Relationship of Your Heart and Lungs

Relationship of Your Heart and Lungs

Many of you know or have heard that autumn is the season of the element metal, which has its internal association with your lungs and large intestine. This is the internal body manifestation of the energy that is heightened in autumn and thus heightened within your self.  Very basically, it’s the most opportune and auspicious time to work on issues we may have associated with the Longs and large intestine such as constipation, colitis, Crohn’s, asthma, allergies, recurrent colds, internal emotions mostly dealing with grief, loss, and life changes.  However, in addition to this being the most important time of year to focus on these lung-large intestine physical and spiritual issues, this season also has a very intimate partnership with the health of your heart as your spiritual center.

The ancient texts of Chinese medicine speak of the heart organ when in disharmony as having many types of heart pains. In the physical sense, such as chronic heart disease, their can be many factors here which are obstructing the organ, such as excess of phlegm, food, heat and inflammation, cold and congestion, energy and blood stagnation, etc. Yet, also there are metaphorical pains of the heart which have to do with some internet meridians that are often worked on being on the inside of the forearm and inside of the leg. These types of pains of the heart have to do with emotional grievances and trials in life that challenge us to the core of our spiritual center.

The Qi or Pranic energy of the chest is a combined energy. The Qi of the chest is a combination of the lungs, pericardium, and heart systems that come together to form what’s known as Zhong Qi or ancestral Qi.  Furthermore, in ancient terms, the acupuncture point directly in the center of the chest and breastbone is given the name “Sea of Qi”.  Whatever name you give it Qi, Prana, Energy, the center of the chest is the house of your life force.

In order to live at the maximum potential of this human experience we have to infuse, encourage, and exalt this life force Qi in the chest. If we live mundanely, numbly, and to rationally, the spontaneity and miraculous flowering of life will not be what it could because, opposed to the rational mind, natural life will bring things beyond your imagination and expectation when expressed to the fullest. At best when lived according to the rational mind, life will be predictable. So, whether a person needs growth in the spiritual, mental emotional, or physical paradigm of their heart center this can be worked upon by directly focusing on the heart, but also as equally important, by working on the lungs.

In Autumn, by working on the physical and energetic aspect of the lungs and their spirits which are named the seven Po, we create space in the chest cavity, “Sea of Qi,” to make room for the hearts healing. The hearts healing means to be energetically completely empty and full at the same time.  In this life the lungs are the first connection with the external world. As we breath we touch our environment. And it is mostly from looking from the wrong perspective in relationship with this environment that most of our wounds are accumulated and the bags are added on to the shoulders.  So, by working on the lungs of the chest making them clear and strong, giving us a strong immunity, we begin to surround the heart with a more pure vibrant energy that is spacious and full. Here the lungs become a magnetic force to encourage the heart to also be spacious, empty, and full. So, through the work on the lungs element of metal we can help keep the heart center more balanced, which will simply open you up more and more to your own life.  I cannot tell you what this means, however it can only be experienced. We all have our very unique journey, so we should keep opening and opening to it over and over and just let true nature of our self unfold to us that becomes more profound than our imagination.  There’s a famous quote from the movie Jurassic Park where the theorist says, “life will always, ah, ah, ah, find a way.”

This is a brief daily reflection of the relationships between the organs, and most appropriately in the autumn season of reflection, harvesting, and going within, that of the lungs and heart.

I look forward to seeing and hearing from you all soon! I encourage you to ask me questions and inquire what you or I can do to help you along your journey of life and health.

Be happy, be healthy, and live your extraordinary life!

Your Acupuncturist, Herbalist and Yogi Chris L.Ac., Dipl. OM

www.cgorientalmedicine.com 

MY Neck and Shoulder Tension !

MY Neck and Shoulder Tension

            For those of you with neck and shoulder tension and annoying lingering pain that may come and go, this is an insightful experience from a professional as to the ROOT AND MANIFESTATION of this cumbersome burden. In my professional experience as an Acupuncturist, Herbalist, Biology Major and Certified Yoga Instructor, it has been proven to me time and time again, with both my patients and myself, over many years of watchfulness, that Chronic and Acute Shoulder and Neck Tension and Discomfort is Always From 1) Overuse, 2) Emotional or Mental Stress AND, 3) I may argue, most importantly, your NUTRITIONAL INTAKE. I will move quickly through my explanation of the first two reasons being overuse and stress, as most people are somewhat aware of this, and I will move into the most important aspect of which most people are unaware.

Through a combination of repetitive action, as large as moving heavy equipment, to as little as poor posture while office working, the skeletal system and muscular system experience imbalances, big and small, with enough time creating muscle tears, decreased circulation and lengthened or shorted structures in the body. Now couple this with systemic muscle tension from a mental emotional stress and physical “holding” and you have a two fold combination for pain in the body. Most Commonly upper back/shoulder/neck, yet can manifest other places too as low back forearms, knees and buttocks. And in turn, held body tension can certainly effect peoples social lives as it is a physical cause for decreased patience, frustration, sadness and much more. This most people know. YET! The third causative factor that many are unaware of is their nutrition. This is more real then you would imagine and it has been proven to me based on my own personal journey as well as my patients.

What you take into the body, through digestion, respiration, and through your skin pores, dictates the MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR make up of your Muscles! As you take in food and water, these substances get processed and go directly into your blood stream making up the composition of your blood. Then, your muscles receive this nutrition from which it uses the materials from your blood (amino acids, minerals, etc.) to build itself as it is soft tissue. So, Your food actually BECOMES your blood, and your blood actually BECOMES your muscles. This is more real then you know. This is why the ancient yogis were vegetarian, because they wanted to create an energy of stillness, calmness, and inner peace… and what is more peaceful then a Tree????

Now, I am not saying you MUST become vegetarian. This is a personal choice. BUT, What is fact is, SUGAR injures your digestion so you cannot make pure energy, COFFEE is a diuretic and completely dehydrates the body of its natural fluids as well as adding “heat” or inflammation systemically which irritates your muscles, EXCESS DAIRY MILK CHEESE YOGURT CARBS AND BREAD bog down and dampen your bodies system so your circulation is sluggish and heavy, EXCESSIVE RAW DIET AND SALADS make the body work too hard to cook the food itself as it is uncooked and with time injure the bodies QI energy. However, on the bright side, eating lightly with cooked food and lots of fresh veggies and moderate fruit with plenty of water provide a clean irrigation, thus detoxifying system for your body bringing all the essentially PURE and LIGHT nutrients creating a harmonious environment for the muscles and soft tissue to regenerate, detoxify from stress, and become pain free.

Healthy Diet is all good and well, HOWEVER, I know many people, including myself, that despite maintaining a healthy diet, yoga, and sleep, at times experience moments when the muscle tension still returns. This is obviously a time to use your “Tool Kit” to fix the pain, such as Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Massage and Yoga, BUT When the pain returns occasionally despite these measures, its time to think of more ways to change your bodies CHEMICAL AND MOLECULAR COMPOSITION on a Cellular Level. Diet will help, but slowly and mildly for the long term, however, Nothing works as well, powerfully and quickly then Natural Herbal Remedies by a Certified Herbalist, who can provide you with herbs like Bai Shao/Peony Root, Ji Xue Teng/Spatholobus Vine, and Dan Shen/Salvia Root. A masterfully crafted herbal formula will start to change the chemistry of the blood to an environment healthy for your muscle tissue, soften the muscles and calm the tension. Herbs are the perfect INTERNAL tool to use in addition to the EXTERNAL tools like acupuncture, massage, chiro. yoga etc.

I hope this writing provides you with more insight to aid self care, helping you live more comfortable lives. It is always best and well worth consulting an herbalist for proper diagnosis as all formulas are highly specific and individual. Always let me know your question and comments, I’d love to hear from you. Call Text or Email. Many Blessings and Much Health!

Christopher Grodski, L.Ac., Dipl.OM

www.huntington-acupuncture-yoga.com

631-599-1111

CGOrientalMedicine@gmail.com

 

Spotting BurnOut !

Knowing Burnout & When Your Due For Acupuncture

             Greetings All!   Today I though it would be helpful to give you some tell tale signs of early burn-out and when to seek help to prevent its furthering.

Now and days, fast pace seems normal pace! So, we can be over loaded with projects and our intellectual planning that our mental and physical health can start to take a toll, on a progressive and low-grade level that it seems to go under the radar. Increasing our awareness of these happenings and the early signs will help us to avoid getting run down, sick and/or burnt out. Here are some mild signs below.

1) Any symptoms you already deal with (pain, insomnia, stress, digestive irregularities, pms) will either start to worsen or simply bother you more then they normally would.

2) It becomes more difficult to make decisions, keep a clear mind free of clutter and confusion.

3) Your sleep may seem less restful even though you are getting the typical hours for yourself.

4) Your emotions start to be strong enough that they are distracting you from the present moment and the day at hand.

5) Your mind becomes more concerned and focused on yourself rather then others or projects at hand.

6) You may begin to start to crave a particular type of food/flavor more then usual.

7) You tolerance and patience with people or loved ones decreases.

8) You may experience symptoms that are not usual for you, as in Headaches, Belching, Constipation, or Sleep Difficulty.

9) You find your dreams are more bothersome.

10) You might feel you don’t look as vibrant when you see yourself in the mirror.

11) Being aware of how you feel when someone touches you. For example, if a loved one walks by and touches your shoulder and it feels like the most amazing thing in the world!! … then maybe you’re due for some type of body work. Just recently myself, I was demonstrating acupuncture, and when I needled my hand it felt like my eyes wanted to close and my body craved the needle sensation in my hand which felt so good. This was a wake up call for myself to get on the treatment table !

These are some very simple signs to help you monitor how you are doing as you go through life. If you feel that burnout and getting run down are creeping in, it is very important to not let it go on the back burner and to correct your Qi Flow early on so it doesn’t begin to effect your health, mental peace or relationships. Sometimes more correction is needed then just more rest, however sometimes appropriate. Any of the healing modalities can greatly correct disturbances of stale, burnt out energy, like Acupuncture, Natural Herbal Remedies, Chiropractic Care, Massage, Reiki Energy Healing and Many other forms of body work. It is very important for us to have another human work on us as it adds a special kind of energy and caring to our system from an outside source. In addition, things to do for yourself can be Yoga, Meditation, Running, Dancing, Any ENJOYABLE Exercise, Salt Baths, Music Healing, Spending time in Nature, a Short Weekend Trip Away, Anything Else that makes you come alive.

The point of all this is to increase our awareness of our wellness and help us understand that there IS something we can do about it to feel, be and act better and more our natural selves. It is great to spot trouble and correct it quickly, yet it is also very effective to prevent it all together by having systems in place that keep us healthy, fresh and renewed on a regular basis, otherwise burn out may potentially not be avoidable. For example, do some of the above mentioned tips on a regular basis… getaways, exercise, acupuncture, etc. to keep yourself where you want to be and even improving, rather then trying to get back to that healthy state once it is gone. For example, I practice a very holistic craft and I highly recommend acupuncture on a monthly or seasonal basis just to keep us at our best.

            Hope you enjoyed my latest ideas for our best us. Feel free to send any question. Be Happy and Healthy All!                                                                                         Christopher Grodski, L.Ac., Dipl.OM                                                                                   631-599-1111                                                                             cgorientalmedicine@gmail.com                                                                        www.huntington-acupuncture-yoga.com 

Spirit Disturbances and Emotional Difficulties

This Articles purpose is to introduce the concept of Spirit or Emotional Disturbances and how it relates to health, the average person, and the Chinese medical practitioner.  This will hopefully give you a new perspective and insight into the understanding of emotions, mental states, and the “Spirit.”

Called “shen disturbance” in Chinese medicine, the closest translation being “spirit” disturbance is a very interesting, vast, and possibly limitless topic.  From the most basic standpoint, what we are talking about is any disturbance of a persons mind or emotional state.  A shen/spirit disturbance can be related to any disturbance of ones emotional or mental state ranging from mild to severe, such as relatively minor sadness, worry, anxiety, or frustration, or relatively major mania, depressive, or panic disorders.  As Chinese medicine is extremely holistic, we will discuss how these “imbalances” in a persons life are directly related to health and a persons “being,” and not an isolated or separate phenomena considered to be purely mental or “IN YOUR HEAD.”

For some physiology, Chinese medicine takes into account the entire person and their state, regardless for what the person is being treated.  Joint pain, headache, indigestion, fertility, or post traumatic stress disorder, the Chinese medical practitioner will take all things into account… physical, mental and emotional.  This is because the Chinese medical practitioner views the person as a an integrative whole, physical and non-physical, material and energetic.  (For those of you who have difficulty relating or understanding Qi/energy, if you think about it as all energy, including thermal, chemical, kinetic, potential, electrical… this makes the relation a little easier, as emotions are largely chemical and electrical responses in the brain from a western scientific point of view.)
For this reason, this medicine has an expanded concept of the spirit and emotions that extends beyond the central nervous system.  Actually, each organ, in Chinese medicine, has its own “spirit” associated with it and thus its own influence and management of the different emotional and mental states.  (This may seem far fetched if one has never been introduced to this concept before, but please keep the mind open as needed for new ideas.)  Yes, Chinese medicine does acknowledge the brain, but, rather its functions are simply expanded beyond that single mass of material.  The major organs that house the different “spirits” are the Heart, Liver, Lungs, Spleen and Kidneys.  To remain short (mind you this is an extensive subject), in general, the spirit of the heart is named “shen/spirit” and major emotion is Joy.  The spirit of the Liver, named “Hun” or etherial soul, manifests anger, frustration, and direction (nicknamed “The General” for similar attributes).  The spirit of the Lungs, named “Po” or corporeal soul, processes grief and loss and provides universal righteousness.  Spirit of the spleen named “Yi” or intellect, processes worry and pensiveness, as well as digestive intellect, or processing mental activity.  The Kidneys, “Zhi” or will, processes fear, fright and survival as well as providing the ability to stand upright, strongly (emotionally/physically).  Therefore, when a person experiences anything that moves the person from a state of peace, to a state other then peace, the dominant emotion and mental state will have an effect on its associated organ that controls and processes this dominant emotion.  Take the example of a young child that is obviously overexcited, maybe in a social situation playing with friends, maybe you add a bunch of sugar into the mix, maybe you add new surprises that the child is excited for, for example a trip that he/she has been awaiting.  This builds a picture of a child that cannot sit still, becomes quite loud and active, who seems to be experiencing such an influx of joy that he can hardly stand it.  According to Chinese medicine, he or she would experiencing a disturbance of the Heart/”Shen.”
This example demonstrates the acute emotional “attack” or disturbance that shifts the individual from a place of peace, to a place of imbalance (even though joy is a more “desirable” experience).  You can take this idea and translate it to all the other emotions.  Anger to the Liver, Worry/Pensiveness to the Spleen, Fear to the Kidneys, Grief to the Lungs.  Now, to a certain extent, these states occur somewhat naturally.  When they are over, the person will adjust and come back to a place of balance.  However, it is when these imbalanced states become extreme in events, or chronic, occurring over and over, that the body accumulates a certain karma, or physical and emotional response to the causative emotion.  It is possible that following these states, the body does not completely rebalance itself.  Rather, it stores these accumulated emotions or Qi/energy, in a way that the stressors or imbalances may or may not be perceived consciously, until one day a physical/mental/emotional event resurfaces the same issue to manifest in another way.  A common physical example is abdominal pains and diarrhea due to chronic anxiety/stress.  A common emotional example is phobia of any new situations, because an isolated situation or many situations in the past has been upsetting for any reason.  Therefore, an anticipation is putting non-realistic or non-reality borders on the future.  There are many examples that all lead to the same point, that emotional imbalances or “shen disturbances” are very much as important and an integral part of our health as the purely physical realm.
So, how can Chinese medicine, Acupuncture, Herbs, or Body work help??  I feel that one of the easiest ways to explain this is to describe treatment.  As an acupuncturist and herbalist I would use both modalities in a similar way.  If a person comes to me, and has been effected gravely by long term grief over a relationship breakup, a death of a loved one, or a life change that is in need of a letting go of something, someone, or somewhere, then as a practitioner, one of the primary treatment protocols I would apply would be to use acupuncture and/or herbal medicines to treat the physical and spiritual aspect of the lungs, as the lungs are the primary organ that will process grief.  Yet another example.  If a person comes to me suffering from difficultly controlling his/her temper with bouts of explosive anger, OR much frustration that is internalized, rather then being expressed, it is held in to cause silent suffering in any way, then in this case I will primarily focus on treating the liver though “sedation,” “regulation,” or “pacification” of the physical and spiritual Liver.  Now, treatment is always multifaceted and complex depending on the individual.  In many situations, there are multiple emotions and multiple systems in play, but this gives you an understanding of some very basic Causes and Treatments of disease or “imbalances.”  Also, this is the basic understanding and treatment of emotional causes of disease that range from mild, “every day” experiences, to extreme debilitating mental illnesses.
If this is a little difficult to grasp for some, you can think of the studies that have been done using MRI imaging on the brain during acupuncture treatments.  During the treatment of different acupuncture points, the brain has been shown to be illuminated in different regions corresponding to different points treated.  This shows an obvious physical connection between needling an external acupuncture point, and the increased chemical and electrical activity in the central nervous system, demonstrating integration and importance of the physical and mental realms.
Before I conclude, I think it is appropriate to end with some optimistic and helpful Healthy Living Advise.  So just to reiterate, emotions are natural.  It is a part of being human and we all experience different levels of joy, happiness, anger, sadness, grief, fear, fright and worry.  It is when these states accumulate over time or are so strong that it affects or accumulates in the body and mind.  Acupuncture and Herbal medicine are great ways used to correct the persons imbalances or used in preventative medicine.  However, in addition to treatments, there are things people can do on an every day basis to remain healthy that I will list out.
1) Diet: a “balanced” diet is important to keep a persons being balanced.  if someone suffers from anxiety, then smoking, coffee, caffein, and sugar will increase anxiety, even if there is an addiction.  For depression eat acrid foods such as citrus and spices to spread the energy and lift the spirit, and stay away from heavy foods and dairy that will weigh a person down.
2) Breath Properly:  As in meditation, focus on deep, relaxed breath courses the energy, especially cleansing and soothing the lungs for cases of anxiety, grief, and almost any other excess emotion.  For more in depth discussion on breathing see the article “BREATH” on this same site.
3) Balance Life:  Keep life balanced.  Do not over work. Make sure you balance rest with exercise and leisure fun.  If you start to feel tight, stressed, or lacking joy, change what your doing, at least for a day or two.  Rest, or catch a movie and get to bed early.  Yin and Yang, Yielding and Action should be in harmony.
4) Stay Happy and Healthy:  Happiness in a sense is a choice.  Some of the most impoverished regions are the happiest because the only thing they have is the connection with themselves and the people around them.  This puts an emphasis on spiritual connection and personal connections and keeps their spirits high.  And when your spirits are high you are healthy.
5) Learn to Let Go:  Many times people get stuck on emotions or events.  Things that bother them that they cannot change.  When you stay at peace and keep a rational mind, it is easier to let go of certain situations and states of mind.  Make appropriate choices, take appropriate actions, then let go of the rest as it does not resolve anything when you hold emotions.
For more in-depth treatment or preventative treatment of any emotional difficulties or “Shen disturbances” seek a practicing holistic professional.
As always, I wish new understanding of the importance of Mind/Body/Spirit Oneness to you all in the direction of the healthiest life one can live.  In closing, live a happy, healthy life, full of experience and emotion, however, do not let the emotions move you from yourself, your state of peace.