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Healthy Living with the Seasons: Late Summer

by Brendan Kelly, L Ac, M Ac, Herbalist

Jade Mountain Wellness

 

For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has understood that a fundamental source of our well being is living in balance with the natural world.  Just as the seasons change, our activity levels, sleep patterns and diet should change if we are to live a balanced, harmonious life.  The assumptions that we would live the same way in September (when it is still relatively warm and sunny) as we would in January (when it is cold and dark and snowy) is to miss the opportunities for lasting health provided by being aware of the lessons Nature offers us.

Based on the five element tradition of Chinese medicine, the late summer is the fifth season and corresponds to the harvest, running from mid-August through mid-September. Here in Vermont, it corresponds to the abundance of the local gardens and farms, where corn, melons and squash are being harvested. Not surprisingly, these crops are all yellow or orange and sweet, as these colors and tastes correspond to the Earth element.

What has allowed this abundance to occur is the cooling weather and the declining sunshine, which signifies the transition between summer and late summer.  Without this transition, the plants would continue to grow upward and outward, rather than concentrate their energy into the fruit and vegetables that we eat.

Similarly, if we are to live a balanced life, we too should allow our energy and activity levels to begin to decline. In our overly busy, sometimes hectic lives, this can seem antithetical to being “productive” or “efficient” or “in shape”. We have many messages encouraging us to keep busy physically and mentally at home and at work, regardless of what is happening in the natural world around us.  We are often encouraged to assume that more is better, hat being busy is better than resting, that action is better than stillness.

However, especially at this time of the year, more is not necessarily better. In fact, there can be an inverse relationship between activity level and a balanced and healthy life: more activity can create less well being. This is particularly true during the late summer as the tendency in the natural world is for plants and animals to being slowing down. And despite many of the messages we get from our culture, we are similarly affected by these forces. By not understanding and listening to these messages, we are not going with the flow of Nature, and are separating ourselves from a fundamental, deep, source of well being.

One wonderful way of connecting to the change of season is through eating local food. As mentioned, here in Vermont we have an abundant variety of local food to choose from at this time of year. By eating locally, we are not only reducing our environmental impact by limiting the distance food travels, we are naturally eating a more seasonally balanced diet. There is a grand intelligence to the food a place provides each season—much of the cultivated food that is now easily available provides the kind of nourishment most beneficial for the season.

While spring and summer naturally encourage us to be out in the world with their increasing and peaking yearly warmth and sunshine, late summer is the beginning of the decline of this energy. Just as this decline allows gardens and farms to reap this season’s harvest, personally slowing down at this time of year provides us an opportunity to reap a harvest in our own lives as well. This harvest, which can happen on any level of who we are– body, mind, spirit– provides nourishment to sustain us for the rest of the year, and for the cold and dark months of winter in particular. If we neglect this slowing down process, and the connected possibility of our own internal harvest, this season and even the rest of the year can feel barren. By understanding what each season is saying, and listening to its suggestions, we can live a more balanced, healthier life.

Brendan Kelly practices acupuncture and Chinese and western herbal medicine at his family practice Jade Mountain Wellness in Burlington, VT. He works with a wide range of patients—front toddlers to seniors—addressing a wide range of physical, mental and emotional conditions. A significant part of his clinical practice also includes preventing disease and promoting long-lasting health.

 

Copyright by Brendan Kelly, 2014

Ask the Acupuncturist/Herbalist

Ask the Acupuncturist and Herbalist

Published in the Vermont winter 2012 issue of Green Living, a nationally published environmental magazine

By Liz Geran, Acupuncturist and Herbalist

 What can an Chinese medicine do for me?

Acupuncture and herbal medicine offers individualized diagnosis, individual acupuncture treatments, and customized herbal Formulas.  Chinese Medicine is based on treating the individual not just the symptoms or the diagnosis. People are very different and Chinese Medicine looks and treats each individual uniquely to promote balance and health. We treat the constitution or true nature of the individual (you could think of this as the season) as well as treating the symptoms (you can think of these as the weather the individual is experiencing). Additionally, Chinese Medicine treats the individual with the condition not just the condition itself.

 Can Chinese medicinei increase vitality, performance and ease hormonal changes within men and women as they age?

 Yes! Both Acupuncture and Herbal Formulas are used to ease the aging process, strengthen vitality and aid with the changing hormonal levels of both men and women.  Chinese Medicine uses customized herbal formulas instead of single herbs.  The strength of Chinese herbal formulations lie in the diagnostics of knowing the root cause of the weakness or imbalances of the individual. We customize a concentrated powdered herbal blend of between approximately 6-15 herbs.  The powder is mixed with hot water and taken 2 times daily.

Simple lifestyle modifications to increase vitality will also be suggested to the client such as:

1. Warm cooked foods for every meal will help to increase the general Qi- -or energy– of the body.  This is especially true during the cooler and cold seasons.

2. If the client has too much heat, warming and spicyfoods will be discussed and will be temporarily decreased from the diet.

3. Eat your largest meal towards the beginning of the day, a moderate sized lunch and a smaller, lighter dinner.  Our food becomes our energy.  Eat when hungry.  We need many more calories earlier in the day to give us the energy we need and fewer calories before sleeping.

4. Approximately 2 liters of water for a normal size adult daily, increasing this amount if the individual is ingesting tea or coffee, as both have a diuretic affect.  Drinking warm water during the cold months will help keep the body warmer and more energized.  Cold drinks in any season are hard for the stomach.

5. In Chinese medicine every hour of sleep before midnight equals 2 hours of sleep after midnight.  If you are feeling a lack of energy try adopting an earlier to bed and earlier to raise schedule (This is easier once the time has changed in the fall).  It is also easier to go to sleep earlier if we turn off all electronics one hour before bedtime. The colder and darker months are the seasonal time in Chinese Medicine to get extra rest and to recharge your internal batteries for the busier seasons of spring, summer, and late summer.

6. Movement and fresh air will help to bring Qi or energy into the body and will increase your energy level.  Qi Gong and Tai Qi are movement practices that directly build the energy.  Yoga will also help build the energy as will walking or moderate exercise programs.

These are some of the general recommendations for most clients.  Each client has a vastly different set of conditions that come into play to bring about health, balance, and vitality during all ages!

 

Liz Geran provides Acupuncture and customized herbal formulas at Jade Mountain Wellness in Burlington Vermont. She has a Masters of Acupuncturedegre with extensive herbal training.  In  2012 she completed a 2 year advanced Chinese Herbal Training and in 2013 completed an advanced 1 year acupuncture training. Liz was an Occupational Therapist for 18 years working in a wide range of western medical settings including: hospitals, acute care, intensive care units, outpatient services, nursing homes, public schools, preschools, neonatal care units, and home healthcare for adults and children. Liz  teaches a wide range of Chinese health classes, as well as teaching Qi Gong and Tai Chi Easy in several community settings.

 

Treating Sickness and the Cost of Healthcare


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Treating Sickness and the Cost of Healthcare

by Brendan Kelly, acupuncturist and herbalist at Jade Mountain Wellness, Burlington, VT

Around the country, there’s lots of talk about the cost of healthcare. Here in Vermont, where I live and practice Chinese medicine, the state is in the process of revamping the medical system partially for economic reasons. According to the Green Mountain Care Board, which was appointment by Governor Shumlin to oversee these changes, if the current increases in health care costs continue, it’s projected to bankrupt the state in 20 years. It’s not a question if the system will change, but rather a question of how and when.

Read More»

Winter Health with Chinese Medicine

Winter Health with Chinese Medicine

By Brendan Kelly, L. Ac., M. Ac., Herbalist
Jade Mountain Wellness, Burlington, VT
www.jademtwellness.com
802-399-21202

In addition to being able to treat a wide range of symptoms, Chinese medicine can also help us understand what promotes health. Just as the seasons change, what keeps us healthy also changes throughout the year. By understanding what is happening this season, we can understand how to promote winter health during the colder and darker months.

One of the most insightful systems in Chinese medicine is the Five Elements, also know as the Five Phases. In looking at the long history of Chinese medicine, the first text about the Five Elements dates back about 4800 years.

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The Sickness of Health Care Economics

The Sickness of Health Care Economics

By Brendan Kelly, M. Ac., L. Ac., acupuncturist and herbalist

Our health care system is sick and part of it comes from health care economics. Not only is their a rapid increase in diagnoses like cancer but the costs threaten to overwhelm us. For several thousand years, Chinese medicine has emphasized the importance of looking below the surface of the symptoms to the their deeper causes. For our health care system, part of the sickness is our focus on treating disease after it has already appeared rather than preventing it from occurring  and promoting health.

Here in New England and nationally, a significant issue is the already expensive and rapidly increasing costs of health care. In Vermont, where I live and practice, the state is predicting that if the cost increases continue at their current rates, it will literally bankrupt the state in twenty years. Other states around the region and around the country are facing similar dire predictions. A basic question is why?

In looking at where the vast majority of the money we spend on health care is going, we can begin to see some of the deeper assumptions that are helping to create the economic unsustainability. For most of us, we think about seeing our practitioner when we are sick. We might have sometime more superficial like a cold or flu, or something more significant like cancer, but the overwhelming amount of money we spend on healthcare is for when we aren’t well. Of course, whether we have a low-grade fever and a lingering cough, or a potentially life-threatening tumor, hopefully we can find a treatment or a practitioner that can be of help.

However, from the view of Chinese medicine, treating sickness is only part of an effective healthcare system. The historical analogy is that waiting until you are sick to receive treatments is like waiting for your well to run dry before starting to dig. If the well is dry or you’re sick, there is nothing wrong with buying bottled water or getting treatments. But just as it’s expensive to continuously buy jugs of water for drinking, cooking, washing dishes and showering, it’s also expensive to wait until we’re sick before we get treatments.

We see the same pattern in looking at the majority of the dollars that we, and government agencies and private insurance companies, pay to our health care practitioners. Most practitioners, whether they are an MD prescribing pharmaceuticals or an herbalist prescribing herbs, are paid when people are sick. In most cases, when people are well they don’t make an appointment and therefore the practitioner is not compensated. Following the influence of our healthcare dollars, we are helping to create a system where almost all practitioners only receive money when we are not well—rather than creating a system that cares for health, we are creating a system that maintains sickness.

We are getting what we are paying for with healthcare. Most of the dollars we spend go towards treating sickness, and many practitioners, organizations and companies are following these dollars. At our clinic, most people make an initial appointment because of some physical, mental or emotional symptom, but many stay after these symptoms are gone. In addition to treating sickness and preventing disease, Chinese medicine offers deep-reaching and person-specific treatments to promote long-lasting health.

What are you paying for?

 

Brendan Kelly is an acupuncturist and herbalist at Jade Mountain Wellness in Burlington, VT—www.jademtwellness.com. He is an adjunct professor at Johnson State College and on the faculty of the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture. He researches, writes and teaches about natural medicine at colleges, universities, schools and conferences nationwide. He is currently publishing his first book “The Yin and Yang of Climate Change.”

The Yin and Yang of Climate Change

The Yin and Yang of Climate Change

Brendan Kelly, M Ac, L Ac, Herbalist, Jade Mountain Wellness

From several thousand years of continuous application, Chinese medicine has developed a genuinely holistic view of the world. Just as our body and mind are interconnected, what happens within us is connected to what happens in nature. A great deal has been written about climate change and it’s affect on the health of people here in the U.S. and globally. Looking through the lens of Chinese medicine, it’s also possible to understand that what is happening to the climate is a direct reflection of what is happening within us.

One example of this interconnection is my work with a woman who I will call Mary. She was in her early fifties when she comes into our Chinese medicine clinic for her first appointment. She was looking for help with night sweats, and described exercising regularly, volunteering with several  non-profits, and maintaining a busy family and social life. After about 45 minutes of talking, I listen to her Chinese medicine pulses and looked at her tongue. The diagnostics told a story I see often in my practice—Mary has an excess of heat and a lack of coolant.

Just as Mary’s internal temperature was rising, their is a vast amount of data to indicate that the planet is warming as well.  In 2007,  the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  issued its exhaustive fourth assessment report, summarizing huge amounts of western  research on the condition of the planet’s climate. Along with Al Gore, it was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for assembling and analyzing the work of more than 2500 scientific expert reviewers, more than 800 contributing authors, and more than 450 lead authors from over 130 countries. To summarize its finding, there is a nearly universal scientific consensus (greater than 99%) that the planet is warming significantly due to the actions of humans. If left unchecked, the rapidly increasing temperature will magnify the effects of violent storms, dramatic melting of glaciers, increasing floods and droughts, and general disruption of climate stability.[i] And rather than being separate conditions, Mary’s situation and climate change is the same story happening on different scales.

Chinese medicine has a long history of recognizing the inherent connections between the small picture and the big picture, between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Having been published several thousand years ago,  the Chinese Medical text the Nei Jing states that the “human being is a small universe as the human body has everything that the universe has”[ii]. Also, Chinese medicine’s basic methods of diagnosis– pulse and tongue— are based on an understanding that we can evaluate one part of a person and understand their larger condition in body, mind and spirit.

Another fundamental part of Chinese medicine is its understanding of Yin and Yang, which are some of the oldest and most developed existent medical ideas. We see Yin in nature in cold temperature, the season of winter, and night, and within us as stillness, rest, and inactivity. Yang is about warmth, summer, and day and for us about movement, doing, and activity. As Yin and Yang are interconnected, if one goes up the other is likely to go down. What happens when the Yang of warmth increases and the coolant of Yin decreases is called Yin deficient heat

In my clinical practice, this is a common diagnosis. Some of us assume that night sweats, irritability, and a general lack of internal peace associated with Yin deficient heat is an inevitable part of aging, particularly for women. However, rather than being inevitable, it is a direct reflection of how we are living. While there are numerous factors that help create the condition, a basic, underlying cause is being too busy for too long.

In looking back at Mary’s condition, from one view she was healthy—she exercised regularly, ate well and was busy trying to help others in her community.  But what was lacking was an understanding of what health involves from the inside out. A basic and very important understanding is that more is not necessarily better than less. More exercise, more work, more play does not necessarily lead to a more balanced and healthy life. In fact, the amount of overdoing in our country and culture has reached such an extraordinary level that it is manifesting in the global climate around us.

The Science of Climate Change

The basic science of global climate change is simple. As in a greenhouse, when we create “greenhouse gases” such as carbon dioxide from the burning of oil and coal they eventually accumulate in the atmosphere. When sunlight enters the atmosphere, it is oscillating at a relatively rapid rate. When it hits the earth and is reflected outward it’s vibration slows, preventing part of it from escaping into space. This increase in captured reflected sunlight increases temperature in the same process that happens in a greenhouse.

In addition to this increase in heat, there has been a corresponding decrease in the planet’s ability to capture greenhouse gases. Trees and oceans are able to absorb vast amounts of carbon and other greenhouse gases. However, large-scale global deforestation has dramatically reduced the amount of trees , decreasing the amount of gases that are being absorbed. It also appears that the amount of carbon the oceans can absorb is also decreasing significantly as they may have reached a saturation point. [iii]

Seen together, this dramatic increase in heat-trapping gases and equally dramatic decrease in the planet’s ability to cool itself is strikingly similar to Chinese medicine’s understanding of yin deficient heat. And what is creating this condition? We are. We collectively in the U.S. continue to release greenhouse gases at an ever increasing rate—thereby increasing global temperatures– as we continue to cut down trees —decreasing the planet’s coolant. In America for example, we are about 3% of the global population and contribute over 20% of greenhouse gases as we have cut down over 95% of the original forests in the U.S.

And why are we doing this? In terms of Chinese medicine, we collectively suffer from yin deficient heat. We as a country are pathologically overactive from an inability to slow down.  We are consuming too much, driving and flying too much, and being stimulated too much. A basic understanding of Yin and Yang shows us that whenever there is an excess of something there will be a deficiency of something else. This excess of Yang in our over activity has helped to create our collective lack of Yin in our inability to slow down and do less.

An important part of this understanding is that we cannot ultimately treat this excess of Yang through doing more. Yes, we need to rapidly and dramatically increase the use of wind and solar power, use low and no emission vehicles, and eat and live more locally. But the lasting antidote to excess Yang is more Yin. We as patients, practitioners and students of Chinese medicine have a real role to play in helping address global warming. The understanding of Yin and Yang can offer much needed insight into health on a personal level that we can expand to the level of our country.

There is no better place for us to start to address global warming than living a balanced life in this era of pathological overdoing.

 

Brendan Kelly practices acupuncture, and eastern and western herbal medicine at Jade Mountain Wellness in Burlington. He is on the faculty at the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture and an adjunct professor at Johnson State College. He is in the process of publishing his first book “The Yin and Yang of Climate Change” and lectures at colleges, schools and conferences nationally.

For a more indepth article about a Chinese medical perspective on climate change, written for Chinese medical practitioners and students and published in the “Journal of Chinese Medicine”, go to   http://www.jademtwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/JCM-yinyang-of-cliamte-change.pdf

 

References

 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007, Summary for Policy Makers, In Climate Change 2007: Mitigation, from IPPC web site

Liansheng, Wu and Qi, Wu,  Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine (Nei Jing), China Science and Technology Press, published 1997

Pearce, Fred With Speed and Violence, Beacon Press, 2007.

 


[i] IPCC Summary for Policy Makers, 2007

[ii] Translated by Wu Liansheng et al, p 18

[iii] With Speed and Violence, p 86-89 for reference about oceans in particular.

 

Copyright 2013. All rights reserved

 

Chinese medicine videos by Jade Mountain Wellness

We’ve just posted three new Chinese medicine videos of us talking about:

1. Chinese medicine’s understanding of Yin and Yang, and how we can apply these ideas to our own health and healing

2. A Chinese medicine understanding of cancer, and the underlying root causes of the condition

3. A Chinese medicine understanding of the progression of Lyme disease, including the associated neurological conditions.

We hope you’ll look at them and share them with others who might be interested. Scroll down to the bottom of any page of our website to take a look– www.jademtwellness.com

Healthy Living with the Seasons: Late Summer

Healthy Living with the Seasons: Late Summer

Brendan Kelly, L Ac, M Ac, Acupuncturist and Herbalist, Jade Mountain Wellness

For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has understood that a fundamental source of our wellbeing is living in balance with the natural world. Just as the seasons change, our activity levels, sleep patterns and diet should change if we are to live a balanced, harmonious life. The assumptions that we would live the same way in September (when it is still relatively warm and sunny) as we would in January (when it is cold and dark and snowy) is to miss the opportunities for lasting health provided by being aware of the lessons Nature offers us.

Based on the five element tradition of Chinese medicine, the late summer is the fifth season and corresponds to the harvest, running from mid-August through mid-September. Here in Vermont, it corresponds to the abundance of the local gardens and farms, where corn, melons and squash are being harvested. Not surprisingly, these crops are all yellow or orange and sweet, as these colors and tastes correspond to the Earth element.

What has allowed this abundance to occur is the cooling weather and the declining sunshine, which signifies the transition between summer and late summer. Without this transition, the plants would continue to grow upward and outward, rather than concentrate their energy into the fruit and vegetables that we eat.

Similarly, if we are to live a balanced life, we too should allow our energy and activity levels to begin to decline. In our overly busy, sometimes hectic lives, this can seem antithetical to being “productive” or “efficient” or “in shape”. We have many messages encouraging us to keep busy physically and mentally at home and at work, regardless of what is happening in the natural world around us. We are often encouraged to assume that more is better, that being busy is better than resting, that action is better than stillness.

However, especially at this time of the year, more is not necessarily better. In fact, there can be an inverse relationship between activity level and a balanced and healthy life: more activity can create less well being. This is particularly true during the late summer as the tendency in the natural world is for plants and animals to begin slowing down. And despite many of the messages we get from our culture, we are similarly affected by these forces. By not understanding and listening to these messages, we are not going with the flow of Nature, and are separating ourselves from a fundamental, deep, source of well being.

One wonderful way of connecting to the change of season is through eating local food. As mentioned, here in Vermont we have an abundant variety of local food to choose from at this time of year. By eating locally, we are not only reducing our environmental impact by limiting the distance food travels, we are naturally eating a more seasonally balanced diet. There is a grand intelligence to the food a place provides each season—much of the cultivated food that is now easily available provides the kind of nourishment most beneficial for the season.

While spring and summer naturally encourage us to be out in the world with their increasing and peaking yearly warmth and sunshine, late summer is the beginning of the decline of this energy. Just as this decline allows gardens and farms to reap this season’s harvest, personally slowing down at this time of year provides us an opportunity to reap a harvest in our own lives as well. This harvest, which can happen on any level of who we are– body, mind, spirit– provides nourishment to sustain us for the rest of the year, and for the cold and dark months of winter in particular. If we neglect this slowing down process, and the connected possibility of our own internal harvest, this season and even the rest of the year can feel barren. By understanding what each season is saying, and listening to its suggestions, we can live a more balanced, healthier life.

 

Copyright by Brendan Kelly, 2013

Hot flashes and night sweats in Chinese Medicine: What are our symptoms trying to tell us?

Hot flashes and night sweats in Chinese medicine:

What are our symptoms trying to tell us?

Brendan Kelly, M Ac, L Ac, Herbalist

 In classical Chinese medical thinking, there is a significant emphasis placed on the importance of intention. Rather than looking solely at the outside world and what we are doing in our day-to-day lives, there is the internal question of why we are doing what we are doing. The importance of this focus can become clear when we are looking at physical symptoms and how we go about trying to treat them.

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The Yin of Health with Chinese Medicine

The Yin of Health with Chinese Medicine

Brendan Kelly, L. Ac., M. Ac.

So much of what we hear about health is that we need to do things. We hear about foods we need to eat, exercises we should try, herbs and supplements we should take. For many of us, there are things that we could be doing that would promote health in the short and long term. But from the view of Chinese medicine, this is only one part of the picture. Another part of wellness and healing is the importance of doing less, and not-doing.

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What would real health care reform look like?

What would real health care reform look like?

Brendan Kelly, L. Ac., M. Ac., acupuncturist and herbalist

Despite the great emotions being expressed about health care reform, the scope of change that is predominantly being discussed is actually quite small. While there are some exceptions, the most publicized part of the debate is who should have access to western health care, and who should pay for it. What has been very sporadically discussed, and mostly in a very superficial way, is the much bigger and more important question: What is health and how do we promote it?

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The Health Care Costs of Treating Sickness

The Health Care Costs of Treating Sickness

Brendan Kelly, acupuncturist, herbalist

For several thousand years, Chinese medicine has emphasized the importance of looking below the surface. In the treatment room, acupuncturists and herbalists are trying to understand where symptoms are coming from rather than only treating the symptoms themselves. The clinical importance of this holistic perspective is that when the root causes of a condition are addressed not only can a wide variety of symptoms be resolved, but there is a much greater possibility of understanding the origins of the condition. This broader view of Chinese medicine can be applied not only in the treatment room, but to the larger issues of health care reform.

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What are symptoms trying to tell us? Cancer

What are symptoms trying to tell us? Cancer

Brendan Kelly, acupuncturist and herbalist

One central idea in Chinese medicine is that it’s fundamentally important, for both practitioner and patient, to try to understand what symptoms  are trying to tell us. Rather than viewing symptoms such as cancer as “bad” or something to be gotten rid of, the classical Chinese medical view is to appreciate that symptoms are trying to help us understand that something is out of balance.

An unfortunate example of this effort to simply get rid of symptoms without addressing their underlying cause is the language that we use to describe different treatment processes.  For example, we talk about the war on various diseases, including cancer. While the phrase may be used with the best of intentions, attempting to rally support and create a sense of urgency, it is also a reflection of a common approach to the issue. When we declare war on cancer, we are in essence declaring war on the people who have cancer and ultimately declaring war on ourselves.

In my clinical experience treating people with cancer, a much more long-lasting approach is to declare peace. This is not to imply that cancer is not a serious diagnosis, but rather that declaring war on the inner condition of an individual is not likely to create balance and harmony. And it is very possible to achieve peace and lasting well-being, even with a significant western diagnosis, if we can understand what the symptoms are saying, and are willing to make the necessary changes.

In applying Chinese medical thinking to the diagnosis of cancer, my clinical experience indicates that part of the issue is extreme heat. To understand what Chinese medicine means by heat, think of a very hot summer day. Now imagine that you are outside in an unshaded area for several hours during the peak of the heat, without wearing a hat or any protection from the sun. Imagine how uncomfortable this would feel, and then imagine that this is the condition you experience internally to various degrees all day, everyday.

Left untreated, this heat can not only cause problems with the organs, but also affect the functioning of the cells. In taking a very general look at the western medical view of cancer, it is an over proliferation of unhealthy cells. This corresponds closely to the Chinese idea that heat not only causes over activity (the over proliferation) but pathology as well (the unhealthy cells).

While everyone is different, including everyone with a cancer diagnosis, there are obvious interrelated factors that contribute to heat. The first is how we live. We as individuals and we as a culture have become so busy— at work and at home—that it has literally become pathological. This over activity is over stimulating our internal organs, which in turn over stimulates the activity in our cells. It is not an exaggeration to say that the level of mental and physical activity that many of us consider normal or even healthy is helping to create the internal conditions for diseases like cancer to exist.  So what is this trying to tell us? Slow down and do less.

A second significant issue is the food we eat.  Again, what is considered normal, or perhaps even progress, is in fact often pathological. The amount of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers that are applied to much of the food consumed in this country is another major contributor to sickness. When coupled with the fundamental alteration that is occurring through genetic modification, a basic source of our strength and well-being—namely the food is eat—has been deeply compromised.

When we encounter toxins, for example the vast array of agricultural chemical, our organs work to clear them from our body. By continuously exposing ourselves to toxicity through the food we eat, we are requiring our organs to work overtime. As when we are overly busy at home and at work, this over activity again creates heat.  And what is cancer? An over proliferation of unhealthy cells.  And what is a basic cause of this unhealthy overgrowth? Heat.

So what can we learn from the issues with the food we eat? Living a natural life, including eating natural food, is fundamental to well-being, Good food, naturally and organically grown and raised, can be a source of strength and well-being, and the less our organs and our cells need to detoxify, the healthier we can be.

Even with potentially life threatening conditions, it is possible to understand what symptoms are trying to tell us. This process of paying attention to the issues underlying our symptoms makes it possible to find a deep and lasting sense of well being.

copyright by Brendan Kelly,  2013

 

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