Chinese Medical Dietary Principles
Chinese medicine views digestion, particularly the energy of the stomach and the spleen, as a cooking pot. In order to have healthy digestion we must keep this cooking pot hot and simmering. This is important to maximize our ability to absorb physical nutrients as well as Qi from the food we eat. According to Chinese medicine this is also important to prevent the accumulation of phlegm in the body.
The following is a summary of the basic principles, according to Chinese Medicine, for promoting healthy digestion and keeping the spleen and stomach warm. You can refer to "The Tao of Healthy Eating" by Bob Flaws for more information. Also, "Recipes For Self-Healing" by Daverick Leggett is a good source of Chinese based recipies as well as even more detailed information.
All drinks should be, at a minimum, room temperature. It is preferable to have warm drinks, especially teas such as green tea with meals. AVOID iced and refrigerated drinks. A couple of great websites for ordering Chinese green and oolong teas are: www.teavana.com, www.mightyleaf.com or www.enjoyingtea.com.
If you are going to have raw or cold temperature food, have it at the end of a warm meal when your stomach is already hot so that it does minimal harm.
In general, dairy and sugary-sweet foods create phlegm and mucous in the body and should be avoided. Refined and enriched grains and excessively oily foods also create phlegm and injure the digestive energy of the spleen and stomach.
Variety in your diet is extremely important and you should eat foods that you enjoy. The energy of the Spleen thrives on diversity in the diet and a passion for good food. If you eat the same monotonous foods everyday your digestive energy suffers.
For Breakfast have warm foods such as hot oatmeal (steel cut is best), rice porridge (congee), eggs, sprouted or whole grain toast, and/or lean breakfast meats. Avoid dairy as much as possible. Fruit juices are too sweet and cold and should be used very sparingly if at all- and always last in the meal. Fruit is good, but only at the end of the meal, not at the beginning.
For Lunch have warm soups, warm sandwiches and other diverse choices of warm meals. The energy of the spleen thrives with diversity. For drinks, either room temperature water or warm tea. Do avoid sugary desserts, as they weaken the spleen, unless you are due for a special treat.
For Dinner have, again, warm or room temperature drink. Any raw salads should be eaten at the end of the meal or cooked lightly as a sauté with a dash of sea salt and olive oil. Meals should have some good quality carbohydrate such as minimally processed rice (jasmine rice) with a variety of lean meat choices (meat is nicely warming) and lightly cooked vegetables. A perfect dessert is some fresh fruit.
Chinese dietary principles do not greatly alter what we eat as much as how we prepare and the order in which we eat our foods. The most important principle is to eat and drink in a way that keeps your stomach warm.
Acupuncture Patient Information
Acupuncture is a form of medicine that works gently, but deeply, in your body to help your body heal itself and find balance. Some people experience their treatments strongly while others have mild responses. In fact, your response to each treatment may be different. According to Chinese medicine, these responses are not necessarily "good" or "bad" but rather a sign of a healing response. At times, you will feel a lot of changes happening, sometimes over hours or even days following a treatment. Other times, you may barely notice a difference in your symptoms and will, in fact, only notice a change when looking back a week or two later. The important point is that your body will direct the healing response in the time period and stages that are natural for you and your situation. Acupuncture simply helps to stimulate and nurture this natural process.
There are a few possible responses that may occur after a treatment, of which we would like you to be aware. Oftentimes you will feel very relaxed and sleepy following a treatment. If you are able, take a nap as soon as possible and let your body rest. This helps the treatment to "go deeper" and restore balance. Other times, you may feel dizzy or slightly nauseous. This can occur when Qi (Chee) starts to circulate in a deficient area of your body more strongly. This is usually mild and resolves quickly. However, it may be necessary to lie down for a while and let yourself "settle".
In treatments for chronic pain or strong acute pains, it is often common to "ache" for a short while after the treatment. In fact, you may find that you ache more initially after a treatment or ache in a completely new place in your body than before the treatment. This is normal and almost always short lived. This aching comes from the opening of the channel and the movement of Qi out of a blocked or affected area. This ache usually will travel downwards as most blocks in the flow of Qi leave through the feet or hands. Once this ache is gone, it usually will not come back. If you have an ache that lasts longer than a day, or feels as though it is getting worse, please call Wellspring to discuss your symptoms. Sometimes the block in the flow of Qi may require a repeat treatment sooner, to unblock the flow, if it is not resolving on its own.
In many cases, strong emotional traumas, buried deep inside, may be the underlying cause of pain or ill symptoms. In order to heal, these emotional traumas need to be released. After a treatment, some patients may find that they will start to remember painful experiences that happened to them when they were young, experiences they may have completely forgotten about. They may also have strong or upsetting dreams or find themselves crying, particularly at night. Please feel safe that your body will release these memories and emotions only as you are ready to experience them. Acupuncture is a gentle process. However, it is important to let yourself feel these emotions and cry as you need to, in order to let these emotional blocks clear completely. Once they are let out, they are usually released for good. If you suppress them and push them back "deep inside", then the illness is likely to persist.
The frequency and duration of an acupuncture treatment plan is variable. It is important, however, that you do have the treatments no more than a week apart. Many find that after the first few treatments, they will feel better, only to have the problem return after a few days. This is common as there is a cumulative affect from the treatments that allows the healing process to "take hold" and have a lasting effect. But, if too much time elapses between treatments, it is possible that the treatments will be less effective. For many conditions, particularly if they are mild, only a few acupuncture treatments may be required. For others, particularly with a long history of an illness, a series of ten to twelve treatments, or even multiple "cycles" of ten to twelve treatments, may be necessary. Although it is difficult to know initially how much acupuncture you will need, it is usually clear after four to five treatments what will be the best plan for your particular situation. If you do require more than ten to twelve treatments, it will be important to take four weeks of an "acupuncture vacation" (during which time no acupuncture is performed) after the first ten to twelve treatments before continuing treatment. This is to allow your body to respond more deeply, equilibrate, and balance itself relative to the changes in your health. Many symptoms will improve greatly during this time. Once the four weeks have passed, we will then discuss further treatment plans, if necessary, based on your overall response and treatment goals.
Some last important guidelines are as follows:
If possible, you should not eat for about 30 minutes before and after a treatment in order to allow the treatment to settle.
You should not engage in sexual activity for at least 24 hours after a treatment. Sexual activity can drain the Qi of the treatment from your body.
You should avoid cold temperature food and drink as this will drain the Qi from your body- particularly affecting your digestion.
If there is extreme weather outside, such as strong wind, cold or heat, keep yourself protected and stay indoors as much as possible. While you are undergoing a cycle of acupuncture treatment, your body's Qi defenses are sometimes more vulnerable to the environment.
If you receive massages, see a chiropractor, or engage in other forms of health treatment, please notify me so we may discuss any possible conflicts that may exist in combining treatments. Also please be sure that we discuss any forms of regular exercise that you perform.
Don't overexert yourself while undergoing a cycle of acupuncture treatment.
If you are currently menstruating or think you may be pregnant please inform me prior to treatment as this may alter some of the points chosen for that treatment.
Particularly, do not overuse painful parts of your body that we are trying to heal. The profound energy changes in your body are easily affected, and often hindered by overexertion. Also, new found energy can be quickly drained if you "use it up" too quickly. Many patients, once they start feeling better, start to "do everything" to catch up on other aspects of their lives that they have fallen behind on such as housekeeping or yard work. Pace yourself and conserve your new found energy. At first your energy reserves, although better, will still be shallow. It is best to wait for your energy to be more substantial before becoming very active again. Consider it a time of investing back into your health.
Some patients have asked for resources to learn more about acupuncture. An excellent first book we recommend is: "Acupuncture, How It Works, How It Cures" , by Peter Firebrace. A more complex, but thorough book is: "The Web That Has No Weaver" by Ted Kaptchuk. In addition, "The Way of Energy" by Master Lam Kam Chuen is a very good and safe source book for beginning Qi Gong training.