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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.


The word inflammation generally implies two things: pain and heat. In other words, any condition that involves pain, be it acute or chronic, entails inflammation. From a Chinese Medicine view, inflammation comes about when the natural flow of circulation (energy/blood) in the body is blocked. This blockage will then cause friction, creating heat in the local area. Pain or inflammation is the body’s built-in mechanism to communicate an important message to us. In acute conditions, feeling pain helps us take necessary actions in a timely manner so as to ensure the continuation of life – for example the pain felt after coming into contact with a sharp object.


In chronic conditions, the nature of pain is not as intense as in acute conditions and could simply present as a nagging discomfort. Chronic inflammatory conditions are generally not life-threatening in the short run; however, the longer the body is host to an inflammatory condition, the higher the risk of an early death due to a serious illness such as cancer or stroke. The main reason for this is that chronic inflammation costs us valuable resources. In other words, it takes energy – our life force – to maintain a chronic inflammation in the body while at the same time surviving life on a daily basis. These resources can be redirected for other reasons such as our personal growth or stored for times of emergency when they are most needed.

Popular culture is full of suggestions for treating inflammation; some are reasonable and some are a bit ‘out there’. What popular culture does not focus on is the reasons behind chronic inflammation or illnesses, and how to empower ourselves to treat them. In a nutshell, anything that stresses us on mental, emotional and physical levels creates inflammation in the body, mind and spirit. The following are some of the factors that can create inflammation:


  • Relationship issues

  • Work stress

  • Existential/spiritual stress

  • Poor lifestyle habits

  • Poor dietary habits

  • Overwork, not enough rest/sleep

  • Too much or too little exercise

  • Exposure to electromagnetic radiation


The above examples outline the fact that anything that creates an imbalance in our health is essentially a source of inflammation by virtue of the fact that it depletes our resources and life force. The following are some of the main recommendations for reducing inflammation in the body.


  • Reduce or eliminate stimulants such as coffee, alcohol, sugar, processed foods, genetically modified foods, spicy foods.

  • Incorporate more “wet” and liquid foods such as porridges, soups, stews and casseroles for deep hydration and nourishment.
  • Avoid eating or drinking cold temperature foods and beverages.

  • Chew your food well and slowly.

  • Proper hydration. Neither overhydration nor dehydration.

  • Avoid overeating, eating too close to bedtime, eating in a rush, eating on the go, and eating multi-course, complex meals.



  • Slow down. A fast-paced lifestyle is by nature inflammatory as it depletes resources.This is akin to a car engine that is constantly running which then overheats.

  • Take deep breaths. Shallow breathing due to stress increases carbon dioxide, causing inflammation.

  • Ensure that you move your body daily for at least 15–30 minutes in a gentle way such as tai chi, yoga, qigong, swimming or walking.

  • Declutter your living space, your digital space, your mental space and ultimately your life. Clutter creates energetic blockage causing inflammation in our energy body.

  • Live in sync with cycles of life and in tune with your environment. Travelling to a tropical paradise in the middle of winter will stress your system, drains your resources and creates a net inflammatory response from your body upon returning back home.

  • Spend more time in nature. Forest bathing, earthing and being close to bodies of water are all great ways to reduce stress and inflammation

Ultimately, there is nothing mysterious about chronic inflammatory conditions. They come about mainly due to our poor choices. Taking curcumin, probiotics, essential fatty acids or antioxidant vitamins has very little effect in fighting inflammation unless other lifestyle factors are addressed. While more often than not, inflammation occurs due to our poor choices, sometimes we are born with health conditions that make us predisposed to inflammatory health conditions. This is so that we rise to the challenge, fulfilling our life lessons and nourishing our destiny in the process.

Armin Madaninejad R.Ac

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