As I mentioned in my last newsletter, Spring can sometimes be a time when the Qi energy is more likely to get “stuck.” With the big upsurge of Yang energies (growth, warmth) if there are any tendencies in our bodies for lack of smooth flow, (which is common), adding to it can make things worse (Yang energy is concentrated Qi). Imagine a stream with a rocky area where twigs and leaves have become stuck like a small dam so that a small pool has developed behind them. The flow has slowed in that area enough so that there is this small pool or eddy, and yet the water still trickles through; there is still some flow, so it might not be noticeable. Increase the amount of water with no change in the ability to flow, and that pool will grow bigger. True, some of the water may even overflow onto the banks of the stream, or pour over the top of the mini dam. This is less likely to happen in the human body, although it could; but within the close confines of our anatomy, it is usually a problem when Qi or Blood flows outside the vessels. More often, there is an increase in the back up behind the dam, causing more pain, more bloating, more PMS, more allergies, and even inability to sleep (I’m seeing a lot of that right now).
Acupuncture helps greatly to relieve this, and we can also do our best to prevent it. When helping patients learn how to keep their Qi energy flowing smoothly, I generally quote the Three Free Therapies of Traditional Chinese Medicine, as taught to me by one of my teachers, Bob Flaws. They are:
- EXERCISE: This keeps not only the blood circulating, but the Qi as well. However, TCM recommends exercise in moderation. Too much can drain your Qi and Yin excessively, and cause other problems! 45-60min, 4-5 times per week is usually enough, every day is fine, too.
- DIET: This usually has more to do with preventing build up of heat or cold or phlegm, or with properly nourishing the Qi, Blood, and organs, but keeping the organs healthy and well nourished, especially the Liver, does aid in the smooth flow of Qi. So, keeping the Liver clean with fresh dark green leafy vegetables, and not eating too much sticky foods, like anything greasy, or more than a couple tablespoons of nut or nut butters, helps keep it open and flowing, and nourishing it with small amounts of meat (eating healthy, organic liver nourishes your own liver!)
- DEEP RELAXATION: This means taking at least 15 minutes a day doing some sort of meditation, acupuncture, guided visualization, Savasana (corpse pose) after yoga, etc. This topic is so very important for our culture that I’m going to write a whole blog about it….next time! Stay tuned!!