What I've Learned About Traditional Chinese Medicine | Try My Special Blend this Sunday!
Happy Fall y’all! It’s finally my favorite season in Dallas! If you’re reading my post, then I hope that you’ve been moving the needle along your health journey. My wish is for everyone to find solutions and methods to help heal and strengthen the mind, body, and spirit. This season I’m so stoked to be taking part in Root to Rise, a wellness experience designed to help you rejuvenate and plant your intentions. The Fall Equinox has been begun and so we recognize the New Moon as a time to re-align and complete our resolutions.
🌙 This full wellness experience includes:
- Meditation + Yoga Flow
- Sound Healing with Crystal Bowls
- Traditional Chinese Medicine-inspired Treats
- Swag Bags
A new moon represents the start of a new lunar cycle, it symbolizes new beginnings for goals + projects. The nights will get longer and the days shorter. 🌱 Root to Rise offers therapeutic practices to help you reset your intentions and other physiological vitals such as digestion, emotional state and circadian rhythms. This is your time to focus on your goals. Special thanks to our sponsors:
As of late, I’ve been studying and self-starting my own research on TCM, or Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM is essentially an alternative style of medicine that has been around for over 3,000 years. Various methods of TCM include acupuncture, cupping, herbal medicine, gua sha massage, qigong, tai chi, etc. TCM has been used to treat ailments such as arthritis, depression, fertility, skin irritations, joint pain, seasonal illnesses, IBS, insomnia, chronic pain and much more. It is said that TCM is rooted in Eastern Philosophy (Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism) and was developed over time as practitioners modified the techniques. For example, acupuncture became highly developed in China through the acknowledgement that symptoms could be treated by selected therapy points in the body. There are many interesting theories as to how acupuncture was discovered. But they all point to the idea that a sharp utensil could essentially create healing in another part of the body.
Although TCM and other holistic methods have been controversial, the reality is that modern medicine and eastern medicine have always had their differences. In my opinion, I believe that these silos have provided the world with amazing discoveries and techniques, but one day, both will merge. It is already happening now and sometimes known as integrative medicine.
What I like about TCM and what I’m learning is that herbs and foods are truly oriented to help you heal. There are so many combinations that can treat a multitude of conditions. I find it fascinating that we know more prescription brands than herbs! I can embrace the value of TCM because I like the idea that the properties found in many superfoods like nuts and fruits can help reduce illness and improve specific conditions.
In celebration of the new moon and the harvest season, I’ve selected special ingredients to provide all participants of Root to Rise a healthy post-class blend to help you re-fuel! All of the ingredients were inspired by the world of TCM and curated for the Fall Equinox.
*Please note that this post is rooted in good intentions and as I am no doctor, I advise you to use your best judgement, follow your heart, and remain open minded.
TCM Treats: Warm + Neutral
Goji Berry 枸杞子 | Neutral ingredient great for treating yin deficiency. Also good for anti-aging, improving eyesight, and increasing white blood cells. Enters the liver, kidney and lung meridians.
Mulberry 桑 | Possessing a bitter and sour taste, it is very helpful for Yin deficiency, considered a cool fruit. (Remember that foods can be “warm” or “cool”!) Promotes health in the heart, kidney and liver which makes it great for the Fall season. Cleanses the body, good for constipation, removes impurities, nourishes Yin.
Persimmon 柿子 | flesh, leaves, and stem are completely okay to eat. Very high in fiber and they help to nourish yin energy, treat cough, digestion and high blood pressure. Good for the lungs, removes pathogenic heat, contains tons of antioxidants.
Mango 芒果 | Cool temperature, sweet fruit that helps circulate Qi, clears heat, tonifies yin. Also enters the stomach, lung and spleen meridians.
Ginger Chew 干姜 | A heat ingredient known for it’s sweet and pungent flavors. Tonifies yang, regulates Qi and blood, removes cold in the body. Enters multiple meridians such as large and small intestine, urinary bladder, heart, lung, spleen and stomach.
Walnut 核桃 | Warm temperature with a sweet taste. Tonifies kidney Qi, helps with bowel movement as well as brain function. Removes phlegm and cold from the body. Considered an Eastern and Western superfood!
Almond 杏仁 | A neutral food according to TCM, used to enter the lung and large intestine meridians. Also relieves asthma and cough. Great for digestion and brain function as well. Perfect for the Fall.
Pumpkin Seed 南瓜子 | A warm and sweet ingredient used to remove parasites in the body. Targets the stomach and large intestine meridians. Can be combined with other herbs to treat intestinal illnesses. Detoxifies the body, tonifies the Qi and blood.
A Crash Course on TCM: What I Know So Far
In TCM, there are 3 components that help the body function.
The first is the 5 Fundamental Substances of the body:
Qi | Vital Life Force
Xue | Blood
Jinye | Body Fluids
Jing | Essence
Shen | Spirit or Mind
The second component is called Zang Fu which includes 5 zang organs and 6 fu organs. Zang is yin and Fu is yang, so both correlate with one another like pairs.
Jing Lua is the third, it makes up the 12 Principal Meridians, or channels in which the Qi flows through.
These functions are all interconnected and are associated with Cardinal Functions to help protect and maintain the body:
The Zang Fu operate on a Wu Xing Cycle, and make their way through Five Elements or Phases which are essentially cosmos or seasons. The goal is to have harmony among the elements:
Summer | Fire | Bitter
Late Summer Harvest | Earth | Sweet
Autumn | Metal | Spicy
Winter | Water | Salty
Spring | Wood | Sour
Eastern Medicine is complex, but what intrigues me is that an individual is not diagnosed based off the symptom but rather a pattern of disharmony. A diagnoses is given based off 8 Principles in TCM:
Yin | Cold
Yang | Heat
Interior | Internal
Exterior | External
Heat | Seeks Coolness
Cold | Seeks Warmth
Deficiency | Lack Of
Excess | Too Much Of
Causes of disease are classified into 3 categories:
External | Bad QI and 6 Excesses: Wind, Cold, Heat, Dryness, Dampness, Summer Heat
Internal | 7 Emotions: Anger, Fear, Anxiety, Fright, Grief, Pensiveness, Joy
Other Causes due to diet, parasite, etc.
The 4 Methods of Diagnoses are:
TCM is a very intricate, complex and fascinating study and I’m learning new ways to treat my body through diet and other self checks. I hope to share again new updates in the Winter and ways that you can improve your overall wellness. Here are some things to keep in mind this Fall:
Respect the Seasons | TCM Tips for the Fall
Yin = Fall, Winter
Yang = Summer, Spring
Autumn represents the metal element and spicy flavors. health wise, most of our focus is going to be on the lungs and large intestines. We also need to keep in mind that eating seasonally is key. We are part of nature and that’s the beautiful thing about TCM and the environment. The earth provides for us!
Clear out your home
Focus on re-organizing and completing undone projects
Anything you have on your heart, emotions kept inside, injustices or painful memories must be released. It’s unhealthy to hold onto grief and sadness and only creates a carousel of dysfunction in your life, leading to illness.
Be especially careful with your lungs and digestion. Lungs breath in and the large intestine pushes out. So we have this yin and yang connection.
Notice symptoms of asthma, IBS or other bowel conditions. Balance life by being mindful of pathogens due to climate changes and stress.
Wear scarfs, keep a lot of blankets and socks handy, keep the body and your kidneys warm.
Marrows, squash, garlic, cinnamon, ginger are good for the season.
Soups, teas, porridges, oatmeal and curries are good meals that warm you.
Eat lots of nuts and eat seasonally!