In our last newsletter we discussed acupuncture strategies for treating seasonal allergies as well as common types of cold, all of which in Chinese medicine are termed “Wind Invasions.” This sounds a bit dramatic, but as a functional metaphor it explains exactly what is going on in the body and the environment. “Wind” simply means any pathogen or allergen carried through the air. Allergens are especially problematic in spring and fall, whereas different types of bugs can be carried through the air during times like the flu season. “Invasion” is not dissimilar to the word infection, and has the same implications. Generally the Chinese think that if the immune system is weakened or imbalanced wind can invade, i.e. you get sick. Understanding what these two words mean, helps one understand how acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine seek to cure the problem. The approach with both is two pronged: 1) Expel the Pathogens (this is important since invasion or infection means they’ve already breached our defenses) 2) Boost the Wei Qi and Secure the Exterior (this is fancy metaphorical language for strengthening the immune system).
We’re excited to announce that due to the road construction on HWY 169 scheduled this fall we have opened a second clinic in Brooklyn Park. Kerri Casey is now treating patients at the new location on Mondays 10-12:30 and 3-6:00, andWednesdays 11:30-12:30 and 3-6:00.
You may schedule online from our website www.minnca.com or call us at 952-746-3478. The address for our new clinic is: 8557 Wyoming Ave N, Ste 2, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445!
Hoda tried acupuncture to see if it would help with her hot flashes. She says she felt great after the session and had one of the best sleeps ever.
We treat hot flashes and menopausal symptoms every day at Minnesota Community Acupuncture. Along with regular acupuncture treatments, we recommend patients with any symptoms of heat cut back on red wine consumption as this can actually exacerbate the issue. Apparently Hoda didn’t get the memo😉
The trees are starting to bloom in Minnesota, a welcome sign of the coming spring and warm weather. Unfortunately, it’s also a sign that allergens are about to fill the air. For those of us susceptible to pollens and molds, this can make spring a bit of a mixed bag. Luckily, preventative acupuncture and herbal supplements can help control symptoms of allergies before they get bad.
Multiple studies have been done in an attempt to understand acupuncture’s efficacy when treating allergy symptoms. One of the more recent, larger studies funded by the German Research Foundation measured the outcomes of 422 patients with allergies to birch and grass pollen over a period of 8 weeks. They concluded that “acupuncture led to statistically significant improvements in disease-specific quality of life and antihistamine use measures after 8 weeks of treatment compared with sham acupuncture and with rescue medication alone…” (http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1583578&resultClick=3)
The methods used in this study when crafting the treatments, are the same we use at Minnesota Community Acupuncture with great success. In Chinese medicine allergies are looked at as forms of “Wind Invasion.” This sounds a bit dramatic, but as a functional metaphor it explains exactly what is going on in the body and the environment. “Wind” simply means any pathogen or allergen carried through the air. Allergens are especially problematic in spring and fall, whereas different types of bugs can be carried through the air during times like the flu season. “Invasion” is not dissimilar to the word infection, and has the same implications. Generally the Chinese think that if the immune system is weakened or imbalanced wind can invade, i.e. you get sick. Understanding what these two words mean, helps one understand how acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine seek to cure the problem. The approach with both is two pronged: 1) Expel the Pathogens (this is important since invasion or infection means they’ve already breached our defenses) 2) Boost the Wei Qi and Secure the Exterior (this is fancy metaphorical language for strengthening the immune system).
In Minnesota, it’s a given that the winter is going to be cold and harsh. We all look forward to the spring, to the thaw, to the season that is a symbol of regeneration. We may think that we need to do more to protect our body in the winter than in the spring, but this isn’t necessarily true.
Chinese medicine and food therapy teach us that in each season it is important to pay attention to the changing needs of your body. In the winter we should rest, stay warm, and eat foods that nourish our kidneys. We should conserve our energy for the coming year. As we move into spring, we should become more active and focus on balancing the liver and gallbladder. What does this mean exactly? Chinese food therapy tells us that the liver and gallbladder respond best to foods that are sour in flavor, slightly warm, and help to ascend the Yang. Yang is the natural energy trying to rise in your body as we exit the winter season – imagine this as a flower trying to sprout out of the ground as it begins to thaw. If we ignore the needs of our body during this seasonal transition we can aggravate a myriad of liver and gallbladder pathologies leading to worsened: allergies, eye symptoms, sleep disturbances, irritability and more.
Luckily, getting regular acupuncture and eating the proper quality foods can help alleviate these symptoms and bring balance back to our bodies. One such food is Kohlrabi, or as it is known in some parts of China, the “Jade Turnip,” on account of its luminous green flesh. Keep in mind this is the time of year when cooking with green foods is most beneficial, so it is a fine time to make:
Kohlrabi Salad with Sesame Oil
As summer fades, and the beautiful leaves around our many lakes turn, so too fade the days of enjoying cold salads and fresh watermelon. Last week as I saw the season’s first drizzle and snow, I realized it was time for one thing…soup!
If you’re like me, you have entire books of soup recipes and it can be daunting to choose the best/most appropriate for the time of year. Luckily, classical Chinese food therapy lays out very clearly the energetics of each season, offering very clear guidelines as to which foods are best and when. Chinese medicine identifies the fall as a time of dryness, when the lung (also called ‘the delicate organ’) is most vulnerable.
Any soup for fall must not only nourish and protect the lung, it should also address seasonal dryness. Deceptively simple, egg and tomato soup accomplishes both of these goals!
3 ripe, red tomatoes
2 heads of green bok choy
6 1/3 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp finely sliced spring onion greens
3 tbsp cooking oil
Ground White Pepper
In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a little salt. Slice the tomatoes and cut the bok choy into bite-sized pieces. Bring the stock to a boil in a pot. Put the spring onion greens into a serving bowl.
Add the oil to a seasoned wok (or cast iron pan) over a high flame and swirl it around. Pour in the eggs and swirl them around too. Let them set into an omelet. When the underside is golden, flip it over and brown the other side. Remove the omelet from the wok and set aside.
Add the tomatoes and bok choy to the hot stock, return to a boil, add the omelet and cook briefly until the vegetables are tender, seasoning with salt and white pepper to taste.
Pour the soup over the spring onions in the serving bowl. Serve and enjoy, making sure to get as much delicious tomato and egg into each bowl as you can fit.
Why eggs and tomatoes? Eggs are known to moisten dryness, and treat dry cough or even a hoarse voice; both of which are symptoms relating to lung imbalance. Tomatoes are also used to nourish the stomach and spleen, cure dry throat, and cool heat.
(Recipes taken from the fantastic book Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop)