Health

Eat For Spring according to Classical Chinese Medicine

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in Featured, Health, How-To's | Comments Off on Eat For Spring according to Classical Chinese Medicine

Eat For Spring according to Classical Chinese Medicine

(Image: “Asparagus” by SOMMAI/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net) Spring is finally here! Even though the temperatures are still colder than we’d like, it’s clear that the spring is here. The days are longer and the sounds of birds can be heard clearly. A fundamental of every traditional medicine, including the Chinese, is that humans need to be aligned with nature and the natural environment which means adapting habits and activities according to the changes in the seasons and in nature. For every season there are recommended activities and specific nutritional requirements. Spring is the time when nature renews and rejuvenates itself emerging from the slow activities of winter. Green begins to emerge as the dominant colour. The corresponding organ in our body is the Liver. As the liver is responsible for cleaning blood and removing toxins from the system, it plays a vital function in keeping the immune system healthy and strong. Spring is also the time for us to get back to increasing our physical activity which is in sync with the role of the liver in controlling the function and flexibility of the muscles and tendons we use to move our body. Generally speaking, our spring diet should be rich with the things that resonate with the springtime energies: vegetables (especially green leafy ones), sprouts, and fresh fruits. When it comes to food groups, the following are most recommended for the season: Grains – Spelt, rye, oat and wheat. (35% of the meal) Legumes – Peas, Mung-beam. (5%-20%) Vegetables – All green leafs, green onion, leak, artichoke, asparagus, aromatic herbs such as parsley, coriander and dill and root vegetables like radish, daikon and even leak. (Vegetables ideally make up 50% of the meal with 5%-10% of the meal should containing protein, though it’s recommended not to overeat animal protein. Easier to digest and more appropriate for spring are fish, chicken, and chicken liver. If you are able to, it’s a great time to cut out all animal protein. Combining grains and legumes in the same meal provide the perfect protein.) Healthy fats such as avocado, nuts and sesame can be added to meals as well as sea vegetables such as Wakame and Spirulina. Spices – Aromatic ones: curcumin, star anise, hours-radish, fennel seeds, rosemary, and mint. Cooking methods should also be attuned to spring energies. Cooking times should be faster. Rather than the stews and soups we had during winter, we now want to do more juicing, steaming, wok cooking and sautéing. Enjoy your cooking and have a blooming and sunny...

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Preventions for Low Back Injuries

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Featured, Health, How-To's | Comments Off on Preventions for Low Back Injuries

Preventions for Low Back Injuries

Throughout the day, we bend our back more often than we should. Whether we realize it or not, bending our back has slowly become a normal habit in our daily lives. Many activities cause our backs to curl improperly; from picking something up to slouching in a chair. However, too much bending of the back can increase the risk of a low back injury. The damage caused to a spine from excessive bending can be compared to the bending of a tree branch: where a branch would snap – a spine would be injured. In order to prevent these injuries, there are many minor changes we can make in our daily lives. Here are three tips I would like to share with you in order to reduce the number of times you bend your back each day: 1.    Avoid Twisting Motions Twisting your upper body creates unnecessary stress to your spine. Alternatively, you can move your feel and rotate your entire body instead of twisting your upper body. Healthy exceptions include yoga or other guided physical activities. 2.    Don’t Bend 30 minutes into the Morning! Your spine is fully hydrated after a night’s sleep and therefore, it is more susceptible to injury from the stress of bending 30 minutes into the morning. 3.    Avoid Heavy Loads on the Back! If you’re trying to pick up something heavy, instead of using your back muscles use a lunge to focus the weight on your thighs. On the other hand, if you’re picking up something light, I suggest using the Golfer’s Lift. To do a golfer’s lift, stand on one leg and lift the opposite leg as you reach down. This will keep your spine straight as you bend down. It’s amazing how a few small changes will add up and prevent injury to your low back. Keeping your back injury free can be this easy. –...

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How to beat those bad habits and keep those New Years resolutions!

Posted by on Feb 28, 2014 in Featured, Health, How-To's | Comments Off on How to beat those bad habits and keep those New Years resolutions!

How to beat those bad habits and keep those New Years resolutions!

Its that dreaded time of the year where your January fitness enthusiasm is slowly dwindling in a February cloud of smoke. If your resolution was to take better care of yourself and get healthy, you will have a much better year if your resolution sticks. Here are six easy solutions to get you back on track. Be realistic– The best way to fall short of your goal is to make your goal unattainable. Instead of resolving to never eat your favorite food again, strive to avoid it rather than banish it. Make a “pros” and “cons” list- It helps to see a list of items on paper to keep your motivation strong.People who put their goals on paper are significantly more likely to achieve them than are those who merely make mental vows. Reward yourself– Celebrate your success by treating yourself to something you enjoy that dosn’t contradict your resolution. Dont beat yourself up– Dont obsess over the casual slip, that wont help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day, and take it one day at a time. Stick to it– Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. Don’t give up– If you run out of steam when it comes to keeping your resolution by mid-february , dont get discouraged. Start over again. Recommit yourself for 24 hours, you can do anything for 24 hours, the 24 hour increments will build on each other and before you know it you will be back on track. – by Elaura Storey, Source Centre Intern...

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9 Things You Didn’t Know About Cuddling

Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in Featured, Health | Comments Off on 9 Things You Didn’t Know About Cuddling

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Cuddling

Did you feel like cuddling with your sweetheart after getting red roses, cinnamon hearts and chocolate this past Valentine’s day? Not only does snuggling feel good, it’s good for your health too. Here are nine reasons why you should have a good snuggle every day of the year. 1. Cuddling releases oxytocin. When you are cuddling your brain releases oxytocin, a “feel-good” hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, increasing your overall happiness. 2. Cuddling lowers blood pressure. As oxytocin levels rise the hormones that keep you ready for action are affected, allowing our blood pressure to drop. This means that while you are cuddling, your blood pressure and breathing will slow down, putting less pressure on your heart. 3. Cuddling lowers cortisol levels reducing stress. Although the release of cortisol is useful for helping your body with stress, too much cortisol can negatively influence your mood, weight and your heart. Poor stress management can keep cortisol levels high even when we don’t need it, and cuddling is a great way to keep cortisol levels low, decreasing stress! 4. Cuddling reduces social anxiety. With the release of the feel-good hormone oxytocin, we are more likely to have an optimistic outlook on connecting with others, and an easier time trusting those around us. On top of that, the reassurance of someone else’s touch, even something as simple as a pat on the back, is one of the easiest ways to boost your self-esteem! 5. Cuddling boosts your memory. Did you know your memory does not function well when you are stressed?  By taking the time to cuddle with someone you love you allow your body to de-stress, reducing cortisol levels, making it easier for your brain to take-in new information. 6. Cuddling helps relieve pain and raises your pain threshold. When you stub your toe or jam your finger, what is the first thing you do? You grab your foot or rub your finger with your other hand right? This self-stimulation also triggers a release of oxytocin and helps us deal with the pain. So next time someone hurts themselves, the simple gesture of holding their hand or offering them a hug may do more to reduce their pain than you think! 7. Cuddling protects against inflammation and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract their harmful effects. This can lead to many health problems including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, different types of cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as atherosclerosis, heart failure and heart attacks. Cuddling is a great way to maintain a balance between your body’s free radical production and it’s ability to neutralize them using antioxidants. 8. Cuddling boosts your immune system. By stimulating the release of oxytocin, cuddling and touch increase your optimism, boosting your immune system because you feel too good and too healthy to get sick. Looks like the power of positive thinking actually works! 9. Cuddling reduces the risk of heart disease. Because the release of oxytocin reduces blood pressure, cortisol levels, and stress, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard, therefore reducing your risk of heart disease. Remember that cuddling doesn’t have to be between you and a romantic partner, or even with another person. Rubbing your own shoulders, giving someone a hug, going for a massage, playing with a pet, or taking a bath are also great ways to feel warm and connected. For more information or to view the sources used in this blog please visit the following articles. 8 Health Benefits of Cuddling 5 Ways...

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Year of the Horse – Year of the Heart

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in Featured, Health, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Year of the Horse – Year of the Heart

Year of the Horse – Year of the Heart

(Image: ‘The Horse Vigorously To Running Calligraphy Greeting Cards’ by Boians Cho Joo Young/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net)   Many Chinese communities all over the world celebrate the Chinese New Year this week and welcome the year of the horse. A short recap: According to ancient Chinese philosophy, there are two main cycles in nature representing the order of the universe. The first is a cycle of 10 (“stem”) and the second, a cycle of 12 (“branch”). Within the great 12 year cycle, every year is represented by a sign that symbolizes the characteristic of that year, much like the famous zodiac known in the west. Each branch, in addition to its correspondence to an animal, has a deep relationship with an organ in the body. It is important to keep in mind that an “organ” in Chinese Medicine is a wider term than it is in Western Medicine: there is the physical organ and physical function, and it also includes its meridian, and its emotional and spiritual functions. This year is the year of the horse and the corresponding ‘organ’ is the heart. In many ancient cultures and philosophies the horse represents something very spiritual relating to Life force, freedom, and a spirituality and bond connecting the horse and the warrior. In the Chinese classics one finds the reference “the heart is the human heart”. From this, we understand that the heart referred to in Chinese medicine is not the muscle pumping blood and driving the animal body. Rather, this thing we call the heart is the home of the spirit. The human spirit. It is this function that has our body working as a whole and complete entity. To do this, its strongest tool is communication. And humans have a unique ability to communicate through words and speech. So, how can we help our heart function to its full potential? In the eyes of Chinese medicine, disease forms when a part of the body doesn’t follow the spirit. In other words, we can say that the other organs are not following the rules laid down by the heart. Therefore the heart’s most important task is to communicate with all the other organs, to unite them as one complete system. When this doesn’t happen, disease forms. The heart’s “secret” to great communication is being open and empty. We can think of holism as stemming from the word hole.  A hole is something that is open and accepting to all, empty and free from attachments and judgments. To be a hole will allow us to communicate with our own spirit and with the universal spirit. It is that hole that allows us to become holy. The key for health, especially during this year of the horse-heart is communication: ©      With ourselves and with our surroundings. ©      Listening to our intuition and inner voice while at the same remaining open to other people’s ideas, needs and feelings. Isn’t it interesting that the Chinese characters for listening, seeing, and thinking, are all written with the radical heart in them? Wishing us all unity within ourselves and our community, and a great ride on the year of the horse. Yuval Blum, R.TCMP, R.Ac   ...

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Just 7 Minutes a Day

Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in Featured, Health, How-To's, Short Entries | Comments Off on Just 7 Minutes a Day

Just 7 Minutes a Day

Is getting out of the house in the freezing weather as hard for you as it is for me? Even living in a warm and cozy home, I still experience ever-freezing hands and feet. This winter, one thing did the trick for me: exercise! While most of us are health-conscious, it can be tough to squeeze time (and be motivated) for a workout. The solution may be quicker than we think. In reports like “High-Intensity Circuit Training Using Body Weight: Maximum Results With Minimal Investment”,  high intensity circuit training can deliver many health benefits in quickly and with no special equipment. It takes only 7 minutes (feel free to do more cycles!), a chair and a bit of space with an empty wall. You can conveniently find free apps on iOS, Google Play, Windows, or even your Pebble Watch to time your routine. There is also a website for non-smartphone users! This 7-minute workout did magic for me this winter, how about you? How are you staying warm and fit this winter? Share your thoughts below! -Helane Tweet...

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