Farewell February, Hello March!
After Chinese Medicine Living's relocation to Costa Rica we had been unable to get an internet connection for more than three months because of our location... this seriously complicated things! But, we are happy to announce that we are now connected after having to move way up into the mountains - into the cloud forest! There is much better reception up here and it is incredibly beautiful. Because of our technical issues, we have combined February and March's newsletter. This month we start an in depth discussion on how Chinese medicine looks at cancer, Turmeric and it's amazing healing properties and we conclude the excellent and very practical series on Happy Fun Qigong. This month also features a delicious immune boosting vegetable soup. We hope you are having a wonderful March and we will see you in April. Pura vida!!
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Here Are This Month's Articles...
Cancer and Chinese Medicine
By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP
I get a lot of people writing to me, telling me that someone they love has been diagnosed with cancer and asking if there is anything Chinese medicine can do. This is a good question, but it has a complex answer. It means looking at a disease like cancer in a completely different way than we have all been taught to look at it through the eyes of science, which is difficult especially if the world science is all you have ever known.
To begin a discussion about cancer and Chinese medicine, we must first gain an understanding of where Chinese medicine came from, the philosophy behind it, and a little bit about how it works. Let us begin.
The Proliferation of Cancer in Modern Society
For at least the last fifty years there seems to have been an explosion in cancers, especially in industrialized nations. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 1,688,780 new cancer cases diagnosed and 600,920 cancer deaths in the US in 2017. According to a WHO report, there has been an alarming increase in cancer rates all over the world. The report also states that:
"Globally, life expectancy has increased from 45 years in 1950 to 66 years in 2000, but the population of the world is aging rapidly—the median age will have risen from 23.5 years in 1950 to 36.5 years in 2050. By 2050, more than 20 percent of the population will be 60 years and over, versus 10 percent in 2000. By comparison, the number of cancer deaths increased by 35 percent during the period 1985-1997. The report states that “[w]hile extending life expectancy is desirable in itself, it is equally important that increased expectancy is accompanied by freedom from any prospect of years of suffering as a consequence of chronic diseases, pain or disability.”
Why is There So Much Cancer?
Why is this? Why has there been such an apparent increase in the numbers of people getting cancer in the world? Perhaps our diagnostic methods have gotten better, and there is certainly truth in that. Perhaps people are taking better care of their health and going for regular checkups more than they have in past years and that is also probably true. But would these factors account for the explosive numbers of cancer diagnoses in the past half a century?
Living in an Unhealthy Way
In my experience and opinion, these are not the main factors contributing to the huge numbers of cancer being diagnosed every year, it is the way we are LIVING. And what you may ask, do I mean by that? Well, that is what I am going to try to tell you. Most human beings on this planet, save a few communities scattered around the world, are living in a way that is not conducive to health. This lifestyle becomes more toxic every year resulting in more disease, mental health problems, addictions, violent crimes, and suicides. We are an unhealthy and deeply unhappy culture.
The Healing Power of Turmeric
By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP
Turmeric in India and Ayurvedic Medicine
Turmeric has been used in India's diverse cuisine and is one of the main ingredients in curry, giving it that lovely golden yellow colour. Turmeric is also an important herb in India's native Ayurvedic medicine which has been in existence for thousands of years - as long as Chinese medicine. Its many health benefits are well known in India, and have been slowly revealing themselves to the West. Over the past few decades, science has been discovering Turmeric's many healing properties.
Turmeric in Chinese Medicine
Turmeric has also been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The Chinese herb Yu Jin is the turmeric tuber and is an herb that benefits the spleen and stomach. The herb enters the heart, lung, liver and gallbladder meridians and is used to invigorate blood and remove stagnation from the body. It is spicy, bitter and cold. Yu Jin is used to move blood and qi stagnaiton and is especially good for pain. It is used for menstrual pain (often from qi and blood stagnaiton), traumatic injuries, enlarged liver and spleen as well as liver cirrhosis. It is used to clear heat and cool the blood and to treat conditions like bleeding disorders, both internal and external. Yu Jin is also able to treat mental disorders that are due, in Chinese medicine, to disturbances of the heart and Shen like mania, seizures, derangement and epilepsy. Also, because of its ability to treat damp heat, Yu Jin is able to treat jaundice as well as gallstones. It is a hard working and versatile herb!
How to Take Turmeric for Maximum Absorption
Curcuminoids are the compounds within turmeric that are beneficial for health - and curcumin has been studied the most extensively and is the one proven to have the most powerful healing effects thus far. The problem with eating turmeric (and many other medicinal foods) is that the liver inhibits much of its absorption, meaning that we only receive a small percentage of its beneficial effects. The liver is of course doing its job of filtering out compounds that may be harmful to us such as medications and toxins that are unhealthy, but some good stuff gets filtered out in the process as well. The good news is that there are a couple of ways in which we can increase the ability of the body to absorb curcumin so that we can receive the maximum benefit from its many healing effects.
Eat Turmeric with Beneficial Fats
Eat turmeric with beneficial fats like coconut oil, olive oil and avocado to maximize its absorption. Because curcumin is fat soluble, it needs fats to be absorbed by the body properly. Without it, curcumin has a hard time being absorbed into the gut and bloodstream and all of that healing goodness is being flushed out of the body instead of being used to keep you healthy and to ward off disease.
Mix Turmeric with Pepper
The active ingredient in black pepper - piperine - is a compound that normally causes the body to get rid of what it considers to be too much curcumin. Apparently, the absorption of curcumin is increased by %2000 or more with just a small amount of piperine. So adding a bit of black pepper to your turmeric recipe will really boost its healing effects!
Happy Fun Qi Gong - Part 3
By John Voigt
Learn to laugh deep inside, feel that the laughter is vibrating tremendously inside you. When you do this, the blood, the chi [qi], the energy are all moving. So the stagnant chi is gone, and the most important pump, the heart, can work with less effort. Mantak Chia. Wisdom Chi Kung. Destiny Books, 2008. pg. 64.With a big smile and without saying what you are about to do, go up to people in the group and slowly and softly start making “Ha” sounds. When someone joins in, show your approval with grinning nods and thumbs up gestures. Wave your hands inviting others to join in. When you have as many folks conscripted into this as you practically can get, increase the tempo and volume. Once they catch on they have been tricked into laughing, they will laugh even harder. After a minute or so of this stealth hilarity, signal them to stop. Some should still be giggling or at least smiling. Most of them should be feeling good all over. Now you may want to give a mini-lecture along these lines: “As an old great qigong master of the past said, Laughter is not only the best medicine, sometimes it can be the best qigong. [Note to reader: actually I made that one up, but I like the way it sounds and anyway it isn’t totally wrong.] I continue with, “Much of the so-called “civilized” world that surrounds us is just plain nutty, and has the ability to creep behind our eyes into our minds with its worries, fears and negative judgments—and that can mess us up. Laughter helps prevent that from happening.”
Five Organ Laughter for Emotional Wellbeing
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there are five major organs, but these organs are not exactly like the body organs of western medicine. Rather than being like something seen in a display case at a butcher shop, the Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lung, and Kidney are interrelated profound energetic forces. That is why they are capitalized and not written as plurals. Even though understood as being in part physical, in traditional Chinese thought these organs are more like active verbs than stationary nouns. The way they function is the basis for all life, including physical and mental health or sick- ness. For our purposes sending laughter into any organ enhances its well-being.
Have the group begin with some deep belly laughs. A minute or so is enough. This should bring qi into the dan tian located in the center of the lower abdomen; this is the place where qi is gathered and stored for future use. Carefully monitor the group so that no one laughs too hard. At times you may need to lower the volume to a quiet or medium laughter so no one hurts themselves. Finish with a clockwise rub- bing of the lower belly. Cats and dogs like their dan tians rubbed this why. Why shouldn’t we?
Next laugh gently into each of the organs in the order given below. Silent laughter and even humming into the chosen organ seems to help break up negative emotions. Simply smiling into an organ might even produce good results, as long as a full but comfortable abdominal breathing is maintained throughout this gymnastic.
Quote of the Month
Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher.
Chinese Doctors Remove A Tumor Without Surgery (Using the Power of Intention)
The healing starts at 5:00 in the video
WATCH MORE: Chinese Doctors Remove Tumor without Surgery
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
Immune Boosting Recipe - Winter Vegetable & Mushroom Soup
Strengthens the body constitution, improves energy and body resistance, promotes general health and strengthens the immune system.
1. Heat oil in large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté at least 5 minutes or until onion is golden. Add carrot and parsnip and sauté 5 minutes or until carrot is crisp-tender.
2. Stir in cabbage and cook, covered, 5 minutes or until beginning to wilt. Stir in 3 cups water, mushrooms and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 25 minutes or until mushroom and winter vegetable soup is richly flavoured.
Read full article & learn about what other foods are beneficial for the immune system..
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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