In this issue you will find:
- Important PCOM Dates
- TCM During Summer
- Yoga eases menopause symptoms
- Antioxidant Properties of Black Tea
- Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
- August 12 – (Sunday) San Diego Commencement Ceremony
- September 18 – (Tuesday) New York Open House
- September 18 – (Tuesday) Chicago Open House
- September 29 – (Saturday) San Diego Open House
TCM During Summer
The Five Element Theory serves as a major diagnostic and treatment tool in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is based on the observation of the natural cycles and interrelationships in the environment and within ourselves. For example, there are five environmental elements – Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood – each corresponding with certain body organs, such as the heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys, liver, intestines, stomach, urinary bladder and gull bladder. The five different elements are associated with different times of the year: Fire with summer, Earth with late-summer, Metal with autumn, Water with winter and Wood with spring.
The five elements interact with each other (they depend on each other). For example, the liver, belonging to the Wood element, directly affects the spleen, which belongs to the Earth element. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners try to maintain a balance among the body’s organs.
TCM practitioners pay attention to weather, especially very extreme weather, like an unusually windy spring, warm spells during winter or cold snaps during summer. Extreme or unusual weather can cause health imbalances in people. Health problems tend to occur during or immediately following certain seasons. It is important to notice these changes in weather, so preventative action can be taken against an imbalance.
If a person is imbalanced, he or she may become depressed or, on the other side of the spectrum, have an excess of joy. Agitation, nervous exhaustion, heartburn and insomnia are other indicators of an imbalance. When balanced, the heart circulates blood properly, creating a healthy breakdown of food in the small intestines. Emotionally, there is a fulfillment from the balanced equilibrium of the heart and mind.
Fire is the element of summer. It is connected with the heart and pericardium as well as the small intestine and triple heater. Growth, joy and spiritual awareness between the heart and mind are the focus during summer.
The small intestine represents our ability to take in and to save what we want and to discard the things we don’t want. What we eat, see, hear and feel are all processed by the small intestine’s energy.
We relate to others through the Fire element. Therefore, summer is a good time to change our connections with the external world. We can change our relationships with people. The energy of the pericardium relates to our intimate bonding with partners, making summer a great time to ponder your relationships with others and manifest them to your liking.
TCM practitioners believe that a person should cater his or her diet to the seasons. Because summer is associated with the heart, it is important to eat foods that benefit the heart. For example, using olive oil, which is low in cholesterol, is a great way to prevent heart attacks.
It is important in any season to prevent illness. Summer heat can produce excess body heat, profuse sweating, parched mouth and throat, constipation and heart palpitations. Therefore, it is important to keep hydrated and cool. In order to maintain balance, it is important to be aware of the seasons and to modify your habits according to them.
Yoga eases menopause symptoms
By: Michelle Fletcher, B.A., http://michellefletcher.net
The benefits of yoga extend beyond the flexibility and relaxation gleaned from our Saturday morning class. Men and women of all ages have benefited from regular yoga sessions, but now studies are highlighting yoga’s many benefits for menopausal women.
Yoga stretches can benefit both the body and the mind, bringing energy and balance, says Susan M. Lark, M.D. in her book, The Estrogen Decision Self Help Book. This is particularly helpful to women who are currently in menopause or in menopause transition because their hormonal levels and body chemistry may be fluctuating rapidly. This can leave women feeling out of balance and truly victims of their changing bodies. Yoga exercises level out this physiological instability by relaxing and gently stretching every muscle in the body, promoting better blood circulation and oxygenation to all cells and tissues. This helps optimize the function of the endocrine glands and the organs of the female reproductive tract. Yoga exercises also improve the health and well-being of the digestive tract, nervous system, and all other organ systems.
A Pennsylvania State University study confirms Lark’s findings. “The surprising aspect of the study is that we found a significant association between changes in cardiorespiratory fitness and changes in menopausal symptoms,” said lead author Steriani Elavsky, Ph.D., of Penn State University. One hundred sixty-four sedentary menopausal women were randomly assigned to a walking program, a yoga program or a control group that did no additional exercise for four months. The women who walked or took yoga classes reported a better quality of life and reduced negative effects of menopause compared to the no-exercise group. The women who walked or took yoga classes reported improvements in mood and menopause-related quality of life compared to the no-exercise group.
Walking was chosen because it is an aerobic activity, while yoga was chosen because it is not aerobic, Elavsky said in an article in Annuals of Behavioral Medicine. The results concluded that both yoga and walking were effective at enhancing subjects’ quality of life. Whether menopausal symptoms improved or worsened appeared to be determined by increases or decreases in cardiorespiratory fitness. Women who experienced decreases in menopausal symptoms in the study also experienced improvements in all positive mental health and quality of life outcomes.
Each year, over 1.5 million women reach menopause. In addition, over 80% of these women will suffer unpleasant symptoms, including night sweats, hot flashes, anxiety, irritability or emotional instability.
A study performed at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center researched the feasibility and acceptability of a restorative yoga intervention for the treatment of hot flashes in postmenopausal women. Feasability was measured by recruitment rates, subject retention and adherence to the designed program. The majority of subjects – over 93% completed the trial – and felt overall satisfied by the results. “This pilot trial demonstrates that it is feasible to teach restorative yoga to middle-aged women without prior yoga experience,” according to the study. “The high rates of subject retention and satisfaction suggest that yoga is an acceptable intervention in this population. Our results indicate that a larger, randomized controlled trial to explore the efficacy of restorative yoga for treatment of menopausal symptoms would be safe and feasible.”
Just an hour of yoga three times a week is enough to make a difference in one’s body. Yoga is rejuvenating, revitalizing, relaxing and energizing: sure to improve uncomfortable side-effects of nature’s course through menopause. Through the ageless art of yoga, says Susan Winter Ward in an article on the Yoga Learning Center Web site, women can balance their energies physically, emotionally, and spiritually as they go through menopause.
Yoga instructors recommend making a commitment to two or three classes a week for a month, then assess how you feel. Do you have more energy? Are you more relaxed? How is your flexibility? Have you been less irritable? Most women notice a difference after just a month of regular practice.
The benefits of regular yoga practice have been demonstrated for over 5,000 years: more the reason to give it a chance when battling menopausal symptoms.
Ward concludes, “Through consciously embracing the menopause experience and deciding how we want to live the rest of our lives; by being responsible for how we choose to navigate this transition time; and by taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually, we can regard menopause as the opportunity for rejuvenation that it is and live more fully than ever with renewed vitality, inner peace and power.”
Antioxidant Properties of Black Tea
Tea is a natural beverage without any artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives. It is also free of cholesterol and calories. Tea is one of the most common beverages consumed around the globe. One out of every two people in the world today is a tea drinker. It has been estimated that around 3.2 million tons of tea were produced in the year 2004.
Tea is made by processing the leaves or buds of the tea bush. The degree of fermentation that the tea leaves undergo determines what type of tea will be produced: white tea, green tea, or black tea.
Different teas contain different amounts of caffeine. The exact proportion of caffeine in each type of tea is still under consideration. Black tea, which is made from leaves that have been fully oxidized, contains more caffeine than green or white tea.
Apart from caffeine, tea also contains certain amounts of antioxidants. Tea, especially black tea, contains a similar amount of antioxidants as fruits and vegetables
Antioxidants are the properties found in some foods and tea, which help reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as cancer and heart ailments. The antioxidants contained in tea play a major role in protecting the body against certain illnesses. The intake of food that is rich in fats increases the blood lipid levels, which in turn produces free radicals. These free radicals cause blood vessels to stiffen and shrink. Antioxidants attack these free radicals in the blood.
Tea could be a great replacement to coffee. It has caffeine to keep you alert and studies show that is can be beneficial to your health. Tea is also easily available as it is so widely used around the world.
Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”