Have you ever wondered why your digestion seems a little off in the summer? Or why you might feel a little sluggish and bloated when it’s hot and humid? What is it about summer that causes this?
Close is often forgotten or left out of recipes entirely (like nutmeg or allspice) because the amount of clove the recipe calls for is often fractionally small. Indeed, forgetting clove in a recipe generally isn’t a big deal and won’t prevent you from being able too make it, unlike if you were to forget cinnamon or ginger. After all, you have Cinnabons, but no “Clovabunns”, and you have fake cinnamon scented Christmas wreaths and decorations, but no fake clove-scented ones.
Curcumin, derived from turmeric root, has become quite popular as a generic treatment of inflammation and pain. It’s often promoted for use in a wide spectrum of disorders, from Osteo or Rheumatoid arthritis to chronic pain. It’s even used as a prophylactic, to be taken regularly to prevent potential inflammation and maintain good health. While it may help some types of pain, it can actually make other types worse.
What is an allergy? When you think of allergies, you think of runny nose, itchy eyes, headache, cloudy head, and feeling all around crappy. The feeling of allergies is one of leaking and being stuck. You’re leaking fluids from the nose, eyes, and skin, and those fluids are also stuck (inflamed and swollen sinuses, muscle pain, etc), which makes your head hurt and gives you a cloudy head.
Let’s talk about pain from a Chinese medical perspective. What is it? Why does it occur? How do we manage it? First – what is pain? In broad strokes, pain is the result of lack of movement – in other words, stagnation. The blood and fluids that circulate in both the vessels and the tissues, for whatever reason, stop moving. (We’ll get into why below). This creates congestion and pain.
Enter the pfeffernusse – the ideal warming cookie for the cold winter season. These are all very warming spices, which work primarily on the digestive system. This would treat cold, colicky-type pain, in general. However, we can also organize it by upper, middle, and lower GI.
The Chinese Medicine perspective is ice should be used very sparingly, if at all. In TCM speak we say that ice blocks the flow of yang. This yang is the body’s vitality, its ability to move substances in and out of a damaged area, and consequently, its ability to effectively heal.
Carpal tunnel pain is generally thought to be due to compression of the medial nerve at the location of the carpal tunnel, with primary symptoms of pain and numbness in the wrist extending into the palm. There is some speculation that carpal tunnel pain can be due to medial nerve impingement anywhere along its pathway, from the wrist all the way up to the shoulder, although there is not much consensus in this regard. Oftentimes, the cause of carpal tunnel is unknown.
There’s no doubt about it, Arthritis is a legitimate concern, and it is sometimes challenging to treat. But, frequently, arthritis becomes a catchall for chronic aches and pains. It can often be a "garbage pail" diagnosis, which guarantees your pain is never accurately diagnosed or effectively treated.
Have you ever wondered what herbs are in your backyard? If you’re like most people, it’s probably something you’ve never thought about. Thankfully, my herb nerdiness is here to add some medicinal plant trivia to your day. As the summer approaches, we’re going to start talking about weeds. In fact, we’re going to discover a love for the weeds in our yards we didn’t know we had. We might even stop calling them weeds altogether.
A lot of people have been sick this year. Maybe you’ve been lucky, but I’m sure you know someone who has been hit with the seasonal cold/flu. If it seems like it’s getting worse, you’re right! This year has seen many more illnesses in the clinic. My experience is mirrored by that of my friends in the Western medical world, as well. So, what’s going on? It’s true that America has a health crisis.
Christmas time is here again, and with it, those fantastic Christmas flavors. Smells and tastes hit the brain and open up hidden depths of memory and emotion. Some are profound enough to strike a chord of deep nostalgia. If Christmas spices fill you with a peculiar warmth, it’s with good reason. Not only do they warm the spirit, they warm the body, and when they do, they’re able to fill one with a sense of vitality, and heart-centered contentment.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of those functional diseases that usually responds well, and quickly, to Acupuncture and Herbology. The common TCM diagnosis usually involves a large degree of “Liver qi stagnation”, elements of digestive weakness, and pathological accumulation of phlegm-damp in the intestines. This pattern holds true in probably 85% of IBS cases, and a practitioner who follows a basic IBS = liver qi stagnation approach will generally see a lot of success in the clinic.
Back and knee pain can be hard to live with. It can keep you from being active, or from enjoying simple pleasures, like a walk outside. It can even keep you up at night. Worst of all, over time, chronic pain can make you feel down, depressed, and tired. Where conventional medicine may allow you to lead a longer and more productive life, it doesn't always offer solutions to those aches and pains that come from actually living longer and playing harder.
When you give it your all, sometimes you can push yourself a little too far. Whether you’re a competitive athlete, a weekend warrior, or simply trying to get in shape, accidents can, and do happen. Unfortunately, it seems they can most easily happen, when it feels like you’re approaching your personal best – when it seems like you can run forever, when you feel stronger day after day at the gym, or when you see the pounds start to come off before your eyes.
Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine is one of the best-kept secrets; it is oftentimes one of the most effective long-term allergy treatments available, and can even keep allergies from coming back.
Most types of Sciatica typically respond very well to Acupuncture, and the successful treatment of sciatica with Acupuncture gives people a better chance at avoiding serious complications.
If you are in the Madison Wisconsin area, I would love to see you, and see how Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can benefit your life.
Irritable Bowel is one of those diagnoses that comes with no comfort, much like fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue. If you’ve ever been diagnosed with irritable bowel, you know that treatment is limited and unsatisfactory. Oftentimes, it feels like a “garbage pail” diagnosis, when all other tests come up negative. A diagnosis of Irritable Bowel essentially says that nobody really knows what the problem is.
If you’ve ever had acne, there’s something that you know very well - Acne can make you feel horrible about yourself, embarrassed to go out in public, and can affect your ability to be intimate. While not life threatening, it can make you feel like you want to die.
Acupuncture offers some of the most effect treatments for back pain available, even for stubborn, chronic pain, that’s been around for months or years.
We take it for granted that people just get sick. We assume that it’s normal that every once in awhile we’ll get a cold, or indigestion, or need some type of surgery at some point in our lives. But, do we ever question whether this situation really is normal? Do we ever wonder why we get sick?
Chinese medicine can oftentimes treat Shingles more quickly and effectively than anti-viral drugs, and without the side effects. Shingles is a painful skin condition mostly found along the abdomen, inguinal groove, and lower back. It is caused by a flare-up of the same virus that causes chicken pox, herpes zoster, and occurs when an individual is sick, stressed, of advanced age, or in any other way immune compromised.
Most people don’t realize that Chinese Medicine excels at treating the common cold and flu. Cold and Flu season can be a miserable time of year, especially if you’re one of the unfortunate people who seems to get sick from every passing sneeze or cough. As most people can’t afford to take off work anymore, they’re left dragging themselves out of bed, sniffing, aching, and feverish, to drag themselves into their job.
We are master escape artists in our ability to hide from the truth. We have a grass is greener mentality. We always think it’s better somewhere else - better house, car, job. While personal progress is often a virtue, affording us better access to life’s essentials, when applied to our spiritual lives, not only does this mentality get us absolutely nowhere, but it keeps us in the same painful perspectives and relationships to life we are trying to escape from.
When the patient is able to step out of the way of their own healing, healing time naturally shortens, as the body’s natural resiliency is allowed to function properly, and will respond more quickly and dramatically to acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
What brings us to spiritual practice? This is a very important question. On the one hand it asks us to recognize what we may hope to find through practice. On the other hand, by recognizing what we want, we’re forced to truly acknowledge what we think we don’t have. In this way, we must be very honest with ourselves. We have to actually deal with who we are in the present moment.
This understanding of both facets of shen is crucial to truly understanding the etiology of shen disturbance and to understanding the ramifications of pathologies of shen both psychosomatically and spiritually.
The holidays are here, and as you cook your turkey diner you are probably reminded of just how stressful it is. As we reflect upon the holidays, it is perhaps fair to say that stress is the most ubiquitous shared experience common to people living in industrialized countries. It is, in fact, our love affair. Most of us, culturally, are workaholics, weekend (week-long) warriors, and/or weekend bingers, fueled by adrenaline, caffeine, alcohol, and poor diet.
Headaches are the kind of annoying pain that can really put an end to your day. Other areas of pain are usually easier to deal with. But, a bad headache will stop you in your tracks and send you right to bed. So, let’s talk about some self-care to make you feel better in the moment. Remember, these tips are only meant to offer quick relief for transient pain.If your pain doesn’t go away, gets worse, or comes back quickly, you’ll need to come in and get it treated!
This year, our cookie is going to be Springerles. You may remember last year’s cookie, the Pfeffernüsse, was a good, all around digestive tonic (assuming they are made in a traditional manner - with LOTS of spices, and not so much sugar). This year’s Springerles are a little different, as they use a very narrow range of spices and have a very distinctive flavor profile.
I recently read a blog about how elderberry is a sure-fire way to beat the flu. The author touted elderberry’s benefits as being due to its strong antiviral properties.