natural awakenings magazine articles of 2020

"Tune Up for the Winter" November/2020

Receiving acupuncture at the change of seasons has been recommended for centuries as a preventative measure to ensure health and well-being. Such treat-ments are commonly known as “acupunc-ture tune-ups” – providing a way to keep the body in good working order. This is achieved through balancing the flow of qi (vital energy) and the energetic forces of yin and yang. The need for seasonal tune-ups stems from the Law of the Five Elements which designates a direct asso-ciation between each season and particu-lar organ systems. Within this paradigm, winter is associated with the kidney and bladder – a time when their energies are more vulnerable to becoming imbalanced.

 

"Qi Mind / Qi Body" October/2020

There is an ancient Qigong proverb stating that "Where the mind goes, the Qi will fol­low" - and it is precisely at the root of the Yi-Chuan walking and standing exercises. The ultimate goal of this particular Qigong practice is to concentrate our mind's intent in order to create balance. Thus the practice of Yi-Chuan exercise creates physical/energetic strength and stability through honing the intention of your mind - commonly known as "mind intent''.

 

"Balanced Energetic Eating" September/2020

The best approach to healthy eating is to choose the most nutritious foods possible when hungry and stop before you are too full. For consistency, the body and mind need to be in balance, as it brings clarity about what to eat, when to eat and then, how to stop eating. In addition, maintaining a strong physical/energetic connection empowers one to listen to their inner voice of reason to eat mindfully as well as in moderation. Otherwise, the desire for immediate gratification takes over: resulting in grabbing of the most nutritionally devoid or sweetest substance available – thereby creating an unhealthy spike in sugar levels. This then turns into a viscous cycle of incessant craving and inability to stop eating – taking all the pleasure out of the eating experience.
Depriving oneself of “happy foods” is not the answer, nor is restricting calories. A better approach is to choose foods that satisfy the body’s need for nutrition through consuming balanced meals two to three times a day. And remember that sweets can come in healthier forms, such as grabbing an apple, medjool date or piece of coconut from time to time. Moreover, it is essential to get plenty of exercise, become immersed in work endeavors and hobbies in addition to finding time to play. And, of course, there must be periods of rest and relaxation.

 

"The Art of Sighing" August/2020

Sighing is defined as the emission of a long, deep, audible breath that expresses sadness, relief, tiredness or another similar feeling. And in a literary context, sighing is a deep yearning for someone or something that was lost, unattainable or distant. As such, many people have found themselves sighing more than ever in this new COVID reality for a multitude of reasons. For many, this comes from losing a life as it once was, with no assurance things will ever be the same. This leads many to a deep sense of existential fear, often accompanied by high levels of anxiety and depression.
Conventional medical wisdom tells us that such excessive sighing can be debilitating to the physical body. Sighing also has a deleterious impact on one’s energetic system when looking through the lens of Chinese medicine. This stems from negativity suppressing the flow of qi (vital energy) throughout the body.

 

"The Power of Wei Qi" July/2020

The ancient Chinese medical approach to health and healing is based on the belief that qi is the vital substance that constitutes the human body and maintains its basic functions. Healthy qi serves to maintain normal bodily functions and pathogenic qi refers to substances that invade and wreak havoc within the body such as viruses and bacteria. This approach is based on a medical text known as the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (Huang Di Nei Jing) written in approximately 99 B.C.E.-26 B.C.E. that lists 83 different types of qi. Maintaining proper qi flow requires opening and releasing its flow when blocked or stuck, strengthening flow when deficient, reversing flow when moving in the wrong direction and lifting qi flow when it is dropped.

 

"The Summer of Covid Beginnings" June/2020

This initial Covid summer experience must also include safeguards for onset of anxiety or depression, which will vary from one person to the next. It will be based on one’s unique circumstances and the degree to which this pandemic has “pulled the rug” out from beneath their feet. Chinese Medicine teaches us that such symptoms are related to disorders of the spirit which is commonly known as “the shen.” It is viewed as part of a unified holistic continuum that includes the physical, emotional, psychological and energetic aspect of one’s being. Each of these aspects is entwined and dependent on the other for the manifestation of balanced wholeness.

 

"The Inner Smile" April/2020

Chinese medicine teaches us the grave importance of releasing feelings as they arise in a considerate manner. This may happen through sharing them with another or writing about them in a journal. Consistently doing so ensures they don’t accumulate and wreak havoc on one’s mental state and physical body. In the long run, it minimizes the toll that negative emotions instill upon the health of our vital organs – remembering that excessive anger injures the liver, fear injures the kidneys, grief injures the lungs, worry injures the spleen and overjoy injures the heart according to the Law of the Five Elements.

 

"The Five Elements Cycle of Life" March/2020

Following the principals of Chinese Medicine, making the right food choices is of primary importance for creating vibrant physical health and a balanced emotional state. Ingesting the highest quality food and drink produces greater quality and quantity of food qi, commonly referred to as “gu qi.” This is a special form of qi (vital energy) that directly contributes to abundant energy, optimal health and longevity. Simply knowing this to be true, provides impetus to commit oneself to making the right dietary choices for oneself.

This ancient system of medicine is further based on the premise that maintaining health of the spleen energetic system is a pre-requisite for producing high levels of food qi.

 

"The Five Elements Cycle of Life" February/2020

Application of the Five Elements to daily living helps one realize why they behave the way they do based on the association of the prevailing element of their personality. It also assists them in choosing things like the most appropriate foods, method of food preparation and environmental living situation. These elements also serve as a basis for the art of placement known as “feng shui,” therefore they are commonly used to determine how to arrange furniture along with many other aspects of their place of dwelling. In addition, it is used for guidance about when it is time to rest and hunker down, versus being outgoing and busy according to the energetics of a particular season.

 

"Mind Body Healing" January/2020

A main goal of Chinese medicine is to address symptoms along with their root cause. In many instances, the root cause falls under the realm of how a person is thinking and feeling. Theories of Chinese medicine employed for assessment and diagnostic purpose include the Yin/Yang Theory and Five Element Theory – both based on the energetic Laws of Nature.

A Chinese medicine provider, such as an acupuncturist, will ask questions about a patient’s emotional and mental state. Each emotion is associated with a particular organ system. An acupuncturist gathers and assesses symptoms and signs which points them to a Chinese medicine diagnosis which is then used as the basis for their treatment plan with the ultimate goal of re-storing and maintaining energetic balance. It is employed to identify appropriate acupuncture points to treat in addition to duration and frequency of treatment – which is based on a person’s individual needs. It is an approach that often includes recommendation of herbs, foods, massage and right living habits according to Chinese medicine theory, in addition to Chinese exercises such as tai chi or qigong.