Chinese Nutritional Therapy For Deficient Yin

What is yin? 

In Chinese medicine, yin is a major concept that represents the negative aspects of the universe: cold; dense, wet or damp substances; night; shadows, etc.  Many of us have seen the classic tai chi symbol, which depicts the imperfect balance between yin and yang. Women are female principles and are associated with yin while men are associated with yang. Yang represents the positive side of the universe: energetic, ephemeral, warm, daytime, sunlight, etc. Yin and yang may seem simple to understand, but is actually a complicated academic topic in Chinese medicine. These two forces cannot exist without each other. They are in constant flux and transforming into each other ad infinitum. Our bodies possess some very yin organs with a minimal yang function or mechanism, and there are also very yin organs that, to the casual observer, may function more like a yang organ.

In general, the deepest aspect of the fluid part of our body is our yin. It is believed to be the basis of our deeper body substance or blood that creates/engenders blood. It comprises the denser aspects of our bodies. Each organ in our body is classified as either yin or yang organs. The yin organs are the non-hollow, denser organs like the pancreas, spleen, lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver. The yang organs are hollow organs such as the gallbladder, bladder, large intestine, and small intestine. The time of day influences yin, and twilight, evening and night are deemed yin. One yin activity is sleep.

When your yin organs are healthy, all throughout the day, your energy cycles will be smooth. Sleep is no problem for you and you sleep approximately 8 hours a night. You’ll have enough energy to tackle your work. Like our blood, our yin can stabilize our emotions. Managing stressful events (demanding jobs, domestic problems, financial worries, etc.) will not be a problem and it will help stave off activation of a stress response.

Symptoms of deficient yin that overlap with deficient blood are often worse. For example, both deficient yin and blood both usually result in fatigue. Deficient yin combined with fatigue can result in deeper fatigue.

Deficient Yin Signs and Symptoms

  • Dry mucus membranes, dry skin, dry hair, dry skin
  • Spontaneous sweating in the afternoon
  • Frequent waking all through the night or difficulty staying asleep
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue — deeper than fatigue associated deficient blood
  • Hot flashes–especially in the afternoon and evening
  • Five palm heat— This means that throughout the day, the soles of your feet and/or the palms of your hands will become periodically hot. When this happens, you may feel kicking your feet out from under the blankets throughout the night.
  • Frequent nocturia (urination at night)
  • Frequent urination throughout the day

What Causes Yin Deficiency?

Yin deficiency or deficient yin can be caused by a gamut of reasons. If people living in a dry climate do not utilize dietary measures to maintain their yin level, this will surely and slowly tax their yin.

Yin can be exhausted by refined foods, medications, cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, over consumption of hot spices, prolonged periods of worry, living in a very noisy environment, stress, and extremely vigorous exercise.

A lot of wasting disorders, autoimmune diseases, and chronic illnesses will begin with a deficient yin picture or may develop yin deficiency along with other symptoms. These instances are innately more complicated and require guidance from of a trained health care provider. These conditions can be better addressed by including a few of the nutritional therapy below, but will require more individualized supervision than this article can provide.

Treating Deficient Yin with Food

Eggs, dairy, meat, broths and bone stocks, butter and other animal products can aid in the replenishment of yin deficiency. Meats are utilized more as a garnish than the main aspect of a meal. Certain meats like abalone, sardine, clam, oysters, duck, and meats can help rebuild yin. If you have a tendency to develop significant allergies or mucus, then stick to the animal products of butter, stocks, and broths, whilst you limit dairy, eggs, and meat.

Yin can also be replenished by eating a wide range of non-animal products. These products include watermelon, tofu, string beans, seaweeds, rice, raspberries, quinoa, persimmon, mung beans and their sprouts, millet, kidney beans, grapes, blackberries, black beans, beets, barley, banana, and amaranth.

As a rule, if you are diagnosed with deficient yin, you need to prepare your foods as congees, stews, and soups that definitely help in the regeneration of yin. Since the deeper fluid aspect of your body is yin, recovery can be speeded up by consuming more watery or fluid meals. Each day, try including soup to your meals, either as a side dish or main course. In fact, simply drinking a cup or more of animal stock or broth throughout the day can flood your body with fluids.

Various health concerns can accompany yin deficiency and this can result in complicated patterns within your body. Some examples of more complicated patterns include patterns that involve wasting diseases, problematic digestion, and lots of mucus and phlegm. For people suffering from complicated health issues with a deficient yin component, it may be advisable to seek nutritional guidance from a qualified trained Chinese Medicine specialist or acupuncturist. Some people will find consuming yin nourishing meats beneficial, while individuals suffering from complicated patterns may require a vegetarian approach.

The Myriad Benefits Of Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy is an ancient form of healing that is practiced in both East and West.

For at least three thousand years, the Chinese have been practicing this technique. Combined with moxibustion, acupuncture, and Tui Na massage, cupping is part of the traditional physiotherapy or bodywork system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This procedure is administered on the acupuncture points to alleviate blood and chi (energy) stagnation, in the organs stimulated by the acupoint in localized areas of the body.

Cupping therapy in the West traces its origins in Egypt. Around 1550 B.C., the Ebers Papyrus was written and states that treatment via wet cupping eliminates foreign matter from the body. The ancient Sumerians and Egyptians considered cupping as a cure for just about every illness.

The art of cupping was passed on by the ancient Egyptians to the ancient Greeks. Both Galen and Hippocrates were ardent users and promoters of this therapy.

Cupping therapy was passed on to the Muslim Persians and Arabs and from the Greeks and Romans of ancient times. Its use was even sanctioned by the Prophet Mohammed. It is now a popular and important therapeutic modality of Unani Medicine.

Cupping, until the early 20th century, remained an essential component of therapy and medicine in the West, both folk based, alternative, and conventional. In 1826, Charles Kennedy, a US surgeon wrote:

“Cupping therapy has been so popular, and the benefits so long experienced, that no one is required to bring forward endorsements in favor of what it has given only apart from the praise of modern times, as well as the sanction of the most ancient antiquity.”

In the modern age, after being abandoned as a popular form of medicine there is now a resurgence in the use of cupping, which is advocated by acupuncturists and other holistic therapists. Exciting and novel techniques of this ancient art, such as cupping massage, are also being developed.

Cupping’s tremendous ability to promote a state of profound relaxation and deep pleasure is why it’s a very popular treatment used by people throughout the world.

How Does Cupping Work?

Naturopaths have acknowledged the relationship between conditions of blockage, congestion, stagnation, and pain.

And aside from pain, an overwhelming number of diseases and illnesses are caused by blockage, congestion and stagnation of lymph, phlegm, blood, vital fluids, and Chi (vital energy). The sucking effect produced by cupping breaks up and draws out blockage, stagnation, or congestion, bringing to the person free circulation of the humors and vital energies within his body.

Pain is actually, the essence of dis-ease. Dis-ease or suffering is felt when the fluids and chi in the body aren’t circulating well, when the natural functioning and flow of the body has some kind of obstruction or difficulty. Galen, the ancient Greek physician was referring to this when he spoke of disease as being the state antagonistic to nature.

Aside from breaking up and dispersing congestion and stagnation in the circulation of humors, blood and life force, cupping also expels inflammation, toxins, and pathogenic heat by drawing these negative factors to the skin surface for release. Toxins and pathogenic heat can eat away and rot the body when they’re under pressure or submerged, unless they’re sucked out and released from the body. One can even use cupping to alleviate and reduce fevers in the acute phase, and in lessening and reducing the decay of humors and blood, a frequent cause of fevers.

Cupping can be a type of derivation therapy when it’s used to draw out congested humors, blood, and energy to the skin surface. By derivation, we mean the diversion or drawing out of substances or vital energies away from the area of obstruction and blockage in order to restore patency and health to the body and to ameliorate congestion.

When they’re deep within the body, blocked offending matter, morbid humors, black bile, and toxins can inflict serious injury, blocking at the core of the body the functioning of the vital organs. Whenever it can, the body will attempt to marginalize such offending matter by dispatching it to the service in the form of various eruptions, boils, or cysts, regardless if they appear unsightly. Cupping is a modality that stimulates this process and relieves pathogenic blockage to the internal organs, thus preventing or avoiding even worse conditions.

By boosting the movement of vital fluids such as lymph and blood and clearing and breaking up congestions and obstruction of toxins and injurious waste matter, cupping enhances the expelling of wastes and the cleansing abilities of the body. Ancient Greek doctors believe well-timed and appropriate expelling of waste material is an indispensible feature of hygiene. A significant cause of disease and morbidity is the unhealthy build up of anything that should be removed whether it be inhibited menstruation, urinary retention, and constipation.

The Advantages of Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy has a myriad of advantages or benefits. It enhances flow of lymph and blood in the body and improves and normalizes autonomic nervous system function as well. However, its most common benefits are for the reduction of pain, increased flexibility of muscles and tendons, and instilling a profound sense of relaxation in a person. While clearing congested blood from the muscles, cupping also strengthens the detoxifying flow of lymph. When it’s used on the joints, the therapy bolsters the circulation of blood to the joint and increases into the joint cavity the discharge of synovial fluid.

The impact of cupping on the digestive system is designed to enhance peristalsis and the flow of digestive secretions. Cupping can reinforce digestion and the abdomen, treat constipation, facilitate bowel movement regularity, boost metabolism and the movement of bile, and perk the appetite.

On the circulatory system and the skin, cupping can have a stunning cleansing effect. It facilitates the movement of plasma and blood through the arteries and veins thus enhancing the elimination and filtering of toxins. This cleansing effect may be subtle after just a single session of therapy, but after four or more sessions, the patient may notice an improvement in his or her skin complexion.

The Uses And Benefits of Music Therapy

Almost all people have experienced in some way or another music’s impact in the way they feel – when you come home after an especially hard day’s work at the office and after tucking your children to bed, you now have a precious few moments to yourself. You put on some relaxing music on the stereo and sit back and just chill out. Many have learned to use music as a form of therapy to help them deal with a wide range of circumstances. Music may not only be for listening but also for singing and playing as well. You don’t need to be a talented instrumentalist, although, some music therapists encourage their patients to pick up some instruments to play such as a drum or even a triangle.

In music therapy, the patient does not need to adhere to a specific type of song or music; in fact, most of the music will be extemporaneous. Whatever the kind of music played, the main objective is to instill in each patient an overall feeling of wellbeing that will help promote positive behavioral changes.

While Music therapy can be done in group or individual sessions, there are certain guidelines that must be met for the therapy to be successful. The therapy room needs to be private, so once the session has begun, there is little chance of it being disrupted. There must be a variety of instruments in the therapy and video and audio facilities are also desirable.

What also needs to be taken into account are certain clinical considerations like complete commitment of the volunteers assisting in the therapy, the length of time of each session , and the therapy should always be in the same room every week.

What Patients Benefit from Music Therapy?

Music therapy is can practically benefit anyone but it’s especially helpful for people suffering from the following conditions.

Autism, AIDS/HIV, addiction, people of all ages with learning disorders, people with mental health disorders, epilepsy, behavioral and emotional problems, victims of mental and sexual abuse, people suffering from eating disorders, stress, and communication problems.

How Does Music Therapy Help?

Music therapy can provide several forms of benefits;

  1. It is an ideal way to express thoughts and feelings without the need for words.
  2. It can greatly benefit people suffering from emotional problems since they can use music as a safe way of releasing feelings that have been repressed for a long time.
  3. It can provide people with a great feeling of confidence and achievement.
  4. It can help increase attention span, concentration, and memory

The fact is as each individual has its own specific needs and music therapy can be helpful in a wide range of issues and the chances for improvement in problem areas are almost infinite.

Gua Sha, A Chinese Medicine Gift To Keep You Well During The Winter Months

When combined with acupuncture, gua sha therapy can be a good treatment and mode of prevention for the flu, common cold, asthma, bronchitis and acute and chronic pain. To apply Gua Sha, a massage oil is applied on the skin for lubrication, then a smooth edged tool is utilized to rub or scrape the areas of treatment. Administering this frees the toxins that have been building up in the body, bringing them up toward the skin surface. However, the scraping process produces bruise like marks that dissipate within a few days. The harshness of the bruising will indicate the amount of toxins that were released, as well as the stuck or stagnated energy in the energy channels, meridians muscles in the body.

Gua Sha relieves pain, eliminates stagnation, alleviates stress, regulates metabolism, normalizes organ function, detoxifies the body and strengthens the immune system. At the first indication of a sore throat or cold symptoms, we highly recommend a session of Gua Sha. Early treatment can reinforce the immune system and stop a flu or cold in its tracks. It can also help stave off sickness in advance of the cold season and all year-round.

Three Great Suggestions for a Healthy Winter

  1. Chinese Herbs – Strengthen your immune system by using Chinese Herbs that shorten the duration of a cold and relieve its symptoms.
  • Hot Water with lemon – Detoxify your body by drinking hot water with lemon every morning. Besides keeping you healthy, hot water with lemon can also help you lose weight and improve your digestion.
  • Cover the Feng Men (Wind Gate) or Bl 12 acupoint – This acupoint is found in your upper back and according to traditional Chinese medicine wind gate external pathogenic elements infiltrate the body via this point. To keep you healthy and protected during the colder months, keep this part of the body covered with a hood or scarf.

Gua Sha Therapy, An Ancient Natural Solution To Modern Day Health Problems

Gua Sha therapy or Scraping therapy has a very long history of use and has originated as a folk healing tradition. The Chinese physician Wei Yiling wrote the Effective Formulas Handed Down for Generations in 1337. This text says, “Scrape the surface of the wrist, knee, elbow, and neck wrist with wet hemp until miliary cutaneous bleeding occurs. Wrap the body with quilts and thick clothes. Then, eat fresh Chinese onion tea or a decoction of fermented soybean and Chinese green onion with a little rice porridge. The sickness will get cured after sweating. This method is an effective way of relaxing and loosening the skin.”

Wei Yiling’s book had just described a methodical account of gua sha therapy. This technique works by scraping the skin surface of certain regions of the body to dilate the pores so as to remove pathological evils for therapeutic purposes.

There should be miliary bleeding beneath the skin in varying levels after the therapy. Gua Sha is an ancient practice used as folk medicine without standardized theoretical basis primarily used in the treatment of leg, back, and shoulder pain as well as for acute enterogastritis, heatstroke, fever, common colds etc.

The tools used in gua sha are made up of materials with smooth edges. This may include buffalo horn, jade tool, bamboo plates, silver coins, or chinaware emolliated with vegetable oil, alcohol or water.

However, due to the accumulation of medical knowledge and the rise of modern medical science, gua sha was slowly abandoned, except in poor provinces where there was a shortage of modem medical care. It was still used there to treat simple illnesses.

In modern times, however, while people are enjoying good health and the comforts of civilization mainly because of the development of new medical skills and modern technology, they also are inflicted with injury to their health caused by the side-effects of pharmaceutical medicines, ecological imbalance, and environmental pollution.

Recently, the Health Ministry of China released a report provided by the Center Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring showing that up to 192,000 deaths occur each year among hospitalized patients due to negative drug reactions. Deaths caused by medications are 10 times greater than the number of fatalities due to infectious diseases.

More and more people are waking up to the fact that the more advanced technology becomes, the more severe the problem becomes. So, medical workers are forced to consider certain natural modalities offered by traditional medicine as the new therapeutic procedures. Gua sha or scraping therapy, in this instance, is being accepted more and more due to its simple use, zero side effects and undeniable effectiveness.

Tai Chi Practice To Help Develop Your Physical And Mental Well-Being

Tai Chi is an extremely old form of Chinese martial arts that focuses on the internal energy within the body know as chi or qi. Tai Chi is designed to promote both physical and mental well-being, integrate the spirit, mind, and body, and boost the flow of chi in the body.

Tai Chi isn’t merely a sequence of movements but also includes deep breathing techniques and the art of meditation making it especially helpful for relieving anxiety and stress. Regular practitioners report an enhanced sense of well being due to the meditative and calming aspects of this ancient art. Because of the flowing graceful nature of the movements, the exercises can also benefit the whole body by improving flexibility and balance and bolstering the strength of the muscles. Lots of doctors have recommended Tai Chi as a complementary exercise to offset chronic problems such as circulation problems, arthritis, stress, and high blood pressure to name a few.

The best way to learn Tai Chi is from a teacher instead from a book. If you can’t find a teacher, the next best thing is to rent or purchase a video about Tai Chi video. However videos and books are best used as secondary sources of information in order to augment that which you’ve already learned in Tai Chi class.

Tai Chi teaches you to keep your breath, mind, and body together whilst you move in a continuous, effortless, and rhythmical flow. Through daily practice, one will eliminate any feelings of tension and stress and will learn how to relax both body and mind.

The Applications and Types of Moxibustion Therapy

If you’ve done any research on Chinese medicine, you probably might have encountered a traditional therapeutic technique known as moxibustion. Moxibustion in general, doesn’t get as much exposure by the media as Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture, nonetheless, this comforting procedure has a ton of health benefits – more so when it’s used as a complementary treatment to acupuncture.

If you’ve been bothered by persistent health problems, you might want to search for a clinic that offers moxibustion. The Nei Jing, an ancient Chinese medical document says “A health condition that cannot be resolved through acupuncture may be cured by moxibustion.” Nowadays, moxibustion is a common procedure that treats people who are unresponsive or are too sensitive to acupuncture or medication.

This article is designed to help you better appreciate the benefits and uses of moxibustion so you may be able make an informed decision about the kind of treatment you need.

What is moxibustion?

Moxibustion is over 5000 years old and is as ancient as acupuncture. It is so closely connected to acupuncture that the Chinese term for it is shinkyu which means acupuncture moxibustion. There are a wide range of moxibustion techniques that acupuncturists and other practitioners of Chinese medicine can choose from. There are also different kinds of moxa that are used to treat patients. The most ancient form of moxibustion has even been known to predate acupuncture.

As with all ancient Chinese therapies, the aim of moxibustion is to restore balance in the patient’s body and bring about a smooth circulation of chi.  Balance can be attained by burning ai ye (moxa) or dried mugwort directly or near the skin. This potent therapeutic herb has long been used in both the West and China, and is probably best known for its affiliation with the “witches” of Europe during Medieval times. This affiliation was due to the fact that it was frequently used in folk medicine, especially as a way to ameliorate menstrual irregularities, abdominal pain, anxiety, and skin itch.

From a modern Western medicine viewpoint, moxibustion is used as a mild stimulant and/or as a natural diuretic. It can help stimulate the flow of blood to the uterus and other areas of the pelvic region. This is why it’s often used to treat absent or light menstruation and uterine cramps. It is also widely known to help correct breech baby position.

Moxibustion helps stimulate stagnated, inadequate, and sluggish chi through the use of heat or fire and it should only be administered by a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner. Its use can help enhance the therapeutic benefits of acupuncture and addresses chronic stagnation.

Kinds of Moxibustion

To perform a moxibustion session, practitioners may select either indirect or direct moxibustion. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to these methods, and the treatment you will get is usually decided by the practitioner and/or the patient.

Direct moxibustion is the administration of moxibustion directly on the skin. While the patient lies down on an acupuncture table, the practitioner will light up an incense stick to burn the moxa “wool.” Warmth comes from the burning of an herbal wool on the selected acupuncture acupoints. The acupoints are selected based on the personal attributes and condition of the patient.

Indirect moxibustion is the method most often used by US-based practitioners and is typically done in one or two different ways. The practitioner will first hold the smoldering end of a moxa stick very near the skin, until the acupuncture point is warmed sufficiently. This causes the vital fluids and blood to flow smoothly along the appropriate meridians, which then initiates the healing of the patient’s ailments. Today’s clinics use smokeless slow-burning, moxa sticks that are ideal for people who are sensitive to smoke. The Indirect form of moxibustion can also be administered via a tiger warmer, and garlic, ginger, aconite, or salt that is used as a buffer between the skin. The warmth of the fire reaches the deeper parts of the body.

Another indirect moxibustion technique is to attach a ball of moxa on the upper tip of an acupuncture needles inserted into the skin and light the ball until the moxa smolders. The heat travels down the shaft of the needle and into the acupoint, boosting the healing benefits effects of the needle. More often than not, the moxa wool ball is placed on just one or two needles per session. Lots of patients experience a relaxing and warm sensation during and even after an acu-moxibustion procedure.

The Process of Moxibustion

Even today, no one still knows why moxibustion can do the things it does. Certain practitioners say that it works the same as the other heat-based treatments such as hot tubs, saunas, warming creams and heat packs. While many people in the West use these treatments to address localized pain, in Chinese medicine, heat is an important factor in the relief whole-body and more systemic complaints.

What ailments can be cured by moxibustion?

The central element of moxibustion is fire because it is often used to eliminate cold stagnation and the symptoms that correspondingly manifest. Based on Western medicine lens, common conditions that are related to cold stagnation are:

  • Slow digestion
  • Oversensitivity to cold
  • Weakened immunity
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Joint pain and arthritis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Fluid retention
  • Low mood and depression

Slowly but surely, Western medical science has begun to accept the power of moxibustion to treat these ailments effectively. In one clinical study, moxibustion has been shown to work extremely well on people suffering from osteoarthritis. The researchers concluded that:

“Moxibustion therapy is easy and simple to perform, and inexpensive. This technique can also be easily replicated compared to acupuncture, which is contingent to changes resulting from the various needling procedures of acupuncturists. Their findings indicate that moxibustion is an easy-to-use, effective and safe therapy that can also be a complementary treatment to conventional Western medicine to enhance function and relieve pain in patient suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee.”

Indirect moxibustion was used in a research study in which some of the 42 participants suffering from autoimmune hypothyroidism, better known as with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, were treated with moxibustion on a couple of acupuncture points. These participants were treated with prescription medications as well as moxibustion treatments and the rest were treated with prescription medication only. The subjects treated with moxibustion plus medication experienced better function of their thyroid compared to the people that were only treated with drugs.

The potential for correcting breech babies is one of the most interesting applications of moxibustion. Almost 90 percent of breech babies need to be delivered via cesarean section, but of course, not all of these would be mothers would prefer not to undergo this process. New research has found that when combined with acupuncture and postural techniques, moxibustion can turn over breach babies so that they are in safer position at birth. This probably is due to the capacity of moxibustion to activate uterine contractions that can turn breech babies gently around.

Final Thoughts

The therapeutic qualities of moxibustion, like acupuncture, have been verified by a significant amount of clinical studies. More studies about this therapy that deal with its mechanisms and uses will be done in the future as the awareness of this ancient therapy is increasing by the day.

Moxibustion can be especially useful for individuals who have not found any answer to their problems with other treatments. After trying both alternative and mainstream therapies and you’re still suffering from certain health problems, we suggest trying moxibustion therapy. Practitioners often provide patients with rolls of moxa and show them how to apply moxibustion so that they can treat themselves at home. Sustained and continuous application is important in the successful use of this therapy.

Be sure to seek treatment only from qualified acupuncturists or Chinese medicine practitioners who are trained in a wide range of techniques, including moxibustion.

Tai Chi Is A Great Treatment For Stress And Helps Foster Good Posture

Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and other meditative forms of martial arts have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. These meditative forms of martial arts are occasionally named internal forms. Forms such as 8 palms or BaGua are based off the numerology of works such as the I Ching. These martial art forms concentrate on body posture and alignment, relaxation, meditation, and deep breathing. This article will talk mostly about Tai Chi, although any Chinese internal art could apply to what is being discussed here.

Tai Chi is a great remedy for stress and helps promote good posture as well. A lot of Tai Chi practitioners claim that they never need to visit a chiropractor. Chinese medicine has a great influence on Tai Chi practice, which is a holistic approach to well being that integrates what Westerners might call homeopathy, massage, and physiotherapy as well as acupuncture and ideas of how the body works. A lot of highly sought after and highly priced medical physicians are also naturopaths and homeopaths and have taught themselves the system of Eastern medicine.

A typical session of Tai Chi lasts about an hour. Students are encouraged to focus their attention on the basic movements and relax. These movements are designed to enhance balance, body awareness, coordination, flexibility, and strength. Also a major part of internal Chinese martial arts like Tai Chi is deep breathing exercises. If practiced properly, these arts can be used for self-defense. Tai Chi teaches sticky hands drills, search hands, and push hands for training on how to knock someone to the ground, search for the center of a person’s balance, and incapacitate them from doing the same to you. It may be a difficult skill to learn, but if you know how to properly use it, it can come very handy in a fight.

Tai Chi lessons are designed to cultivate a healthy spirit in a person which means it can improve will power, body control, and concentration and help alleviate stress. Tai Chi is very rarely used for fighting. In fact, most people don’t use it for any combat purposes. Since Tai Chi is often performed in slow manner, the motions may not be suited for children, who become easily bored and restless (adults usually enter a zen like state). This is where its stress relieving benefits can come in. In countries Taiwan or like China, Ba Gua and Tai Chi are usually the last arts a practitioner can learn after the other more external (kicking and punching) forms of Kung Fu.

If you are searching for a fantastic way to improve your health, posture, balance, concentration, and strength and eliminate the levels of stress in your body, internal martial arts such as Tai Chi would be an ideal addition to any of your exercise routine.

Gua Sha, An Invaluable Tool In The Treatment Of Chronic Pain

Gua sha therapy also known as Meridian Scraping therapy is an ancient East Asian healing technique understood by only a few Western practitioners.  Scraping is commonly used in Vietnam and China, to treat fevers and aches affiliated with the common cold.  A similar technique is used by the Greeks in their every day massage regimens to alleviate pain and revitalize the blood.

Gua Sha therapy may be utilized to resolve various forms of ailments and illnesses.  Its main uses are to relieve symptoms of the common cold, strengthen the immune system and treat bodily pain. Its other uses are to help balance the flow of vital energy or chi through the energy channels or meridians, to address certain psycho-spiritual conditions and to stimulate regions of weak blood flow such as adipose tissue that can both have a contouring and detoxifying effect.

For chronic pain, Gua sha can definitely provide long term relief.  It has a wide range of both Eastern and Western mechanisms that bring about positive results.

The spasm-pain-spasm cycle that keeps muscles tight in a protective reaction is halted as the practitioner rubs over muscle spasms that have become rooted “knots”, enabling the muscle to relax.

Stroking over an area brings nutrients and oxygen to tissues that have been deprived.  The blood then washes out toxins such as lactic acid that have built up in the body.

Rubbing the tissue heats the fascia, the underlying support structure of the bones and muscles.  Individual strands of fascia start to crystallize and “adhere” together as a result of deposits of toxins, overuse, repetitive trauma, and misuse.  Heating this tissue brings the tissue back to its natural gelatinous state and ‘melts’ any adhesions that may have arisen.

The body can then be capable of realizing its original structure once muscular adhesions and tension are released.

According to Eastern philosophies, exogenous factors such as damp, cold, heat, and wind can be become trapped in the body’s outer layer resulting in pain due to blockage of the flow of blood and chi within the meridians.  Gua sha therapeutic techniques are the best way to free up these pathogens from the exterior promoting the smooth circulation of blood and chi in the body.

Gua sha has several other benefits aside from pain relief.

By clearing energy channel blockages, gua sha boosts the smooth flow of blood and chi, addressing almost any presenting illness and balancing the body.

Blood stasis hinders the creation of new blood.  New blood can be produced again once the stagnation is eliminated.  Blood is the material foundation of our minds.  When a person suffers from blood deficiency, he may have a difficult time creating emotional flexibility and boundaries and dealing with self esteem problems.  Blood deficiency can manifest in a multitude of problems including dizziness, lack of energy, lack of flexibility, muscular pain, etc. By stimulating the manufacture of new blood, gua sha treats both the physical and psycho-spiritual conditions related to blood deficiency.

Just like deep bodywork therapies such as rolfing, gua sha can provoke emotional release.  If the muscles are “retaining” emotions, they will be accepted, felt, and freed, as they relax.  Old problems that have been trapped in the body muscles get resolve naturally as this happens.

Gua sha therapy works well on fascia. Every muscle, artery, vein, nerve, and organ is sheathed in layers of fascia.  When the superficial fascia is stroked, deeper structures will be influenced and their function will be increased.

Lymph vessels and glands are situated in the fascia.  The function of the lymphatic system is to protect the body against pathogenic invasion (through immune response), distribute dietary lipids from the gastrointestinal tract to the blood, and drain excess interstitial fluid from tissue.  Scraping therapy can help free any blockages within the lymphatic system and strengthen the circulation of lymph.

Gua sha, in general, boosts circulation providing poorly nourished areas with blood to both feed tissue and eliminate waste materials.  By stimulating an area of the body, the therapy’s deep massaging action can help detoxify and tonify the area.

Depending on how many body parts are to be addressed, a typical therapy session can last from 15 to 45 minutes.  Like most types of bodywork, the treated areas will include both the areas that contribute to the condition. They mainly include the site of pain as well as the chest, arms, legs, back, and neck.

First, the practitioner applies lotion or oil on the areas to be treated.  The practitioner will then use a smooth edged tool to stroke the treatment areas.  Stroking will be repeated until the sha is released.

As the tissue releases sha, a red rash called petechiae will arise.  The rash’s discoloration provides the practitioner clues to the severity and nature of the condition being treated.  It may take four to seven days for the rash to disappear.  Light aerobic exercise like walking as well as stretching can quicken the healing of the rash.

Gua sha therapy can be compared to an extremely profound massage.  You might feel excruciatingly intense pain one moment only to be replaced with an overwhelmingly relaxing feeling the next.  The practitioner should take into account your level of sensitivity; however, as with the rest of our existence, in order to bring about healing and growth, there are often periods of discomfort that cannot be avoided.

The practitioner may give the patient a cup of warm water after a session and advise him or her to relax and rest.  Drinking adequate amounts of water will help wash all the toxins released by the procedure. Drinking lots of water after treatment is very important since by not doing so, it can cause the toxins to settle back into the tissue causing lightheadedness and nausea or soreness and stiffness.

After treatment, the patient needs to rest for a day or two. He also needs to protect any treated area from direct exposure to cold, wind, or sun; avoid any strenuous exercises; and refrain from drinking caffeine and alcohol.

In the treatment of chronic pain, Gua sha can be a truly extremely invaluable tool.  It actually is a vital modality in the treatment of almost any disorder given its ability to stimulate and detoxify tissue, release the exterior, boost the production of blood, and eliminate stagnation in the body.

Tai Chi Can Help Reduce Arthritis Pain

The inflammation of the joints is what causes arthritis pain, and in certain instances, by the drying of synovial fluids that cause the joint to literally rub bone against bone with not enough fluid to lubricate it. In more advanced cases, the pain experienced can be many times greater, which usually is experienced in the initial stages of arthritis. In addition, arthritis causes substantial reduction of range of motion and causes the joints to significantly stiffen. People assume that arthritis is a disease of the elderly but now it appears that a lot of very young people suffer from this condition as well. According to the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation, it estimated that, in the United States, almost 300, 000 children suffer from arthritis.

China is the place where Tai Chi originated. In parks across this country, groups of people practice this form of martial art every morning. Practicing Tai Chi requires internal strength and power. Its actual name is “tai chi chuan,” which, in English, translates to “ultimate supreme boxing.” Tai chi was developed as a component of Neijia which is a type of traditional Chinese defense art. Its movements and techniques have been described comprehensively in the Tai Chi Classics masters, which is a set of writings. Chinese tradition states that if a person becomes conscious of the ways in which Tai Chi can be utilized as self-defense, it indicates that the person understands fully well this martial art.

Dr Lam, a Tai Chi master and a family practitioner in the late 1990s used a team of Tai Chi specialists and health care practitioners to establish a program of modified Tai Chi to help manage arthritis stiffness and pain and to help treat arthritis itself.

A study shows that tai chi helps lessen pain and improves various health factors of people who were in the test group.

In the American Medical community, some doctors denied the benefits of the routine and declined to consider its techniques. However, a report from CNN stated that, based on a study, Tai Chi did have benefits but they were still too early to concretely establish the practice as a healing technique. The uncertainty of the results was due to a claim by a certain doctor that the design of the study was flawed.

A few years ago, health researchers from Institute for International Health in Sydney, Australia performed additional tests on tai chi. They concluded that both hydrotherapy and Tai Chi can actually help eliminate or at least reduce arthritis pain and occasionally, the related stiffness. Tai chi also helps increase the range of movement of the patient subjects. The tests examined 150 woman and men over 60 years of age who all had chronic arthritis. The research was headed by Marlene Fransen and was published in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism in 2007. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups, a waiting group and a hydrotherapy or Tai Chi class. The hydrotherapy and Tai Chi class attended classes for an hour twice a week. Significant improvement was seen 12 weeks later, when measurements of joint function and pain were conducted. The progressive pain alleviation and joint function continued another 12 weeks later, with no subject showing aggravation of their symptoms.

For many centuries in China, Tai Chi has been practiced in one form or another. It has a variety of styles or techniques and each of them have been found appropriate for use on people suffering from arthritis. The five essential forms of tai chi are:

  • Sun style             
  • Yang Style
  • Chen Style
  • Wu style of Wu Chien-chuan and Wu Chuan-yü
  • Hao style of Wu Yu-hsiang or Wu

Tai chi’s benefits and why it’s very helpful in treating arthritis may be due to its use of gentle circular motions, instead of movements that are jerky in nature. There are 12 primary movements in Tai Chi and these movements are repeated many times and can be performed in a span of three minutes. Tai chi websites, video, books and other sources are available to explain the techniques used in this defense art.

Tai Chi offers light to moderate exercises that are very beneficial to people with arthritis, in addition to the circular movement that help promote enhanced range of motion. Although it may not work for everyone, tai chi is actually a strenuous type of workout. It seems to work in about 78 percent of cases in which it was utilized for reducing arthritis pain. Weight reduction and cardio-vascular health are its other benefits, which can be very important for the management of pain in people with arthritis. Management of stress using this exercise technique can help control the pain. In fact, the health benefits derived from Tai Chi go far beyond simple pain relief to various other factors related to general well being and health. Tai Chi boosts the quality of life of arthritis sufferers, is a totally holistic mind and body integration technique, helps to promote good posture, and is quite easy to learn.

It has a variety of styles and forms many of which are appropriate in the reduction of arthritis pain; however, it is important to look for an instructor who has experience working with people with arthritis and other special needs. As with all forms of exercise regimen, prior to beginning the regimen, you need to confer with your health care provider or doctor about the exercise classes you plan to attend. Your doctor or health care provider should make sure that the exercises are suitable for total body condition. They will also decide whether Tai Chi is a suitable and effective form of therapy for your arthritis.