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Natural Rhythm of Yin & Yang in Our Body

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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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Drug-free Pain Management

The most common types of pain that TCM Physician Chen Tong Mei sees are those that occur in the neck, shoulders, knees and wrists. She is a graduate of one of Beijing’s top universities specialising in acupuncture and bone-related injuries. She also has a Master’s in TCM from the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, and now practises at the Woodlands branch of Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic, where this interview took place.

“These are problematic areas because of people’s bad posture when standing, sitting or carrying heavy objects,” she reveals “Nowadays, people are addicted to playing games on their mobile devices, which can cause their necks to stiffen. The youngest patient I have is about eight years old. Even when I was giving him treatment, he couldn’t stop playing with his video games!”

How Pain Arises

According to Physician Chen, there are two reasons that explain the causes of pain: pain caused by obstruction, and pain caused by weak qi, blood, liver or kidney. No matter the cause, it is possible for us to experience swelling, piercing, damp, stretching, cold or warm pains.

Physician Chen believes that pain can affect every area and organ of the body. “TCM is best at managing pains caused by the nerves through acupuncture, scraping, tuina, star needles, and cupping,” she insists. “The effects of these treatments are very positive. However, other conditions, such as inflammations and bone spurs, are probably better left to Western medicine.”

TCM is best at managing pains caused by the nerves through acupuncture, scraping, tuina, star needles, and cupping.

Treatment Options

As mentioned earlier, there are several ways that TCM manages pain, such as cupping, acupuncture, tuina, star needling, or intranasal light therapy.

As Physician Chen points out, the benefits of acupuncture is far-reaching and can aid many ailments. “For less severe pains, the patients can go for scraping treatments. For deeper pains, cupping is the more recommended treatment,” she advises.

Physician Chen adds that pain caused by treatments can be alleviated by intranasal light therapy. “On top of that, we use star needles on the affected area. Even though it may draw blood, it is part of the treatment.”

Lifestyle Adjustment

Physician Chen emphasises that while receiving TCM treatment for pain, the patient should remain physically active. That’s because exercising is the only way to loosen the muscles around the affected area, which decreases the risk of the pain recurring.

“Basically, pain is usually caused by low blood flow to the affected area. This causes the nerves to become unstable. That’s why, during treatment, physicians will prescribe medication to patients to encourage blood flow, relax veins and soothes nerves, Physician Chen reveals.

Another tip to control pain is to consume food items that eases pain naturally.

Ginger/ Indian Curry / Chili Padi

These contain turmeric, which can ease the pain patients are experiencing. Menstruating women should drink ginger tea with brown sugar to ease menstrual pains.

Omega 3

Research shows that Omega-3 in deep-sea fishes is great against inflammations, rheumatism, arthritis and migraines.

Coffee

Coffee disrupts the function of pain receptors, thus allowing you to feel less pain. However, this is only useful for individuals who do not drink coffee often.

Berries/Cherries

Strawberries, cherries and blackberries rival the effects of medications such as aspirin, and can improve your immune system and soothe inflammation.

This is an extract of an article by Lisa-Ann Lee that first appeared in NATURA Issue 4. Find NATURA at Eu Yan Sang retail outlets, newsstands and major bookstores in Singapore.


From 1 Mar 2024 till 31 May 2024, new patients can enjoy a physician consultation & pain relief acupuncture treatment at S$68* nett.

*Terms and conditions apply

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.

Covid-19 in TCM’s Point of View

Over the past thousands of years of Chinese history, TCM has battled against hundreds of plagues that led to the accumulation of effective treatments and prevention methods to alleviate the symptoms experienced. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as we experience today, is also classified as a “plague”.

Unlike a common flu that is caused by common pathogenic factors (e.g. wind, cold, heat, humidity, dryness and fire), plague is often associated with dampness and toxin pathogens. Currently, the clinical observations in China have shown that COVID-19 is commonly caused by the interactions of dampness, toxin, heat, and stasis, of which dampness being the most dominate pathogenic factor.

For mild to moderate stages of COVID-19, the common symptoms observed are low fever, tiredness, dry cough, muscle ache, nausea or diarrhea. The common syndrome is “lung with dampness toxin retention” and hence the TCM treatment principle is to eliminate exterior pathogens, heat and dampness, detoxify and invigorate the spleen.

Why do some people have it worst then? This is because COVID-19 is a disease that presents itself in different stages. For the critical stages, the toxin further attacks the lung and heart, at worst blocking the vital organ’s function and resulting in the collapse of yang qi in the body. This results in high fever, shortness of breath, unconsciousness, multiple functional failure and shock. The treatment principle at this critical stage aims to ventilate lung qi, remove heat to restore consciousness and to recuperate the yang qi.

Here are some tips to help with your recovery from Covid-19.
Do:
consume smaller meal portions at the beginning and slowly increase portion as your appetite returns.
Start off with food that are easy to digest, for example diluted porridge.

Incorporate other nutritious food as you regain appetite, such as thicker porridge, fish meat and chicken soup.

Tips: To remove excess dampness and strengthen your spleen, you can boil lotus leaves in water first and use this water to later cook your porridge. You can also add Chinese barley (薏苡仁), Chinese yam (山药), lotus seed (莲子), tangerine peel (陈皮) and Qian Shi (芡实) into your diet too.

Don’t:
over-consume cold and raw food such as fruits and salads, spicy and oily food as it will trap dampness and further burden your spleen and stomach.

Sources: https://cmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13020-020-00375-1

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