Have you heard of the Emotional Scale?
When I discovered this scale, it completely changed the way I ran my Acupuncture practice and it is by far the most effective piece of information I give people, so here it is for free.
To explain this scale I need an analogy and the best one I have so far is a cork bobbing on the surface of water.
Imagine that the cork on the waters surface is our natural state, calmness, contentment and ease. We hold ourselves from our natural state of joy by dragging the cork underwater all the way down through the emotions to depression right at the bottom. Most of us don’t stay there for very long though, as the good mental health kicks in and we start to rise to the surface again. On the way back up, there is only one way out of depression and I didn’t know this until recently but it is a profound understanding, to get out of depression we must get angry.
We need to get angry or more accurately we need to allow our anger be be released. Not only is it needed, it is ESSENTIAL in order to fully heal from depression. So my question to you is, how do YOU release your anger? There are several ways to process it and maybe you will resonate with the following:
Not at people please. We often choose to shout at our loved ones because they are an easy target. Ultimately we fear rejection and we want people who will stay in-spite of our outrage.
So do your shouting responsibly. The car is always a great place to shout and I don’t mean in a restrained way I’m talking proper rage with a full on bellow as the diaphragm presses hard against the liver (an important component in Chinese Medicine and the resolution of anger) I’d suggest doing this in a stationary vehicle but it works just as well whilst on the daily commute!
Conversely you could just sing as this has that same squeezing effect on the liver and can be so cathartic.
Again preferably not people please, although in some sports it is actively encouraged! Boxercise, Tennis and Badminton are just a few examples, but sport in general is an excellent way to move and process your anger. My personal favourite is egg therapy which entails throwing eggs at solid objects (for example the wall in my garden) very therapeutic at times.
A friend of mine coined the phrase ‘Cryving’ crying whilst driving. I wouldn’t encourage it in this space so much, but I’m all for letting it out. As kids we had absolutely no problem allowing the tears flow but somehow as we grew older, we controlled them until we no longer had that spontaneity. Let them flow, you’ll feel so much better afterwards.
Everyone says it that these days we don’t move enough, so MOVE. Put an alarm on your phone that lets you know when you’ve sat at your desk too long. People having been taking cigarette breaks for years so what
about grabbing some air time?
We are nomadic creatures, we are designed to move. Movement really helps the lymphatic system which has no pump (unlike the cardiovascular system) it relies on kinesthetics or our natural movement. Keeping a healthy lymphatic system boosts our immunity and allows us to stay well.
This is another brilliant way to release anger and channel it into something productive. Quite often I will ask my patients how they do their anger and when shouting, hitting, crying and movement don’t resonate, creativity certainly does. They will reel off a big list of creative pursuits which allows them to channel their anger/rage/dissatisfaction.
Write poetry, dance, act, sing, play the drums, paint a canvas, photograph something, it doesn’t matter what you choose, you just have to get completely lost in it.
So next time you are raging, firstly be grateful that you made your way out of depression and secondly mold it into something amazing, I’d like to see the results.
What is stress anyway?
Put simply, it is Disease rather than 'ease' (or being at ease). It is the contraction we feel when our perception of a given situation, causes tension in our minds and our bodies. Stress is the result of our inability to deal with change and it has fear at it’s very foundations.
Let me share a story…
There was once a landowner, who had 100 horses. One day a storm blew down some of the fencing and the horses ran into the wilderness, they were lost. All of his neighbours said “what a terrible thing!’ and his response was ‘perhaps’.
His son went into the wilderness to search for the horses and he not only gathered the original group but also found many wild horses which he brought back with him. All his neighbours said ‘What a wonderful thing!’ His response, ‘perhaps’.
As he was attempting to train one of the wild horses the son fell and broke his leg, all the neighbours said ‘What an awful thing!’ the farmers response, ‘perhaps’.
Soon afterwards the army was moving through the countryside and called on the farm to recruit his son but he couldn’t go because of his condition. What a fortunate thing! Perhaps.
Stress is directly healed by a change of perception. For some reason (I still don’t know how) Acupuncture needles help soften the body, as well as the mind and this allows a change in ones point of view. This change ultimately reduces tension and restores a healthy balance.
It’s this Balance that’s at the very heart of Chinese Medicine’s philosophy. It understands, like Newton did, that for every action, there is equal and opposite reaction, so the solution to fear is contentment (or something near that).
For an Acupuncturist the cure is very simple but it is not always easy. Good diagnosis requires experience. Among many other things, we look at tongue colour, feel pulse qualities and ask a plethora of questions to ascertain the strength and condition of a patients organs. With this information a practitioner is able to choose a treatment plan that is both unique and bespoke to the individual.
Acupuncture is not a quick fix, but if given time, it can work like magic. Don’t take my word for it though, discover it for it for yourself.
I highly reccommed yoga as part of a healthy lifestyle, it is a beautiful way to maintain a strong flow of Qi around the body which benefits all aspects of health inclusive of Mind, Body and Spirit.
Sam Rao is a Yoga teacher I have had known for a few years now. I love the way he runs his classes but don't take my word for it, pop along and visit him yourself.
The real reason Yoda is so powerful
Acupuncture theory derives from two fundamental concepts:
Yin/Yang theory and The Five Elements.
Yin Yang and 5 Elements symbols
These two profound ideas have shaped Oriental medical theory and practice for many years, and continue to do so today.
Anna uses both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Five Element theory when diagnosing and applying her Acupuncture skills, this brings together the strengths of Yin/Yang theory and the Five Elements, into one integrated whole.
SO WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TCM AND FIVE ELEMENT PRACTICE?
Generally speaking, a TCM practitioner will rely primarily upon the Eight Principles diagnostic framework. A Five Element practitioner, on the other hand, will rely primarily upon a Five Element diagnostic framework.
A TCM practitioner is likely to pay more attention to physical symptoms, and design treatment to eliminate the symptoms. A Five Element practitioner, on the other hand, will tend to be more focused on the emotional and spiritual aspects of the imbalance, and aim their treatments at the root cause of the disharmony.
Great variety exists among practitioners and both the Eight Principles and Five Element frameworks are important aspects of the medicine’s theoretical foundation. What makes Chinese Medicine so powerful, is the insight that the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of an individual, are always interconnected and exist within a larger web which ultimately includes the entire cosmos.
Rudimentary forms of acupuncture which probably arose during the Stone Age have survived in many parts of the world right down to present day. The Eskimos, for instance are still using sharpened stones for treating their illness. The Bantus of South Africa scratch certain areas of their skin to allay the symptoms of many illnesses, while in Brazil there is a tribe whose method of treating illness is to shoot tiny arrows from a blowpipe on to specific areas of the skin. The practice of cauterizing a part of the ear with a hot metal probe has also been reported among certain tribes in Arabia. This is probably a vestige of the acupuncture practised in ancient Egypt and Saudi Arab.
The Ebers papyrus of 1550 B.C. (now in the British Musemum) describes a system of channels and vessels in the body which approximates more closely to the Chinese system of channels than to any known system of blood vessels, lymph vessels or nerves.
Acupuncture is a very ancient form of healing which pre-dates recorded history. The philosophy is rooted in the Taoist tradition which goes back over 8000 years. The people of this time period would meditate and observe the flow of energy within and without. They also were keen to observe man's relations with nature and the universe.
There were many sages of this period, but the most legendary was Fu Hsi, who lived in the Yellow River area of China approximately 8000 years ago. By observing nature, he formulated the first two symbols, a broken line and unbroken line. These symbols represented the two major forces in the universe - creation and reception - and how their interaction forms life. This duality was named Yin-Yang and they represent the backbone of Chinese Medicine theory and application.
Yin Yang Symbol
The Ming Dynasty (1568-1644) was the enlightening period for the advancement of Acupuncture. Many new developments included:
1. Revision of the classic texts
2. Refinement of Acupuncture techniques and manipulation
3. Development of Moxa sticks for indirect treatment
4. Development of extra points outside the main meridians
5. The encyclopedic work of 120 volumes- Principle and Practice of Medicine was written by the famous physician Wang Gendung
6. 1601 - Yang Jizhou wrote Zhenjin Dacheng (Principles of Acupuncture and Moxibustion). This great treatise on Acupuncture enforced the principles of the Nei Jing and Nan Jing. This work was the foundation of the teachings of G.Soulie de Morant who introduced Acupuncture into Europe.
From the Qing Dynasty to the Opium Wars (1644-1840), herbal medicine became the main tool of physicians and Acupuncture was suppressed.
Following the Revolution of 1911, Western Medicine was introduced and Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology were suppressed. Due to the large population and need for medical care, Acupuncture and herbs remained popular among the folk people, and the "barefoot doctor" emerged.
Acupuncture was used exclusively during the Long March (1934-35) and despite harsh conditions it helped maintain the health of the army. This led Mao Zedong,the leader of the Communist Party, to see that Acupuncture remained an important element in China's medical system.
In 1950 Chairman Mao officially united Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western Medicine, and acupuncture became established in many hospitals. In the late 1950's to the 1960's Acupuncture research continued with - further study of the ancient texts, clinical effect on various diseases, acupuncture anaesthesia, and acupuncture's effect on the internal organs.
From the 1970's to the present, Acupuncture continues to play an important role in China's medical system. China has taken the lead in
researching all aspects of acupuncture's application and clinical effects.
Although acupuncture has become modernized, it will never lose its connection to a philosophy established thousands of years ago.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has an Eastern philosophy that can offer the individual an alternative view on nutritional value, focusing particularly on the energetics of food as opposed to its chemical ingredients. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) nutritional advice, also places emphasises on the environment in which food is consumed, an aspect which western advice rarely address.
EASTERN AND WESTERN VIEWS
In the West, food is described as containing certain amounts of protein, fat, minerals, vitamins and other varying ingredients. This is done by separating foods into their basic ingredients. The nutritional value of a food is a statement of the sum total of its chemical ingredients before they enter your body.
In the East, food is described as possessing certain qualities such as a warming or cooling nature, processing certain flavours or acting on our body in a certain way. This information is obtained by observing the behaviour of the body after a food has been consumed. The nutritional value of a food is stated as a set of energetic properties which describe the actions a food has on the human body.
TEMPERATURE OF FOODS
Although the energetic temperature of foods is an Eastern philosophy, a knowledge of the temperature of foods is intrinsic to all traditional cooking. For example hot lamb is balanced with a cool mint sauce, a warming curry is balanced with cooling cucumber and yoghurt, root vegetable soups warm us in winter and salads cool us in summer.
The ‘actual’ temperature of food is however also important because the digestive system needs a level of ‘heat’ to digest food in just the same way that we need to cook food. For this reason if food is eaten directly from the fridge or there are iced drinks, the stomach will have to warm the food to 38 degrees before it can start to digest it – this takes a lot of energy.
ACTIONS OF FOODS
Some foods can also have specific therapeutic actions, they can tonify and nourish a body substance or function e.g. Yin, Yang, Qi and Blood or they can reduce the influence of a pathological condition e.g. Qi Stagnation, Blood Stagnation, Dampness, Heat or Cold. Dampness and cold are particularly important to avoid as because it impairs the Stomach and spleen, conversely a weak spleen can give rise to internal Damp and so the cycle gets worse.
WHAT OTHER WAYS CAN WE GET THE MOST FROM OUR FOOD SO REPLENISH OUR ENERGY?
If we are happy when we eat and happy in our relationship with food, then our bodies will literally accept the food more effectively into our system.
The Chinese believe it is better not to mix food and work. Our digestive system works best when we are focused on our enjoyment of the meal, not distracted or troubled by other influences
Crossing legs, sitting twisted or hunched will compress our digestive organs and hinder the passage of food through our body.
Chew food well
Well chewed food lessens the work our digestive organs have to do and increases the efficient extraction of nutrients. Chewing also warms chilled food.
Stop before you are full
If we overeat at any one meal, we create stagnation a temporary queue of food waiting to be processed. As a result we feel tired while our energy is occupied digesting the excess food.
Don’t flood the Spleen
The Spleen does not like too much fluid with a meal. A little warm fluid with a meal is helpful but too much dilutes the Spleen’s action and weakens digestion.
Eat Breakfast like a king, Lunch like a Prince and Dinner like a pauper
Our digestive systems are at their strongest between 7.00am and 9.00am, and their weakest between 7.00pm and 9.00pm.
Avoid eating late at night
The digestive system can’t cope with a large meal when the metabolism is already slowing down. In the short term this will overburden the digestive system, possibly disturbing your sleep.
If you are eating, just eat
Your blood can only be in one place at a time – when eating it is needed in your digestive system. If you are doing something else, your blood will be diverted to another part of your body and you will be less able to digest, if you stand or walk blood will be diverted to your legs. If you watch television, read, drive or work, blood will be diverted to your brain. For this reason eating on the go, business lunches and TV dinners, can all weaken your digestive system.
Trust your body
Sometime we crave our poison, but there is in each of us a deeper level of knowing. As we bring our awareness to our eating, we can begin to feel what our true needs are, what truly nourishes us.
Variety is the spice of life
Eat a wide range of different foods rather than sticking to the same old things. Try to eat a range of different coloured vegetables – red, orange, green, purple, yellow – with every meal. Not only does this look appealing, but you will be getting a good range of nutrients.
Sugar and all highly sweet foods can overwhelm the Spleen. The over- consumption of sugar easily leads to intestinal fermentation and creates a happy home for intestinal parasites. It also weakens the blood and destabilises energy levels.
The stomach likes regularity
Try to make your mealtimes as regular as possible, as your body will prepare for digestion. Avoid missing meals, which will weaken the digestive fluids.
Food prepared as a gift, served calmly, eaten with respect and digested in a harmonious atmosphere bestows positive benefits. Food thrown together without regard or with resentment, in a hurry, gobbled down, or eaten while driving, watching TV or even reading cannot be assimilated healthfully.
The process of digestion involves breaking down into a warm soup in the Stomach. It is then ready to be transformed. The Spleen extracts the essences (or flavours) from this soup, turns them into useable substances then sends them to where they are needed. The cooking method most resembling the Stomach’s action is the preparation of soups and stews. This soupy mixture is already warmed and broken down for the Spleen to act upon. Soups and stews are therefore the most Spleen-supportive meals.
Leggett, D. (2003) ) Helping Ourselves – A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics Great Britain: Meridian Press. p7, p11, p15, p16, p54.
Leggett, D. (2005) Recipes for Self-Healing Great Britain: Meridian Press. p45, p2, p119, p140, p272, p274.
Hicks, A. (2001) 5 Secrets of Health and Happiness Great Britain: Thorsons. p35, p36, p43.