Happy Chinese New Year!! Welcome to the Year of the Dog.
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Here Are This Month's Articles...
Welcome to the Chinese Year of the Dog
By Emma Suttie D.Ac, AP
On Friday February 16, 2018, we celebrated Chinese New Year and brought in the year of the dog. The Chinese new year falls on a different day every year and this is because it is based on a lunar cycle, unlike our calendar, which is based on the movement of the sun. In the Chinese zodiac, each year is dedicated to an animal, and it runs in twelve year cycles in a specific order. Each year also corresponds to an element based on the Chinese five element system - Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. This year is the year of the earth dog.
Years of the Dog include 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, and 2030. The dog year occupies the eleventh position in the Chinese zodiac.
People who are born in a year associated with a specific animal are said to have certain traits. Those born in a dog year are said to have the personality traits below. There are also five elements which rotate throughout the zodiac, 2018 is an earth year, therefore, this is an earth dog year. These elements further distinguish personality traits among people born in dog years. The different characteristics are listed below.
The Most Important Qigong II - (Standing Post Zhan Zhuang)
by John Voigt
This is a continuation of the article - The Most Important Qigong - that appeared in Chinese Medical Living, January 2018.
A Quick Summary.
Stand straight and relaxed with chin slightly tucked back. Raise your arms and pretend to hug an imaginary large tree (or large ball). Breathe slowly, deeply, and smoothly. Hold the pose as long as possible. Relax into any discomfort you experience. If you experience any pain then stop immediately. With an empty mind be aware (feel) your posture; and gently correct it if necessary.
How Long to Practice.
Even a few minutes of serious practice each day should bring about some positive results. As long as there is no pain, slowly extend the length of the practice. With an accomplished teacher several hours—even more—are theoretically possible. However, for those who need more specific instructions: “Start by doing the standing exercises for five minutes a day. After three weeks, increase this to ten minutes. Three weeks later, aim for 15 minutes, and 20 minutes after a further three weeks. You can stand longer if you wish, but 20 minutes will refresh your whole system.” Master Lam Kam Chuen. The Way of Energy, pg. 25.
The important thing is to practice as relaxed, as long, and as often as you can.
MANAGING THE DISCOMFORT:
Discomfort is to be expected and dealt with by relaxing and breathing into the strained area.
Ignore any itches, tingling, even minor quick flashing pains which often are signs that energy blockages are being opened. If it gets to be too much just stop doing the standing posture for a few seconds, then return to it with the arms not held so high, or the knees not bent so much. To alleviate some discomfort in the arms, imagine they are suspended up by strings from the elbows and wrists. Or lower the hands down to in front of the belly. Or imagine the arms are made of cotton.
Other ways to reduce discomfort are more fanciful, but perhaps more effective: imagine you are floating in a pool of warm water; or you are a feather floating in the air. For those that are more spiritually aggressive, imagine you are an angelic being of light floating in the heavens.
The simplest remedy is paradoxical: with the hint of a smile on your lips, just disregard the discomfort and sink into it as if it weren’t there—something like getting a “second wind” for a long distance runner.
However if sharp or intense pain occurs anywhere, especially in the knees or other joints, STOP! If pain continues to occur during future practice, discontinue all practice until you receive professional advice from someone experienced in these matters.
My Struggles Have Made Me A Better, More Empathetic Doctor
Some of the most useful things that I have been able to bring to my patients are things that I have learned through my own experiences with trauma, pain, emotional issues, illnesses - and how I was able to get through them. These experiences also allow me tremendous empathy for the people I see, both in clinic and in everyday life. My thinking is that the more I go through and GET through, the better I can serve my patients and ultimately, my fellow human being. No matter our financial status, where we are born, our religion, colour or beliefs, we will all experience difficulties, pain, fear, sorrow, and illness at some time in our lives. And it helps to know that you are not alone, and that you will ultimately get through it, and be stronger for the experience.
An Unusual Life (Let me get philosophical for a moment)
I have had, well, an unusual life. This has been mostly of my own making, and even though there have been a lot of ups and downs (oh *so* many), I wouldn't change any of it. I have never believed in regret. I believe that every experience that we have in this life contributes to making us who we are - that we are an accumulation of those experiences. I also think that it is important that we are at peace with the person we have become, no matter what may be happening in our lives. This certainly is not always easy. Remembering to be kind with ourselves as we are a young species, and here to learn a great deal which includes things which we judge to be unpleasant like pain, grief, loss, fear, anger and frustration are all important pieces of the whole. Like Chinese medicine, I believe in a holistic system, with every part synergistically connecting to every other. I can draw so many parallels back to Chinese medicine, which is why I connected to it so strongly and why I fell so deeply and passionately in love with it. It is an allegory for life, and perhaps, all things in the universe and beyond.
Ever since I can remember I have been hungry for so many of the experiences that life has to offer. I didn't have a choice in the matter, it was like there was a force driving me, and I could either allow it to push me in the direction of experience or be crushed and ultimately destroyed by it. I wanted to do everything, try everything. I was driven by a curiosity about the world and my existence that has lead me to live a very, uh, interesting life. I was fascinated with travel and wanted to see as many places and cultures as I could. I loved the way that each place had a unique smell, a look, a feel and each would arouse such emotion. I also loved the newness of a different country, a new city or tiny village. I thrived being immersed in a completely alien culture and absorbing as much of it as I could, being exposed to its magic, its customs, rituals, food and music. There is such beauty, creativity and wonder that permeates the cultures of the world, and that is what I was after. I loved seeing what each had to offer, and learning how its people communicated, loved, celebrated and mourned. I absolutely think that travel is the best education. I learned more in my travels than I ever could in a classroom or books.
Quote of the Month
The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.
~ George Orwell
Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash
Why Germany is Making it Free to Ride Busses and Trains in 5 Cities
In a bid to banish air pollution generated by automobiles, German ministers have announced that they will be testing free public transport in five different cities.
In a letter written to the Environmental Commissioner of the EU, German legislators wrote: “We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars.”
“Effectively fighting air pollution without any further unnecessary delays is of the highest priority for Germany,” they added, according to AFP.
The initiative will be launching by the end of the year “at the latest” in cities such as Bonn, Essen, and Mannheim. Should the scheme prove successful, Germany will expand the initiative and start refining public infrastructure to support the increased transit capacity.
Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in the News
Exploring The Alternatives: The Experts Weigh in on Pain Without Medication
Using Acupuncture Instead of Addictive Opioids for Pain
When Treating Pet's Pain, First Identify the Cause
Ban on Painkilling TCM Herb to be Lifted From June 1
Why The A-List Are Rocking Crystals
Best Ways to Treat Depression without Medication
Chef Wendell; Creamy, Delicious Mushrooms
Acupuncture Found Effective for Chronic PID
TCM May Step in as Antibiotics Start to Fail
Acupuncture Aiding Addicts in Lane County
How Acupuncture Completely Saved My Mom Body
Acupuncture & AFib - Healing the Heart
Acupuncture as Add-On Treatment for Schizophrenia
Traditional Chinese Medicine Offers Relief from IBS
Lion's Mane Mushroom Lets Neurons Grow
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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
Winter Recipe - Astragalus Dangshen Mutton Soup
Nourishes qi and blood, clears toxicity and promotes regeneration of skin.
Recommended for no more than twice per month in winter months for health promotion.
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Featured image photo by Matthew Hamilton on Unsplash
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.
If you would like to contact us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you. If you are interested in learning more about Chinese Medicine, visit LearnChineseMedicineliving.com.
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