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Podcast: Chinese Medicine for a Healthy Menstrual Cycle & Fertility

Podcast: Chinese Medicine for a Healthy Menstrual Cycle & Fertility

Ancient menstrual wisdom from Chinese medicine

Menstrual periods are not the same for every woman. A woman’s period can change throughout her lifetime and timing, duration, colour and flow of periods can vary greatly.                                                   
Every month, the hormonal cycle of a woman in her fertile years goes through the process to prepare for pregnancy. Your hormones oestrogen and progesterone usually change throughout the cycle. If the egg does not become fertilised, the lining of the uterus is shed during menstruation.         
In Chinese medicine we look at four phases of the menstrual cycle which are determined by the ebb and flow of yin (oestrogen) and yang (progesterone). The kidneys, heart and liver are of utmost importance for an harmonious cycle, the health of the spleen and stomach play a role as well.

What you will get out of tuning in:

  • The different phases of a menstrual cycle seen from a Traditional Chinese medicine perspective.
  • What’s a normal healthy cycle like?
  • How do you diagnose infertility with Chinese medicine?
  • What are the most common Chinese medicine patterns / imbalances for infertility?
  • How is the spleen energy related to fertility?
  • What role does the liver play in fertility?
  • How is the heart connected to the uterus and what does this mean for fertility?
  • Why are the kidneys so important for fertility?
  • What are a kidney yang and a kidney yin deficiency?
  • How do I treat an imbalance in my practice? What are the different steps?
  • How can a couple/woman/man support this process to increase the chances to conceive?
  • How can the Embody to Thrive program help to balance hormones and to boost fertility?

Favorite Quotes:

“According to Chinese medicine, the menstrual cycle is determined by the ebb and flow of Kidney-Yin and of Kidney-Yang. The amount of Yin oestrogen and Yang progesterone (and specifically Kidney-Yin and Kidney-Yang) fluctuates like a tide during the month in a defined pattern.”

“Very important to mention is that uncomfortable symptoms around ovulation, before, during and after the period are NOT normal. They indicate an imbalance.”

“In terms of fertility there are four organ systems – Kidney, Spleen, Heart and Liver that, when unbalanced, can lead to infertility.”

“Women with Spleen Qi deficiency typically have low energy, cravings for sugar, breads and other carbs, poor circulation and may experience spotting before their periods, menstrual cramps and fatigue during their periods. A Spleen Qi deficiency pattern is common in women with luteal phase defect.”

“The uterus (bao gong) is not seen in TCM as an isolated organ, but includes the ovaries, the fallopian tubes and the cervix.”

Tune in

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Are you interested what Ayurveda and Yoga have to offer for a healthy menstrual cycle and to enhance fertility? Then tune into the other podcast episode here.

Are you looking for natural ways to have a healthy menstrual cycle?
Do you want to boost your fertility naturally?

I offer in my practice in Barcelona tailor-made treatments for women with acupuncture, Chinese herbals, Hormone Yoga Therapy and food recommendations. This natural therapy approach can help to ease menstrual discomforts, to enhance your fertility and support IVF treatments.

Ayurveda & Chinese Medicine: Benefits of Drinking Hot Water

Ayurveda & Chinese Medicine: Benefits of Drinking Hot Water

Why is drinking hot or warm water recommended?

Nothing is as simple and effective as drinking hot water. Some even speak of a hot water cure. Tap water is simply boiled and Ayurvedic’s and Chinese medicine’s remedy no.1 is ready.

Drinking hot water helps to easily flush out any toxins in the body. It can help to balance all three doshas. And what I really like: hot water removes toxic metabolic waste byproducts from your body and mind! It couldn’t be easier to avoid illness. Because in Eastern medicine it is said over and over again: If your digestion runs smoothly and your metabolism functions optimally, you stay healthy!

Hot water penetrates all the fine channels of the body, especially in the digestive tract.

Hot water dissolves ama and dampness from the cells

Hot water washes everything away where metabolic waste products are stored. These waste products are called ama in Ayurveda and dampness in Chinese medicine. They are the toxins in the body and form the basis of every disease. They are a result of a weak digestive fire “Agni”. Warm water can activate Agni and stimulate bowel movement, and helps digest food more easily.

This is why drinking hot water is so important for staying healthy. Because the undigested remains in your body causes discomfort, minor ailments or even severe diseases. However, if you drink hot water on a daily basis, you support your body and mind in detoxing everything that it doesn’t need anymore.

But not only ama is flushed out, also the water-soluble toxins that you ingest through food and the environment are removed by drinking hot water.

Hot water – your source of happiness

Ayurveda and Chinese medicine recommend drinking hot water throughout the day. It’s not the amount that matters, but the regularity. A great idea is e.g. to put hot water in a warming jug in the morning. All my friends only ever know me with a pot of hot water. I won’t leave the house without it.

Water is also digested

Did you know that water also has to be digested? It doesn’t just run right through you, no, it really gets digested. By the way, cold water takes about 6 hours to digest. Whereas hot water only takes 1.5 hours. As a result your digestion needs less energy for digesting hot water and you have more energy for doing other things.

Since water is also digested, you shouldn’t drink too much after 7pm. The result of drinking too much too late can be restless nights, waking up because of the need to go to the toilet and the formation of bags under the eyes (this area reflects your kidneys).

Natural Detoxifier And Healing Agent

Drinking hot water on a daily basis has many health benefits. Among them are:

  • Improves blood circulation
  • Removes fat deposits in the body
  • Flushes out toxins and ama
  • Strengthens Agni, the digestive fire
  • Helps relieve constipation
  • Improves your energy
  • Relieves nasal congestion
  • Helps relieve symptoms of achalasia (the esophagus has trouble moving food down into the stomach)
  • Improves skin
  • Helps to relax the body’s muscles
  • Improves central nervous system function
  • Avoids eating and snacking due to false hunger
  • Sharpens the sense of taste

If you want to loose weight more easily, drinking hot water can support you along the way. It reduces the need for snacks, improves fat burning and supports detoxification!

How much hot water and how hot is good?

Incidentally, the amount of water in Ayurveda depends on your constitution. Pitta types, the fiery among us, need lots of water to soothe their inner fire. By the way, the hot water should be lukewarm for Pitta types. However, Kapha types need much less hot water, because Kapha is already consisting half of water. And the dry Vata type can handle a medium amount of hot water, about 1.5 litres. Living Ayurveda means: listen to your inner intelligence! It will tell you how much and how hot the water should be.

Hot water for your Dosha type

Depending on your constitution, you can “season” the water.

Those who tend towards Pitta constitution and often have cravings, inflammations, skin outbreaks and problems with heartburn and belching, should not drink their water too hot. The heat that is associated with Pitta is otherwise increased. For Pitta constitutions, lukewarm water is more suitable, in which a few fennel seeds, rose buds, mint leaves or a clove can be added.

Vata constitutions on the other hand, have a tendency to changing appetite and thirst and deal with irregular digestion, can drink their water hot. Because they often tend to freeze easily and have problems with dryness. They can add something oily like ghee to their water and simmer it with liquorice or marshmallow roots.

Kapha types should drink the water warm to hot in sips throughout the day. They can add some basil leaves, slices of fresh ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin and fennel seeds. This can help boost their sometimes slow and sluggish digestion.

Do you want a better and more aligned life to achieve deeply desired results? A life with more energy, a peaceful mind, and habits that go toward lifelong health and wellness?

Discover my health and lifestyle program Embody to Thrive.

Eye Problems: Natural Remedies and Diet Tips from Chinese Medicine

Eye Problems: Natural Remedies and Diet Tips from Chinese Medicine

Understanding eye problems through TCM and Ayurveda

Eye problems can make day-to-day life harder and impact well-being and life quality. The most common eye disorders are: red, itchy, burning, dry and bloodshot eyes, as well as a yellowish tinge in the whites or sensitivity to light. Once you know which factors can trigger and aggravate these symptoms, you can start finding ways to reduce or even eliminate them. Moreover, there are natural remedies and diet tips you can apply to help heal eye imbalances.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine there is a saying: “The liver opens into the eyes.” That is why, we always treat the liver as well when seeing eye problems. When stress, overwork, feelings of anger and frustration and poor nutrition take over, the liver qi is no longer flowing harmoniously in the body. Therefore, the energy rises up and generates heat. As a result, it can manifest in forms of migraine-like headaches and eye problems. 

In Ayurvedic medicine we commonly see a Pitta imbalance at the root of eye problems. Meaning, that excess pitta in the form of heat is circulating in the system. Especially in summer, the season of pitta, we see more people suffering from itching, red and painful eyes when temperatures are rising. Whereas, dry and watery eyes are mainly caused by a Vata imbalance and often get worse in late autumn into early winter, the seasons of Vata.

Let´s look at the most common eye problems.

Healing your eyes with Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine wisdom

Red and itchy eyes

Redness and itchiness are signs of heat. Even if your eyes burn frequently, it can show an excess heat in the system. Consequently, we need to cool the liver and avoid things that produce heat.

The best foods to cool the liver are:

  • Green vegetables esp. broccoli, celery and courgette
  • Bitter salad
  • Artichoke
  • Cucumber
  • Watermelon
  • Turmeric and saffron
  • Dandelion
  • Peppermint and jasmine tea

While the following foods and drinks are best to avoid: alcohol, coffee, sausage, fried and grilled meat, leek, sugar and strong spices like chilli, pimento, cinnamon, ginger and pepper. Overconsumption of meat, shellfish and cacao can also lead to excess liver heat.

Also herbal infusions can help to reduce heat in the eyes. The best medicinal plants are:

  • Gentian root
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Chrysanthemum flowers

The following tea recipe from Chinese medicine helps to build up liver blood and to reduce heat in the eyes:

Take 1 tbsp chrysanthemum flowers and 1.5 tbsp goji berries. Steep into 500ml of boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Then drink over the day, ideally for a duration of around 2 weeks.

Chrysanthemum flowers are also recommended for conjunctivitis and high blood pressure. Because of their strong heat-clearing properties, it´s important to add goji berries to balance this strong effect. Another possibility is to prepare chrysanthemum flower tea, letting it cool off and to do an eye-wash.

Note: Never drink pure chrysanthemum flowers tea if suffering from low blood pressure. 

Ayurveda recommends washing the eyes with high-quality rose water. This will help soothe and hydrate the tired, red and itchy eyes and give them a refreshed look.

Very dry and / or watery eyes

These are both signs of liver blood deficiency in Chinese medicine. The liver stores the blood and if it gets deficient, the eyes are not enough moistened and get dry. Whereas, watery eyes, indicate that liver wind has risen up to the eyes due to the lack of blood. Furthermore, this can lead to sensitivity of pollen, light, wind or air conditioning. Simply, because the eyes are not able anymore to create a natural barrier to defend themselves from these external factors.

The following foods can help to rebuild liver blood if eaten regularly:

  • Broccoli
  • Cherry
  • Dark berries
  • Molasses or black treacle
  • Lamb´s lettuce
  • Date
  • Egg yolk
  • Carrot, parsnip and other root veggies
  • Lentil
  • Parsley
  • Pine nut
  • Beetroot
  • Black sesame paste

Especially the following things can cause dry and watery eyes: smoking, too much black tea and coffee, spicy foods, red wine, poor nutrition and long hours in front of a computer screen.

Ayurveda suggests drinking licorice tea and putting a drop of Triphala Ghee in the eyes. Also regular consumption of Triphala Ghee in your food preparation can support the healing process.

Yellow eyes

According to TCM, a yellowish tinge in the whites of the eyes is due to too much dampness and heat in the liver. Other signs can be grittiness that feels like sand in the eyes or sticky eyelids in the morning.

That´s why it´s important to avoid everything that produces more dampness like: sugar, white flour, wheat, cow’s milk, fried or oily and too much raw food. Foods that are especially good to reduce excess dampness are: apple, millet, miso, seaweed, radish, olive, kidney bean, mushroom and shiitake. See above for the diet recommendations for reducing excess heat.

A great herbal tea to reduce dampness and heat from the eyes is dandelion tea. Take 2 tbsp of dandelion roots and leaves. Then steep it for at least 15 minutes in 500ml cold water, bring to a boil and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. After that remove the herbs and drink at room temperature. Note: If you suffer from soft bowels or diarrhea, you should combine it with other herbs to counterbalance the strong cooling effect.

Amalaki, a famous ayurvedic plant, helps to reduce heat and strengthens the digestive fire to help reduce dampness in the body. Furthermore, it´s boosting immunity and supports healthy metabolism.

Are you looking for natural ways to improve and protect your eye sight and heal eye problems? Treatment options can vary widely and depend on the underlying conditions causing it. Get in touch with me for a personal  consultation. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Naturopathy: What it is and whom it helps

Naturopathy: What it is and whom it helps

What’s the main objective of naturopathy?

Naturopathy boasts an impressive variety of effective measures and therapies. As different as they may be, their goal is always the same: to activate and strengthen the body’s self-healing powers.

While conventional pharmaceuticals suppress symptoms and often cause new ones, the goal of naturopathy is completely different. Naturopathic therapies activate the body’s own self-healing powers to bring about real healing and restore healthy balance. 

Ideas and values ​​of naturopathy

The self-healing powers of the organism can be reactivated through protection and relief, or by using certain techniques to activate stimulus.

For a better understanding, let’s take someone with painful joints and look at different treatment options:

  • An acutely inflamed joint is first immobilised and carefully moved passively under tension.
  • A chronically inflamed joint, on the other hand, is trained appropriately depending on the damage.

In addition, the stimulus strength is individually adapted to the patient and his illness. For example, a vigorous and strong person may take cold showers. Whereas an underweight, weaker person would take warm showers or baths. 

Naturopathy thinks holistically

Naturopathy is considered the “teaching of natural remedies and naturopathic treatments”. Naturopathic procedures traditionally root in different cultures around the world. When it comes to physical complaints or illnesses, naturopathy regularly assumes that the harmonic balance in the human organism is casually disturbed.

The goal of many naturopathic procedures is therefore to restore this natural balance in the body gently. It takes into account the relationships between individual organs but also between the physical level and the mental state of the person. Furthermore, it seeks to identify and treat the causes. Especially, in case of chronic diseases, it is important to recognise the “common thread” that led to the profound imbalance.

Natural medicine procedures

According to a definition by Brauchle in 1952 natural therapies methods include: the sun, light, air, movement, rest, food, water, cold, the earth, breathing, our thoughts, our feelings and processes of will.

“Classic” naturopathy generally includes the following naturopathic treatments:

  • Hydrotherapy and balneotherapy (water treatments)
  • Movement therapy
  • Dietetics: support of the treatments by a healthy diet and a diet adapted to the clinical picture.
  • Order therapy: balanced lifestyle in a regular rhythm and in harmony with nature. Very important as the observing of the patient’s network of relationships.
  • Phytotherapy: use of plants active substances as medicine.

Acupuncture Barcelona Paris

Other methods of naturopathy are:

  • Homeopathy
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine with acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietetics, Qi Gong and Tuina massage
  • Ayurvedic medicine
  • Anthroposophic medicine

How to choose a good naturopath

You can recognise a reputable naturopath as someone that :

  • has successfully completed qualified trainings in the procedures they use.
  • does not offer a variety of treatment methods, but has specialised in a few specific procedures.
  • does not recommend that you stop taking medication that a doctor has prescribed for you.
  • knows their limits and will refer you to a doctor if your disease cannot be successfully treated with their methods.
  • does not give you healing promises.
  • does not advertise with spectacular healing successes.
  • completes regular training programs.
  • does not categorically reject conventional medicine and is also ready to work in cooperation with a doctor.

Today we find many people calling themselves naturopaths after taking some weekend trainings. That’s why it’s always important to inquire about the length and school where the naturopath trained. A comprehensive naturopathic training takes around 20 – 30 months.

Naturopathy is recommended if you:

  • want to change and optimise your diet.
  • suffer from psychosomatic complaints.
  • have sleeping problems.
  • have chronic diseases e.g. rheumatism, gout, arthritis.
  • suffer from acute events such as lumbago or a cold.
  • want to prevent (prophylaxis) and maintain health, e.g. strengthening the immune system.
  • want treatment specifically with a special naturopathic procedure e.g. craniosacral therapy, acupuncture, herbal medicine, yoga therapy, etc.
  • suffer from musculoskeletal disorders such as spinal or joint problems.
  • have skin problems like acne, eczema or psoriasis and are looking for an alternative to cortisone & Co.
  • want to address and heal allergies naturally.
  • suffer from digestive disorders.
  • have autoimmune diseases e.g. Hashimoto, Graves’ disease, etc.
  • feel exhausted and tired.
  • suffer from hormonal imbalances and diseases such as: infertility, PMS, hypothyroidism, endometriosis, PCOS, etc.
Watch Peter Mullen’s explanation of naturopathy

Foods, Herbs & Plants to Boost Natural Collagen Production

Foods, Herbs & Plants to Boost Natural Collagen Production

Collagen the Fountain of Youth

Who needs botox when there is collagen? One of the main organic components of the skin (80%) is collagen.

Collagen makes your skin elastic and is responsible for how tight or how flaccid and wrinkled it is. Besides being beneficial for a firm, smooth and glowing skin, it has other benefits on our health:

  • Supports bone health
  • Promotes vascular health
  • Keeps nails strong
  • Prevents hair loss
  • Supports eye health
  • Boosts immune system
  • Promotes joint and cartilage health
  • Supports gut health

Collagen – the inner corset of the body

Did you know that collagen is the most important fiber component of skin, bones, tendons, blood vessels, cartilage and teeth?

In the human body we find it mainly in the connective tissue. Collagen is the most important structural protein of the skin and works like an internal scaffold that holds our body together.

Collagen contains the three amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, which the body needs to produce its own collagen. A well-functioning collagen formation is essential for the health of our skin.

Our body independently forms the natural building substance daily with the help of certain cells, so-called fibroblasts. These store moisture and promote skin regeneration.

But unfortunately it doesn’t stay that way forever.

With aging the collagen breaks down faster than it is formed. As a result new collagen forms, but more slowly until the collagen renewal lags behind the breakdown.

The result: our skin becomes dull, lacklustre and wrinkles form.

So what to do to keep the skin firm and beautiful for a long time?

Collagen-boosting foods, plants and herbs

There are several foods, plants and herbs that help to boost collagen and promote a more youthful looking and radiant skin. Feed your skin beauty from the inside-out.

Foods rich in Collagen

Bone broth, chicken fricassee, fish, shell fish, egg white and gelatine.

TIP: Vitamin C is important for collagen synthesis. The body needs a sufficient supply to produce collagen. To get the most out of your collagen intake, always pair it with vitamin C. Find a list of vitamin C rich foods here.

Aloe vera

Rich in vitamin A and C, antioxidants and highly anti-inflammatory it is a great remedy for the skin. It can be applied topically or taken orally. It has been used for healing wounds, burns and cuts for ages. Find here my recipe for “Skin Boost Smoothie.

Holy basil

An Indian herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. Due to its antioxidant actions it helps with irritations such as acne, eczema and cleans pores and treats successful blemishes. It contains ursolic acid which help protect the skin and has as well anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Furthermore, it increases the elasticity and, as a result reduces wrinkles.

Pearl powder (Zhen Zhu)

One of the most used Chinese herbs for a glowing complexion and can be found in pills, tooth pastes and face masks. It´s rich in many trace minerals, amino acids, boosts antioxidants and fibroblasts in the body.

Huang Qi

It´s commonly used in beauty formulas as it increases the blood flow to the skin. As a result it flushes out toxins and fights free radicals and acts as a great immune system booster. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial actions help the skin to maintain its firmness and elasticity.

Schizandra (Wu Wei Zi)

Another Chinese herb that is considered to be a great anti-aging herb. It is said to protect fibroblasts from UV radiation and to eliminate stress-related signs of fatigue. Furthermore, it detoxifies and protects the liver.

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM herbs.

Chinese medicine offers as well Gua Sha for the face, a specific type of facial massage with a scraping tool to encourage circulation, lymph flow and to smooth wrinkles. Learn more about it and save your spot at my next online live workshop.

Gua Sha Face Massage – Get rid of Wrinkles and Pimples Naturally

 

Online Facial Gua Sha Course

Pamper your skin with the treatment once reserved for Chinese royalty. This course will provide you with the Gua Sha techniques to use as part of your home beauty regime.

Encourage your collagen where you want to, tighten facial muscles, move your lymphs and remove puffiness for a younger and brighter looking face.