Chinese Medicine, Summer and the Heart

Whether we are aware of it or not, each season can have a profound influence upon our health and well-being. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer is associated with the Fire element, which rules the heart and the small intestine, as well as thought processes and emotional well-being. Summer is a time of outgoingness and moving outward in nature and in our lives. The level of enjoyment we have during this season depends on the balance of the Fire element.

When the Fire element is in balance, the heart is strong and healthy, the mind is calm and sleep is sound. We experience enthusiasm and warmth in our relationships. When it is imbalanced, we may either lack joy (depression) or have an excess of joy (mania).

Signs and symptoms of a heart and small intestine imbalance according to Chinese Medicine:

Emotional: Anxiety, disturbed sleep, excessive dreams, inappropriate laughter, lack of joy or humor, lack of social warmth, mental confusion, overly critical approach to people and life, poor self-esteem, restlessness, sadness, etc.

Physical: Anemia, angina, digestive troubles, dizziness, easily startled, frozen shoulder, hemorrhoids, hot flashes, painful joints, insomnia, low or high blood pressure, palpitations, poor circulation, red cheeks, stiff neck, sweating problems, urinary problems, varicose veins, etc.

Acupuncture and the Heart

Over-activation of the sympathetic nervous system is common with patients who suffer from heart problems. Over time, this may cause the heart to work harder, forcing blood to flow through blood vessels that are constricted due to heightened nerve activity. Such over-activation makes it more likely that the heart will develop potentially lethal rhythm patterns.

Acupuncture can improve the health of patients who experience severe heart problems by dramatically reducing the activity in the sympathetic nervous system that regulates heartbeat and blood pressure. According to new research conducted by the International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience, acupuncture controls the heart rate and increases the strength of cardiac autonomic function. This new research indicates that the use of specific acupuncture points may help to prevent heart attacks and arrhythmias (abnormal muscle contractions in the heart). Talk to your acupuncturist if you are experiencing any of the emotional and physical the signs and symptoms that may relate to an imbalance of the heart.

Source: http://tcm.health-info.org

Acupuncture Media Works © 2012 Copyright, All rights reserved. The information contained within the Health WellNews newsletter is only used to educate and inform. This newsletter is not a substitute for the advice of a licensed and registered health care provider. Seek prompt attention for emergencies. Consult a health care provider for specific health concerns, and before starting a diet, cleanse or exercise routine.

Benefits of Walking Barefoot

Why does it feel so good to fall asleep on sand or lying on the earth looking up at the stars? According to Martin Zucker (author of Earthing), connecting your physical body to the flow of the earth's electric energy has been scientifically proven to promote healing and create a deep sense of well-being within us.

Zucker suggests that modern lifestyle has increasingly separated humans from this flow of subtle omnipresent energy of the earth. We wear insulative rubber or plastic-soled shoes that block the flow of energy and walk on concrete or asphalt. Current research has revealed that connecting to earth's energy creates an uplifting shift in our physiology. It harmonizes and stabilizes the body's basic biological rhythms, reduces and eliminates pain, knocks down (and even knocks out) chronic inflammation, promotes health, vitality and better sleep.

Summer is the perfect season for walking barefoot. Why not take advantage of good weather, grass and warm sand? Now is the time to take a bare step towards health!

Here is a list of benefits of walking barefoot:

  1. Improve Your Posture
    Poorly developed muscles in the feet can lead to bad posture, which is a major factor in developing back problems. Walking or running barefoot strengthens the muscles in the feet, calves, thighs and hips.
  2. Develop Here-and-Now Awareness
    Quieting the mind chatter can be challenging, unless you are engaged in an activity that requires you to be fully present. It is hard not to pay attention to every step when you're walking barefoot, you have to be on the look out for sharp rocks and thorns! This helps you focus on the present moment.
  3. It's a Free Reflexology Session
    There are many reflex points that correlate to every part of your body in your feet. When you walk barefoot, these little pressure points get stimulated naturally with the help of every little bump and rock in the road, which enhance the natural healing process of our bodies.
  4. Increase Sensory Experiences
    There are distinct differences between walking on sand, grass, wood or asphalt. By wearing shoes all the time, we are missing out on the sensory experiences we can pick up with our feet. The world becomes truly three-dimensional when we can sense more with our feet.
  5. Improve Mental/Emotional Health
    It is probably not a coincidence that most exercises involving mental concentration are done barefoot such as: martial arts, yoga and tai chi. Walking barefoot and connecting to earth's energy can help decrease anxiety and depression and increase the levels of those feel good endorphins.
  6. Balance the Body's Electrical Systems
    Our bodies are made up of about 60 % water, which is great for conducting electricity. Walking barefoot can also help recharge and re-balance our body's natural internal 'electrical systems' as well as promoting an ionic balance within our cells and tissues.
  7. Improve Sleep Patterns
    Our ancestors had an intimate relationship with the earth. They slept close to it; either on plant-based bedding or the ground itself. Homes were made of stone or some other conductive material. Barefooting regularly can give your body an opportunity to calibrate its physiological rhythms with the earth's, which can help improve sleep.

Resources:
http://courageousmind.blogspot.com/2011/07/health-benefits-of-walking-barefoot.html
http://www.townsendletter.com/May2010/earthing0510.html
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/wc/stephanie-slon

Seven Ways to Improve Your Heart Health

Every day we have an opportunity to make different choices that can hinder or support emotional and physical well-being. Below is a list of ideas to consider for heart health:

  • Aim to eat out less this month. You have more control over the quality of the ingredients, cooking methods and the portion size of your food if you cook at home or pack lunch for work.
  • Make an effort to read food labels and watch out for trans fats, which increase your blood cholesterol.
  • Increase your intake of vegetables and fruits by at least 5 servings per week. These foods contain disease-fighting antioxidants and heart-healthy fiber, which are all friends of the heart.
  • Have the goal of increasing your physical activity by 10 minutes per day to lower blood pressure, keep weight off and reduce your risk of developing coronary artery disease.
  • Give yourself some down time. Stress is associated with high blood pressure and unhealthy activities such as smoking, drinking or overeating.
  • Add more fun into your life. In traditional chinese medicine, heart is the seat of the soul and joy is the most nutritious ingredient you can consume for heart health.
  • Consider regular acupuncture sessions while you are making small changes for emotional and physical support. You don't have to do it alone!

Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada


Cool Cucumber and Black Bean Summer Salad

Organic produce is highly recommended.

  • 1 English cucumber , diced
  • 15 ounce can black beans , drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounce can corn , drained
  • ½ red onion , chopped
  • 1 garlic clove , minced 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper

Drain the corn and the beans well and mix everything in a bowl and serve. Great alone, as a salsa for chips, or on a taco salad! Feel free to add a tablespoon of olive oil as well.

Note: If you find red onions and garlic a little too intense, separately microwave them for 20-30 seconds or longer depending on the strength of your microwave, and then add them to the mix.

Source: http://low-cholesterol.food.com