Chinese Medicine Blog

Chinese Medicine Herbal Tea Formulas to Boost Immunity Against Flu, Coronavirus

by Dr. Grace Yu

Do you want to stay safe from viruses such as the coronavirus?
Keep a healthy diet, sleep properly, exercise regularly, and maintain a positive outlook are the key points to help improve immunity.

Here are three recommended Traditional Chinese medicine recipes that help combat the flu and other viruses.

1. Yupingfeng San (for person with Qi Deficiency)

Scutellaria baicalensis 10g
Saposhnikovia divaricata 10g
Atractylodes 6g

Mix ingredients with 1000cc water until it boils and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

This tones the spleen and stomach, strengthens the external qi, and enhances one’s immune system.

2. Clearing Heat and Detoxifying Formula (for Heat-trapped person)

Honeysuckle 6g
Forsythia 6g
Raw licorice 3g

Mix the ingredients with 1000cc water until it boils and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

This recipe clears heat and detoxifies to prevent virus invasion.

3. Asian Pear Lungs Nourishing Soup

Scutellaria baicalensis 10g
2 dried monk fruits (Luo Han Guo)
2 Asian pears
800cc water

Wash the pears, peel and slice them. Peel the dried monk fruits.

Add water to the pot, boil over high heat.

Add Scutellaria baicalensis, Luo Han Guo, and pears. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, and turn over low heat for 10 minutes.

The first soup is to enhance resistance. If infection occurs, the second soup can be used to clear the heat and detoxify to prevent virus invasion. It is always recommended to consult a professional first.

Traditional Chinese medicine emphasizes the individuality of medicinal materials according to individual symptoms. If there are no symptoms, it is not recommended to use them arbitrarily.

Please consult a Chinese medicine practitioner based on your symptoms.

For health concerns and TCM inquiries, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Grace Yu at 2530 3315 or appt@balancehealth.com.hk.
Remote consultations also available.

Integrative Cancer Treatment: The Multi-Pathway Approach

In a recent interview with Oriental Balance, distinguished Professor Dong Qi-Han from the University of Western Sydney in Australia reveals how a traditional Western medicine researcher recognized the value of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the treatment of cancer.

Professor Dong Qi-Han highlights the significance of TCM’s holistic multi-pathway approach in order to combat cancer cells that can grow accustomed to the Western medicine approach of single pathway treatment. He is currently researching Tcm in curing and preventing cancers.

Professor Dong Qi-Han applauds TCM for its effectiveness, low cost and low toxicity levels that may be used to complement western medicine in order to contribute to a more healthy society in the future.


The Concept of Body Constitution in Chinese Medicine

The concept of body constitution represents a starting point in coming to any answer for these questions. Every individual has his or her unique body, which reacts in a specific way to environmental influences. Therefore, an essential factor to prevent disease, leverage health and balance your body is to understand your own body, its characteristics and how your body constitution is related to your genes, your way of life, and your environment. See your body as your individual earth – these factors dictate what to seed and how to grow and feed it.

One Disease, Different Remedy
A common practice in traditional Chinese Medicine is roughly translated as “Different remedy for the same disease and same remedy for different disease”. Why a different remedy? One main reason lies in the body constitution. Individuals may have the same disease, but their unique body constitution necessitates the use of different remedies that not only work with the symptom but also deal with the root cause, the imbalance in the body constitution. This is why you will see so much variation in Chinese Medicine herbal remedies to treat the same common illnesses, such as flu.

Different Disease, One Remedy
When would it be appropriate to use the same remedy for different diseases then? You might have gotten the answer already. Under the circumstance that those afflicted with a particular disease are of the same body constitution. For example acne and athlete’s foot appear to be totally different ailments on the surface. In fact, the root cause is the same; having a hot and humid body constitution. So the herbal remedy of the China Pearl tea, which cools the body and dries internal dampness, will work effectively for both issues.

The 9 Chinese Medicine Body Constitutions
The concept of body constitution has existed in China for thousands of years. It originated from the famous Chinese Medicine book, Huang Di Nei Jing. The latest and most influential reference on Body Constitution in Chinese Medicine is based on government-funded research done by Wang Qi at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine over the last 30 years. This research has since become the standard for diagnosis and treatment of Body Constitutions in Chinese Medicine. By integrating contemporary knowledge of genes, bodily shape and functions, the spirit and mind, as well as one’s mental profile, nine broad categories of body constitution have been derived. Among them one is balanced and the other eight have different imbalance in Yin, Yang, Qi and blood. Each of the body constitutions has specific characteristics which relate to one’s lifestyle, and each interacts differently with its environment. One can achieve a balanced constitution by adapting his or her lifestyle and dietary habits. For more information about the nine different body constitutions CLICK HERE.

body constitution

How can I find out my own Body Constitution
First of all you have to find out which of the nine body constitutions you possess. You have three options:
1. Test yourself – try to find which characteristics your body has and compare them with those characteristics of the nine body constitutions.
2. Visit a clinic that provides body constitution diagnosis – hospitals such as Tung Hua Group of Hospitals in Hong Kong provide certain body constitution diagnosis services, but they are often time intensive and cost around a few hundreds of Hong Kong dollars.
3. You can complete the Oriental Balance online diagnosis test on our website – With the help of our questionnaire we will find out what your body constitution is. After you finish the test a report that provides useful tips will be made available to you! CLICK HERE to access the test!

How can I achieve a state of balance?
Once you know your own body constitution you can bring it in line with your environment and adapt your lifestyle accordingly. Hence, you can balance your body, prevent diseases, feel better and improve your overall health.
Due to the different body constitutions, different approaches may lead to improved health. In general you can adapt your lifestyle and your drinking and eating habits in order to balance your body. Moreover different types of sports are appropriate for different body constitutions. In some cases it might be useful to do very intensive sports, whereas less intensive and more calming activities support other body constitutions.

You can also leverage the natural healing power of herbs, or try acupuncture or moxibustion, which are the common practices that the Chinese use to remain balanced. Furthermore, you could take a look at our Oriental Balance Shop, which contains a variety of useful products which can help you to achieve your own state of balance.

Are you an Optimist or Pessimist? Science has the answer!

We know that life events can have a dramatic effect on our outlook and attitude, however a study by Professor Tim Spector on two twins identified nuances in their genetic makeup that define whether they tend towards optimism or pessimism (BBC News, 2013).

It turns out our personality is influenced by our genes, but interestingly that these genes themselves may be influenced by external factors. They are constantly being dialed up and down throughout our lives, as we deal with our difficulties and celebrate our successes. The good news is that it is possible to intervene: If you tend to e pessimistic and want to be more optimistic, mindful meditation or specialist treatments such as CBM (cognitive bias modification) can help.

In Chinese medicine the concepts identified by Professor Tim Spector are well understood. People with a Blue Discomfort Body Constitution tend to feel blue because their vital energy is not circulating well which can have a genetic cause that is either inherited from the parents or shaped by life.

Along with the aforementioned practices such as meditation Chinese medicine recommends treating negative feelings with Buddha’s Hand herbs, Kumquat and Pistachio that all regulate and strengthen the flow of vital energy Qi.

Leverage the Oriental Balance online diagnosis to understand whether you have a Blue Discomfort body constitution. If you are suffering from depression or anxiety feel free to consult with our doctors online.

[staffbio staffname=”Grace Yu” staffimage=”http://orientalbalance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/dr-grace-yu.jpg” stafftitle=”Specialist in Chinese Medicine Gynecology” staffemail=”service@orientalbalance.com”]Grace Yu obtained her PhD at the Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Gynecology. Her adviser and mentor is Professor Luo Songping, an internationally renowned gynecologist. Grace also learned Craniosacral Resonance therapy from an internationally renowned teacher. Read more.[/staffbio]

What to eat in Summer

After my introduction to summer from a Chinese Medicine perspective (see here) you should now have a basic understanding of the character of this season and with our action plan you should be able to leverage its force and minimize imbalances.
This time I’d like to take a special look at the diet during the summer season: which foods are best consumed or avoided in order to maximise your health and get the most out of those precious summer months?

The Bitter Truth
Summer is a time for happiness and bitterness, at least as far as food is concerned. From an Yin-Yang perspective bitterness is yin, cooling, descending and contracting. It reduces excess heat, and dries and drains inner humidity – perfect against summer heat.
For our physical body bitter flavors ease inflammation and infections; they reduce swelling and encourage bowel movement, which is good news for people trying to lose weight. For the Heart bitterness clears heat and helps to lower the blood pressure. However, the descending and cooling nature of bitterness means it shouldn’t be overdone in summer, unless you have a lot of fire.

So, what are some of these good foods that beat the heat during summer?

Grains | Barley Millet Quinoa Wheat
Vegetables | Asparagus Aubergine Cabbage Celery Cucumber Lettuce Lotus root Lily root Potato Seaweed Turnip Bitter melon Rhubarb
Fruit | Apple Avocado Banana Blueberry Cranberry Fig Grapefruit Lemon Lime Mango Melon Pear Papaya Plum Watermelon
Beans | Kidney Mung-bean Yellow soy Tofu
Fish | Abalone Crab Fresh and salt water clam Octopus
Herbs and Spices | Fuling (China root) Goji(Wolfberry) Liquorice Purslane Tamarind
Beverages | China Pearl tea Chrysanthemum tea Dandelion root Elderflower tea Peppermint tea

Sounds like time to eat salad?
There’s nothing better than a cooling salad when the weather is scorching hot – if you’re lucky enough to be living in such a place. However, did you know that eating salads can be quite a drain on your energy level? You should consider whether you have the energy to spare since salads must be well chewed and your digestive system takes more effort to break down raw foods.

If you exercise a lot or are of a strong build this is less of an issue, as your digestive system will have more heat which should make tackling a salad easier. However, if you are weak, have a little extra around the midriff or on the contrary are very thin or with a weak digestive system, it’s best to avoid raw or cold vegetables in your salad because they drain energy and can cause cold and humidity within the body. A more suitable choice for you would be to lightly stir-fry some vegetables before eating them.

Taking your body constitution into consideration
Not only the season but also your Body Constitution matter when it comes to your ideal diet. If you have already completed our free online diagnosis (check it out) and read your Body Constitution report, you will have a better understanding of your needs.
In general people who are of a naturally strong build, physically active, and show signs of heat and excess (particularly those with a Hot & Humid or Dry fire Body Constitution) might do well to cut down on red meat during summer. An increase in the amount of fruits and cooked vegetables as suggested above will help you to deal with heat and will nourish your heart and spleen.
People who are of a weaker build and who are more sensitive to the cold (such as those with a Cold & Pale or Weak Energy Body Constitution) can use summer to build up more energy and replenish Yang in the body. Eating warming foods such as small amounts of beef can give a boost to the system. Ginger should be a great friend to those than need to grow yang energy in the summer. Bitter and cooling foods as suggested above are still beneficial but can be eaten more moderately.

[staffbio staffname=”Grace Yu” staffimage=”http://orientalbalance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/dr-grace-yu.jpg” stafftitle=”Specialist in Chinese Medicine Gynecology” staffemail=”service@orientalbalance.com”]Grace Yu obtained her PhD at the Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Gynecology. Her adviser and mentor is Professor Luo Songping, an internationally renowned gynecologist. Grace also learned Craniosacral Resonance therapy from an internationally renowned teacher. Read more.[/staffbio]

Gentlemen, listen up: Walnuts Improve Sperm Health

We often talk about the body and health from a holistic perspective, but there are simple steps you can take to target specific organs, and what could be more important than the reproductive organs?

Gentlemen, it is time to get some nuts. walnuts
BBC news did a feature on the benefits of walnuts on sperm health. According to a study in the journal “Biology of Reproduction” it was found that the regular consumption of walnuts can improve sperm count, morphology and vitality among other things.

This study involving 112 men came to the conclusion that sperm shape, movement and vitality improved in men who added walnuts to their diet over 12 weeks. Take a look here to read more details on BBC.



In Chinese herbal medicine, walnuts are ascribed the function of tonifying and strengthening the Kidneys which, among other things, govern sexual function and fertility. So, for those who plan on being fathers soon, try fitting two cups of walnuts a day into your diet. Take a look here at some more herbs commonly used for infertility treatment.

[staffbio staffname=”Grace Yu” staffimage=”http://orientalbalance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/dr-grace-yu.jpg” stafftitle=”Specialist in Chinese Medicine Gynecology” staffemail=”service@orientalbalance.com”]Grace Yu obtained her PhD at the Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Gynecology. Her adviser and mentor is Professor Luo Songping, an internationally renowned gynecologist. Grace also learned Craniosacral Resonance therapy from an internationally renowned teacher. Read more.[/staffbio]

Staying Healthy in Summer

At Oriental Balance we believe that a healthy life requires us to live in balance with nature. When it comes to seasons it’s important to understand the character of the season to leverage its force and minimize imbalances.

The Nature of Summer
• Element – Fire
• Color – Red
• Nature – Yang

• Direction – South
• Energy Flow – Spreading Outward
• Emotion – Joy
• Organs – Heart & Small Intestine
• Taste – Bitter

Summer – Season of Yang
Summer is a Yang season, a time for expansion, with the energy moving up and out with a lively brightness. Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends cultivating Yang energy in spring and summer, whilst protecting Yin energy in autumn and winter. Summer is characterized as a time when the body undergoes vigorous metabolic (body energy) processes.

According to the 5-Elements Theory of Chinese Medicine, summer belongs to fire, which is an element characterized by high levels of activity and Yang energy; a time of heat, outgoingness, and moving outward in nature and in our lives. In human anatomy, the heart, mind, and spirit are ruled by the fire element, so priority is given to nourishing these facets of one’s being for staying healthy in summer. It is to these that we will pay attention to in this post.

The Organs of Summer : Heart & Small Intestine
The heart’s main function is to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. In Chinese medicine mental activity is associated with the heart, making this organ central to many psychological aspects of our being including our memory, thought processes, emotional well-being, and consciousness. This is a time to nourish and pacify our spirits, and to realize our life’s greatest potential as we find joy in our hot summer days and warm summer nights.

Managing Internal Heat
During the summer it is important to regulate heat in the body, not allowing the body to cool down excessively. We are often tempted to consume cooling drinks and foods (especially ice cream!), however such things can have a cooling effect on important organs such as the kidneys, which regulate the Yang energy, our crucial energy in summer, in the body. It is for these reasons that we should try to keep cool naturally by consuming seasonal cooling foods, resting during the hottest periods of the day and not exposing ourselves to the sun directly.

Balance Tips
When the fire element is in balance, the heart is strong and healthy, the mind is calm and sleep is sound.

When the fire element is imbalanced, we may either lack joy (depression) or have an excess of joy (mania). Indicators of an imbalance in the fire element include agitation, nervousness, heartburn, and insomnia.

Action Plan: In balance with summer
Awake earlier in the morning and go to bed later in the evening. Rest at midday to stay energised.

Exercise your heart: practice elevating your heart rate with exercise in order to strengthen it. Compliment vigorous exercise with meditation and/or deep breathing exercises to slow your heart rate in preparation for a good restful sleep.

Refrain from anger; keep calm and even-tempered during times of difficulty.

Feel the joy. When you experience the emotion of joy, you nourish the heart. Seek out people and things that bring you joy; give unconditionally, as this helps us to connect with others and bring more joy into our lives. Remember to practice compassion with yourself as well, and to allow yourself to receive.

Avoid too much exposure to the heat by resting during the middle of the day and saving rigorous activities for the morning or evening.

Summer is the season to feel hot and sweat a bit. In moderation sweating is good for you, helping to grow yang and remove toxins from the body. Let it be in a natural way; while you can use air conditioning, try not to expose yourself excessively to artificially regulated environments.

The predominant nature of Summer is Yang. Unlike the darker and calmer Yin, Yang is related to excitement, assertiveness, and exuberance, making summer a great time to take action to form positive change in your life.

[staffbio staffname=”Grace Yu” staffimage=”http://orientalbalance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/dr-grace-yu.jpg” stafftitle=”Specialist in Chinese Medicine Gynecology” staffemail=”service@orientalbalance.com”]Grace Yu obtained her PhD at the Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Gynecology. Her adviser and mentor is Professor Luo Songping, an internationally renowned gynecologist. Grace also learned Craniosacral Resonance therapy from an internationally renowned teacher. Read more.[/staffbio]

Menopause & Chinese Medicine

What Is Menopause and What Are Its Main Symptoms?
Menopause occurs as a natural part of a woman’s life transition. As a woman ages, her ovaries slowly stop producing the estrogen hormone, leading to biological changes throughout the entire body, from the brain to the skin. Menopause is not a disease, but for many women these hormonal changes bring about many unwelcome side effects that require medical intervention by health care professionals. The main complaints associated with menopause are hot flushes, genital atrophy, insomnia, and psychosomatic complaints such as irritability, depression and mood swings. These symptoms will usually last for 2-3 years but in some serious cases they can last for 5-10 years.

Women experiencing such symptoms should not be alarmed. According to recent research, in the US 80% of women who go through menopause experience light to severe menopausal symptoms; in both cases there are many solutions available. If you do suffer from the physical or mental symptoms mentioned above, please seek support as those that neglect to do so risk subjecting themselves to hypertension, heart attack, arteriosclerosis, or bone fracture due to osteoporosis.

Treatment Through Western Medicine and Its Limitations
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is commonly used to treat menopause symptoms in Western medicine. The purpose of HRT is to supply the body with an external source of hormones, including estrogen and/or progesterone. Premarin (conjugated estrogen) and Provera (medroxyprogesterone) remain the most popular brands.

However, recent research has indicated that the beneficial effects of HRT might last only up to 16 weeks, after which no difference was observable between the placebo and the control group. Despite the possible benefits, there are numerous controversies surrounding estrogen replacement therapy due to the staggering number of side-effects, including (but not limited to) an increased risk of breast, uterine or ovarian cancer, gallbladder diseases, and liver diseases amongst others. Progesterone is prescribed with estrogen to minimize the risk of cancer, however, it can cause side-effects such as an increase in cholesterol levels, edema, weight gain and bleeding.

Due to these side effects, women who have a family history of hormone related cancer, liver and kidney disease or diabetes probably should avoid HRT.

TCM Solutions and Their Benefits
Chinese herbal medicine has been used to treat menopausal symptoms successfully for many years, and it is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy. The strengths of Chinese Medicine are:
• Chinese Medicine is a holistic treatment; treatment is based on syndrome differentiation. It analyzes the root cause of each individual’s symptoms and offers a specially tailored herbal therapy that not only addresses the symptoms but also corrects the fundamental imbalance inside the body. As a result, women can leverage this unique life transition period not only to replenish but also to strengthen the immunity system, prevent issues such as osteoporosis or cancer, and prepare the body for a healthy and long life in the years to come.
• Chinese Medicine effectively treats menopausal symptoms; it is safe and does not have the same side effects seen in the application of Western hormone therapies. The Chinese Medicine approach involves leveraging the natural healing power of herbs to slow down the aging process of the reproductive system, and increase its capacity to generate essential hormones during the process. If the change is slow and gradual, it makes it a lot easier for the body to adjust. This is very different from the HRT approach, wherein the injection of hormones into the body often decreases the body’s capacity to generate its own hormones. This is probably one of the reasons that the benefits of HRT wear-off after 16 weeks of usage.

How Chinese Medicine works
Chinese Medicine regards the root cause of menopause as being the result of; a weakening of the kidney, weakness in the reproductive organs, a lack of Yin (water, blood, body fluids) and hampered Qi and blood circulation. A lack of fluid inside the body leads to obstruction of the circulation to the liver and hence leads to an excess of heat accumulating inside the body. Internal humidity and restricted blood flow further exacerbate menopause. Even though a weakened kidney is often seen as the root cause of menopausal symptoms, the spleen, heart and liver can also be implicated. An excess of heat along with the production of phlegm in the heart & liver are often cited as major causes of symptoms. A given treatment should focus on the (1) kidney or (2) liver, spleen and kidney, or (3) heart, liver and kidney, or (4) the phlegm and slow blood inside the body. The practitioner will often offer treatment based on the combination of causes highlighted above.

Chinese Medicine can simultaneously target the symptoms and the root causes, making it very effective. In the case of menopause, Chinese medicine can replenish internal energy flows, whilst strengthening key internal organs including the kidney and liver. The body can be cleared of internal blockages & accumulations, which are often the source of common symptoms. Chinese medicine can help patients to reach new levels of balance in the body, improving the body’s overall health in the long-term.

Furthermore, herbal therapies can also be complimented with acupuncture, moxibustion, Tui Na, cupping and so forth to improve blood and energy circulation. Other elements of a patient’s lifestyle – particularly one’s diet and exercise regime – also need to be adjusted to maximize the benefits of Chinese medicine therapy, and to live a healthy life through the menopause period and beyond. We will share more information on such diet, exercise and lifestyle adjustments in our future blogs.

[staffbio staffname=”Grace Yu” staffimage=”http://orientalbalance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/dr-grace-yu.jpg” stafftitle=”Specialist in Chinese Medicine Gynecology” staffemail=”service@orientalbalance.com”]Grace Yu obtained her PhD at the Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Gynecology. Her adviser and mentor is Professor Luo Songping, an internationally renowned gynecologist. Grace also learned Craniosacral Resonance therapy from an internationally renowned teacher. Read more.[/staffbio]

Better Health Care with Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine

Many people in urban cities often feel uncomfortable in their body, dull and exhausted due to their busy and stressful lifestyles. What’s more, they may have a poor quality of sleep, poor appetite, patchiness on their faces and even constipation.

Under such circumstances, the difference between Chinese and western medicine becomes evidently clear: A health report based on western medicine could conceivably consider these people healthy, as it is what the data shows; Chinese medicine on the other hand would very likely diagnose these people as having a suboptimal health. That is, a state of health which renders the human body on the verge of being sick. More specifically, a western diagnosis fails to address the obvious loss of balance inside the body. In all likeliness these people are lacking in both Qi and Yin energy; to shift from a sub-healthy to a healthy state, they have to replenish this energy inside their bodies.

Natural Balance
This difference in the respective outcomes of western and Chinese diagnostic approaches results from how Chinese medicine understands the human body. Chinese medicine believes that there is a certain balance that exists between a human body and its environment. There are always explicit causes behind the loss of this balance that result in a person getting sick. The balance can be distorted through excess or through suppression of a number of body attributes. The key to regaining balance according to Chinese medicine is to “replenish what is lacking; reduce what is too much”.

The respective Strengths of Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine
Whereas Chinese medicine focuses on “macro—holistic diagnosis”, western medicine focuses on “micro diagnosis” at the level of a particular body part. The objectives of both Chinese and western approaches are to research and explore the (1) objective of regulating human life activities and (2) the methodology of prevention and treatment. Both approaches target the human being and disease. They each have their own medicinal systems due to their respective social, historical and philosophical differences.

The strength of western medicine lies in the accuracy of treatment. For example, after a conclusive diagnosis western medicine can offer effective treatment with a particular drug to address a specific disease. Western surgery is able to target a specific body part. This being said, western medicine is not able to deal with some diseases such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, psoriasis, and colitis amongst others, even though said diseases may be accurately diagnosed. In addition, western medicines are not particularly effective for dealing with menstrual disorder, menstrual pain, functionality pothalamic amenorrhea and postpartum hypogalactia, whilst Chinese medicine offers good solutions through dealing with the root of their respective causes. Treatments in western medicine involving surgery, Chemotherapy, radiation treatment and targeted therapy have their own indications and contraindications. Take radiation treatment and Chemotherapy as examples. Although they effectively kill cancer cells, they also induce toxic side effects.

Chinese medicine, in contrast, is holistic, immunity-strengthening, causing fewer side effects, and has long-term applications. Leveraged correctly these benefits of Chinese medicine can compensate for the weaknesses of western medicine. Arguably, the integration of Chinese and western medicine could offer better long-term healthcare and disease prevention.

Prevention through a healthy Lifestyle
As the old Chinese saying goes: “a good effort on preventing a disease prevents the need to treat the disease”. This saying grasps the spirit of Chinese medicine: having a healthy lifestyle is the best way to avoid getting a disease. With a focus on prevention, Chinese Medicine has developed different ways to improve health; by moderating one’s diet, through body constitution diagnosis, through acupuncture, massage, moxibustion, through Qi Gong exercise, through leveraging the seasonal natural powers, and so on. On the other hand, if a person lives unhealthily, his or her will to be healthy will be nothing but an impossible dream.

But how exactly can one leverage Chinese Medicine to avoid getting diseases or to treat disease more effectively? Stay tuned for our next blog!

[staffbio staffname=”Dr Yue-Feng Guo” staffimage=”http://orientalbalance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/dr-guo-yue-feng.jpg” stafftitle=”Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner
PhD Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine
M.D. Chinese Medicine Gynecology, B.D. Chinese Medicine” staffemail=”service@orientalbalance.com”]Dr. Guo Yue-Feng has more than 30 years of clinical experience, including working as a researcher, a Chinese Medicine physician, a professor, and as a lecturer across multiple institutions in China. Most recently he practiced as a senior Chinese Medicine physician at the Hong Kong Baptist University. Read more.[/staffbio]

Staying Healthy during Autumn with Chinese Medicine

From Huangdi Neijing, the Chinese Medicine Classic:

“In the three months of autumn all things in nature reach their full maturity. The grains ripen and harvesting occurs. The heavenly energy cools, as does the weather. The wind begins to stir. This is the changing or pivoting point when the yang, or active, phase turns into its opposite, the yin, or passive, phase.
Just as the weather in autumn turns harsh, so does the emotional climate. This is the time to gather one’s spirit and energy, be more focused, and not allow desires to run wild.
One must keep the lung energy free full, clean, and quiet. Practicing breathing exercises and keeping the emotion in check will prevent kidney or digestive problems during the winter and help the body’s ability to store energy for the winter.”

 

In Balance with Nature

At Oriental Balance we believe that a healthy life requires us to live in balance with nature. When it comes to seasons it’s important to understand the character of the season to leverage it’s force and minimize imbalances.

The Nature of Autumn

Element – Metal
Color – White
Nature – Yin
Direction – West
Energy Flow – Downward
Emotion – Grief
Organs – Lung and Stomach
Taste – Spicy

Autumn – The Seasons of Transition

Autumn is the transition season between the hot summer and cold winter. It is the time that the yang, the Warmth of summer gives into the growing yin (cooling) energy of the approaching winter. After summer, autumn is time to clear excess heat from the body, and then as temperatures drop, it is time to start warming the body against the extremes. 

The Organs of Autumn: Lungs and Stomach

The organ system for Autumn is the Lungs and Stomach. Corresponding to the temperament of autumn, the Lungs pull in and refine the Qi (energy) sending it downward to nourish our roots. Lungs Qi gather and maintains strength. The stomach ‘let’s go’ of what is no longer necessary. A healthy balance between the Lungs and the Stomach will allow people to focus on core tasks, aware of what is essential and then let go of things that no longer serve them.

In TCM the Lungs are also very closely associated with the immune system as the lungs control the circulation of the Wei-Qi, the defensive Qi that protects you from the invasion of diseases such as flu and colds. The Wei-Qi circulates on the surface between the skin and muscles and works to warm and protect the body from external attacks by viruses, colds and germs. If the Wei-Qi is weak, the skin and muscles will not be warmed properly. This is one of the reason people tend to feel cold when they’re sick. A weakness in the lungs can lead to a weakness in the Wei-Qi, making a person prone to frequent colds. Autumn is the time to take special care of the lung to strengthen it and protect it from potential harms such as cold, pollution and dryness.

Managing the Dryness

Dryness is common in autumn and usually causes an itchy throat, a dry nose, chapped lips, rough skin and dry stools. We need to eat the foods that promote the production of body fluids and have lubricating effects such as pear, tofu, lily bulb and so on to counteract the dry environment. In terms of flavor it is advisable to eat more food with sour flavors and reduce pungent flavors as such things like onion, ginger and peppers induce perspiration, while sour foods like pineapple, apple, grapefruit and lemon have astringent properties and thus prevent the loss of body fluids.

The Emotions of Autumn

The emotion of Autumn is grief which is housed in the Lungs. It is natural to feel sentimental when we see the leaves falling and the flowers wilt. If grief is repressed, it festers in the body and over time weakens the Lung’s capability to extract sufficient Qi from the air or distribute that Qi around the body. If the Qi stagnates and does not move smoothly it might lead to a slow blood circulation or blood stagnation which can lead to serious health issues. Also when the Wei-Qi is week, our ability to defend ourselves is compromised. So we need to manage our emotions through deep breathing, meditation or simply do things that make us happy and be around with happy people.

The Metal Element of Autumn

The corresponding element of Autumn is Metal. Metal reflects our core issues, the most refined part of ourselves; an analogy is that of ore found deep within a mountain. The metal season is a time to examine the core issues, essential structure and guiding principles of life. During the summer, which is ruled by the Fire element, we deal more with the external – traveling and playing outdoors. Fall, on the other hand, is a time of organizing your life for the winter season ahead and coming more inside your body and mind to reflect on your life.


Action Plan

  1. Dress for the weather
    The Lungs are considered by Chinese medicine to be the “tender organ” since the lungs are the uppermost organ in the body and especially susceptible to wind and cold. During the change in temperature, be sure to dress for the weather. It’s good to dress slightly less to prepare the body to get used to cold winter weather but don’t over do it.

  2. The Lungs like clean and fresh air
    Go into the nature for a hike or a picnic to enjoy the beautiful autumn. If you do live in a big city with bad pollution, it might not be a bad idea to put on a mask when the pollution index is high.
  3. Breathing Exercises
    Practice breathing exercises which strengthen the Lungs, increase energy, still the mind, and lift the spirits. They  are particularly appropriate for this time of year.
  4. Cleanse the stomach
    Look at your diet and eliminate unsupportive foods. If you plan to do a detox session Autumn is the season to do it.
  5. Eat Right
    Eat foods that strengthen the lung and moisturize the body such as pears, tofu, lotus  root and so on. More detailed eating plan please stay tuned to the Part two, what to eat in Autumn.

Reaching a healthy balance also always depends on your individual body constitution. Diagnose your TCM Body Constitution.

[staffbio staffname=”Grace Yu” staffimage=”http://orientalbalance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/dr-grace-yu.jpg” stafftitle=”Specialist in Chinese Medicine Gynecology” staffemail=”service@orientalbalance.com”]Grace Yu obtained her PhD at the Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Gynecology. Her adviser and mentor is Professor Luo Songping, an internationally renowned gynecologist. Grace also learned Craniosacral Resonance therapy from an internationally renowned teacher. Read more.[/staffbio]