We are saying goodbye to October and welcoming in November! This is the season where things are starting to cool off and the beautiful colours are everywhere. This is a wonderful time of year to go out into the forest and take a walk, breathing in the clean, crisp air and filling your lungs with qi. It is a good time to start going to bed a little earlier and sleeping a little later (yay!) as we move inside to prepare for the coming cold months. We hope you all have a wonderful November!
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Here Are This Months Articles...
Reishi / Ling Zhi - The Mushroom of Immortality
By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP
English Name: Reishi mushroom
Reishi mushrooms are one of the most powerful tonics on earth, and have been used since the beginning of human history as a protector herb, longevity tonic and to aid in spiritual development. Research has now confirmed that reishi is an immune modulator and a very potent antioxidant, and it is being used in modern treatment of cancer and to combat the effects of chemotherapy in China as well as in the West.
REISHI MUSHROOM HISTORY
Reishi mushrooms were first described by the famous herbalist Shen Nong in the Shu Dynasty more than 2400 years ago. Reishi was classified by Shen Nong as a superior herb - meaning that it could be taken continuously without side effects. The definition of a superior herb is an herb that it is a substance that it essential to life, can be taken continuously without negative side effects and promotes excellent health and long life by harmonizing the body, mind and spirit.
Shen Nong said of Reishi that "if eaten customarily, it makes your body light and young, lengthens your life and turns you into one like the immortal, who never dies."
Shen Nong observed that there were at least six different types of ganoderma; red, purple, green, black, white and yellow. Red and green are the types that are commonly found in Chinese herbal shops, and purple is the most rare and difficult to find. Black reishi is fairly common and can be found in most Chinese herbal shops that sell bulk herbs. As the reishi becomes older, it gets larger, but larger is not necessarily better for medicinal use. You want to choose a reishi that is still relatively fresh and moist inside. When reishi age, they become dry and brittle. One way to identify a reishi is good enough to use is that if it is between about 6 - 10 inches in diameter and the skin is highly glossy.
Duan wood reishi are the best of the best of reishi mushrooms. They are grown on specific varieties of wooden logs, without chemicals (reishi's should never be grown with chemicals!), in a pristine mountain environment. In the wild, reishi's grow on a large variety of trees in forests throughout Asia, and like humans, they are what they eat. Depending on what type of wood the reishi grows on determines its strength and potency. Ideal types of trees for potent reishi mushrooms to grow on are specific types of hardwood trees indigenous to parts of China. The Chinese have made extensive studies on reishi's and the types of trees that they grown on and how they affect their potency and medicinal uses.
The Nocebo Effect
By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP
WHAT IS THE NOCEBO EFFECT?
Have you ever heard of the "nocebo effect"? The nocebo effect is basically the opposite of the placebo effect. Lets define both terms.
The placebo effect is a measurable, observable or felt improvement in health or behaviour which is not attributable to a medication or any procedure that has been administered to the patient.
The nocebo effect is an opposite tendency - and one that has been largely overlooked by the medical/research community. Put simply, the nocebo effect is the phenomenon in which inert substances, suggestions of substances or the words of a medical professional can actually bring about negative effects in a patient or research participant.
THE NOCEBO EFFECT AND CANCER
The nocebo effect is real and very powerful. I have seen it in action in my practice and in my patients. Nowhere is the nocebo effect more noticeable than with my cancer patients. And in those cases, it was elicited simply with words. Patients aren't feeling well and go in to the doctor to try to ascertain what is happening. There is testing and then a doctor's visit to discuss the results. In the session, the doctor tells the patient that they have found something irregular, and that it is cancer. They are told where the cancer is and at what stage it is at according to the staging system which is comprised of four stages. The stages help the doctor to determine the appropriateness and aggressiveness of the treatment required and determine the prognosis, or outcome for the patient. Stage four is the last and most serious stage, meaning that the initial cancer or tumor has spread to other parts of the body (metastasis). And in these discussions, something often happens. The oncologist will tell the patient how long they have left to live or can expect to survive. This is usually *if* they start treatment right away. If they refuse treatment or ask for some time to consider the options, they are often told that the clock is ticking and that they are wasting precious time because death, is racing towards them.
Cancer is the extreme example because it evokes such an intense fear response. No one wants to receive a cancer diagnosis, because in many cases they believe that it is literally a death sentence. The truth is, that we are all living with cancer in our bodies every day, and if our immune systems are healthy, then we are fighting it off on a regular basis. It is when the system gets out of balance due to various factors like extreme stress, poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyle that we are no longer able to fight off disease causing agents in the body and things like cancer can develop. The other thing that is important to remember, is that many cancers take between 5-12 years to develop to the point where they are measurable with modern medical equipment.
HPV - What You Need To Know
By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP
HPV, or the human papillomavirus, has become a bit of a buzz word lately, especially with the release of vaccines like Gardasil and the controversy surrounding it. Although this will not be a discussion about vaccines, I am careful about what I say to patients about them. It is my belief that everyone should make their own choices about their health, and that includes vaccines and whether or not to have them. I encourage people to always get all the information before doing so, so that they may make an informed decision. It is my job to give them information and allow them to decide for themselves. Below I have listed some helpful resources about HPV and the Gardasil vaccine so that you may read up on them if you like.
WHAT IS HPV?
There are approximately 70 types of human papillomavirus which infect the skin and mucous membranes that have been identified. There are many different types of HPV which affect different parts of the body. The types that are most commonly associated with genital infections are types 6, 12, 16, 18, 31, 33 and 35. Infections of these types typically occur through mucous membranes or traumatized skin, although oral infection is also possible.
Certain types of HPV have been strongly associated with certain types of cervical, vulval and anal cancer in women (types 16, 18 and 31). There is also thought to be a connection with certain HPV types with anal and penile cancer in men. Approximately *11,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in the United States.
The HPV virus is so common, that it is estimated that most sexually active people will be infected at some point in their lives. There are presently *79 million people infected with the HPV virus in the United States.
30 strains of HPV are sexually transmitted and approximately 15 are thought to lead to various cancers if the HPV infection persists over a long period of time. In the majority of cases the HPV virus resolves on its own with a healthy immune system in about 2 years.
There are currently *79 million people infected with HPV in the US. There are *14 million new cases of HPV diagnosed every year.
So, how is HPV spread? Well different types are spread in different ways. Most are spread through skin to skin contact and through abrasions or tears in the skin. The genital types of HPV are spread through contact with infected genital skin, mucous membranes or bodily fluids and are spread through sexual contact (not necessarily intercourse), vaginal sex, anal sex or oral sex. Because many people are carriers of the virus but have no symptoms, practicing safe sex is a good way to cut your risk of getting the virus. People can develop symptoms for HPV years after their initial contact, so it is sometimes difficult to figure out where you got the initial infection. Remember, that using condoms does not keep you safe from the infection if it is located in other regions other than the penis.
Quote of the Month
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti
Dutch Man Learns to Consciously Control His Immune System With The Power of Ice (Which Science Claims is Impossible)
In a house boat in Holland’s capital city of Amsterdam, there is a Dutchman whose ability to control his bodily functions with his mind has reformed what scientists have long believed was possible. He insists everyone has this ability–even those with debilitating diseases.
Auto-immune disorders, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease or arthritis can easily take control of one’s life, making any sort of physical activity challenging. Even something as simple as being on your feet for prolonged periods can easily result in pain. So climbing a mountain must certainly be out of reach for people with these conditions, right?
Wim Hof, who believes that he is not an exception and anyone can do what he can, led a group of eighteen people without any previous mountaineering experience to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in January. The oldest was sixty-five, and some of them had conditions such as asthma, Crohn’s, and rheumatoid arthritis. After only four days of training his climbers, the goal was to reach the nearly 20,000-foot summit in three days, wearing nothing but shorts and shoes. The Marangu route traditionally takes 5 or 6 days– they got there in two.
During the four days of preparation, Hof’s trekkers practiced primarily two things–extreme breathing techniques and cold water immersion.
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. :)
Recipe Of The Month with NourishU
Fuzzy Melon - A Diuretic to Expel Toxins
Fuzzy melon, also known as fuzzy squash or mo gwa (hairy melon) is named for the fine-textured fuzz or hairs that cover the outer thick skin. It is a very common and easy to grow vegetable in backyard home gardens during summer.
This mild, sweet-flavored squash, which is common to Asian cooking, is low in calories and high in fiber. Chinese Medicine regards mo qwa as nutrient rich, sweet in taste, neutral in nature and a diuretic which helps to increase urine output to eliminate toxins from the body. It is suitable for people of all ages, even for the very sick and weak.
The melon is easy to prepare and is incorporated into a variety of cooked dishes such as stir-fry's, soup and stew. When selecting the melon, the more hairy ones the better and the smaller ones (around one pound) are tenderer than the bigger ones. When preparing the squash, peel the skin away first and then cut the squash into cubes for stew and soup or Julian cut them into match sticks for stir-fry. Since the squash itself is very mild in favour, it is usually cooked with ingredients such as dried shrimps, dried scallops or dried mushrooms to give it the sweet and salty tastes
The following is a very common household mo qua stir-fry recipe which we all grew up with. You can always add more ingredients to the dish such as meat or fresh mushrooms to increase the tastes and nutritional values.
Stir Fried Fuzzy Melon with Dried Shrimps & Vermicelli
Diuretic, increases urine output to flush out toxins from the body, benefits stomach and spleen.
INGREDIENTS (4 servings)
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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