Tag Archives forDavid Hankey

Chinese Herbal Medicine and the treatment of Colds, Flu and Viruses

Chinese herbal medicine has a long history of treating Colds, Flu and viruses. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses scientific principles when approaching this issue. That is, a hypothesis is proposed and the practitioner sets out to either prove the hypothesis or disprove it. This has been done for centuries and is effective. I began to apply this approach 18 years ago when I had a bad flu. I haven’t had a dose of flu since, despite being in situations where I was at risk; for example, being in the same room as an infected patient for an hour and not catching it. I have other examples too, so I know it works for me.

To apply this method we need to know certain things. TCM theory is quite complex, so I will only use everyday language. First we need to know how colds, flu and viruses enter the body and how they develop. Then we need to have a strategy to deal with it.

At any time, we need to know the strength of our immune system versus the strength of the pathogen.

The immune system is the working together of all systems in the body at peak efficiency. So, you can ask yourself at any time “how do I feel now?” Everybody is affected by biorhythms. We feel differently depending on our work, sleep patterns, diet, stress etc. Too much alcohol will temporarily lower the immune system, so drink less, especially if you feel low already. When we feel we are not at 100%, our immune system may be temporarily lowered. When we feel low, tired, etc., we are at risk of infection. The other factor is the strength of the pathogen. When we feel 100% and are faced with a mild pathogen, our immune system may fight it off without it taking hold in the body. On the other hand, if we are facing a very strong virus, no matter how strong our immune system, we may become infected.

The next part of the equation is what are you going to do about it. To use the strategy of TCM, we need to know the theory of how colds, flu and viruses enter the body and how herbal medicine works. The best time to treat is when we are exposed and have no symptoms yet. We can also take a herbal medicine formula as prevention. To do this effectively, we need to have a formula in our possession as you need to take it straight away. Chinese Herbal Medicine will also work when we show first symptoms, but the virus hasn’t developed further. This is when Chinese Herbal Medicine works best, as a prevention, and in the early stages. When we have full symptoms, we still treat, but our aim then is to lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness.

Chinese Herbal Medicine has many formulae to treat colds, flu and viruses. I will talk about one which I use frequently for prevention and treatment of colds, flu and viruses.

Yin Qiao San/Honeysuckle and Forsythia Powder. This formula is good for prevention of infections and also for treating infections. Yin Qiao treats symptoms of colds and flu – aches and pains, sore throat, cough, runny nose and fever. Whenever I took this formula and took my temperature, it went down by 2 degrees and stayed down for 4 hours. This is significant in breaking a fever. So, taking a dose every 4 hours is important. Do this until the fever has broken. If you reduce the dose and symptoms return, go back to the full dose.

Yin Qiao San is available in a lot of places online. However, it would be best to get it from a TCM practitioner. TCM practitioners will use high quality herbs grown and produced using ethical guidelines and GMP standards. Herbal granules are used.

How to Take Yin Qiao San/Honeysuckle and Forsythia Powder.

As a prevention, take a half spoonful powder in warm water on an empty stomach. Take this twice a a day.

If you have a compromised immune system due to a chronic illness, or other risk factors: elderly, obese, high blood pressure, for example. Take a full dose, 1 teaspoonful of powder, twice a day on an empty stomach.

If you are going to be in a crowded space, travelling, or any space with recirculated air, take a full dose twice a day as a precaution.

If symptoms develop, or you are sharing a space with an infected person, take a full dose every 4 hours.

All of the above works well with viruses like the cold and flu. How it would work with a new virus, like Covid 19, we don’t know. Interesting though, is that one of the ingredients of Yin Qiao is Rx. Glycyrrhizae, prepared licorice root. This was shown to be beneficial in the treatment of SARS. See link: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228473512_Research_and_application_of_Radix_Glycyrrhizae

So, get Yin Qiao asap if you want to try this strategy. Other things can improve the immune system – healthy diet, good quality sleep, minimise stress, etc. Another method to improve the immune system is a Mind/Body exercise like Qigong. Follow along with the video, see link: https://www.acupuncturecork.com/medical-qigong-to-improve-health-and-immune-system/

Qigong is a mind/body exercise, meditation in motion. Qigong is not only what you do, but also how you do it. To improve the immune system these exercises need to be performed at least once a day. I will upload more videos soon, keep posted.

Other things which help the immune system: green tea. Take this with a sprig of mint. Make a flask of tea and sip it throughout the day. Medicinal Mushrooms can help the immune system and have been used in TCM for centuries. See link: https://fullscript.com/blog/mushrooms-for-immune-health They can be bought from a TCM herbalist or online. See Amazon link https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mushroom-Capsules-Cordyceps-Additives-Manufactured/dp/B01BMPK5C4

To find a TCM practitioner in your area see https://www.acupuncturecouncilofireland.com/

David Hankey https://www.acupuncturecork.com/

New Year Detox – A TCM Perspective

New Year Detox – A TCM Perspective

From a natural health perspective, it would be best to maintain optimal health and not have a need to detox in the first place. That is not always possible, so we need to detox our bodies to maintain optimal health. New year is a good time to do this. Detoxing means to remove poisons or toxins. Our bodies have natural waste management system, waste is eliminated via out breath, urine, sweat and faeces. We filter the air we breathe, and the food and drink we consume, and anything we absorb through our skin. Our blood circulation, digestive tract, liver, kidneys and lungs operate efficiently and effectively in the right conditions.

The problems arise when we overload. For example, drinking coffee and alcohol every day, breathing polluted lead laden air, eating processed foods full of additives and sugars. Also, overeating and not getting enough sleep, feeling stressed and upset, partying hard or often add to the situation.  These all exhaust our bodies and gradually their ability to eliminate wastes diminishes and toxins build up. We cease to thrive.

The answer may lay in a Detox. ‘Detox diets” can be severe, eating only raw foods or fasting, taking purgatives and colonics. This can be OK if you are strong but it can drain and exhaust softer constitutions. Detoxing to invigorate and tonify must be appropriate to the individual. It is much kinder and more natural to support our constitutions by working in harmony with what each person’s needs. A gradual detox will be as effective and a lot kinder then extreme changes in diet. Sudden withdrawal from toxins such as sugars, coffee and alcohol can cause great discomfort with headaches, mood swings and cravings. 

Cleansing Creates Well-Being


Our body is automatically programmed to cleanse itself daily. However, with our fast-paced modern lifestyle and exposure to an increasing number of harmful and toxic substances, our body’s natural cleansing ability has become overworked and compromised.

Many signs and symptoms attributed to stress are now being linked to exposure from harmful substances such as PCBs, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, growth hormones, and mercury in food and liquids as well as dioxins in the air.

These substances most notably affect the healthy functioning of the liver and immune system. Common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue, anxiety and depression
  • Allergies and frequent infections
  • Unexpected weight gain
  • Joint pain
  • Difficulty focusing and memory loss
  • Digestive issues
  • Skin rashes and acne
  • Recurrent yeast infections

Harmful and toxic substances from our chemically laden food and polluted environment have also become implicated as a leading cause of many serious illnesses.

To counter this growing situation, TCM doctors have developed a Cleansing and Detoxification Program that is unique and highly useful in ridding the body of many harmful and toxic substances.

Acupuncture


Acupuncture stimulates neurological, immunological, and endocrine responses beneficial to tissue cleansing and cell rejuvenation. It also stimulates the release of endorphins that reduce the pain and discomfort sometimes experienced when detoxifying and withdrawing from addictive substances such as alcohol, caffeine, drugs, nicotine and sugar. Blog on acupuncture: https://www.acupuncturecork.com/what-to-expect-during-an-acupuncture-appointment/

Chinese Herbal Medicine


The proprietary herbal formulations focus on drawing the toxins directly out of the body through increased sweating, urination, and bowel movements. Some of the herbs directly support the filtering function of the liver and assist it in cleansing and promoting cell repair and cell regeneration.

Far-Infrared Heat Therapy


The heat and deep vibratory action of the far-infrared energy promotes the release of toxins through increased circulation and through sweating. The far-infrared heat lamp differs from the conventional sauna in its ability to penetrate deeply beneath the superficial layers of the skin. Studies show that the infrared light waves help to rid the body of toxins that are stored beyond the superficial layers of the skin. The excreted toxins include: cholesterol, fat soluble toxins, toxic heavy metals (such as mercury and aluminum), sulfuric acid, sodium, ammonia and uric acid. The unusually high concentration of heavy metals and other fat-soluble toxins is not found in the sweat from normal exercise or a regular sauna. 

Tuina Bodywork


Toxins often accumulate in the connective tissues creating blockages and impeding blood and fluid circulation. Tuina massage consists of special massage techniques, lymphatic drainage, joint rotations, and cupping. The strong suction action of the cupping stimulates blood and lymphatic fluid to flow near the skin’s surface and to key areas of the body for easy and direct release of toxins.

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is important for health. Exercises like walking, especially in nature and parks, is important for cardiovascular fitness as well as enjoying being in nature. Tai Chi is a very relaxing routine which exercises the body and calms the mind. So, it is very good for coping with stress as well as stopping stress from getting out of control. See these exercises as developing “me time”, rather than a chore which must be completed to get to a goal. https://www.facebook.com/TaiChiCorkDavidHankey/

Chi Kung Energy Therapy

When undergoing an internal cleanse it’s important to work with dealing with stress as well as the needs of the body. Chi Kung is a Chinese medical energy therapy in the holistic tradition. Chi Kung is a light touch healing technique that serves as the foundation of the practices of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. A Chi Kung practitioner will use their hands and body to sense areas of improper blood and energy flow. They will make subtle adjustments to encourage your physical organs to cleanse themselves and your emotions to release their excesses as well. Chi Kung is also a set of mind/body exercises which help with stress. Blog on Qigong: https://www.acupuncturecork.com/medical-qigong-to-improve-health-and-immune-system/

The liver’s function in TCM

The liver regulates the body as well as the emotions. The liver regulates Chi, the vital energy that sustains life, and stores blood, which carries Chi around the body and supports the functioning of our organs, limbs and tissues. While you’re awake, the liver supplies blood to the muscles. During sleep, blood returns to the liver to be cleansed.

Foods that detoxify and strengthen the liver

Sour foods: According to TCM, sour foods tend to nourish the liver. A refreshing glass of lemon water has a diuretic effect, which can help you flush toxins from your body. Blog on making your own juice: https://www.acupuncturecork.com/health-benefits-of-making-your-own-juice/

Ginger: This yang (warming food) nourishes blood, improves circulation, and has antibiotic and antibacterial effects that can help your body cleanse toxins and fight pathogens. You can easily add a few slivers of freshly sliced ginger to teas, porridge and soups. 

Turmeric: This pungent spice decongests the liver, clears heat from the body, and improves the flow of Chi and blood. Add a dash of turmeric to a bowl of soup or a rice dish, or brew it directly to drink. Turmeric powder is also present in many Indian curry recipes.

Dandelion root: A cleansing, detoxifying herb that cools the blood and nourishes the liver. Springtime is the ideal time to drink dandelion tea. Not only are dandelions in flower during this season, but spring is associated with wood, the element of the liver.

Magnolia berry (wu wei zi): The magnolia berry has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to nourish and protect the liver. Brew it as a tea and drink a cup per day.

Goji Berries: As well as detoxing, it is important to add some tonic herbs and suppliments. Goji berries are high antioxidant potential fruits which alleviate oxidative stress to confer many health protective benefits, such as preventing free radicals from damaging DNA, lipids, and proteins. 

Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is high in magnesium, which is needed by the liver. Magnesium deficiency symptoms include

  • Fatigue.
  • Aches and pains.
  • Mood problems.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Migraines.
  • PMS.
  • Irregular sleep patterns and insomnia.
  • Heart irregularities.

Dark Chocolate is also in high in iron, copper and manganese and contains prebiotic fibre that feeds your healthy gut bacteria.

Detox Nutritional Protocol


Nutritional therapy plays a distinct and essential role in the detox program. The aim includes selected foods that cleanse the liver and intestinal tract and provide key nutrients such as all the vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal health.

From the Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective each person is different with different needs, there are some basic steps that will help everybody:

  • Eat organic, fresh food.
  • Eat slowly. This helps the digestive system to absorb food better and convert it to usable energy.
  • Have a vegetarian day each week.
  • Drink water each morning.
  • Massage the abdomen each morning in a clockwise direction, up the right side and down the left, the direction that food takes. Ten minutes massage each morning helps with elimination and promotes healthy gut metabolism.
  • Take at least four consecutive days every week where you do   not drink alcohol. 
  • Reduce sugars and avoid junk foods and late night eating.
  • Spend time outside every day.
  • Exercise, meditate or take up an exercise system like Tai Chi which helps reduce stress and promote well-being.
  • Stop drinking coffee and tea.
  • Sleep better and for longer.
  • Consider using natural cleaning products and cosmetics.
  • Switch off mobile phones at night.

If you follow these steps, your toxic load and stress levels will drop quickly. This allows the organs to function effectively eliminating waste products and conveying nourishment to every cell. Sadly after years of neglect, it can be hard to return to normal function levels, and imbalances persist. This is when acupuncture and herbs are very helpful. Acupuncture regulates the internal homeostasis which means it gets everything working properly, it is like tuning and servicing a complex machine. Herbs support this function.

A course of treatment and dietary advice from a TCM practitioner will ensure that your detox is effective. Regular visits will help you to stay on course and keep organs functioning well. When we feel well and happy cravings for toxic foods and lifestyle diminish. It is misguided to harshly detox and then return to old habits. Far better to live well most of the time with the occasional indiscretion. Your body will cope perfectly with that when it is all tuned up.

Contact David Hankey for more details or to make an appointment for any of the above treatments, or for details of my Tai Chi and Chi Kung classes.

Phone: 087 2744735

Email: davidwhankey@gmail.com

Link to Acupuncture Council of Ireland website:

https://www.acupuncturecouncilofireland.com/

Health Benefits of Tai Chi and Chi Kung/Qi Gong

Tai Chi – The Art of Living  –

  • Posture
  • Breathing
  • Mindfulness

Health benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong.

DAVID HANKEY has been practicing Qi Gong,  Aikido and Zen meditation for more than 35 years. He has been teaching for more than 30 years. David has taught in Ireland as well as China. He also received private instruction in Qi Gong from his teacher Prof. Wu Tian Cheng. David is a student of Wudang Europa with Taoist Master Tian Liyang. David studied Zen meditation with Zen Master Hogen Yamahata of Chogenji Temple, Japan, and Aikido with Shihan John Rogers. In addition, David is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Shiatsu and Tuina.
Learn More

Taoist Tai Chi and Chi Kung Classes

Taoist Tai Chi and Chi Kung Classes

Classes:
Tuesdays 6 – 7.30 pm.

Tuesdays in The Quaker Meeting Hall, Summerhill South, Cork. Thursday morning outdoor class in Parkowen, off Quaker Road from 11-12.30.
Tel or Text: 087 2744 735 to book a place.

 Facebook; @TaiChiCorkDavidHankey                         

Classes will consist of:

  • Wudang Taoist Tai Chi 64 Postures – as practiced by Taoists in the Wudang Mountains
  • Wild Goose Qi Gong 64 Postures moving style
  • 18 Postures Tai Chi Qi Gonq/Shibashi
  • Ba Duan Jin/8 Pieces of Brocade.
  • Zhan Zhuang – Standing Postures/13 Pillars of Taoist Qi Gong
  • Push Hands – 2 person forms
  • Taoist and Zen meditation

Classes will be limited to 9 people, so please book early.

 DAVID HANKEY has been practicing Qi Gong, Aikido and Zen meditation for more than 30 years. He has been practicing Tai Chi for more than 25 years and has been teaching for more than 25 years. David has taught in Ireland as well as China. He also received private instruction in Qi Gong from his teacher Prof. Wu Tian Cheng. David is a student of Wudang Europa with Taoist Master Tian Liyang. In addition, David is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Shiatsu and Tuina

Tel : 087 2744 735 for details of classes

 Wudang Internal Arts

The Wudang Mountains in Hubei, China, are the location of many Taoist monasteries and temples. Taoism focuses on the spiritual aspect of being. The objective of people on the Taoist path is living a long and meaningful life by living in harmony with nature. This can be symbolised as a circle which has no beginning and no end. The aim of the practitioner is to find the still spot within the circle.

Taoist Tai Chi

Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient system of physical exercise that promotes total health: emotional, mental and spiritual. Unlike exercises that use exertion and force to build muscular strength, a strength that inevitably deteriorates with age, the gentle and flowing, yet rigorous, movements of Tai Chi focus on relaxing and straightening the body.

Wudang Tai Chi is a 64 posture form developed by the monks in the Wudang Mountains and is based on the original form of Zhang Sanfeng.

Taoist Qi Gong/Chi Kung

Qi Gong is a traditional system of health exercises where the practitioner focuses on three things – posture, breathing and calming the mind. So, we could say that Qi Gong explores the mind-body relationship. Qi means “life-force energy” and Gong means “skill”, so Qi Gong is the skilled practice of gathering, circulating, and applying life-force energy. “Wild Goose” Qi Gong is a set of 64 movements which blend together.

What are its benefits?

After some practice, students will find their Qi or internal energy flowing and will begin to feel more relaxed.

The practice takes time, so you need to give it time. It takes about a year to learn the full Tai Chi form, on the basis of one class a week and practicing every day for about 15 minutes. As Tai Chi embraces many aspects of movement and stillness, it can be practiced by any age group. Consistent daily practice promotes relaxation, concentration and increased vitality due to improved circulatory and respiratory functions.

Classes, which typically last 60-90 minutes, begin with a series of breathing exercises and move on to slow and precise body movements or “forms” that may take up to twenty minutes to perform.

Relax

The first principle of Tai Chi is relaxation, without which there is no Tai Chi; the whole body must be relaxed, loose and open, so that the Chi/Energy can pass through without blockage. Later on in our study, as we begin to relax we realise that relaxation is not simply becoming limp, there should be a quality of vitality about it. Building on that foundation, the practitioner will feel the difference between going limp, which is lifeless, and the relaxation of a cat, which is completely vital and alert. Tai Chi master Cheng Man-Ch’ing described it as like a bale of cotton: soft, but the more compressed it is, the firmer and more substantial it becomes.

Health benefits of making your own juice

Health benefits of making your own  juice20161102_123352-1

With winter approaching, now is a good time to increase your juice and vitamin intake to boost your immune system to help fight off Colds and Flu. Juice is also good for you.

Here is a simple recipe you can use to make your own citrus fruit and berry juice. It stores well in the fridge so only needs to be made once a week.

  • Blueberries 1 cup / 125 g.
  • Cranberries (fresh or dried) 1 cup / 125 g.
  • 2-3 Limes
  • 2-3 Lemons
  • 3 Oranges
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Water to taste, about 1/2 pint or 250 ml

Equipment needed:

  • Juicer
  • Blender
  • Zester or Grater
  • Measuring Jug
  • Storage Container

Method: If using dried cranberries, soak them in the water until they are reconstituted. Zest all the fruit. Put the water, cranberries, the blueberries and the zest into the blender. Blitz the mixture for 3-5 minutes at maximum speed until all the pulp and skin are completely blended. Juice all the fruit and add to the juice mixture. Add the cranberry juice, about 500 ml. Cranberry juice drink is usually sweet to taste, so the sugar will balance the tartness of the juice. Experiment with the ratio of cranberry juice drink to find your desired taste. Store the juice in a container. It will keep in the fridge for a week or so. This amount of ingredients makes about 2 litres of juice.

Blueberries are sweet, nutritious and wildly popular.

Often labelled a “superfood,” they are low in calories and incredibly good for you.

They are so tasty and convenient that many people consider them to be their favorite fruit.

Antioxidants are important. They protect our bodies from damage by free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage cellular structures and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.

Blueberries contain the highest antioxidant capacity of ALL commonly consumed fruits and vegetables.

The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries belong to a large family of polyphenols, called flavonoids.

Flavonoids have been shown to directly increase antioxidant levels inside the body.

Bottom Line: Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all commonly consumed fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids appear to be the major antioxidant compounds.

The antioxidants in blueberries have been shown to protect LDL lipoproteins (the “bad” cholesterol) from oxidative damage, a crucial step in the pathway towards heart disease.

Regular blueberry intake has been shown to lower blood pressure in numerous studies.

There is some evidence that regular blueberry consumption can help prevent heart attacks.

The antioxidants in blueberries seem to have benefits for the brain, helping to improve brain function and delaying age-related decline.

Like cranberries, blueberries contain substances that can prevent certain bacteria from binding to the wall of the urinary bladder. This may be useful in preventing urinary tract infections.

Cranberries are a  very versatile fruit and their benefits make them useful in food as well as in medicinal products. The cranberry plant is  native fruits of North America. Cranberries have a tremendous amount of antioxidant capacity as compared to other fruits and  vegetables like broccoli, spinach and apples.One cup of cranberries offers a total 8983 antioxidant capacity.

Cranberry juice can help lower the risk of heart related ailments and assist in sustaining cardiovascular health. The flavonoids present in cranberries have antioxidant properties and may decrease the threat of atherosclerosis.

The health benefits of cranberry juice include relief from urinary tract infection, respiratory disorders, kidney stones, and heart disease. It is also beneficial in preventing stomach disorders and diabetes, as well as gum diseases caused by dental plaque. Phytonutrients, which are naturally derived plant compounds, are present in cranberries and have been found to prevent a wide range of health problems.

According to conducted studies, cranberry juice helps to inhibit certain strains of the flu, which is a common cause of ear and respiratory infections in children. The juice inhibits the bacteria’s hair-like structures, inhibiting them from adhering to the surface of the skin.

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  • Strengthens Bones and Teeth: Although cranberry juice is a natural source of calcium, many juice companies add extra calcium to cranberry juice. Natural or otherwise, calcium reduces the risk of getting osteoporosis.
  • Cures Cold: Fresh cranberry juice is effective at fighting against infections. It can help cure sore throats and colds.
  • Good for Obesity: Cranberry juice is rich in organic acids, which have an emulsifying effect on the fat deposits in our body. So, it is good for people who want to shed those extra kilos.
  • Prevents Kidney Stones: The high amount of acid components in cranberry juice prevents kidney stone formation.
  • Peptic ulcers: Peptic ulcers are caused by a type of bacteria called  Helicobacter pylori or pylori. This microorganism attacks the protective layer of the stomach and duodenum, which is the first part of intestine. This may lead to further inflammation of the stomach lining. Foods rich in flavonoids help reduce the risk of stomach disorders, including stomach ulcers. An investigative study performed on a group of patients having that type of stomach disorders showed a 50% advantage over patients that didn’t consume cranberry juice. Therefore, doctors commonly advise the regular intake of cranberry juice to suppress the infection.
  • Scurvy: Deficiency of vitamin-C in an individual can result in scurvy. Cranberries provide high levels of vitamin-C, which is also vital for the body to make collagen, the main component behind the healthy functioning of tissues.
  • Lung inflammation: The anti-inflammatory effects of cranberry juice have been proven to be effective against the inflammation caused in the lungs by the influenza virus.

Saying that lemons are a superfood is an understatement. Not only do they add abundant flavor to a variety of dishes, but they also boast a ton of health benefits. The flavonoids within the juice are said to contain antioxidants, which is why lemons are useful in treating so many ailments and conditions. Here are some reasons to enjoy them ASAP.

  • Prevent kidney stones: Drinking one half-cup of lemon juice every day raises citrate levels in the urine. Studies have shown that this could protect against calcium stones in the kidney.
  • Soothe a sore throat: Mixing lemon juice with honey can help alleviate the discomfort that comes from a nasty sore throat.
  • Support weight loss: Studies have shown the ways lemon juice supports your goals. Lemon juice contains pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to aid in weight-loss struggles.
  • Start your day right: Leave caffeinated drinks behind, and start your day off with hot water and fresh lemon juice to stimulate your digestive track and add vitamin C.
  • Stop an itch: When it comes to poison ivy or insect bites, rubbing lemon juice on the area can soothe the skin, since it has anti-inflammatory and anesthetic effects.
  • Aids in digestion: Drink a mixture of lemon juice and flaxseeds in order to eliminate waste more quickly from your body.
  • Anticancer properties: Studies have supported the anticancer activity of citrus limonoids, compounds that protect your cells from damage that can lead to the formation of cancer cells.
  • Potassium power: Bananas aren’t the only way to get a big helping of potassium in your system. In addition to vitamin C, lemons offer 80 milligrams of this mineral that helps your body stay strong and nimble.
  • Bring down a fever: Forget the days of starving a fever! When your temperature goes up, drinking a lemon juice mixture can help bring your fever down faster.
  • Balance pH: While lemons may seem quite acidic, they’re a surprisingly good source of an alkaline food that can help balance your body’s pH.

Lime and lemon add refreshing zest to almost any drink which cleanse and enhance immune properties of your already healthy glass of juice.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Limes and lemons contain potent detoxifiers with anti-biotic effect that is protective against bacterial infections.

  • Asthma: Take a tablespoon of lemon juice at least one hour before each meal to relieve asthma.
  • Burning soles/feet: Rub a sliced lemon over the burning sole/foot/heel to relieve from pain and for toxin elimination through the pores of the feet.
  • Colds: The anti-viral properties in lime/lemon fight infections and halt the progress of a cold. Take the juice of two lemons in half a liter of hot water and add raw honey to taste. Sip it slowly before bedtime.
  • Constipation: Drink a glass of warm water every morning with some lime/lemon juice with raw honey. Stir in a pinch of cinnamon powder. This will help your body to detoxify and relieve constipation.
  • Digestion: Lime/lemon juice have amazing digestive qualities that are very similar to our digestive enzymes. Therefore, lime/lemon juice is effective in helping with digestion and relieving bloating and belching.
  • Feet, tired: After a long day on your feet, soak your feet in very warm water containing lime/lemon juice to enjoy the cooling, astringent feeling. This will also help promote deep sleep due to the relaxing action on the foot nerves.
  • Gums, swollen: Drink a glass of diluted fresh lime juice with a pinch of sea salt to relieve the pain of swollen gums
  • Heartburn: Add two teaspoons of concentrated lime/lemon juice into a glass of warm water and drink to relieve heartburn.
  • Inflammatory disorders: Even though lime/lemon juice are sour and taste acidic, it is actually very alkalinizing in the body and is highly effective in the treatment of inflammatory disorders like rheumatism, arthritis, sciatica, etc. It also prevents the deposit of uric acid in the tissues, thus reducing the risks of gout.
  • Skin, dry: Rub the peel of a lemon on dry or scaly skin to restore softness and add moisture to the skin.

Despite all the goodness that limes/lemons provide as mentioned above, remember always to take only in moderation. More is not always better.

Some people are allergic to citrus peels, so when you take lime/lemon juice extracted together with the peel, check yourself to see if there is any allergic reaction afterwards.

Oranges have been a staple of eating healthy for thousands of years, and the fruit probably originated somewhere in Southeast Asia. Historical records of oranges date back as far as China, more than 4,500 years ago. It is one of the most popular citrus fruits, and its scientific name is Citrus sinensis. There are a number of different orange varieties, but this is the sweet orange, the most popular and commonly eaten variety. This provides some of the most delicious types of orange juice, although there are some people who prefer the juice from blood oranges, mandarin oranges, or even bitter oranges.

The zest in citrus fruits holds higher levels of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) than its juice. 100 g of fresh zest provides 136 mg per 100 g of vitamin C while its flesh carries just about 71 mg/100 g. Likewise, the zest is also a good source of vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, minerals such as calcium, selenium, manganese, and zinc.

Is it true that there are as many, if not more, nutrients in the zest of citrus fruits as in the fruits themselves?

Yes, the rind or zest, seems to contain more nutrients than the flesh. Citrus peels are packed with immune-boosting vitamin C, bone-building calcium and anti-inflammatory, antioxidant bioflavonoids. They also provide potassium, which helps keep blood pressure in check, and limonene, a phytochemical that may have anti-cancer effects and can help with heart burn.

However, if you have low calcium levels or a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones, check with your doctor before zesting every day. Citrus peels contain oxalates, which interfere with your body’s calcium absorption.

What’s the best way to get at the citrus peel: zest or chop?

A zester is best. And if you don’t own one, use a grater instead.

Is it best to use organic, or does it matter?

Yes, it is better to choose organic especially when you’re eating the zests  because conventionally grown citrus fruits can contain pesticide residue as well as wax.

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David Hankey

Acupuncture Cork

Acupuncture and the treatment of PMS

Acupuncture and the treatment of PMS
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the cyclic recurrence of a group of symptoms that peak 7 to 10 days before menstruation and disappear a few hours after the onset of the menstrual flow. This condition is characterized by multiple and diverse symptoms including, but not limited to: breast tenderness, transient weight gain, bloating, constipation, insomnia, acne, headache, pelvic pain, irritability, depression, mood swings, poor concentration, confusion, social withdrawal, impulsiveness and appetite changes. While many women experience mild symptoms of short duration, other women have more severe symptoms that last for many days and temporarily disturb their normal functioning.
There can also be painful menstrual issues that can mean that in some cases the woman may only feel well for one week at a time, each cycle. Estimations state that up to 80% of women suffer with some issues and only 5% suffering severe life disrupting symptoms.
PMS is due to unbalanced hormonal fluctuations. A mixture of correct diet, adequate exercise, and emotional clarity, along with acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs can correct imbalances and bring long-term relief.
What is clear here is that PMT symptoms only occur when there is ovarian function. Therefore any woman who is pregnant or has gone through the menopause or had her ovaries removed does not suffer with any symptoms. So it is quite clearly a disharmony of the hormones and the second half of the cycle, i.e. an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone levels that can be also exacerbated today by poor nutrition, stress and poor sleeping patterns.
From a TCM point of view a balanced woman should not suffer any abnormal issues coming up to her period. Her periods will be regular (24-35 day cycles) and she should feel comfortable. When the body is in balance, a woman will have periods on a regular basis, they also don’t complain about issues such as pain, water retention, emotional upheaval or PMS-related fatigue. So, many of the symptoms associated with PMS (breast tenderness, irritability, cramps, headaches), from a Chinese medical perspective, are simply symptoms of blocked energy. Acupuncture helps to open those blockages thus allowing the energy to flow without restriction. This brings the body back to balance by eliminating PMS altogether by working on the liver qi in particular, and the blood in the spleen. These are all energetics that are central to a healthy reproductive system.
Lots of women attend me for lots of reasons. What is interesting is that whatever the case in front me is, I always ask about the health of the woman’s menstrual cycle. A few women have often looked surprised when I ask them about about their menstrual health and PMS. They say that they thought PMS was normal.
What is always interesting is the woman who comes for help, for say skin issues for example, and they mention while having acupuncture treatments that this was the first month that they didn’t have PMS coming up to their period. This is because TCM looks at the overall woman and treats the root which can be causing layer after layer of very different symptoms.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are wonderful for helping and should be something to consider if looking for natural solutions. A herbal formula to help smooth out the energy of the liver is Xiao Yao Wan/Free and Easy Wanderer. The name suggests the ideal state. However, I would also recommend various lifestyle suggestions including adequate rest, nutrition and exercise.
Balanced nutrition is crucial for overcoming PMS. Certain foods such as alcohol, caffeine, cold temperature foods, sugar, salt, and animal fats exacerbate symptoms of PMS and should be avoided. In addition, commercial red meats and poultry, which have a residue of steroids composed of female animal sex hormones, should be eliminated from the diet. Food necessary for a harmonious menstrual cycle include: plenty of organic vegetables, small amounts of fruit, whole grains, legumes (especially soy), seaweed, small amounts of lean hormone-free meats, and fish (especially salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel).
Exercise plays an important role in the treatment of PMS. Thirty to forty-five minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least three times per week improves blood circulation and significantly helps reduce symptoms. Exercises like Tai Chi not only give a good workout to all the muscles but it is also good for reducing stress.
In addition to diet and exercise, some form of meditation can be very helpful. Our emotions and hormones influence each other, since they are registered in the same part of our brain. Stress can cause hormonal imbalances and therefore worsen the symptoms of PMS. Some quiet time everyday helps bring emotional and physical equilibrium.
Chinese medicine offers even more tools to address premenstrual syndrome. Acupuncture removes energy blockages and in turn stabilizes hormonal fluctuations. It also provides deep relaxation that helps to calm the mind. Chinese herbs work together with acupuncture to regulate the flow of energy and substances in the body. Together they stimulate the body’s natural functions and encourage it to establish optimum balance.
Women do not have to accept and live with premenstrual syndrome. When the symptoms of PMS are reduced or eliminated, women feel more energetic — physically, mentally and emotionally.
The use contraceptives such as pills and patches (all of which inhibit ovulation) may be of value as regards contraceptives. But, they reduce the hormonal variability of the natural menstrual cycle and may cxontribute to PMS and Fertility problems. . For those women wishing to conceive, relief from PMS symptoms and regulating their monthly clcle can ultimately lead to improved fertility.
Acupuncture and the treatment of PMS.
Chinese medicine has developed treatment for the many complaints of PMS over the past two thousand years, and recently, the National Institute of Health in America endorsed acupuncture for the relief of premenstrual pain and discomfort. Treatment and prevention involve the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbs, along with nutritional guidance and lifestyle counseling. For the highest success rate and to bring long-term relief, Chinese medical treatment should ideally be received consistently for a sufficient period of time, traditionally considered to be at least weekly, over the duration of three menstrual cycles, in order to bring the body back in to a state of balance.
I have been treating women for the symptoms of PMS for twenty years. If you would like any more information, or would like to contact me for an appointment, please send an email to davidwhankey@gmail.com
David Hankey
Acupuncture Cork

Pho – Fertility Food

Pho – Fertility Nutrition – Food to build up the body.
Pho – Fertility Food. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese dish of rice noodles, marrowbone stock, beef and vegetables. So why have I called it Fertility Food? According to Chinese Medical theory when a woman has fertility issues it is best to tonify the body at a deep level. Bone marrow, which is in the centre of long leg bones, contains a lot of essential nutrients which will tonify the body and make it stronger.
It is also fast and easy to prepare and cook. Well, once the broth is made it is certainly fast. If you have a supply of broth, it only takes 10 minutes to prepare and cook this dish!
Pho tonifies the three treasures: Jing, Qi, and Shen. The marrowbones in the stock nourish the Jing, which in Chinese Medicine terms is the constitutional strength, or essence, stored in the kidneys and bones. Also in the stock is cinnamon, which in Chinese Medicine is a Yang tonic and has a similar action to that of ginseng. Ginger appears in this dish at two stages, cooked in different ways for each stage. The ginger in the stock has been roasted and then simmered slowly in the stock for a long time, which has the effect of concentrating its essence. The very fact of roasting it effects a transformation, which is consolidated by the simmering. On the other hand, the ginger used in the later stage is freshly grated and only cooked very briefly but at a high temperature. Yin and Yang. Ginger should be ranked among the so-called miracle foods or super foods as it is good for your digestion. In Ayurvedic medicine toasted sesame oil has a similar status. Energy, in oriental philosophy, is called Qi. The long cooking time of the stock translates into a slow release of food energy, whereas the rice noodles, which are pure rice starch, provide a quick release of energy. Also, the character for Qi is the same as the character for steam rising from rice. You will see lots of steam in the photos below. Garlic is a blood cleansing tonic and helps to boost the immune system. Red peppers are full of vitamins and antioxidants, which are responsible for cleaning up free radicals, associated with the symptoms of aging. Green vegetables are also packed with vitamins and as we all know, are good for us. Shen, in Taoist philosophy, refers to the mind or consciousness. This is a hot dish: not as hot as a vindaloo curry, but hot enough that you know you are eating it … it concentrates the mind. You can find out more about Chinese medicine at http://www.acupuncturecork.com
The key to this dish is a good stock. Ask your butcher for marrow bones – they’re very good for you, and they cost very little.
As Pho contains many of the ingredients needed, it is very good for people who do lots of activity or are trying to build up their strength. According to the principles of Chinese Medicine, it is very good for people who are trying to conceive, as it builds up the constitutional strength.
Ingredients: (to serve 2 people)
Broth: (this makes more than you need – the remainder can be frozen)
• 3 kg marrow bones/knuckle bones
• 4 l water
• 2 onions
• 1 piece of root ginger about 3 inches long
• 5 heads of star anise
• 1 piece of cinnamon stick, 3 inches long
• 5 dried chillies
• 6 cloves
• 4 tablespoons fish sauce
Beef:
• 200 g sirloin or round steak
• chilli sauce (to taste)
• 1 generous thumb of ginger, grated
• 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 tblsp. toasted sesame oil
Vegetables:
• 1 red pepper (bell pepper)
• 2 heads pak choi or 10 leaves of Chinese cabbage
Noodles:
• 200 g rice noodles
Preparation:
Broth:
Roast the bones, the two onions (in their skins) and the ginger in the oven at 180°C for 30 minutes. While they are roasting, cover the bones with water in a large stock pot and bring the water to the boil. As soon as the water starts boiling, drain the bones and rinse them. Cover them with fresh water, bring the pot back to the boil, and skim off any scum or impurities. Reduce to a simmer. Remove any burnt skin from the onions, and peel the ginger. Add the onions and ginger to the stock, together with the star anise, cinnamon, chillies, and cloves. Cover the pot and leave it to simmer for three to four hours. At the end of the simmering time, strain the stock and leave it to cool. After chilling, the stock should have a jelly like consistency and there will be a hard layer of fat on the surface. Don’t be tempted to throw out the fat: a lot of flavour is locked up in there. It also gives a lovely golden sheen to the finished soup.
This should make about 3 litres of broth. This can be frozen in individual tubs for use later. For two people you will need 400 ml broth. I freeze it in lots of 400 ml in old ice-cream tubs.
Beef:
Cut the beef on the diagonal into slices about 2 mm thick. Cutting it on the diagonal increases the surface to volume ratio. A very sharp knife should be used for slicing the beef so that there is a clean cut that seals the fibres. Make a quick marinade with the other ingredients and rub it in to the sliced beef. If you can get hold of it, I highly recommend Mic’s Chilli sauce, either 3 chilli Inferno or 4 chilli Inferno Extreme, for the marinade. Set the beef aside.
Vegetables:Pho 2
The chopped vegetables. In this case I have used Chinese leaves (Chinese cabbage).
Cut the red pepper into squares about 1.5 cm wide, and cut the pak choi leaves width-ways into sections about 2 cm wide.
Noodles:
Put the rice noodles into boiling water and simmer for about 6-8 minutes or until soft. Drain.
To serve:

The hot stock. You can see the golden fat floating on the surface.Pho 3
Warm 400 ml stock in a sauce pan. In a very hot wok, fry the beef in sunflower oil. As soon the beef starts turning brown, add the sliced red peppers and then the pak choi, making sure it doesn’t burn. To cook the greens add a splash of stock or water to create steam, which will cook the greens. The wok needs to be hot enough that the liquid turns to steam instantly, so that the beef and vegetables are not boiling in water.
Stir frying the beef in a hot wok. It should be sizzling hot – you can see the steam rising.Pho 4
After a minute the vegetables are added to the beef.Pho 5
Start assembling the dish by putting the cooked noodles in the bottom of a bowl.Pho 6
After topping the noodles with the fried beef and vegetables, pour the hot stock into the bowl.Pho 7
Place the noodles in individual bowls, then top with the fried beef and vegetables and cover with broth. When we had this recently at a Vietnamese restaurant in Paris, it was served with chopped fresh chillies and a wedge of lemon on the side.

Medical Qigong to improve health and immune system

Medical Qigong to improve health and immune system
Medical Qigong (pronounced Chi Kung)
What is Medical Qigong? Medical Qigong is another mode of Chinese Medicine alongside acupuncture, herbal medicine and therapeutic massage. Medical Qigong refers either to a practitioner doing Qigong on the patient or to the patient doing a set of mind and body exercises/meditation. Medical Qigong is a set of exercises to improve health and boost the immune system.
When a practitioner does medical Qigong on the patient, he/she is using their hands to open and manipulate the points rather than use acupuncture needles. Just like acupuncture the therapist uses the same diagnostic tools to lead to the point prescription.
The purpose of this blog and accompanying video on YouTube is to show people how to do a set of Qigong exercises for themselves. This will be a very basic model, but that doesn’t mean that it is in any way less effective. Rather, it will be the basic model on which more complicated or specific exercises can be built. Qigong exercises can be very specific to particular complaints, but this one forms the basics.
Medical Qigong exercises also play a part in the patient’s recovery to health and also to improve the immune system and the general health of the patient. Done correctly, these exercises are like doing an acupuncture session on yourself. Medical Qigong exercises can also be done by those wishing to boost their immune systems as well as to improve general health.
All forms of TCM treatment strive to boost, reinforce, strengthen and invigorate the Qi or life-force energy.
The word Qigong is made up of two Chinese words. “Qi” means “life force” or “vital energy” which flows through all things in the universe. “Gong” means “work”. Qigong therefore means “working with Qi”
Qigong is the art and science of using breathing techniques, gentle movement and meditation to cleanse, strengthen and circulate Qi. Qigong practice leads to better health and vitality and a more tranquil state of mind.
Qigong practices involve various postures, either moving or stationery, breathing exercises and exercises to calm and quieten the mind and help focus intention. Some practices increase Qi, others circulate it. Some practices are to cleanse and heal the body, while others store or emit Qi to help heal others.
The gentle rhythmic movements of Qigong reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality and enhance the immune system. It has been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive function.
Qigong is an exercise routine which promotes relaxation and increases the blood flow. Also, because the person is focusing on, and following the breath in a smooth flow, it is mindfulness meditation. This reduces stress, which can also exacerbating an illness. One of the most important long term benefits of Qigong is that it re-establishes the mind/body/spirit connection.
Tai Chi is a particular style of Qigong which is graceful, relaxed, slow and fluid. Unlike some Qigong methods which exercise specific systems or parts of the body – nervous system, endocrine system, heart, kidneys – Qigong is a whole body, whole mind exercise.

This blog is to accompany a video I have done to demonstrate the important points when doing these Qigong exercises for yourself. All that is needed is the space where you stand and time. With practice, build up to 30 minutes. Every day is best, twice a day if you can manage. To see any benefit it is best to practice every day for a few months. Then review the situation to see whether the exercises have made any difference.
The accompanying video shows the basic postures and important points when doing these exercises.
The video shows in real time how to perform the exercises so you can do them alongside the video. I have included the basic postures/relaxation and 4 exercises which are good for starting this practice. So, just follow along at your own pace. Sitting or standing is ok.
If you suffer from an illness or would like to use Qigong for prevention, why not give it a go? Please follow the link below and follow along for yourself. Firstly, see if you like this form of exercise. To obtain best results, practice for a half hour every day for a month and see for yourself if you have made an progress.
I can perform Medical Qigong on patients and also show how to do the exercises as well as prescribe specific exercises for different complaints.
If you would like more information, or would like to book a consultation to experience a Qigong treatment, please contact me at:
Acupuncture Cork, David Hankey. Phone 087 2744735
or email davidwhankey@gmail.com
YouTube Video:

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for Weight Loss Part 2

Traditional Chinese Medicine For Weight Loss Part 2

Here are some thoughts on how Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can help with weight loss and improving the digestion. Acupuncture for weight loss involves the insertion of tiny needles to help improve the digestion. Traditional Chinese Medicine for weight loss would be the use of herbal medicine to improve the digestion.

One pill makes you thinner
Diet drugs have made a comeback, but even the medical profession acknowledges their limits. Most produce modest result for the majority of patients and are for short -term use only. And some studies show that once you stop taking the medication, any lost weight is gained back. Then there are the possible side effects, such as elevated blood pressure, dizziness, insomnia, gastrointestinal disturbances and impotence to be taken into account.
Some diet programs use nutritional supplements or prescription medications to suppress your appetite. This makes no sense from a TCM perspective. TCM views hunger as a vital signal from your body. Appetite suppressants send a wrong message, telling your organs to reduce or stop their natural functions. If there is damage caused by the appetite suppressant, then your body will have to supply extra Qi to the organ to fix it, which is contrary to the healing process needed for healthy weight loss. Also, any damage to the organs’ function will make it harder to maintain weight loss later, once you stop taking the pills.

Going to extremes
Gastric banding, or stomach stapling, has received a great deal of media attention recently. From the TCM perspective, reducing the stomach’s size must surely interrupt its function. Also, operating on any organ can damage the corresponding meridians, the invisible energy pathways that rum throughout your body. Aside from the obvious loss of appetite and serious side effects from this surgery, TCM recognises other side effects that might not seem connected. The Spleen/Stomach organ system in TCM theory is related to muscle and fat. So, if the organ that controls these tissues is being reduced, one possible side effect could be muscle pain all over, particularly on the side of the legs where the Stomach meridians run. The Heart, as the mother organ of the Stomach, would possibly carry an added energy burden after this surgery, too, in an attempt to make up for the reduction in the size of the Stomach and its customary functions.

Pain? No gain?
In many diet plans, exercise is a major component. “No pain, no gain” is the credo. Again, TCM takes a different stance. Instead of improving cardiovascular health, very vigorous, sweat-producing exercise regimens can actually impair it, according to TCM. Sweat is the body fluid related to the Heart in TCM theory, and excessive perspiration can throw this vital organ out of balance and impair its function. Aside from expending large amounts of Qi, strenuous high-impact exercise frequently causes tendon problems. Because the tendons are considered the “tissue” of the Liver, TCM believes that exercise that impacts the state of the tendons can also have a negative impact on the Liver.
Because the human body is approximately seventy percent water, from the TCM perspective it responds best to soft, fluid movements and exercise such as dancing, Tai Chi, Yoga, jogging, cycling, gentle swimming and best of all, walking in nature. Qigong (Chi Kung) is a system of energy exercise that is used extensively in China to treat a wide range of conditions including obesity. TCM regards Qigong as a self-healing energy practise, especially helpful to people trying to lose weight because it can help increase your body’s Qi. Tai Chi and Aikido are very good forms of exercise for those with more energy. To heal your body and lose weight, TCM recognises that Qi needs to be increased, not decreased, so exercise must bring energy into your body, not expend it.

The weight of your emotions
How much does anger weigh? What about sadness? Perhaps the most interesting aspect of TCM’s view of excess weight is the role played by your emotions. TCM treats the body, mind, emotions and spirit as an integrated and interrelated whole. This means to have true physical health there must be emotional health.
When TCM looks at digestion, it takes the broadest view: digestion is the ingestion, absorption and letting go of food and drink- and emotion. According to TCM theory, each of the five organ pairs has a corresponding emotion. For instance, anger and stress are related to the Liver and Gallbladder. TCM understands that chronically held emotions act like internal pathogens, setting up an imbalance in the way your organs function. Often, TCM practitioners urge their patients to emotionally “let things go” or to slow down and take more rest. If you hold on to an emotion, it will stay “undigested” or stagnant in your system and create disharmony and disease.
From the TCM viewpoint, stress plays a large part in overweight conditions. Unrelenting stress creates a negative vibration that impairs Liver function. Because the Liver controls the digestive process that takes place in the Spleen/Stomach organ pair, its dysfunction can disturb healthy digestion. TCM encourages you to tune in to your own body and spirit, recognising that each of us is entirely unique.
It’s up to you. Do you want quick weight loss results at the expense of your long- term health? Or do you want lasting weight loss that brings the benefits of harmony and balance? There are many health benefits of acupuncture. Traditional Chinese Medicine, with its age-old specialities of prevention and lifestyle modification, is a safe and truly healing weight loss resource just waiting to be discovered.

If you would like to speak to me about weight loss or improving your digestion, contact me at:
Acupuncture Cork David Hankey, phone 087 2744735
or email davidwhankey@gmail.com

Traditional Chinese Medicine For Weight Loss Part 1

Traditional Chinese Medicine For Weight Loss;
What Have You Got To Lose? Part 1

Recent statistics show that more people in Ireland are overweight, with some meeting the criteria for obesity. And the numbers are steadily rising. Most alarming are the statistics for children.
From all the magazine articles and commercials on TV that barrage you with ways to lose weight, you’d think it would be a piece of cake to stop this “epidemic” in its tracks. Consumers have countless choices. There are low-carbohydrate diets and raw food regimens; nutritional supplements and exhaustive exercise workouts; diuretics and diet pills; and perhaps most dramatic of all, stomach stapling. So why are people constantly struggling with their weight? And why aren’t their dieting efforts more successful? Perhaps we’ve been looking for weight loss in the wrong places. Take a chance on traditional Chinese medicine’s unique point of view. Here are some thoughts on how Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can help. What have you got to lose? Acupuncture for weight loss involves the insertion of tiny needles to help improve the digestion. Traditional Chinese Medicine for weight loss would be the use of herbal medicine to improve the digestion.
Losing weight…OR…Gaining health?
One of the biggest differences between Western weight loss programs and the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) approach is that Western methods focus on external issues. It’s all about the food and the amount of it. Instead, TCM addresses the root cause of being overweight. From the TCM perspective, it’s necessary to find and treat the root cause of any condition. TCM aims to make the digestive organs work more efficiently. If the digestive organs are not working to transform the food we eat in to usable energy, we can get overweight. Excess weight is considered just one symptom of an underlying health problem. The end result of a series of internal events in your body that usually begin with a Qi (pronounced CHEE) or energy deficiency or imbalance. Unless the root cause is addressed, the weight loss won’t be permanent. As if to prove the point, some medical statistics show that nearly 95% of dieters who use conventional weight-loss methods regain some or all of the weight they lose.
When your digestive organs fall out of balance, your organs can’t perform their tasks, for example, promoting healthy metabolism and ridding your body of excess water and fat.
Have you ever experienced problems like headaches, emotional difficulties, depression and allergies before a weight gain? These are all signals that your body is having functional difficulties. Frequently, the problem is an imbalance in the relationship between the digestive organs – crucial to proper digestion. TCM believes that when your body is in balance, you don’t have weight problems. When your Qi is strong and balanced, weight will be lost naturally and normal weight will be maintained.

An apple a day
The majority of diet plans require you to eat – or stop eating – specific foods. TCM’s view is that a healthy body will simply “ask for” what it needs. When your Qi is strong and balanced, you won’t experience extraordinary food cravings or have an uncontrollable appetite. Cravings indicate that your body requires a certain type of Qi or energy. For example, craving sweets or a sweet taste, that’s your Spleen telling you it’s out of balance. Crave salt or salty foods like crisps? That’s your Kidney looking for help. These are not necessarily bad things, we always seek to keep in balance. Women craving chocolate at certain times of the month may need magnesium, which chocolate contains. Each food, according to TCM, carries a specific essence that resonates energetically with one or more of your organs. Cravings are viewed as signals that an organ may be imbalanced and requires treatment.
It’s common for a TCM practitioner to “prescribe” certain foods to a patient – food is just one of a variety of healing resources used in TCM treatment. Food recommendations are selected with an eye to healing the root cause of your specific health problem and without side effects. Used in this way, food is a means of healing one or more organs to restore your health as a whole.
When you make intelligent choices and keep an eye on high quality, food becomes a resource that can be used every day for healing. TCM has a unique understanding of the effects of different foods and methods of cooking on your body because it recognises the impact they have on your body’s energy system. For overall well-being and to maintain a healthy weight, TCM advises a varied diet of vegetables, fruits, some grains, legumes and nuts. Seafood, especially shellfish, has many healing benefits. Meat, if it is included in your diet, should be eaten in small quantities because it puts a burden on your digestive system and requires extra Qi/energy to process. Approximately, 30% meat, 30% vegetables and 40 % carbohydrates is beneficial. Fried and barbecued foods should also be eaten in moderation because they tend to create too much internal heat, particularly in the stomach. Raw or uncooked foods are not recommended. They have a cold essence that impairs Stomach function. Raw food may have a little more nutrition, but it requires more Qi in the digestive process, offsetting any benefits.
Some weight loss diets ask you to eat very small portions or skip meals altogether. TCM believes that this practice actually undermines dieting efforts. According to TCM, there are two main sources of energy in the body. One, called “Inborn Qi,” is inherited at birth and stored in your Kidney. The other, called “Acquired Qi” or the energy derived from food, is continuously made each day from what you eat and drink. It is processed by the Spleen/Stomach organ pair, and stored there, on hand to support the function of all the organs, supply their energy needs, and help maintain your body’s capacity to regulate and heal itself.
Not eating enough food or skipping meals can lead to a Stomach function disorder. Eventually your Stomach won’t be able to extract the nourishment you need from the food you eat. This can result in bloating, allergies and even weight gain! When there is not enough Acquired Qi available, your body is forced to draw the energy it needs from the constitutional strength stores of energy.

About that bottle of water
Frequent urination, irregular heartbeat, an increase in cholesterol levels, weakness, and impotence are a high price to pay if you want to lose a few pounds. But that’s what you can expect if you use diuretic pills as a routine to lose weight.
Eliminating water from your body will result in lower numbers on the scale, but at what cost? Excess water is a sign that one or more organs has an imbalance.
TCM sees diuretics, which stimulate the kidneys to remove sodium and water, as an attempt to force the kidneys and bladder to work overtime. Diuretics will rid the body of water, at first, yet will create different health problems later on when the organs exhaust themselves.
Some weight loss regimens encourage you to drink more water to create a “full” feeling and to rid your body of toxins. From the TCM point of view, drinking large amounts of water is not a healthy practice. It forces your body to drain its Qi by keeping the Kidney/ Bladder organ system in a constant state of production – even during the night when these organs should be resting and conserving energy. And this expends precious energy that that your body needs to heal the internal conditions that caused your weight problem in the first place.

Do you want quick weight loss results at the expense of your long- term health? Or do you want lasting weight loss that brings the benefits of harmony and balance? Traditional Chinese Medicine, with its age-old specialities of prevention and lifestyle modification, is a safe and truly healing weight loss resource just waiting to be discovered.
If you would like to speak to me about weight loss or improving your digestion, contact me at:
Acupuncture Cork David Hankey, phone 087 2744735
or email davidwhankey@gmail.com