Welcome to Winter! With the coming cold weather, our focus turns inward and we build up the body's resistance with tonics, soups and nourishing meals and activities paying special attention to the kidneys which are the organs associated with the Winter season. This month we learn how to live in harmony with the winter season according to Chinese medicine, how to meditate for health, happiness and wellbeing and about biophilia and how it can connect us with nature and our spiritual potential. We also have a delicious soup recipe that will help to keep your body strong throughout the winter season. We hope you have all had a wonderful November and we will see you in December, just in time for the holidays!
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Here Are This Month's Articles...
Living in Harmony with the Winter Season in Chinese Medicine
By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP
The ancient Chinese created a system of medicine thousands of years ago that is still used to this day. It has evolved over thousands of years and is still used today to effectively treat modern diseases. Chinese medicine is only a part of a greater concept the ancient Chinese used to live their everyday lives. It is a branch that springs from a larger tree that encompasses all aspects of life. This is why the doctor of Chinese medicine does not only deal with the body or physical aspects of one's health, they are teachers educating patients on how to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle, because this is how we attain health, and the Chinese knew it. It is deeply entrenched in their medicine.
Chinese medicine teaches to live in harmony with the seasons, and according to Chinese medicine theory, there are five seasons - winter, spring, summer, late summer, and fall. Each season has many associations which help us to change our habits as the season's change so that we may create more balance between our bodies and the external environment.
When Chinese medicine was being developed thousands of years ago, people were living in a state of complete harmony with nature. They rose with the sun, ate what grew in each season and were acutely aware of their natural environment as it had a direct effect on every aspect of their lives. The lives of the people had a flow that changed depending on the time of year. Things like what foods were eaten was dependent on what happened to be growing at that particular time and what was available. When to get up, how to dress and what kinds of activities were engaged in were dependent on the important connection that people had to their environment. Because these simple steps were taken people were able to stay healthy throughout the year and had the tools to keep their immune systems and their organs strong so that they could ward off disease.
Meditation for Health, Happiness & Wellbeing
By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP
For thousands of years cultures around the world have known about the benefits of meditation and have woven the practice into their daily lives. Meditation is not just a way to relax or clear your mind, it has been used for millennia to raise consciousness and connect us with the divine.
Meditation for many of us has become a sort of buzz word. Meditation is touted as a way to help you relax, get better sleep, lower stress and improve mental functions. And while meditation does all of those things, they are just a few of its wonderful byproducts. If you look at the complete picture of what meditation is and what it was originally intended for, the benefits of meditation go much deeper. A devoted practice can help not only feed the physical as well as the psychological aspects of ourselves, but can also connect you to your spirit, fostering self awareness, and filling you with feelings of compassion and loving kindness. When some are in a deep state of meditation, they are able to activate the pineal gland (also known as the third eye) - a small pine cone shaped gland that sits in the centre of the brain - and is thought by many cultures to be the doorway that leads from the physical to the spiritual worlds. The pineal gland is extremely sensitive to light, and this is why in many ancient cultures, serious meditators have always engaged in long periods of meditation in complete darkness. This darkness activates the pineal gland and allows humans to traverse from the physical to the spiritual worlds and gain insights into the nature of life and the cosmos as well as connect with the universal energy (of which we are all a part). These experiences remove the body and the ego completely and allow a person to shed their worldly trappings and feel what it is like to be in complete oneness. This has been described by some as what it is like when we "die", leaving our bodies and returning to source energy.
Science & Spirituality
It is only in our recent history that science and spirituality have been broken into two separate entities. They used to be considered part of the whole of things - the macrocosm, neither being able to exist without the other. But things started to change - subjects were broken apart and people began to specialize, meaning it became more difficult for anyone to see the whole picture. With the world as it is now, with its focus on science, it is difficult to accept that science and spirituality were at one time inseparable. Many ancient cultures had a holistic view of life and the cosmos, and their lives were part of a vast web that included all of nature and indeed, everything in existence. As a species we have become so identified with our minds and especially our thoughts, that this connection to the whole, of all there is, has largely been lost. We have slowly separated ourselves from the world that we came out of and have become more and more identified with our thoughts - one tiny aspect of who we are.
Biophilia: Ways to Connect with Nature in Your Daily Life and Watch your Spirituality Grow
By Sally Perkins
We are a species of biophiliacs. In 1984 an American biologist called Edward Wilson published a book on man’s innate love of nature: biophilia. Wilson’s hypothesis is that human beings have an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. This means that connecting with nature will improve your physical, mental and spiritual health. Since Wilson’s thesis, a hoard of science to back it up has been published including this 2015 study from Nature, showing a strong link between health and green spaces in cities.
Of course this only confirms what practitioners of Chinese medicine have known for centuries: the universe and the human being are interconnected. But these days many of us live in cities, doing technology focused jobs that keep us inside all day. Here are some ways to connect with nature and reap the spiritual benefits.
Understanding the link between spirituality and nature
The first step is to understand and accept that nature and spirituality are inevitably interconnected and both are necessary for your happiness. New research has found that spirituality leads to better mental health across the course of an individual’s lifetime. Spirituality is an intimate connection between our inner selves and the outer world. Thus while spirituality is related to your inner being, your place in nature and the world is equally important.
One you accept the importance of nature to your spiritual growth, you will find yourself drawn to natural spaces without expending much effort and the next steps will come naturally, integrating nature into your life.
The most obvious way to connect to nature is to travel to a natural space. When we think of ‘travel,’ exciting journeys to exotic places come to mind . These kind of trips can also be hugely beneficial but you don’t have to cross the earth to connect with nature. A day trip to a forest or a hill an hour outside your city will do. This works better if you can turn off your digital devices for your trip and really allow yourself to be in the moment. Done right, you will come back to your daily life spiritually refreshed.
Quote of the Month
Maintaining order rather than correcting disorder is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure disease after it has appeared is like digging a well when one already feels thirsty or forging weapons after the war has already begun.
~ Huang Di Nei Jing
Bee-Friendly Insecticides Closer to Reality After Breakthrough Development
While commonly used pesticides have been shown to hurt bee populations, there may be a new development on the horizon that will simultaneously ensure the protection of honeybees and the crops that they pollinate.
According to a new study that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, scientists found that honeybees were able to resist a certain kind of pesticide called tau-fluvalinate.
While the “sodium channels” of bumblebees were targeted and damaged by every other strand of pesticide, they were unaffected by tau-fluvalinate.
This development has inspired hope for the future employment of a “selective pesticide” that will repel dangerous mites and pests, but leave honeybees and other pollinating insects unharmed.
“For the first time, we are showing that unique structural features in bee sodium channels interfere with the binding of tau-fluvalinate to bumble bee sodium channels,” said Professor Ke Dong, an author of the study.
“This opens the possibility of designing new chemicals that target sodium channels of pests but spare bees.”
While it may take some time before the pesticide is developed and utilized by farmers, celebrities and businesses are making strides to protect the precious insects in the interim: cereal brand Honey Nut Cheerios was lauded for planting over 3,300 acres of honeybee habitat last year because “it was time to give back” to the tiny insects that had supported their product for so long.
Additionally, the late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead has been protecting the pollinators with his rock and roll legacy.
“Jerry was an environmentalist who advocated for the preservation of the rainforests and the coral reefs,” said Manasha Garcia, Jerry’s wife and co-founder of the foundation. “It is a blessing to continue this work in his honor.”
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
Winter Recipe - Lamb Thigh with Chinese Herbs Soup
Lack of appetite, cold hands and feet and general weakness due to being overworked.
Warms the center, promotes blood and qi, promotes vital fluids and prevents aging.
INGREDIENTS (3 Servings)
Not suitable if you have a cold or flu. Take once a day with a meal.
For people who may be too weak to accept this enriching recipe right away, it is recommended to start taking astragalus and dates tea, a couple of times per week for two weeks before taking this recipe.Read more about Chinese Medicine food therapy in Winter & see full recipe..
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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