The Spleen & Stomach: the Root of Your Body’s Health

It is understood that the spleen and stomach are at the root of the health of the body. If the spleen and stomach are working well, the patient will recover more quickly. Therefore, eat and drink warm, easily digestible foods and drinks: tea, soups, congee, steamed veggies. Stay away from cold drinks and food, fatty, sweet and greasy foods.

food-therapy

Food Therapy:

Wind Heat symptoms: feverish, thirsty, sweaty, sore throat

Eat: grapefruit, lemons, parsley, pears, peppermint, tofu, turnips

 

Wind Cold symptoms: chills, crave warmth, aches and pains all over

Eat: chicken soup, cayenne, garlic, scallions, chili pepper, ginger tea

 

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Does Holiday Eating Affect Your Digestion? TCM Can Help!

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The holidays are officially here with Thanksgiving this Thursday! I just love the holidays – family time, giving thanks and all of the amazing food! But with all this glorious food, usually comes overeating and digestive upset.

Whether you are always hungry, never hungry, crave sweet, salty, spicy, or bitter food, or have stomach pain and distention, Traditional Chinese Medicine can help. Digestion is the center of your health and if it is not in tip top shape, you may have some symptoms. Stop in to your local acupuncturist to see how Chinese medicine can help you!

If you are one of the many people who tend to overeat, I recommend you to try to eat mindfully. This consists of really being present when you eat: smell the food, chew each mouthful fully, and remember to set your utensil down after each bite. I just read some more helpful tips on the Huffington Post.

I also know sometimes you overeat, especially during the holidays – and I don’t blame you! I’m right there with ya. If you find yourself uncomfortable after meals or snack times, be sure to have some ginger tea or peppermint tea on hand. When I find my digestion in need of some assistance, I love to brew some ginger or peppermint tea.

Ginger is warming and helps promote digestion and alleviates symptoms of nausea and indigestion including: gas, bloating, and stomach cramps. Ginger is good for you if you tend to be cooler in temperature.

Peppermint is cooling and also alleviates symptoms of nausea and indigestion including: gas, bloating, and stomach cramps. Peppermint is good if you tend to be warmer in temperature.

If your digestive system needs extra help to handle the holidays, come and see me! I will be in the clinic this Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Call the Acupuncture Wellness Center at (515) 556-3304 or visit our website to make an appointment today!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Responding to Cold & Flu Symptoms

According to Chinese Medicine, when a person gets sick, we refer to this as having an external pathogenic invader (EPI). This means that it is an external condition and the goal is to expel the external pathogen first and then gently tonify the internal so one does not get sick again. When you feel like you are starting to get sick, the way you respond can determine if you will be under the weather for a few days or weeks.

It is important to take action quickly and appropriately at the first onset of symptoms. Generally, EPIs in America may be dealt with as follows:

Get plenty of rest. The importance of resting cannot be overstated. When you rest, your qi and blood is able to replenish itself to try to fight off the EPI. If you continue with your busy schedule and high demands, your qi and blood won’t be able to keep up with your schedule let alone fighting off the enemy!

Layer up! When a person dresses warmly the extra layer of clothing helps warm the body, which supports the yang qi. This allows the yang qi to focus on fighting the EPI and not work so hard to keep the body warm. With most EPI, the goal is to induce a mild sweat, so that the EPI may be expelled. It is difficult to induce a mild sweat if you are not properly covered.

Consume warm food and drinks. In modern America, it is not uncommon to constantly be ingesting cold foods and drinks. However, you may not know how harmful this can be to your body, especially when you are trying to fight off an illness of some sort. Just like it is important for the yang qi to keep you warm, it is also important that your food and drink helps contribute to this. Your spleen and stomach are in charge of digestion. These organs are like a melting pot; in order for the substance to be extracted from the food, it needs to be hot. Think of how much harder your spleen and stomach need to work if what you consume is cold! Cold foods can require your spleen and stomach to work harder, which in turn may cause them to be a little deficient at times. During times of sickness, you definitely don’t want your spleen to be deficient.

See your acupuncturist if you feel your body needs an extra boost to fight off the EPI and to determine other modalities that may be appropriate.

See your primary care physician if symptoms progress or worsen.

**The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

Acupuncture Ally: Lemon & Honey in Warm Water

We all know it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, I mean, roughly 50-75% of our bodies are made of water! But a common complaint I hear is that water is boring or people just don’t like it.

IMG_2115A fabulous way to make water a little more flavorful is to add lemon and honey. When I make this I use about a teaspoon of local honey (I love supporting local bee keepers!) and a couple drops of Young Living Lemon Essential Oil, which is a high quality therapeutic grade oil brand that is safe for ingestion.* Another option to incorporate lemon is to add a fresh slice right to warm or hot water.

Lemon: the temperature is cold; the taste is sour; the channels of the body it affects are the gallbladder, liver, kidney, lung and spleen. This promotes Qi and blood circulation, clears heat, removes toxins and transforms phlegm.

Honey: the temperature is neutral; the taste is sweet; the channels it affects are the spleen, stomach, large intestine and lung; the effects are: nourishes Yin, tonifies Qi, supplements Qi and blood, promotes blood circulation and removes toxins.

Lemon and honey are great additions to your daily habits year round, but especially in the autumn and winter since these seasons are Yin in nature, as opposed to Yang. Yin has to do with thicker, denser, more liquid substances throughout the body. According to Chinese medicine, when you combine foods of sweet and sour properties you have a wonderful mixture to tonify the Yin of the body. With the season of autumn being dry in nature, it is so important to be sure you’re nourishing and hydrating yourself.


Temperature: It’s also important to drink room temperature or warm water. This is one of the biggest differences between western and eastern theories. While western theories may say ice cold water boosts your metabolism to burn calories, according to eastern medicine, the cold may be hard on your digestive system.

Think of the spleen and stomach as a melting pot; food and liquid needs to be warmed and mixed in order to be digested. When you eat or drink warmer temperature items, you are helping the work of the spleen and stomach. When you eat or drink cooler temperature items you are making the spleen and stomach work harder. In today’s age with diet and lifestyle, many peoples’ spleens are already a little weak, so the ice and cold temperatures add to the problem. You may be experiencing bloating, gas, or loose stools if your spleen is deficient or weak.

This is one simple change you may add into your daily life. I will say it is a tough transition, and there will be foods and drinks you always want to be cold, but if you could incorporate more room temperature to warm things in your life your spleen with thank you for it! I promise you eventually get used to it! Just remember, small steps. Change takes time, but it’s worth it to feel more well and balanced.

*The suggested uses in the above post apply only to the use of therapeutic grade, Young Living Essential Oils. Not all essential oils are the same! Be sure to consult with the product label or healthcare professional for correct usage of other.