Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - January 2009 | Issue 60
In this issue you will find:
Important PCOM Dates:
• January 26th: (Monday) Chinese New Year
• January 31st: (Saturday) New York Chinese New Year Celebration/ Open House 10:00am - 12:00pm
• January 31st: (Saturday) Chicago Chinese New Year Celebration/ Open House 10:00am - 1:00-pm
• February 7th: (Saturday) San Diego Chinese New Year Celebration/ Open House 3:00pm - 4:00pm
-- Top --Pacific College Celebrates the Chinese New Year
In celebration of Chinese New Year and the commencement of the Year of the Ox, Pacific College has planned free events that are open to the public on each of its three campuses.
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York will be hosting an Open House and a free celebration for the public on Saturday, January 31, 2009. The open house will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and is an admissions information session for prospective students. From 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., the campus will hold a Chinese New Year Celebration, which will include complimentary acupuncture treatments for relaxation. Additionally, a lecture titled, "Chinese Astrology: Year of the Ox" will be presented. Qigong workshops will be held, and a lecture about health tips for winter will also be given. This event is free and open to the public.
Pacific's Chicago campus will be holding a similar Chinese New Year celebration, Saturday, January 31, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The event will include information about Pacific College's master's, associate's and bachelor's programs, as well as Massage and Body Therapy programs. This festive event will also include acupuncture and Asian Bodywork demonstrations, and qi-building practices. Free acupuncture treatment coupons will be available for all attendees and refreshments will be served.
Pacific's San Diego campus will be hosting a free event for the public on Saturday, February 7, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. From 10:00 am to 11:45 am, there will be a Program Information Session for prospective students. From 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm there will be a Community Outreach Event. This celebration will be highlighted by free treatments that will last until 3:00 pm, including acupuncture for smoking cessation and stress relief, as well as massage and various Asian body therapies. There will also be Tai Ji and Qigong workshops. Festive refreshments will be served! This event will also include an informational lecture titled, "A Discussion on Integrative Medicine and its Profession." This lecture will lead to discussions regarding integrative medicine and the professions of Asian body therapy, Thai massage, women's health, pediatrics, and complementary family practice.
For more information on any of these events, or to RSVP, please call (619) 574-6909 ext 130, or visit http://www.pacificcollege.edu/campuses/open_house_dates.html
-- Top --Chinese New Year: Year of the Ox
The year of the Ox is about to commence! The Chinese Lunar New Year is the longest chronological record in history, dating from 2600 BC. The Chinese calendar is a yearly one, with the start of the year based on the cycles of the moon. Therefore, the beginning of the year can fall anywhere from late January to mid February. This year it falls on January 26th, 2009. Chinese New Year starts on a New Moon and ends with the lantern festival on the full moon 15 days later.
A complete cycle of the calendar takes 60 years and is made up of five cycles of 12 years each. Each of the 12 years is named after an animal. Legend says that Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed from the earth. Only 12 came to say farewell and as a reward he named a year after each one in the order they arrived. The Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which a person was born has a profound influence on his/her personality. The Chinese Zodiac consists of the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
So, for the first time since 1997, the year of the Ox presents itself in 2009. People born in the year of the Ox are known for their patience, strength of character, and their ability to inspire confidence in others. Ox people can also be eccentric and anger easily. While they may have fierce tempers, they are not easily provoked, and are respected for their patience. Although they tend to speak little, when they do express their opinions they are often eloquent. Ox people are generally easy-going and are mentally and physically alert. They can be extremely stubborn, but are also great listeners. People born in the year of the Ox are particularly compatible with Snake, Rooster, and Rat people.
There are many traditions that accompany the Chinese New Year. This celebration is also known as the Spring Festival, and is the longest and most celebrated event in the Chinese calendar. The celebrations last 15 days and are some of the most festive of the year. Preparations usually begin about one month before the New Year. Homes are thoroughly cleaned to sweep away any traces of bad luck. Doors and windowpanes are given a new coat of red paint and hung with paper scrolls decorated with themes of happiness, wealth and longevity, a practice believed to keep away ghosts and evil spirits. Many traditional Chinese homes also have live blooming plants and flowers symbolizing rebirth and wealth such as peony flowers and kumquat trees.
Great care is taken to set a good tone for the upcoming year. It is believed that one's behavior during New Year's can decide the mood for the rest of the year; words that sound like unlucky or undesirable events, such as death or poverty, are not to be spoken. Arguments, scolding children, crying and breaking things are also taboo. During this time, it is typical to wear something red, as this color is believed to ward off evil spirits. Black and white are avoided, as these colors are associated with mourning.
The Chinese use the New Year as a time to express their appreciation for protection and good fortune during the year. It is also a time of reconciliation when debts are paid and old grudges are easily cast aside. Although celebrations of the Chinese New Year vary, the underlying message is one of peace and happiness.
-- Top --The Ancient Benefits of Tai Chi and Qi Gong
For almost 3,000 years, millions of people in China have used Tai Chi and Qi Gong as a form of daily exercise. More and more Americans are trying and reaping the health benefits of Tai Chi and Qi Gong: two of the most effective balance and coordination conditioners in the world.
Developed more than six centuries ago by Taoist monks, Tai Chi consists of a series of gentle moves carried out in a slow, continuous manner that allows every part of the body to exercise. Suitable for individuals in varying degrees of health, Tai Chi and Qi Gong requires no special equipment and takes only 8-20 minutes to perform.
Much like acupuncture, Tai Chi and Qi Gong release blocks in the body's energy channels. Tai Chi and Qi Gong exercises consist of gentle movements carried out in a continuous, non-strenuous and systematic manner that allow every part of the body to exercise. The rhythmic movements of the muscles, spine and joints remove the tense state of muscles, allowing qi and blood to circulate freely throughout the body.
Tai Chi and Qi Gong also provide the benefits of exercise by building strength, restoring balance, increasing flexibility and reducing stress. A low-impact exercise, Tai Chi and Qi Gong are believed to: boost the immune system; slow the aging process; lower blood pressure; reduce the incidence of anxiety, depression, fatigue and overall mood disturbances; minimize the effects of chronic conditions such as allergies and asthma; and improve breathing capacity. Tai Chi and Qi Gong have also been recommended as an adjunct therapy for people suffering from chronic pain, arthritis, insomnia, asthma, high blood pressure, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and psychosomatic illnesses. Other benefits of Tai Chi include building strength, restoring balance, increasing flexibility and reducing stress.
Tai Chi and Qi Gong exercises can alleviate stress symptoms by releasing endorphins, the body's own natural painkillers, and improving the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids, which brings fresh oxygen to body tissues. This increased oxygen flow eliminates waste products from inside the body and enhances recovery from diseases. Tai Chi and Qi Gong can also decrease the stress hormone cortisol, lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, and relax muscle tissue.
According to the National Institutes of Health, 70 percent of all illness is due to unmanaged stress. Because mind/body therapies can treat or prevent these illnesses, the integration of tools such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong into our health institutions could save the U.S. $700 billion per year, and save trillions per year worldwide. Tai Chi and Qi Gong's gentle movements and low physical impact make it a great activity for aging bodies, those recovering from injury, young children or people looking to change up their exercise routine.
-- Top --Chinese Wisdom: Proverb of the Day
"People with virtue must speak out. People who speak are not all virtuous. "
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Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - December 2008 | Issue 59
In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
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Going Green for the Holidays
by Alex A. Kecskes
With the holidays upon us, it's time to think green-in food, decorations & gift-wraps, trees, and anything else that helps sustain our planet for generations of holidays to come.
There are thousands of holiday recipes. And you no doubt have your favorites. But keep in mind that you can create some eco-friendly holiday baked treats and snacks using healthy, earth-conscious ingredients. First off, shop for ingredients that are Certified Organic and Certified Fair Trade chocolate, flour, fruit (fresh and dried), popcorn, and nuts, as well as and wine for those adult beverages and baked goods. For treats that contain meat, dairy, or eggs, consider a vegan alternative. (Studies show that raising livestock may be more detrimental to global climate than driving your car.) Consider using eco-sweeteners like honey, which has vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Sugar has little nutritional value and its production as an agricultural crop can be harmful to the planet.
Concerned about all that wrapping paper and the trees that gave up their lives to bring you those rolls? You no longer have to wrap presents in last week's funnies or cut up a Ralph's grocery bag to be eco-conscious for the holidays. Sustainable alternatives include hemp paper, recycled post-consumer waste products; even discards like old calendars and maps are among this season's feel-good replacements. You can also go fabric-including cotton--which is ideal for gift bags and a creative way to wrap presents with flair.
That said, if you love paper wrap, here's a guide to help you select the right paper this season. First off, just because a paper product claims to be 100% recycled doesn't mean it is eco-friendly. Check the paper's post-consumer waste content (called PCW), which tells you the percentage of actual refuse vs. scraps of new paper are in the mix. To make sure your paper comes from responsibly managed forests, look for FSC and SCI certifications. You should also make sure your paper is processed chlorine-free using green energy (Green-e Certified) and environment-honoring practices (look up the manufacturer on the web and see). Finally, make sure the ink they use is petroleum-free and vegetable- or soy-based-it's easier to recycle. Other paper sustainable steps you can take include cutting up old greeting cards to use as gift tags or place cards, adding fresh double-sided tape or glue to make last year's ribbons and bows sticky again, or framing attractive old greeting cards to hang on your walls as holiday accents.
Now we come to the one thing that makes most eco-conscious holiday observers feel the most guilt pangs-the Christmas tree. Getting a real tree is actually better for our planet (and our homes). Tree farms ensure that millions of trees are planted annually, which supports both farmers and eco-systems. They are a renewable resource. But it's important to remember that as an agricultural product, most are grown with conventional farming methods, although there are a few organic tree farmers out there. Fake trees can't compete on the eco-front, because they aren't biodegradable and most are grown in factories from petroleum-based (and unsustainable) plastic, PVC, aluminum, or other less-than-green materials. Solution? Grow your own. If you have the outdoor space, start a tradition now of planting a new evergreen tree every year. After a few years, you'll be able to decorate them outdoors.
If you choose to bring your Christmas tree indoors, there are a few things you should remember. Cut off about 1-2 inches of the trunk before you place it into a stand. The stand should accommodate one quart of water for each inch of the trunk's diameter. This lets the tree absorb sufficient water to keep it fresh. Check the water level daily; if the water drops below the trunk, the trunk may seal itself and not be able to absorb water (and don't add sugar or a sugary soft drink to the water). Keep your tree away from heat sources, like fireplaces, TVs heaters. Don't overload electrical circuits when you add tree lights. Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
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Natural Foot Care
by Kathleen Rushall
Winter means many things, some of them not as positive as hot cocoa and holidays. Cold, dry weather can wreak havoc on the skin, and one place often requires special attention is a person's foot. Feet are often neglected when it comes to lotion and other skin care methods that the rest of the body daily receives. In winter, foot eczema is a common occurrence. Eczema is the result of extreme dry skin that forms into a scaly, red, often itchy rash.
Oriental herbs can effectively treat eczema and provide fast relief. Herbs that prove helpful for this condition include Flos Ionicerae (Japanese honeysuckle), Herba Mentae (peppermint), Cortex Moutan (root bark of a peony tree), Atractylodes Rhizome (the underground stem of the Atractylodes herb), and Cortex Phellodendri (Amur cork-tree bark). A licensed practitioner of Oriental medicine can prescribe and concoct a mixture of these five herbs, which can be taken orally (the extracts are placed into a pill capsule) once daily
Bunions are another common foot problem that has a natural solution. A bunion is an inflammation found on a toe that can increase in size and hardness and be painful to the touch. Consistent pressure causes bunions. Wearing shoes that are too short, high, or narrow can inflame the skin area and cause a bunion to form. Chinese medicine recommends treating the bunion internally with homeopathic silica to reduce inflammation and restore the body's balance. Also, drinking chamomile tea and then using the tea bag for external relief by placing it on the bunion can lessen swelling.
Athlete's foot is a highly contagious fungus that thrives in moist areas (heavy socks and shoes worn in winter can make a foot sweat and encourage this fungus). Chinese medicine encourages the use of tea tree oil to combat this irritation. Dilute the tee tree oil in water (50/50 or 25% oil will work), and soak feet in this mixture for five minutes twice a day and the fungus will disappear between one week and one month.
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Anxiety Disorders and Traditional Chinese Medicine
by Alex A. Kecskes
Anxiety is a mental disorder that affects literally millions of people. It's an illness that often dovetails with depression and alternates from mild discomfort to almost uncontrollable panic with physical symptoms. While some medications have been known to ease anxiety, they may also suffer from undesirable side effects, suppressing the symptoms while making individuals chemically toxic.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approach to anxiety problems is to treat them as disorders of Shan You Si, which are believed to affect the Zang Organs. The Heart Zang stores the Shen or spirit and each Zang Organ is responsible for one's emotions. The Liver Zang is tied to anger, the Spleen Zang to excessive worry, the Kidney to fear, and the Lung with grief and anxiety. A disturbance in one or more of these Zang Organs can cause an imbalanced emotional state.
TCM classifies the cause of a specific mental disorder according to how much each Zang Organ has been disturbed and how its Qi is affected. The flow of Qi, or energy, can be interrupted by several factors, including anxiety, stress, anger, fear or grief. Acupuncture seeks to restore any imbalance between Yin and Yang. By inserting needles into the fine points of energy, the body's own healing process is stimulated to restore its natural balance. Treating depression and related conditions such as seasonal affective disorder or dysthymic disorder (chronic depression) with TCM requires the proper evaluation of the signs and symptoms of these conditions. Specific acupuncture techniques are advised to treat each condition. Changes in lifestyle and the adoption of self-help recommendations are also part of the healing process.
Sometimes, even Tong Ren Therapy may be used. This therapy is designed to internally heal a patient's energy system using the collective unconscious. Patients sit, relax and quietly receive the healing energy. There are no special diet, exercises or religious beliefs required to practice Tong Ren. As more people practice Tong Ren healing, the stronger the healing force becomes. All participants become part of the collective unconscious state and are thus able to benefit from Tong Ren's healing energy.
Supplementing these methods with changes in one's diet can also help. Too much refined sugars, for example, can cause wild fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels, which can significantly affect one's mood and mental health. They also deplete B vitamins from the body, which can affect the nervous system. Excessive amounts of caffeine can create "toxic heat" in the liver, causing a rise in anger and anxiety. As an adrenal stimulant, caffeine can ultimately lead to adrenal exhaustion and depression. Substituting refined sugar and caffeine with low glycemic foods and beverages can result in a reduced anxiety.
TCM methods to treat depression and anxiety also involve the use of Chinese herbal medicine. These have slowly been accepted in the West, primarily because of the non-toxic nature of the treatment. Chinese medicines have been used to treat stress and to reduce the effects of the body's aging process. Herbal medicines are combined in creams, gels, ointments, serums, powders, and tonics. The Chinese herb formulations used most often to treat anxiety are:
- Polygonum Root
- Jujube Date,
- Rehmannia Root
- Polyrachis Ant
- Duanwood Reishi
- Licorice Root
- Dang Gui Root
- Cynomorium Herb
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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”
~ The Book of Odes