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Liver

Conquering Stress

 

Calming the Mind; the Root of Disease

 

The Mind-Shen

The mind in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is commonly referred to as the shen.

In Chinese medicine, the shen is interpreted as the spirit or consciousness. The shen lives in the heart organ system and is one of the vital substances of the body. The shen is said to preside over the activities that take place in the spiritual and mental planes.

Ultimately, we want to have a balanced shen. This means we may have emotional responses to external stimuli or internally generated thoughts, or feelings.  Normally, we can control and recover from these situations without much incident.  Somebody who has a disturbed shen, would not know how or be able to deal with a similar situation and may act out irrationally while drawing attention to themselves. An example would be when a person with a balanced shen becomes angry or cries for some reason. They tend to feel relief after the emotion has passed. While somebody with a disturbed shen may continue the irrational behavior for quite some time without ever feeling that relief and they might need intervention to return to a somewhat balanced state.

Maintaining a healthy shen also means that we maintain a healthy body.  A strong shen is fundamental to good health.  When the shen is weak, the body will eventually fail.  To keep the shen healthy we should focus on maintaining a positive mindset, getting enough rest, seeking peace, connecting with nature, meditating and showing compassion. This means we ultimately need to avoid overwork, chronic stress, an erratic daily schedule, lack of sleep and volatile emotions such as anger, hatred and resentment. This may seem pretty logical but based on the amount of shen disturbance/mental illness in the world, it is clear we have lost our way to some degree.

The good news is the cumulative shen of the planet can be changed over time and we can all have a hand in making that change.

Definition of Stress

The definition of stress is a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension.  Stress can come from external physical trauma, overloading, repetitive strain, poor posture, contracted and inflexible muscles, lack of physical exertion, inflammation from poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, infections from bacteria, viruses, yeast, or fungi.  There is also the mental aspect of overthinking, worry, anger, sadness, fear, negative outlook, and emotional imbalances.

Stress and the Mind-Shen can be managed by harmonizing the Chakra-energy centers.  There are ways you can accomplish this yourself.  But first, let’s explain the charkas. 

 

What are Chakras

Chakras are swirling vortexes of psycho-neuro-endocrine (PNE) bio-electric energy located along our anterior and posterior midline.  It’s easier to just call these energy centers chakras!  The chakras are part of Ayurveda Medicine, from India.  Traditional Chinese Medical and Ayurvedic Medical systems have much overlap, and they work together in harmony.  The chakras correlate to major acupuncture points along the midline of the body.  Both systems help stimulate, move or clear blockages of negative energy. 

The chakra energy centers are responsible for carrying or releasing stored memories, emotional or physical trauma.

There are 7 main chakras and 21 minor chakras (if we include the eyes and scapula there are 25).  The chakras are the root, sacral, solar, heart, throat, brow, and crown.  The minor chakras are bilateral consisting of the feet, hands, elbows, knees, groin-gonads, clavicles, intercostals, ears-jaw, shoulders, navel, and one spleen chakra found only on the left side below the rib cage.  Some sources consider the eyes and scapula to be minor chakras as well.

Chakras Regulate Hormones, Glands, Thoughts and Feelings

Each of the main 7 chakras are associated with one of the nine endocrine glands, a group of nerves called a plexus, and a band of connective tissue called fascia. From these, Neuropeptides are released in response to our thoughts and feelings.  Thoughts and emotions of anger, joy, worry, grief, or fear have their own identifiable frequencies.  That’s how your body knows which neuropeptide to release.

Whether pain or disease stems from an emotional or spiritual disharmony or not, both physical or emotional trauma as well as behavioral or mental habits are stored in our musculature, and connective tissue called fascia, creating tension, blocking circulation, which can lead to pain or disease.  Sometimes it’s a direct connection from acute assault to the body or it develops over time. 

 

Restore Balance and Harmony to Your Chakras

Our chakras can become congested, over-stimulated or uncoordinated.  Restoring balance to your chakras helps with stress, emotional-wellbeing, the mind-shen, pain and disease. 

There are forms of vibrational medicine that harmonize and decongest the chakra-meridian systems.  Chakra-Meridian balancing has beneficial effects on the autonomic nervous system and internal Organs (as understood by Chinese Medicine).  

Emotional Freedom Technique

Emotional Freedom Technique

Use Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to move stuck Qi-energy and strengthen the charka centers.  These are known acupuncture points that effectively release tension, stress, anxiety and pain. 

First, rate yourself with how you feel on a scale of 0, no pain to 10, worst possible pain. 

Tap each one using the tips of your index, middle and ring fingers together.  Tap 10 X or up to 1 minute each.  Check in with yourself.  Repeat as often as you need. 

 

A Few of my Favorite Calming and Stress Relieving Essential Oils

These oils can be used to harmonize chakra energy centers as well as specific complaints such as joint pain, low energy, or poor nervous system function.

These are only examples of a few oils that support the chakras.  More than one oil can provide balancing to one or more chakras.  That is why you may find different opinions of which oil to use for a chakra or meridian system.  Intention can be powerful when using aromatherapy.  If you’re using lavender to balance your throat chakra, and that is your intention it will work.  If you place it over your third eye (brow chakra), and your intention is to enhance vision and clarity, then lavender will help because it does those things too.

These oils can be placed over the EFT points, and then gently place your finger over the spot and hold for a minute or two, or until you feel yourself release tension.

Oils

LavenderThroat Chakra.  This oil helps on the emotional level of expression, speaking, listening, and being heard.  It helps relieve minor pain, itching, and minor burns.  Many people love it for its calming, sedative effects enabling a good night’s sleep.  It can be used alone or combined with another essential oil.  I find that when mixed with Bergamot, the stress reducing effects are heightened. 

Bergamot: Heart Chakra.  This oil also helps with sleep and is a potent stress reducer.  It is also beneficial for muscle cramps, joint pain, skin irritation, and fungus.  On the emotional-spiritual level it enhances one’s feeling of self-worth. 

CopaibaSolar Plexus: Supports the health of the cardiovascular, immune, digestive and respiratory systems.  It acts like a powerful antioxidant.  Helps calm, soothe, and support the nervous system.

It is beneficial for clear, smooth skin and reduces the appearance of blemishes.  The effects are enhanced when combined with black pepper.

BasilRoot Chakra. Basil is wonderful for clear, and healthy skin.  It promotes mental alertness and lessens anxious feelings when diffused in the air.  It supports the cardiovascular and nervous systems.  In Chinese Medicine basil is believed to support the adrenal glands and kidney health.

Black PepperBrow Chakra. It provides antioxidant support, promotes healthy circulation, aids digestion, and soothes anxious feelings.  It is warming, and soothing when used in massage therapy.  This oil should always be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut or sweet almond oil.

FrankincenseCrown Chakra. When in doubt try frankincense.  It can be used whenever you aren’t sure of what oil to choose.  It improves with age like a fine wine.  I find it works well for many chronic conditions.   Therefore, I often include this oil in many oil blends for a variety of conditions. 

It supports healthy cellular function, promotes feelings of relaxation, helps with skin issues when applied topically, it supports healthy immune, nervous, and digestive function.

Wild Orange: Sacral Chakra. Acts as a powerful cleanser and purifying agent, supports healthy immune function, and is uplifting to the mood.  It is often combined with cinnamon, jasmine, or clove to enhance libido, and sexuality.    

Wintergreen:  Supports sacral and root chakras.  Beneficial for joints, skeletal structure, has cortisone like effect without the side-effects because of the body’s own natural production is stimulated.  Analgesic effect is like aspirin.  It feels warming, and goes to the bladder, and kidney meridians.  It expels damp-cold bi syndrome for chronic low back problems. The main chemical component in Wintergreen is methyl salicylate, which provides soothing qualities. 

How to Use:

You can use a single oil by placing 1-2 drops in the palm of your hand and add a few drops of a carrier oil such as coconut oil, or sweet almond oil, rub palms together, and then rub over area of concern.  You can also rub over the chakra or chakras that need balancing.

You can mix a few drops from a few oils to create your own unique blend.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.

*Always discontinue if you notice skin irritation. 

Apply as needed.  For severe conditions you may apply frequently every 30 minutes, or every hour. Reducing to a maintenance use of twice daily as you improve.  Reduce frequency or dilute with more carrier oil if you are sensitive or discontinue. 

All these oils are fantastic for the emotions and lift the mood when diffused into the air.

Blends

Bergamot and Lavender:  Stress release, and joint pain.

Black Pepper and Copaiba:  For joints, low back, respiratory, or nervous system

Basil, Lavender, Frankincense: To calm the mind, reduce feelings of fear, and promotes self-confidence. Can improve cardiovascular health and reduce feelings of pain.

Wild orange and Frankincense: For swelling, fluid retention, digestion, and to boost feelings of abundance.

Wintergreen, basil, lavender:  For lower back, hips, and feet.  Emotionally helps one feel safe, and secure.

Why Turmeric and Turmeric Latte Recipe

Have you been wondering about whether or not you should take Turmeric because it was recommended by your doctor, or you have seen it advertised?  

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is an Indian spice and can be used as an herbal supplement.  It contains Curcumin, the primary chemical constituent that gives it its anti-inflammatory properties along with its yellow color.  It widely used as one of the spices in curry powder.  It has become very popular, and is widely recommended as a dietary aid for inflammation and pain.  Some people have questions about it, and they wonder whether or not they should be taking it.  It may help if I break down its uses, and clarify when it wouldn’t be appropriate for someone to take it.

In Chinese Medicine this herb is called Jiang Huang (Turmeric Rhizome) or Yu Jin (Curcuma root).  Jiang Huang has flavors that are spicy, bitter, and has an energetic warming affect on the body.  Yu Jin on the other hand is spicy, bitter, but cold. 

 

What is it used for?

This herb helps blood circulation, and breaks up coagulation that may be the cause of pain related to traumatic injury, arthritis, angina, and it helps speed healing.  It moves Qi-energy of the liver, which means that it protects the liver from toxins, has antioxidant qualities, lowers cholesterol, reduces menstrual pain, and  decongests the liver.  The bitter and warming qualities improves joint swelling, shrinks uterine tumors, dissolves gallstones, and improves ligament flexibility.    

The cold qualities of Yu Jin clears heat from the body, and it has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal actions.  

How to take it?

Dosage as a single herb is 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. daily.  It is best when taken along with cinnamon bark (Rou Gui) or cinnamon twig (Gui Zhi) for dysmenorrhea, or joint pain such as in the shoulders.  It is usually added as an adjunct herb to enhance effects for relieving menstrual pain in an herbal formula such as Bupleurum and Dang Gui (Xiao Yao Wan) for instance.

Is it good for everyone?

This herb is not for you if you have blood deficiency without stagnant Qi-energy or blood stasis.  

This means you don’t experience localized pain of a deep, sharp and piercing nature, and inflammation that is worse at night, that is swollen, or you don’t have palpable solid, immobile masses, dark complexion, purple lips, fragile dry hair and skin, a purple tongue with purple spots.  

If you feel weak, exhausted, have a pale complexion, experience light thin menstrual blood flow during your periods, dizziness, pale tongue or pale conjunctiva this herb is not for you.  

Caution:

Use caution if you are taking an anti-coagulant, anti-platelet medication.

I hope this helps?

Turmeric Latte Recipe

Ingredients

1 1/2 C water, almond milk, coconut milk, or rice milk

1 Tbsp. almond butter

1 tsp. organic honey

3/4 tsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

pinch of ground black pepper

1 drop turmeric essential oil

Instructions

Mix all ingredients until smooth.  Warm in a small pot.  Pour into a mug, sprinkle with cinnamon and Enjoy!

 

*How Herbs are Prescribed in Chinese Medicine

*Let me start by saying that using herbs and spices in your cooking for flavoring is not necessarily the same thing as taking them as an herbal supplement.  Although, there may be some dietary value, there is not necessarily a therapeutic value that comes with potency and dosage. The spices and herbs found in your spice isle of the supermarket are going to be of a different quality, grade, and concentration than that found in an herbal tea or supplement.  Chinese Herbalists use high quality pharmaceutical grade herbs with high potency and bio-availability along with correct species identification.  The dosage matters as well.  In addition, herbs aren’t typically given singly, they are compounded together in a balanced formula that may include anywhere from two to ten or more herbs.  This way each herb works in a synergistic manner, and counteracts any negative affects.  This is much safer than taking only one ingredient long term.  As an example, you will find quite often that fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang), honey-fried licorice (Zhi Gan Cao), and red dates (Da Zao) are added to formulas to protect your stomach, and to harmonize all of the ingredients together.  Chinese Angelica Root (Dang Gui) is often combined with Ligusticum (Chuan Xiong), and White Peony (Bai Shao) to nourish blood, regulate the movement of blood, and sooth PMS symptoms and pain without causing too much thinning of blood, hemorrhage, or blood stasis and coagulation.  The flavors of bitter, sweet, spicy, salty, or sour as well as the energetic temperature of hot, warm, cooling, cold, have beneficial qualities on the body.  The herb’s flavors and temperature are taken into consideration when choosing an appropriate herbal remedy per one’s constitution.  Curcumin (Yu Jin) is spicy, bitter and cooling on the body.  Thus, it may not be for everyone.  You would need to consult with an expert herbalist that can evaluate your constitutional pattern of disharmony and recommend an appropriate herbal formula.