The Light and sound vibration manifest consciousness, technically termed chit in Ayurveda / Samkhaya philosophy. In a common sense way, it is what we would relate to attention. Chit is one of the four aspects of mind. The other three being intelligence (as in analysis), a sense of individuation (as in individual will power), and sensory perception (from the 5 sense organs) according to Ayurveda.
The Acu-Polarity book elaborates the chakras as they relate to sensory perception; but briefly, the ether chakra in the throat is related to hearing; the air chakra in the chest is related to touch; the fire chakra in the solar plexus is related to vision; the water chakra around the sacrum is related to taste and the earth chakra at the tip of the spine is related to smell. As thought strikes these various chakras we have particular emotions related to them such as pride, desire, anger, attachment and fear, etc.
These aspects of mind are expressions of the inner life energy which steps down to operate in matter. Itï¿½s neutral source being beyond the expression of any polarity of yin or yang, positive or negative.
The body is acted on through polarized stepped down energy currents which are the root of life and growth. Dr. Stone points out in Vitality Balance that the primal creative egg (as an oval) arises from one latent neutral center and flows in opposite directions, away from the center into space.
This creates the positive / yang at its greatest point of expansion and the negative / yin after falling from the expansion point in a ellipse to its most negative point. This is then it is drawn back into the center. This has been referred to as the ï¿½cosmic egg.ï¿½ ï¿½Vital energy currents precipitate as structural patterns,ï¿½ according to Dr. Stone. At the center or source is the life energy. On the circumference is the coagulation of energy called matter.
The central ultrasonic core is the vital axis of energy travel in the human body spinning as a sattvic (energetically neutral, light and subtle) core in horizontal patterns out from the crown of the head to the end of the spinal cord (at the acupoint mingmen below the second lumbar vertebra). This energy pattern is related to the parasympathetic nervous system which is its stepped down material manifestation.
The doctors staff shows the caduceus current of the dual mind patterns crossing the spine. Ida, the left (-) and pingala, the right (+) and sushumna (0) through the center. These patterns cross and form the five chakras discussed above of ether, air, fire, water and earth. These crossing centers form clockwise spinning wheels which throw off currents that precipitate anatomy and physiology in the physical manifestation. These currents are related to the central nervous system.
The acupuncture meridian energy enters from the spine - yang and spins internally accordingly and is distributed all over the body. These channels consists of twelve regular channels, eight extra channels and fifteen collaterals, twelve divergent channels twelve muscle regions and twelve cutaneous regions.
They manifest in these spinal areas by first forming the microcosmic oval or egg of the Ren and Du channels.
They move and form the basic yin (-) and Yang (+) of the body. From this basic pattern is formed the basic meridians which are related to the organs and the five elements.
The Tao that can be named is not the primal Tao. The primal Qi is beyond conception. Having said that, the acupuncture meridians would, in theory, relate to the caduceus current and central nervous system in its yin / yang aspect. As it crisscrosses over the spine forming the chakras and the currents that spin off from them. Also relating to the transition from the imperceptible and energetic to the measurable and physical.
The twelve regular meridians connect with the internal yin / yang organs and externally connect with the joints, limbs and other superficial tissues of the body.
From yin comes the ren or conception vessel meridian in the body. This energy channel runs from the center of the perineum, up the center of the midline of the front of the body through the throat, circles around the mouth, passes through the cheek and enters the infraorbital region below the eye (at acupoint st. 1).
From yang comes the du or governing vessel which runs from the base of the spine, up the center of the spine and over the head to meet the ren channel.
Each of the five elements are further divided into their yin aspects and yang aspects as follows:
There are six yin (zang) organs and six yang (fu) organs. The yin organs are the heart, lungs, spleen, liver, kidneys and pericardium. The function of the yin organs is to produce and store the essential substances.
The six yang organs are the gall bladder, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, bladder and triple burner. The yang organs receive, digest and absorb that part of the food that will be transformed into essential substances, then transport and excrete the unused portion.
The ACU-Polarity session
When someone first comes to the office they fill out a short and easy evaluation form. A copy of this can be seen in the herbal pharmacology section. Questions are asked and answered by practitioner and client.
The person's shen (spirit) is observed, to some extent - their skin, voice and eyes. The pulse is taken and tongue observed.
The Zen landscaper /' practitioner is not very mechanical, trying to create balance of the life energy as the ideal. Not necessarily treating disease but dis-ease.
This is done by using finger pressure, acu-pins, heat, cups, electro-stem, exercise, diet, thought and herbs.
There are several external and internal things that can cause imbalance. Externally there is environment, such as: wind, cold, heat, damp, dryness, toxins / contaminants, accidents and traumas, etc.
Internally there are a wide range of thoughts and emotions. When negative thinking is repeated day after day or emotions are experienced very intensely, they can cause physical illness.
Some of the negative emotions from a polarity point of view include grief / sadness, greed/desire, anger, attachment, worry, excitement, fright and fear.
The practical procedure of the session after the question / answer, pulse and tongue observation (which usual only takes about 15 minutes), then the session begins.
Every session is different, but to generalize:
The person undresses to their underwear and covers with a sheet. They ring the gong and the practitioner enters and begins by looking at the leg length and spends 5 to 20 minutes doing energy balancing manipulation with the hands.
Then the acu-pins (which are disposable, never used before and from fine surgical stainless steel) are inserted. there may be some sensation and even some pain involved in the insertion. This is not much though, normally. And it quickly disappears.
This is usually followed by a deep relaxation. It may sound funny that sticking pins in you can be relaxing, but it is.
The pins stay in for 5 to 20 minutes. If it is deemed necessary, then both sides are needled. But typically only one side is manipulated with the pins and both sides with hands.
While the pins are in, if the person agrees, an herbal formula is then mixed. The formula can be geared to a specific problem or it can be a general formula to build blood, energy, yin or yang; or, enhance physiological functioning of certain organ systems.
It is often suggested that a person try at least 6 sessions before they can claim to have 'tried' acupuncture; although, it can certainly be more or less than this. Usually a person does not come in more than once a week.
When the session is over, there made be some dietary and exercise suggestions. The sheet, "Things to Do Between Treatments" is often given to the client / acu-polarity patron.
Female related issues
Lots of women are now perimenopausal and getting to that age where they need info to cope with all the female stuff. Such as how do you shrink fibroids (without hysterectomies). Also, how do you add progesterone to the body to help balance hormones. These are things I'm specifically interested in myself and probably others need to know too.
The response to this question is off the top of my head from the years of dealing with this in the acu-polarity practice. First I would like to confirm that Oriental medicine for women's health, and specifically menopause, is definitely an area that it is felt to be very helpful, especially in light of it being so non invasive.
One thing that often happens with women as they near and pass forty is their cycles can start becoming shorter. This can be due to chi deficiency or heat in the blood, more likely the later. The periods can start being irregular.
Easy wondering powder (an herbal formula directed toward liver chi stagnation), with maybe some kidney tonics in it can help along with acupuncture common points being conception vessel 4, spleen 6, liver 2 or 3, maybe urinary bladder 23, large intestine 11.
As we age the kidney energy becomes less. For men the hair may start to fall and the teeth loosen. The theory is that women age by 7,s; such that, 2 X 7 is 14 and the period begins. 7 X 7 is 49 and the period ends. Kidney yin deficiency can give rise liver yang rising with symptoms of hot flashing and night sweating. Herbal therapy can be very effective. The two immortals formula (that tonifies kidney yin and yang and clears liver fire) is often used.
Herbal therapy is more effective than acupuncture when there is this type of deficiency. Of course, it is good to do both.
Herbs that tonify Kidney yin , yang and liver blood could be said to increase progesterone. Progesterone measurement is a Western medicine concept. In Oriental medicine progesterone concerns is a blood concern. Thus, the treatment would be treating the blood.
Herbal tonics like dong quei, rehmannia, lycium fruit, fo ti, millettia, longan are a few of the herbs that are frequently used in women's formulas that fortify and move blood. These herbs have a tonifying quality which cannot be said for pharmaceuticals.
Then the number one cause of hysterectomies is inappropriate uterine bleeding. Inappropriate menstrual bleeding can be cause by fibroids. In Oriental medicine this translates as blood stagnation which with further complication, turns into blood stasis.
Blood stagnation can be caused by the seven emotional disturbances (#1 anger/depression, fear,fright, worry, sadness, excitement, etc.), causing liver chi stagnation, resulting in retarding chi and blood movement in the uterus. Constitution, diet, exercise, life style, and karma in general are also factors.
The practical approach, if there is inappropriate bleeding, is to first take hemostatics to stop the bleeding; then, acupuncture and herbal formulas to keep inappropriate bleeding from reoccurring (or starting). If a women can pass through these challenging, times naturally, the fibroids (blood stasis) can shrink and disappear.
It is written that menopause usually last 5 years. Many women will experience little or no symptoms, and others will go through the gamete of hot flashes, depression, headaches, heart palpitations and inappropriate uterine bleeding.
Low fat diet and yoga stretching are also strongly encouraged to avoid formation of blood stasis and to encourage smooth and easy wondering,.
Attitudes have and are changing that assist in this hormonal transition. Then one can happily move from the child bearing and/or career developing years to the years of enhanced possibilities of developing wisdom.
The Body Tissues
According to Ayurvedic teachings as elaborated by Dr. Vasant Lad in his book Ayurveda The Science of Self Healing, the human body consists of seven basic and vital tissues. In Sanskrit language they are referred to as Dhatus which means constructing elements. These are responsible for the entire structural anatomy and some of the physiology of the body. These tissues maintain the functions of the different organs, systems and vital body parts.
With the help of agni, the biological fire, they are responsible for the immune mechanism. When a particular tissue is defective, it affects the successive tissues as each tissue receives its
nourishment from the previous one.
The seven important dhatus in serial order are:
1) Plasma contains nutrients from digested food and nourishes all the tissues, organs and systems.
2) Blood governs oxygenation in all tissues and vital organs and maintains life.
3) Muscle covers the delicate vital organs, performs the movements of the joints and maintains the physical strength of the body.
4) Fat maintains the lubrication and oiliness of all the tissues.
5) Bones gives support to the body structure.
6) Marrow and Nerves (Sanskrit - Majja) fill up the bony spaces and carries motor and sensory impulses.
7) Shukra and Artav (male and female reproductive tissues) contain all tissues and are responsible for reproduction.
The fire of digestion produces the nutrient plasma within a few hours. This post digested food is the nutrition for all the succeeding tissues.
Plasma is transformed into blood, which is further manifested into muscle, bones, nerves and at last semen and ovum. It is said that a drop reproductive tissue takes 28 days to form.
This points to the Eastern and Oriental teaching of conservation of reproductive fluids for health, vitality and long life. This is a particular teaching that we in the West have yet to fully ingest!
Dr. Lad further points out that this transformation results from three basic actions: irrigation (nutrients are carried to the seven tissues through the blood vessels); selectivity (each tissue extracts the nutrients it requires in order to perform its physiological functions); and direct transformation (as the nutritional substances pass through each tissue, the food for the formation of each subsequent tissue is produced). These three processes - irrigation, selectivity and transformation - operate simultaneously in the formation of the seven basic tissues. The tissues are nourished and transformed in order to maintain the normal physiological functions of the different tissues,
organs and systems. (Dr. Lad, page 45).
The Natural Diet of Human-Kind
To back up these assertions, I refer to Diet and Nutrition, by Dr. Rudolph Ballentine. According to him, the general public are frequently dining at fast food chains. The most frequently purchased foods, comprising the most popular American meal, are hamburgers, french fries, a small salad, coffee and soft drinks.
This diet contains between 60% and 70% fat and sugar. Packaged foods that are high in fats and sugars also require the addition of flavorings, colorings and preservatives. There are about 2,000 such additives used by the food industry today, and the average person eats between three to five pounds of chemicals a year.
Nutrition is more than a simple biochemical process. It involves our state of mind, digestion and environment along with the condition and type of food we consume.
Dr. Ballentine suggests that a healthful transitional diet would eliminate many of the items characteristic of modern urban eating and would more closely resemble the traditional diet of many primitive cultures. It could still retain foods which are familiar and well-liked.
A good first step is to eliminate refined sugar products and use raw sugar, raw honey, maple sugar, molasses or date sugars. Secondly, eliminate refined white flour products, things in lots of packaging.
Then next would include canned or frozen "convenience foods" and processed preparations. Limit supermarket and natural food shopping to the produce counter, dairy section and dried grains and beans.
Try and purchase foods which are as fresh as possible. Visit the farmers' market, where your foods will be fresh, local and seasonal. This is the best, especially if you can also get them organic. An ideal place for this experience is one's own back yard. You may not be able to grow beans and grains in your backyard, but they have normally been universally available, at low prices. They can easily be stored.
With these raw materials, the ideal is to correctly combine these foods to form a diet which is not only balanced, but appealing.
This is the simple brief strategy.
In traditional Ayurvedic nutritional philosophy, food is considered important. The wrong foods can block the Way. Food influences the mind, and the mind influences food. But this is not our primary way to achieve the higher aim in life. Or, has been stated, "we cannot simply eat our way to heaven."
But, having said this, one's attitude, psychological state and sense of awareness can help him / her step outside their conditioning into a process that transforms limits, negativity into a naturalness that we could label as a sense of well being.
On Larry King the other night, Dr. Andrew Weils gave an interesting perspective on SARS. He pointed out that in the Southern province where SARS was first reported, a lot of wild animals are consumed and there is a lot of close contact with domesticated animals. This would lead one to consider not consuming animal foods. In fact, later reports have found the corona virus (sars is a corona virus) in a type of cat in this part of China that is regularly eaten. The virus doesn't seem to bother the cat but is not so good for humans.
The following is an interpretation from English of an from an article translated from Chinese by Fu Jing Hua posted in the TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Forum of the Chinese Medical School of the Hong Kong Baptist University. This is an attempt to give a Traditional Chinese medical conceptual framework to the current SARS epidemic.
(I will only try to extract the useful and / or interesting points from this article and not all the technical details. I do not want to suggest a treatment, nor do I want to try and treat it but to
promote understanding and how to avoid the necessity of treatment. )
The article points out that "a typical pneumonia" as to TCM etiology and pathomechanism falls under the category of "warm pestilential Qi." (As you know, Qi is translated as energy).
Warm pestilential Qi is similar to other seasonal diseases. It is a normal phenomenon of the rhythmical] periodic process of flow and change in the universe. This is referred to in Oriental medicine as the process of flow and change in the "Five Flows," the five phases or better known as
the five elements of fire, earth, metal water and wood; and, the "Six Qi's," which refers to wind, cold, summer heat, dampness, dryness and fire. These six qi's are referred to as the six external pathogenic factors.
When the universe rotates in the complete circle of 360 degrees, the yin and yang and six qi emerge. In a year and in the passage of the four seasons, the earth rotates by itself. As it revolves, the five flows emerge and the multi-layered temporal-spatial pattern and rhythm of the year,
month, day and time unfold.
The five flows and six qi's are a temporal-spatial state of natural existence. It is the Tao of the flow and transformation of the universe, temporal-spatial effects and principle of nature.
In the South of China, the warm season comes earlier, hence the dis-ease spreads there
first. And this is a time when there is more cosmic heat.
The Tao of Chinese medicine is established upon life processes and a plurality of other types of life motion and their mutual interactions with nature and social processes. Its philosophy holds that the causes of diseases is the loss of harmony between the various life motions and its relationship with nature and society. Hence it is said: "When harmony is attained, there is Zheng Qi. Zheng Qi is righteous qi (energy) especially in opposition to disease. It is the normal qi of the seasons, warmth in spring, heat in summer, coolness in autumn and cold in winter.
When disharmony happens "xie Qi" emerges. Xie Qi is often translated as "evil qi" or more appropriately, disease pathogen from the external or internal environment that threatens health.
Because of irregular eating patterns, sleep and waking patterns, and mental pressures, people often build up fire and heat within their bodies. Body fluids are consumed. Then, in an unhealthy state, become "cohorts predisposed or susceptible to atypical pneumonia." This is because of the fact that the disharmony between life motion state and nature's Qi flow becomes a favorable condition for the multiplication and spread of the virus.
The external xie qi refers to "the pestilential qi between heaven and earth." This is different from the six climatic conditions wind, cold, summer heat, dampness (humidity) and dryness being in excess, which is the normal cause of dis-ease. The pestilential Qi referred to is not limited to virus. Instead they are referred to as abnormal mode of temporal-spatial flow transformation and change. TCM pathomechanism (the process by which a disease arises and develops as a etiology) emphasizes seeking the , categorizations and force trajectory.
In categorizations, SARS begins in the lungs. Then it rapidly makes inroads downwards towards the kidneys while at the same time making a surprise attack upon the pericardium (heart protector).
Its force trajectory is heat with an inclination towards "dryness". Its time frame trajectory may be subdivided into the initial, middle and latter stages.
Life hinges on balancing, centering and harmonizing the Zheng (righteous Qi).
As for preventing being afflicted by this illness, aside from fostering hygenic habits such as quarantining, disinfecting hospital wards, as well as avoiding crowds, the more critical aspect is 'harmony' between life processes themselves and the natural and societal environment. What TCM refers to as "when the Zheng Qi is retained within, the pathogen would not dare invade."
The basic purpose and aim of the regulation of diet, rhythm of sleep and waking up, breathing, physical activities etc. in 'nurturing life' is to maintain a 'centered and harmonious' state. The ideal is to become familiar with the concretemethods of going with the flow of nature; balancing the Yin and Yang; regulated diet; normal rhythm of sleep and waking; tranquility, emptiness; guarding the quintessential Spirit within; Taoist and Yogic breathing exercises and stretching postures.
But the only problem is that people are frightened of death but not afraid to take the route of rushing towards death. People love life, but are unwilling to take the Tao of nurturing life. At this point in time this is like the old saying digging the well while thirsty or forging weapons when engaged in battle.
Wo/man by her/himself has all that is needed to overcome diseases (according to the article). Life is capable of self-stability, self-regulation, self-control, self harmonization and self organization.
TCM's aim is to promote the self-realization, self development and self harmonization of human life processes. In the use of preventative medicines, they must be administered on the basis of different body states and constitutions. This will promote the body's self harmonization and thus
achieve the aim of 'preserving the righteous Qi from within'.
Healthy people who have not come in contact with atypical pneumonia, can take precautions. Regulate diet, balance work with play, relax the mind, and there is no need to blindly take medications, according to Fu Jing Hua.
At this period of time, pay attention to eating and drinking light and bland foods, and, while having less of fatty, sweet and rich foods, eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, edible fungi as well as walnuts, black beans and lotus seeds.
Dr. Andrew Weil pointed out that this disease should lessen with the return of warmer weather. But it could return again next season.
The details of the herbal treatment that is prescribed for the different stages of this illness goes beyond the scope of the intent of this article since we are not emphasizing the treatment of SARS but its prevention. This is following the ideal of not treating disease but balancing the life energy, as the Polarity teacher Pierre Pannetier often recommended.
The use of Oil
As we age our blood starts to stagnate and our skin starts to dry out. The blood stagnation can also be referred to as poor circulation. One practical way to deal with this phenomenon is to keep exercising, resisting the onslaught of inertia. Both of these matters can be helped greatly by giving ourselves a daily massage and using more oil externally in general.
The following are some ideas taken from aa Ayurvedic Newsletter from Banyan Botanicals on Abhyanga, Ayurvedic oil massage. This article was by Dr. Claudia Welch.
"The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil
massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age." Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89. The Charaka Samhita is the fundamental text for the practice of Ayurvedic medicine, the Ancient wisdom of India.
Abhyanga is the anointing of the body with oil. Often medicated and usually warm, the oil is massaged into the entire body before bathing. For thousands of years, people have used abhyanga to maintain health, benefit sleep patterns, increase longevity. It has also been used as a medicine for certain disorders. Abhyanga can be incorporated into a routine appropriate for almost anyone.
The Sanskrit word sneha can be translated as both "oil" and "love.@ It is believed that the effects of abhyanga are similar to those received when one is saturated with love. Like the experience of being loved, abhyanga can give a deep feeling of stability and warmth. Sneha is subtle; this allows the oil/love to pass through minute channels in the body and penetrate deep layers of tissue.
Ayurveda teaches that there are seven layers of tissue in the body: 1) plasma; 2) blood; 3) muscle; 4) adipose (fat) tissue; 5) bone; 6) nerve tissue and bone marrow; and, 7) reproductive tissue. Each successive layer is more concentrated and life-giving than the previous. For sneha to reach the deepest layer, it is believed that it must be massaged into the body for roughly five minutes. To give this kind of attention to your entire body, you may need about fifteen-minutes. Considering the benefits that have been gained by people for thousands of years, fifteen-minutes per day is a minimal amount of time.
Benefits of applying oil to the body that Dr. Claudia Welch lists (which are outlined in three major Ayurvedic texts: Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hrdayam) - Produces softness, strength and color to the body - Decreases the effects of aging - Bestows good vision - Nourishes the body - Increases longevity - Benefits sleep patterns - Benefits skin - Strengthens
the body's tolerance - Imparts a firmness to the limbs - Imparts tone and vigor to the tissues of the body - Stimulates the internal organs of the body, including circulation - Pacifies vata and pitta and harmonizes kapha. Benefits of applying oil to the scalp: - Makes hair grow luxuriantly, thick, soft and glossy - Soothes and invigorates the sense organs - Removes facial wrinkles.
Benefits of applying oil to the ears: - Benefit disorders in the ear which are due to increased Vata - Benefits stiff neck - Benefits stiffness in the jaw Benefits of applying oil to the feet: - Coarseness, stiffness, roughness, fatigue and numbness of the feet are alleviated - Strength and firmness of the feet are attained - Vision is enhanced - Vata is pacified - Sciatica is benefitted - Local veins and ligaments are benefited.
Vata Pacifying application of oil: The primary qualities of vata are dry, light, cool, rough, subtle and mobile. Most of these qualities are opposite to those of oil. This is why warm oil is especially good for pacifying vata. If your vata is high, either in your constitution or present imbalance, doing daily oil application can be highly beneficial, even life-changing. Sushruta says, "The deranged vata of the body is restored to its normal condition by the help of massage." Do abhyanga in a warm place. Place the bottle of oil in a pan of hot water until the oil is pleasantly warm. - Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room, on a towel that you don't mind ruining with oil accumulation.
Dr. Welch suggests beginning at the extremities and working toward the middle of the body. Use long strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints. Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. - Apply oil to the crown of your head and work slowly out in circular strokes. Put a couple drops of warm oil on the tip of your little finger or on a cotton ball and apply to the opening of the ear canal. Actually oil can and should be applied to every orifice every day.
It just so happens that the ACU-Polarity office now carries medicated oils for the constitutions of vata, pitta or kapha. Also, Brahmi oil the brain, oil for joint pain and oil especially designed to rub in your hair and feet before retiring at night.
Now we are having a fat epidemic, and it seems that carbohydrates are taking the brunt of the blame. First it is good to distinguish between simple carbohydrates, which are sugars, and complex carbohydrates - which are called starches.
The use of simple carbohydrates, like table sugar, has more than doubled in the last 100 years, according to Dr. Ballentine in his book Diet and Nutrition. At the same time, the amount of complex carbohydrates such as that which is found in grains and beans, has decreased dramatically.
Common sense would tell us that carbohydrates that are overly prepared, overly packaged and overly preserved would not be that healthy. No matter how many or what amount of these articles we consume, they will not satisfy our hunger because they contain few or no real nutrients. These simple sugars easily turn to excess body weight.
Complex carbohydrates, like as in whole grains - rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, whole wheat, etc., - provide us with the energy we need. If one tries to depend on fats or protein for energy, it will work to some extent but these articles are more meant for the building and lubrication of bones, tissues, joints etc. They are not the best foods for fuel and will not burn cleanly. Check out the overhead wall of a kitchen where there are a lot of animal fats cooked. This could reflect the conditions of the arterial walls from a diet which burns excess protein and fats for fuel. This is often the case due to a deficiency consumption of complex carbohydrates in the diet.
The area of the body where food is primarily broken down, assimilated or burned is the solar plexus, the first 1/3 of the small intestine. The burning of carbohydrates by the cell breaks the carbohydrate molecule down to its original components, carbon dioxide and water. The water is vaporized in the breath or excreted in the urine. The carbon dioxide is exhaled and returns to the atmosphere.
This is a constantly recurring cycle; carbohydrates being formed by the plant with the release of oxygen (photosynthesis) and the entrapment of the sun"s energy. The carbohydrate is being oxidized with the throwing off of carbon dioxide and water, and the recovery of that energy from the sun.
The plant reaction takes up energy; the animal reaction releases it. Plants alone have the capacity to capture energy from the sun and package it as carbohydrates. The carbohydrate molecule contains only carbon, hydrogen and oxygen plus the energy from the sun that was trapped during their combination.
The Aging Process
After 42 you become more and more familiar with it. In fact, I was "over the hill" at 42, but then I started taking those dang Chinese herbs, got married and started having children.
Starting from the top, your hair thins, turns color and may start falling out. From a Chinese medicine point of view the kidneys control the head hair. Loss of balance is a kidney issue, as the ears are considered the external organ of the kidneys. Western physiology considers balance problems as inner ear problems.
There are numerous traditional and modern formulas to nourish the kidney energy. One could take fo ti, polygonum multiflori, to nourish the kidney yin (vital essence) to help nourish and keep hair dark and healthy.
Tai Chi has also been shown to help with balance problems and strengthen bones and sinews (tendons).
Right underneath the scalp is the brain which can start getting fuzzy with memory loss. A commonly used herb is gingko biloba to affect cerebral arterial insufficiency, which means the brain is not getting proper nourishment due to poor circulation.
Hearing is also associated with the kidney energy. Tinnitus and hearing loss are also treated with giving kidney tonics to nourish the kidneys. The herbal formula Er Long Zuo Ci wan is also referred to as "pills for the deaf" and "ear ringing's friend pill."
The thinning teeth and bones are also considered aging conditions that are treated through strengthening kidney energy.
Then your vision starts getting less. In chinese medicine, vision is associated with the liver. So nourishing liver yin would be an approach here. Lycii berries would be an herb that would help this.
The Health Concerns formula Bil Lutein would be also useful. It contains bilberry, a relative of the blueberry and huckleberry, which has been used to treat macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts.
Lutein is a fat soluble carotenoid that helps in the prevention of macular degeneration.
It so happens that the Kan herb company sent me a newsletter on "Chinese Herbs and the Aging Process".
On cardiovascular health, it is pointed out that aging along with fast food, high fat diets, excessive use of alcohol and smoking and lack of exercise contribute to obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Chinese herbs can help to strengthen vascular activity and clear blockages of chi, phlegm and blood which are the background of cardiovascular dis-eases.
A stroke is the third most common cause of death in the U.S. This is referred to as wind stroke in Chinese medicine.
Internal wind is generated from liver yin and kidney deficiency. It is like a dry desert that allows the wind to blow to the head. This can lead to paralysis combined with phlegm heat and blood stasis. Prevention is much more desirable than treatment after the fact.
Chinese herbs can be extremely helpful in the prevention of wind stroke by nourishment of the liver and kidney yin.
Liver wind rising can be a cause of high blood pressure with headache and dizziness. The traditional formula tian ma gou ten yin calms wind and nourishes the liver and kidneys.
Along with diet, exercise, medicinal herbal supplementation and tai chi the stretching postures of polarity and hatha yoga improve balance, endurance and flexibility.
Nadis - Energy Pathways
Readers could rightfully wonder how it is that I am talking about all these things that are well beyond my scope. When I studied with Dr. Vasant Lad, in Santa Fe, ours was the first class that he taught in the US. At the end of the class year Dr. Lad told us to go and teach Ayurveda "to the four corners". That is what I am doing.
According to ancient Ayurvedic yogic lore and teaching, there are 72,000 nadis in the body which are rooted in the navel. Some we are familiar with such as veins and arteries and some are too subtle to be known by dissection or any other type of physical observation.
Three of these nadis in particular are important in Ayurveda and yoga theory. They are known as:
Pingala, the current associated with the right nostril with the positive/sun energy;
Ida, the current associated with the left nostril negative/moon energy; Sushumna the current going through the eye center and the center of the spine with a neutral polarity.
As these currents spiral through the body and crisscross they form energy centers. These centers have emotional as well as physical functions.
Briefly the first chakra is located between the coccyx (tail bone) and the apex of the sacrum. It is the earth element and has to do with elimination of feces and the sense of smell.
The negative emotion associated with this energy center is fear (like the fear of losing our body or other possessions, friends, etc.) and attachment (to those same things). The balance is detachment, discernment and discrimination (realizing the true nature and impermanence of all things).
The second chakra is located between the 5th lumbar and the base of the sacrum. It is the water chakra associated with the function of reproduction and the sense of taste.
The emotions of this chakra are negativity, indulgence and balance simplicity. Indulgence like in food, negativity and inappropriate sex (like as in the word lust), etc. The balance, simplicity, means words like continence and being happy with simple things.
The third, fire chakra is located below the 2nd lumbar in the back and area of the navel in the front. It is involved in the fire of digestion and assimilation and is associated with the sense of sight. The negative emotion associated with fire is, understandably, anger, and its balance is peace and calm.
The emotions of this chakra are indulgence and the balance is simplicity. Indulgence like in food, emotional negativity and inappropriate sex (like as in the word lust), etc. The balance, simplicity, means like in words continence and being happy with simple things, etc.
In the throat is the ether chakra. It relates speech and hearing. The negative emotion associated with it is a sense of separation. The balance is a sense of oneness.
Like the rivers on planet earth, these energy river/currents can and do become polluted. Pranayama (control of breath) is practiced - along with diet, meditation, posture and life style - to help clean these nadis. The exercise alternate nostril breathing in particular is used for this purpose.
Alternate nostril breathing is performed by placing the index and middle fingers of the right hand on the forehead at the eye center. The right ring finger is used to close the left nostril, and the right thumb to close the right nostril.
The practice begins by closing the right nostril with the thumb and exhaling through the left nostril. Keeping the right nostril closed, inhale through the left nostril, close off the left nostril and exhale through the right. Then inhale through the right, close off the right nostril and exhale through the left. This is one round.
It is advised not to do this if you have sinus problems. Simple deep breathing exercises and the postures are better to practice until your sinuses clear up somewhat.
This breathing exercise is not meant as a spiritual practice, but a psycho-physical balance to promote strength, well being and clean the body and consciousness.
Begin by exhaling through the left nostril and inhale detachment while your thumb is touching the little finger (this is meant for counting purposes only). Breathe in detachment, exhale fear and attachment. A second time, this time through the right nostril breathe in detachment and exhale through the left fear and attachment. You are affirming with breath that you are not fear. Fear and attachment is associated with the earth element. The higher Self is detached from any turmoil.
Now move your thumb to the water finger and breathe in simplicity through the left nostril and exhale indulgence through the right. Inhale simplicity through the right and exhale indulgence through the left.
Move your thumb to the middle, fire finger. Breathe in calm and exhale anger. Breathe calm in through the right nostril and exhale anger through the left. You are not anger. Anger is associated with the element of fire.
Move your thumb to the index, air finger. Breathe contentment in through the left nostril and exhale greed through right. Breathe in through the right nostril contentment and exhale greed. You are not greedy and full of desire. These emotions are associated with the air element.
Move your thumb and stick it out like you are hitch hiking. Though the left nostril, breathe in Oneness and exhale a sense of separation. Through the right nostril, breathe in Oneness and exhale separation. You are not separated. You are one. Separation and the grief of separation belong to the ether element.
This completes 5 rounds of two in and out breaths with awareness affirmations. It is suggested that you could do these 5 rounds daily, but not more than this without further instruction.
Alternatives to Flu Shots
Many people feel distressed because they are not able to receive a flu shot. The flu is the leading cause of calling in sick with 5-20% of US residents contracting the flu, on average, each year.
The following are signs, symptoms, formulas and suggested strategies for an intelligent alternative treatment program for preventing colds and flu. And, if one does get the flu or has a cold, several protocols for the different stages and conditions are suggested.
Oriental medicine is not so interested in identifying a particular viral or bacterial strain. It looks for the conditions of hot or cold; dry or damp. Wind, as in airborne pathogens, are normally involved; so it is usually considered a wind/cold or wind/heat condition and treatment is prescribed accordingly.
A cold/flu situation is usually acute, although in the later phases of this condition, it can be treated with tonic herbs. Tonic herbs are usually only used for chronic or deficient conditions. In the later stages of a cold/flu, in combinations with other herbs, they can give a boost and bring a person out of a 'run down' feeling.
Jade screen is an ancient formulation of herbs that has been used for centuries for cold and flu protection as well as protection from allergies.
If a person is exposed to flu from family members, work associates, crowded public transportation and public places they can use secondary formulas that treat the first stages of exposure. This formula is called Yin Qiao or Health Concerns has a formula called Cold Away.
Let's say a person 'catches a cold.' In the first stage they could take Echinacea and Goldenseal plus Isatis as an herbal heat clearing (like in anti-biotic). With sore throat (wind/heat) they could add the afore mentioned Yin Qiao. If a person is chilly and achy (wind/cold) they can take Echinacea, Goldenseal and Isatis with Ginger tea.
If a person develops coughing with large amounts of clear phlegm, Minor Blue Dragon would be the herbal combination of choice. If the phlegm is colored, Ma huang and Gingko could be suggested. If the head is stuffy and congested, Pueraria Nasal could be used. For a dry cough - Lily combination.
If a person has sneezing with clear phlegm, Xanthium combination would be the best. For sneezing with colored phlegm, use Pueraria Nasal combination.
Ear congestion with clear phlegm would call for Wen Dan Tang. Heat conditions, like in infection and fever, Long Dan Xie Gan Tang could be used.
Headaches and stiff neck with chills would call for Pueraria combination to remove wind and cold. If a person has whole body aches, Health Concerns makes a formula called Mobility 3, which could be beneficial.
Then, of course, some health authorities recommend regular exercise (yoga), eating regular low fat meals, trying to avoid eating too many sweets and getting sufficient rest and exercise. Keeping life simple and well organized as possible and at the same time 'going with the flow' also helps in reductions of cold and flu attacks.
Srotas, Chakras and Marmas
In the teachings of Ayurvedic anatomy and physiology, there are veins and arteries just like in conventional anatomy and physiology. In addition, there are numerous energy channels which are too subtle to detect with the human eye or even with a high powered microscope. These are referred to as nadis, which emanate from whirling energy centers - the chakras.
Nadis and chakras have been discussed in the newsletter before. What has not been discussed is what are referred to as srotas. Srotas are pathways for air, food, water and the seven tissues (plasma, blood, muscle, fat, nerve tissue and reproductive tissue). There is a pathway for prana - as in respiration, and the mind which is technically know as manas - the sense perception mind.
The srotas have a root, a passage and an opening. We may not be accustomed to thinking of the mind in such a manner. Dr. Lad enlightens us in his book The Textbook of Ayurveda. He says the root of the individual's sense perception mind (manas) is the heart (cardiac plexus) and the ten sensory pathways. There are 5 senses in bilateral pathways.
The passage way of manas is the entire physical body. And the openings are the sense organs - ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose. Marmas - the energy points which are located all over the body like acu-points - are also openings for mind.
It might be pointed out that according to Samkhaya philosophy, which is the basis for Ayurvedic medical theory, the mind has four aspects: Chitta, which is consciousness and the ability to discern dimension, beauty and harmony; Buddhi, the intellect and the ability to make decisions; Ahamkar, the ego and the sense of individuation; and Manas, the sense perception mind. Manas is often contrasted as the lower, individual mind with the higher, Universal mind.
The marma points are traditionally listed as 107 or 108 and sometimes 365, like in traditional Oriental Medicine.
When you think about it, what a person hears, touches, sees, tastes and smells affects their mind. Likewise manipulations of the external openings of the mind via the marma and acu-points can also affect the mind.
The ideal in manipulating the marmas and acu-points is to bring benefit to the person receiving treatment. This is the principle behind marma therapy and acupuncture / acupressure. By manipulation of certain external points one influences internal tissue, organ systems and the mind, promoting relaxation, health and beauty.
There are marma and acu-points which affect all the srotas. There are 15 srotas (channels) and two extra for women - a channel for lactation and a channel for menstruation.
In Polarity, we usually talk about the five elements and their association with the five chakras along the spine - ether, air, fire, water and earth. These are spinning energy centers that carry out their physiological function by way of the nadis (energy channels). The chakras are the subtle function behind the 3 nervous systems - central, sympathetic and parasympathetic.
The chakras have a relationship to sense perception. The subtle aspect of ether is sound and hearing; the subtle aspect of air is touch; the subtle aspect of fire is sight; the subtle aspect of water is taste; the subtle aspect of earth is smell.
The higher energy centers are not discussed in too much detail but only acknowledged due to the fact that they are usually accessed through programs of yoga and meditation not manipulation.
Addressing individual marma points which relate to the chakras - Sthapani marma, which is acu-point yintang, is located between the eyebrows. It controls the sixth chakra (Ajna), prana, the mind (manas), the senses, pituitary gland and the meeting of the nadis in the head, which include pingala (positive current), ida (negative current) and sushumna (the neutral current that runs through the center of the spine).
Neel marma, located near acu-point stomach 9 and 10, is a large area of the lower neck just lateral to the trachea. It governs brajaka pitta (combined fire and water principle) which is the heat of the skin, speech, thyroid and circulation to the brain. Its location is at the ether chakra.
Hridaya marma, which is at the same location as acu-point conception vessel 17 but is much larger, is located in the general region of the heart, the middle of the sternum. It controls the tissues of plasma and blood; the circulatory systems and the air chakra.
Nabhi marma, which is the same as acu-point conception vessel 8, but is much larger in size, is located in the navel and surrounding area. It governs the fire chakra, which includes digestion and exertion. Controls digestive fire (the fire of the solar plexus located in the first 1/3 of the small intestine), digestive juices, bile and pitta (combined fire and water principle) in the whole body.
Basti marma, which includes acu-points conception vessel 2 through 6 located between the pubic symphysis and umbilicus in the region of lower abdomen and the surrounding area above the bladder. It governs the muscular system and bodily fat and kapha (combined earth and water principle), according to Dr. David Frawley in his book Ayurveda and Marma Therapy. This point affects the second, water chakra.
Guda marma, which includes acu-point governing vessel 1 and acu-point conception vessel 1. It is located at the anus and surrounding area. It governs the earth chakra, the channels of excretio nurination, reproduction and menstruation as well as the testes and ovaries.