Herbal Podcast

Lately, I’ve been doing an herbal podcast, that puts together a classical chinese viewpoint of how herbs were categorized and used back way back when. I’ve attempted to show how the Ancient Chinese, arranged nature in a Holistic viewpoint. By using the Chinese Zodiac, the Ancient Chinese were able to figure out when were the most profitable times to tend to their agricultural needs.


Treatment of Bipolar Disorders

Life can be rather traumatic. The uncertainties of daily living can be triggers for anxiety, depression, fears, and constant grief. Our joys can turn quickly into aggressions, sadness, and worries. How does one fight the constant sword of unprecedented thoughts over one’s head, and encountering the vice grip of previous ones numbing your voice in the background. In the mind/body separation, there is a distinct break between what we feel and what we think. In that separation the doubt of actually having control of our situation or our own emotions, strikes a familiar dread that we are afraid to feel again.

And then the anxiety begins, and then when the control is lost the sadness begins.

In bipolar disorders, the anxiety phase when control is slipping, can drive people to exorbitant extents to grasp upon all the control they have. It can be seen as flights of fancy, emotional outburst, extravagant expenditures, or even violence.

When the final realization of control is addressed, the depression begins and so does the regret, and personal turmoil. Unceasing thoughts, and voices that echo a negative state become difficult to turn off and the body begins to shut down in an overload.

In polyvagal theory, Stephen Porges, breaks down how in autonomic makeup, our flight and fight responses have become exhausted, and that we then surrender to another of our limbic brainstem functions, that off freeze and play dead. This is a crucial animal instinct that we have. It is a defense mechanism for ensuring a last chance grasp at life.

I am not a psychotherapy expert, but in that loss of trying to establish some sort of control of our life, in the manic phase the flight or fight instinct gets exhausted, so that all that remains when faced with the reality of the current situation is freeze and play dead. One can play dead for a day, two days, and for some it can be weeks or even months.

There are many questions as to whether serotonin reuptake approaches to treatment of depression or bipolar disorders are the answer. The research is inconclusive. Close monitoring of medications and mood stabilizers as well continual psychotherapy is the current treatment for bi-polar disorder.

In Chinese medicine, bipolar disorder has been termed Kuan-dian.

In the Ling Shu, the Spiritual Axis, a chinese text of 2000 years, Kuan-dian is explained as

“When Dian first appears, there is lack of joy, heavy and painful head, red eyes, eyes looking up. When Kuang first appears, there is little sleep, no hunger, glorification of the self as if one were the most knowledgeable person, shouting at people, no rest in day or night.”

There is a similarity between both pathologies. The fact that something like bipolar disorder existed before our modern conception, points out to the roots of the illness.

In Chinese medicine, a rubric of patterns are treated. They are a simple expressions of different presentations in the body where the goal of healing would be of balance within. Yin and yang are counterbalanced, as well as hot and cold, blood and qi, and the inner and the outer. The emotions are seen as an interplaying cycle of different element of where a linked correspondence in the body occurs. Mind and body are interlinked where an excess of one element to the other creates a deficiency in another.  An excess in the Heart can create a deficiency in another part of the body, say the Lungs, or the Kidneys. The role in healing would be to establish balance a between the excess and the deficiency, so a stability would develop, where one could find strength to tread upon.

In the next part, how Chinese medicine looks at how our emotions are established in the body would be examined as well as how those emotions are treated when they are in excess or in deficiency.





Green Tea linked to Periodontal Health

This study analyzed the periodontal health of 940 men, and found that those who regularly drank green tea had superior periodontal health than subjects that consumed less green tea.

Green tea may help stop gum disease.

The Preservation of Health

Huang Di asks of Qi bo, of the changes of the season and the sky, and of nature, and in them he asks of the human body if there is  a method or a way to understand the nature of change.

Qi bo replies in stating the five elemental principle, that is universal and that it can be applied to the myriad of things in the universe, and in this he states of the practitioner.

“There are five requisites for an effective practitioner. Most physicaians ignore these 5 edicts. First, one must have unity of mind and spirit, with undistracted focus. Second, one must understand and practice the Tao of self-preservation and cultivation. Third, one must be familiar with the true properties and actions of each herb. Fourth, one must be proficient in the art of acupuncture. Fifth, one must know the art of diagnosis. When one follows these edicts one will be effective. With acupuncture one can tonify the deficient and sedate the excess. But if one can observe the yin and yang laws of the universe and truly apply their essence to treatment, the result will be even better. This is like a shadow following form. There is no secret here. It is that simple.”

Huang di nei jing su wen

Lately, I have been going over this classic, trying to build a stronger foundation. I’ve spent the beginning of this year, just simply focusing more on qigong, and tai ji chuan more than anything. However, due to the nature of my education at Pacific College, my practice, has been very much all over the board. Having been exposed to many techniques of acupuncture, from TCM to Meridian, to Trigger point therapy, the basis of the technique and theory still is quite elusive to me. I have found myself very much tied to the simplicity of Five phase, however, though, to see how the evolution of the philosophy fits in with a clinical practice still remains to be seen. There is much contraversy over whether the practical therapeutics of the medicine or the theory of the medicine dominated. So much where, many times one surmounts the other. Getting in touch with the classics would in one way would allay my doubts and help me find roots in a historical development and see where I would find myself in the here and now. There is so much scholastic work, but I do not see myself falling in the route, of translation of original chinese text.

Brief Points from The Golden Flower

The practice of the Golden flower is elusively described as turning the light around. This method through out the book is refered to as the method of introspection of the inward gaze. This exercise of observing the “essential” mind with any attachments to external objects, the mind finds a liberating freedom. The practice is from the Complete Reality School which is a branch of Taoism, which at the time of the Mongol occupation strove to preserve China’s cultural and philosophical treasures. As a result of this the school incorporated Chan buddhism and Confuciounism into its tenents and practice. The school is now divide into a Northern and Southern school where Northern centers on Chan, and the Southern more on visualizations. I feel for me that the book did well to shine some light an the elusive esoterics that some Chinese Medicine uses. The simple meditation techniques and renderings of Yin, Yang, Sun, Moon, Fire, and Water, show how the symbolism doesn’t really have to be taken to esoteric minutiae. The symbolism in itself is rich enough to show a clear meaning where the mind can easily follow and observe. Such symbols such as Dragon and Tiger, Po and Shen, Jing, Qi, and Shen take connotations that involve little mystery and provide much more meaning than they would left in the shroud of the complicities of misinterpreted esoterics. A clear ground work is laid for a practitioner and a rich meaning to build.