EYS TCM Clinic

Keep An Eye On The Ball – And Your Health – This World Cup

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Keep An Eye On The Ball – And Your Health – This World Cup
Health hazards of staying up late

World Cup season is upon us! Are you one of those hardcore fans who would loath to miss a single match? Staying up late is all well and good if you don’t do it too often.

Ask yourself the following questions — Are you becoming more forgetful recently? Are you experiencing delayed reactions? Do you face difficulties with making good judgments? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be suffering from increased lethargy, irritability, and an inability to concentrate due to a lack of rest.

You may ask, “What’s the big deal?”

A lack of sleep is actually a bigger deal than you’d think. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke.

To add to that, uncontrollable snacking and an increased intake of alcohol while catching the World Cup with your friends can take a toll on your cardiovascular system. Snacks such as peanuts and potato chips have high salt content and can lead to an increase in blood pressure, while alcohol contributes to an increase in blood pressure and heart rate.

Staying up late also interferes with the production of melatonin, a hormone that acts as a strong oxidant and prevents the loss of collagen in our skin. This can lead to obvious eye bags, and poor skin elasticity, resulting in wrinkled, saggy, and dull skin.

Health hazards of staying up late, according to TCM

From the perspective of TCM, pulling all-nighters not only affects your concentration and memory, you also face a higher risk of falling sick. Sleep deprivation potentially depletes your Yin fluids which is crucial to the nourishment of the body — with Yin in deficiency, Yang will be in excess.

This results in increased heatiness, which subsequently leads to symptoms such as excessive thirst, dryness or bitterness in the mouth, ulcers, and throat irritation. A lack of Yin can also lead to a lacklustre complexion.

Pay attention to how your body reacts to external factors, and what’s going on inside you. Treat these signs seriously and take action accordingly.

Tips to stay healthy
1. Be disciplined and set your own curfews

According to proponents of TCM, the optimal time for a deep sleep is between 11pm and 3am. Staying up past 11pm would prevent the regeneration of liver Yin and blood. This would lead to excessive ‘heat’ building up in the liver, which is characterized by:

  • dizziness

  • distending sensation in the head

  • a headache on the temples

  • ringing in the ears or sudden deafness

  • red, swollen or painful eyes

  • bitter or dry taste in the mouth

  • red or flushed face

  • irascibility, fits of anger

  • insomnia

  • strong or vivid dreams

  • dark or scanty urine; and

  • constipation

2. Next best alternative to alcohol

While it is common for World Cup fans to crack open a can of ice-cold beer while watching the match, we’d like to recommend healthier alternatives to keep your blood pressure and heart rate down. Try brewing a Chrysanthemum & Peppermint Tea, or preparing a bowl of Snow Pear Soup White Fungus Lily Bulb instead. These two beverages have additional benefits — the former contains Chrysanthemum that clears heat while Peppermint clears the mind and improves thinking during the day; the latter can effectively moisten the lungs and increase Yin. A mixture of lily bulbs and lotus seeds can also calm the mind, promoting better sleep. Here are some easy recipes you can try:

a. Snow Pear Soup with White Fungus, Lily Bulb 百合银耳雪梨汤

Ingredients:

  • Dried lily bulbs: 50g

  • White fungus: 1 head

  • Snow pear: 1

  • Lotus seeds: 50g

  • Rock sugar: 50g – 80g

  • Water: 1.5 litre

Quantities can be varied to individual liking

Preparation:

a. Soak the white fungus and dried lily bulbs in water overnight.
b. Cut the snow pear and soaked white fungus into smaller pieces.
c. Add water to a pot and place lily bulbs, white fungus, and lotus seeds into the pot.
d. After boiling, use low fire to cook for one hour.
e. Add in the cut pieces of snow pear and rock sugar.
f. Continue cooking until the pear and white fungus becomes soft.

b. Chrysanthemum & Peppermint Tea 菊花薄荷茶

Ingredients:

  • Chrysanthemum flower: 4-5 pieces

  • Peppermint leaves: 5-10 pieces

Preparation:

a. Place both ingredients into a cup

b. Add hot water and cover for 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Relieve tensions with Acupressure Point Massage

While your eyes are glued to that TV screen, the long hours of physical inactivity can take a serious toll on your back. It can result in stiffness of the back, tension in your neck and shoulders, and even severe headaches. These conditions could even worsen if your team is playing poorly, or if the game goes down to the wire — anxiety is a great trigger for muscle tension and old pain patterns.

If you find yourself in this situation, instead of popping a pill, try Acupressure point massage. Sit back and apply pressure to specific pressure points to unblock the meridians and let the “qi” flow through your body. With these 6 simple Acupressure point massages, you can now relieve those tensions that have been hindering your World Cup experience:

a. San Yin Jiao (SP6) – SP6 is located 4 finger widths above the inner ankle, behind the tibia. Massaging this point can tonify Yin of the spleen, liver and kidney systems.

b. Tai Chong (LV3) – LV3 is found on the foot about two finger widths above the area where the skin of the big toe and second toe join. Massaging this point helps to calm the liver and reduces excessive liver Yang.
c. Zu San Li (ST36) – ST36 is located 4 finger widths below the knee, and 1 finger width outside the shin bone. Massaging this point can tonify the spleen and increase immunity.
d. Baihui (DU20), Taiyang (EX3), Fengchi (GB20) – These points are found on the head. Massaging them specifically can increase blood circulation to the head and increase alertness during the day. Baihui (DU20) is located on the intersection between the midline of the head and the line joining the apex of the ears.
e. Taiyang (EX3) – EX3 is found at the temples of the head, in a depression about 1 thumb width posterior to the midpoint between the outer end of the eyebrow and the outer canthus of the eye.
f. Fengchi (GB20) – GB20 is located at the depression between 2 major muscles (sternocleidomastoid muscle and the trapezius) at the back of the neck, at the base of the skull.

4. Choose Healthier Snacks and Drinks

If sleeping late has become inevitable during this season, you may want to counteract these potential health conditions by drinking more water during the day and incorporate more leafy vegetables and a variety of fruits into your diet. It is best to avoid eating fried and oily food for the time being as these foods are known to cause the body to become excessively heaty.

Sleepy? We know what comes to your mind first is probably a cup of joe or a can of Red Bull. Although stimulants such as caffeine may help keep you awake during the day, it can also affect your sleep cycle if it is taken too late in the evening. As such, you may want to consider taking some American ginseng tea instead, which can nourish Yin and invigorate Qi to boost your mental alertness and immunity. A win-win situation!

As you partake in the soccer fever, do not let that take a toll on your health. Keep yourself hydrated, well-rested and keep to a nutritional diet to help you stay in top form, all day and night!


Related Articles

Post-Treatment Care Guide

Acupuncture and cupping are common techniques used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to address a wide range of health conditions. It is vital to take proper care of yourself after undergoing acupuncture/cupping/scraping treatment. 

To optimise the benefits of your acupuncture or cupping session and minimise potential side effects, follow these essential aftercare guidelines:

1. Rest and Unwind:

After your session, prioritize relaxation and avoid strenuous activities, exercise, or heavy lifting for at least 24 hours. Intense activities may interfere with the therapeutic effects of the treatment.

2. Hydration is Key:

Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of warm water post-session. This aids in flushing out toxins and rehydrating your muscles and tissues.

3. Keep Warm:

Cover treated areas or dress warmly to support your body's healing process. When necessary, consider warm compresses for pain relief, and avoid drafts, exposure to direct wind, or cold temperatures. Cupping opens pores and channels, making the body susceptible to external elements like wind and cold. 

4. Mind Your Diet:

Refrain from dairy, processed meats, sugary foods, alcoholic beverages, and caffeine for at least 24 hours post-treatment, as they may hinder the healing process.

5. Monitor Symptoms:

Be aware of the benefits, side effects, and overall experience. Your feedback is valuable for both you and your practitioner.

6. Self-Care Practices:

Incorporate self-care activities such as meditation, gentle stretching, and deep breathing exercises into your daily routine to sustain the advantages of your session.

7. No Swimming for the Day:

Avoid swimming for the remainder of the day to prevent dampness and getting chilled, which can counteract the benefits of the session.

8. Steer Clear of Hot Therapies:

Avoid hot showers, saunas, and hot tubs after treatment, as they may exacerbate inflammation or bruising.

9. Sun Protection:

Refrain from direct sun exposure for 24 hours post-treatment, as your skin may be more sensitive and prone to sunburn.

10. Avoid Driving if Lightheaded:

If you feel lightheaded or giddy, refrain from driving. Rest until you feel better or let someone else take the wheel.


As with any medical treatment, acupuncture and cupping may have some potential side effects. Here are some possible side effects to be aware of:

  • Soreness or Bruising: Mild soreness or bruising at the treatment site, which should subside within a few days. 

(Note: The cupping marks are the results of stagnation which can include dead blood cells, old lymph fluid, and toxins that the body has not been able to eliminate via its circulatory system. )

  • Dizziness or Light-Headedness: Some may experience dizziness or light-headedness during or after treatment. It is a temporary sensation due to changes in blood pressure or circulation.

  • Fatigue and Drowsiness: Normal response as treatments stimulate the nervous system and promote relaxation.

  • Minor Bleeding: Acupuncture needles may cause minor bleeding, especially on acupoints on the head/face as many capillaries lie below the skin of the face. Cupping may cause skin irritation or even blisters.

  • Emotional Release:  Treatments like acupuncture and cupping can sometimes trigger an emotional release like emotional, tearful, or overwhelmed. This is a normal response to the stimulation of certain points in the body and can be an important aspect of the healing process.

We encourage you to embrace these aftercare guidelines for a holistic and effective recovery. If you experience any concerns, reach out to our physicians for support. Your well-being is our priority.

Fight The Flu With TCM

In TCM, flu is perceived as an invasion of a body by external pathogenic factors (邪气), brought about by seasonal changes. The battle between pathogenic factors and the body’s immunity, also known as Vital Qi (正气) results in the exhibition of symptoms like runny nose, cough, dry throat and fever.

The six external pathogenic factors are the wind, cold, summer heat, damp, dryness and fire heat. They arise from abnormal changes in the weather or climate, and can occur in combinations. The two most common ones are the wind-cold flu (风寒感冒) and the wind-heat flu (风热感冒).

Wind-cold flu
  • Occurs more frequently during cold weathers or environments.

  • Running nose with clear mucus, severe aversion to cold, chills, fever, little or no sweating, cough with clear phlegm etc.

 

Treatments are aimed at expelling out the heat and cooling the body. Examples of herbs which are used include Fructus Forsythiae (lian qiao, 连翘) and Flos Lonicera (honeysuckle flower, 金银花).

Self-help home remedies

Note: As discussed above, treatments vary a lot when dealing with different types of flu patterns in TCM, so it is important to have a correct diagnosis of your own condition before proceeding with any remedies.

1) Ginger Tea

  • For patients suffering from the wind-cold flu pattern

  • Ingredients:10g Ginger, 10 to 15g Brown Sugar

  • Preparation: Slice the ginger and simmer in boiling water with the lid closed for 5 to 10 minutes. Add in brown sugar after. Drink while it is hot.

2) Chrysanthemum Flowers Tea

  • For patients suffering from wind-heat flu pattern

  • Ingredients: 6g Chrysanthemum flowers, 6g Mulberry leaves, 3g Wolfberry fruit

  • Preparation: Simmer the flowers and leaves in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. Add in the wolfberry fruits. Drink when cooled.

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. With a stronger body resistance, one will be less susceptible to falling sick. It is vital to strengthen one’s body immune system, especially during the season of haze or influenza. Here are some tips!

  1. Always stay hydrated. A minimum of 8 cups or 1.9 litres of water is recommended.

  2. Exercise regularly. Simple jogging or swimming 3 to 4 times a week can help to ensure good blood circulation and a smooth flow of Qi in your body.

  3. Have adequate sleep. Have at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night to recharge our body.

  4. Have a balanced diet. Avoid spicy, fried and oily foods to prevent one from getting heaty. Avoid cold drinks. According to TCM, cold drinks and food can hurt our digestive system.

  5. Ensure adequate intake of fibre foods high in fibre and constantly replenish fluids to ensure smooth bowel movement.

  6. Herbs like wild American ginseng and cordyceps are known to help boost the body’s vital Qi and improve the respiratory (lung) functions. Having a luohan fruit tea regularly can also help to clear the lung heat and replenish the body’s yin.

NOTE: In TCM, there is rarely a one-size-fit-all solution, even for people with the same condition their prescriptions are likely to be different due to different root cause and body constitution. For a more detailed diagnosis and treatment, one should consult a registered TCM physician. It is also advisable to consult a TCM physician for any herbal consumption or acupressure massage if one is pregnant.

Natural Rhythm of Yin & Yang in Our Body

Sleep is an essential part of your life. It is not only a form of rest, but a physiological function that helps your body to recharge and perform at its best the next day.

In TCM, sleep is part of the natural rhythm of Yin and Yang in the body. In the concept of Yin-Yang, Yin represents passive forces while Yang represents active forces. TCM classic The Spiritual Axis (Lingshu, 灵枢) uses the Yin-Yang concept to explain sleep in chapter 28. It is said that “when Yang is depleting and Yin is abundant, one’s eyes are closed. When Yin is depleting and Yang is predominant, one is awake.”

Sleep is also believed to be regulated by the cycle of Protective Qi (Wei Qi) and Nutritive Qi (Ying Qi). Protective Qi flows along Yang meridians for 25 rounds during the daytime and circulates through the Yin meridians for another 25 rounds at night. The cycle in the day enables the body to be active and awake, while the cycle at night enables the body to rest and recharge.

Sleep is a part of the Shen activities which function in the day and cease during the night to allow the Heart, Liver, Spleen, Lung and Kidney meridians to rest and recharge. You will be able to sleep well when the Shen is rooted and rested, but your sleep will be affected if the Shen is disturbed.

Ideal Time to Sleep

 

In TCM, Qi flows through 12 principal meridians within the body in a 24-hour cycle. When Qi flows through a specific principal meridian, it takes around 2 hours to vitalise and strengthen the organ system associated to that particular meridian before continuing to subsequent meridians.

The ideal time to sleep in accordance to the meridian clock is by 11pm. If your sleep is disturbed at a certain hour repeatedly, it is an indication that the paired organ system may require your attention.

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