Alternative Medicine

The Soul, In Chinese Medicine

Posted by Alternative Medicine on July 25, 2011 in Chinese Medicine with No Comments

In this country, we frequently reference the soul. But when you really think about it, what is a soul? We speak of one being or having a “good soul;” we discuss it at funerals, we worry about our own when we feel we’ve done wrong. The concept of a soul has been around forever, yet we are still unclear about what it actually is. Some of us view it as the piece of us which lives on, after the body’s life has ended. Others think of it as a product of the accumulation of acts and thoughts that we create throughout our lives. Still others perceive it as the ultimate essence of who we are, and what makes each of us an individual. Regardless of what you believe, in our culture most perceptions of the soul are rooted in a philosophy of permanence. We want to believe that a piece of us will live on, beyond death and time.

In Chinese medicine, the soul is seen quite differently. It is more material, more substantial than our version. Its existence is not questioned; it is something that is simply a part of us. Each organ system contains and controls an aspect of the soul, and if that organ is out of balance, the aspect that it controls will suffer.

The Heart is the leader of all the parts of the soul; in a way, it is the face of the soul. The Heart is in charge of the Shen, which is the overall spirit of an individual. A while back we discussed the energetic functions of the Heart, and how it is linked to a clarity of the mind and spirit. If the Heart is out of balance, a person’s Shen will show signs of dysfunction: dull or clouded eyes, a lack of eye-contact, incoherence or manic rambling. In short, the person will seem mentally disturbed.

The Kidney controls the part of the soul that exists as willpower. Having a plan for life, and then having the will to make this plan work, is the Kidney’s function. Without the will, there is no action. This part of the soul is our motivating force to create something out of our lives.

The Spleen is in charge of the intellectual piece of our soul. It has to do with the accumulation of knowledge, and our ability to retain it. Without the Spleen, we lack the information to make any sort of decisions. On the other end of the spectrum, an imbalance of the Spleen can lead to a state of over thinking and obsession with details.

The Lung is the corporeal part of the soul, which means that it is bound to the flesh. It is the animating force that dies with our bodies. The Lung controls consciousness, and since does not have the character of permanence, it tends to be linked with more immediate desires and plans, rather than long-term goals.

The Liver controls the Hun, which is known as the ethereal soul. This is the piece of the soul that lives on after death. It is also the piece that is closest to our perception of what a soul can be; it grants us individuality, has permanence, and has much to do with our interaction with others. It also has a lot to do with sleep; if the Hun is strong, the person will be able to fall and stay asleep easily. If it is weak, the spirit becomes unrooted, leading to difficulty sleeping and a lot of dreams.

Origins of Qigong

Posted by Alternative Medicine on July 23, 2011 in Health with No Comments

Qigong is an ancient Chinese philosophy for better health with use of a form of martial arts that has been around since the Stone Age. Over time this has gradually grown into an exercise or skill to train both the body and mind. Qigong simply can be broken into two words. The first is Qi (pronounced chee) which means energy or the life force that all living things are made of. The second part is Gong (pronounced kung) which means skills or techniques through years of practice can produce strong results. Combining these skills of controlling ones breath along with exercises will bring overall positive mental and physical health.

Qigong has been traced back to the central plains of China which were heavily flooded during the Tang-Yao period over 4,000 years ago. Many ancient Chinese medical books make references to Qigong such as The Book of Documents. During this time the people suffered from joint pain and stiffness through the body. They would do dances in order tap into their Qi and get the blood flowing evenly in the body. This would alleviate the muscle soreness and with the help massage were able to overcome these ailments. This was the beginning to the practices we know today as Qigong.

Qigong was originally practiced to maintain good health and prevent sickness. It has been connected to shamanism or shamanic dancing. During these times there was no clear line between medicine and shamanism. According to these ancient texts, one could be a shaman after many years of practice of the Qigong. Shamans were supposed to posses many qualities that would involve meditation and achieve tranquility. This was accomplished by creating a solemn atmosphere, keeping the body motionless, and purifying the mind by singing and dancing. All of this combined would cultivate the Qi and have different states of consciousness.

Qigong has been a lost tradition to many of the Chinese and not till the late 1950’s did the practice arise again in its popularity. Qigong became more widespread in the West in the 1980’s. Today many teachers and therapists are found all over the globe from Toronto, Canada to Auckland, New Zealand. These practitioners offer many workshops and classes in order for beginners to start their path to a healthy lifestyle. In China, it is expected from a Qigong master, that one must show up every morning at dawn for a minimum of three years to test the level of commitment by a newbie.

Traditional Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture Points and Charts

Posted by Alternative Medicine on July 21, 2011 in Acupuncture with No Comments

What Are the Acupuncture Points?

The English translation of ‘acupuncture points’ is not very accurate. Acupuncture is one of the many healing methods used in traditional Chinese Medicine. It inserts fine needles into the sensitive points on the body to stimulate Jingluos (meridians) to cure diseases. These sensitive points are called ‘Shuxue’ or ‘Xuewei’ in Chinese Medicine, meaning ‘the transmitting points’. However, this name has been so widely used, there is no point to change it now for our discussion.

Acupuncture points are the responsive points or sensitive points on the meridians and other parts of the body. They are the special locations where energy is transmitted between the inner structures and
the surface of the body. These spots can reflect disease or unhealthy conditions by giving forth painful sensations when touched or pressed. These points are (but not limited to) where the therapists apply
treatments. When the body is deficient of positive energy, negative or harmful energy will be able to invade the body through these spots, causing illness. Stimulating the related points can boost and mobilize the positive energy, balance Yin/Yang energy and cure the disease. There are three types of points:

  1. 14-main-meridian points
  2. Extraordinary points
  3. ‘Yes’ points.

The 14-main-meridian points are the spots on the 12 main meridians plus the spots on the governor and conception vessels. Each spot has a unique name and a fixed location. They are the main acupuncture

The extraordinary points are the points that have names and fixed locations. These locations are not on a particular meridian.

‘Yes’ points are also called pain points, but they don’t have names or fixed locations. They are the sensitive points related to the diseases. The ‘yes ‘name came from a story. When treating a patient, the doctor pressed a spot unintentionally, and the patient uttered ‘oh yes’.

There are approximately 360 acupuncture points in total on the human body. With so many tiny points to remember, one can easily be intimidated. As a matter of fact, for self -healing and caring purposes, we don’t have to memorize all these points. We only need to remember roughly 20 most used and effective points. If you need to use more points, just look for them using the meridian and acupuncture point charts. Each point has a unique and meaningful name, which gives some key information about this particular point, such as main  function, usage, location, or other. In English, the English spelling of the Chinese names are directly used. For people who don’t understand Chinese, it is hard to comprehend the significance of each name and, therefore hard to remember all the foreign sounding names.The format of the international symbols for acupuncture points is fairly easy. Since most of the points belong to one specific meridian (Jing), it only makes sense that their symbols are associated with those meridians. You can take two abbreviation letters of that meridian’s name and number all the points along the way, from the starting point to the end point. For example: the name of the Xue-hai point means ‘the sea of blood’ in Chinese and can be used for blood-related issues. Its English symbol is SP10, because it belongs to the spleen meridian and is the 10thpoint from the start.

How to Find an Acupuncture Point?

When considering an acupuncture point as a tiny point, it might be really difficult to find it. However, if you think of it as a small precise area, it becomes quite easy. To locate a subject on a 2D plane, you need 2 coordinates. To locate an sensitive point, we use a reference point and a distance. The reference point is a known location on the body, such as ‘the tip of the nose’, ‘the highest point of the ankle bone’ etc. The distance is measured by your own hand. The unit is ‘cun’. The width of your thumb at the mid joint is one ‘cun’, the width of middle three fingers at the mid joints is two ‘cun’, the width of the four fingers (without the thumb) at mid joints is three ‘cun’.

How do you know if you have found the right point?

When you press on it, if you feel kind of sore and sense a little pain (acute pain means you are not well somewhere), then you are on the right spot. Every main meridian has a primary point. That is the point
where the primary energy of this meridian originates. Stimulating this point is one of the most effective ways to boost the positive energy found in this meridian.

People Are Discovering The Benefits Of Aloe Vera

Posted by Alternative Medicine on July 19, 2011 in Health with No Comments

People with unwanted problems like aching joints and muscles, skin problems and stress are looking at the benefits of Aloe Vera to treat and prevent their symptoms. The plant can be found almost anywhere, it is easy to grow and turn into other things to help people. People who do not like gardening can buy the product as a cream or even as a natural tablet as they would their usual vitamins.

Eczema is one of the skin problems that these products can resolve. Due to the very unpleasant itchy rash in varied parts of the body it can make each individual feel very self conscious especially in summer. Some people suffer that badly that they are prone to wearing long sleeves to cover up their problem.

When the affected individual visits their usual health practitioner they will generally tell them to try a steroid cream without pointing out the potential risks. It is all too common to be given a product by the doctor and put lots on without even reading the instructions and guidelines. With a steroid cream this can be very dangerous as it can thin the skin, which is why many turn to the herb to treat their condition.

In its different forms Aloe Vera can also help aid digestion, prevent damage to the heart and other internal organs and stop allergies occurring. It has antioxidants and recovery aspects combined so that whether the damage needs to be prevented or has already been established the product will be extremely beneficial to the individual. Many even choose to take the capsules as an alternative to vitamin supplements because it contains everything they could need.

At local stores it is possible to find moisturizing creams as well as capsules which can be used as an individuals daily ritual. Many people have discarded their usual moisturizer after they have found this because it leaves skin feeling soft and is affordable. The cream leaves the skin feeling silky until its washed off and reapplied.

Individuals who suffer with pain from arthritis and other muscular and joint complaints find comfort when they use the cream or take the capsules because it has an anti-inflammatory element. When people are in pain they will literally try anything that could give them hope so it will be reassuring to know there is something that works for a reasonable price. As no side effects have ever been noted people can carry out a very normal life with reduced anxieties.

Whether an individual is looking for a product that will help reduce heart disease or treat their problematic skin they will feel content when they discover Aloe Vera. Due to some antioxidants, moisturizers and the anti-inflammatory agents present it can be used to treat and prevent many different ailments. People can start the course before problems occur or after as a treatment schedule.

Reflexology – The Relaxing Way to Health and Wellness

Posted by Alternative Medicine on July 17, 2011 in Health with No Comments

Most people are aware of traditional massage techniques for relaxation and muscle tension release. Many people also know that applying pressure to certain points in the hands can cure a headache, or that massaging specific areas in the ankles can help bring on labor in a pregnant woman. But did you know that these are just a few secrets of the healing practice known as reflexology? Although reflexology is sometimes called “foot massage,” it is more than simple foot massage. Reflexology is a natural healing therapy which involves applying pressure to certain points on the foot that correspond to organs and systems in the body.

The underlying theory behind reflexology is that there are “reflex” areas, on the feet and hands, that correspond to specific organs, glands, and other parts of the body. For example:

  • the tips of the toes reflect the head
  • the heart and chest are around the ball of the foot
  • the liver, pancreas and kidney are in the arch of the foot
  • low back and intestines are towards the heel

So, what exactly is reflexology? Reflexology is a type of hand and foot massage that offers health benefits for the entire body. The foundation of reflexology is that there are specific points in the feet and hands that correspond to each of the body’s organs and systems. By applying pressure to these areas, a practitioner can bring the body back into a healthy balance. In western reflexology, the therapist only uses her hands during treatment. In the eastern style of reflexology, implements are used along with the hands. No matter which style is used, a reflexologist works from charts that outline specific points that can help to correct health issues or simply maintain balance in the body. While reflexology is a proven technique that can help address many minor and chronic health issues, it is not a cure. Those with major health concerns should use reflexology to support any medical treatments, not replace them.

Reflexology is a complementary therapy that adopts a holistic approach by treating a person on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. It is a safe, non-invasive, natural therapy that encourages the stimulation of the body’s self-healing properties.

The Benefits

Reflexology can be helpful in treating a wide range of conditions such as

  • Allergies
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Back problems
  • Digestive disorders
  • Arthritis
  • PMT
  • Infertility
  • Symptoms of pregnancy
  • Depression
  • MS
  • ME
  • Cancer
  • Tension
  • Stress

Reflexology was first introduced as “zone therapy,” by Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat doctor, in 1915. American physiotherapist, Eunice Ingham, further developed this “zone therapy,” in the 1930′s, into what is now known as reflexology. Practitioners believe that applying pressure to these reflex areas can promote health in the corresponding organs through energetic pathways.

Many people work, day-in and day-out, while standing and moving on their feet. By incorporating reflexology treatments into your wellness fitness routine, you may also be able to reduce the frequency of other ailments in your body.

Through reflexology, we can send special healing energies or healing radiation through our hands into the energy fields of another person to make them feel instantly better. From headaches to backaches and even heart pains reflexology allows the receiver to gain more youthful energy and instantly makes you feel good by listening to your own body. To put it simply, wherever you feel slightest pain in the body respond quickly by pressing on it or massaging it out. Pain is the body’s method of sending a warning signal through reflexes that there is something wrong. There may be a blockage or malfunctioning to a certain area of the body.

What to Expect During Reflexology Treatment

Most reflexology sessions last from 30 minutes to one hour. Clients relax in a reclining chair with feet and hands easily accessible to the therapist. The reflexologist will use pressure, stretching and movement to work through the feet and/or hands. Similar to traditional massage therapy, the reflexologist will follow your cues in regards to pressure level and comfort. Make sure to communicate your needs during the session. Unlike massage, however, reflexology is a dry technique that does not use lotions or oils. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the treatment in silence or ask for a personal assessment of stress cues and instruction in applying self reflexology techniques at home to maintain the benefits after treatment.

Reflexology may be the ultimate “Great Escape” if you are plagued with a particular ailment, or if you just want an incredible foot massage that leaves you with an overall feeling of well-being. Reflexology uses gentle pressure, stimulating nerves in the feet to target specific neural highways which correspond to other parts of the body. It can alleviate stress and anxiety, as well as imbalances in the body which can cause insomnia or other disorders.

Look for a therapist that deals with reflexology and live a long and healthy life.

Marijuana in Ancient China

Posted by Alternative Medicine on July 15, 2011 in Other with No Comments

Marijuana has a rich history. California’s legalization of medical marijuana through Proposition 215, and the public debate surrounding it, has brought a renewed interest in the cannabis sativa plant from which marijuana is harvested. The growing public acceptance of medicinal marijuana is helping to dispel myths about cannabis.

Only recently has marijuana been treated like a dangerous drug. Ancient cultures appreciated the many practical and medicinal uses of cannabis. As a food, as a fiber, and as a medicinal preparation, cannabis has a fascinating history.

The history of marijuana use goes back more than ten thousand years to where it appears to have originated: in China. Hemp rope imprints on broken pottery dated at about 10,000 B.C. show one of the earliest known uses of the plant. Cannabis was widely grown and cultivated in ancient China.

The oldest knows Neolithic culture in China made clothing, fishing nets, and ropes from the hemp fibers separated from the stems of Cannabis plants. The fibers could be spun into yarn or woven into cloth. Hemp fibers were used beginning in the second or first century B.C. to make the first paper, which was very sturdy and durable.

Cannabis seeds were counted as one of the “five grains” of ancient China, along with barley, rice, wheat, and soybeans. Marijuana seeds were roasted or used to make meal. Cannabis seeds could also be cooked in porridge. These marijuana seeds remained an important part of the Chinese diet until they were replaced with higher quality grains in the 10th Century.

The ancient Chinese people learned to press marijuana seeds to obtain the oil, which could be used for cooking, lamps, or lubrication. The leftover cannabis residue provided feed for domestic animals.

Medicinal marijuana was also used in ancient China. China’s oldest known pharmacological work described marijuana preparations to treat conditions from constipation to malaria. Marijuana treatments included grinding the roots into a paste for treating pain. Chinese surgeon Hua To even used the cannabis plant for surgical anesthesia during the second century.

The earliest records of the psychoactive effects of marijuana are also found in China, dating back to around 2000 B.C. This document, Materia Medica Sutra, notes that the cannabis seed “if taken in excess” will allow the user to see spirits. “If taken over a long-term, it makes one communicate with spirits and lightens one’s body.” Later writers, such as 5th Century Chinese physician T’ao Hung Ching, believed that the hallucinatory effects of cannabis, combined with ginseng, would allow users to see into the future.

California marijuana laws are helping to restore cannabis to its rightful place as a useful and medicinally valuable plant.

Using Essential Oils to Enhance Your Life

Posted by Alternative Medicine on July 13, 2011 in Aromatherapy with No Comments

The use of essential oils dates back to ancient times. Our ancestors used these wonderful essences for perfumes and cosmetics, medicinal purposes, incense, religious ceremonies and rituals, and culinary purposes. Essential oils are derived from plants primarily through steam distillation and some through methods of solvent extraction. They are highly concentrated, therefore, small amounts of the oils are sufficient for use in various applications. For this reason it is recommended that the oils not be used directly on the skin. Instead blend them with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil or any of the other vegetables oils available utilizing a ratio of 1-3% essential oil.

Lavender and tea tree oil are two oils that be used neat or directly on the skin. It is recommended that a skin test be done prior to using these oils neat by placing one or two drops on the skin and waiting 24 hours for any possible reactions that may occur.

Therapeutic oils are those that are pure meaning they are not diluted with a carrier oil such as a vegetable oil and are taken from the first pressing of the twigs, bark, leaves, stems, or flowers. Almost all essential oils have bactericidal properties such as being antiseptic, antimicrobial, diuretic, antidepressant, antispasmodic and more.

As those who have used essential oils in the past know, sometimes you may purchase an oil and find that at some point in the future that same oil that you purchase in the future may have a different scent or effect or even a different price. A number of factors, including the skill of the distiller, growing region, climate, and variations in cultivation and harvesting will influence the quality and character of the finished oil. Environmental factors are sometimes conditions growers have no control over. Distilling essential oils is more closely related to producing a fine wine than to making a standardized fragrance: both are dependent upon the interplay between humans and nature.

I have used essential oils for many years due to their healing capabilities and generally because they nourish my body, mind and soul. I utilize them in place of chemical drugs for healing due to the numerous side effects and toxins that result from drug usage, as a natural insect repellent, for cleaning my home naturally, for cleansing and purifying the air, for wounds and injuries, for relaxation and meditation, for massage, in the bath for detoxification, sore muscles, illness, and scent. Of course, please consult your medical practitioner before using essential oils in place of any prescribed drugs you may be taking.

Different Types of Chiropractic Care for Different Health Needs

Posted by Alternative Medicine on July 6, 2011 in Chiropractic with No Comments

There’s a wide selection of chiropractic treatments suited to all kinds of health conditions. You can use it to manage overall health or to address certain sorts of conditions. For that reason, chiropractic care boasts its very own share of specialized divisions as with all aspects of the medical profession. In the event wherein misalignment (referred to as subluxations within chiropractic profession) is diagnosed, chiropractic doctors carry out gentle adjustments to offer relief for sufferers in the region in which the misalignment was discovered.

With regards to the treatment techniques, you will find 3 principal ones which chiropractic doctors concentrate on:

Phase 1: Relief Chiropractic

This kind of chiropractic care is carried out on individuals who are suffering from any kind of pain or discomfort, irrespective of cause. The objective of this treatment is always to offer immediate respite from any kind of unwanted discomfort. The duration of treatment periods generally vary depending on the magnitude of the injury acquired by the patient and ways in which it may be corrected.

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Phase 2: Corrective Chiropractic

This is actually a more complex form of chiropractic care. It’s done on individuals who have experienced spinal problems for a long time and which have progressed into a far more problematic condition which in turn has not been treated properly. When it comes to corrective chiropractic care, this process generally involves a long term treatment plan. The actual duration by itself is dependent upon the degree of damage and the way the patient responds to the therapy provided.

Phase 3: Maintenance Chiropractic

As the name suggests, this kind of chiropractic care is meant to maintain any type of therapy already given to the patient having spine troubles. In some instances, chiropractic care will be ongoing even after the first treatments have proved to be successful. The reasoning behind this kind of chiropractic care is to try to avoid the chance of the condition’s recurrence, particularly in the case of the spinal column.

Importance of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic is actually a type of alternative medicine that can help one realize all around health. It concentrates on an internal recovery system that deals with any kind of spinal issues that result in interference within the activities of the nerves and cells. This is the reason for the increasing interest in chiropractic care because of its direct attention to attaining the typical functions of the human body.

As for your different health requirements, you will find various kinds of chiropractic care offered. Therefore, initial consultation with a chiropractic doctor is essential in order to assess the magnitude of the damage and also what particular chiropractic treatment is needed. Simply by restoring your body’s regular functions, you’re allowing the body to heal naturally.

Furthermore, it will help protect against additional damage brought on by the existence of this kind of disorder within your overall health system. When you first begin experience any kind of abnormalities within your body, seek the guidance of a nearby chiropractic doctor in order to avoid the deterioration of the problem and even enhance all around health.

Treating Stress With Acupuncture

Posted by Alternative Medicine on July 4, 2011 in Acupuncture with No Comments

Let’s face it, our lives are getting more and more stressful. And popping a pill just doesn’t do it anymore. Conventional doctors have begun to see the affects of stress on our bodies and health. Stress is a leading cause of high blood pressure, which is the leading cause of heart attacks. Stress is also responsible for a variety of other ailments, from headaches to digestion problems, to cancer. Acupuncture is an excellent tool to help support the proper functioning of your body and protect against the damaging effects of stress. Many people are successfully using acupuncture for physical distress, but how many know that it can be very helpful in reducing mental and emotional stress?

The ancient Chinese believed that Chi or energy travels in our bodies through channels called meridians and as long as it flows freely, we remain healthy but once the flow is blocked, the system is disrupted and problems occur. When we are anxious and stressed, it causes an imbalance in the body’s energy and it makes it to flow improperly. The Chi becomes blocked or stagnant. When this happens, energy backups and deficiencies are created and can lead to symptoms of pain and illness in other parts of the body.

Moreover, if left untreated, it can lead to more serious problems like tension headaches, depression, fatigue, and digestive upset. With acupuncture, the Chi can be unblocked so it can flow freely and restore balance in our bodies. Acupuncture can also help in relieving the symptoms associated with stress. Many patients report feeling more relaxed after only one or two sessions. By stimulating the points through the proper and delicate insertion of fine, hair-like metal needles, acupuncture relaxes your body and allows your blood to flow freely, bringing a fresh supply of oxygen to the tissues.

The calm and relaxation during your acupuncture treatments help manage stress and anxiety. Because when the body and mind are relaxed, the heart rate lowers, blood pressure decreases, and the muscles release their tension, all of which promote a calmer, healthier, and happier state of body and mind. People want to know how many treatments they should have for stress relief. Though here is no one answer, most patients get immediate relief for a short time and subsequent sessions make the relief last longer. The number of acupuncture treatments will vary from individual to individual, and is based on many factors. On occasion, specific herbal supplements help facilitate alleviation of stress symptoms between acupuncture treatments.