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08:44 08:44

Digestion And A Happy Gut-Food As Medicine

By | 2017-03-30T08:44:10+00:00 March 30th, 2017|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Carla Kyle, Dipl ABT, NCCAOM  Senior Healing Qigong Instructor

A friend of mine for some mysterious reason found that every winter her daily poop quota fell short, most particularly on the weekends. She eventually discovered that nixing her energy bars on the weekend, she could get the job done! Such a simple thing, yet one that caused severe discomfort year after year. Most energy bars contain a combination of dried fruits, dry oatmeal, dry chia seeds, dry roasted nuts all baked together – you get the picture? Desert dry Internal conditions can come from the foods we eat.

Fortunately for those of us seeking tummy and gut comfort after months or years of system malfunction, we can return to Food as Medicine. This is the idea that you can begin to add in more helpful foods and let go of the less helpful foods that are plaguing your tummy and plugging, or, overflowing your pipes.

The following information is a picture of what a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner looks at when considering a course of food therapy for YOU, You may be doing A LOT of these things already. Don’t be discouraged! This is where the system of TCM food therapy shows its worth. TCM providers look at your tongue and read your pulses to discern where YOUR underlying disharmony is coming from. You may be surprised to find out how a few small changes can make a huge difference!

What takes place during a Traditional Chinese Medicine visit?

  • The nature of what you eat is discussed during your visit.
  • Your tongue is looked at and read, your pulse is read in the 3 positions and 3 levels
  • Your elemental nature becomes apparent with talk, channel palpation, […]
11:58 11:58

Oh, Honey! Bees’ Wonderful Gifts

By | 2017-04-05T15:04:12+00:00 March 24th, 2017|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Holistic Living|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance.  

Henry David Thoreau

I grew up on my grandparent’s farm outside of Caldwell, on Chicken Dinner Road, among vegetable gardens, berry patches, orchards, flower gardens….and bees. Grandpa Herman held many passions but at the top of the list were roses, walnuts and bees.

Grandpa’s bee hives would come to life every spring as soon as the first violets appeared. The apricot and crab apple trees buzzed with life and the melodious hum meant fresh honey. In a few weeks we would be blessed with plates of oozing honeycomb. The honey, gently flavored with whatever was blooming, ranged in color from golds to nearly black was fragrant and delicious. Mmmmm.

A Little History

The collection of honey dates back to 7000 b.c.e., and it shows up in nearly every form of medicine. However, honey fell out of popular use due to the availability and ease of processed white refined sugar. Let’s face it, refined sugar is cheaper and easier to obtain. You don’t have to risk stings or wait for the right season, you don’t have to manage a hive and its queen. Honey also adds a distinct flavor to whatever it goes into, another put-off to spoiled taste buds, but I digress.

Like all real food, bee products hold medicinal properties and energetics–the post metabolic phenomenon of what it does in the body (heat, cool, etc.)– once it is ingested. Here’s a brief picture of our bees’ bounty.

local be pollen local bee pollen

Bee Pollen

Honey bees travel from […]

09:00 09:00

Spring’s Energetics–The Season Of The Wood Element

By | 2017-03-16T14:00:27+00:00 March 6th, 2017|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Holistic Living, Spring, The Seasons|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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

Welcome to Spring!

When does Spring really begin? For most Western cultures, we correlate the start of Spring with the Spring equinox, around March 20-21st.  But all of us know that Spring has been well underway by the time the equinox pops up. If you look at the seasonal correspondences in Chinese medicine’s Yin/Yang theory, the Winter solstice marks the depth of Winter, yet as soon as we reach maximum Yin (the shortest day of the year), Yang and light start to return–literally, Spring is on its way.  A quick look at the lunar calendar can also help us understand why Spring seems to come early or late from one year to the next.  The Chinese New Year heralds the start of the Spring festivals and planting seasons.  This holiday falls on the second new moon after the Winter solstice, sometime between the end of January and the middle of February.

Our bodies feel seasonal changes, and when we are in harmony with these shifts we can delight in the blessings of the season.  However, the transition from Winter to Spring is perhaps, the most tumultuous transition. It’s a duel between the quiet and restive inward energy of Winter into the strong, upward ascending of Yang energy–and its energy can be big.  The season of the Wood element, Spring is a time of tremendous energy, and excitement in the world and in our bodies.   It’s a time of change and growth.  Our bodies want to move more, we have more energy within us and we want to get up and go!  In disharmony, we resist the changes and encounter difficulties.  During the Spring this can […]

16:27 16:27

Understanding Gua Sha–The Art of Scraping

By | 2017-03-06T09:39:36+00:00 March 2nd, 2017|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 […]

13:10 13:10

12 Tips For Handling Heartburn And Indigestion

By | 2017-02-17T15:35:07+00:00 February 12th, 2017|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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

Digestive disturbances affect nearly everyone at some point in their life and it’s estimated that 40% of Americans will suffer from heartburn at least once each month–ouch.  In fact, the proton pump inhibitor drugs (think Nexium and Prevacid) are the third largest class of drugs sold in America each year.    The following recommendations are beneficial for any level of digestive vibrancy, whether you have excellent digestion and want to make the most of a healthy system or you are treating chronic or debilitating digestive issues.  Honestly, I know of no condition that will not improve or benefit from the simple habits listed below.

Chew your food —Let’s start at the beginning.  Besides the teeth mechanically breaking down the food, salivary amylase is added in the mouth to break down starches.  This enzyme is not found in the stomach–it has to be added into the food in the mouth.  Although the stomach churns to help break food down, it doesn’t have teeth and large chunks of food overly burden the stomach causing gas, bloating, and acid re-flux.   The physical act of chew also triggers mass peristalsis in the colon–meaning you will move your bowels more regularly.  Ideally, you should chew your food about 30 times, so put your fork down between each bite and savor your food.

Have a seat–“Li proceeds Qi.” Literally, where your intention goes your Qi (energy & manifestation)  will follow.  If your intention is to eat a meal, assist your body by sitting down, relaxing and enjoying your food.  If your attention is rushed or focused elsewhere Qi won’t readily flow into your digestive organs to help properly transform the food. Voila–you now have […]

15:26 15:26

When Yang Collapses–Rebuilding The Fires

By | 2017-02-17T09:57:40+00:00 February 11th, 2017|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 […]

12:12 12:12

Loving Chocolate–Understanding The Energetics of Chocolate

By | 2017-01-09T12:12:44+00:00 January 9th, 2017|Categories: April's Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

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

Who doesn’t love a little chocolate?

Theobroma Cacao is a much loved and very powerful food living up to its ancient name as the food of the gods.    On the average, we Americans each indulge in about 12 pounds of the dark treat yearly.  That stretches out about 100 pounds of chocolate being consumed a second–whew–and that’s just Americans who rank 4th in consumption of chocolate worldwide.  Not surprisingly, the Swiss rank first in the world for individual consumption of chocolate.

The history of chocolate–in five paragraphs

Use of the cacao tree dates back at least 5,000 years to Brazil and the Amazon. Images of the cacao pods have been carved into Mayan stone temples dating back to as early as 300 C.E.  A symbol of fertility, vitality and life, the Mayans revered and used cacao extensively.  By 600 C.E. the Mayans had expanded and were cultivating crops of cacao from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Pacific Coast.

The Mayans mixed cocoa with peppers, cornmeal and other foods to create a strong drink that was used for religious ceremonies and a wide variety of medicinal purposes. This wasn’t the sweet confection we are so familiar with now, rather this was a very bitter and thick “bitter water” or xocoatl–which we derived the word chocolate from. The Mayans brewed xocoatl to treat everything from an upset stomach, low energy and libido, to lowering fevers, expectorating phlegm, treating blood in the stools and diarrhea. It was also used to regulate sleep–by either encouraging it or prohibiting–a dynamic little trait of chocolate. […]

11:22 11:22

Warm To The Core

By | 2017-03-06T09:42:17+00:00 December 20th, 2016|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 […]

13:19 13:19

Loving Your Lungs

By | 2017-03-16T13:52:01+00:00 August 25th, 2016|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 is directly […]

12:51 12:51

Addressing Anxiety With Chinese Medicine

By | 2017-03-10T13:02:12+00:00 August 25th, 2016|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions|Tags: , , |0 Comments

When anxiety starts to rise in your body, it can feel like the world is closing in on you. Your breath comes in short gulps, your pulse speeds up, and your mind starts to race.
Whether your anxiety is a rare visitor who only shows up when you’ve got a big day ahead, or a more consistent companion that’s been with you for years, Traditional Chinese medicine offers several solutions for treating the emotional, physical, and spiritual bodies to bring a person back to peaceful balance.
The Western definition of anxiety is: a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. These disorders affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating, having a serious impact on daily life.(http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/anxiety).
Other disorders classified within anxiety include:
  • Social Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Panic disorders
  • Generalized Anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Seperation Anxiety

In the United States 18.1% of our population suffers with some form of anxiety. That is 45 million people.(NIMH)