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11Dec/09Off

Wonderful water therapies – Swimming, Part 2

Alright, I just came back from a vacation and will go on to talk about different healing therapies along with my research. Sometimes,  it's not necessarily limited to Healthy Check therapies, just whatever alternative therapies I found interesting. I brought up some inspiring stories of swimming last post. Indeed, swimming has been long known for a great exercise. In the recent 20 years, it has become a physical therapy for many patients instructed by doctors. Over 60 millions of Americans take swimming as a long-term exercise for health "maintenance". In the old days of Chinese community, most people focused on working hard as their "exercise", partly because of the poverty keep them "work" hard in the farms, or as blue collar workers just to survive. Now since the society changed a lot already, people who are especially over 30-40 years old realize their health are getting worse. They need to find a better way for leisure and health purpose, which can keep them healthy even after retire.  Swimming is known as the best work out for the whole body.  So it's getting more popular in Chinese community than before.

A lot of consistent swimmers go for swimming because their health is declining, usually after 40 something, symptoms are like sore back, get tired easily, etc. Retired swimmers also go swim for social purpose as well. Repetitive movements, slow and steady breaths, the freedom and the floating force provided by water, help swimmers to feel relieved and change the mindset. Some people swim for fun immersing in the water, some swim for exercise, some people swim for stress relief. No matter what the reasons are, swimming has some advantage that no other exercise can replace. First of all, water somewhat defy gravity and let our body joints and muscle freely move, so patients with muscle or joints problems, or injured limbs take swimming as their best choice of exercise and even "movement". Furthermore, unlike walking or running, which use mostly a few parts of your body, swimming uses the whole body including arms, legs, back, stomach and all major group of muscles, so it's the most balanced exercises. Swimming doesn't give as much pressure as other exercises to circulation system and joints.

Doctors usually suggest people who has arthritis or body injury to swim, because this is the best method  increasing the amount of exercise with minimum strikes to the body. According to some sports specialist, swimming in correct poses is almost the only exercise that doesn't cause injury to our body, because water almost make our body weightless. There is only 10% of active force of the land, so the pressure to our joints is very small as well. Some handicapped people go swimming like a fish everyday and totally get rid of the limitation of their injured body.

Can swimming lose some weight? Consistent swimming can really tone up our muscle and get rid of fat, but weight is different. Muscle is heavier than fat so swimming may actually gain some weight. Since cold water makes our brain senses hunger after swimming to tell our body to eat a good meal. If we eat more than necessary after swimming, it could be worse. However, if we can control our calorie intake, swimming does burn more fat than running. A specialist indicated that water is 775 times heavier than air, swimmers has to burn 25% more calories than normal runners to resist the water pressure.

The most appealing says of swimming is that swimmers look younger than their real age. Also, the author of The Complete Book of Swimming, P. Whitten also indicates that swimming reduce fat and blood pressure, increase good cholesterol , hence reduce the  chances of heart diseases, diabetes and some cancers.

19Nov/09Off

Wonderful water therapies – Spa, hot spring, etc, Part 4

(cont'd from part 3)

Mr. Hong, the owner of two hot spring resorts in Taiwan as indicated in the last post, is obviously a big fan of hot spring therapy. He's been trying his efforts to convince tourists and local hot spring goers that hot spring is more than just for relaxing fun and leisure. Mr. Hong is using his over 30 years of expertise and claiming himself as a professional water therapist who help promoting that hot spring can serve as a healing treatment. He showed two physical check reports from a client who used to be a diabetes patient. The first report showed a high blood sugar level. After two and half months of hot spring therapy, this patient had another physical check. The report was surprisingly showing his blood sugar level turned back to normal. The physician who did the physical check was so shocked and reassure with the computer data again because that looked like a mistake. As you'd expect, that was really nothing wrong with the report. Mr. Hong is so confident that a six weeks treatment plan can heal a lot of chronic diseases and make certain improvements.

Japanese has been doing a lot of research and study on hot spring since hundreds of years ago. They already develop a hot spring culture for health purpose. There are over fifty specialized hot spring hospitals in Japan. The diseases they treat include cerebrovascular diseases, chronic arthritis, stroke sequelae, diabetes, digestion disorders, chronic hearts and lungs diseases, neuralgia, "perifpheral circulatory disturbance", back pain, sports injuries...etc.

(to be cont'd)

16Nov/09Off

Wonderful water therapies – Spa, hot spring, etc, Part 3

(cont'd from part 2)

Hot Spring, according to those enthusiast s and the people in hot spring resorts, can almost cure everything. Mr. Hong, an owner of two hot spring resorts in Taiwan, has already enjoyed hot spring for over 30 years. He said diabetes, gout (metabolic arthritis), sequelae after intake of steroids, liver diseases, dark spots on skin, etc...hot spring can have healing power for these problems. It's because hot spring can help discharge the deposits of medicine and waste inside our body. Many doctors also recommend spa to help sweating and metabolism. However, these doctors didn't comment on the healing effects for the diseases above indicated by the industry.

A hot spring guest climbed out from the pool and take a break before his third time going back in. Although it's already 5 minutes, he can still clearly feel the shocking refreshment brought by the heartbeat. His head still sweating like raindrops. This is how he described it, "This is the first time I know that I can sweat this way. It's also my first time I found that the exciting heartbeats can last for this long. It feels like I just had some aerobic exercise. The author of a book called "Get healthy in 8 weeks" has his point of view on sweating in hot spa and spring, "Sweating not only can help release the extra heat, it help discharge the body waste as well, which is an important part of the recovery cycle. If you take too much salt (sodium), medicine or poisonous chemicals, this is a good excretion for the body. And It's going to help relieve the burden of liver and kidneys.

(to be cont'd)

22Sep/09Off

Introduction to Ginseng, part 2, therapeutic properties and uses

Since long time ago, both Chinese and American ginsengs have been widely used as medicine. They have often served in the treatment of many of the same bodily disorders.  In China, the history of using ginseng has been recorded for more than 4000 years. The look of ginseng looks quite like human body, that's why all sorts of myths about ginsengs that are over thousand years old can become fairies. On the other hand, there are also many legends and stories saying that ginseng was a gift given to men by the fairies. That's why portrayals of fairies have been used traditionally as decorations on packages and advertisements of ginsengs, especially for Korean products.

The uses of ginseng are wide. Chinese doctors treat different health issues ranging from dysentery, malaria, cancer and diabetes, as well as to improve circulation of blood; to reduce high blood pressure, and to remedy almost all blood and skin diseases, from pimples and boils to anemia.  Ginseng is known as "Herb of Eternal Life" and the "Elixir of Life" among people, and it's taken as a general tonic to enhance health and longevity.

The fundamental value of ginseng is its great ability to detoxify and normalize the entire system, or we can say to increase vital energy. It re-establishes the organ's functions, corrects disordered nutrition and metabolism, and purifies the blood and lymphatic systems. The effect of ginseng works slowly and gently, without much side effects.

After some research by Japanese, Chinese and Russian scientists since mid-1900s, some spectacular chemical properties were found in Ginseng. Many of ginseng's essentials are chemically unique and were given names derived from the genus name. "Panacene" is tranquilizer and pain reliever; "Panaxin" stimulates the brain, improves muscle tone and tunes up the cardiovascular system; "Panquilon" stimulates the endocrine secretions, such as pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands) which in turn regulate different body processes from digestion to aging. Also, ginseng contains a range of B vitamins, significant amounts of minerals and enzymes. "Germanium" is also an essential element which has been shown clinically effective in treating anemia by stimulating the formation of red blood cells in bone marrow, and is being investigated as a cure for cancer.

In Hong Kong, Korean and American ginseng are used quite differently. American Ginseng is more for general purposes, for both acute and chronic diseases, because it nourishes in general as a whole and has fewer side effects. Korean ginseng is usually used in cases of "yang deficiency". So old man with "yang" diminishing along with age during winter (a "yin" season") specifically find it beneficial. If "yang" is too much, like if it's taken by young people or in summer, "hot" symptoms such as headache, mouth ulcers and insomnia can happen.

(sources: Streetwise Guide: Chinese Herbal Medicine by Wong Kang Ying and Martha Dahle)

11Sep/09Off

Hand Acupressure for Overweight / Obesity

Overweight....this is probably the most popular "illness" that people are interested to treat. Many people, especially ladies, care more about how they look than their health. At the same time, there's a trend (or a myth) in the society that if you can't manage your health, that means you can't manage other things or people neither.  That's why more people are going to gym now, which is not necessary a bad thing.

But what is called overweight? Usually if your weight exceeds [(body height in cm -100)x0.9]x20%, that is overweight. Overweight also means you have too much fat in your blood - the real fear of overweight should be the diseases caused directly or indirectly by it, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, stroke, myocardial infarction etc.

To  reduce weight, the best way is to control the function of the stomach and reduce the appetite. The acupoint or acupressure point or reflexive area that help control the appetite would be the area along  the edge of the "raised" part below the root of thumb on the palm side (see diagram), and the other supplementary reflexive area would be around the center of the back of the hands, between the middle finger bone and ringer finger bone (see diagram). That area affects the internal secretion, so it helps reducing the appetite as well.

To reduce the function of the stomach and hence reduce the appetite, STRONG stimulation is needed. Either pinch or massage hard on these areas 7-10 times or use a toothpick to stimulate 7-10 times until you feel painful. Do this every day and make sure the stimulation is so STRONG that you feel painful, or otherwise it's going to stimulate the function of your stomach and raise your appetite instead - because it's the same reflexive area to heal the lack of appetite with moderate stimulation. That's important to remember.

overweight_reflexive_areaoverweight_reflexive_area2

29Aug/09Off

Introduction of Foot Acupressure – Reflexology

reflexology01_x

About a month ago I posted about 12+2 meridians or channels carrying Qi and Blood Flow, and the 365 major acupoints (or acupuncture points, or "xue dao" in Mandarin). About two weeks ago I talked about hand acupressure and some techniques for healing some common illness like toothache, diarrhea or motion sickness through massaging the reflexive area or the stimulating certain acupoints. Before I list more different illnesses that can be healed through the hands, I decided to introduce foot acupressure as well, so I have both to talk about later.

The therapy on feet are actually the same on the hands. The healing based on the stimulation of the reflexive areas (or reflecting areas, reflective areas....whatever they're called in English) is called reflexology. Usually stimulations include massage, acupuncture, acupressure, moxabustion etc. The purpose is to adjust the function of internal organs and enhance the flow of Qi and blood through the meridians. Basically I kinda talked about all these in the introduction of hand acupressure.

There are about 20% of major acupoints on our feet and legs. Massaging these areas and stimulating those points not only can cure common illness like headache or toothache, even high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes these serious diseases can be controlled and relieved. Foot or hand acupressure therapy doesn't have any side effects and always safe. Not just the hands, feet work as a forecast for our health as well.

When we're done with exercises, massaging our legs and feet not only help us to avoid the sore, we're actually helping the internal organs and Yin Yang balance as well. Foot acupressure can be done by ourselves without others help, anywhere and anytime we like.

I bought a "carpet with rocks" which is actually made for foot acupressure therapy. Walking on this carpet is painful, but it's also a nice therapy for our health. If you walk on some little stones and you find your feet really painful, that means your health is just so-so. If you feel ok, that means you're quite healthy. I'll try to post the photo of this thing I bought and talk about this later. Also I'll talk about the techniques of massage on foot as well.

(Sources: Diagram from tcmadvisory.com/Reflexology)

7Aug/09Off

“Walking Qi Gong” introduced by film producer Raymond Wong

This is the continuation of the last article. Yesterday I posted the story of how the film producer Raymond Wong help fight against his wife's cancer with many different approaches including a Qi Gong called "Self-controlled Qi Gong, or "Walking Qi Gong". Raymond's wife started to practice "Self-controlled Qi Gong" after she found out the ovarian cancer in 1997. The doctor used a medicine called "TAXOL" for her chemotherapy. During that period, Raymond found some Ganoderma lucidum (LingZhi or Reishi) for her as supplements to reduce the side effects from the chemotherapy. He also accompanied her wife to study Qi Gong just in order to improve the internal strength to recover.

After 10 years, his wife is still healthy. She just finished a physical check and looked like the cancer didn't come back. She's been studying Qi Gong exercise for over 10 years and they consider this very helpful. When Raymond talked to his wife about readers showing strong interest in the Qi Gong she's practicing, she's decided to share an easy "Kidney protection" Qi Gong (one from the "Walking Qi Gong")  that helps to defend cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, lung diseases, infertility, hydronephrosis, cardiovascular disease: (Click the diagram below to zoom)

raymondwongdiagram_tn

"Kidney protection" Qi Gong Reminders:

Head, Waist: Take center line of the body and twist about 45 degrees to left and to right.

Hands, Arms: Draw an internal  virtual line like writing the number "8"

Legs: Start walking naturally, step down with heel hitting the floor first, toes point upward

Mindset: Focus on one thought, or listen to own breaths

Speed: 50-60 steps per minute, keep it slow

Total time: 30 minutes for one session

Starting direction: facing south or east