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.

Could This Be Your Tongue? TCM Tongue Diagnosis

Tongue diagnosis is one of many tools acupuncturists use to access the health of patients. Many people have a combination of patterns occurring at the same time, making diagnosis more complicated. First we will look at the tongue body then the tongue coating.

tongue-normalNormal Tongue
A normal tongue is pink, not too big and not too small, with a very thin white coating.

Tongue Body

tongue-juttingJutting Tongue
This tongue to “v” shaped and juts out forcefully. The tension in the tongue is indicative of the tension held in the body. It is a sign of Liver excess (Liver Qi Stagnation or Fire). Possible symptoms include muscle tension, stress, irritability, depression, and PMS. If the tongue veers to one side this indicates Liver Wind and potentially stroke or convulsions.

tongue-puffyPuffy Tongue
Also known as a enlarged or fat tongue. This indicates Phlegm and is a sign of congestion of body fluids. Phlegm is implicated in many modern diseases including sinus or lung congestion, excess weight, irrational thinking, obsessive thoughts, fatigue, foggy thinking, chronic joint pain, high cholesterol, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and channel blockages.

tongue-smallSmall Tongue
A tongue that is smaller than normal indicates a deficiency of substance in the body, namely Blood Deficiency or Yin Deficiency. Common symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, tinnitis, insomnia, night sweats, and female hormone deficiency.

tongue-scallopedScalloped Tongue
Teeth marks on the sides of the tongue indicates Spleen Qi Deficiency. This can present as weak digestion, food allergies, fatigue, poor muscle tone, a tendency to bruise, low immunity, and organ prolapse.

Accessing Tongue Body Color
tongue-redRed indicates Heat.

 

 

tongue-palePallor indicates Cold or Deficiency (Qi, Blood, and/or Yang).

 

 

tongue-purplePurple or bluish indicates Blood Stagnation.

 

 

tongue-redtipRed Tip The very tip of the tongue corresponds to the Heart. A red tip indicates Heart Heat, or emotional unrest. This can manifest as stress, anxiety, or insomnia. If the tip has a cleft it indicates longstanding or constitutional tendency towards emotional issues.

Tongue Coating

tongue-white-coatThick White Coat
A thick tongue coating indicates Dampness. This is a pathological accumulation of fluids associated with digestive impairment. Common signs include weight gain, abdominal bloating, cloudy urination, mucous in the stools, edema, excessive vaginal discharge, poor digestion, and loose stools.

Thin Yellow Coat
The coating is thin, but distinctly yellow. This indicates Heat, either internal or Wind Heat (pathogenic invasion).

Thick Yetongue-yellow-coatllow Coat
The tongue appears heavily coated and yellow. This indicates Damp Heat, the combination of Dampness and Heat (fluid accumulation mixed with inflammation). Commons symptoms include excess weight, feeling hot, anger, Liver/Gallbladder issues, and red weepy skin conditions.

tongue-mirroredScanty or Mirrored Coat
The tongue looks shiny, like liver. This indicates Yin Deficiency and the patient may present with insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, thirst, low back pain, tinnitis, hot flashes, and night sweats.

Common Combination Patterns:

tongue-various bigger-words

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

2012 Black Water Dragon Year

After the gentleness and introspection of the Metal Rabbit, we enter into the slightly dampened drama of the Water Dragon year. Dragon energy is fiery, excitement, spontaneity, charisma, bordering on tyrannical, arrogant, and reckless. Luckily the Water element softens the Dragon’s edges and gives it’s actions depth. This year promises great movement.

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.