Yogapuncture for Late Summer Acupressure and Moxabustion

It seemed only fitting to use the 2 most tonifying points for the spleen/stomach system this season: Sp6 and St36. As we explored in class there are a variety of ways to stimulate these points to strengthen our center whether it be through pressure from seeds, our fingers, the heat of moxa or acupuncture needles. Here are some benefits of these points and a reminder on how to find them.

smokeless moxa over SP6 for premenstrual cramps

SP6 SANYINJAO “3 yin intersection”

This acu-point is named 3 yin intersection because the 3 yin channels of the leg (liver, spleen, and kidney) converge on this point. Because of this meeting place all three of these organs are stimulated when this point is used. This point is used for a variety of ailments and is considered a primary point for digestive, gynaecological, sexual, urinary and emotional disorders. Sp6 is considered to be one of the most important points to harmonize and cool the blood as well as to invigorate circulation. This point is contraindicated during pregnancy due to its ability to assist the body with labor both by encouraging efficient contractions and reducing the pain of said contractions.

To find this point rest your pinky on the highest point of the body protruburance on the inside of the ankle, find the tender spot where your index finger rests in the depression close to the tibia bone.

ST37 ZUSANLI “leg 3 miles”

This acu-point is named leg 3 miles because soldier would burn moxa over it to give them endurance to march 3 more miles. St36 is also the command point of the abdomen and so it is useful for anything relating to the stomach and digestion. Qin Cheng-zu of the song dynasty went a step further and said that with this point “all diseases can be treated.” This point is the most important point to stimulate the spleen and stomach to build qi and blood. St36 also works to harmonize the stomach, tonify the spleen, nourish blood and yin, clear fire, calm the spirit and resolve dampness.

You can find this point by placing your 4 fingers under the knee cap and then pressing in one finger breadth lateral to the tibia.

If using acupressure gently press into these points for 1-3 minutes on each side. If applying moxa hold the moxa stick above the point until you feel the warmth of the moxa on your skin. Use a pecking motion so the skin does not become too hot. When the point feels warm appx 5-10 minutes change sides. This is a great practice at the change of the seasons to keep the body strong.

When doing moxa make sure to be in an open or well ventilated space. The stick may be reused if stamped out without water after use. Store only after it has cooled and is no longer smoking.

Never do moxa without the guidance of a trained and licensed acupuncturist.

While acupressure is powerful it is important to make sure you are working with a licensed and trained medicine professional and is not a replacement for medical care.

Yogapuncture for Late Summer: Spleen, Damp, Worry and Transitions

Calendula

The spleen and stomach system relate to the season of late summer, approximately the last month of summer time as well as the last 18 days or so of each season when we are slowly but surely becoming the next season. Because of this and the other functions of the spleen system it is closely tied with transitions environmentally, energetically, emotionally, and physically. In class we explored the breath and the space between the inhalations and exhalations, the place where one becomes the next.

Here is the quick reference for the spleen system:

Element: Earth                    Color: Yellow

Taste: Sweet                         Emotion: Overthinking/Worry

Opens to: Mouth                 Manifests on: Lips                            Controls: Muscles and extremities

The main function of the Spleen system is to transport and transform the food we eat. When you think of the spleen/stomach it is easy to think about digestion. This system takes the food we consume and transforms it into usable energy then takes it where the body needs it so it can be used. Digestion and absorption is all about the spleen. The spleen also plays a role in overseeing the water in our bodies as well making sure it is where it needs to be and taking it away from where it doesn’t belong. The pathogen of the spleen is dampness. If you’ve ever been outside on a damp day you can feel it in your body in a distinct way. People who have spleen imbalance can be very sensitive to this kind of weather. Other examples of dampness in the body include pain that is worse in damp weather, heavy achy limbs, edema, diarrhea, phlegm, and retained fluid.

The spleen also controls the blood. While the heart pumps the blood throughout the body and the liver stores it at rest the spleen makes sure the blood is contained where it is supposed to be. When the spleen is weak you may experience bleeding because of this such as spotting in between periods, long or heavy periods, nose bleeds etc

The spleen also controls the muscles and limbs and containment is involved here as well. Healthy muscles are those that contract when used and relax at rest. When the spleen is weak the muscles will be weak and the skin flabby. Malnourishment or excessive consumption of processed foods can cause this weakness in the body as well. Energetically the spleen moves upwards, when this energy is weak it can cause issues with the muscles such as prolapse of the uterus, rectum or other internal organs.

The spleen manifests on the lips. When the lips are soft, red and full it indicates the health of the spleen energy. When pale, dry or thin this can indicate issues or depletion of the spleen energy.

The taste of the spleen is sweet but not the way you might associate this flavor with. Full sweet flavor comes from root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, yams, beets, wheat, sweet peppers, corn, squashes etc Because the spleen is essentially a part of all seasons as the space between one and the next you can think of spleen foods as the foundations of your diet. Many orange and yellow foods are great first foods for babies when introducing solids because they are easy to digest.

The color of the season is yellow and it is easy to see why. Look around outside and everywhere you look there is vibrant yellow. The fields are golden, the flowers are yellow and even some dried leaves are yellow in color. Eating foods that are yellow are also beneficial to the spleen system.

The emotion is worry or overthinking. I can imagine when we depended on growing our own food how this season could be a time of worry. Did the crops yield enough to sell and hold us over winter? Would the coming winter be a rough one? In modern times we damage our spleen energy with multi-tasking. The spleen has many jobs but it is important to take it one step at a time. One way to protect your spleen is to make meal time your one and only priority. Turn the television off, put your smart phone in another room and enjoy the aromas and delicious sight of your foods. Chew thoroughly before taking another bite, putting your fork down in between tastes and enjoy good company and conversation.

If you find yourself in a state of ruminating and can’t get your mind to get off the hamster wheel the best way to clear your mind is to do movement where your opposite hand moves with your opposite foot. Walking is a perfect example of this and even simply walking in place can help especially if your thoughts start up when you’re trying to sleep.

Here are some spleen recipes:

Golden Milk, a spleen tonic

Green Lentil Curry

Mindful Eating for Thanksgiving

Roasted Red Pepper Chili with Zucchini and Quinoa

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

Coconut Lime Butternut Squash Soup

Cheesy Pesto Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

http://www.food.com/recipe/black-bean-and-sweet-potato-chili-vegetarian-408973

Savory Pumpkin and Feta Muffins

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Tomato Basil Chicken Sausage

The color of the season is yellow and it is easy to see why. Look around outside and everywhere you look there is vibrant yellow. The fields are golden, the flowers are yellow and even some dried leaves are yellow in color. Eating foods that are yellow are also beneficial to the spleen system.

 

 

Late Summer Self Care Package Details

The late summer yogapuncture is in Crystal Lake on Friday September 15th at 7:15. If you’d like to join there are a few spots left. I am including a self care package that goes along with the theme of this yogapuncture and all of it relates to the spleen/stomach system in Chinese Medicine. The self care package is designed to assist you through out the season and hopefully give you a few new things you might not have tried before. Here are the 4 items that will be in this care package and what they are for. Since the spleen/stomach system’s main job in Chinese Medicine is to “rot and ripen” our food both transforming and transporting the energy our body uses from the food we eat and the color associated with this system is yellow/orange it only felt fitting to include a few things that support digestion.

Trikatu pastilles

These are hand rolled “pills” of powdered ginger, peppercorn and long pepper with raw, local honey are part of Ayurvedic medicine (Chinese Medicine’s). These can be enjoyed before or after a meal to assist with digestion and are especially good if you have a tendency to run cold or struggle with gas and bloating. Not sure if you run cold? If raw foods seem to give you an upset stomach that could be an indication of cold in your belly as one example. Black pepper is known to assist in the absorption rate of the foods it is paired with. These are especially helpful in the fall/winter seasons when the temperatures are colder.

Smokeless Moxa stick
Moxabustion is a preventative tool in Chinese Medicine. Mugwort a yellow spongy herb in the chrysanthemum family is heated over acupuncture points for a variety of ailments and also to aid the body in staying well. Instead of stimulating acu points with pressure or needles the warmth of the moxa stick held over acupuncture points helps to improve circulation and boost energy. Because moxa can be a create a thick smoke smokeless moxa is used for the same benefit, its scent is similar to incense and does not linger as long as regular moxa. Instructions on how to use the moxa stick and which points to stimulate for fall will be included. You will also get a chance to give it a try at the yogapuncture class. 🙂
Belly Bag
This is a weighted bag filled with rice that can be heated or used “as is”.  Place over your abdomen to help facilitate deeper breathing and connect with your center. A freeing sensation is often felt when the belly bag is removed after resting over the abdomen for a period of time and can help with managing stress combined with deep breathing. We will also be using these in class also!
Golden Milk tonic concentrate

Golden milk includes turmeric and ginger (both are yellow/orange) which are helpful anti inflammatory herbs. This concentrate is homemade and takes the labor out of making your own golden milk at home. Drink daily for a boost of energy, to support your spleen/stomach system and reduce inflammation. It reminds me of a latte and feels cozy in your belly on a cool fall day without any of the guilt. This golden milk is also dairy and caffeine free.

If you would like a self care package let me know by next Wednesday Sept 13th. The cost is $35 I will only be making them to order this time. They will be ready for class on next Friday and if you can’t make it to class I can mail to you or you can pick up by me. If you have any questions please let me know!

See you Friday!

Late Summer Transitioning

Can you feel it? Autumn is on the breeze, ever so slightly. Its a whisper in the urgency we feel as we race to the pool for the last dips of the season, as we watch the sun dipping slowly down the horizon faster than we would like as the dew of the grass feels a little too cool in the early mornings and evenings. The garden is slowly but surely going to seed, leaves drying out in a blaze of yellow.

It amazes me to watch the subtle connection my children have to the seasons. In the height of summer their energy seems to have no bounds, they push bed time as far as they can with all sorts of joy filled shenanigans and wake early with the sun ready to start a new. I think to myself how will I ever get them to bed on time for school even when its months away and then that tiny whisper on the breeze beckons them to bed a little earlier, the shenanigans don’t last quite as long, they don’t fight the heaviness on their eye lids, they wake with the sun which is also a little later to rise. There is always so much to learn.

In Chinese Medicine the Spleen and Stomach system relate traditionally to late summer and also any periods of transitions whether that be between seasons of the environment, seasons of our lives or the ebb and flow of our days. The spleen correlates to the earth which is our center. Its job is to ripen and rot our food to be transformed and transported throughout the body to be made into usable energy. Its emotion is worry or over thinking and controls the mouth and the muscles of the body. Most Americans can be classified as spleen (qi) energy deficient because of our fast lifestyle and empty diet.

Join me Friday September 15th from 7:15-9:45 in Crystal Lake as we explore the Spleen/Stomach system a little deeper through gentle yoga practice, acupressure, acupuncture, and nourishing foods. If the cooler weather leaves you with a feeling of dread, you struggle with digestive issues, are going through a life transition or just like learning this class is for you. Space is limited and I would love to see you there! Look for a facebook event to reserve your spot soon.

Until then enjoy the last bits of summer. 😉

Summer yoga sequence 

Here is the yoga sequence we did at Bonnie’s in Crystal Lake. Let’s do a Facebook live for the sequence at Ohm Mother Yoga especially for those of you who wanted a slightly more active class. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted with a date for July. Photo credit to my joy filled mom Joyce Zender-Hodnett for the pictures by her roses. 


Centering with mudra: touch index and thumb together, place left palm up on thigh and right hand over heart. Find your breath. Inhale from base of the spine up and exhale from crown of the head down. Hold 2-10 minutes 

Shoulder shrugs and upper body alignment. (Not pictured) sit at end of seat feet hip distance apart. Inhale shoulders up to ears and exhale shoulders down. Let movements match breath. 

Lengthen the exhale: inhale shoulders up 

Exhale squeeze shoulder blades then slide shoulder blades down into back pockets

Feel the shoulder girdle grounded (we return to this in chair downdog)


Seated pigeon pose with over head stretch

Square hips and cross ankle over opposite thigh, let knee open 

Inhale arms up, exhale opposite arm back for extra stretch use other hand on elbow as pictured 


Inhale arms to T exhale and twist as far as upper body allows, take a breath here then deepen with hand behind you and on thigh if you wish


Take opposite hand to opposite thigh and take the other arm into a side stretch 


Take the arm in side stretch to opposite knee or thigh and round the back


Curl up from rounded back by crossing arms at elbows in eagle arms, soften shoulders and lift elbows. Palms work towards facing each other or clasping


Seated Cat

Inhale arch back and reach arms out in soft cactus position

Exhale round spine and reach arms forward 

Do 3-6 rounds


Chair lunge 

Swivel to the side of chair, back leg can be straight or bent, you could even put a block under a bent knee for support


Chair dog

Check your arm pit to feel the head of the humerus plugged into the socket, in downdog we feel this by releasing the shoulders away from the ears like we did in the beginning of class only now you are partially upside down 


Chair dancer

Keep the knees in line and bend your knee, bend the elbow and hold your hand out like you would holding a tray feel your chest open, stay here or scoop the inside of your ankle


Remember these fun stretches that open the meridians and nerves of the hands? Arms in a T ground the shoulders down, draw the ribs in and press the heel of the hands out as fingers reach toward shoulders, play around with fingers and wrist location for a different stretch, go deeper by slowly and gently tilting the head from side to side 


Seated band bend

Take hands to side of chair or back of chair depending on how open your chest and shoulders feel, lift up through the chest let the head and throats soften back


Chair fold

Rest torso on thighs and fold forward, reach for ground or block


Seated twist

One hand on block or floor and one reaching up, head can be neutral, looking up or down 


Closing

Hands in prayer, thumbs resting on third eye 

Yogapuncture Summer Foods

Like we discussed in the last post, summer yogapuncture the flavor of summer is bitter. Check back there for some examples of bitter foods to add to your diet in the summer.

Spinach salad with grapes, almonds avocado and chicken salad

Summer is the season of variety! Go to the farmers market throughout the season and each week you will see more and more delicious foods to eat. Bright colored, beautiful foods are the best to eat right now. This nourishes us deeply and fills up our energetic savings account especially for the winter months. Cook light on high heat (or not at all) and steam veggies lightly. Add spicy regularly to help regulate body temperatures. As you eat spicy foods it warms the body which signals to turn on the internal A/C. (it also helps rev up your metabolism) The summer is also a time of eating less and lighter especially on hot days. Eating in season and local is best especially in the summer because the foods you are eating have adapted to the same environment that you have giving you the best nutrition possible.

Sourdough sandwich with fried egg, lentil sprouts, cucumber, carrots, sunflower sprouts and lettuce

The color of summer is red and foods that “bleed” red are especially nourishing to the blood of our bodies energetically. The summer is also the time of adding more fresh, in season fruit to the diet. Think cherries, strawberries, watermelon, raspberries and beets. Watermelon is especially nourishing in the summer as it is hydrating and cooling and is actually considered an herb in Chinese Medicine. It is often recommended to eat watermelon when losing weight or if there is danger of heat stroke. Here is the recipe for Watermelon Juice. You can add cucumber slices for added cooling effects. Drink strained or straight both ways are good.

I’ll end with a few summer recipes to try.

Summer Zucchini Lasagna.

Blueberry Lemon Banana Bread

Creamed Kale with Scapes (the farmers market has scapes now and if you’ve never had them you really should try them they are so good. If you are wondering what in the heck it is, its a young tender garlic)

Zucchini Squash Caserole

Kale Walnut Pesto with Zucchini Meatballs

Cucumber Lemon Water

Share your favorite summer recipes and beautiful meals on our facebook group.

 

Summer Yogapuncture

Summer is the time of expansion, growth, lightness, brightness, outward activity and creativity. Its when the energy around us is most superficial, abundant and available. Just look outside and see everything in full bloom.

In Chinese Medicine the summer is the time of the element of Fire and the meridians most active pertain to the Heart and Small intestine channel. Perhaps because the energy is so available this season has another organ pair active as well: the pericardium and triple warmer.

When you think of summer here is an easy cheat sheet. I’ll get into the specifics below

Color: Red               Taste: Bitter

Emotion: Joy           Meridians: Heat/Small intestine and Pericardium/Triple Warmer

Element: Fire          External Factor: Heat

Opens to tongue    Controls Sweating

The main function of the heart/small intestine system is circulation just like what you would think about in western medicine. In Chinese Medicine the heart also houses the mind, spirit and controls sleep and memory. Pericardium is said to be the master of the heart as well as its protector and because of this carries the same functions as the heart.

The small intestine has the job of separating the turbid from the clear for both the food we eat for usable energy and also for our thoughts.

The Triple Warmer protects the organs of the body on the outside as well as controls the “waterways” of the body which helps with distributing energy throughout the body. My teacher would say that the triple warmer is a concept looking for an organ. There are three warmers: upper, middle and lower that divide the torso in a certain respect.

The tongue is an useful diagnostic tool in Chinese Medicine. It is the only organ that is both internal and external. We look at the tongue as a way to see how the body is functioning internally. The shape, size, color and coat all tell a story. The tongue is also where the heart energy opens to. If you have trouble sleeping, are feeling restless/anxious take a peak at your tongue chances are the tip of your tongue will be redder than the rest of the tongue body. If you find a center crack on the tongue that can indicate stress in the body or can be constitutional deficiency of the heart energy. When stress recedes in our lives typically the center crack will as well even if it doesn’t go away completely. Balanced heart energy means you have an easy time communicating your thoughts. Trouble finding words or getting “tongue tied” can indicate an imbalance with the heart. Forgetfullness is also a sign of heart energy imbalance.

The emotion of the summer is Joy. Like any emotion it should be balanced. We often associate joy as being a positive emotion that you can’t have “too much of.” An example of too much joy would be shock. A woman was once thrown a surprise party. When she walked into the room and saw all of these people she started to scream uncontrollably. This is an example of the excess joy taxing the heart. Another example of excess joy would be overstimulation. You might think of burning that candle at both ends as overstimulation. All fun and no rest is damaging to the heart energy of the body. Manic energy is also depleting.

Especially in the Midwest it can feel like we wait all year for summer. It can feel like such a short season and we might feel compelled to get the “most” out of it. As a way to keep Joy balanced this is a perfect season to practice mindfulness.

The heart energy also controls sweating in the body. The heart energy can be damaged by too much heat. If you find yourself sweating excessively or feeling hot or stuffy especially in the palms, feet and chest this can indicate a heart yin deficiency, essentially your body needs more coolant. Acupuncture, herbs and diet changes can help rectify this.

The taste of the summer is bitter. This is often referred to as the most under utilized flavor in western cuisine and perhaps for good reason. In nature typically bitter plants warn us of the plant’s poisonous nature. However the bitter flavor of foods helps to increase saliva which in turn helps to improve digestion which allows the body to absorb more nutrients from the foods we eat giving way to our ability to have more usable energy. The bitter flavor also clears away heat and drains dampness which can make our bodies feel heavy and lethargic, not how you want to feel in the summer!

Examples of bitter foods include: celery, dandelion, burdock, yarrow, chamomile, hops, Echinacea, alfalfa, romaine lettuce, rye, asparagus, papaya, quinoa and citrus peel. Coffee and dark chocolate are also bitter.

Digestive bitters are also another great way to incorporate the bitter flavor into your diet. Take a teaspoon or so of bitters before a meal to help prime the body for digestion. If you indulge in a heavy meal that leaves you feeling full, bloated or gassy taking bitters after a meal can help assuage your symptoms. The digestive bitters that are included in the summer self care package are custom made for the summer and include cherries or strawberries (the color of summer), citrus peel (bitter element) and peppermint (aromatic and cooling). You can also use bitters mixed with some fruit and sparkling water for a low alcoholic beverage that supports your body rather than deplete it.

contains: brandy, citrus, cherries or strawberries and peppermint

I find that the bitter flavor also leaves me craving more water which is a great way to keep the body hydrated in the summer months.

I’ll leave you with this here and get into the diet of summer in the next post so its not so overwhelming and then will have 2 yoga sequences for you to use through out summer as well. Stay tuned! There are still a few self care packages available for purchase as well, let me know if you would like one.      🙂

Summer Self Care Packages

Doesn’t it feel like sometimes we wait all year for the summer sunshine and before we know it, its over? These care packages were designed to support you for a healthy summer season.
Each package includes a Pink Salt Foot Soak, Relaxed and Energized Tea, Digestive Bitters and An after sun serum. Below I’ll go into a little detail about the benefits of each. When you purchase your self care package you will also get access to a special blog post just for you with the recipes for each item so you can make more on your own!

 

Pink Salt Foot Soak

contains: pink Himalayan salt, Epsom salt, baking soda and lavender flowers

Summer is the time when we are more active and often times NOT wearing the most supportive shoes. This foot soak replenishes the body with magnesium from the Epsom salts and over 84 minerals and elements from the pink salts. The combo of pink salt, Epsom salt and baking soda make it very similar to taking a dip in the ocean which is very replenishing for the whole body. Lavender can also be cooling and its considered to be an adaptogen herb. While its known to be calming it can also be energizing if that’s what your body needs as well. The foot soak is a great thing to do before bed for a good nights sleep as well. (You can recycle the foot soak water and use it to feed your plants or garden when you are done too)

Relaxed and Energized Tea

contains: chamomile, hibiscus and rosehips

The color of the summer season is Red and this delightful tea blend is perfect iced or hot for summer. The chamomile keeps the tea calming and the circulatory properties of the hibiscus and rose hips are great for a non-ca ffeinated pick me up during the afternoon slump.

Digestive Bitters

contains: brandy, citrus, cherries or strawberries and peppermint

The flavor of the summer season is bitter which is the most deficient flavor of US cuisine. These bitters boast the flavors and colors of summer and help support digestion. Take 20-30 minutes before a meal to prime digestion or after a meal if you’ve over indulged to aid fullness and gas. Mixed with sparkling water and fruit wedges its a perfect low alcoholic summer cocktail that benefits the body.

After Sun Serum

Contains: jojoba oil, avocado oil, elderflower, calendula, gree tea, rosemary extract and lavender

This after sun serum is infused by the sun much like a sun tea. The herbs are strained out before bottled. A little goes a long way to nourish the skin before an after prolonged sun exposure. Massage gently into skin.

 

If you would like to order a self care package they will be available at the Crystal Lake Yogapuncture this Friday at Bonnie’s house or next Saturday at OhmMother Yoga. I can also ship to you for an additional fee. The cost is $35.

New Moon and Kidney Energy (Yogapuncture for Fertility)

Seed

IMG_3323.JPG

Have you ever held a seed in your hand before placing it in the dirt and marveled at its size? How can something so tiny possibly hold everything it needs to create a whole other plant that will bear roots, leaves, flowers and fruit? It almost seems inconceivable. This is the energetics of the water element, of the kidney/urinary bladder system. For ease I will simply refer to all of this as Kidney energy but all of the associations are included. (to be clear we are talking about the energetics of the kidneys as is related to Chinese Medicine not your physical organs) Just like a seed the kidneys are often referred to as “the root of life”. This is where our essence or Jing is stored. Think of essence like a seed- everything is there to create life. The essence we hold in our bodies comes from 2 places: our parents’ energy at conception (genetics) and energy of our lifestyle (food and movement). The energy of our lifestyle is considered most important because it is constantly being replenished whereas the energy from our parents is set and finite.

What this basically means is that the Kidney system is the foundation of the rest of the organ systems. The function of the kidneys is to store the essence as well as govern birth, growth, reproduction and development, produce marrow, fill up the brain, and control the bones. The energy of the kidney’s open into the ears, manifest in the hair and house the will power (perhaps that’s why we feel compelled to start New Year’s resolutions in the winter months).

In the fall the plants have given the last energy to the last harvest and as the coldness sets in the leaves and fruit dry out, shrivel up and shrink. Any seeds remaining from this fruit might be lucky to settle into the earth and sleep during winter. Because summer is the winter’s opposition we might think of the summer time as the place to fill up our energetic savings account to hold us through the winter. Being that the kidneys are our body’s foundation for every other activity our body needs to function and thrive it is especially important to be kind to our kidneys. And just like seeds, our bodies need periods of rest in order to thrive. The tulip is a great example, as bulbs must be planted at the right time in fall and then need so much time to settle in coldness in order to emerge again in the spring.

When we think of the kidney energy and how it relates to fertility it can be seen as the foundation. By nourishing the kidneys we are building our reserves for high egg quality, a smooth pregnancy and post partum.

Associations for Kidney System

Element: Water                                                          Organs: Kidney/Urinary Bladder

Emotion: Fear                                                             Color: Black/Blue

Sound: Groaning                                                        Taste: Salt

Function: Storing                                                         Direction: North

Manifests in Hair                                                        Controls the Low back Bones and Marrow

Balance/Opposition: Summer/Heart/Joy/Fire           Time: Urinary Bladder 3-5pm Kidney 5-7pm

Drawing with Skeleton, Acupuncture Point KI17 Shangqu, 3D Illust

The kidney channel starts on the sole of the foot and works its way up the inner thigh, torso and ends just under the collar bones. The kidney channel is the yin organ and the urinary bladder channel the yang organ.

The urinary bladder channel starts at the inside corner of the eye and goes up the skull down the back to the back of the knee then up the back to the calf and ends at the outside edge of the pinky toe on each side. This channel has the most points of any channel 67 in all and is the most grounding in nature. The energy is so grounding in fact that burning an herb called Moxa over the last point on this channel is quite effective in bringing a breech or malposition baby into a more favorable position. The urinary bladder channel also has what are called “Shu points” along the back about 1.5 inches lateral of the spine. Each Shu point correlates to an organ and when these points are stimulated it nourishes the corresponding organ.

Because the bulk of our essence comes from food let’s start here. The kidneys are nourished by slow cooked foods, think crock pots, roasted meats and veggies etc. Red meat and meat with the bone in are especially strengthening to the kidneys. Don’t throw the bones away but rather make a nourishing stock for soups or even when cooking rice to give it more flavor. Foods that are kidney shaped also nourish the kidneys; kidney beans are an easy example. Foods that are rich deep colors are also especially nourishing to the kidneys, bonus points if they are black or blue as this is the color of the kidneys. Black beans, kidney beans, eggplant, dark leafy green veggies like spinach, kale, chard and dates. Foods with a natural salty flavor are also helpful such as seaweed and seafood. Walnuts are also said to lubricate the joints and strengthen the lower back (where the kidneys reside). A common herbal prescription to strengthen the lower back is to eat one walnut a day. Incorporating bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, kiwi, citrus foods helps with the absorbtion of iron from beans, whole grains and meat.

The Kidney energy can also be associated with the beginning of your cycle or menstruation. Day 1 is the first day of your period.

The kidneys are damaged by coldness so it is especially important to stay away from cold foods. Energetically speaking raw food is cold in nature so save salads for the summer months or later in your cycle when it is more appropriate. Avoid eating foods directly from the refrigerator or freezer. Stay away from ice in your drinks and ice cream. Dairy should be omitted completely with PCOS and avoid soy (read labels as most packaged foods contain soy) due to the phytoestrogens soy can deregulate a cycle. Keep the belly and low back warm especially in the winter months and start of your cycle. You might place your hand on your abdomen and notice the quality of the temperature of your skin, does it feel cool to the touch or warm? If you notice your belly is cool you might enjoy warm baths or hot water bottle over the abdomen especially in the first half of your cycle. Cold foods inhibit circulation and can contribute to cramping and clots in your menses.

New Moon

The new moon is when the moon is completely hidden from view. It is a time of turning inward and is why the Kidney energy of Chinese Medicine is relevant. The new moon is also the time of renewal and setting intentions. If we didn’t have schedules to live by we would also sleep slightly longer during the new moon as the sky is darker and invites us to rest more. This is a restorative time.

Homework Pose for the Week: Constructive Rest Pose

Constructive Rest Pose is said to be the equivalent to 2 hours of sleep when held for 10 minutes. If you notice midafternoon fatigue use 5-10 minutes of your lunch break to practice constructive rest pose, this is also a nice way to end the day before bed and you could even practice in bed and drift right off to sleep.

How to do it:

Lay on a flat surface with your knees bent. Bring your feet out about shoulder width apart. Turn your toes in (slightly pigeon toed) If there is any discomfort in your lower back walk your feet either further away from your body or closer to your body depending on what feels better to you. Slide your shoulders down away from your ears and rest with your arms at your sides just far enough away from your body so that your palms can comfortably rest racing up. Slide your chin slightly towards your chest to lengthen the back of the neck. Close your eyes and practice deep breathing for 5-10 minutes.

To come out of the pose:

Take a stretch if you feel its needed. Protect your back and roll onto your side. Rest for a moment on your side if you aren’t fully alert and when ready press yourself back to a seated posture.

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Acupressure for the Week: KD6

KD6

This point is located on what is known as the conception vessel in Chinese Medicine. What better point to stimulate when preparing the body for pregnancy? This point has many benefits, opening the body to conception is one and can also be used to combat nausea during pregnancy as well as for insomnia, prolapse of the uterus, constipation, frequency of urination and sore throat. It is a safe acu-point to use through out your cycle and during pregnancy.

Located in the hollow just under the inner ankle bone. Sitting with the soles of feet together and legs in a diamond is an ideal position to access this point. Hold this point for 1-3 minutes as well.

Located in the hollow just under the inner ankle bone. Sitting with the soles of feet together and legs in a diamond is an ideal position to access this point. Hold this point for 1-3 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s for Dinner when Spring is springing

Its been quite a productive day that almost calls for celebration after a pretty challenging week last week (thanks Pink Moon). I was expecting to see instant green after all the rain we have been getting and was a little surprised when it didn’t happen right away. It got me thinking about the gentle balance of spring. The cloudy, rainy days still call for a little rest. There is so much happening under the surface and like a small child that needs frequent naps so does all the new growth around us. So do we! (no matter how stir crazy we feel) A little sunshine after the rain is when the magic happens but without either we wouldn’t get to enjoy all the vibrant, fresh, young green shoots around us and all the flowers that, in their own time bloom so beautifully for us. So be kind to yourself if you’re feeling inspired to move and do and if you’re still needing a little hibernation. 🙂

This week’s menus comes with a few requests, some solid repeats and something new. What are you cooking?

Chicken Curry with broccoli slaw, broccoli, orange peppers and rice

Asian fried rice and beans

Hamburgers with mushrooms and onions, side of sweet potato fries

Jumbo Scallops with creamed kale and noodles

Trader Joe’s Palak paneer