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Cold Damage

One of the most important topics in Classical Chinese Medicine is the harmful effects of cold on human health, referred to as cold damage. Cold is considered the most detrimental of environmental factors that adversely affect our health. Other factors include excess humidity or dampness, wind, heat, and dryness, all of which have negative health consequences, but cold stands out amongst them.

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Energetics of Health & Healing

I am often asked how Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) is able to help treat a variety of health conditions such as autoimmune, hormonal issues, insomnia, and mental/emotional disorders, to name a few. My usual answer is that CCM is holistic in nature and therefore addresses the whole person rather than treating a disease or a label. It does so by balancing the person on all levels: mind, body, and spirit. The medicine is the vehicle that delivers the balancing act but it is the individual that “treats” the illness. In this article, we look at the energetic mechanism behind health and healing.

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Weight, Health and Longevity

At this time of the year, people coming to the clinic often ask about ways to lose weight, or are seeking acupuncture treatments for weight loss. My usual answer is that January – or the cold season generally – is not the best time to be focused on this aspect of health. While, for most people, concerns about weight gain in the month of January stem from the dietary excesses of the holiday season, excess weight can be a concern at any time of the year. In this article, I’ll examine some of the root causes behind excess weight, and give some general recommendations to address the issue.

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Sleep, Insomnia & Sleep Hygiene

Sleep is a major part of our lives, just like eating and doing other activities during the day. Often sleep is regarded as a passive activity, and therefore not given its due importance in maintaining our health. Yin and yang, the two polarities that weave through all aspects of our lives, represent two fundamental energetics of life. Sleep is an aspect of yin which represents inactivity, rest, hibernation, recuperation, night and darkness, while yang symbolizes energy, activity, function, day and light.

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What does inflammation mean? Inflammation is a word that we have been hearing more and more in recent popular health culture. It has become synonymous with chronic health conditions, from IBS, arthritis and autoimmune disorders to diabetes and cancers of all kinds. In this article, I will shed some light on the root causes as well as give some practical solutions to tackle chronic inflammatory conditions.

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Exercise and Physical Activity

The cold, damp, dark days of winter affect us not only on mental and emotional levels, but also on a physiological level – as the metabolism slows, weight is gained and we feel a general sluggishness, both physically and mentally. But as we come out of winter and enter spring, we start to get more physically active. In this newsletter, I will look at how physical activities can provide support and nourishment, rather than leaving us stressed and drained.

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Immunity and Overall Health

We are living in unprecedented times. There is a great deal of uncertainty, fear and hysteria in response to an external factor that, rather than being a teacher and a guide to us, has been turned into a tool for mass control, diversion and division. This is not to say that Covid-19 is not a serious virus or a potential health hazard. Rather that there are many measures we can take to boost our immune system and maintain our mental and emotional wellbeing in these very challenging times. The current vaccination protocols are potentially adding some limited short-term immunity; we do not, however, know enough about their long-term side effects, especially given the current trend of continued boosters at the rate of twice annually, if not more.

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Low Carb Diet

Popular culture has seen many dietary trends and fads over the last few decades. One thing they all have in common is the recognition that there is something wrong with our eating habits. In this article, I would like to analyze and assess one of the main dietary trends, the low carb diet.

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Hydration, Immunity and Longevity

We are told that we need to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water daily, and more is even better. Some pundits recommend having large bottles of water next to us at all times to constantly sip from. The general rationale behind this practice is that water detoxifies and reduces inflammation. On the surface this appears to be a valid approach as most of us have some degree of toxicity or inflammation within us (in mind, body and spirit), though the main focus is that water is physically cleansing.

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Disease and the Spirit

In Chinese medical philosophy, which has its roots in the Taoist philosophy, diseases are caused by two factors: external and internal. External causes include viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites that invade the body from the outside. Not all of these were known as direct agents of disease in ancient times. Then, terms such as wind, cold, damp, heat, and fire toxins were used to refer to the different external causes of disease. Nowadays, there are also many new external factors such as electromagnetic radiation, chemical pollutants, and others.

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Health Tips for Spring and How to Adapt to the Season

Spring is well upon us. There is a great deal of back and forth as nature tries to establish the new season; the effects of spring are under way and influencing all aspects of our being. Traditionally, spring equinox is a time of turmoil and sudden changes as the dormant energies of winter awaken and come up to the surface; a process during which a lot can get dredged up. In a nutshell, spring can be a challenging time for general health.

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Vaccination and Immunization

With the talk of potential vaccines filling a good chunk of the news these days, it will be only a matter of time before they become available for use against the Covid-19 virus. Given the level of fear and concern in the general populace with regards to this virus, it is good to go over some very basic understanding of how vaccination works and what you need to be aware of, and do, should you choose to get vaccinated for this or any other virus in the future.
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Embracing Yin in the Winter Season

Winter is here! This is the most Yin time of the year when the energy in the environment and our bodies goes deep and internal. Do not be surprised if you find yourself wanting to sleep for longer or simply not wanting to do much. This is normal: it’s a time of reflection and introspection. What is not so natural is the holiday season craze on the commercial level, the hustle and bustle of the big shopping days, and the stress that can go with that. There is nothing wrong with having some excitement and fun family activity; it does bring much needed warmth to a long deep freeze. The problem is, as always, the scale with which one can get carried away when we are really meant to be mostly quiet and internal.

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The Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has become quite a trend in the last few years, especially for those who feel like they are overweight, but also those with general gastrointestinal or digestive challenges. In this article I will attempt to break it down and talk about the pros and cons so that one can make an educated decision about the suitability of this diet. As the name suggests, intermittent fasting involves fasting for a length of time on a daily basis, or not eating the regular three meals a day—instead, having a longer break in between one or two meals a day.

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Summer health tips!

Of the two polarities that exist in nature, summer represents the maximum yang. Theoretically nature is at its maximum yang at summer solstice (June 21st). In reality though, the very hot days of summer may start sooner or later. In summer, the energy is rising, expanding and going outwards and upwards.  This is a very active time of the year, as opposed to winter (yin) when everything is contracting and going inwards and downwards. While this expansion is full of life and energy, it does pose potential challenges that can affect our health either during the season itself or further ahead when it comes to the change of season to fall.

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How to Boost the Immune System for the Fall

The time of transition in nature is again upon us. This time, from the maximum yang, heat, and expansive energy and activity, nature starts going towards yin, the interior, contractive energy and the beginning of stillness before winter, the time of maximum yin. Not surprisingly, this time of year is actually welcomed by many people. The transition into a more yin, still and internal state gives us a chance to slow down from the full-on activities of the summer.

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Are Cleanses and Detox Programs Actually Good For You?

At this time of year there seems to be a natural urge to look into our health. This is usually prompted by the change of season as the environment around us comes out of the cold stagnancy of winter and we realize that somehow, instinctively, we do not seem to have what it takes to keep up with the change. Rather than feeling well, given the change into spring, we are lagging behind, or perhaps just not feeling optimal. As always, the change of season will be a tricky time for most of us. If we were not taking care of ourselves in winter, by slowing down as nature would have liked us to, then the transition will be more challenging.

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The Coronavirus: what to do?

We have been hearing about this virus more and more as it is spreading around the globe causing all sorts of problems as well as fatalities. The questions that I am sure are going through everyone’s mind are whether the situation is really as bad as it seems, is this virus as deadly as it appears, or whether there is a bit of media hysteria. The short answer is that really it is a little bit of both. Here is why:

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New Year’s Resolution

This is the time of year that people make new year’s resolutions. It’s also the time that those same resolutions either do not materialize or are short-lived. There is nothing wrong with a new year’s resolution per se; the challenge is the time of the year itself. The new year comes at a time of year when the energetic forces in nature are at their most dormant (in the northern hemisphere, at least). All around in nature, life is on pause, though days are gradually getting longer and in couple of months’ time spring will come.

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Daily Habits and Health Longevity Tips

Our daily habits have an effect on our overall health. In this article, we look at how and why routine and habits can positively influence our health. Establishing routine in our lives is key to better health. Routines need not be very rigid, but should serve as a general structure and will help with discipline. We tend to dislike routine in favour of the belief that we like to go with the flow and do things when we feel like it. The Taoist notion of going with the flow is definitely a worthy concept but it can only express itself in the context of a stable, peaceful, and grounded lifestyle. continue reading »

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