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- The Metal Element
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Acupuncture for Weight Loss
An article published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, substantiates the usage of acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal formulations can help in the treatment of obesity and weight loss. The article reviewed four clinical studies and 16 animal studies on the effects of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for treating obesity. There were different methods, but the results were ultimately the same. Obesity can be a result of total body inflammation or hormonal imbalances, and because of this, all the studies that were reviewed, had different approaches for treating the disease. All of the studies confirmed obesity can be managed utilizing Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques.
Obesity has become an epidemic in the United States. As many as one quarter of all Americans are considered overweight. And because of this, nearly $33 billion will be spent annually on weight loss programs. However, almost 85 percent of those trying to lose weight, will fail. There are many reasons why Americans are getting larger waistlines, but ultimately, the burden falls upon the individual. There are methods that can help people lose pounds and maintain a healthy weight though.
TCM is a non-invasive, safe and effective method for helping with weight loss. Unfortunately, a vast majority of people tend to look for the “quick fix” and this is definitely not what TCM provides. But, if a person is willing to take control and be held accountable for their actions and decisions, then TCM can be quite helpful with regards to shedding pounds.
Multiple studies have shown when TCM modalities, such as acupuncture and herbal formulas, are combined with traditional methods of weight loss, the patients actually lose more weight. TCM views the body and how it functions differently than Western medicine. Everything in TCM is based upon the fact that every cell in the human body is a form of energy. When there is an imbalance of energies throughout the body, then disease or illness may arise. Obesity is a disease that requires balancing. When it comes to weight loss, there are two or three main areas that TCM practitioners focus on, the spleen, liver and kidney meridians.
The three areas that focus on weight loss in TCM, the spleen, liver and kidney meridians, are the powerhouses of the body. The kidney meridian equates to the endocrine system and this is treated to reduce water retention and to rebalance hormone levels. The spleen meridian is targeted to regulate sugar metabolism. The liver meridian is treated to reduce stress, which can lead to binge eating and other unhealthy eating habits. Increased levels of stress can also deplete the hormones that are responsible for metabolism in the body.
Acupuncture for weight loss is not a silver bullet and traditional methods should be used in conjunction with acupuncture. Obviously monitoring the diet and getting proper exercise and rest are all crucial when trying to lose weight. But if all these things are done together, losing weight should not be extremely difficult. It will still take time, but it can be achieved.
Seven Ways to Protect Against Skin Cancer
Skin cancer can be deadly if you let it manifest. The leading cause of skin cancer is overexposure to the sun. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways we can prevent against skin cancer. Check out these tips that you should be practicing to avoid getting skin cancer.
- Sunscreen. Sunscreen is integral to preventing skin cancer. When you are going outside in the sun for extended periods of time you should make sure to apply a good sunscreen. Avoid spray types of sunscreen and use lotion types, also, make sure to use a sunscreen at least 40 SPF or above.
- Dermatology check-ups. Schedule annual dermatology check-ups just to ensure you do not have skin cancer or another problem with your skin.
- Avoid sunbathing. I know, I know, this may be one of the sole reasons you go to the beach. But, it has been proven that sunbathing is bad for you…even if you have applied sunscreen! Ultraviolet rays are harmful to the skin and it is important to protect against them however possible.
- Say bye-bye to the tanning salon. Radiation is terrible for our skin, and radiation is found aplenty at tanning salons, it has even been shown that some tanning beds produce radiation stronger than the sun! So think about that the next time you decide to go into a tanning bed… just don’t do it!
- Wear protective clothing. It is one thing to apply sunscreen, but you should also combo that with protective clothing. Wear hats, sunglasses and garments with a ultraviolet protection factor rating.
- Use essential oils. Use lemon, sappan wood and mate leaf essential oils in order to encourage healing and repair of damaged skin in order to prevent potential patterns of skin cancer.
- Detoxify your liver and kidneys. Your liver and kidneys are major players in converting vitamin D from the sunlight and the food you eat. One way to guarantee you are consuming enough vitamin D is to drink milk thistle tea or taking a milk thistle tea supplement.
Three Ways to Protect Your Kids From the Sun
Skin cancer is no joke. Sunburns received as a child can end up resulting in skin cancer as an adult. The good thing is both sunburns and skin cancer are easily preventable, you just need to take action against the sun’s powerful ultraviolet rays. Follow these tips in order to protect your children from the power of the sun.
- Choose the right sunscreen. Choosing the right sunscreen is very important, you want to make sure you are selecting a sunscreen that is water-resistant and at least 40 SPF. Also choose a lotion type of sunblock as compared to the spray kind. Spray sunscreens can miss spots sometimes and don’t always guarantee protection.
- Dress appropriately. Make sure to dress the right way when you will be experiencing lots of exposure to the sun. Wear hats, sunglasses and garments that have a ultraviolet protection factor rating.
- Reapply! Reapply! Reapply! Make sure to always reapply sunscreen during your outings in the sun. This is the most important step, if you only put sunscreen on initially you could still get burned. So avoid this, and make sure to reapply.
The Many Dimensions of the Heart
The heart is an energetic system we often treat in Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to Chinese Medicine theory, there are many systems of energy within the body. Each of these systems corresponds to certain physiological and psychological functions. So when we talk about the heart, the lungs, the liver. However, when we are speaking about Chinese Medicine organs, we are not talking about the physical organ sitting in your body, but rather the energetic manifestations of a particular system in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual realms.
The heart is an incredibly important energy system in Chinese medicine, often said to be the emperor of all the other energy systems. It is related to the fire element, which is the universal energy of summer.
On a physical level, the heart is responsible for pumping blood through our body, just as it is in allopathic medicine. It controls the health and vitality of the blood vessels, and also controls sweating, the tongue and speech. But perhaps the most important role of the heart in Chinese medicine is that it houses the Shen, or spirit.
The Shen in Chinese Medicine is referred to as one of the three treasures of the body, and it encompasses consciousness, the emotions, mental acuity and thought, as well as the ability to process incoming sensory information. Each organ system in Chinese medicine is related to one aspect of the spirit (such as intellect, willpower or instinct) – but the Shen is the most important, as it governs all the other aspects. Prolonged emotional upheaval, mental illness, personality disorders, emotional imbalance, processing disorders and sensory disorders all are manifestations of a disturbed, ungrounded or weakened Shen.
The emotion associated with the heart is joy. This means that joy nourishes the heart, but excessive joy (ie, mania) is a symptom of an imbalance in this system.
The heart is all about the very act of being alive – from the physical heart beating in our chest, to the flow of blood through our veins, to our mental ability to stay present and focused, and our emotional selves being whole and complete. It is the energy of summertime – abundant, hot and lively.
Nourish the Heart through Food
The color associated with the heart is red, and the heart is nourished through red foods, such as cherries, strawberries and kidney beans. Being closely associated with the blood, it is also nourished by blood-tonifying foods such as organ meats, lean red meat and dark leafy greens. The heart is closely tied to appreciation of beauty and aesthetics, so the heart system is also nourished by food for which care has been given to present artfully, with beauty and grace, and a wide array of colors on one plate. Again, the heart is associated with summertime, so think of the abundance of fruits and vegetables available that time of year, and try to reflect that energy in your food choices.
Nourish the Heart through your habits The heart is nourished through activities that bring you cheer and joy. Nourishing the heart is about celebrating that which you love in the world – people, places and ideals. As the heart governs our relationships with other human beings, it is nurtured by feeling connected to those that we love. Reach out to friends and family, forge new bridges and strengthen lasting bonds. The heart is also nourished through beauty – take time to appreciate the beauty of your natural surroundings, as well as music, poetry, art and dance. Lastly, the heart is nurtured by ritual. This can be a long-standing religious or cultural ritual, or one that you create for yourself. Some examples of heart-healthy rituals include writing down five things you are grateful for each night, incorporating some sort of gentle exercise during each morning, practicing 10 minutes of sitting meditation each day, or grab a coloring book and start coloring!