TCM Sports Medicine:”Ice for an Injury, How Could It Be So?”

 

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?” ~ Dr. Seuss

Now, Dr. Seuss isn’t a sports medicine physician but if you ever find yourself sitting with an ice pack on an injury you should be asking yourself, “Why, WHY?”. Read more.

Bunions: More Information From A Chinese Medicine Perspective

More About Bunions!

I have received many e-mails about my bunion blog with questions about how to circumvent the combined procedures I recommended to properly address bunions. Look at it this way. You wouldn’t ask a brain surgeon to eliminate important procedures to save time or cut costs, would you?

Temporary pain relief can be gained by following one or another of my recommendations but, I’d like to explain in more detail the vital importance of each as part of a combined therapy.

First, let’s review. A bunion is a deformity characterized by lateral deviation of the great toe, often erroneously described as an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the head of the big toe (metatarso-phalangeal joint).

Diagram B

There is disagreement among medical professionals about the cause of bunions; some see them as primarily caused by the long-term use of shoes, particularly tight-fitting shoes with pointed toes, while others believe that the problem stems from genetic factors that are exacerbated by simply wearing shoes.

People from cultures that do not wear shoes do not get bunions!

 

How Bunions Occur From a Chinese Medical Perspective

Neck 1All muscles including the muscles that hold the bones of the foot in place may weaken due to the inability of the Spleen to properly nourish muscle. Arches fall as a result of weakened muscles and the toes begin to “spread out”. When feet are repeatedly forced into shoes that used to fit, deformity occurs.

Headboundskull

As the toes spread out they become “molded” by the shoes in a process that occurs slowly over time.

The lack of circulation and irritation in the local area from walking in shoes that no longer fit properly results in a “bunion”.

The “bump” itself is partly due to the inflamed and swollen bursa. The largest part of the bump is the distal head of the first metatarsal bone where it joins with the proximal phalange which has been projected laterally to cause its protrusion. In cases where poor systemic blood circulation is an issue, mineral deposits can form in the area enlarging the joint and lending to stiffness and persistent pain.  Similar deposits often occur in other joints of the hands or feet. Left without treatment this situation can cause the joint(s) to become immobile. The described deformity of the foot can occur over such a long period of time that it is not noticeable until it is causing intense and frequent pain. At that point, it is imperative to obtain properly fitting shoes.

FallenArch

One function of the Spleen in Chinese Medicine is to nourish the muscle and tissues that “hold things up and in place”. In these terms, it means that the Spleen is responsible for preventing the weakness of muscle and tissues that cause typically result in hernias, hemorrhoids, prolapsed uterus or bladder, rectal prolapse and varicose veins. So, if you have bunions you may have an imbalance that can cause other problems. Some of the symptoms of Spleen Qi Deficiency might include extreme sleepiness after meals, heaviness and lethargy, easy bruising, loose stools, a gassy and bloated feeling after eating, other digestive problems.

Often Spleen Qi Deficiency is seen in combination with an imbalance specifically related to a   deficiency of the Kidneys. So, it is not uncommon for bunions to accompany kidney stones or diabetes.

What’s the worst that can happen?

When standing, the feet support the weight of the entire body and act as the foundation for other structures. The body is a living structure. As such, it will adjust in the attempt to compensate for structural deficiencies.

When a building starts crumbling at its foundation the rest of the building will follow suit. But, the damage is not confined to only the area where the foundation caves in. The visible damage spreads to the ceiling and walls of various parts of the house because the beams and other support structures connected to the foundation shift.  Over time, a similar reaction can occur in the human body.

Problems

How Chinese Medicine Addresses Bunions (or any other ailment)

Chinese Medicine considers the body as a functioning whole; not individual parts. All areas must be addressed with equal importance to achieve the most desirable effect. My initial recommendations for effective treatment of bunions were made with this in mind.

My Personal Therapeutic Recommendations for Bunions

This combination of therapies is what I recommend because I’ve tried other ways and this is what I’ve found to be the most effective therapy for bunions… so far.

Moxibustion Moxa Zigarre

Moxa in stick form is applied to the Spleen meridian of both feet and ankles for up to an hour paying extra attention to an acupuncture point known as Spleen 3. Moxa is one of the best therapies for bunions. Its warming action “activates” the Spleen meridian and restores flexibility to tendons. The heat promotes the movement of stagnant Blood and Qi away from the area allowing fresh Qi and Blood to revitalize the local area and stimulate the anatomic Spleen.

 

Asian Bodywork Therapyfootsies

In combination with other therapies, expert manual manipulation serves to restore proper circulation and placement of the toes while improving flexibility and range of motion. Certain techniques can be employed to separate muscle fibers to permit nourishing fluids to permeate areas where blood flow has become restricted due to poor circulation. Cumulative deposits of minerals which may impede movement and cause sharp pain can be located easily, gently disintegrated and reincorporated into the circulatory system and properly eliminated with the help of recommended adjunct therapies. Only a trained professional can reposition the toes and facilitate proper movement without causing injury.


TigerToothTopical herbs

I abundantly recommend application of one of my specially formulated liniments (Tiger Tooth) to strongly move Qi and Blood to reduce the pain and inflammation of bunions. This particular liniment works immediately to alleviate pain. Prolonged and proper use has profound healing effects for any injury. Formulas with similar properties are mentioned on the internet in many articles. They do not work nearly as well.

herbs 1

 

Diet and Internal herbs

Cold foods, raw foods and processed sugar are really, really bad for the Spleen. Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan is the traditional base formula administered to nourish the Spleen in the event body structures are “sagging” or out of place due to lack of nutrition being provided to the muscles. Modifications to this formula can be made by a knowledgeable herbalist to address the specific health needs of any individual. Increasing the daily intake of water assists in removing mineral deposits built up in the affected joints.

 

Orthotics

Arch Correction

What I’ve seen people purchase most often to provide temporary relief are cushions of various kinds, a myriad of “splinting” devices and arch supports. These devices may certainly help lessen pain between Asian Bodywork Therapy sessions and will contribute to the long term therapeutic effect; however, there is no amount of liniment, herbs or energy work that will support the weight of your body until your foot heals. You must have a structural support!

A pedorthist can determine if other deformities are prevalent and provide appropriate foot care advice.

“Certified Pedorthist” is the title of a specialist educated in the use of footwear and supportive devices to address conditions which affect the feet and lower limbs. They are trained in the assessment of lower limb anatomy and bio-mechanics, and the appropriate use of corrective footwear including shoes, shoe modifications, foot orthoticsand other pedorthic devices. There is absolutely no need to waste hundreds of dollars on ugly shoes and “off-the-shelf” orthotics. Many “off-the-shelf” orthotic products may suit your needs and your budget but, it’s best to have a professional make that determination. In the United States, there are a number of states requiring professional licensure. See the State Licensure Map.

Colds, Allergies, Bronchitis, Asthma, Pneumonia and Upper Respiratory Infections

Sneeze

You don’t have to suffer from symptoms, take allergy test and shots, or consume medications on a long term basis. There’s a very simple explanation of these ailments and an even simpler solution; Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medical diagnosis can determine a cause specific to the individual and a very specific treatment directed at resolving the root cause the afflication.

An experienced practitioner of Chinese Medicine can identify the root cause of any condition. This root cause is a temporary imbalance in normal body functions and may be described as acute or chronic. According to one’s own inherent strengths and weaknesses (constitution) certain people are predisposed to coming down with specific ailments. In any case, bodywork and herbal therapies provide a safe, effective, cost-efficient alternative to modern medicine.

According to Chinese Medicine, the Lungs and Spleen comprise a substantial working portion of what is referred to as the “immune system” in modern medicine. These organs are the last to develop in children and their strength is determined early in their stages of development.

In adults the more common taxations on the immune system are stress, exposure to extreme variances in temperature, poor diet, lack of sleep… Often, people choose just to offset the symptoms because they can’t change their circumstances or environment. Easy peasey!

In the case of my own daughter… she was born with exceptionally small lungs and predisposed to illnesses related to the lungs. When she was 5 years old she had strep throat seven times in one year. She was taken to the doctor and prescribed antibiotics each time. That was my wife’s idea. During her seventh doctor’s visit for the same ailment it was recommended that her tonsils and adenoids be removed. My wife deliberated the matter at length and decided against the procedure to remove tonsils and adenoids.

After 90 days of herbal therapy she has only had strep once in 7 years subsequent to her last day of herbal treatment. The cost… about $100. That’s less than the co-pays for all the doctors visits and medication, not to mention time off work, and- NO SURGERIES! Heck of a deal! Don’t you think?

So, whether you suffer from allergic rhinitis or viral/bacterial pneumonia, schedule an appointment and let’s get that taken care (for good) so you can get on with your life!

How Chinese Herbs Work

In this day and age there are few, if any, texts providing adequate information about the function of Chinese herbs in terms the average person can comprehend. Quite simply, Chinese herbs work by providing the body with nutrients vital to the body’s natural healing processes; nutrients not found in many common food sources.  Over the course of several thousand years the Chinese have cultivated and refined the knowledge of which natural plants and minerals have specific effects on the body’s many functions. The practice of treating illness with dietary and herbal therapy has played a vital role in Chinese culture for many centuries and is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine as a whole. Both an art and a science, Chinese Medicine dictates, logically, that an initial assessment be made to determine the area of functional and energetic imbalance related to the internal organs. Specific herbs or herbal combinations are then applied to correct this imbalance. Chinese herbal therapy is a safe, viable and cost effective alternative to pharmaceuticals.

Chinese herbal formulas have proven especially effective for:

Acne *  Allergies * Alzheimer’s *  Arthritis * Asthma *  ADD/ADHD *  Back Pain * Bleeding *  Bronchitis * Burns * Cancer *  Cholesterol * Celiac Disease * Colds/Flu * Constipation * Cough * Cysts * Diabetes * Depression * Detox * Diarrhea * Digestion * Eczema * Energy * Epilepsy * Erectile Dysfunction * Eye Problems * Fertility * Fibromyalgia * Fungus * Gall Stones * Hair Loss * Headache * Heart Problems * Herpes Hepatitis * Hemorrhoids * High Blood Pressure * Irritable Bowel * Infertility * Insomnia * Kidney Stones * Memory * Menopause * Morning Sickness * Muscle Pain * PMS * Prostate * Shingles * Skin Problems* Stress * Thyroid * Weight Loss * Yeast Infection

Chinese Medicine for Colds

Seasonal Colds Are Preventable!

 

With the most recent changes in the weather many people have the propensity to develop the common cold or flu.  Sudden fluctuations in temperature can contribute to the possibility of catching a cold or flu. Yin Qiao Chieh Tu Pien, an herbal formula known widely as Yin Qiao (pronounced yin chee-ow), is renowned in Chinese Medicine not for curing colds but, for preventing them and keeping them from manifesting as a full blown episode characterized by cough, itchy throat, watery eyes, mild fever, and runny nose. If you have the nature to develop sinus infections and respiratory infections in conjunction with the onset of a cold, Yin Qiao may inhibit complications. Yin Qiao can also be taken as a preventative when exposure to conditions is imminent.

Taken within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, Yin Qiao has been known to entirely alleviate cold symptoms. This is one formula I always have on hand (at home and at work) and it’s kept my children from missing school on more than one occasion. For young children, tablets can be crushed and mixed with food.

“Pick up a bottle of Yin Qiao today! You never know when you’ll need it.”

Preventive measures when the weather becomes cold:

Cover up. Your body becomes stressed and you risk compromising the integrity of your immune system whenever you go outside improperly dressed. The Chinese say that pathogenic cold enters the body from the back of the neck and shoulders. Keep these areas covered well. A hat is a sensible additional measure.

From a Chinese Medicine point of view “cold” can also invade the body from the feet or any other part of the body directly exposed to cold temperatures. This holds true for coming in contact with cold surfaces. This type of cold invasion is characterized by roving aches and pains that are worse when it’s cold. So wear those bunny slippers or socks… Just cover up!

Drink warm liquids. Your body uses energy that takes away from your body’s defenses to warm cold drinks to body temperature.

Get enough sleep. Poor sleep lowers your immune system.

Eat sensibly. Don’t overeat when it’s cold. Digestion of large meals taxes your body when the weather is cold. Try some of those soups and stews your grandmother always made.

FAQ: Medical Qigong

I incorporate Medical Qigong therapy into Sacred Healing Tree Therapy. Sacred Healing Tree has a unique from of Qigong associated with it that I have developed over the years. I get questions about Medical Qigong frequently enough to have written this article years ago. I think it is still relevant.

If you have any questions, do some independent research or feel free to contact me. Good reading!

What is Medical Qigong?

Medical Qigong is the oldest of the four branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It provides the energetic foundation from which acupuncture, herbal therapy, and Chinese massage therapy emerged. Medical Qigong employs specific methods to purge, tonify and otherwise balance the body’s energy, or Qi for therapeutic benefit. In Chinese Medicine, where there is energetic imbalance within the body, illness will develop.  Effective Medical Qigong therapy relies on a practitioner’s ability to detect imbalances of Qi and correct them by directing Qi with the mind, the hands, or perhaps a ritual object, without necessarily touching the body.  Qigong exercises are often prescribed to clients to further enhance the healing process. Qigong exercises combine breathing techniques, movement, creative visualization and intent to improve physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

What is Qi?

 Qi or Chi, (pronounced “chee”), does not translate well into one English word. Qi is a concept. Chinese philosophy does not distinguish between matter and energy, but Qi is considered matter on the verge of becoming energy, or energy at the point of materializing into matter. Herein lies the concept of Yin and Yang. In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, it is often referred to as the “energy” present in the Meridians and the organs of the body. It is the fundamental life force or energy that is found in all living things and is formed from the interaction of Yin and Yang energies.

Qi serves 5 main functions in the human body. Some sources describe the functions slightly differently but I think all basic functions are included here:

1.        Nourish growth and development
2.        Warm and maintain appropriate temperature
3.        Defend against external pathogens
4.        Control blood and vital fluids
5.        Transform Yin and Yang; transform blood and vital fluids

How is Qigong different from “Medical” Qigong?

There are many facets to Qigong and every practitioner has his or her own style and traditions. The absolute most concise differentiations are as follows:

Qigong is a self-help modality, much like tai chi. Qigong exercises combine breathing techniques, movement, and visualization to improve physical, energetic, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Medical Qigong involves the balancing of a person’s Qi to alleviate illness and restore health by a person trained and experienced in feeling and moving Qi. Medical Qigong involves the balancing of a person’s Qi to alleviate illness and restore health by a person trained and experienced in feeling and moving Qi.

Who can benefit from Medical Qigong?

In Chinese Medicine, any illness is caused by an imbalance of Qi in the body. Western medicine does not ascribe to this concept, making many diseases difficult or impossible to diagnose or cure. Medical Qigong therapy has been used successfully, often in addition to other therapies, to safely and painlessly addressdifficult or chronic conditions as well as aid in preventive care. This form of therapy can help alleviate most ailments and, at the hands of a seasoned professional Qigong practitioner, has the intrinsic ability to adress psychologically and emotionally rooted diseases.

In other words, anyone can benefit from Medical Qigong therapy.

Medical Qigong may be used for some of these most common ailments: high blood pressure, mihgraines, fibromyalgia, insomnia, cysts and tumors, stress disorders and stroke.

I’ve heard of Qigong massage. Is it different from Tuina or other forms of Asian Bodywork?

Qigong “massage” is not a form of manual manipulation per se. It is a term ascribed to a particular technique exclusive to the practice of Medical Qigong.  Therefore, it is not the same as Tuina, Shiatsu or any other form of Asian Bodywork Therapy. When Qigong massage is performed, the practitioner’s hands lightly skim the surface of a client’s body. The light skimming action is used to dredge Qi from the channels and eliminate pathogens. It is not unusual for a highly trained practitioner to combine therapy methods.

A Medical Qigong practitioner is going to “move my Qi” to make me feel better. What is that experience like?

I always recommend that clients lie down in a comfortable position. The more relaxed a person is the easier it is to achieve the desired results. After an assessment is made by the practitioner the session begins. Some clients may actually feel nothing in early sessions especially those with conditions of deficient Qi.  Some common sensations may be best described as areas of numbness or tingling, changes in temperature, sensations of heaviness or lightness. The sensation of stagnant or disease causing Qi prior to therapy manifests as a dull ache or pain.  The gentle movement of Qi will often induce a deep sense of relaxation, to the point of falling asleep. It is not unusual for someone to momentarily and involuntarily twitch as channels become unblocked and flow more freely with Qi. I think that 30 minutes per session will usually provide adequate relief for most complaints. 

How do I choose a qualified Medical Qigong practitioner?

First, you’ll have to find a practitioner. Finding a practitioner may prove difficult via conventional avenues.  You may start your search on the internet, of course, or your local acupuncture school.                                                

No regulatory body operates to accurately assess a practitioner’s qualifications or competency, largely because of the esoteric nature of this healing modality and the difficulty presented by attempting to quantify results of an energetic therapy. Various certifications are awarded through schools that teach Medical Qigong, however, no licensure or certification is required to practice.Because Medical Qigong remains unregulated in the United States, skill level cannot be ascertained by obtaining individual certification or professional licensure information.

Since no conveniently available assessments exist to ensure significant health benefits from any Medical Qigong practitioner, I have listed a few things I find most important when choosing one.

1.)     There is no substitute for intuition. By this statement, I am referring to the intuition of both client and practitioner.

As a client, ask yourself,”Does this person feel right for me? Is he or she confident and compassionate? Smiling? Do I feel comfortable with the presence and demeanor of this person?”  A spring in the step and a twinkle in the eye are clues to a healthy constitution; essential for guiding Qi. Does this describe your practitioner?  There’s no problem with trying a number of practitioners. Every individual is unique, so a practitioner who would appeal to one person might not necessarily appeal to another.

As far as practitioner intuition, not all practitioners have the same skill level, education and training. Some people are “naturally” more sensitive to Qi and it’s movement and can detect very subtle changes and may be able to tell you what symptoms you may be experiencing even before inquiring. For others, intuition must be developed with time and closely supervised training.

2.)   Good communication skills. There’s nothing more aggravating than a health care professional that doesn’t understand what you need help with. Good listening and observation skills are a must and valuable aids in diagnosis. Mastery of the art of subtle observation leads to keen intuitive skills.

3.)    It is important for Medical Qigong practitioners to have knowledge of all four branches of Traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy, medical qigong therapy, and Chinese bodywork therapy) and knowledge of Western medicine, in order to understand the relative strengths and limitations of various therapies and be able to select the most effective and appropriate treatment modality for each client. This knowledge will enable the practitioner to make appropriate referrals for additional treatment or medical assessment.

4.)   Of course, check references whatever they may be. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. An experienced practitioner won’t have any problem answering questions and should be able to provide thorough explanations. Some good questions:

“How long have you been practicing Medical Qigong?”

“Where did you receive your training?”

“What certificates or credentials do you hold?”

Most commonly, control, sensitivity, and experience making assessments are developed with practice over a long period of time. Some, truly gifted individuals are the exception.

5.)   If you’ve had a Medical Qigong therapy session before, ask yourself if the last session you had was beneficial to your physical, spiritual, or emotional health. Did you feel good about it? Did it meet or exceed your expectations? Would you seek treatment from the same practitioner or refer friends and family to him or her?

New Clinic Open at 12402 Toepperwein, Live Oak TX 78233

Sacred Healing Tree located at 12402 Toepperwein Road in Live Oak, TX 78233 will be providing services in the form of Traditional Chinese Medicine only without the use of acupuncture needles. Hope you’ll come by and see!

Open Sundays for appointments! Open Monday thru Thursday until 8 p.m. by appointment.