In my last post, I shared an Acupressure Point that I found personally useful during panic attacks, palpitations and shortness of breath that I suffered just after I had twins, 19 years ago. Even though they are teenagers and way more stressful now, I have learned and used many different tools to balance my body so that the stress hormones of cortisol and adrenaline don’t flood my body and fry my mind.
I’m grateful for the Shiatsu acupressure and Qi Gong work I do, which uses the 5element system of Traditional Chinese Medicine to interpret symptoms and treat the body using acupressure points, meridian stretches and dietary advice.
I love having a toolkit of different techniques with which to balance the body. Below I share a simple recipe that helps to calm the mind and bring the heart home, aiding sleep and relaxation.
During the 1990s when I ran an environmental awareness and coaching agency I thought I had to think of everything. I felt that if I wasn’t on top of all my work, it would fall apart. My mind often wouldn’t let me sleep. It wouldn’t turn off. Instead of sleeping, I would run through future scenarios and presentations. Irrationally my mind thought it could control outcomes. If I could only think of everything, especially in the middle of the night, then everything would be ok. It was exhausting, physically and mentally.
It was at this time I was embarking on my Shiatsu journey when my teacher introduced me to the power of lettuce as a natural sedative, it really worked. I would drink the tea in the early evening and I would find that my sleep was better. If I woke in the night I would take a shot of pre-prepared Lettuce Juice in the fridge and I’d go straight back to sleep.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, each of the organs has a flavour. Lettuce of all varieties including Chicory and Endive pictured here, has a bitter flavour and so benefits the heart.
The heart is said to be where our Shen, our consciousness, our spirit lives. so eating foods with this bitter flavour such as basil, coriander, radish, beetroot, chicory, endive, and pomegranate will help heart function and provide a home in which the Shen spirit can settle. This will help with insomnia, heart palpitations, anxiety, overthinking and restlessness of the mind. For more foods check out previous Heart Health post
It all sounds very poetic but believe me it works.
Recipe from the Holistic Cookbook – Good Food: Better Sex
Lettuce contains a chemical called lactucarium which is the white milky substance you see when you break the leaf along the stem. As opposed to opioids this substance has no harmful side effects. Try and see for yourself.
Take 5-6 leaves of romaine or butterhead lettuce and place into a saucepan. Pour a litre of boiling water over the leaves of a head of Romaine or Butterhead lettuce, simmer in a pan with the lid on at a low temperature for 5 minutes, strain and drink.
It’s a very refreshing tasting tea tasting similar to chamomile. But it is more potent at being able to physically relax the body, relieving fullness in the chest and tightness in the mind. This is great to drink in the early evening as it is a great support for sleep and stopping insomnia, which in Chinese Medicine would be caused by the heart not being able to settle.
Chinese Medicine is over 4000 years old and the 5elements give a system where you can understand your symptoms and the cause of them. If you would like to find out more you can read all about the system in Shiatsu & the Art of Conscious Cooking or Good Food: Better Sex. This lists all the five elements, their flavours, times of the year, emotions, ailments and offers recipes plus acupressure points to transform them. It’s packed full of Food Medicine, Acupressure Points and Energy Exercises
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