Timing Is Everything

According to TCM, all of our organs are on a set schedule. Certain times of the day are when certain organs are at thei optimal. 

Follow the schedule below as best as you can for good health:

  • Poop between the hours of 5-7AM.
  • Eat breakfast between 7-9AM.
  • Eat lunch between 11-1PM.
  • Eat dinner between 5-7PM. Don’t eat after 7PM. Give your body at least 12 hours of fasting time before breakfast to promote ketogenesis.

Try this out and notice how much more efficiently your body runs.

Stress Inflammation Pain, Part 3

Diet plays a very important role on how our bodies feel. The huge spike in chronic pain cases is indicative of a society embracing a diet that is harmful to our bodies. From poor diet, a condition, described as “dampness in the body,” becomes a problem in the body. Why? Well, let us discuss what damp is.

According to TCM (traditional Chinese Medicine), damp is a condition of the body when things become sticky and dense and heavy. Because of this viscous material in the body, things are not able to circulate properly in the body, such as blood and/or qi (energy). When things are stuck, the body reacts by trying to either push through the blockage or avoiding it all together. When the body tries to push force the blockage out, it uses a lot of energy and sends a lot of qi and blood to the site of the problem. When this happens, it is similar to an overheating car trying to go up a steep climb. In the body, it is recognized as inflammation. Other times, the body will give up after a time and stop feeding qi and blood to the area which results in weakness and numbness in the area.

Now that we have discussed how dampness in the body can create inflammation and pain, let’s talk about how dampness becomes created in the first place.

Dampness comes a from a dysfunctional digestive system.

Your digestive system can be broken due to:

  • not eating enough
  • eating too much
  • many years of eating heavy, greasy and nutritionally empty foods
  • long term illness
  • sedentary lifestyle

Ways you can tell if you are suffering from dampness within the body is:

  • you wake up feeling heavy and sluggish
  • you have cystic acne
  • you catch colds easily
  • allergies
  • you’re tired all day, fatigue
  • overweight
  • you have to use a lot of tissue to wipe after each bowel movement
  • congestion

Foods to avoid when there is damp in the body: meat, dairy, eggs, sugar, refined flours, and processed foods.

For a more complete diet guideline, please go to your nearest acupuncturist. The reason for this is because there are a variety of reasons you may have developed dampness in the body and it may also manifest itself in a variety of ways. For instance, you have dampness in the body with heat symptoms, you may also need to avoid spicy foods. But if you have dampness with cold symptoms, you will need to avoid raw food or cold food.

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment.

Stress Inflammation Pain, Part 1

I had just been to a Nutrition and Health Seminar at UCLA. This seminar inspired me to briefly talk about inflammation. But before we talk about inflammation, we must talk about stress.

Stress leads to inflammation. Now when most people think of stress, they think about emotional stress. But stress that leads to inflammation is not limited to emotional stress. For instance, when you drink too much, that is placing stress on your body. When you eat too much junk food, that is putting stress on your body. When you smoke, when you binge watch TV, when you sleep only two hours, etc. All of this, creates stress upon the body. And as stated before, stress leads to inflammation.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, inflammation is viewed as a heat issue. When one has inflammation, there is swelling, redness, and heat. This unmanaged heat tends to lead to pain. Why? Your body is working over time to make things better but because you’ve been taxing your body too much, it doesn’t know how to do it properly.

Have you ever been given too much to do at work with impossible deadlines? And when you thought that you were just managing it, work gives you another to add to the load. Anger is usually the first reaction. Anger is also a heat condition. Much like an angry, overworked employee, your body reacts in a similar fashion by way of inflammation.

Did you know that 117 million adults in the US suffer from one or more chronic conditions? Did you know that hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year to treat chronic diseases? Did you know that the majority of chronic diseases are preventable? And did you know that chronic diseases are essentially inflammation?

117 million people in the US suffer from inflammation in the body. And most suffering from inflammation could have prevented it. How could we let this happen? It’s simple. Though we as humans have evolved slowly, technology has evolved at an incalculable rate. We must get things now. Whether it’s news or food, we must get it now. Patience has become a lost virtue. And because of this, we have lost the patience for our bodies to naturally heal itself. We look to “quick fixes”. Overweight? Take a pill for that. Have pain? Take a pill for that. Insomnia? Take a pill for that. These pills, though they help relieve ailments temporarily, they will not cure. Whatever you suffer from, will come back.

PTSD and Acupuncture

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. This traumatic event can damage the mind and body because it shook the foundations of the very soul. Unfortunately, there is not much that western medicine can offer to help those suffering from PTSD except give them anti-depressants. But did you know that anti-depressants have many side-effects, some of which can render a person completely numb and devoid of feelings and in worse case scenarios more depression (prozac, zoloft, risperdal, lamictal, valium)? After all they have been through, do we want such sufferers to go on barely existing?

And yes, PTSD sufferers are offered psychotherapy as a mode of treatment. But there is a flaw to this. Though there are PTSD patients ranging from all demographics, most are known to be soldiers. The military culture does not promote soldiers to get psychotherapy or any other such help. It would be perceived as a weakness. Veterans of older generations (Vietnam War, Korean War) do not help this view of weakness either because they criticize the Iraq War veterans for being “pansies” and “whiners” or because they believe that they had it harder than the younger generation. With this constant backlash from fellow soldiers and veterans, how is offering psychotherapy going to help a soldier in need? They already have difficulty admitting that they have PTSD, let alone admitting that they need help for it.

PTSD is a symptom of soldiers continuing to be soldiers. They may not be at war but they continue to fight a war within. We must also recognize that each soldier’s trauma stems from different events and must not be compared with others.

“It f**kin’ pisses me off when I hear other guys [Army soldiers] comparing their time in Iraq with mine. They act like they know me when they don’t know sh*t.” -Army Iraq War Veteran

In the above quote, the veteran was explaining to me how frustrated he was that those who had been safely ensconced in the back during the war, dared to compare their experiences of Iraq when he had been in the front line watching his brothers die. Though it may not be a fair on his part to compare his time with the others, but this is the typical feeling amongst most soldiers. They feel angry and withdrawn all the time. Their good and bad days come erratically like waves crashing against the rocks. Some withdraw into themselves feeling guilty (sometimes because they killed someone or because they survived and their fellow soldier didn’t). Some overly boast about their conquests. Some are just plain angry. However they deal with it, the root of the cause is the same: war was traumatic.

So how do you treat these proud soldiers who need help? The answer comes in the form of ear acupuncture. Ear acupuncture is very effective at calming the nervous system down thus relieving stress and pain. An added benefit is that there are few needles and because they are in the ear, patients cannot see them, which reduces any chance of adding to their trauma. The other benefit of ear acupuncture for PTSD is that it does not require the soldier to have to talk about their feelings. They can chooses to speak about their experiences or they can merely sit or lie there with the needles for 30 meditative minutes. One soldier I treated told me that it was the first time in a long time that they had ever felt so calm since being in the service. It helped them to let go.

If you or anybody you know needs treatment for PTSD or you are curious about it, please contact me at 562-473-5371 and ask for Grace.

Graceful Points