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It’s time to shake off the lethargy of Winter, and reactivate your interest in the outer world. Spring is just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away, and that’s exactly what you should be doing to get the blood moving again!
While Fall and Winter are times to wind down, internalize, and conserve energy (both mentally and physically), Spring is the time to get moving, get outside, and clear away the stagnations of the colder seasons. Spring is the season of external growth during which everything that you have nurtured in the months of internal growth, during the Fall and Winter, begins to emerge.
Last week, Jennifer gave us a wonderful exercise called One Breath to help bring us increased relaxation and improved health to get us through the holiday season. One Breath is an exercise that can be done anywhere, at any time, and brings about health benefits instantly. Literally.
To me, autumn is the most fascinating time of year. Spring has the miracle of new life and new growth; a burst of energy expelled outwards propelling us into renewal and action. Spring is a very external season, a time for shaking off the sleepiness of Winter and reengaging with the world. It makes sense then that Spring is the beginning of the yang cycle in Chinese philosophy. Yang is the active, male principle in nature represented by the sun. It is warmth, energy and light.
According to TCM, during fall we are most susceptible to dryness, which can affect the lungs, skin, and digestion. Common signs of disharmony in the fall are thirst, dry nose and skin, itching, and sore throat. There are a number of things we can do to combat dryness and fortify our bodies for the coming winter months.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine it’s not uncommon to use food that has medicinal qualities to help treat various conditions. In the summer months we are more prone to conditions of toxic heat. In the Chinese herbal pharmacopoeia there is a whole subsection of herbs that treat “Summer Heat.”
I frequently hear from patients that they are hesitant about taking Chinese herbal formulas, and/or don't understand the benefit of them. Many more people are on board these days with receiving acupuncture treatments, but Chinese herbal medicine is still underutilized in reproductive health. So lets discuss some of the benefits and the safety regarding Chinese herbal formulas.
Why take them?
First of all, the herbs help us, the acupuncturists, make progress faster. We make progress at each treatment towards correcting your diagnosis and improving your overall health, and preparing you for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) if you are going that route. But your using the Chinese herbal formulas consistently allows us to continue making this progress between appointments. So taking your herbs:
It’s fall in Austin, which means the temperature drops slightly, the wind picks up … and most of us want to be outside. This is the time of year when you hear folks say “Oh, it’s so nice today, what is it, 90?” With the weather improving, it’s a shame that more of us are experiencing issues with allergies. And I feel you, because I’m in the same boat as you, drifting through a sea of pollen.
I have always been interested in alternative medicine, and Traditional Chinese Medicine in particular, which is one reason why I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to learn and observe while I work here. Considering, however, that I am a twenty-something who is not currently poised to pursue pregnancy as a viable option in my life, I initially applied for the job being more interested in the Oriental Medicine aspect of it than the fertility aspect. I do have two kids... but both of them are goats. And I plan to keep it that way for at least awhile longer.
I just finished reading a terrific blog post by AcuBlogger Sara Calabro. Her post entitled “The 5 Most Common ‘Side Effects’ of Acupuncture” is a delightful look at some of the unintended effects of acupuncture treatment. The post, which you can read here, lists five extremely common ‘side effects’ of acupuncture: better sleep, more energy, mental clarity, better digestion, and less stress. It’s true, we see these side effects in our clinic all the time!
As acupuncturists, we want our patients to have the most relaxing acupuncture experience possible. Of the 361 acupuncture points on the body, my personal favorite to create that "acupuncture calm" during treatments is called Yintang. According to Peter Deadman, author of A Manual of Acupuncture, Yintang was first discussed in the Su Wen, the classic book of Chinese Medicine, in the 3rd century BC.