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The Water Element Guide


WATER ELEMENT IN NATURE

sticker-calligraphie-chinoise-eau.jpg

 

COLOR [BLACK/BLUE]
TASTE [SALTY]
ODOR [PUTRID]
SEASON [WINTER]
CLIMATE [COLD]
CARDINAL DIRECTION [NORTH]

 


WATER ELEMENT IN OUR BODIES

  • ORGANS [KIDNEY & URINARY BLADDER]
  • SPIRIT [HOUSES THE 'ZHI'] - This spirit is housed in the Kidney, and contains our capacity to execute our Will.
  • SENSE ORGAN [EARS]
  • SOUND/VOICE [GROANING]
  • BODY TYPE [ROUND FEATURES, STRONG DIGESTIONS]
  • FACIAL AREAS [JAWLINE & UPPER LIP]
  • PERSONALITY TYPE [LOYAL, ENJOY MOVEMENT]
  • EMOTION [FEAR]
  • EMOTIONAL ADDICTION
    [to be PROTECTED]
  • EMOTIONAL FEAR [to be NONEXISTANT]
 
5elements.jpg
 

HEALTHY EXPRESSION OF WATER ELEMENT


A healthy expression of Water in the body is an emotional outlook that is easy going, free moving, and always choosing a course of least resistance. The spirit of the Kidney/Water is the 'Zhi' Responsible for carrying out the intentions of the Yi (Spleen Spirit of Intellect) and the dreams of the Hun (Ehtereal Soul of the Liver), and the assessments of the Po (Animal Spirit of our body and the Lung). Water types are wise and as deep as the oceans, they relish in alone time, winters where they can re-cooperate. Water Types physically appear more round in shape.

 

PATHOLOGICAL EXPRESSION OF WATER ELEMENT

Physiological

Mental & Emotional

  • Low Back Pain & Knee Pain
  • Sexual Function: Impotence, Low Libido
  • Hearing Issues
  • Tinnitus (low pitched ringing)
  • Developmental Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Spontaneous Sweating
  • Hot Flashes / Night Sweats
  • Feelings of Fear
  • 'Flight or Fight' Mode
  • Developmental Issues
  • Weak Willed/Spirited
  • Poor Memory
 

SUPPORTING THE WATER ELEMENT

Lifestyle

Diet

AVOID

  • STIMULANTS [limit or eliminate Alcohol, Coffee, Cigarette intake]
  • HORMONES IN MEATS [Excess Hormones can disrupt Liver Function]
  • TOO MANY RICH FOODS [Overly rich robust fatty / sugary foods]

EAT

  • GRAINS [Buckwheat, Rice]
  • VEGETABLES [Aduki, Black, Kidney, Pinto Beans; Black Sesame; Kale; Mushroom; Seaweed; Water Chestnut]
  • FRUIT & LEGUMES [Walnut; Mulberry, Pomegranate, Black Raspberry, Watermelon]
  • SPICES [Cinnamon, Clove, Fenugreek, Anise]

TRY

  • RESTORE [Make time for self-care, and quiet introspective pastimes like meditation]
  • QI GONG [Qi Gong Exercise for Clearing the Kidney - see Qi Gong]
  • ACUPRESSURE [Kidney10 - Water Point of Water Chanel, He Sea - see below]

    AVOID

    • EXPOSING THE LOWER BACK [Exposing the lower back and kidneys to elements like cold can harm our internal fire (mingmen)]
    • OVERWORKING [Burning the Candle at both ends stokes our internal fire too much; causing it to burn brighter, longer, and eventually become deficient. The Western Parallel to this would be Adrenal Fatigue.
    • HARBORING FEAR [Work with your health care practitioner, mental health professionals, and support community to confront fears and express the Fearless Wisdom of Water].

    ACUPRESSURE  FOR WATER element [KD10]

    mc3a9ridien-reins-2.jpg

     

    • Treatment: KD10 | Yin Gu | Yin Valley - This is the Water Point of the Water Meridian, and tonifies the Element Water. Also a He Sea pt.
    • Locate Point: To locate this point simply place your thumb on the inner side of your knee joint; palpate until your thumb is between the two tendons (semitendinosis and semimembranosus) this is - KD10 | Yin Gu | Yin Valley.
    • Acupressure: Once located, press the thumb of your opposite hand into the point. Pressing this point, applying more pressure gradually, and start kneading in a clockwise motion.
    • Duration: Knead point on both sides for about 30 seconds each, repeat once-twice daily.

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    The Metal Element Guide


    METAL ELEMENT IN NATURE

    metal-iconA.gif

     

    COLOR [WHITE]
    TASTE [SPICY]
    ODOR [ROTTEN]
    SEASON [FALL]
    CLIMATE [DRYNESS]
    CARDINAL DIRECTION [WEST]

     


    METAL ELEMENT IN OUR BODIES

    • ORGANS [LUNG & LARGE INTESTINE]
    • SPIRIT [HOUSES THE 'PO'] - This least subtle of the spirits, the Po, is housed in the Lung. It's the part of the spirit that dies with our bodies, and expresses our more animal/immediate needs and dense desires.
    • SENSE ORGAN [NOSE]
    • SOUND/VOICE [CRYING]
    • BODY TYPE [TRIANGULAR FEATURES, STRONG VOICE]
    • COMPLEXION [YELLOW]
    • FACIAL AREAS [JAWLINE & UPPER LIP]
    • PERSONALITY [METICULOUS & POINTED]
    • EMOTION [GRIEF/SADNESS]
    • EMOTIONAL ADDICTION [to be in RIGHT]
    • EMOTIONAL FEAR [to be CORRUPT]
     
    5elements.jpg
     

    HEALTHY EXPRESSION OF METAL ELEMENT


    When the Metal Element is in harmony, their is a clear and strong ability to communicate and maintain boundaries. There is also a strong ability in letting go of pain, grief and sadness - an ability to 'roll with the punches'. In balance the Lung and Large intestine organs contribute to a healthy skin/complexion, abundant energy and strong respiratory function, immune function (known as wei qi), and healthy elimination/detox.

     

    PATHOLOGICAL EXPRESSION OF METAL ELEMENT

    Physiological

    Mental & Emotional

    • Shortness of Breath, Cough, Phlegm
    • Sore Throat / Loss of Voice
    • Dry Cracked Lack Luster Skin / Complexion
    • Poor Immune Function &  Autoimmune Disease
    • Fatigue
    • Constipation / IBS / Colitis
    • Inherited Conditions
    • Sadness
    • Grief
    • Issues Maintaining Healthy Boundaries
    • How we relate to Self and Other
    • Inability to 'Let Go' or move past Emotional Trauma
     

    SUPPORTING THE METAL ELEMENT

    Lifestyle

    Diet

    AVOID

    • STIMULANTS [limit or eliminate your Alcohol, Coffee, Cigarette intake]
    • MUCUS FORMING FOODS [Dairy Products, Processed Sugars]
    • PROCESSED FOODS [Contain chemicals which inhibit circulation and give the Lungs more to process]

    EAT

    • GRAINS [Rice]
    • VEGETABLES [Navy Bean, Soy Bean, Almonds, Asparagus, Broccoli, Celery, Cucumber, Mustard Greens, Onion, Raddish, Garlic, Ginger, Horse Raddish, Cauliflower]
    • FRUIT & LEGUMES [Apricot, Banana, Pear]
    • WHITE FOODS [Eat first with your eyes, include some white on your plate to give your lungs/metal that extra boost.]

    TRY

    • MANAGE GRIEF [If you're dealing with grief create and seek out support systems, to help reconcile feelings and heal]
    • QI GONG [Qi Gong Exercise for Clearing the Lung - see Qi Gong]
    • BREATHING EXERCISES [see Pranayama]
    • ACUPRESSURE [Lung8 - Moves Lung Qi  - see below]

      AVOID

      • STRAINING VOICE [Overusing or straining your voice can harm your metal/lungs ability to function smoothly]
      • DRY CLIMATES [Dryness effects the Lungs/Metal, if you live in an apartment with heating or AC consider getting a humidifier]
      • HOLDING ON TO PAIN [Be kind to yourself and try to make amends with any painful memories or losses you have suffered]

      ACUPRESSURE  FOR METAL element [LU.08]


      Lung-Point-6.jpg

       

      • Treatment: Lung8 | Jing Chu | Channel Ditch is the Metal Point on the Lung Meridian, Tonifies Metal Element, Aids Breathing etc.
      • Locate Point: To locate this point simply place your thumb on the inner portion of your wrist line; just outside that thumbs distance from the wristline is the point - Lung8 | Jing Chu | Channel Ditch.
      • Acupressure: Once located, press the thumb of your opposite hand into the point. Pressing this point, applying more pressure gradually, and start kneading in a clockwise motion.
      • Duration: Knead point on both sides for about 30 seconds each, repeat once-twice daily.

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      The Earth Element Guide


      EARTH ELEMENT IN NATURE

      earth-element-iconA.jpg

       

      COLOR [YELLOW]
      TASTE [SWEET]
      ODOR [FRAGRANT]
      SEASON [LATE SUMMER]
      CLIMATE [DAMPNESS]
      CARDINAL DIRECTION [CENTER]

       


      EARTH ELEMENT IN OUR BODIES

      • ORGANS [SPLEEN & STOMACH]
      • SPIRIT [HOUSES THE 'YI'] - This spirit is housed in the Spleen, and contains our capacity for intellectual endeavors, discernment, forming intentions, and concentration.
      • SENSE ORGAN [MOUTH]
      • TISSUE [MUSCLES/FLESH]
      • SOUND/VOICE [SINGING]
      • BODY TYPE [LARGE FEATURES, STRONG LEGS, ROBUST]
      • COMPLEXION [YELLOW]
      • FACIAL AREAS [JAWLINE & UPPER LIP]
      • PERSONALITY TYPE [CALM, GENEROUS]
      • EMOTION [WORRY/PENSIVITY]
      • EMOTIONAL ADDICTION [to be in WANTED]
      • SPIRITUAL FEAR [to be LOST]
       
      5elements.jpg
       

      HEALTHY EXPRESSION OF EARTH ELEMENT


      The healthy function of the Earth element is reflected in the function of it's physiological/physiological counterparts. A healthy Earth element will be expressed as a robust and strong digestive system, able to assimilate nutrients efficiently without fatigue, and a surplus of overall energy as result. Earth types are  known for being nurturing and supportive types, however in a healthy expression there is awareness of self-care and limits in giving.

       

      PATHOLOGICAL EXPRESSION OF EARTH ELEMENT

      Physiological

      Mental & Emotional

      • Diarrhea & Loose Stool
      • Eodema / Water Retention
      • Bruise Easily & Emaciated Muscles
      • Nausea & Vomiting
      • Bloating or Excess Gas
      • Hemorrhoids or Organ Prolapse
      • Heartburn & Indigestion
      • Anemia / Blood Deficiency
      • Excess Hunger / Thirst
      • Fatigue & Low Energy
      • Cloudy Muddled Thinking
      • Worrying
      • Pensivity & Overthinking
      • Co-dependency in Relationships
      • Overwhelmingly Nurturing
      • Inability to stop ruminating Thoughts
      • Daydreaming / Dreamer with little grounding
       

      SUPPORTING YOUR EARTH

      Lifestyle

      Diet

      AVOID

      • COLD & UNCOOKED FOOD [Damages your digestive fire and impairs spleen function creating fatigue]
      • MUCUS/DAMP FORMING FOODS [Dairy Products, Processed Sugars, Eggs.]
      • ICE & ICED DRINKS [Same as above, dampens function of Spleen and digestion]
      • TOO MANY SWEET FOODS [A small amount of sweet in diet i.e. carbs, grains, oats, sugary foods, can by tonifying; while an excess amount can be depleting and cause sluggishness or obstruction].
      • OVEREATING [Try to eat Smaller Meals more frequently at consistent intervals/times]

      EAT

      • GRAINS [Oats, RIce]
      • VEGETABLES [Shitake Mushroom, Pumpkin, Carrot, Potato, Squash, Sweet Potato, Yam ]
      • FRUIT & LEGUMES [Cherries, Date, Fig, Grape, Longan, Tofu]
      • OTHER [Liquorice, Molases, Honey]
      • WHOLE SWEET FOODS [eat whole and full sweet foods like sweet potato, steel cut oats etc in small amounts to tonify the spleen.]
      • EAT MORE SOUPS [This is a great option for a Earth friendly and supporting meal. Soups are easy to digest, very nutritious, help stoke  and resuscitate a weak digestive fire]

      TRY

      • SUPPORT SYSTEM [Worry damages the Spleen; finding ways to manage worry like a family/friends support system, Journal thoughts, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or help from a mental health practicioner.]
      • MINDFULNESS MEDITATION [Calms the Shen/and Mind, reduces stress]
      • CHEW YOUR FOOD THOROUGHLY [Manually digest to take the weight off of your Spleen/Digestive system]
      • QI GONG [Qi Gong Exercise for Clearing the Spleen - see Qi Gong]
      • ACUPRESSURE [Spleen9 - regulates the Spleen, 30 Seconds each side - see below]

        AVOID

        • HARBORING WORRY [Do your best to reconcile your thoughts using methods mentioned above or other relevant self-care options; excessive worry and rumination harms the spleens function and can create issues.]
        • STRESS/TRAUMA [Create Habits of self care; Establish personal boundaries and limits; Avoid and manage chronic stress]
        • COLD TEMPERATURES [Make sure to insulate appropriately, ingesting cold food and beverages and exposure to cold can both damage the Spleen.]
        • DAMP AREAS [Make sure to dry off properly after showers or swimming, this as well as eating mucus forming foods can lead to dampness and obstruction.]

        ACUPRESSURE  FOR EARTH ELEMENT [SP.09]

        sp-6_2acupuncture-rhizome-net.gif

         

        • Treatment: Spleen6 | San Yin Jiao | Three Yin Intersection - This is an important and popular point for many treatments; as the Liver, Kidney and Spleen meridians traverse this acupuncture point. It helps tonify and regulate the Spleen, regulate water and dampness etc.
        • Locate Point: To locate this point simply place your fingers on your inner ankle just above the ankle bone; at the top of your four fingers on the inside of the shin bone; palpate this area to find the point that feels most tender; this is - Spleen6 | San Yin Jiao | Three Yin Intersection.
        • Acupressure: Once located, press the thumb of your opposite hand into the point. Pressing this point, applying more pressure gradually, and start kneading in a clockwise motion.
        • Duration: Knead point on both sides for about 30 seconds each, repeat once-twice daily.

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        The Wood Element Guide


        WOOD ELEMENT IN NATURE

        woodelement-iconA.png

         

        COLOR [GREEN]
        TASTE [SOUR]
        ODOR [RANCID]
        SEASON [SPRING]
        CLIMATE [WINDY]
        CARDINAL DIRECTION [EAST]

         


        WOOD ELEMENT IN OUR BODIES

        • ORGANS [LIVER & GALLBLADDER]
        • SPIRIT [HOUSES THE 'HUN'] - Ethereal Soul which leaves our body at death; Organizes our Dreams, Responsible for our ability to live with Clarity, Vision, and purpose.
        • SENSE ORGAN [EYES]
        • TISSUE [LIGAMENTS & TENDONS]
        • SOUND/VOICE [SHOUTING]
        • BODY TYPE [TALL & SLENDER; STRONG BONES & JOINTS, STRONG EYEBROWS AND JAWLINE]
        • COMPLEXION [GREEN]
        • FACIAL AREAS [BETWEEN EYES]
        • PERSONALITY TYPE [DETERMINED]
        • EMOTION [ANGER]
        • EMOTIONAL ADDICTION [to be in EXCITED]
        • SPIRITUAL FEAR [to be HELPLESS]
         
        5elements.jpg
         

        HEALTHY EXPRESSION OF WOOD ELEMENT


        Expressed in our ability to make decisions, Initiate change, and express ourselves emotionally. The Wood element is also responsible for circulation (of qi - via Liver); Physical Development (governs Sinews and Ligaments; Emotional Development (Houses the spirit/soul 'Hun' - the part of our being that carries on after we die. Liver types are known for their tenacity, expressiveness, flexibility, and overall gumption.

         

        PATHOLOGICAL EXPRESSION OF WOOD ELEMENT

        Physiological

        Mental & Emotional

        • Headaches & Migraines
        • Menstrual Issues & PMS
        • Vision, Dry Eyes, Floaters
        • Poor circulation
        • Muscle Spasms
        • Cold Hands & Feet
        • Tendonitis
        • Tinnitus (Ringing in Ear)
        • Sighing
        • Fatigue
        • Indecision
        • Depression
        • Feeling Frustrated Regularly
        • Lack of Motivation / Initiative
        • Angry Outbursts
        • Daydreaming / Dreamer with little grounding
         

        SUPPORTING YOUR WOOD ELEMENT

        Lifestyle

        Diet

        AVOID

        • STIMULANTS [limit or eliminateyour Alcohol, Coffee, Cigarette intake]
        • HORMONES IN MEATS [Excess Hormones can disrupt Liver Function]
        • MUCUS FORMING FOODS [Dairy Products, Processed Sugars]
        • TOO MANY RICH FOODS [Overly rich robust fatty / sugary foods]
        • PROCESSED FOODS [Contain chemicals which inhibit cirulation]
        • OVEREATING [Try to eat Smaller Meals more frequently]
        • LATE NIGHT EATING [At night your blood goes to the Liver to be cleaned, avoid overloading it with meals during this time]

        EAT

        • GRAINS [Rye, Quinoa]
        • VEGETABLES [Onion Family, Mustard Greens, Romaine Lettuce, Arugula, Green Lentil, Mung Bean, Lima Bean, Green Bell Pepper, Green peas, Zucchini, String Beam, ]
        • FRUIT & LEGUMES [Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Avocado, Plum, Brazil and Cashew Nut]
        • SPICE [Bay Leaf, Basil, Cumin, Fennel, Mint, Dendelion]
        • SOUR FOODS [a little sour can clear stagnant liver qi and increase circulation, too much sour can cause issues in vision]

        TRY

        • SUPPORT SYSTEM [The Liver's Qi is easily harmed by emotions like stress, anger and frustration. Create network of people who are supportive that you can confide in when upset or give free-thought journaling a try.]
        • MINDFULNESS MEDITATION [Calms the Liver/and Mind, reduces]
        • REGULAR EXERCISE [Improves circulation of Liver Qi & Blood, aim to do  exercise at least 3x week]
        • QI GONG [Qi Gong Exercise for Clearing the Liver - see Qi Gong]
        • ACUPRESSURE [Liver3 - Moves stagnant Liver Qi, Shu Stream, 30 Seconds each side - see below]

          AVOID

          • HARBORING ANGER [The liver is directly affected by holding unprocessed feelings of anger. Don't "take the poison expecting the other person to die"; anger is a poison to our being, do not hold on to it, finding supportive friends or other outlets like journaling can help 'move' that Anger and the Liver Qi once it has stagnated.
          • STRESS/TRAUMA [Create Habits of self care; Establish personal boundaries and limits; Avoid and manage chronic stress]
          • INFLEXIBILITY [The wood Element and Liver likes to feel free, that it has options that is upward rooted]

          ACUPRESSURE  FOR WOOD ELEMENT [LV.03]

          liv3.png

           

          • Treatment: Acupuncture Point Liver3 | Tai Chong | Supreme Surge - This point is indicated for a Liver Qi stagnation, but can also be used for other issues.
          • Locate Point: To locate this point simply place your index finger or thumb on the top of the foot; find the groove between the big toe and second toe, palpate to find the point that feels most tender; this is - Liver3 | Tai Chong | Supreme Surge.
          • Acupressure: Once located, press the thumb of your opposite hand into the point. Pressing this point, applying more pressure gradually, and start kneading in a clockwise motion.
          • Duration: Knead point on both sides for about 30 seconds each, repeat once-twice daily.

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          The Fire Element Guide


          Fire Element in Nature

          Fire.jpg

           

          COLOR [RED]
          TASTE [BITTER]
          ODOR [SCORCHED]
          SEASON [SUMMER]
          CLIMATE [HOT]
          CARDINAL DIRECTION [SOUTH]

           


          FIRE ELEMENT IN OUR BODIES

          • ORGANS [HEART & PERICARDIUM] - As well as the yang organs Small Intestine & Triple Heater.
          • SPIRIT [HOUSES THE 'SHEN'] - Consciousness  Or the Mind.
          • SENSE ORGAN [TONGUE]
          • TISSUE [BLOOD VESSELS]
          • SOUND/VOICE [LAUGHTER/RISING-FALLING]
          • BODY TYPE [POINTED FEATURES, SMALL HANDS]
          • COMPLEXION [FLUSH] - complexion can reflect health or be symptomatic.
          • FACIAL AREAS [NOSE, CHEEKBONES, TONGUE TIP] - Also the Upper Lip - Small Intestine.
          • PERSONALITY TYPE [QUICK, ENERGETIC]
          • EMOTION [JOY]
          • EMOTIONAL ADDICTION [to be in LOVE]
          • SPIRITUAL FEAR [ISOLATION/Loneliness]
           
          5elements.jpg
           

          HEALTHY EXPRESSION OF FIRE ELEMENT


          Expressed in our experience of Joy. Those who harbor enthusiasm and passion, while maintaining a tranquil & peaceful mind. Their complexion is radiant and rosy, their faces expressive, their eyes clear and beaming showing an attentive Shen (mind). Charismatic, Outward, expansive. Two classically listed physical characteristics belonging to the Fire Element are small hands, and pronounced or especially pointy facial features.

           

          PATHOLOGICAL EXPRESSION OF FIRE ELEMENT

          Physiological

          Mental & Emotional

          • Palpitations & Chest Pain
          • Poor Circulation / Complexion
          • Spontaneous Sweating - especially palms and soles of feet
          • Autoimmune Disorders (Triple Heater)
          • Posture: Shoulders Rolled Forward (Protecting Heart)
          • Tongue: Especially Pointy, Red Tip
          • Nose: Cleft in Nose Cartilage
          • Feelings of Gloom or Anxiety
          • Restlessness, Mania, Excessive Laughing
          • Mental & Physical Fatigue - "burnt out"
          • Overactive, Listless, Poor Concentration
          • Poor Long Term Memory
          • Aphasia & Difficulty Speaking (Pericardium)
          • Ability to Discern (Small Intestine)
          • Problems Maintaining Boundaries (Pericardium)
           

          Supporting your fire

          lifestyle

          Diet

          AVOID

          • STIMULANTS [limit your Alcohol and Coffee intake]
          • THERMAL DRINKS [Stoking Hot Beverages]
          • COLD DRINKS/FOODS [Harm Fire & Digestive Function]
          • EXCESS SPICES [Use Sparingly, can scatter the Mind]
          • MUCUS FORMING FOODS [Dairy Products, Processed Sugars]
          • TOO MANY RICH FOODS [Overly rich robust fatty / sugary foods]

          EAT

          • GRAINS [Maize, Popcorn, Amaranth, Quinoa]
          • VEGETABLES [Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Chives, Endive, Okra, Scallion]
          • FRUIT [Apricot, Guava, Strawberry, Persimmon, Peach, Cherry]
          • SPICE [Chillis and Any Curry]
          • NEUTRAL & WARMING FOODS [Aim to eat a meal that is warmed]
          • BITTER FOODS [a little bitter can clear excess fire or increase circulation, too much bitter can impair sexual function and disturb the heart.

          TRY

          • BE MINDFUL OF INTERNAL DIALOGUES [Take note of harmful self talk, and depressive thoughts as they arise]
          • MINDFULNESS MEDITATION [Help Calm and Center the Shen/Mind]
          • REGULAR EXERCISE [Warms our fire and our bodies, aim to do  exercise at least 3x week]
          • QI GONG [Qi Gong Exercise for Clearing the Heart - see Qi Gong]
          • ACUPRESSURE [Ht8 - Ht Qi, Ying Spring, 30 Seconds each side - see below]

            AVOID

            • SCATTERED MIND [Limit activities that scatter your mind, such as Cell Phone use]
            • OVERWORKING [Mentally & Physically]
            • STRESS/TRAUMA [Create Boundaries & Respect Your Limits]
            • TEMPERATE REGIONS [Avoid both extreme Cold or Heat, Dress appropriately and limit sun exposure]
            • EXCESSIVE SWEATING [Avoid activity that induces excessive sweating; sweat is the hearts fluid and losing too much can be depleting.

            ACUPRESSURE  FOR FIRE ELEMENT [HT.08]

            HT8-HT9.jpg

             

            • Treatment: Heart8 | Shao Fu | Lesser Mansion. - This point is indicated for a heart Qi deficiency, but can also be used to clear Heart heat.
            • Locate Point: To locate this point simply curl your pinky finger in, where it lands is - Heart8 | Shao Fu | Lesser Mansion.
            • Acupressure: Once located, press the thumb of your opposite hand into the point. Pressing this point, applying more pressure gradually, and start kneading in a clockwise motion.
            • Duration: Knead point on both sides for about 30 seconds each, repeat once-twice daily.

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            Before and After Treatment Guide: For best results


            BEFORE YOUR TREATMENT

            • KNOW YOUR MEDICAL HISTORY - Be aware of your pas medical history; time spent recalling can take away from valuable minutes on the treatment table. Make sure to share any major life incidents as well as current symptoms, so that your practitioner has a complete picture of your health.
            • MEDICATIONS & SUPPLEMENTS - It's vital that your practitioner has this information, especially with regards to pharmaceuticals. Sharing this information is important to avoid possible bad reactions to the use of Acupuncture or Herbal Medicine. Quick Tip: Take pictures with your phone of each medication/supplement you are currently taking to show your practitioner. 
            • WEAR LOOSE/COMFORTABLE CLOTHS -  Tight clothing not only can be uncomfortable during treatment, but more importantly can obstruct the flow/circulation we are trying to induce in Acupuncture and other therapies. Some acupuncture points can be difficult to reach on their own, adding tight clothes can take away from the flow of treatment, making it even more difficult to reach these points.
            • AVOID TAKING STIMULANTS - Restrain or limit stimulant intake such as coffee/caffiene, alcohol, cigarettes etc before treatment. Stimulants like this can skew the overall presentation of your constitution, but also will make it more difficult for you to settle into the treatment.
            • NO TONGUE BRUSHING/SCRAPPING - In Traditional Chinese Medicine tongues are observed and looked at as one of our diagnostic tools. We look at the body, shape, coat and any other features we observe. Brushing / Scrapping your tongue before treatment removes a part of the picture we use to diagnose.
            • EAT BEFORE YOU TREAT -  Coming to an Acupuncture treatment on an empty stomach can result in nausea, lightheadedness, and in extreme cases fainting (i.e. in a hypoglycemic patient). Avoid this by having a small meal or snack before treatment - Try not to over eat as this can have a similar effect and take away from your treatment. 
            • ARRIVE 15MIN EARLY - Simple but overlooked, arriving 10-15 minutes early (especially for initial clients) ensures that any paper work or checking in doesn't take away from your treatment time. Also your practitioner will love it when you're patients on time!

            AFTER YOUR TREATMENT

            • PLAN ON RELAXING - Commit to doing nothing, or at least limiting activity after your treatment. Instead plan on relaxing on your own; preferably in a horizontal position as you'll likely welcome the idea of laying on a bed or couch for some much needed 'you time'.
            • AVOID SCATTERING THE MIND - Avoid things and activities that can take away from the stillness and relaxation of your treatment. Use this time in stillness to exercise your power over things like technology, cell phones, tablets and strenuous mental work.
            • LIGHT EXERCISE ONLY - Acupuncture and other manual therapies can leave the body it's tendons, ligaments, muscles looser and more limber. Doing strenuous exercise or lifting heavy weights can lead to injury as your range of motion is more open than before; you risk over extension in joints as well as harming ligaments. Exercise should be light - things like tai chi, qi gong or yin yoga are more appropriate at this time.
            • AVOID TAKING STIMULANTS - Restrain or limit stimulant intake such as coffee/caffiene, alcohol, cigarettes etc before treatment. Stimulants like this can make it more difficult for you to settle into the effects treatment.
            • EAT A NOURISHING MEAL - Use this post treatment meal as an opportunity to continue the healing. Acupuncture helps move qi/blood/circulation and detoxify, don't undo that work with a hard to process meal (i.e. greasy, fried, fatty, mucous forming food).

            OTHER TIPS FOR TCM PATIENTS

            • ASK PRACTITIONER DIET/LIFESTYLE ADVICE -  A Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner is a cornicopia of not only treatment knowledge but prevention. Practitioners may sometimes hold back from overwhelming clients with lifestyle advice, (1) because they know lifestyle changes can be difficult to achieve, and (2) because patient compliance, or how much advice the patient is able to incorporate in their lives, is extremely variable. Asking your practitioner for lifestyle tips will cue them, and show that you are ready to take the next steps towards your health/wellbeing.
            • GET REGULAR TREATMENTS - Whatever the ailment is you can assume that you will need some consistency and a reasonable frequency of treatments. This is especially true of chronic conditions; generally speaking the more long standing an issue is the more treatments will be required. Talk to your practitioner about a treatment plan, so you can get a general idea of what the road to recovery looks like (i.e. how many treatments, frequency, lifestyle/diet changes etc).
            • CREATE A SELF CARE JOURNAL - Use a journal to be more aware of your experiences and feelings; with regards to getting treatments journals can help you evaluate what has and hasn't worked for you. Try using numeric scales where applicable i.e. Pain in shoulder in May was 9/10, June 6/10.

            tcm, wellness

            Hydrotherapy: At Home Self Care Guide for Pain & Swelling


            WHEN TO TRY HYDROTHERAPY

            • DETOXIFICATION & SPRING TIME - The spring is the best time to try detoxifying techniques like hydrotherapy. Spring is also the time of the Liver, and a great time to start anew.
            • INFLAMMATION & SPORTS INJURY - Aches and pains, bruising, inflammation, attributed to help with pain management, as well as improving circulation in areas applied.
            • SWELLING / PUFFINESS / WATER RETENTION - Hydrotherapy helps manually pump lymph glands; one of our primary systems of elimination, aiding in its process of filtration - swollen limbs, edema, puffiness and inflammation can be reduced with Hydrotherapy.

            WHAT IS HYDROTHERAPY

            This technique uses hot and cold water to move and mobilize blood. Applying hot water expands blood vessels and moves lymph fluid, blood circulation increases superficially in the extremities. Alternating to cold water contracts blood vessels, moving the blood and fluids inwards towards organs. The alternating between hot and cold creates an external pump moving blood inwards and outwards; improving circulation and aiding in lymphatic filtration.


            AT HOME HYDROTHERAPY TECHNIQUE
             

            TUB SOAKS
            (local swelling/Injury)

            IN THE SHOWER (detox/inflammation)

            HOT WATER TUB (10MIN)

            Fill a basin or tub with hot water to the furthest you can tolerate - without causing pain or burning. Dunk area i.e. elbow, foot, limb in tub for 3-5min.

            ICE & COLD WATER TUB (5MIN)

            Fill a tub 50-75% ice and add cold water - depending how much you can tolerate. Soak limb here for 1-2 minutes.

            REPEAT (2-4X)

            Repeat this technique 2-4times (30min-45min) daily or immediately following exercise for best results.

            HOT WATER (4MIN)

            Raise your showers heat gradually to the furthest you can tolerate - without causing pain or burning. Make sure to increase heat gradually to avoid burns.

            COLD WATER (2MIN)

            Change the water temperature to the coldest setting you can tolerate- bathe here for 2-3min minutes soaking and brushing all areas thoroughly.

            REPEAT (2-3X)

            Repeat this exercise 2-3 times (12min-18min) daily with your first shower of the day.

            tcm, wellness

            Preparing A Chinese Herbal Formula [Decoction Guide]


            Methods of preparation

            There are many ways herbal medicines have been prepared over the ages (e.g. tinctures - alcohol based, syrups - sugar based, balms & liniments, pills and granules). Decocting (Herbal Tea) is one of these methods, using water to draw out therapeutic properties of herbs - These are the finer details to decocting in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Use this guide for best results. 


            CHOOSING THE RIGHT POT

            The best choice for decocting is a glazed Ceramic or Glass pot - you can find these in you local China Town. if you don't have a ceramic/glass pot, not to worry you can use a stainlesss steel pot too [try to avoid using Teflon, and especially do not cast Iron pots which can react negatively with herbs].


            COOKING THE HERBS

            • STEEP - Cover herbs in water by about 2 inches.
            • ADD HERBS & SOAK - Optionally soak herbal formula in water for 30min*
            • BOIL - Cover formula (to prevent loss of essential oils) and bring to a boil, then lower to simmer for 20-30minutes
            • STRAIN - Strain with cheesecloth or fine collander and separate fluid from and herbs. Save herbs for resteeping.

            Soaking herbs is optional. Be sure to add herbs in order instructed
            by your practitioner*


            ENJOYING YOUR CHINESE HERBAL FORMULA

            • RE-STEEP YOUR FORMULA! - Enjoy your formula a second or even third time. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the first steeping is said to effect the patient on the qi level (more superficial in nature); while the second and third steeping can bring the formula deeper into what's known as the blood level (innermost level).
            • TEA TOO BITTER? - Many Chinese formulas are delicious and have a rich flavor profile, however there are some that can taste very bitter or unpleasant. When the correct formula is prescribed the patient will often develop a taste for the once unpleasant tea. But in the event that you 'just cant' there are a few options: (1) water down and consume in a few cups versus one, (2) honey can also be added to sweeten the formula with consent from your practitioner.
            • WHEN TO TAKE FORMULA? - Herbal formulas are best taken 1-2 hours before eating to maximize the digestion and absorption of the herbs. Sedating formulas for calming should be taken a few hours before bedtime.

            tcm, wellness

            Hickey Removal Guide: Clear up cupping therapy hickeys quick

            If for whatever reason you need those cupping marks gone quickly, here are my tips for cupping hickey / blemish removal. Using things you already have at home, I show you how to help break up and loosen blood in the area, assist in healing, and of course help quickly disperse any marks left from cupping.


            8 QUICK METHODS TO REDUCE HICKEYS

            AT HOME GUASHA - Take any object with a smoothed edge (e.g. a ceramic wonton spoon, the side of your phone, thick plastic mixing spoon); press the object gentle into the area and move it along the area  while keeping consistent pressure, in stroking gestures. This helps move pooled blood, and makes the bruise less conspicuous.

            TRY ESSENTIAL OILS - Essential Oils such as frankincense, myrrh and peppermint have an stimulant effect that boosts blood circulation. This improved circulation helps to heal the blood capillaries, and thereby the blemishes from cupping therapy and gua sha. Apply the essential oil gradually; there may be tingling as the oils start to move blood in the area.

            ALOE VERA -  Aloe Vera which is known for its anti-inflammatory effects and healing properties, and can reduce sensitivity of the affected area. Also, it has soothing qualities that boost the healing of the broken capillaries.

            VITAMIN K - Try a lotion or cream with Vitamin K; known for having a potent anti-coagulating effect that prevents the clotting of blood and aids in the re-absorption of pooled blood.

            SCRUB / LOOFAH - While having a shower, use a loofah with some soapy water in the shower and gently scrub the affected areas. Repeat the process for 5 to 10 minutes. Brushing helps to stimulate blood flow on the hickey, ensuring that the clot is reabsorbed faster. Importantly, apply a cold compress to the area after brushing.

            HYDROTHERAPY - Contrasting-hydrotherapy aids in circulation of blood and lymph, detoxification, swelling, inflammation, sprains and strains and other sports injury application. The improved circulatory funciton and manual pumping of blood, can help speed up healing of cupping/gua sha hickeys. Use [this guide] to try contrasting hydrotherapy at home.

            COLD COMPRESS - Use some ice cubs wrapped in cloth or freeze some spoons and apply; gently rub the affected area. This helps to break the blood clots, which constrict and freezes the ruptured blood capillaries, improving blood circulation and swellings. 

            HOT COMPRESS -  Heat is extremely efficient in dilating the blood capillaries and help to ensure a flow of fresh blood to the hickey, which clears the clot. To use this method, take a warm towel and apply it on the affected area for about five minutes; repeat the process three times every day to aid in fast hickey removal.

            design, woodwork

            Anamorphic Parquet Tables [Cont.]

            An anamorphic parquet table top on polished industrial copper piped frame; the pattern shows depth through the geometry and contrasted tones on this industrial minimal table. I'm really looking forward to doing other literal 'anamorphic' patterns on a larger scale, to intensify to the effect of 3D depth.

            lifestyle, design

            Renovating a Live/Work Loft [Pt.2]

            Earlier on I went into the more horrific details of 'Renovating a live/work loft pt.01' - [READ ABOUT IT HERE]. This time I reveal the work that's been done, the fruit of my labors, and go into some of the styling features I've added in the past few years, restoring one of the last live/work hard lofts in Toronto.


            Living Room [Featuring. Indoor Swing Benches]

            Folding Semi-Opaque Partition: Constructed out of double corrugated coroplast

            Minimal Geometric Wooden Table: Minimal Geometric Parquet Table on sleek steel frame [see more here].

            Indoor Swing Benches: Two Indoor swing benches constructed out of beams left in the space.

            Ornaments: Distressed antique frames with aged acupuncture charts.

            Parquet Wall Features: The large wall leaning panel can be seen [here]; the two on the bathroom hallway can be seen [here].


            Kitchen + Dining space


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            Master Bedroom

            [Left] Pallet Platfrom bed; Parquet Headboard / Wall Feature; Two Edison Bulb side lights on retractable arms; [Center] Small work table which folds up when not in use; [Right] Double tiered industrial gas pipe clothing dolly on castor wheels; antique steamer trunk for clothes out of season; Small niche for ornaments.

             

            The walls are also chalk paint, occassionally I pick up the chalk and have a go, as seen below, an illustraition  I drew from 'The book of Life' by Rev. Master Jiyu Kennet.


            woodwork, design

            Minimal Geometric Wooden Table [feat. designer Pablo Muñoz]

            A simple minimalist coffee table I made with Pablo Munoz - more of his work [HERE]. I think we were both aiming to create something clean and modern. The geometry of the parquet provides some movement while it's relative-simple construction speak to the minimalism of the design over all.

            woodwork, design

            Parquet Tables [Herringbone + Anamorphic Pattern]

            I've always loved parquet flooring since I was a child. For me it speaks to an lush a luxurious type of flooring, one that you can gleam involves a lot of time and craftsmanship. I began in 2012 with my first Parquet Table top, and have loved the effect