During your treatment your acupuncturist may have used a term that you have questions about- What is a "Spleen" in Chinese Medicine? Why is my "Spleen" "deficient" and what do I do about it?
Your acupuncturist may have recommended a specific diet or other treatments, stretches that you can do at home. Here are some downloadable PDFs that will explain.
Sleen Deficient Diet
Blood Deficient Diet
Low Back Pain
Wind Cold/Wind Heat
Low back pain – gluteus medius
Tension and trigger points in the gluteus medius muscle is one of the most common causes of low back pain, see the above illustration of the muscle and its pain referral pattern. The gluteus medius is lateral and deep the gluteus maximus muscle and is responsible for stabilizing the hip.... it provides a counterbalance when we walk and is the reason we don’t just tumble over to the right or left when we transfer weight to that side. Our bodies depend on its use fairly heavily and it’s not uncommon for it to tweak out a bit and require treatment. After having your acupuncturist release the trigger points for you with needles, here’s what you can do at home to help.
o Applyheat—a hot water bottle o rheating pad and/or a hot bath(add Epsom salts if you have them) helps the muscle tissue loosen up. The warmth encourages the softening of muscles tissue and allows the blood and Qi to flow more freely through the tissue to encourage healing.
o Gentle stretches—sukhasana is a wonderful yoga stretch that can be done to ease the glute medius open a bit. It’s a simple cross-legged seat. Sitting on a few blankets or a bolster or a block, cross the legs similar to what you would do when you were in kindergarten, but make legs a little “tighter and squarer”. Do this by scooching the feet
away from the body so the shins are directly parallel with each other and the ankles are directly beneath the opposite knee. From here, keep a straight flat back and slowly crawl fingertips away from seat until you feel the stretch at the outside of the hips and hold this position while consciously breathing for 20 -30 seconds before releasing.
Repeat. Switch orientation of legs and repeat stretch in position twice more. See video on our website for tutorial.
o Take position of constructive rest—constructive rest is a position that allows most every muscle in the body to relax. It’s not about stretching but just giving the body an opportunity to fully melt. It’s a great position to practice conscious breathing, which further encourages our muscles to relax and reset themselves. Lie down with the back on the floor, comfortably supporting head with blanket, bolster or pillow. Bend knees towards ceiling and place feet flat on the floor hip width apart slightly wider. Knock the knees together at center line allowing them to fully support each other’s weight. Cross arms across chest so elbows are one atop comfortable draped over torso or place the hands on the rib cage allowing the elbows to be supported on the floor. Release fully the weight of all joints, muscles and bones, practice conscious breathing. See video on our website for tutorial.
With these tips keep potential pain from the gluteus medius at bay. Remember, heat is better than ice for chronic nagging muscle pain and through stretching and conscious relaxation we can help give our bodies a chance to heal themselves. And of course, regular acupuncture will help ensure Qi and Blood flow properly through potential problem areas. Keeping you happy, healthy, and as pain free as possible!
According to traditional Chinese therapy, organs have dual function. One is the physical and the other is energetic function. When we speak of the “organs” we are referring to its energetic function.
The Spleen changes energy or Qi from the food into energy needed by the body. Spleen Qi deficiency means the energy of the spleen is low and the spleen is not able to perform to its optimum. When the Spleen is deficient, symptoms of “dampness” occur. These include but are not limited to, a feeling of fatigue, heaviness in the limbs, difficulty getting up in the morning, unclear thinking/fuzziness in the head, no appetite, dull ache and swelling of the joints, and loose stools.
Foods to Incorporate:
organic lightly cooked vegetables like corn , celery and watercress, alfalfa sprouts, button mushrooms, brown rice, barley, amaranth, rye, oats, legumes, kidney beans, lentils, poultry, fish, tuna, lemon, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, seaweed, peach, strawberry, cherries, pine nuts, pistachios, lamb, shrimp, lobster, clove, garlic, rosemary, sage, turmeric, thyme
Foods to Avoid:
dairy, wheat, cold drinks, fruit juice, processed foods, refined flour and sugar, cold raw foods, coffee, alcohol, deep fried foods
o Avoid cold or frozen foods
o Don’t put ice in your drinks
o Be mindful, do one thing at a time and take breaks o Do your best to avoid thoughts that worry you
o Include stretching in your regimen
o 2 minute massage or pressure on each point, 3x per day
Heat according to Traditional Chinese Medicine is a general condition of hyperactivity that arises because of a fundamental Yin-Yang imbalance, which in Western terms would be an imbalance of homeostasis.
Foods to Incorporate:
apples, asparagus, bananas, barley, cabbage, eggplant, celery, cucumber, egg white, yogurt, elderflower, grapefruit, lemon, lettuce, mint, miller, olives, pear, peppermint, tofu, tomatoes, watermelon, and wheat
Foods to Avoid:
mango, peach, raspberry, onions, leeks, chive, mustard greens, walnuts, pistachio, pine nuts, butter, chicken, lamb, mussels, venison, prawns, black pepper, coffee, cinnamon, clove, cumin, fennel, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, vinegar, wine
o Stay hydrated
o Get plenty of rest, include naps if necessary
o Schedule 3 or 5 minute blocks in your day to practice deep breathing exercises (see video on our YouTube channel for examples of these exercises)
o Avoid intensive exercise and hot yoga. Try to break a sweat in a cooler environment.
o 2 minute massage or pressure on each point, 3x per day
Cold and Flu Symptoms
Tips for first response to cold/flu symptoms
Got the sniffles and want to nip it in the bud? Here are some tips and a recipe for “Immunity Rice” that can help!
In Chinese medicine we think of colds and flus as “external pathogens” that enter the body through wind in the area of the upper back and neck. It’s the job of the Wei Qi, a type of Qi that circulates close to the surface of our bodies, to protect us and force the invading pathogens out of the pores of our skin. Using warming spices and herbs we can support our Wei Qi by encouraging a gentle sweat. That’s why as a first response to the sniffles we recommend:
o Soaking in a hot bath
o Drinking hot liquids, especially ginger tea
o Eating warming spices and herbs like ginger, garlic and green onion
It’s always a good idea as well to keep the upper back and neck protected from the wind to prevent further invasion of “evil winds” or colds, even in the summer. If the weather is warm use something light weight like a nice summer scarf.
Here is a recipe by Brian for “Immunity Rice” which can be made and eaten at the onset of symptoms of a cold.
This is a rice I make whenever I’m just starting to get sick. It’s spicy and warming and not totally un-delicious, although it’s certainly more aggressively flavored than anything you would make for simple culinary pleasure. It’s warming enough that it should create a bit of a gentle sweat, which should be encouraged by wrapping up in a warm blanket for at least 20 minutes after consumption. This gentle sweating helps the body “push out” the invading pathogen without aggressive measures. While intense exercise or super hot steam rooms will certainly make us sweat, they can exhaust the body and further tax the immune system, so should probably be avoided. A hot bath, however, perhaps accompanied with a hot cup of ginger tea would be a welcome addition.
1 tblsp butter (unsalted) or ghee
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 two-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated or minced
1 one-inch piece of fresh turmeric, grated or minced (optional)
1⁄2 tsp dried ginger
1⁄2 tsp dried turmeric
1⁄8 tsp or pinch cayenne
1 cup long grain white rice (such as basmati or jasmine), thoroughly rinsed and drained 1 1⁄4 cup chicken broth (unsalted), or other broth (unsalted), or water, or combination of broth and water
1⁄4 tsp salt or to taste
1-2 green onion, green and white parts, thinly sliced
1) In small saucepan over medium heat melt butter or ghee, add garlic, fresh ginger and fresh turmeric (if using), sauté gently until fragrant ~45 seconds or so
2) Add dried ginger, dried turmeric and cayenne, sauté another 15 seconds or so
3) Add rice and water, cover, bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, simmer for 17
minutes. Cut heat and let sit covered for another minute before fluffing with a fork
4) Mix in green onion before eating, wrap up in a warm blanket after eating and
encourage a gentle perspiration for 20 minutes
5) Repeat daily as long as you are experiencing symptoms to encourage a swift
Help your Wei Qi help you by using these tips and stay healthy throughout the cold and flu season!
Foods to Incorporate
o Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha
o Quinoa, red rice, oats, red lentils
o Chicken, salmon, lean beef
o Plums, berries, oranges
Foods to Avoid
o Refined carbohydrates with white flour, sugar
o Fried and salty foods
o Dairy products
Tai chi, qi gong (find this on our YouTube channel East Village Acupuncture and Massage), long walks in the woods, start a mediation practice.