Awakening the Heart with Supreme Spring

Greetings Dear Readers,

heart in handHeart 1 Jiquan Supreme Spring builds energy in the Heart system allowing a person to feel less anxiety and sadness coming from  insufficient qi of the Heart.  By treating the Heart system, a person can feel greater stability and strength through connection with their authentic self and their spiritual source.

The Heart system is the centre of our being, the axis around which all of our functioning is orchestrated.  The Heart system in Five Element acupuncture aligns our thoughts and actions with our purest sense of self.  The Heart, as sovereign of all organ systems, governs through intuition, an inner knowing as though without effort.

As the beginning of the Heart channel, Heart 1 Jiquan Utmost Spring, is a source of Heart Heart 1 - JiquanYang (Yang means Fire or Heat).  When a person lacks warmth in their Heart system, this can make them feel hermit crabwithdrawn from 
others, pulled into themselves, lacking the Heart Fire with which to reach out and connect with others with warmth and love.  Such a person may also feel cut off from their spiritual connection or source causing life to feel like an endless list of dreary tasks to complete in effort to find control over the constant disorder.   This point fosters a better relationship between our own Heart system and the divine and helps us to connect with warmth and compassion from a spiritual source.  Without this Heart Yang, it can feel like an essential spark is missing from a person and this can be seen in the eyes that lack sparkle, joy and clarity.

The Heart system houses the mind, not the gross mind of the intellect but the subtle aspects of mind called the Shen.  The Shen gives rise to our sense of self.  Intuitively we feel this sense of our self in our Heart system since when we refer to our self, we often put our hand over our heart.

People with an imbalance in the Heart system often have trouble falling asleep at night.  Heart patterns causing insomnia are often either Heat in the Heart as seen from the red tip on a patient’s tongue, or a deficiency of Yin or Blood in the Heart system which makes it hard for a person to settle down and for their mind to become more quiet. As we lie in bed, the subtle energy of the mind which travels outwards towards the five senses during the wakefulness of day, then moves back inwards towards the heart as we fall asleep.  The blood in the Heart acts as an anchor for the mind, a physical basis for the ethereal mind to settle into.  When the Blood is deficient, the subtle mind cannot anchor into the Heart system and the person often feels like they are almost floating on the bed, ungrounded.

Insomnia and night sweats are often part of the picture when there is Heart Yin deficiency.  This can also be treated with Heart 1 which nourishes the Yin of the Heart and clears the Empty Heat which agitates the heart/mind and causes a restless anxious feeling at night.

Relationship stress can affect the Heart system.  The mind may be very conflicted about aheart people relationship and this inner turmoil can affect the energy in the Heart system showing up as symptoms of insomnia, palpitations, irregular pulse, panic and social anxiety.  Using Heart 1 in treatment, the Heart system gets strengthened, helping one foster emotional equilibrium, and a calm state of mind.

Yours in health,

Cynthia McGilvray, R.Ac.

Acupuncture Relieves Anxiety

Greetings Dear Readers,

Maybe it’s an interview for that job you’re really hoping to land – your heart is racing, palms sweating, feeling jittery, over-heated, butterflies in the stomach. Most people understand a little anxiousness as part of the adventure called life but everyday anxiety is another story. Luckily Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has had great success with getting to the root of this matter.

Rather than just popping a few pills with questionable side-effects, what acupuncture does is effectively re-wire the energy circuits of the body. So instead of all the firey energy from your heart rushing upwards causing dizziness, sweating, ungroundedness, and facial flushing, acupuncture needles in the right places can stop the cascade of neuro-chemicals such as cortisol (released as part of the flight-or-flight stress response) and instead activate opium and serotonin receptors thereby increasing feelings of well-being and relaxation.1 If that’s not enough, the effects can last up to several days with no negative side-effects.

So how did those quirky TCM people figure this out? The ancient wisdom of TCM breaks down symptoms according to patterns relating to the organ systems. In plain English, most people with anxiety will likely have one of the following commonly seen patterns: “Heart-Fire”, “Kidney-Yin Deficiency Heat” or “Blood or Yin Deficiency”.2

People with “Heart-Fire” anxiety often have heart palpitations, ulcers (canker sores) on the tongue, trouble falling asleep and a bitter taste in the mouth when they wake up after a fitful dream-disturbed sleep. This person will benefit from avoiding “hot” foods such as chili peppers, onions, alcohol, caffeine and chocolate and do better with eating cooler foods such as leafy greens, kale, celery or cucumber. In addition it is helpful for them to increase their Earth element (this comes from a Five Element acupuncture protocol called “Turn Fire Into Ash” meaning that the excess Fire in the Heart is calmed by pushing this energy towards the next element in the Creation cycle which is Earth (Fire-Earth- Metal-Water-Wood). The Earth element is increased by such things as letting go of too much worry and over-thinking, eating mindfully, wearing Earthy colours such as brown and eating foods that grow underground such as carrots, beets and potatoes.

The Kidney-Yin Deficiency Heat person will have anxiety along with night sweating, dizziness, ringing in the ears, flushed cheeks, dry mouth and low back ache. This person will benefit from getting more sleep, avoiding overwork, eating Kidney Yin foods such as black beans, seaweed, butter and sesame, slowing down (Yin=slow whereas Yang=fast) and doing meditation or qi gong.

Blood deficiency is very common in women because of monthly blood loss through menstruation.  The person will feel tired and want to lie down, have numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, blurred vision or floaters in the visual field, a pale complexion and scanty menstruation. They do well with dietary changes mainly such as including blood-building foods such as beets, dark green vegetables, egg yolks, bee pollen and the herb “dong quai” (also called angelica).  With diligent daily use of blood-building foods symptoms should clear up in about three months.

The Yin deficient anxious person is essentially lacking essential fluids (Yin is liquid in nature) and experiences afternoon fever, night sweating, dry mouth, and scanty dark urine. This is often seen when a person has been working too hard, staying up late, eating fast food on the run, essentially “life in the fast lane”. This person does well with resting from overworking, going to bed by 10pm, eating slow, home-cooked meals and eating Yin foods such as seaweed, dairy, beans, berries, foods that are black, blue or purple in colour such as eggplant or black sesame seeds and taking a more slow, mindful approach to life.

You do not need to live with chronic anxiety. There is a lot your acupuncturist can do to relieve these symptoms and I have only scratched the surface here. Your acupuncturist will diagnose the pattern by examining your tongue and wrist pulse, observation and a few short questions. You should feel effects during the first treatment.  For those with needle anxiety, (oddly enough I’m one of them), acupuncture needles are very thin (infinitely smaller than the hypodermic needles used to inject vaccine in hospitals) and are often not felt when inserted.  You can also ask for Japanese needles which are as thin as a hair.

Do your symptoms fit any of these descriptions? If so, let’s set up an appointment and get you on the road to better health and peace of mind.

Yours in health,
Cynthia

References:
1. Jaung-Geng Lin, Yuan-Yu Chan, and Yi-Hung Chen. February 22, 2012. Acupuncture for the Treatment of Opiate Addiction. National Institutes of Health.
2. Maciocia, Giovanni. Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Guide. 2004. Elsevier Ltd.