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Treating Anemia [Iron Deficiency] Naturally with Diet


WHAT IS ANEMIA? & DO I HAVE IT?

There are many different types of anemia, some related to absorption, others to an increased demand your body is having for iron. For that reason it is really important that if anemia is suspected you obtain/interpret blood tests from your GP. 

This Guide is very comprehensive and will help guide you through what your GP discusses in terms of potential anemia. It's important to note that none of these conditions on their own confirm anemia and that blood tests are really the most accurate form of diagnosis. 

If you are diagnosed with anemia or on the low end of having an iron deficiency, I would advise seeing a dietician or practitioner who will properly be able to guide you through integrating changes in diet back home - as your GP may not have the time to walk you through everything.

Common Symptoms of Anemia Include:

  • Easily Fatigued / Tired / Low Energy

  • Shortness of Breath or Headache

  • Dizziness / Light headed on standing

  • Pale Skin / Palor Complexion

  • Leg Cramps

  • Insomnia / Difficulty sleeping

WHAT TO EAT IF YOU HAVE ANEMIA:

AVOID:

  • Tannin rich products inhibit absorption - mainly limit tea and coffee if you drink these regularly. Other examples include: grapes, pomegranates, apples, barley, nuts, chocolate, and many legumes.

  • Phytates - A type fiber can reduce iron absorption by up to 80%. Some examples are: almonds, beans, brazil nuts, hazel nuts, lentils, corn, peanuts, peas, rice, sesame seeds, soybeans, tofu, walnuts, wheat.

  • Calcium can also affect iron absorption. However note that If you are taking calcium for other issues you can just take it a few hours after you've eaten OR at bedtime.

  • Disrupt Iron Balance: Alcohol, Animal fats & Refined Sugar.


EAT MORE:

  • Vitamin C rich foods which helps with absorption, such as: brasaic vegetables (Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower), Green/Red peppers, Spinach, cabbage, turnips, citrus fruits like orange and lemon etc.

  • B12 rich foods like, which helps in the production of iron, like: animal liver or kidney, clams, beef, tuna, trout, fortified nutritional yeast.

  • Iron rich foods - animal liver, red meats, pumpkin seeds, spinach, shellfish, beans and lentils. 


HOLISTIC PERSPECTIVE ON BUILDING BLOOD WITH DIET:

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective certain foods can help improve the quantity and quality of blood. Combatting Iron deficiency anemia by tonifying the organs related to the production of blood in the body. See the list below and try incorporating some of these blood building foods into your diet in addition to the above recommendations.

  • Grains - barley, oats, corn

  • Vegetables - alfalfa sprouts, artichoke, beetroot, cabbage, celery, dark leafy greens, shiitake mushroom, spinach, watercress.

  • Fruits - apple, apricot, dates, fig, mulberry, go ji berry,

  • Beans - aduki, black soya, kidney; nuts/seeds - black sesame and almonds.

  • Meat - all red meats especially bone marrow and liver of beef/pork/sheep, eggs.

  • Herbs - nettle root, parsley.

  • Condiments - molasses; Beverages - soya milk. 

HERBAL TEA’S FOR ANEMIA & STINGING NETTLE:

Stinging nettle is a herb that may help build blood from a TCM perspective; though there is limited research into whether it actually helps with anemia from a allopathic perspective. In the beginning try small amounts to see how well tolerated this tea is for you.

tcm, wellness

Water Element: Lifestyle & Acupressure Guide


WATER ELEMENT IN NATURE

watersymbol.png

 

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]

 
5element.png
 

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.

tcm, wellness

Metal Element: Lifestyle & Acupressure 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]

 
5element.png
 

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.

tcm, wellness

Earth Element: Lifestyle & Acupressure Guide


EARTH ELEMENT IN NATURE

earthsymbol.png

 

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]

 
5element.png
 

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.

tcm, wellness

Wood Element: Lifestyle & Acupressure 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]

 
5element.png
 

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.

tcm, wellness

Fire Element: Lifestyle & Acupressure Guide


Fire Element in Nature

firesymbol.png

 

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]

 
5element.png
 

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.

tcm, wellness

Before & After Treatment: The Do's & Don'ts


BEFORE YOUR TREATMENT

  • KNOW YOUR MEDICAL HISTORY - Be aware of your past 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 for Pain, Swelling & Detoxification


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 Your TCM Herbal Formula: Decocting at Home


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: Getting Rid of Cupping Therapy Marks Quickly

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 stimulating effect dilating blood vessels. 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.