Autumn is almost here, and school has officially commenced. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) puts great stock into the impact each change of season can have for your body and your mind. Get into the fall mindset and prepare for a great semester by increasing your focus as we enter the third season of the year.
One of the more common herb formulas for focus is Gui Pi Tang. Known as the “Student’s Formula” at Pacific College, Gui Pi Tang is a combination of herbs that are known to restore your spleen qi (which is actually what ‘gui pi tang’ translates into in English) and to harness your concentration. The spleen is considered to be the organ of thinking in traditional Chinese medicine. Gui Pi Tang works to build qi, or energy, in the blood, which, in TCM, is believed to store memory.
Herbs can be purchased from the PCOM clinic in raw form (the suggested form for highest efficiency) or as pills. The Student’s Formula is recommended, but there are other holistic focus techniques you can try as well. If practiced regularly, meditation has been proven to provide focus and calm, and can even affect how you interact with others and approach challenges. Many people become overwhelmed when researching how to meditate—there can seem to be endless techniques and differing viewpoints on how to get started. Don’t let this discourage you.
As TCM practitioner Chad Dupuis points out in his article “Simple Meditation Techniques – Stress Reduction, Focus, and Change”, “meditation, in essence, is a scientific technique that will change your brain chemistry, emotions and interactions with people and your environment over time. The religious and philosophical relationships have very little to do with this. If you have a spiritual background it will only be strengthened and fostered by meditation, regardless of the tradition or techniques you use.” Many practitioners recommend meditation to their patients as another holistic technique to reduce blood pressure, increase immunity, and improve concentration. If you are a student of Chinese medicine, why not give this a try first hand? One day you may recommend it to patients of your own.
Taiji and qigong are sometimes thought to be a form of meditation with movement. They are similar to traditional meditation in the sense that they will help your mind focus through looking inward. In both taiji and qigong, strategic slow, rhythmic movements are used to bolster your qi.
TCM also believes in food as medicine. You can tailor your diet to support your goal of increasing your focus. Be sure to eat easy-to-digest foods including soups, stews, and congee (a type of rice porridge). Stewed vegetables are also a good idea. Avoid dairy and foods that are high in fat.
Whichever techniques you choose to help you focus this fall, also consider “yi”, or “intention”. In order to focus you must have the intention to focus. Consciously set your intention and watch yourself improve this autumn.
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