Tag: Depression UK

The trials and tribulations of Spring

Spring is the season of awakening. All things in nature are reborn, revitalised, awoken. The seeds break open their shells and the plants begin their journey towards the light. Birds and animals are more vocal and they start shouting and fighting to prove themselves worthy of the favours of a potential mate.

In Chinese Medicine, spring is associated with the element of Wood: green and vibrant, with the roots firmly grounded in the Earth, drawing its life-force from Water and with the branches soaring towards the Heavens and the Sun.  

Anything green growing in nature plans ahead when to start germinating and growing from a seed. It usually needs at least one cold spell before starting sprouting. A tree will first develop roots, then a trunk and only then it will grow a full canopy. The plan is very precise, the root system matches that of the canopy, so the tree will keep growing below the ground as much as it will grow above it. Every stage is carefully planned and the tree will make sure it has got enough resources to complete each stage and the resources reach all the branches and leaves without any obstacles.

The organ system most affected by Spring in Chinese Medicine is the Liver-Gallbladder. Let’s take a closer look at what Wood is about in TCM

In traditional Chinese medicine, Wood is considered the General. Just like its military counterpart, Wood in the human body is responsible for planning and regulating all the body’s activities. Wood is the one that stores the Blood, the source of all the nourishment around the body. When the body is resting, Wood stores the Blood in the Liver, its major internal organ. When the body is active, both physically and mentally, Wood uses the Liver and its functions to distribute the Blood where it is needed. Just like a General ensures all the operations run smoothly and without obstacles, Wood in the body is responsible for the smooth and free flow of the Qi, because the Qi is the moving force and the energy behind all the functions of the body, both physically and mentally.

At a physical level, the internal organs that belong to the Wood phase are the Liver and the Gallbladder. Wood governs over the joints, tendons and ligaments, the parts of our body that ensure our mobility. Just like a General, Wood is a visionary, therefore it governs over the sense of sight and the eyes.

At an emotional level, Wood relates to anger, frustration, and jealousy. At a cognitive level, Wood controls creativity, initiative, decision making and planning. The spirit of the Wood is Hun, the ethereal soul, our intuition, the part of us that outlives our body.  The virtue that keeps Wood in check is patience. 

Wood imbalances

Now let’s take a look at some of the things that could go wrong in the Liver system by looking at the Wood element in Spring.

Much like the Sun at rising point, Spring causes nature to wake up from slumber and raise. This upward movement of the energy can be seen in all aspects of nature: we enjoy more daylight, the Sun shines its light at a higher angle, the plants start to grow, the trees produce buds, the bees get busy, the birds and the animals come out of hibernation and become more vocal and more active.

Humans feel the rising energies of Mother Nature as well: we feel more energetic, more active. A healthy and balanced person will enjoy and will harness the rising energies of Spring by starting eating more green foods, drinking more water, spend more time in nature, meditate and do light exercise like stretching and practice patience and equanimity.

Failing to control this rising energy or trying to supress it will lead to symptoms and diseases that will affect the body in the long run.

When a person fails to temper this eruption of exuberant energy, the energy in their body will rise abnormally upwards, towards the head. This is called Liver Yang rising or Liver Fire.  

This can translate into:

  • hypertension
  • headaches
  • migraine
  • vision problems
  • insomnia
  • outbursts of anger, jealousy, frustration
  • dream disturbed sleep
  • OCD
  • PMDD

When a person tries to block this eruption of exuberant energy instead of managing it, the energy in their body will stagnate. When the Qi in the body stagnates, everything else stagnates: Blood, Bodily Fluids, hormones and emotions. The main symptom of stagnation in the body is pain. The main symptom of stagnation at a mental level is translated in mood, emotional and mental disorders.

When the Liver fails to ensure the free flow in the body we have Liver Qi Stagnation and various symptoms and complaints such as:

  • dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
  • PMS
  • irregular periods
  • fibromyalgia
  • muscle cramps
  • TMJ
  • IBS
  • constipation
  • emotional and mental disorders
  • improper time and money management

Wind disorders

While there is no Air element in TCM, Wood is strongly related to Wind. In Chinese Medicine, Wind is regarded as one of the “evils” that can cause disease in the body.

As an external pathogen, External Wind is most likely to attack the Lung system, our first line of defence, causing colds, flus, sinusitis, sore throat, coughs, itchy skin, hay fever, etc. All of them very specific for the spring season.

As an internal pathogen, Internal Wind is mainly related to the Liver system because the Liver is responsible for the free flow. There are many diseases caused by Wind, and they are not all related to the spring season, but they might be triggered in spring or by emotional imbalances and most acupoints used to manage them belong to the Liver and Gallbladder meridians. They usually appear suddenly and most of the times have a seasonal or migratory nature:

  • passive-aggressive and bi-polar disorders
  • arthritis pain that moves from joint to joint
  • moving pain of any kind
  • headaches or migraines accompanied by dizziness and nausea
  • vertigo, BPPV
  • tremors and shaking, essential tremors, Parkinson’s
  • muscle spasms, epilepsy
  • stroke, paralysis
  • rashes, itchy skin or genitalia

A few words about Anger

Many people say that Anger weakens the Liver. Truth is Anger is just a response, a symptom, a message that something is not right and the Liver system is not balanced. Many people may not even have very clear cut physical symptom that can be linked to the Liver. I’ve had patients complaining about not being happy about how they manage their tasks and time at the office or about how aimless their lives feel, about not being able to make decisions or not being able to go with the flow. I’ve had people complaining about feeling trapped or stuck, having nightmares or they simply complained about waking up every night between 1 and 3 am. All these are red flags for me that there is lack of free flow somewhere.

Anger is the most powerful driving force in the Universe. Anger is neither good nor bad. Anger becomes a problem when it is untamed, suppressed or repressed.   Without a bit of frustration, the seed will always remain in the form of a seed, failing to fulfil its intended purpose. Without a bit of anger, the little tiny plant that emerges from the seed will never find the power to penetrate the hard shell of the seed and push itself upward through the hard soil towards the light. Without anger and a bit of jealousy, birds and animals will never engage in the loud and sometimes violent act of finding a mate and they will never have the power to defend their chicks and younglings. Without anger and frustration we will always be confined to the same unfulfilling environment, relationship or workplace, we will never find our voice and our battle cry.

Self-care advice

At a physical level, eat appropriate foods in spring. All year round, eat foods that support the free flow of the Qi and nourish the Blood. Also, increase the time spent in nature and introduce slow exercising, such as Tai Chi, QiGong and Yoga. Walking in nature benefits both the joints and the mind.

At a mental and emotional level, spending time in nature and contemplating the vegetation coming back to life is very beneficial. Mindfulness is a must and you should try to integrate it into your daily routine, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, especially in the morning, to help with the flow of the Qi.

You should embrace activities and hobbies that support creativity, intuition and patience, such as growing and nurturing plants from seeds, painting flowers, and the practice of self-compassion.

Mind full or Mindful?

The choice is yours

The human mind can be a wonderful servant or a terrible master. As a servant, it can turn you into the most accomplished warrior. As a master, it can turn you into the most accomplished worrier.

One of the most successful people in the world are the ones who made their minds work for themselves instead of allowing their minds to control their pain, thoughts or emotions. If we look at their lifestyle habits, they all seem to have one thing in common: they meditate.

Are you looking to improve your life? Would you like to enjoy better health and more wealth?

The practice of mindfulness, developed by the ancient cultures, such as the Buddhist and Zen practitioners, is now available at Purple Jade Holistics. All you have to do is choose whatever suits your needs from the offers at the end of this post.  

Yes, it’s all in your head!

Scientific studies have demonstrated that mindfulness and meditation do actually change the brain chemistry and how we react to stimuli.

Did you know?

The corporations in Japan have interior gardens built within the premises so that all their employees can spend time in contemplation every day. Many of them will also spend at least one week in Buddhist or Zen retreats, because they believe that mindfulness not only helps maintain good health, emotional balance and general well-being, but it also makes them more successful in their professions, leading to wealth and prosperity.

This art of contemplating the present moment, as it is, without trying to change anything about it, without judging or trying to quantify it in any way, has many benefits.

The act of gently guiding the mind to the present moment is not only grounding, but it also helps deal with an overactive mind, stress and anxiety.

Mindfulness relaxes the mind and helps it become open and aware, which improves the memory and focus.

A relaxed mind is also better equipped to handle pain. Mindfulness can be a very important instrument for people who struggle with chronic pain and inflammation, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. Also, by releasing stress, mindfulness can help with strengthening the immunity and lowering the blood pressure.

One of the first effects people notice when they start practising mindfulness is a significant improvement in their sleep patterns. Mindfulness not only helps them fall asleep faster, it also helps them stay asleep, and the quality of the sleep is much improved as it assists in the reduction of nightmares.

One of the fundamental principles of mindfulness is to explore everything with new and curious eyes. This helps develop creativity and problem solving skills. This is why people who meditate and practice mindfulness tend to be more relaxed, creative and more successful.

Another interesting side-effect of mindfulness is that people practising staying present in the now seem to feel less lonely. Being present and aware of the surroundings and looking at everything with new eyes and a vivid curiosity renders one feeling connected not only with themselves, but to the world at large. Plus, by attending mindfulness group sessions, one is prone to meet like-minded people and make new friends.

Mindfulness is able to regulate the moods and the responses one has towards external and internal stimuli. A regular daily practice of mindfulness, even just for a few minutes, will prevent the stress build-up.

In a nutshell, it puts YOU in control of how YOU choose to respond to the events inside or around you.

Mindfulness can become an empowering tool by putting YOU in control of your mind and your life.

Can you afford NOT to give mindfulness a try?

Please note all sessions are online, via Skype, Google Meet or Hangouts, Facebook Room or Messenger, WhatsApp or any other platform at your convenience

MIND 1 – Crash Courses

You can choose one, two or three 120 minutes crash courses on how mindfulness could help you according to your needs:

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  2. Mindfulness for pain management and full body relaxation. Physical pain can be amplified by mental distress. During this session, we look at how mindfulness can help settle the mind and the emotions, by assisting the body go into a state of deep relaxation at the same time
  3. Mindfulness for health and wealth. Do you know what the wealthiest and most successful people on this planet have in common? They meditate and practice mindfulness. This special session will tap into how mindfulness can lead to an increase in creativity and problem solving skills

Each session contains

  • a lecture giving information on the topic of the month
  • needs assessment
  • practical exercises and guided meditations especially designed for the topic of choice

Duration of one session: 120 min

Your investment: £20 per session or £50 as a trio bundle

MIND 2 – Crash Courses + Off With Your Head Self-Massage

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You choose how much pampering you deserve

MIND 3 – Tailor-made sessions

Personalised, one-to-one online sessions which include

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These sessions may be a combination of written information and online chats. For optimal results, one session every week or every fortnight is the usual recommendation, for a period of minimum 5 weeks

YOU decide how much your peace of mind is worth to YOU

The troubles of the Mind – the Shen disorders

[…] we won’t establish peace of mind just by praying for it. Dalai Lama

 

The principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is to restore balance in the being by restoring the free flow of Qi, Blood, Bodily Fluids and Shen (Spirit).

Stagnation in the body can manifest itself on several levels and can have multiple symptoms. The most important symptom is pain. This pain can be physical pain or it can be emotional distress.

When we suffer from mental issues, this pain comes in a multitude of forms, because each individual copes with emotional distress in their own unique way.

According to Chinese medicine, there are many complaints that belong to this category of disorders of the Spirit (Shen). Some of them are:

  • Sleep disorders: insomnia, restless, interrupted sleep, dream disturbed sleep, sleepiness
  • Disruptive mental episodes: lack of focus, overthinking, lack of vision, memory lapses, inability to make decisions, procrastination, lack of creativity, OCD, psychotic episodes
  • Emotional distress: anxiety, anger, jealousy, panic attacks, traumatic events, flashbacks (PTSD), depression, unjustified sadness, hyperactivity, inappropriate language and manners, phobias, inability to form meaningful relationships, low self-esteem, lack of trust
  • Female disorders: PMDD, post-partum depression, hormonal fluctuations, menstruation complaints, infertility (some cases)
  • Addictions: alcohol, nicotine, drug abuse, over-medication, gambling, eating disorders

However, it is not just in your mind. The Shen disorders can even be felt as physical pain. This pain can be in the form of a headache, backache, stiff neck, TMJ, chest pain, tight throat, eye strain, coarse voice, vertigo and dizziness, IBS and other digestive issues, to name but a few. If the physical ailments do not seem to be confirmed by scan or test results, one can almost safely assume they are of emotional or mental origin. At the same time, certain confirmed physical ailments can be improved once the mental state of the individual is improved.

So, if just praying for a peaceful mind won’t cut it, what can we do to improve our mental balance and restore mental health?

It is always recommended to combine alternative therapies with medication and professional therapy and counselling, especially in the case of severe manifestations. Once the critical stage has been dealt with and the mind has settled, the treatment can be extended to alternative medicine, art therapy and other forms of therapy designed to help maintain an optimal level of mental balance.

Acupressure or acupuncture, combined with mindfulness and massage therapy can be a very effective combination in restoring and maintaining a healthy mental state, provided the treatment is backed up by dietary and other lifestyle changes.

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