peaceful mind = smooth flow of qi = good health
What is mind?
There are many ideas about what the mind does but nothing that tells us what our mind is, only complicated theories. Since we all have a mind it's better that we investigate for ourselves what our own mind is.
A simple meditation practice, derived from Buddha's Mahamudra teachings, called clarity of the mind is a very excellent tool for investigating our own mind and come to know it directly. This meditation gradually leads us to a direct experience of what our mind is, the nature of our own mind. This way we do not need the interpretation from others to tell us what our mind is. Through engaging in this meditation we shall begin to appreciate that our mind has no actual physical properties. With the help and guidance of a qualified Kadampa meditation teacher we shall discover that there are many levels of your mind (waking, dreaming, deep sleep) and that there are many parts to our mind called mental factors. These mental factors work together to enable our mind to perceive and know things.
What is the relationship between mind and qi?
Mind influences the movement of qi throughout the body via a network of subtle channels/meridians.
How does the mind and qi flow affect our health?
The state of mind is the single most important factor affecting the quality and quantity of qi flow. When our mind is at peace and therefore happy, the flow of qi is smooth and unobstructed through the channels. This is a dynamic state of health. When we are un peaceful and thus unhappy the flow of qi is disturbed and physical processes do not function so efficiently. We experience illness and sickness. If this state of imbalance is not corrected then physical changes will occur which will eventually show up in the blood chemistry as well as imaging techniques of Western medicine.
How can I investigate the nature of my own mind?
A clean, clear and very peaceful meditation for investigating the nature of your own mind is called clarity of mind meditation. For instructions, click here
Here is a working view of health and wellbeing according to Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM). You do not need to believe or have experience of this system to benefit.
What is Qi (pronounced chee)?
Chinese medicine is built around the discovery and application of a phenomenon called Qi, or Life-Force. It animates all the beautiful, moment to moment, and interconnected processes of life all around and within each of us.
In our body qi can be compared to the movement of water through an organised and complex network of pipes. These are energetic pathways (aka channels or meridians) along which qi flows are depicted in acupuncture charts. The flow of qi in these channels is what mediates all the complex processes in the human body.
Three functioning levels of qi in our body
What factors affect the quality and quantity of qi flow?
In the body the quality and quantity of qi flow needs to be just right. Several factors that affect this are categorised broadly as :
What is the most important factor affecting qi flow?
The state of mind is the single most important factor that affects the quality and quantity of qi flow. When our mind is at peace and therefore happy, the flow of qi is unobstructed. Physical processes are in harmony. This is a dynamic state of health. When we are unpeaceful and thus unhappy the flow of qi is disturbed and physical processes do not function so efficiently. We experience illness and sickness. If this state of imbalance is not corrected then physical changes will occur which will eventually show up in the blood chemistry as well as imaging techniques of Western medicine.
Health is the effective and efficient flow of qi throughout the entire body.
How will this information be applied to get me feeling and functioning better?
There are a variety tools that are used to affect the quality and quantity of qi flow. We shall select the combination that is most appropriate your your particular health needs. The main tools we use to treat acupuncture needles as well as needle free techniques.
What can I do to help myself get better between treatments?
Drawing from well researched, simple and effective self-care methods of CCM, we shall prescribe you things to do at home such as
Where can I learn more about taking care of my health?
Yes. We have designed a programme of self-care called Care for Your Qi.
cThe tradition of acupuncture which I practice is based around a set of energetic acupuncture channels called the Complement channels. These channels are termed Sinews, Luo, Divergent, and Eight Extraordinary channels. The source of these precious instructions comes from Dr Jeffrey C Yuen and is disseminated by many of his senior students such as Ann Cecil-Sterman.
This type of acupuncture practice can be referred to as Advanced Acupuncture as they are beyond the curriculum of many modern day acupuncture Schools. It can also be referred to as Classical Chinese Medicine since they are described in the classical texts.
Each teacher has their own way of interpreting the Classical teachings. Jeffrey draws extensively from his vast and rich understanding to share with us. It is from this lineage of oral transmissions that primarily informs my understanding and practice of acupuncture and Chinese medicine from the Classics.
From the point of view of this CCM there are many types of pathogenic factors (PF's for short) - that is things that challenge the body's defences. These PF's can be categorized as external, internal and constitutional
a. External PF's are
- climatic (Wind, Cold, Damp)
- ecological (pollution, virus, parasite, baceria, fungus)
- toxins (eg. asbestos, heavy metals)
b. Internal PF's are unprocessed emotions (eg. fear, grief, sadness, depression)
c. Constitutional factors are those that are held at the deep layers of the body or genetic factors.
The human body recognizes that the disease of an internal organ is the most serious of all illnesses and so has evolved highly sophisticated strategies for protecting the delicate internal organs. The energetic regulation of these organs takes place via the Primary meridians or channels.
The Complement or Secondary channels protects the internal organs by either shifting pathogens out of the Primary channels or prevents penetration of pathogens into the Primary channels and hence gaining access to the internal organs.
In the presence of a potentially life-threatening disease the Complement channels move the illness away from the internal organs and can create a different disease so that the internal organs are preserved. It means that the potentially life-threatening condition is put into latency or create a 'slower' disease.
"The Complement Channels are present literally to preserve humanity" Ann Cecil-Sterman
How does a practitioner of advanced acupuncture help patients to reclaim their health?
Through examination of pulses, tongue and other diagnostic signs we can determine which channel is being engaged to keep the PF's in check. We interpret the findings according to the unique presentation of each person before selecting the most appropriate set of channels to assist them in restoring health and wellbeing.
The particular strategy we select depends upon what the person needs and their capacity for healing themselves. The person may need :
a. help to keep the PF's in check. This achieved by accentuating the body's command of the channels in their suppressive capacity (latency).
b. to be given a directive to expel the PF. This is achieved through encouraging the body to engage the channels in their releasing capacity.
c. to move a PF to an entirely different channel to slow down the disease process. This creates a bit more time for the individual to gather resources to heal.
Empowering patients to reclaim their health and well-being.
A major advantage of CCM is that it's principles can be easily applied across a whole range of human experiences. To this end it is excellent system of preventative health that empowers the individual to maintain their day to day health and wellbeing. These methods encourage and promote increased self awareness through which we can access our own self-healing capacities.
Amongst these methods of self-care are gentle yet potent exercises (qigong), food energetics, meditation and a more connected outlook on life
From a Classical Chinese medical point of view menopause is considered a natural part of life.
The symptoms experienced by women during this significant transition period is not a problem of declining ovarian function (reduced circulating oestrogen and progesterone) but a problem of a relative increase in activity of the adrenal and thyroid glands and therefore of higher levels of circulating adrenaline and thyroid hormones.
The heightened levels of adrenaline and thyroxine accounts for many of the dramatic symptoms of menopause - hot flashes, energy imbalances, mood imbalances, increased appetite and hence weight gain, etc. Also during this period of transition we need to learn how to adapt or change lifelong habits of lifestyle and food consumption.
So the focus of Classical acupuncture treatments is to address and balance the adrenal and thyroid hormones, which in turn reduces the severity of the symptoms of menopause. Also lifestyle and dietary recommendations are given to guide you through this important period of change.
Congee otherwise known as rice porridge is very popular in the Far East.
When I was a child and would get sick my mother would make me eat this. I rejected it as I wanted to be like a modern Westerner and that eating this sort of food wasn't part of the image. Years later after undertaking training as a physician of Oriental medicine and truly understanding the important of food on health I changed my mind and now advocate to all my patients to get into congee as an important part of a health giving lifestyle.
Andrew Sterman, a professional musician, specialist in Qigong, and Chinese dietary medicine and herbs. Here is a link to his blog site with information on the benefits of congee and how to make it : Congee for Health