Generating Yin and Maintaining Juiciness

quan-yinVaginal dryness is an unspoken occurrence that affects many women. It is one of the two most prevalent symptoms of menopause (the other being hot flashes). Vaginal dryness, and the attendant reduction in plumpness, occurs due to a drop in estrogen. It can also happen in much younger women who are experiencing hormonal imbalances.

In TCM vaginal dryness is a sign of Yin deficiency. Yin is the substance and lubrication of the body. It provides the luster, suppleness, flexibility, centerdness, and calm. Yin anchors our thinking and excitement and allows us to rest. Yin is the fuel for active Yang in the body.

Yin can become deficient due to overwork, mental and emotional stress, blood and fluid loss, poor nutrition, and lack of self care and rest. All women have a tendency to become Yin deficient with age. When Yin is deficient, Yang becomes relatively excessive which causes heat signs. Yin deficiency can manifest as dryness (skin, hair, eyes, mouth, stools, etc.), anxiety, insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, emotional instability and sensitivity, excess libido, agitation, tinnitus, thinning skin, malar flush, and heat in hands and feet worse at night.

How do we protect our Yin and avoid or reverse vaginal dryness?

  1. Live a healthy lifestyle. This means getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night, eating regular nutritious meals, enjoying connection and laughter, reducing stress, and avoiding overworking. This is the foundation for everything.
  2. Practice proper menstrual and postpartum care. This keeps the hormones balanced and is essential for every woman’s long-term vitality.
  3. Drink sufficient fluids to avoid dehydration and limit alcohol and caffeine.
  4. Consume Yin tonics regularly like fish oil, black sesame seeds, avocado, bone broth, go ji berries, and American ginseng. The most effective and potent way to take Yin tonics is in the form of balanced Chinese herbal formulas that will include herbs to clear heat and astringe fluids.
  5. Take astringent herbs regularly such as Wu Wei Zi (schizandra) and Shan Zhu Yu (cornus). These are best taken in balanced formulas.
  6. Treat unresolved trauma, repression, or resentments in regards to sexuality, trust, and relationships. Vaginal dryness can be psychological or have a psychological component. The uterus and genitals are strongly connected to the heart. Most women need to feel an emotional and mental connection with their lover. If there are resentments, blockages due to past experiences, or you simply do not like the person anymore you cannot expect to feel excited. Your body may be trying to tell you something.
  7. Cultivate an empowered sexuality. Many women receive conflicting and negative messages that block sexual expression.
  8. Practice relaxation. This can mean daily meditation, spending time in nature, doing qigong or yoga.
  9. Get in touch with your creativity on a daily basis. Creativity and sexuality belong to the Water element and are strongly linked. Cultivating one will increase the other.

Maintaining juiciness is about more than just sexual functioning. Keeping your Yin strong means maintaining your womanliness: gentleness, grace, self-sufficiency, ease, peace, love…. all the things this world needs.

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Treating Immunizations with TCM; Before You Vaccinate Your Dog

My dog Rita recently got a rabies shot which brought up the subject of how to treat immunizations in TCM.
Immunizations cause latent heat toxins. Latent Heat Toxins are a factor in many modern diseases such as cancer and autoimmune diseases and should be taken seriously.

My dog Virginia died of injection site sarcoma (cancer that develops at the site of immunization injections which is why vets now vary the location of injections) and I now avoid immunizing my pets as much as possible.

I follow these guidelines:
1.    I immunize my pets the bare minimum possible.
2.    They only receive one immunization at a time, spaced out by at least 1 week.
3.    I treat them with Heat Toxin clearing herbs to avoid latent Heat toxins.

Animals are harder to treat as they don’t offer feedback and their signs are less obvious than humans. In children the appearance of Heat Toxins and damage to Yin by vaccinations is easier to see, as the body of their tongue will get redder than normal.

There are several formulas for the treatment of Heat toxin. They should be taken right after immunizations. This is a chinese herbal formula specifically for the rabies virus, which is the injection Rita had. I used powdered herbs and made a decoction and used a syringe to administer it orally every 4 hours until symptoms subsided:

di gu pi, jiang can, tao ren, lian qiao, huang lian, qiang huo, chi shao, fu ling, tu bie chong

Note: I am not a veterinarian and thus this information is given for entertainment purpose only.

Wallstreet Journal reports on Chinese Herbs

The ancient formula, Huang Qin Tang, renamed PHY906 in a recent study, reduces side effects of chemotherapy, including diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The formula also seem to bolster colon-cancer treatment:

So far, research data seem to support Dr. Cheng’s hunch about traditional medicine. “If it’s still in use after a thousand years there must be something right,” he says.

Read the entire article:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304177104577313821796467932.html

Daikon Radish; Antidote to the Modern Diet

Mild and tasteless when eaten raw, shockingly stinky when cooked, and delivering a bite when sprouted, the Daikon Radish is something you should consider adding to your diet.

Lai Fu Zi (Daikon Radish seed) is an herb used in TCM to reduce food stagnation particularly from starchy foods. It also resolves Phlegm and descends the Qi for cases of excess cough. It is boiled into a tea or can be cooked with grains.

Daikon Radish is an important medicinal in Chinese Food Therapy for its unique qualities.

Unlike red radishes, Daikon is cooling and mild in taste, yet retains the phlegm resolving quality. The radish can be grated or sliced in a salad, pickled, or cooked in soup. The seeds can be sprouted and are often used in sushi.

Any condition exacerbated or caused by eating rich foods, excess phlegm, or food stagnation benefits from Daikon radish. For example: acne, obesity, diabetes, bloating, diarrhea, cellulite, etc. It is also a great addition to a detox regimen. A therapeutic dose when using food as medicine is to have it at least once daily.

How To Heal Yourself From a Cold

Besides paying a visit to your acupuncturist there a few things you can do to speed along a cold.

  • Gan Mao Ling is a patent Chinese Herbal formula. It isn’t strong enough for a full blown cold or flu, but works wonderfully if you take it every 3 hours when you first start coming down with something.
  • Eat chicken soup with ginger, lemongrass, scallions.
  • If there is a lot of heat (fever, sore throat) mint is very helpful.
  • Bundle up and sweat it out.
  • Gets plenty of sleep.
  • If you have someone to do gua sha this move the cold fast. To do gua sha: get a spoon, coin, or popsicle stick. Put oil on upper back and neck. Have the person quickly and roughly scrape back and forth on your skin until it gets bright red. This will leave marks but offers almost immediate relief.

Boost Your Immunity – Yu Ping Feng San

Yu Ping Feng San is a classical Chinese Formula to strengthen the Wei (Defensive) Qi. The name translates as Jade Screen Formula and it does more than just strengthen our defenses against pathogens.

Cosmetically it tightens pores. Emotionally it helps us maintain clear, strong boundaries. And spiritually it builds our natural defense against psychic attack.

The original formula contains just three herbs but it is often modified for the individual. The three herbs are:

Huang Qi (Radix Astragali Membranaccei) – A Spleen qi tonic with special function to raise the yang qi, strengthen qi and blood, stabilizes the Wei qi, and promotes urination. This is a key herb in strengthening immunity.

Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae Divaricatae) – Which reduces both internal and external Wind, and Wind Dampness.

Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae) – Another Spleen qi tonic that dries dampness and stabilizes the Wei qi.

Should be taken longterm.

Treating Acne Naturally

Treating acne naturally involves internally addressing the underlying imbalance and externally controlling the symptoms while improving the quality of the skin. This blog is a little about how we address acne at our clinic. Each person’s skin is different and tends to change over time. We recommend coming in for a consultation in order to assess the best regiment.

Clinic Treatments

Acupuncture – Acupuncture treatments address the root cause of acne whether it be stress, hormonal imbalance, etc. Acupuncture on the local area can also speed the healing of acne lesions. View video.

Microdermabrasion –  Microderm is mechanical exfoliation using crystals or a diamond tip. Our machine runs on sodium bicarbonate crystals (baking soda), making it less irritating and completely non-toxic. Microderm feels scratchy on the skin. Many acne cases can be controlled with a series performed every two weeks. View video.

Peels – Peels provide chemical exfoliation of the skin and can include different types of acids. For acne typically a salicylic acid peel works best, like our Purity peel, particularly if the skin is oily.

Face Endermologie – Facial endermologie offers mechanized lymphatic drainage, stimulation to lift sagging skin, and increases microcirculation. This is an ideal treatment for sensitive skin, anti-aging benefits, and puffiness. View video.

Facials/Extractions – Regular facials including steam, enzyme exfoliation, extractions, and high frequency continue to be a key component for a clear skin regiment.

LED Light Therapy – Especially helpful for redness as is the case with inflamed acne or acne complicated by rosacea.

Ultrasound – Ultrasound using a skin scrubber uses vibration to facilitate extractions and relieve congestion in the face.

Homecare

There is some variability based on age, oiliness, and sensitivity as to specific regiments. As a general rule:

  • Use a retinoid (Vit A) 1-3 times a week. The more congested and oily, the more frequently you can use retinoids. In our clinic we have two retinoids we recommend for home use. The first is Clarity, which contains retinyl acetate. The second is A-Boost, which contains retinol and retinyl palmitate, is more appropriate for sensitive skin or for an anti-aging regiment with no breakouts. Retinoids help the formation of healthy skin cells. It also acts as an exfoliant. Retinoids are useful not only for acne, but also for hyperpigmentation (dark spots), wrinkles, and sagging skin.
  • Use a gentle cleanser. We recommend either the Sensitive Cleanser (more irritated skin), Acne Cleanser (contains sulfur), or Face & Body Bar (anti-bacterial & anti-fungal). Avoid SLS and any cleansers that irritate and dry out the skin. This will only unbalance the skin in the long run and lead to more acne. Remember, it’s not about annihilating the acne and your skin with it. Acne is a sign of imbalance and when you rebalance the skin the acne will clear up.
  • Calm irritation. We have a few products we recommend for this. There are two toners we use Colloidal Silver Mist with Lavender and Calming Mist for use after cleansing and prior to serums and moisturizers. Ointment Rx is an excellent product when there is obvious inflammation, rosacea, or you are recovering from harsh topicals such as Benzoyl Peroxide.
  • Moisturizer. It can be very difficult to find a moisturizer that hydrates without blocking pores and irritating the skin, both of which lead to increased acne. The best all around moisturizer is Healing & Restoring Cream. It was originally developed by the founder of Hylunia for his baby daughter who had exzema. It is excellent as a night cream or under sunscreen. We have found it to shrink the pores, reduce redness and irritation, and reduce lines. Other excellent options are Moisturizing Drops (oil-based) and Recovery Plus Intensive (lotion). Both of these are great for drier skin types.
  • Sunscreen. Use only physical sunblocks and avoid chemical sunblocks. Chemical sunblocks chemically interact with your skin. They often cause irritation and aggravate acne. Chemical sunblocks should not be left in the sun as they will loose their effectiveness. These are listed as long, unpronounceable names in the active ingredients list. Physical sunblocks refer to Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These sit on the surface of the skin and block both UVA and UVB rays. They actually calm irritation. The most popular sunblock at our clinic is Reflect, a Titanium Dioxide-based sunblock in spray-on form. It’s not greasy nor does it leave you looking chalky.  Other options are Hydrate + (includes moisturizer), Serious Protection (heavier cream), 302 tinted and untinted (leaves mineral powder finish). Mineral makeup is another option. See below.
  • Enzymes. Natural enzymes help to unglue dead cells and gently exfoliate them away. We use Papaya Enzyme Mask. It is safe even for sensitive skin. You can apply and leave on in the shower 3 x a week or leave on overnight leaving the skin beautiful in the morning. Another option is the Acne Mist for those who don’t like using masks. Apply up to 3 x a week after cleansing and leave on.
  • Makeup. Pure mineral makeup is the best option. Unfortunately it will not give you that great coverage of  thick, liquid, chemical-laden, pore-clogging makeup. The wrong makeup can undermine all your efforts to clear your skin. As hard as it is, the best tactic is to find the mineral makeup that works best for you and just accept that you won’t be able to cover your skin as well. Don’t worry. It will be clear soon and you won’t even have to wear makeup. 302 has a super clean mineral powder that comes in 2 shades but it doesn’t camouflage that much for troubled skin. Read our blog on selecting a mineral makeup.

Diet & Herbs

Herbal formulas are specific to the patient as there are different imbalances that cause acne. We recommend seeing an acupuncturist and/or herbalist for a recommendation. There are, however, general dietary recommendations.

  • Drink plenty of water. Half your bodyweight (in lbs) in ounces of water per day is a good guideline. So if you weigh 140 lbs, drink about 70 ounces of water.
  • Keep your blood sugar stable. Avoid simple carbs like: white bread, cookies, sweeteners, and fruit juice. Also avoid greasy or processed foods. Eat whole grains. Get plenty of fiber and good fats in your diet.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables. Ideally close to half your meals should be vegetables. Bitter vegetables such as arugula and watercress are particularly helpful.

Lifestyle

Do something to alleviate stress on a regular basis. People who internalize and stuff their emotions have a much higher likelihood to develop skin problems. Also make sure to wash your pillowcase, towels, and anything that touches your face regularly.