12:17 12:17

Nourishing In Winter’s Depth

By |2020-01-10T11:45:25-06:00February 15th, 2020|Categories: Blogs|0 Comments

In Asian medicine (Chinese medicine) Winter’s energetic nature is one of quiet, calm and stillness.  It’s an ideal time for deep introspection, rest and restoration.  It’s a fine season to spend quality time with friends and family in joy, yet we may often overdo it and find ourselves too busy and anxious.  Here are a few tips to help you harmonize with the season and reap the rewards of winter.

Meditate

Meditation is the activity that can best reconnect us to our deepest selves. It is truly the most profound way to create inner peace and harmony.  It allows us to pull away from habituated emotions and thoughts and allows Qi to flow promoting healing. The benefits of meditation are innumerable and it is truly one of the most profound ways to help strengthen the Kidneys and overall well being.  One of the common complaints I hear from clients about meditation is actually a fear of sitting still. Interesting–the emotion that damages the Kidneys is fear–however, sitting peacefully and breathing deeply isn’t something we should fear.  If you’ve never learned to meditation you may want to seek out a class or teacher who can help you get started.  My general recommendation for those starting, is to pick a time of day (preferably the same time everyday) where they can sit for 15 minutes.  Just sit up straight, close your eyes, soften your breath and be still.  Don’t worry about the emotions and thoughts that float in an out of your being. Consider them like the weather–you can notice them, but you need not act on them.  Just sit.  After a few weeks, bump it up by another 5-10 minutes. I recommend 30 minutes to an hour a day for meditation. Although 15 minutes […]

11:22 11:22

Warm To The Core

By |2020-01-10T11:50:17-06:00February 14th, 2020|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, The Seasons, Winter|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

Baby, it’s cold outside.  Now that you have an ear worm to pester you for the day, let’s talk about keeping the core of the body warm.

The Asian cultures have a long tradition of dressing to protect the abdomen and the lower back and with good reason–the Kidneys.  Called the “Root of Life” in Chinese medicine, and their energies and organs are greatly protected in classical Asian medicine and martial arts.   In Japanese, the region is called the Hara, in Chinese it’s the Dan Tian. All Asian cultures hold the same concept–the vital energy of the body is centered in the space  located just behind the belly button to between the two kidneys.   If you’ve ever done martial arts, this where you move from.  It’s your core,  and the store house of energy and we want to keep it warm.

The Kidneys are the “Root of Life” and “Sealed Storage”

Let me see if I can boil down a 5 hour lecture into a couple of simple paragraphs.

All organs have a Yin and Yang aspect, however, these two aspects take on a different meaning with the Kidneys.  The Kidneys are the foundation for all Yin and Yang for all organs. One of the first channels to develop as a baby grows, Kidney Yin is the foundation or “root” for the Yin and the Yang organs alike, making it the basis for Fire and Water in the body.  If the Kidney energy is strong, the baby will grow strong and have vitality.  Kidney energy is required for all growth, maturation and reproduction– the bones, marrow, and spine;  and […]

09:05 09:05

Nourishing With Stinging Nettles

By |2020-01-10T11:45:07-06:00February 7th, 2020|Categories: Blogs, Common Conditions, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles, The Seasons|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

April Crowell Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

Stinging nettles sting.

My first encounter with nettles was not pleasant, and at the time, I didn’t know enough to look for lamb’s quarter or dock to soothe the nettle’s sharp bite.  Instead, I chose to run screaming back to camp seeking my mother’s aid to treat the flaming red blisters on my legs.

Despite my first meeting with nettles, I have grown to love their amazing nutritional and healing properties.  They are one of the few herbs that I can recommend to almost anyone–young, old, weak, strong, nursing mothers and athletes.  To date, I  haven’t come up with someone that can’t benefit from nettles.

A bit of nettle history

Nettles have a long history of medicinal use–dating back to the bronze age. Native Americans used them to stop bleeding after child birth, Victorian women used nettle tinctures to thicken their hair.  Soups were used to build strength and stamina–the list is long as you will see below.

Nettles grow wild across Europe, America and parts of Canada. Many people harvest them fresh, but for ease (possibly I’m just lazy) I get my nettles dried and in bulk unless a local grower has some fresh available.   I use them regularly for my family, self and my clients.  All parts of the nettle plant have medicinal properties earning them a place of honor in my herbal cupboard.

Western uses and nutritional profile

Long inhale and go….  Asthma, chronic cough, any lung disorder, hives, shingles, eczema, diabetes, uterine bleeding, chronic nose bleeds, allergies, gout, heart failure, spasms urinary and kidney stones, urinary tract infections,  strengthen hair, heal wounds, replenishing after surgery, fluid retention, rheumatism, arthritis,  reduce edema and bloating, build teeth and bones, balance mood swings, […]

08:27 08:27

Tips For Handling The Stomach Flu

By |2020-01-10T11:42:06-06:00January 3rd, 2020|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Tyra Burgess, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM)

“I am so tired, I have no energy.”

” I am feeling heavy and sick to my stomach. I am queasy and have a slight headache.”

If you have said this to yourself or to someone else, it is likely that you are suffering from the flu. Not the fill your head with snot flu, but the stomach flu. Viral Gastroenteritis, is described by the Mayo clinic as, “Gastroenteritis,  attacks your intestines, causing signs and symptoms, such as:

  •  Watery, usually nonbloody diarrhea — bloody diarrhea usually means you have a different, more severe infection
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Nausea, vomiting or both
  • Occasional muscle aches or headache
Other signs and symptoms are a low grade fever, vomiting, sweating, the hot and cold chills, and general fatigue and achiness. Once one contracts the flu, symptoms will appear with in 1 to three days, and can last anywhere from 24hrs to 7 days. 
 
Treatment for the flu
  • Always come and see your practitioner. While we try to prevent any illness, they do occur, and when they do, we are best utilized as soon as possible, to balance the body’s qi flow, creating balance, and herbal therapies to aid the body through the illness. In our practice we have used several supplements to help bring the body back to balance.
  • Use Pill curing, green clay or charcoal to ease the stomach
  • Take a ginger bath to help push out the pathogen, and kill the invading pathogen as ginger is an excellent microbial. Simply […]
09:33 09:33

Elderberry Syrup and Tea for Colds and Flu

By |2020-01-10T11:41:50-06:00January 1st, 2020|Categories: Blogs, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Elderberry Syrup and Tea for Colds and Flu

As Autumn creeps in I stock my cupboards with a few items to prevent and treat colds and flu. Gan Mao Ling, Kwan Loong oil, vitamin C, Immustim or Wellness Formula, to name a few, but one of my favorites is simple and reliable elderberry tea and syrup.

All parts of the elder plant have a long history in folk medicine. The flower is used to promote sweating and resolve phlegm from exterior pathogens. The inner bark and root are used as strong emetics and to relieve stubborn constipation. The leaves and berries can be made into poultices with vinegar or honey to relieve damp heat in the skin such as poison ivy.

Elderberry syrup is one of the first things that I reach for when someone is starting to fight a cold or flu. From a Chinese medicine perspective there are two major reasons that we get sick: either our system is weak and susceptible to exterior invasion (Lung qi and wei qi deficiency) or the pathogen is exceptionally strong relative to us (think of plagues). Elderberry helps to strengthen any Lung deficiency condition, giving your immune system a powerful boost. It is antiviral and anti-infective, perfect for fighting off those pesky viruses. The berry also has expectorant, diaphoretic and diuretic properties to help move fluids, the bowels and relieve phlegm. It even helps treat food poisoning. Elderberry is high in calcium, vitamins A, C and B6 and iron—and, best of all, it’s tasty and kids don’t usually mind it.

So how do I use it?
I start to use elderberry tea (often mixed with other teas like berry or nettles) several times a week at the start of school or weather transitions. The syrup is handy for […]

16:27 16:27

Understanding Gua Sha–The Art of Scraping

By |2019-09-24T13:36:23-06:00September 23rd, 2019|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

What is Gua Sha?
Based on the theories of ‘counteraction,’ Gua sha or frictioning uses a smooth edged tool to scrape the skin intentionally bringing up a rash to release pathogens and pain.  There are beautiful tools of bone, jade or other precious materials  made especially for gua sha,  however  my pragmatic side favors the $2 porcelain Chinese soup spoon that I can get from World Market and that fits perfectly in my hand.

Hippocrates identified 4 types of frictioning and their specific healing benefits stating, “It has the power of loosening, binding, augment and diminishing.” Huh, what does that mean?

Soft frictioning–Uses light quick strokes to loosen the flesh. This technique may not bring up strong rash and clears quickly. It is used for those who are very weak or in areas that can’t handle great depth or where you don’t want a rash to show up such as the face. Yeah, really, a little gua sha can release TMJ and tight jaw muscles.  Yes, we can apply gua sha to the jaw.

Moderate frictioning–Uses medium pressure and frequency of strokes to increase the flesh. Used for overall pain and to fight off colds and flu.

Hard frictioning–Uses deeper quicker strokes to strengthen the flesh. Used for overall and chronic deep pain and to fight off colds and flu.

Prolonged–Uses longer, slowly to break up thick congestion or thin the flesh such as thick scar tissues.

What does gua sha treat?
All frictioning generates heat and releases exterior invasions or the 6 Evils. Many Asian cultures use Gua Sha extensively at the onset of a cold or are ‘coming down’ with something. Gua sha also release deep stagnation and pain.

Pain–anywhere–Doesn’t really matter […]

10:12 10:12

12 Common Immune Enhancing Herbs & Foods

By |2019-09-24T13:35:28-06:00September 17th, 2019|Categories: Blogs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on 12 Common Immune Enhancing Herbs & Foods

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

As requested–a blog about a few common herbs that have antiviral, antibacterial and immune enhancing natures. Just in time before schools and the cold and flu seasons start.

A virus, cold or flu in the eyes of Chinese medicine is an exterior invasion. Something is attacking the body from outside. Like all exterior invasions, to treat it we need to identify the nature of the disharmony using the 6 Exterior Evils (Pathogens) wind, cold, heat, dampness, dry, and summer heat.  When it comes to colds and flu wind, cold, heat and dampness are the most common culprits. Read more about exterior and interior patterns here.

Having formulas like Ge Gen Wan and Gan Mao Ling and single herbs like propolis, goldenseal and echinaccea are on hand is a good idea.  No one wants to run to the store or herbalist when you are sick. However, none of these herbs are delightful to nosh and it  isn’t appropriate to ingest them frequently.

Before we get ill, we have an opportunity–the chance to implement preventative habits and build our immunity by regularly ingesting foods and herbs in their simplest form.   These foods fall into the “release the exterior” and bitter  and pungent (spicy)-and they are abundant.  Actually, I had a bit of challenge to choose just twelve.   Including some of these foods and herbs regularly in your diet can make a world of difference the next time Violet Virus comes to play.   Personally, I crack out the formulas or propolis when a vicious battle looms and I get in for Amma or acupuncture quick…I don’t like being sick…..

Cinnamon–Sweet, hot and pungent, astringent and drying. Cinnamon stimulates, restores […]

13:19 13:19

Loving Your Lungs

By |2019-09-24T13:24:44-06:00August 30th, 2019|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Tyra Burgess, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM)

Ughhhh, our air! This summer has been an interesting one as far as our lungs are concerned. With our record high temperatures, the valley being saturated in smoke from fires as close as the East end, and as far away as Lowman, our lungs have been hit hard.

“At the physical level, boundary, breath and renewal are expressed as the lungs, the skin and the colon. The Lung refers to the whole respiratory system and includes the nose and sinuses. Across the boundary of the lungs oxygen is taken in and carbon dioxide waste is excreted. Since most human energy is derived from air, the Lung is primarily responsible for physical vitality and is said to govern Qi in the body.” (http://www.meridianpress.net/articles/thelung-chinesemedicine.html)  
This summer here at Pulse, we have treated a large amount of what Chinese medicine terms Lung Wind, Lung Yin deficiency, and what Western medicine would call Pnuemonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, and Pertussis. Patients affected by the smoke, have snotty noses, itchy and burning tongues, strange hives, a dry barky cough that gets worse at night.  Our lungs are creating more mucus in our mouths and noses, to trap the pollution, before it enters the lungs and to move it out.
“The Lung’s paired Organ, the Colon, is concerned with release and elimination. The Lung and Colon together are related to immunity, the strength of the protective boundary. Pathogens most easily enter through the respiratory and digestive systems and the Lung and Colon are responsible for maintaining the integrity of these systems so that they are not penetrated by invaders. According to Chinese medicine, the body’s defensive energy […]
15:26 15:26

When Yang Collapses–Rebuilding The Fires

By |2019-09-24T13:27:33-06:00August 11th, 2019|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP

Yang collapse–sound pretty severe, right? In Chinese medicine it is–and it’s often a long, slow and difficult hill to climb for recovery.  Why? Literally, you have burnt out the fire and transformative functions in the body.  Most importantly, clients who have reached deep Yang deficiency are notoriously bad about resting– which is essential to rebuilding Yang.

How deficiencies arise

You played too hard. You became severely ill. You didn’t eat or rest appropriately.  You were under too much stress.  Sometimes we can narrow it down and find one thing that may have caused the collapse but most often it’s a number things that combined leading to eventual collapse. There are many avenues in which the body takes impact of stress, illness and daily living, and when we are vital and healthy we bounce back. Overtime, however, we may continue to dwindle and signs of deficiency will show up.  It’s a progressive process that left unchecked will get worse and worse until something gives way.

The progression of deficiency in the body

Qi Deficiency–Qi deficiency is the starting place. Fortunately, Qi deficiency, though common, is very easy to recover from.  You’re a bit tired, worn out from the day, nothing that a good night’s sleep and some appropriate rest can’t fix.   There will be little change in the tongue, and the pulses will feel a little weak, but you will recover quickly.  Find out more about building Qi here.

Yin or Yang?–Left unchecked, Qi deficiency will progress, leading down a path of either Yin or Yang deficiency. Which path you follow depends on life circumstances, constitution, pre-existing weaknesses and other factors.  Truly, both Yin and Yang are going to […]

11:03 11:03

Windy Conditions

By |2019-09-24T13:33:32-06:00August 8th, 2019|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Spring|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT. NCCAOM CI & CP, CHN

It’s a blustery day!

Each of the 5 Seasons in Chinese medicine has a climatic nature that it corresponds to.  Summer relates to Heat, Autumn to Dryness, Winter to Cold, Late Summer  (the transition of seasons) relates to Dampness, and Spring corresponds to Wind. These climates are simply part of the  nature of the season, and people may be more vulnerable to these climatic conditions, and each can manifest as a series of patterns in the body.  What I pay attention to, as Chinese medicine practitioner and Amma Therapist, is how these may manifest in the body.  Ah…here comes the Wind.   Whipping through the tops of the trees, windy patterns may arise in our bodies as colds, allergies, ticks, stiff necks and more.  In Chinese medicine, Wind corresponds to Spring season and the Liver and Gall Bladder channel, and most Springs are windy.  But Wind can invade in any season, and Wind often picks up again in the Autumn.

Wind can be an exterior or interior pattern

Exterior pathogens (Wind, Hot, Cold, Dry, Damp, Summer Heat ) invade our bodies either because the pathogen is excessively strong compared to normal Wei Qi (immunity), think of plagues and virulent viruses–OR–the body is too week to fend off the invasion.   This is the pattern that appears in people who seem to get sick at the drop of a hat.

Interior patterns are generated by disharmonies within the body.  Eating too many hot foods can damage the Yin (cooling) of the body and lead to heat.  Although there may be a bit of overlap, the treatment focus of interior vs exterior will be different.  Read more on exterior and interior […]