Health

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More than 4,000 years of tradition endorse the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Phytotherapy, diet, acupuncture and body techniques such as massage called tui-na or exercises of qi gong and tai chi are your tools. All of them converge in the same objective: balance the vital energy to live in harmony with oneself.

Two Theories about Chines Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine bases its knowledge on two theories: that of yin and yang (opposing but complementary forces, whose balance in the person is essential for their well-being) and that of the five elements of nature (earth, metal, water, wood and fire) from which a network of relationships with flavors, emotions, body parts and seasons is created through continuous cycles of generation and destruction.

The yin and the yang. Yin includes, among other concepts, cold, humidity, darkness, passivity, contraction, descending direction, substance, interior, feminine, earth and water. Yang embraces opposites, that is, heat, dryness, light, action, expansion, ascending direction, energy, exterior, masculine, sky and fire. The solid organs (lungs, heart, liver, kidney and spleen) are considered yin, while the gaps (intestine, gall bladder, stomach and bladder) are yang. The interaction between yin and yang gives rise to qi, a vital energy that flows through the meridians or channels of the whole body. The qi, along with the blood, provides us with the components we need to feel good. All people have aspects of yin and yang, but when the dynamics between both are altered in the organism and either of the two forces becomes predominant, disease or emotional problems ensue. Infections, accidents, pollution, an incorrect diet, dislikes and even climatic changes are factors that can produce alterations in the yin-yang balance.

The five elements

The qualities of each one of them can be attributed to everything that exists in the universe, including the different parts of our body. The five main organs are associated with the five elements: heart (fire), lungs (metal), spleen (earth), liver (wood) and kidneys (water). Just as one element supports or inhibits the function of another (water extinguishes fire and fire melts metal), so one organ affects another: the kidneys (water) affect the heart (fire) and the heart controls the lungs (metal).

Medicinal plants, along with acupuncture, are a fundamental pillar of traditional Chinese medicine. The first documented formulas date from the third century BC. Knowledge about Chinese herbs has been passed down from generation to generation and has been experimented for hundreds of years. Chinese herbal medicine classifies each plant according to its energy, taste, direction and specific effects on one of the five basic organs. There are four energies (cold, heat, warmth and freshness), five flavors (acid, bitter, sweet, spicy and salty), two directions (ascending and descending) and four effects (disperse, consolidate, purge and tone). The acid taste has an astringent action that concentrates the qi; the bitter exerts a eliminating effect that moves the qi downwards; the sweet is nourishing and harmonizing, it slows down the qi; the spicy stimulates, accelerates and elevates the qi; and the salty softens and dissolves the frozen qi. Depending on these parameters, formulas can be developed that act selectively on certain parts of the body and penetrate one or the other meridian depending on the symptoms that you wish to combat. Thus, for example, an ascending action herb would be used to treat a disorder called “subsidence”, such as diarrhea.

Work on the meridians

Traditional Chinese medicine establishes the existence of 12 main meridians that bear the name of the organ whose energy conveys (heart, lung, liver, kidney …). Each one of them joins different acupuncture points along its path. Although acupuncture can be applied as a single therapy, Chinese medicine often uses it in combination with other therapeutic techniques such as herbal medicine, diet, massage or gymnastics. The introduction of fine needles directly on various points of the meridians can stimulate or slow down the energy flow. Its effects are fast and effective. The Chinese massage called tui-na also works, like acupuncture, on the energy channels of the organism, but it does it in another way: it mobilizes with precise manipulations (pressure, acupressure, friction, rotation, unblocking joints) the so-called qi and xue, that is to say, the corporal energy and the blood, whose stagnation gives rise to numerous ailments.

Part of traditional Chinese medicine is an ancient movement system based on breathing and meditation techniques, designed to develop and improve the circulation of vital energy. Some of these exercises have come to us under the name of qi gong or tai chi. The goal of qi gong is to release the inner source of energy and open the body to the qi that circulates outside by adopting certain postures and a certain mental attitude. Tai chi pursues the same purpose but resorts to interwoven movements in a natural way rather than to static postures. Its habitual practice helps to harmonize the inner qi. As a result, all organs and systems are vitalized and self-healing mechanisms are stimulated.

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When was the last time you slept like a log? Do you feel refreshed after waking up? how long have you been feeling restless? If you have been sleep-deprived for a long time, your health is in danger. Sadly, many people from all around the world are also suffering from lack of sleep. In fact, due to the rising number of insomniacs worldwide, people have been looking for means to be able to sleep well again. Various medications have come up to solve this growing problem, as well as holistic approaches such as floatation therapy and yoga.

Insomniac or Just Sleep-Deprived?

Both terms have are often interchanged as both basically boils down to the same thing: someone who haven’t gotten enough sleep. However, there is a fine line between sleep deprivation and insomnia. Sleep deprivation, much like insomnia involves getting inadequate sleep. Unlike insomnia, however, it usually happens when someone doesn’t have much chance to slumber even if they do feel sleepy. The usual reason for this is that the individual has a hectic schedule, or that they have other things to do which they deem to be more important than sleeping.

Insomnia is a more serious, and may be even considered as a medical condition. It is when even one gets the chance to get some shuteye, they still aren’t able to get adequate rest. There are two types of insomnia:

Primary Insomnia. This is when one doesn’t have any health issues that may trigger a state of sleeplessness.

Secondary Insomnia. If one has health conditions such asthma that affect sleeping patterns, they may have secondary insomnia. Taking medications may also cause sleeping problems.

Occurrences

Insomnia can be classified into two conditions depending on how long someone has been experiencing them.

Acute Insomnia- This basically happens for a short-term. This is usually triggered by recent events that cause mental stress such as the night before an exam or receiving some bad news.

Chronic Insomnia- Recurs at least 3 times a week, and can last up to three months or more. There are various causes for this. This condition requires medical attention.

What Triggers Insomnia

There are many things that may trigger sleeping disorders. Here are a few things that can cause sleeping disorders:

Medical Conditions- Difficulty in breathing, nasal allergies and sinusitis may aggravate cause lack of sleep.

Medication- Certain medicines can also cause lack of sleep especially when taken on huge doses.

Unhealthy habits- Staying up all night can cause a change in sleeping patterns. An unhealthy diet can also affect sleeping habits. Alcohol may knock you out immediately but it can also disturb your sleep later on. Nicotine, like caffeine, is a stimulant.

Psychological Issues- People battling with certain mental conditions find it hard to sleep at night.
Anxiety- Worrying about the past or future events can get people up all night.
Depression- One of the symptoms of depression is a disruption in the sleeping pattern.

What Lack of Sleep Does to Your Body

Sleep deprivation can affect different parts of the body, and may also have an effect on the mind. The most obvious effects are the following: sluggishness, crankiness, mood swing, prone to distraction. However, it can also cause more serious damages to different parts of the body.

Central Nervous System (CNS)- Neurons rest as you sleep, and the brain makes new paths to help make you feel invigorated the next day. Staying up all night can keep your cells from being rejuvenated. This can affect both your long-term and short-term memory making it hard to concentrate and remember new things.

Going out of sleep for a long time can also cause hallucination, people with narcolepsy are more prone to having hallucinations when sleep deprived. Prolonged sleep deprivation increases the chances of paranoia and other mental illness.

Immune System- Have you noticed that you get common colds the day after pulling an ill nighter? That’s because our antibodies need to rest and our cells need to be regenerated, and the optimum time for this to be done is during sleep.

Digestive System- If you want to lose weight, staying up all night will not help you with that. In fact, it does the exact. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can actually make you gain more weight.

Take A Shot at Yoga

If you are looking for ways to fall asleep faster, yoga may be just right for you. There are many yoga centres all over Melbourne which have certified instructors. Although rooted as a spiritual discipline, it has many benefits for the body. One of which is that it gets your mind to relax.

Benefits of Yoga

If you are seeking to keep your body healthy, and want to combat the effects of sleep deprivation this low impact exercise can help you out. Some of the benefits you can get from yoga are:

Increased physical strength. Lack of sleep can make you feel physically weak, however, constant yoga practice can make you become stronger.

Flexibility. Any yoga instructor can tell you that you do not need to be flexible when you start yoga as this can be developed after consistent practice.

Calms the mind. Several researches have pointed the effectiveness of yoga in soothing the mind.Yoga helps you properly deal with deeply seated emotional issues. The breathing techniques are a great help whenever you feel like panicking, or if you are anxious. As one of the major reasons of sleeplessness is worrying, practicing yoga lulls you into sleep faster.

Yoga Poses to Combat Insomnia

As Yoga have many poses and styles, here are just a few poses which have shown to be effective in promoting sleep:

  • Big Toe Pose
  • Bridge Pose
  • Cat Pose
  • Cow Pose
  • Dolphin Pose
  • Corpse Pose
  • Downward-Facing Dog
  • Easy Pose
  • Extended Puppy Pose

Consult with Seasoned Yoga Instructors

To know how yoga can help you sleep better at night and improve your health, it is highly recommended to ask certified yoga instructors on which will work best with you. You may find many people also recommend joining a guided meditation class.

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More than 4,000 years of tradition endorse the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Phytotherapy, diet, acupuncture and body techniques such as massage called tui-na...