Archive for tag: qi

Springtime Allergies

It is officially spring! Spring is the time of birth, where yang energy is full and abundant. For many people, however, spring and summer are seasons for allergies.

Allergies, or allergic rhinitis, are due to an over-reactivity of the immune system to certain allergens. During spring and summer, allergies are generally induced by wind-born tree, grass or weed pollen, and can cause such symptoms as: sneezing; nasal congestion; runny nose; watery, itchy, or red eyes; headaches; fatigue; and sometimes coughing and wheezing. When allergens and antibodies react in individuals with allergic rhinitis, their nasal mucosa becomes swollen and may obstruct drainage from the sinuses causing sinusitis in many people. Thus, sinus infections are a frequent complication and consequence of allergic rhinitis.

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While spring and summer are the seasons of the year that bring us outdoors, many people are unable to enjoy these warmer months due to uncomfortable symptoms. Chinese medicine can help bring relief of symptoms, correct imbalances of the immune system, prevent the occurrence of infection, and allow healing of tissues of the sinuses. 

From a Chinese point of view, allergic rhinitis is due to a deficiency of the Lung and Kidney's Defensive-Qi systems, combined with retention of chronic "Wind" in the nose. 

Allergic rhinitis often starts in early childhood, with a constitutional weakness, but it may also start later in life, with a progressive decline of Kidney-Qi. Lung and Kidney Qi Deficiency is the root of the problem, therefore, with herbal medicine and acupuncture, we strengthen and nourish these organs. The manifestation of the disease is Wind invading the Lung channel in the nose. This accounts for the acute attacks. With herbs and acupuncture, we clear the Wind, reduce congestion, and open the nasal passages. It is necessary to treat both the root and the manifestation in order to produce lasting results. 

The western treatment of allergic rhinitis relies mostly on the use of antihistamine agents. Unfortunately, antihistamines only treat the manifestations of the disease and not the root. In addition, they cause side effects such as dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, nervousness, dryness, and gastrointestinal disturbance. 

Chinese medicine offers allergy sufferers a way to strengthen their bodies and significantly reduce their symptoms, without unpleasant side effects. You do not have to spend another season living with allergies. 

Here are acupuncture points from my class notes and CAM book. I have clinically used these points in the clinic and I feel they are very effective in treating allergies, postnasal drips and colds. 

Wind-Cold Affecting the Lung

Treatment Points 

Main Points:

  • UB 12 - Main point for Wind Disorders
  • GB 20 - Expel Wind
  • GV 23 - Expel Wind from the Nose
  • UB 13 - LU Back Shu
  • LU 7 - Restore the Descending and Dispersing Function of the LU Qi 

Local Points:

  • Use various local points for the sinus issues: LI 20 a/or Yintang and Bitong (extra pt. - good local points for sinus issues

Wind-Heat Affecting the LU

Signs & Symptoms

  • Similar to general Wind-Heat as it presents with the common cold, however, there are more signs of an underlying KD a/or LU Deficiency
  • Patient may have: fever and chills w/fever predominating, slight sweating, runny nose w/yellow discharge, headaches, body aches, cough, itchy red eyes (heat), scratchy throat (wind) 

Treatment Protocol

  • Expel Wind-Heat
  • Restore the Descending and Dispersing Function of the LU Qi 

Treatment Points

Main Points:

  • UB 12 - Main point for Wind Disorders
  • UB 13 - LU Back Shu
  • LI 4 & LI 11 - used together to clear heat and move the LI 

Local Points:

  • LI 20 a/or Yintang - good local points for sinus issues
  • GB 20 & UB 2 - used together for itchy eyes 

Word to the wise: The treatment protocols mentioned above are to be used after a complete tongue and pulse examination. The effectiveness of these treatments may vary based on the differential diagnosis, while other points should be added or not used based on your patient history and complete examination. 

Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog. Have a great week!

Boost Your Qi

It is true that poor diet, pollution and stresses of daily life all have negative impact on our health and well-being. Let's face it, in our very busy lives we are bombarded by physical and emotional stress that robs us of our vital life energy called Qi. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi fuels the essence that connects our body, mind and spirit. Qi travels and circulates through the channels of our bodies. When your Qi is weak, it stagnates in these channels instead of powerfully flowing. As you age, you may feel as though you no longer have the energy that you once had. 

Dia -QiI don't about most of us but I am always searching for a way for a Qi-boost. Most days. I am bombarded with the noise of five children and information overload from AOM classes at night, online classes for herbal studies and holistic nutrition certification, then working part-time on and off campus, volunteering 4 hours a week, hitting the gym 3 times a week--and that's just my schedule not including my kid's extracurricular activities

With all the non-stop activity, I easily feel drained, scattered, stressed, and completely run-down. My desire is like most of us who are busy people--how can I feel energetic and clear minded and focus? Basically, I want to feel alive and not half-dead most days. 

My personal research has led to some great tips that I have integrated into my life style that may be helpful for students, faculty and our patients. 

  1. Breathe deeply all day. Most people who are under a lot of stress or tension breathe shallowly, up in the throat area. When you breathe deeply into your lungs, you are naturally bringing in more oxygen and activating Qi in your body.
  2. Learn to say no to Qi-robbers. These are activities or places that drain your energy and leave you feeling depleted, for example watching too much TV and experiencing and holding on to negative emotions.
  3. Wear brightly colored clothing and listen to uplifting music to stimulate the flow of your Qi.
  4. Have fun and be spontaneous! If you don't enjoy your day, then your energy will naturally become suppressed.
  5. Eat a balanced diet and exercise. Remember foods and herbs that possess special Qi-fortifying properties include: brown rice, carrots, chicken, china root, eggs, fish, fox nut, ginseng, green beans, leeks, longan fruit, nutmeg, lamb, lotus seed, oats, onion, pearl barley, potatoes, pumpkin, soybeans, squash, string beans, tofu, turnips, and yams. 

Also, keep in mind that to receive optimal benefits from food and herbs, it is crucial that you choose in-season, natural foods with no chemical additives or residues. Also, avoid overeating and under eating because both will rob you of a consistent source of energy.

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I am currently taking the herb, Bu Zhong Yi Qi Pian to help boost my Qi.

I hope that these tips will renew your energy.

Thank you for the continued support of the AOM blog. Remember to increase your Qi this week!