It’s just after Valentine’s Day as I write this and the main photo is a Chinese Valentine bouquet. As you can see, the Chinese are an immensely practical people, and the bouquet also conveys an important truth – what we eat affects our health. An interesting Chinese cultural insight is that guests usually bring gifts of food when they visit, rather than the chocolates, wine, or flowers which are common in Australia.
Anyway, just before Valentine’s Day I had the privilege of visiting a rose-breeding farm where they breed many varieties of roses. The gardens were fragrant, full of spectacular blooms of varieties I had never seen before, many of which would soon be cut for sale at markets and shops before Valentine’s Day. Interestingly, a lot of the roses that we buy on Valentine’s Day are now grown cheaply overseas, which is a big challenge for our local growers.
The family who owns the business are third generation rose breeders. Their passion and knowledge about roses emerged in everything they said. I was reminded of the first time I met the owner: we were both visiting his sister in hospital and I had brought her a bunch of roses. He looked at them, sniffed deeply, and said, “From South Africa. Lovely.” I didn’t realise that roses were his passion, so I was rather surprised at this comment.
Anyway, I learned that rose-breeding is a lot like Traditional Chinese Medicine, and roses are a lot like our bodies. Let’s look at some similarities:-
- Roses thrive in the right conditions (water, nourishment, care) and don’t do so well if you ‘feed’ them badly. Our bodies also need the right food, plenty of water and vitamins, as well as some care and attention if they are going to thrive.
- The general public do not see many of the unique new breeds of roses because the buyers aren’t interested. Every person is unique, but unlike roses we’re not dependent on buyers to determine whether we have a valuable contribution to make to the world. We are intrinsically valuable so we need to look after ourselves.
- It takes about 5 years of design, nurture and care to develop a new rose variety. Whether we’re working on our physical health, our mental or emotional development, or any other creative venture we need to give ourselves time to succeed.
Along the way, don’t get so caught up in where you are going that you forget to enjoy the beauty and joy around you.
Your spleen may be small, but it plays a critical part in your overall energy and sense of well-being, so it makes good sense to understand and nurture it!
Signs of a Weak Spleen: One of the Spleen’s functions is to hold things in place. This includes muscles, organs and even blood. When your spleen is weakened the chances are you will notice that your muscles are soft and that you bruise easily. You may be more susceptible to organ prolapse.
A weak spleen also dulls and distorts your sense of taste so you may crave stronger flavours or find that your favourite foods taste strange. Even worse, a weak spleen affects your ability to concentrate, remember clearly, and process thoughts so you may find yourself creating problems in your own head.
Conditions That Stress Your Spleen
- Too much study or work – long hours without a break.
- Anxiety – this can be a circular problem: a weak spleen leads to worry, and worry in turn weakens your spleen. It’s important to break this cycle as soon as you notice it!
- Too much exercise – the spleen likes gentle exercise and massage so after a hard workout, get a gentle massage to restore it.
- Wrong foods – the spleen struggles to process foods that are too cold, greasy or sweet, as well as alcohol. It also processes any food much more effectively if you concentrate on your eating, rather than eating while studying, working, or absorbed in something else (even watching TV).
5 Ways to Keep Your Spleen Happy
Now we’ve looked at what to avoid, here are 5 things you can do to keep your spleen happy, so that you raise your energy levels and sense of well-being.
- Eat small, frequent meals. Chew every mouthful thoroughly, slow down your eating and don’t skip meals;
- Choose foods that are warm in nature (eg. Ginger) and sweet, but not sugary (eg. Sweet potato, carrots etc)
- Avoid raw vegetables and icy drinks which make your spleen work harder. If you feel tired after eating, it is usually because you have stressed your spleen.
- Avoid foods that are too hot in nature (eg. alcohol, drugs, and refined sugars)
- Stick to regular mealtimes and don’t go to bed right after eating as your body typically doesn’t digest well while you sleep.
Take care of your spleen with nutritious food, and regular meals and it will keep you energised and happy.
Using natural therapies to balance your spleen function will improve your health and help to prevent future health problems.
Nourishing Creamy Potato Salad to nurture the spleen
The increasing use of the term “dry needling” in Australia has created a lot of confusion. So what is dry needling and how does it compare to acupuncture?
The difference is that a practitioner is either fully qualified to insert needles or they are not. Since 2012, only practitioners with extensive acupuncture training can use the word “acupuncture”. Everyone else has to use the lesser and rudimentary “dry needling” term.
What happened in 2012?
On the 1st July 2012 the Australian government introduced the national registration of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) profession. This is the same type of regulation that applies to doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and psychologists – and requires extensive training and university qualifications to register as an acupuncture practitioner.
But this does not stop anybody else offering the so called dry needling services – they can simply do a short 2-3 day course and start inserting needles where it hurts.
Why choose a registered acupuncturist?
There is much more to acupuncture than inserting needles into sore points, which may only be a symptom of an underlying cause or condition. Acupuncture requires a comprehensive patient assessment, an acupuncture diagnosis and a personal treatment plan. Appropriate needling methods and supplementary treatments can then be administered. Supplementary treatments may include cupping, moxibustion, Chinese herbal medicine, exercise therapy or dietary recommendations. Acupuncturists can also work with your existing doctor or GP. In addition, an acupuncturist must undertake continual professional development to stay registered.
Acupuncture is considered to be safe in the hands of well-trained practitioners. However, without this extensive training, dry needling by non-acupuncturists raises the risk of more complications, some of which can be quite painful and serious. Historical note: The dry needling terminology came from Dr Janet Travell, MD in the mid 1900’s when she inserted “dry” or empty hypodermic needles which did not contain any medication.
Is my practitioner fully qualified and registered in acupuncture?
Go to the free online practitioner search facility in the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency website https://www.ahpra.gov.au/registration/registers-of-practitioners.aspx
As registered practitioners entrusted with the care of your health, we are here to ensure that you always receive safe and effective acupuncture treatments.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are generally considered to be safe in the hands of a well-trained practitioner, but occasionally (as with all health treatments) may be associated with possible adverse reactions in individual cases.
And a final note of thanks to the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA) for their assistance with this article.
The Year of the Red Fire Rooster – Planning, Implementing, and Preparing for Change
The Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Rooster is here! Over the Christmas break I took time to evaluate where my life and work currently are, to consider where I want them to be, and to decide what plans, habits and changes I need to establish to make this a year of progress, fulfilment and action.
Rooster Years are great years for success, but in Rooster Years, success doesn’t happen without action and planning. Like all my readers, I face challenges and choices every day, and every day I have the opportunity to create my own “luck”, just like you do.
Did you get a chance to plan out your year? Or are you just hoping that things will turn out OK and you’ll reach your ‘goals’ anyway?
I always find that it’s hard to evaluate and plan in bits and pieces so I shut myself away for 2 days and did it all in a big chunk. Of course, I kept telling myself that I couldn’t afford to block out the time like that, but the impact was amazing! It took almost half a day to stop my mind fluttering here and there, but suddenly it was like flicking a light switch and I was 100% focused and productive.
The really amazing thing was not only how much I got done, but the sense of clarity and motivation I felt. Some people think that ‘clarity and motivation’ are intangibles, but that’s simply not true. They are game changers!
Once I had clear intentions about both my work, personal goals and activities, and finished planning what actions I need to take, my whole attitude and energy shifted. I know that things won’t always flow smoothly and that new challenges and choices will come up, but I’m prepared to face them and push through with patience and persistence.
If you haven’t yet taken the time to set goals and work out what you need to do to achieve them, then don’t waste any more time. The Year of the Fire Rooster is a time when everything will align to help you achieve the good outcomes you commit to and make your own luck for 2017.
I look forward to you celebrating your achievements during the year..… but it all starts with an action plan!
Read more about The Year of the Red Fire Rooster
“I am alert
Ready to take action
The first on the scene
The last to leave
I take chances
But I am precise
I know where things belong
I am orderly and fastidious
Nothing escapes me
I am always prepared
I never give up or in
I AM THE ROOSTER”
The Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Rooster starts on 28th January and is not going to be a year to sit on your hands and do nothing. Instead this is going to be a year for making changes in your life. So don’t be all squawk and no action!
The rooster is crowing and glowing to wake everyone up. The rooster rises with the sun to get an early start to the day. So get yourself some morning rituals with good habits and healthy routines. The rooster song heralds a new dawn and an awakening which will be marked by success.
In a Rooster Year, everyone can reap great rewards by tapping into the rooster qualities, such as loyalty, commitment, honour, integrity, good old-fashioned hard work, efficiency, playing fair and family values. It will be a powerful year for progress and moving forward with clear intentions for money, business and personal relationships. 2017 is a good year for people to take action and influence their future, rather than just going with the flow, because this year nothing comes by chance or luck. For the next 12 months you are in the driver’s seat and will be making your own luck to a large extent. Be optimistic and open-minded – if you focus on overcoming all challenges, nothing can stop you from reaching your targets. So roll up your sleeves in order to reach your objectives.
The years of the Rooster are always marked by success for those who have put in the patience and hard work on their projects or investments. This year their businesses will flow and their dedication will be rewarded.
Plan, rather than rushing ahead. The recommendation is to stick to practical and well proven solutions to ensure success, rather than resorting to risky ventures or shady dealings.
We wish you a Happy New Year of the Red Fire Rooster. Gong Xi Fa Cai! Let the crowing begin . . .
Christmas Clinic Times 2016
The Bing’s Natural Health clinic will be closed over the Christmas period from December 24th 2016 through to January 6th 2017 inclusive.
However, the Clinic will be open briefly on December 29th and 30th between 10am to 2pm.
If you need to see us, or stock up on your Chinese herbs, please ring the clinic on (03) 9699 5333, and leave a detailed message on the answering machine. We will get back to you on the 29th or the 30th December.
We wish you all of the very best for the Festive Season, and a safe and happy New Year.