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How Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Improve Your Health?

Ruth Lee
29 April, 2020


With the global COVID-19 pandemic, many people are looking for ways to boost their immune system to lower their chances of being affected. Other than maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, some may even take supplements to help boost their immunity. While that is good and all, have you ever considered going for something more natural, like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? TCM involves the use of herbal medicine, acupuncture, cupping, qi-gong and many other traditional therapies to treat illnesses and it can certainly help boost your immunity during these times!

TCM: A therapy steeped in tradition

The traditional philosophy behind TCM is this: our bodies consist of Qi (which means ‘air’ in Chinese) and Blood, which are vital energies circulating through us at all times. If this normal flow is interrupted or blocked, we may easily fall sick as it negatively affects our bodies. So TCM is all about making sure these vital energies are flowing normally.

Acupuncture: Let the needles do their magic therapy steeped in tradition


Acupuncture works by stimulating specific portions of the autonomic nervous system through selected acupoints. While that sounds like a mouthful, it basically means that it triggers responses in the immune system to enhance blood circulation, which unblocks pathways.

‘Does it hurt?’ This is probably the first question every client asks when I tell them about acupuncture. I don’t blame them for asking, because I’ll be inserting needles into their bodies! I would say that it’s a different experience for everyone, but it’s usually not painful. The needles are hair thin, so you’ll only feel a slight prick. I have treated kids and even babies with acupuncture, so yeah, it’s definitely a bearable experience.

The needles will remain in your body for around 20-25 minutes before they are taken out. It may sound peculiar, but patients often feel so relaxed that they doze off with needles all over them! People who come out of an acupuncture session feeling relaxed and refreshed, and that’s because the flow of their Qi is restored.

Cupping: The only hickeys you can show off to everyone

Cupping works with the same principles as acupuncture. It involves suctioning which is created either by heated cups or a handheld pump. The cups will remain on the skin for 5 to 15 minutes, often leaving their signature circular hickey-like bruises once they are removed.

These bruises are indications of internal pathogens such as coldness or dampness, which will fade within a few days. One thing to note is that the darker the bruises, the more stressed your body is. While cupping can alleviate the muscle pain and stress, it should also act as a good reminder to take care of yourself!

Herbal Soup: Basically TCM at Home

Stewed soups are no doubt a staple for Chinese family dinners, especially in Cantonese cuisine, famous for its Lao Huo Tang (Double-stewed soups). These soups use simple ingredients like pork, chicken and vegetables, but can also incorporate traditional Chinese medicinal ingredients like ginseng, goji berries and Chinese yams where you can get in TCM stores.

I would like to introduce a medicinal ingredient you might be familiar with: fish mint. It is an ingredient that is in season right now. Fish mint is very common in TCM, and it is seen as a natural antibiotic by Chinese medicine practitioners.

Chinese people also put fish mint in stewed soups to prevent cold and flu, so you should try making this soup at home too! I have just shared a video above to demonstrate how to make a Fish mint lung cleansing soup with Fish mint, sugarcane, water chestnuts and apples. It is a delicious drink for everyone in the family.

Cupping at Home: Definitely an Instagram worthy experience

To maintain regular wellness, I usually recommend undergoing acupuncture 1-3 times a week and cupping once a week. This ensures that your pathways are unblocked and open to protect you from falling sick. But with everyone stuck at home, I recommend an alternative: cupping at home!

Yes, you can actually do cupping yourself. This set of AcuTouch energy cups that I’ve created makes cupping a treatment that is very doable at home. These AcuTouch cups are made of silicone, so you can form the vacuum simply by squeezing the cup to expel the air. This means that anyone can do cupping at home and enjoy the benefits they like. I think filming the process is going to be interesting, so what better time to do it than now!

This article was written by Ruth Lee and originally appeared on Nana Asia. It is shared with their kind permission.

Why One Must Take Care of the Womb

by Grace Yu

The health of one’s uterus is connected to the female menstruation cycle. From fertilization to giving birth, this female organ plays an important role.Whether or not one would want to bear a child, one must take care of the uterus as it controls the female hormones. The ovaries connected to the left and right sides of the uterus are responsible for the secretion of female hormones.

From the perspective of Chinese medicine, the coordination of the five organs including the liver, spleen and kidney are key. Once these are not harmonious with one another, neither the ovaries nor the uterus can function normally, and blood and lymphatic circulation will also deteriorate, causing adverse effects on the whole body.

When one is under stress, one’s defense mechanism activates and will start to protect the body to gain some balance, especially the liver. Therefore, the blood or nutrients needed to maintain uterine strength will be stopped, affecting the secretion of female hormones.

Excessive weight loss, abdominal chills and obesity cause female hormone secretion to become abnormal, leading to poor blood circulation and other physical issues.

Suggested Exercise

Kneel down with knees naturally separated. Kneel comfortably on the bed, straighten the waist, bend forward so that the chest and face are as close as possible to the bed surface for 5 minutes. Then lie down on the bed and exercise the abdomen and hips. Keep it up for as long as possible, and feel the uterus contract with the body. Doing it once a day can improve some gynecological problems.

Herbal Tea Recipe

  • 2 pieces of roses,
  • 1 piece of jujube,
  • 5 pieces of gojiberry,
  • schisandra 3g,
  • rice beans 3g,
  • coix seed 3g,
  • Lobed Kudzu vine Root 2g,

  • Ophiopogon japonicus 2g,
  • licorice 1g,
  • privet 2g,
  • Spine Date Seed 2g,
  • floating wheat 2g,
  • barley 2g,
  • angelica 2g,

Add ingredients to 500ml of hot water and soak it for about 15 minutes.

This herbal tea can help women with hair loss, early graying and lack of energy during menstruation, or women experiencing menopause or postpartum and experiencing mood swings.

*For pregnant women, please consult a professional physician before use.

To book a Traditional Chinese Medicine consultation with Grace Yu:

Please call 2530 3315 or
Email appt@balancehealth.com.hk



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 are also available.

How Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help with Infertility Problems?

In this blog post, Balance Health is pleased to interview Dr. Ruth Lee – Registered Chinese Medicine practitioner. She will share with us the root causes of infertility problems, as well as give us an overview of how those problems can be successfully tackled with the help of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

1, Dr. Ruth Lee, thanks for participating in this interview. Infertility is a growing medical problem in the modern world. Do you often treat patients with infertility-related problems?

Yes, I am a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and practitioner of Chinese medicine specializing in women health and fertility. I have helped many previously infertile patients to get pregnant and stay pregnant. Some of them have already adopted assisting reproductive technologies, such as IVF (In-Vitro fertilization), and wanted to use acupuncture and herbals to boost the success rate before the egg is implanted into the uterus. Some just came for natural ways to regulate their body’s balance to get themselves prepared for the future pregnancy.

2, With years of experience in TCM, do you think that modern-day changes in lifestyle such as stress and unhealthy foods contribute to infertility?

Sure, they do. People are eating processed and genetically modified food, seafood loaded with mercury; exposed to radiations, hectic work hours; all of them lead to problems such as abnormal fallopian tubes, hormonal problems, cervical infections and uterine troubles. They all will lower the reproductive potential.

3, In addition to those factors, what are the other causes of infertility among women?

I would say aging is another major factor for female infertility. Research tells us that women become less fertile after the age of 35. And nowadays, women focus on building their career during their younger ages so they miss the golden time for conception.

4, Is infertility an increasing phenomenon among men as well?

Yes, infertility can stem from the male factors, such as low sperm count, abnormal sperm shape, abnormal sperm motility, etc. Why is men’s body producing dysfunctional sperms? It is mainly due to hormonal irregularities and genetic disorders. Exposures to toxins like tobacco, alcohol or some drugs like steroid or antibiotics, radiations, heavy metal will all affect the normal sperm production or damage the DNA in sperm cells. And in TCM terms, these external pathogens will damage our Kidney, Liver, and Spleen Systems which will disrupt the internal balances of our qi (life energy) and blood flow.

5, Can you please share with us how TCM therapies can assist with pregnancy?

Various studies done in the West and China have shown that TCM therapies, such as acupuncture, herbals, cupping, womb warming tuina and ear-seeds treatments, can address the underlying imbalances so that the body can function healthily. By applying the right treatments, it can help increase the qi and blood flow to the uterus, regulate the hormones to help with the growth and release of a mature and healthy egg during ovulation, improve the thickness of the uterine lining, stabilize the nervous system to allow the body to handle stress better and detox heavy metals inside the body. For men in particular, TCM can also help to stimulate the teste to produce normal and active sperms. These can improve the chances of conception.

6, How does an IVF (In vitro fertilization) acupuncture treatment look like?

Before the treatment, I will first review the patient’s medical history and evaluate his/her body constitution, analyze the tongue and pulse characteristics. Then I will insert ultra-fine, sterile, disposable acupuncture needles into specific acu-points on the body along the selected meridians according to the diagnosis. The patient will lie still for around 30 minutes with the needles in place and infrared heat on top. Usually people find it very relaxing as it is a process of balancing the qi and blood flow.

7, How do Chinese herbals work for infertility?

Chinese herbals have been used for healing infertility in the past two thousand years. The ancient masters found that reproduction functions are tightly linked to the Kidney system. They documented formulas that can heal infertility by strengthening the Yin and Yang of the Kidney, which are proven by current studies, very effective to promote hormone balance and regulate the menstrual cycle. That’s why Chinese herbals are not only great for facilitating fertility, but also for alleviating premenstrual syndromes like acne, cramps, tender breasts, bloating, backache, depression and anxiety. In addition, I strongly believe that Chinese herbal tea can act as a very potent anti-oxidant which can slow down the aging process — good news for those who try to conceive over age 35.

Every time I see the patient, I will prescribe combinations of herbs that are uniquely tailored to his/her detailed health history. The personalized formula is carefully balanced to accentuate the patient’s strength and works for his/her particular form of infertility. It is made into powder form, which can be dissolved into water and taken just like instant coffee.

8, And if an infertile couple wants to come for IVF acupuncture and herbal, when should the treatment begin?

True healing takes time. Primordial eggs cells take 120 days to mature before one is released during ovulation, so I will usually recommend my patients to take three to four months before progressing to IVF for a proper pre-conception care to ensure healthy egg quality. This will increase the chance of conceiving and decrease the risks of miscarriage In general, a course of acupuncture once or twice a week combined with herbals will have the best therapeutic effect.

9, Is there any lifestyle advice that you would like to share for couple who wants a successful IVF treatment?

Preparation is key for optimizing fertility. And below will be my tips for anyone who want a healthy pregnancy:

1. Eliminate mercury containing fish, refined sugar, genetically modified food, caffeine and foods that you are sensitive to.
2. Do not smoke.
3. Limit your alcohol intake.
4. Watch out for workplace hazards. Use protective clothing, proper ventilation and face masks to reduce your risk of absorbing toxins.
5. No hair dye.
6. No extreme workouts.
7. Eat plenty organic food and fermented veggies.
8. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, mindfulness training and journal writing to reduce stress.

Disclaimer: The interview above is for informational purposes only. The practitioner and editor have attempted to verify information in this interview, but neither ones should assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or your interpretation of the above contents. If you have any medical problems or healthcare needs, please consult your healthcare provider.

To book a TCM appointment at the Balance Health clinic, please email: appt@balancehealth.com.hk or call us: +852 2530 3315

Facial Acupuncture: A Revolution for Your Beauty.

facial acupuncture=


More and more wrinkles appear everyday at the corner of our eyes. We are constantly looking for the next magic beauty treatment that can take us back to our youthful glow. Botox, fillers and beauty poisonous substances are so passé.

Facial acupuncture is the new weapon in the anti-aging war.

Praised for hundreds of years in Asia for its anti-age benefits, facial acupuncture brings about a revolution in our quest for beauty. Facial acupuncture can reduce wrinkles, lift sagging skin, eliminate fine lines and improve skin colour and texture. Many have found it to be effective even after one treatment.

It is no doubt that more and more celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston are switching from botox to facial acupuncture. It is a safer option: no foreign substances, no risk of disfigurement and no swelling. Acupuncture does not hurt. The needles are as fine as a strand of hair. A sensation of numbness or tingling is usually experienced.

Erica Chan, our new practitioner at Oriental Health, explains that needles are inserted at pressure points, energy and endorphins are released. This minor trauma improves blood flow and stimulates cell re-growth. Erica puts needles in at focal points where energy is coming from the organs. When energy flows more efficiently, circulation is improved, helping the body regain the youthful glow.

Dr. Erica Chan

Dr. Erica Chan is a registered TCM Practitioner under the Chinese Medicine Ordinance of Hong Kong Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner, has a Bachelor of Chinese Medicine of HKU and is a professional in Acupuncture, Pediatric Tui-Na and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Languages: English, Cantonese, Mandarin, French


The 5 Power Foods to Strengthen your Immune System

power food


During winter cold and flu season your immune system needs extra support.

Feeding your body certain foods may help to keep your immune system running strong. Plan your meals to include the following powerful immune system boosters. You may increase everyone’s chances of fending off those winter bugs before they get sick.

Try these 5 immune-boosting power foods:



Burdock

Burdock (牛蒡)
Burdock enhances the vitality of the body cells. It increases the production of the white blood cells, which is important for the immune defense.
Furthermore Burdock has hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects: it lowers the blood pressure, strengthen the kidney and has a laxative effect. Burdock also inhibits cancer cell proliferation and removes heavy metals in the water.


Raddish
White Radish (白蘿蔔)
Chinese medicine theory believes that white radish goes into the lung and stomach meridian. White radish is rich in vitamins and minerals and its interferon inducer activity is very strong. Interferons are important for the body’s immune response against pathogens as viruses and bacteria. Therefore white radish helps to enhance the body’s immune function.


White Raddish Leaves
White Radish Leaves (白蘿蔔葉)
White radish leaves are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. Especially the vitamin C content is 4 times higher in the leaves than in the rhizome. White radish leaves prevent the aging of the skin and keep the skin white and tender. Furthermore it helps against digestion problems.
And most important during the cold season: it is good against cough!


Carrots
Carrots (胡蘿蔔)
Carrots are regarded as top grade dishes. It is the “national dish” in the Netherlands. Carrots contain a high amount of Vitamins A, K and Biotin and help to enhance the body’s immune system. Furthermore carrots are good for the liver function and the eyes.


Cinnamon
Cinnamon (肉桂)
Cinnamon is a popular spice in winter, providing a warm and spicy flavor for your meals and drinks. You can use cinnamon in your biscuits, pies, pastries, puddings, smoothies, soups (add a small amount in lentils and black bean soup). Cinnamon helps strengthen the immune system, improves brain function and is good for your heart health. It contains essential oils and therefore has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.


6 Chinese Medicine Secrets for Your Winter Health


power food


Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches to live in harmony with the seasons. Each season has its own characteristics which lead us to change our habits as the seasons change so that we may create more balance between our bodies and the environment. This means slowing down in the colder months and keeping warm and well rested in order to plant the seeds for renewed vitality in the new year.


6 Chinese Medicine Secrets for Your Winter Health
1. Dress up yourself warmly
Chinese Medicine doctrine dictates that cold that can lead to illness enters the body from the neck and shoulders. So, it is very important the keep your neck and shoulders warm. Most body heat escapes through the head. Consider wearing something to cover your head.


6 Chinese Medicine Secrets for Your Winter Health
2. Drink warm liquids. Eat warm foods.
Your body uses energy that takes away from your body’s natural defences to warm cold food and drinks to body temperature. It is important to avoid too many raw foods during winter because they tend to cool the body and can deplete our digestive “fire” which is the ability to assimilate food efficiently.


6 Chinese Medicine Secrets for Your Winter Health
3. Eat winter superfoods that warm you up.
First thing you should drink in the morning is a cup of warm lemon water with honey and a small piece of ginger. This will warm you up and strengthen your immune system. Other healthy winter foods recommended on a daily base are: cinnamon (0.5g), goji berries (10pieces), black sesame (10g). And to eat regularly white radish will help your Qi to move better through the digestive system.


6 Chinese Medicine Secrets for Your Winter Health
4. Go to bed earlier
Since days are getting shorter, try to adapt your sleeping hours accordingly. Go to bed earlier (attempt to fall asleep around10.30pm) and get up when the sun rises. Winter is a perfect season to slow down and to grant your body more sleep. Getting plenty of sleep enables your body to conserve energy used for healing and warming the body when exposed to colder climates. To improve your quality of sleep is to take a warm footbath for 15 minutes just before you go to bed.


6 Chinese Medicine Secrets for Your Winter Health
5. Do daily (light) exercises
While it is wintertime, do not neglect your daily exercises (30 to 50 minutes). Even though it is cooler and darker outside, try to motivate yourself to go out for a walk. This helps to enhance your body’s Qi and to improve your blood circulation.


6 Chinese Medicine Secrets for Your Winter Health
6. Reduce stress.
As difficult as it may seem, find a simple way to relax and release stress on a regular basis. Meditation or taking a long hot bath are good suggestions. Choose your own method. Remember, it’s snuggling weather! Stress, frustration, and unresolved anger can easily deplete the immune system allowing winter illnesses to invade the body more easily.

How to increase Fertility with Chinese medicine? Acupuncture fertility, acupuncture for pregnancy, Chinese medicine for pre- and post-partum and natural fertility treatments.

acupuncture fertilityChinese medicine to enhance fertility is a popular and one of the top options for natural and non-invasive therapies leading to pregnancy. Grace Yu, Chinese medicine practitioner, answered some of the more commonly asked questions about fertility treatment and TCM.

Tell us more about how your journey began to become a licensed Chinese medicine doctor and acupuncturist.
I am obtaining a PhD at the Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a focus on gynecology and acupuncture fertility. My advisor and mentor Professor Luo Songping is an internationally renowned Chinese medicine women’s health gynecologist from whom I could learn a lot on various health issues for women including infertility. I also learned Craniosacral Resonance therapy in Taiwan that I sometimes apply in my therapies.

For me a thorough understanding of the patients is very important. My goal is to help patients to boost their own healing power and body balance.

What questions should someone ask when first contacting an acupuncturist?
Make sure your practitioner is licensed and a registered Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor if practicing Chinese medicine. Experience counts a lot, so I would ask for how long the acupuncturist has been practicing. It is good to know if the practitioner treated someone successfully with a similar specific condition and to find out his or her feedback. You might also want to ask in what type of acupuncture (TCM, auricular, facial or scalp) the practitioner has experience since some acupuncture styles are known to be more effective to treat certain conditions.

acupuncture fertility pulse
What does a typical TCM consultation involve?
Chinese medicine offers a wide range of therapies for infertility treatment. Acupuncture, herbal therapy, cupping and moxibustion are the most common ones. Before any treatment a through diagnosis is essential. A diagnosis is based on:

  • Looking. This includes an assessment of a person’s emotional state and wellbeing, and appearance and shape. One important factor here is a detailed look at the condition of your tongue, a reflector of your current health which is highly influencing your fertility chances.
  • Listening. In particular, we listen for breathing sounds, coughing and the sound of the voice.
  • Asking. We assess your past medical history and that of your partner. Your environment in terms of places, people, nutrition and diet is also part of our diagnosis.
  • Pulse taking. We read the state of individual organs and the balance of qi, blood and yin and yang energy. Important here is also the function of kidneys as this is a major organ to determine fertility chances.


How many sessions would someone expect to have before noticing an improvement?

The treatment duration varies depending on your health issues. Patients with weaker body suffering from chronic conditions would need to restore their health for a longer period of time in contrast to patients that are healthy and just looking to improve well-being. Generally, for infertility treatment patients would usually see me over several months, with weekly appointments, as in that particular case we are aiming to restore overall body health and treat the root cause of an imbalanced body.

How is Chinese medicine for infertility different to Western medicine?
The ailments and disharmonies that are assessed in Chinese medicine are different to those in Western medicine. In Chinese medicine one would not treat a vitamin D deficiency but instead look at enhancing the yang qi (essential enery) and organs that are out of balance. The result might be a balanced vitamin supply but achieved through different methods. At the end of the day, each system uses different methods and different strategies all with the same goal: achieving a healthy and balanced body preparing you for a successful conception and pregnancy.

Should I choose IVF, ICSI or Chinese medicine?
Many of my patients see me while undergoing standard procedures with Western medicine such as IVF, IUI and ICSI. Chinese medicine can help at different stages and is a complimentary medicine that can support and enhance medical procedures. Chinese medicine promotes ovulation, egg development, sperm motility and count and prevents miscarriages. We suggest a treatment period of several months with acupuncture fertility prior to your conventional therapy such as IVF. Chinese medicine strengthens the kidneys, which are important for the reproductive system. It also strengthens the whole body enabling you to successfully conceive and carry the fetus. I also find it very useful to continue your Chinese therapy during pregnancy to increase chances of giving birth to a healthy baby naturally.

fertility acupuncture tcm
Why would someone continue using Chinese medicine acupuncture during and after pregnancy?
Acupuncture helps to ease common nausea, morning sickness and heartburn that can occur often during pregnancy. Thus it can help you to feel better and it can help to decrease stress by releasing the feel-good hormones into your body. Overall, it is a great natural painkiller that helps to ease discomforts without any side effects. It also lessens pre- and post-partum depression effectively. Another reason I find Chinese medicine useful during pregnancy is that it helps you to resolve a breech position (where the baby’s head is facing upwards) and makes the C-section delivery redundant. And finally, before giving birth it is one of the best natural tools to prepare the body for labor and make it easier for you to give birth.

Is there anything you can recommend to live more healthy?
You may assess our online body-type test to assess your current body condition without seeing a doctor. It will indicate any imbalances you might have. Prevention is key, and our tool helps you to understand your body condition and indicates those areas that you might need to pay more attention to. Other than that I am happy to see you at our clinic and give you a tailor-made and detailed plan on how to improve your health and well-being. Since everybody is different a different strategy will apply.

[staffbio staffname=”Dr Grace Yu”]Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner
Master in Acupuncture, Hong Kong Baptist University
Master in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing University
Bachelor in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing University[/staffbio]

Chinese Medicine Remedies to Strengthen your Kid’s Health This Winter

chinese medicine tea

The dip in temperatures outside means winter has finally hit Hong Kong, and with that comes the cough season and plenty of sniffing red noses conquering subways, schools and kindergartens. You’re probably going to spot one of them among your loved ones and you might even remember last year’s hit on your family – that week when your annual tissue consumption reached an impressive peak.

So, how do you avoid it this year? Some ancient Chinese wisdom might do the trick, offering simple and effective ways to boost your kids’ immune systems and cure the little red noses with natural and mild alternatives to western medicine. Let’s enhance your parental toolbox and have a look at what Traditional Chinese Medicine can do for you and your kids.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a long history which includes the development of pediatrics within TCM, dating back to the first book on treatment of children called “Xiaoer Yaozheng Zhijue” in 1114 AD. The traditional Chinese childcare strongly focuses on what kids should eat, how much clothes they should wear and how much sleep is needed. What at first glance might look like a very protective way of child upbringing is actually based on a complex and sophisticated system within TCM. To understand this system, we need to take a closer look at how TCM views kids.

Kids are growing humans, as much on the outside as on the inside.

In our young age, organs are still immature and therefore more sensitive. Children’s lungs are yet to be fully developed, but since our lungs are responsible for the circulation of our protectiveqi, weak lungs usually mean an inferior immune system. There’s also a strong connection between weak lungs and upper respiratory diseases such as colds, coughs, allergies and asthma. In autumn and winter especially, your lungs will need some extra help to keep up the necessary protective qi.

To boost your kids’ lung power in winter, try brewing them a cup of the famous “Jade Windscreen Tea”:

Ingredients:
5g Chinese Parsnip Root
10g Astragalus Root
10g Atractylodes Rhizome

Method:
Boil together in 400-600ml of water. Then lower the hear, cover the pot and let it simmer for 30-45min. Turn off the heat, leave it covered and let it rest of 15 minutes. Then filter the tea and serve.Tip: This tea can only use for prevention but not for treatment of colds and flu. 

chinese medicine herbs

Another important organ that is often overlooked by western medicine is our spleen. Together with the stomach, the spleen is responsible for our digestion. Kids under 7 years have an immature and sensitive digestive system, which is worsened by our modern diets filled with unhealthy foods and sweets.

This becomes especially problematic when we look at the close connection between the spleen and the lung: according to the Chinese 5-element theory, the spleen is the mother of the lung. And like in real life, when mama gets sick, the kids won’t be happy either: An improper diet causes a weak spleen, which will weaken the lung and trigger colds and coughs.

A chronically troubled spleen may even lead to respiratory diseases such as asthma and allergies. By addressing the root cause and managing a healthy diet for your family, you can control these diseases easily. Avoid overeating and foods that are high in unnatural elements like processed foods. Opt for the organic choices as much as you can.

To specifically invigorate spleen function, try out this Chinese porridge:

Ingredients:
20g poria cocos (also known as fu ling)
10g Chinese jujube
20g yams
50g sticky rice
A little brown sugar

I recommend to eat small portions of this congee as part of your three meals a day.

The Yin and the Yang

Children are constantly growing and developing. According to TCM, this is accompanied by “Pure Yang” in the body, which easily turns into an overload of heat – your kid is on fire! There is good news and bad news. Bad news is, the lack of cooling Yin and an abundance of Pure Yang usually leads to liver heat. Your kid will have trouble sleeping or not being able to focus in school. In extreme cases, it might lead to ADHD.

The good news is, your kids can use their Yang-power to recover very fast, too. To support your kid you need to take some of the heat out of their system. Simply drinking the right tea or other mild herbs will help to get the right balance back. Avoid foods that contain high amounts of growth hormones, like none organic milk and chicken. Stay away from deep-fried foods, barbecues or chips, as those foods contain a lot of heat. And again, choose organic foods wherever you can.

TCM Treatments

If your kids are already starting to get the sniffles, Kid’s Health Chinese Medicine remedies can be a good alternative to western medicine, with some milder and safer treatments. Pediatric treatments can include acupressure or acupuncture, using small and pain-free needles specifically designed for children. Since younger patients usually don’t like to sit still, they will only be shortly pricked into the qi points and then removed again.

More commonly, traditional treatment for kids involves light herbals, which are consumed as teas. Another common practice is pediatric massages, which you can also learn yourself and use as a comforting way to bond with your child.

By simply observing the subtle imbalances in your body and integrating preventive TCM advices into your everyday life, you will find it easy to keep your family healthy throughout winter!

Judy

Judy

Judy Xu
Certified Holistic Health Coach and Chinese Medicine nutritionist at Balance Health and Oriental Health
Chinese Medicine Nutritionist, Chinese University Hong Kong
Holistic Health Coach, IIN New York (Institution of Integrative Nutrition)

Judy Xu is a Holistic Health Coach, combining integrative medicine from the West with the ancient wisdom of Chinese Medicine for a modern lifestyle that helps patients to naturally achieve balance and health. Judy believes that creating balance is the prerequisite for health and self-healing. In her coaching she takes a holistic approach to address imbalances and create a long-term basis for health. She enables clients to achieve weight loss, a peaceful mind, improve energy levels and manage stress. Judy is originally from Shanghai and a long-term resident of Hong Kong. She speaks and writes English and Chinese.

 

Originally published 12 December 2014 on Sassy Mama HK

Chinese Medicine Acupuncture: Under the Skin of Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston

Looks like alternative Chinese medicine treatments are getting under the skin of some big-name celebrities: or rather, on the skin.
Chinese Medicine Acupuncture and Cupping therapy have long been used as a means of mobilizing blood flow in the body via the suction that’s created by the cups. It is also a great way to relax after a particularly stressful 9-5’er. But celebrities too have been caught attending fancy do’s with obvious signs of cupping (temporary marks are left by the cups).

Celebrity fans of cupping include actors like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston and singers like Jessica Simpson and Lady Gaga, as well as Victoria Beckham. Event sports starts like Andy Murray have used it to relieve stiffness and free up stagnating energy. Facial acupuncture is trending as well among stars such as Kim Kardashian. Contact us for your own acupuncture and cupping session.

[staffbio staffname=”Dr Grace Yu”]Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner
Master in Acupuncture, Hong Kong Baptist University
Master in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing University
Bachelor in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing University[/staffbio]