“Where there is Qi flow there is no pain”. – Chinese proverb
I thought I’d share some excellent exercises to balance the body by focusing on releasing the meridians one by one.
These stretches come from the Shiatsu tradition which is based on the five element system of medicine. If you already know which meridians (also known as channels) are out of balance you can focus more on those ones. For a general tune-up you can work through the whole sequence. For the entire sequence, the exercises are performed in the order on the flow of energy according to the Five Elements as they are linked below. You can incorporate these stretches into your daily or weekly routine for best results.
Please remember that the effect of these stretches, like acupuncture, is cumulative, meaning that each session builds upon the next so that the energy is building up in each organ system over time. It takes persistence but often one can start to feel the boost in energy after the first session. Intention is important. You can set an intention to increase the flow of energy in the body, to relax the channels, to strengthen the energy of the channels and organs, and the corresponding muscles, tendons and ligaments so that your energy is directed to flow in a smooth and unobstructed way for the relief of pain, to improve mobility and for general health.
Do you have a penchant for all things old-fashioned or making things from scratch with honest ingredients? I do. Maybe it’s the idea that things were some how more simple or more wholesome in the past? Anyways, I thought I’d share this recipe for strengthening the lungs and immune system with elderberry syrup. You can find elderberry syrup in a lot of good health food stores, but you can also make it at home for much less and have some fun while you’re at it.
Recently after going through a recovery from mild acute liver failure last December (long story, but I learned some people’s livers cannot process an herb called skullcap – take note!), I’ve been going through a process of trying to detoxify my liver. My naturopath prescribed a powerful homeopathic formula which really cleared the congestion and pain, however I started to get eczema all around my eyes. My naturopath guided me to support my kidneys with herbs to help flush out my system. This makes sense in TCM because the Kidney nourishes the Liver system.
It worked somewhat, but didn’t see great results until I realized that the Lung system was also involved. In Japanese acupuncture, eczema is often looked at as “Lungs not Controlling Liver”. Lungs govern the skin, hence the eczema. Most of my life I’ve had a Lung weakness and some skin issues. The Lung system nourishes the Kidneys so Lung Deficiency can create Kidney Deficiency. It was early winter, a time when the Kidney system is more taxed, so I knew had to support my Lung and Kidney systems as well.
Long story short, elderberry syrup daily along with oolong tea (both are lung tonics) has really cleared up most of the eczema, and incidentally (since the Lung system deals with immunity too) I have not had a cold all winter and normally I get one. Using the Lung system to control the Liver system is a key concept for the spring season when the Liver tends towards imbalance. Liver Yang excess symptoms such as anger outbursts, muscle tension, temporal or vertex headaches, eye issues, skin rashes, allergies etc. can be helped by supporting the Lung system.
3 cups water
1/2 cup dried Elderberries
¼ cup raw honey (preferably local)
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
3-4 cloves (optional)
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger (optional)
Put all the ingredients except for the honey in a pot and bring to a low boil. Simmer mixture on low for 30 min. Then turn off heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Strain mixture and press berries well through strainer to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Add honey once the mixture has cooled and stir. Store in the fridge.
Adding the cinnamon, ginger and cloves will add flavour but also heating properties. Avoid adding these spices if you already have a fever, or other heat symptoms such as red rashes, sore throat, or the during spring and summer season.