Complementary Health News: Autumn


October – Clearance or Congestion?

from Sleaford Natural Health Centre

October has brought with it a real sense of Autumn: the bright blue skies, cold wind, crisp air, the leaves drying and changing into vibrant colours. Perhaps a sense of feeling down or low as the mornings and evenings are darker and our days shorter. Grief at the passing of the year; yet exhilaration in the breathing in of the crisp, clear air deep into our lungs.

In Chinese Medicine the organs associated with autumn are the lungs and large intestine. If we think about the functions of these organs we can see how they resonate with the above description.

Colds and Flu
Our lungs are responsible for breathing and enable the oxygenation of the blood to circulate throughout our bodies. Deep inhalation of air, especially at this time of year, can revitalise, cleanse and inspire us. We can clear out the stale air deep in our lungs – we only use a small percentage of our lung capacity in normal shallow breathing. The lungs provide the bodies defence mechanism against colds and flu – regulating sweat to enable sickness to be eliminated from the body; dispersing fluids to prevent mucus and phlegm; keeping our noses clear; in health our skin will be sufficiently soft, elastic and shiny. Mentally, the lungs enable us to take in new ideas and act on instinct.

Constipation, Sinusitis and Headaches
Our large intestine controls elimination and final selection of what we can discard as waste; physically, emotionally, mental or material “stuff”. Autumn is a time for clearing our gardens and houses of what is no longer needed and is holding us back from future growth. Without the clearing there is no room for taking in more. Congestion can result – such as in constipation, shoulder pain, sinusitis or headaches.

Other Symptoms
Imbalance of either of these organs can result in breathing difficulties, such as asthma, dry skin problems, fatigue, cold or flu symptoms, sweating, coughs, phlegm, weak voice, constipation, diarrhea, exhaustion, inability to grieve or inconsolable grief, pain or inflammation in the arms, shoulders or neck, sinusitis, headaches, being overly critical or judgemental.

Traditional Acupuncture
By working on the energy (Qi) that flows in channels through the body, acupuncture balances the bodies systems. The channels interlink with each other and their correspondingly named organs, such as lungs and large intestine, to form a complex continuously flowing cycle. Acupuncture is ultimately a preventative medicine. Rather than to alleviate symptoms it works on the root cause of why such problems occur or keep recurring to break the cycle. Therefore, now may be a good time to seek treatment for recurring symptoms such as hay fever or allergy symptoms or back pain normally experienced in the Spring or Summer to allow the balancing work to be done and reduce or allay symptoms when they would normally arise.

Western medicine has taught us to seek a “quick fix” once symptoms occur and otherwise continue regardless. With Acupuncture treatment we become much more aware of our bodies and how they function; what we can do ourselves to prevent symptoms recurring, including recognising early signs which are much easier to treat than waiting for a full blown attack. So often, Acupuncture is a last resort, after the patient has tried everything else and is experiencing their worst symptoms. Yet even given this tall order, Acupuncture is proven to help many conditions! Visit the World Health Organisation's web site for a list of proven conditions Acupuncture can treat.

Self Help
All patients usually receive ‘homework' to enable them to take control of their health, learn to listen to their bodies and understanding them. For the above situations, recommended self help measures may include:

· As a tonic for immunity, joints and bowels – one teaspoon of cider vinegar, one teaspoon of honey in a mug of hot water, first thing each morning.

· Ginger as a tea or compress to warm.

· Also, echinacea, propolis, vitamin C and/or zinc can help boost immunity as a preventative.

Including in the diet warming pungent foods such as onions, garlic, cabbage, chilli peppers, horseradish, fennel, dill, mustard greens, cinnamon, nutmeg, basil, rosemary, cloves, black pepper, radish, marjoram, white pepper, and turnip assist the functions of the lung and large intestine.




November - Are You What You Eat?

from Sleaford Natural Health Centre

This is the time of year when we start looking at plans for Christmas and New Year celebrations. It is just as important that we prepare our own bodies and spirits so that we are full of energy and vitality before winter truly sets in.

Recharging the batteries during this season of shorter days is easier if we look at our available sources of fuel.

Our usual source of vital nutrients is our food and drink. It is essential that optimum levels of vitamins and minerals are taken in with our diet and that any potential toxin sources are avoided. If we are feeling under the weather it could well be that our current diet may not be balanced in line with our requirements.

Stress of any kind increases our nutrient needs and longer term effects of these slight deficiencies could be poorer ongoing health and chronic problems that would set our usual activities back.

Food Choices
There are lots of different foods to choose from each time we go shopping for the family meals. It is important that we try to maintain good levels of fresh fruit and vegetables and don't resort to too many convenience options.

The displays of produce in the shops or markets are so full of colour and flavours, it's difficult to walk by. Vegetables can be made more appealing to the whole family by including them in soups, casseroles, slow-pot combos and by stir-frying or steaming to preserve their wonderful, vibrant colours and textures.

Fruit is always a good way to brighten up the taste palate and using them to garnish savoury dishes can ensure you really do get at least 5 pieces each day.

The vitamins and minerals contained within these natural sources will help prevent the incidence of bugs and infections which tend to run riot once the central heating has been on for a while.

Balance the overall diet of fruit and vegetables with whole grains, nuts, seeds and good quality proteins such as meat, fish or eggs. Going organic on our major purchases will reduce the amount of environmental toxins we take in.

Need Help?
Diet and Lifestyle are important factors in both diagnosis and treatment with Traditional Acupuncture. According to the season, climatic factors and our constitution each of us benefit from different foods, exercises and lifestyles. Food has different energetic factors that suit different people and climates. There is no case for “one diet for all”. Whether a healthy pregnancy is in mind, arthritis, muscle tension, allergies, tiredness, insomnia, weight loss or for our overall general health, advice and help is given on what foods should be added to or included in a diet and which ones are best avoided for each patient.