able to focus and do one thing at a time. Because of this, the spleen works extra hard and never gets to rest and easily becomes deficient leading to health problems that are often seen in clinic. Digestive problems, muscle weakness, prolapse of organs, bleeding and bruising easily, weight gain, formation of tumors are all symptoms of spleen deficiency. But, trying to focus on one task at a time allows the spleen to focus its energies without scattering its qi, thus keeping it strong and healthy.
How Acupuncture Can Improve Your Eyesight
By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP
Did you know that acupuncture, Chinese herbs, acupressure, exercises and nutritional therapy can help to naturally improve your vision?
There are 2 organs that are largely responsible for the health of the eyes and vision in Chinese medicine, and they are the liver and the kidneys. The liver is said to open into the eyes, and an imbalance of the liver can result in ringing in the ears, red, blood shot eyes and floaters, so the health of the liver is important in maintaining good vision. The kidneys are responsible for the brain, the eyes, the marrow and bones, and a kidney imbalance can manifest as ringing in the ears, dizziness and vision problems. When someone presents with problems with their vision, these are the two organ systems we are looking to rebalance.
There are 400+ acupuncture points on the body, and on the face, there are 18 acupuncture points that surround the eyes. Each of these points stimulates and increases the circulation of Qi and blood to the eyes as well as stimulates the muscles and nerves that control the eyes, helping to improve vision. There are three acupuncture points that, if you apply pressure to them (called acupressure), can help to improve vision. They are Bladder 2, Stomach 2 and Stomach 3. You can use your fingers and apply gentle pressure to each of these points helps to stimulate optimal blood flow and nerve function. There are images of each point below for your reference.
Quote of the Month
Coincidences are god’s way of remaining anonymous.
~ Albert Einstein
Australia Returns 50,000 Hectares of Land to Aboriginals
Malcolm Turnbull acknowledges ‘hard-fought land rights battle’ as the title deeds to 55,000 hectares of land across from Darwin harbour are handed back to traditional owners
“This is a big day for us,” Kenbi traditional owner Jason Singh told the crowd. “At last we have waited and we get our land back.
“Thank you all for coming and welcome to our country.”
A crowd of several hundred, including Malcolm Turnbull, sat at Mandorah facing Darwin harbour, the city’s skyline in the distance. For 37 years the people of this land have looked across to the seat of power of the Northern Territorygovernment, which for four decades fought against them and their rights to their country.
In April an agreement was finally reached. On Tuesday the title deeds to the 55,000 hectares of the Kenbi land claim, covering the Cox peninsula on the western side of Darwin harbour, were officially handed back.
At almost four decades since it was officially lodged, the Kenbi claim was one of the longest running in Australian land rights history. It has been particularly fraught, with three challenges in the federal court and two in the high court. It was awarded to just six individuals, known as the Tommy Lyons group, and a separate group of Larrakia people have maintained their claims of ownership and unhappiness at the decision.
Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in the News
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If you would like to read about the latest scienntific studies involving Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, please see our "Current Research" page to find all the latest. :)
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About Chinese Medicine Living
Chinese Medicine Living is a place where Chinese medicine principles are applied to the way we live our lives to improve health on every level. In our articles, interviews and information we strive to teach how the body and the world is seen through the eyes of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) so you can better understand its theories, and how to live a healthy balanced lifestyle according to its principles. How TCM views the body and its connections to emotions, living in harmony with the world around us, and how to achieve the balance synonymous with health are the ways in which we strive to impart the limitless wisdom of Chinese medicine. Welcome.
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