Meridian Point: Large Intestine 4

Large Intestine 4 is one of the most important and influential acupoints in the entire body. The Chinese name for Large Intestine 4 is “He Gu” meaning union valley or converging valley. The point is located on the hand in the web between the thumb and index finger, also described as the depression where the index finger and thumb bones part. This area of the hand is often described as “valley like” hence the name converging valley. continue reading »

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Germ Theory: 101

Why do some people always catch a cold, and others don’t?
Viruses, germs, and bacteria are everywhere. They are in the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink, but not all of them are bad or harmful.

Think of the immune system as your body’s security detail. The cells, tissues, and organs that comprise it help repel foreign invaders like harmful bacteria, parasites and other microbes that can cause infections. Disorders of the immune system range from everyday annoyances like mild seasonal allergies to serious illnesses like leukemia. Stress, lack of sleep and other common conditions can contribute to a weakened immune system, which can make you vulnerable to infections. continue reading »

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Acupuncture: The Original Biohack for Migraines

Having recurring migraines is similar to parenting a temperamental toddler. When they go from being annoying to actively disruptive and mildly infuriating, there is often little one can do but grit your teeth and persevere. The helpful suggestions for managing this occurrence involved a mixture of expert opinion, anecdotal hearsay, individual tinkering and a big dose of patience. So where does acupuncture fit into this picture? continue reading »

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Successful Herbs to Move Liver Qi

We often say in Traditional Chinese Medicine that the liver is the system most easily susceptible to stress. Stress knots the Qi (energy) and makes its flow stagnate – this happens most quickly in the liver energy system. The liver, in TCM, is in charge of the smooth flow of Qi throughout the body. This means that if Qi flow is impaired (ie, by stress), the liver system will suffer. Likewise, if the liver energy system is weak or stagnant (from lifestyle choices, diet, trauma, emotional stress, illness or genetic factors), Qi flow throughout the body may be impaired. continue reading »

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Healthy Eating for Spring

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, spring is the season of the liver and the gallbladder. These organs regulate a smooth flow of energy throughout the whole body. However, they are prone to stagnation if we do not take proper care of ourselves. This can manifest as anger, irritability, depression, insomnia and even pain. Stagnation can occur when people live an unhealthy lifestyle and make poor dietary decisions.

Spring is a time of renewal, regeneration, growth and energy. Plants and animals awaken from their slumber, and vital nutrients stored in the roots of plants during the cold winter months come to the surface as life becomes more vibrant and fluid.

Human beings are no different. Humans stay indoors more during the winter months, and tend to pack on a little extra weight in the process. As the weather warms, humans become more gregarious and spend more time outside enjoying nature. This is just a natural process.

Therefore, it makes sense that what was observed by the ancient Chinese should still hold true today. Humans are supposed to take their cues from nature. As a species, humans should be more active during the warmer spring months. And to do this, we need proper nourishment. Qi (pronounced “chee”) can be interpreted as the “life energy” or “life force,” that flows within us. This Qi is the vital substance that keeps our bodies functioning until the day we die. To keep the Qi plentiful, we need to eat the proper foods at the proper times.

During the spring, we should be eating foods that have upward moving energies, such as green, sprouting vegetables. But we also need food that will provide the extra nourishment for the increased amount of activity that accompany the season of spring. This is where bitter foods play a vital role. Bitter foods are known to clear heat, dry dampness and stimulate appetite. Consider adding foods such as kale, collards, celery or arugula to provide yourself some much needed springtime energy.

Foods that have a slightly bitter taste, such as asparagus, quinoa, romaine lettuce and dandelion tea, are also known to effectively ward off heat in the liver. Food rich in chlorophyll help ward off stagnation and enhance the free flow of Qi, these include wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella, parsley, kale, Swiss chard and collard greens. Notice, all of these are abundant during the months of spring. Finally we suggest adding a glass of warm water with a slice of lemon first thing in the morning. This routine will help detoxify the liver and gallbladder to start the day off fresh.

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