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  • Writer's pictureDr. Sydnie Bryant

9 Tips You Can Use Today Utilizing Chinese Medicine

5000 years ago, the Chinese culture began developing the fundamentals of medicine. To really understand this ancient paradigm of the human body, we westerners need to suspend our knowledge of biology, disease, and health. For a moment, pretend you know nothing about medicine and open to a new system of caring for your body. This system is ancient, has thousands of years of case studies and literature and is practiced in various forms worldwide.

The first thing you need to know is Qi (pronounced Chee by Chinese practitioners, Ki by Japanese practitioners). Some call Qi energy. Star Wars fans call Qi “The Force”. Qi cannot really be translated into English- there are many scholars who argue over translations. Qi is Qi. Chinese medicine was developed by Taoists, so we find Qi in our bodies and in nature. Qi is everywhere- rocks, plants, dirt, animals and people. Qi flows through our bodies in channels, much like water flows across the earth in rivers and streams.

When Qi and Blood are abundant and free-flowing, we have vitality. Qi flows through 12 organ channels and 8 extraordinary channels. Each organ channel corresponds to a body organ- Liver, Gallbladder, Kidney, Bladder, Spleen, Stomach, Lung, Large Intestine, Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium and Triple Burner.

If your acupuncturist talks about your “Liver Qi”, they are not talking about your actual Liver. The Liver Qi system has a function in the body, 1/10th of which is actual organ function. Each organ system has a time of day, taste, emotion and more.

When your acupuncturist is diagnosing you according to the principles of Chinese medicine, they may take your pulse, look at your tongue, listen to your symptoms and palpate your body. Acupuncture needles are just one way we can treat you. Herbs, bodywork, Feng Shui, Tai Qi, Qi Gong, nutrition are all tools of our practitioner lineage.

Here is a sampling of ways the ancient medicine of China can offer insight and tools for your life today.

1. Breathe in and warm your tummy. Warm foods help digestive fire, a spark of energy that helps you digest all your food for the day. Cold foods dampen and cool our digestive fire. Love your morning smoothie? Add some ginger or other warming spices to support your digestion. Eat Warm Foods in the Morning

2. Over-thinking weakens our digestion. Oh boy, how many people are multi-tasking during lunch and breakfast! Do you eat at your desk, in the car or not at all? The best advice is when you are eating, eat. Be present, breathe, talk about happy things. Take time to eat with joy.

3. Do you have a salad every lunch and still can’t lose weight? Back to the concept of digestive fire, salads are often too cold for you to digest. Try the worlds’ best food, soup! Easy to digest, packed full of nutrition and warming to your digestive fire. Try to stay away from too many cream based soups, which can gunk up your digestion. Salads aren't necessarily the best way to lose weight.

4. Speaking of gunky digestion... diet, emotion and weather can cause you to feel lethargic or experience headaches. Look at your tongue in the mirror. Do you see a coating across the top? If you do, try a cup of hot lemon water in the morning. Hot lemon water is liquid plumber for your energy flow. Takes a while to see results, but trust you are balancing your body with a simple, lovely lemon.

5. Chocolate is a great comfort food that many of us crave daily. Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao is a bitter food according the Chinese medicine. Bitter foods may help disperse anxiety by dispersing heat in the Heart. Chocolate helps anxiety

Another quick remedy for anxiety is to keep your feet flat on the floor. Our Kidney Qi grounds and supports us in times of stress. The Kidney Channel starts on the bottom of your foot. When you are in that rough meeting at work, keep those feet flat on the floor to keep grounded and centered. Nervous? Think Feet

6. In Feng Shui, the dragon can protect you from negative energy or people. Get a picture or statue of a dragon and face it towards the door. I once had an office that had many people walk in and up the stairs “just to see”. And then someone wandered in and stole my purse. I placed a large dragon scroll behind my desk and hung a smaller scroll in the stairwell. I was never bothered by people wandering in again. When you are feeling under attack at work, let a dragon protect you!

7. While shopping for that dragon, buy a 3 legged toad too! The 3 legged toad statue is usually standing on a pile of coins and has a coin in its mouth. It represents abundance in Feng Shui. Place it in the left corner of your office, home, living room or all three. Place anything else that symbolizes abundance for you- a bowl of coins, a plant, a mobile. Invite abundance into your life! Frogs bring Wealth

8. Do you find yourself waking around 3AM each night? So many people say they sleep great but wake at 3AM most nights. Liver Qi is the system associated with stress, anger, depression. 3AM is the beginning of the Liver Qi time in the Qi clock. Waking then let’s you know it is time to destress. Acupuncture, herbs, yoga, exercise are great ways to manage stress levels. By addressing stress, we bring balance to the root of the insomnia problem. 3AM Insomnia Explained!

9. Grandma was especially wise in reminding you to wear a scarf on cold, windy days. In Chinese medicine, “wind” is a pathology and may carry in colds and flu. The wind points are located on the back of your neck. Keep your neck covered and warm to keep away illness. You still must wash your hands. The back of your neck isn’t the only way to get sick, just one access point. Grandma was right about many things

I'm sure a couple of these examples were helpful in your life today. I believe working with many tools helps us optimize our opportunity for a happy, healthy life. Chinese medicine has so many insights for us still today. I often hear clients complain that no one can figure out why something is happening in their health. And too many times, our medical system just doesn’t have the time to care about little things. I believe in integrative medicine. Your job is to create your health care team of Western doctors, acupuncturists, nutritionist, trainers, spiritual teachers, chiropractors, etc. Whatever feels best for you. My job is to help you understand what is available in the world of natural medicine and how to get the most benefit from it. Log on to for products, classes, webinars, articles and small group coaching.

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