Saturday, February 28, 2009

Losing Weight & Gaining Wellness

I have a number of very good friends who are overweight, and it’s affecting their heart health. This worries me quite a bit since they are all such wonderful people, and I want them to be well, happy and energetic, and be around for a long time. So one of my first priorities on this Chinese Medicine study research is to find ways they could use in regaining wellness and vitality. Here I have translated some very useful information especially with their common symptoms in mind, and hope many can find this process useful.

We gain weight not from absorbing too much nutrients. We gain weight from absorbing garbage that could not be processed out of our body. The more we couldn’t process our food, the more starved our body feels and need more food to get the needed nutrients. The more garbage our body accumulate, the more blockages, and our elimination process weaken more. Because it’s garbage not nutrients we are accumulating, we would gain excess fat instead of getting more energy and stronger. This is why overweight people tend to have less energy and get fatigued faster. The more blockages and stagnation also cause more illnesses. This lessening of function of our organs forms a vicious cycle.
The best way to lose weight is to improve our nutrients absorbing function and get rid of garbage efficiently. The organ that breaks down food and turns it into energy and nutrients is our spleen. Then it stores the energy and nutrients in our muscles. Our muscles act as our storage unit until the organs need the nutrients and energy. But when the spleen functions low, has little or no energy, it half breaks down food or not at all. Then these half or not broken down food becomes garbage that doesn’t move or contribute to the rest of our body. They become excess fat that actually blocks flow and causes illness. Because spleen governs muscles, weak spleen also causes lack of muscle tone.
In order to burn the excess fat, it takes extra nutrients and energy. It’s like a factory full of half done and not assembled products that tie up its cash flow, it takes more labor, energy and cash to sort them through and finish them and move them out. This is why the starvation weight loss technique always rebounds. It burns up existing muscles, and with it stored nutrients and energy so organs get weak. But it doesn’t produce the extra nutrients and energy needed to process the fat. This can weaken and harm our vital organs such as our heart. With it we may experience more loss of muscle tone, skin elasticity and general energy level.
An even worse situation is when people take weight loss medication that increases their metabolism. In this case it is as if not only the half done products are moved out but the factory itself is being sold off cheap as well. It could result in thyroid disorders and heart muscle damages, worst it could even cause kidney failure.
Losing extra weight is a self-healing, caring, loving and joyous process. It should be a process where all or our vital organs work better so we feel well and more energetic. We can start this process by eating food that heals our spleen such as a porridge of three herbal grains: huai2shan1yao4, yi4mi3 and qian4shi2 (all three could be found in common Chinese Medicine stores. This is a great combination meal that can be taken every day for a long time). Avoid any over processed food including rice and bread. We can eat as much energy rich organic food such as beef, lamb, eggs, salt water fish and nuts, and fresh, in season, local vegetables and fruits. Avoid pork, chicken, fresh water fish, any sugary food and cold, refrigerated food and drinks.
If you are the kind of person who loves meat or nuts, sometimes it could be your body’s way of telling you that you are lacking major nutrients. You don’t need to control yourself too much as long as you chew two big hawthorn pills (this can be found in all Chinese herb stores) afterwards to aid the breaking down of the meat so they don’t become more garbage.
With this method you will feel more energetic all the time, your body producing more qi and blood to activate the organ restoration and the garbage cleaning process. At first you may experience a weight gain. Do not be discouraged. This is your body producing more qi and blood to store in your muscles and giving you more muscle tone. Other people may say you look thinner because you are more solid.
This time we can massage and hit a few spleen points on our lower leg to wake up our spleen. The more sensitive the points, the more time and focus we need to give them. It’s good to start with twenty minutes after each meal. With more nutrients absorbed, we will naturally feel our energy shift. Our body would want to move more. This would be the right time to add on more exercise. Depending on each individual’s condition, we can start with gentle exercises such as slow walking and taichi.
To avoid snacking sugar rich processed food, we can carry some Chinese red dates, dried gui4yuan2 (both can be found in all Chinese grocery stores) and some nuts. The two dried fruits both help increase our blood and qi while reducing garbage in our body.
If our elimination process is slow, blocked and weak, we can take two kinds of herbs, one to help cleansing, another to aid our energy and qi during the cleanse, such as shi2 quan2 da4 bu3 wan2 or bu3 zhong1 yi4 qi4. Both can be found at any Chinese herb store. These herbs can increase the power of the cleansing while not hurting our stomach and spleen functions. To keep the out and in process balanced also helps the cycle.

How to Prevent Pimples or Breakouts

This little bit of information could be useful for so many teens in the west! Indeed some modern ways of living have taken us far from our roots, our natural way of being. This is just another reminder of the draw backs of not using modern technology with ancient wisdom.

Pimples, or breakouts on the forehead and cheeks are usually caused by too much cold in the stomach meridian. Two common reasons causing stomach cold are too much cold drinks or refregerated food and unexpressed or suppressed emotions. Our human body keeps a steady temperature. If we often takes in cold drinks and food, our stomach must produce extra heat to normalize its temperature. This stomach heat would cause more thirst, thus the vicious cycle continues. After a while when there is more and more stomach heat built up, it travels upward in the stomach channels which pass through our face. The pimples are merely external manifestation of an internal imbalance. To stop it from the surface is like telling the messenger bearing the bad news to shut up. Pimples can be cured from treating the stomach channels, by simply massaging or pounding on the channels and points, especially ones that's sensitive. Even in the summer, drinking warm water can from the root cure our thirst, whereas cold water would only increase our thirst.

our Body Structure and Function Determines Our Destiny

I have started translating some contemporary views on traditional Chinese medicine today in China. I find many of them refreshing, and fit our current needs perfectly. I will start to post some of these translations and my own thoughts from now on. I hope many will benefit from these practical tools for everyday life. Below is a good introduction on traditional Chinese Medicine.

The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic suggests that a wise person is one who has control over oneself, one’s own life, one’s own nature, one’s own desire and body. In this world, the human body is the most precise self regulating eco-system, which means it depends on its nature to exists, to be in balance, to harmonize, not depending on any man-made thoughts or objective ideas.
An ancient Chinese saying goes, “Cultivate one self, unify one’s family, oversee one’s nation and then one may bring peace to the world.” Cultivating the self comes before all. In this case, the saying is not talking about our brain but our body. Our body is “smarter” than our brain because the brain thinks therefore there is action; whereas the body does not think yet knows therefore it is of non-action, in Daoist term, “wu wei”.
Our body is a microcosm of the world. To know our body is to know how the world works. To know how to balance our own ecosystem is to know how to keep the macrocosm in balance, in harmony. This is why the Chinese says, “The lowest level doctor heals disease; the middle level doctor heals human being; the highest level doctor heals the nation, the world.”
Everything in the world has changed over hundreds of thousands of years, except human being and its nature. All thoughts and knowledge come from the human being. This is why the Chinese says the highest understanding is to understand the human being. And this understanding comes from the body.
Chinese medicine understands that one’s body not only determines one’s physical state, but one’s emotional, mental and spiritual states also evolve out of one’s body. For example the book “Da Xue” from about twenty three hundred years ago says that the ultimate compassion comes from a heart spirit that is calm and centered. Another popular Chinese idiom says, “The state of ‘Ding’ produces wisdom.” The word “Ding” can be translated as pause, cease, which in meditation practice means when the heart-mind stops, when it ceases churning random thoughts. Chinese medicine says, when one’s liver qi is stagnate, one easily irritates and therefore cannot calm down to finish projects. When one’s kidney qi is weak, one doesn’t have enough brain power to think things through, therefore can fail easily. Even Napoleon was quoted that one’s fate is determined by one’s body structure. Chinese medicine adds that our body structure and function determines our destiny. From this view we can say the highest science is the science of the human body.