Natural Sweet Tea for Immunity

Natural Sweet Tea for Immunity

NATURALLY SWEET TEA FOR IMMUNITY

For the month of March our Chi Gong practice will be focusing on the Increasing Energy and Reducing Pain – especially important if you are suffering from Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue or even symptoms following Covid.

So how can we reduce inflammation, reduce pain and increase energy?  Chinese Medicine may have some answers for you.
In Chi Flow with Jo we practice Qi Gong, which gently opens and releases the fascia so that trapped virus’s can be released.  This can help stop an autoimmune response which exhausts the body, and can be the cause of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
The Qi gong uses breath and movement plus we also use Qi Food Medicine and Acupressure to support the body further.  So that you can step into spring and shake of the hibernation of winter.

Constant inflammation, as an immune response, is exhausting mentally and physically  so let’s look at the Immune system from a Chinese Medicine perspective to see how we can support the body from the inside out finishing with a nourishing tea made with a traditional ingredient give at Chinese New Year.

The Lung, which draws in the Chi of Heaven through our breath. and the Spleen which draws energy from food, control and support the Wei Chi. (simplified to Immune System)

The Wei Chi, like a Ready Brek glow or energy protection field, guards the surface of the body and the mucous membranes from external pathogens entering the body.

It controls the opening and closing of pores, moistens the skin and hair, regulates body temperature, and warms up the inner organs.

It is considered the prime minister of the body, in control of the protective energy field but not solely responsible for creating it; this is where the Spleen supports……. Food (Chi of Earth) is received by the stomach and then passed to the Spleen.

The Spleen in Chinese medicine uses that power from food to make blood. Part of the Spleens energy,  together with your constitutional energy stored in your kidneys, is sent back to the lung for Wei Chi to be sent around your body to protect it.

As we sleep the Wei Chi is not needed as strongly, so the energy re-enters the body and nourishes the organs so that we feel refreshed upon waking, ready for the day.

This picture Chinese Medicine paints of the Immune system, might be new to you and it’s a very different way at looking at the body. There are similarities to Western medicine as the spleen creates white blood cells which are the fighter of infection and viruses.

But when we talk of the Spleen here we talk of it’s whole energetic system – physical, emotional and even spiritual.

Way before modern medicine, 1000’s of years ago Chinese Medicine understood lung and spleen strength in fighting viruses and staying healthy.

This system of preventing sickness is very ancient – the Nei Jing – The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine was thought to be written around 2600BC.  – and here is a quote from the Nei Jing (chapter 36)

“the heart is the sovereign…the lung is the prime minister, the liver is in charge of planning, the spleen is in charge of defending (wei), the kidney is in charge of supporting.” 

To receive the benefits of the 5-element dietary system that links the organs to flavours and seasons or to practice powerful yet gentle chi gong movements, it’s not essential to know or believe all this, you can simply enjoy the advantages.

I like to share this knowledge so that if you like, you can have a different language with which to communicate and understand your body.

This fantastic tea recipe supports both the lung with its pungent spiciness and the spleen with its soft sweetness.

Red dates have long been used in Chinese Medicine for strengthening the spleen energy. Specifically, they help build strength and energy following chronic illness, exhaution, anemia or post partum recovery.

Red dates specifically nourish the blood and balance the Qi energy in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They are not as sweet as palm dates but they are packed full of antioxidants and vitamin C which strengthen the immune system.

Traditionally they are given at Chinese New Year as a symbol of health and longevity. 

Red is a lucky color in China, meaning booming and prosperous. Dates (枣 zǎo) have the same pronunciation as “early” (早 zǎo), meaning a head start.

If you don’t have any Red Dates, don’t worry, (as that is the emotion that weakens the spleen) – use 1 tablespoon of Goji Berries instead.

Red Date Tea 

  • • 1 inch Ginger
  • • 6-8 Red Dates (1 tbsp Goji berries also work if you don’t have red dates)
  • • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • • 4 medium Pears
  • • 2 litres of Water

METHOD:

Bring ingredients to boil and simmer for 10 mins, the pears will probably fall apart which is great as you can eat them together with the red dates.

 Pears are wonderfully soothing for the lungs and don’t forget if you would like more recipes with pears, red dates, goji berries and much more besides you can find them in the Cookbooks.

 

CLICK HERE for another Tea recipe for Immunity

Qi gong to increase energy for fibromyalia and chronic fatigue

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Qi gong to increase energy for fibromyalia and chronic fatigue
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Red is a lucky color in China, meaning booming and prosperous. Dates (枣 zǎo) have the same pronunciation as “early” (早 zǎo), meaning a head start.

If you don’t have any Red Dates, don’t worry, (as that is the emotion that weakens the spleen) – use 1 tablespoon of Goji Berries instead.

 Joanne Faulkner is a Qi Gong teacher – Chi Flow with Jo – teaching live daily online Qi Gong classes to hundreds of people; a Shiatsu practitioner specializing in the energy of food in Traditional Chinese Medicine and a published Author. Her residential and day Wellness Retreats focus on Chi Gong, self-Shiatsu & Conscious Cooking Demonstrations, and are extremely popular.

Joanne is currently the Irish representative to the European Shiatsu Federation and until recently was the Chairperson of the Shiatsu Society Ireland.

 “Good Food: Better Sex” and “Shiatsu & the Art of Conscious Cooking” , both written and published by Joanne, are modern cookbooks full of delicious recipes, Traditional Chinese Medicine plus acupressure points for health and wellbeing.

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Increase Energy, Reduce Fatigue

Increase Energy, Reduce Fatigue

Spring is here in Ireland.  St Brigid’s Day which has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Imbolc takes place on the 1st February.  It is the festival of new life and fertility. A time to look forward to brighter days, warmer weather, new growth on the land and the new birth of animals.

But maybe your spring has not sprung? 

Perhaps your energy is still hibernating, or you are feeling weary no matter how much sleep you get?  

Perhaps your joints are sore, painful or inflamed?

In this blog we will show how using Qi Gong, Self Acupressure and Food Medicine can help you bounce back after a winter and viruses that may have left you feeling wiped out.

Studies show that following C*vid, the invading viruses can remain in the fascia and endothelium of the body, causing inflammation.  Any flu virus infection can trigger an inflammatory response in the body.  If we can’t expel the viral fragments from the body the constant inflammation response can be exhausting, creating symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, joint and muscle pain, chronic fatigue and other symptoms common to Fibromyalgia.  

The treatment of Fibromyalgia, Long Covid and Chronic Fatigue can be tricky, with such wide ranging symptoms that often wander around the body such as anxiety, insomnia, light sensitivity, headaches, muscle and joint pain, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and depression can be tricky to diagnose and treat.  Here I share Qi Gong, Acupressure and Food medicine that I use to Increase Energy and Reduce Pain.

First, begin with the Fascia.

Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fibre and muscle in place.  Endothelium is a single layer of cells, which line all your blood and lymphatic vessels. It provides a space for your blood and tissues to interact so is vital to the functioning of all your organs and tissues.  Together the fascia and endothelium create a structural continuity that gives form and function to every tissue and organ.

Non classical monocytes patrol the endothelium and create inflammation in response to an infection.

If viral remnants become lodged in the fascia the monocytes will keep creating inflammation in order to try to rid the virus from your body.

For some people, long after a person is infectious, the immune response persists as the markers of non classical monocytes remain elevated.  This constant autoimmune response is exhausting plus it creates tension and stiffness in the fascia.  

So how can we use the complementary therapies of Qi Gong, Acupressure and 5 element foods to push the virus out of the fascia, stopping the auto immune inflammatory response?
Qi Gong practiced in Chi Flow with Jo gently opens and releases the fascia.

Using repetitive spirialing motions, in exercises such as Spiral Palms, or Quan Yin Draws Rainbow, Qi gong opens, hydrates and lubricates the joints, ligaments, and fascia, allowing release of the viral fragments.  (scroll down for the free class offer)

Our body, including connective tissues, exhibit spiral patterns. The swirling shape of our heart that pumps the blood in a vortex motion as it travels around our body, our DNA and even our bones are constructed with spirals.  You can stretch and contract the spiral but it will always return to the original state.

By gently coiling and uncoiling the fascia, veins, arteries, nerve tissues, and other connective tissues, viral remnants are released from the body, thereby reducing pain, inflammation, stiffness and increasing energy levels.

Whenever there is an outward growth, expansion of energy, or a radial force combined with a rotation you will create a spiral, a natural shape, found in the spider’s web, the structure of a hurricane, moths flying to the moon and all kinds of plants such as pine cones, sunflowers, cauliflowers, pineapples and succulents

In Taoism and Chinese Medicine our life force energy is made manifest in this particular body. We are no different to a tree or a blade of grass.  Same life force energy, just different collection of cells and therefore manifestation.  So to promote flow and expansion of energy we can use this natural movement when working with the body

The twisting and rotating of the joints and spine also promotes the elimination of excess dampness in the body. The movements act as if wringing out a towel, expelling toxins and excess water.

Internal dampness often seems a strange term, perhaps because it is outside of western medicine understanding. But think of a damp room, the more water content in the air, the harder it is to heat.  To increase flow and movement of energy, we have to clear the heavy and dense atmosphere. 

And so it’s the same in the body. The Chi, the Life force energy needs to be able to flow, unobstructed and with ease, expanding and contracting, spiralling energy and fluids around the body.  Dampness slows the flow, creating pain, foggy thinking and low energy levels.

Cold affects the Kidney creating contraction, obstructions and slow movement of Chi causing cramps and sharp pain. 

Wind affects the Liver often working with the other internal climates to invade the body, moving energy, pathogens and symptoms erratically causing tremors, spasms and twitching. 

Heat affects the Heart causing erratic movement of Chi and often associated with inflammation, redness of skin, irritability and inability for the Shen/Spirit to settle. 

Dampness affects the Spleen causing heavy and foggy energy, generating sticky secretions and protracted, dense pain especially in the middle and lower burner, inability to transform and transport food into energy. 

Dryness affects the Lung causing dehydration and scant body fluids especially in the mucous membranes of the body including lungs, nasal cavities, digestive tract, skin, hair and nails.

We need some dampness and mucus in the body to moisten the digestive tract and mucous membranes. But excess collection of moisture causes heavy and foggy energy, generating sticky secretions and protracted, dense pain especially in the middle and lower burner/belly, heavy limbs, poor digestion, loose stools, candida, brain fog and chronic inflammation. 

Consuming excess sugars, refined foods or lots of carbohydrates, weakens the Spleen/pancreas is one of the ways dampness accumulates in the body.

Where there is dampness, Qi cannot flow and stagnation occurs, trapping the viral fragments in the fascia. 

To drain the dampness and clear the heat I would recommend avoiding the spleen weakening foods and increasing dark leafy greens into the diet such as: 

kale, watercress, spinach, chard, celery 

Bitter foods such as:

  • Daikon radish, Regular radish, Turnip, Adzuki Beans (blog on the website), Vinegars, Lemons/Limes, Bitter herbs such as milk thistle, valerian, Agnus Castus.

To reduce pain, inflammation and to improve energy levels, moving stagnant energy is imperative. 

Liver 3 – Great Rushing is a great for flowing Yin blood and Yang energy around the body . 

It is the source point for the whole Liver meridian, meaning that the strength of this point can open energy into the whole meridian, increasing the power and ease of flow.

“Like a spring that is unclogged, it lets the Ki rise to the surface and then flow into the meridian.” 

Here see the idea of spirals used within the source point.  As the spring unclogs, deeper layers of water move more slowly to the left or right, depending on the hemisphere, to create a spiral. Use this image when treating the point to clear any congestion along the whole Liver Channel.

The Liver keeps body cells supplied with energy. However if the Liver is congested through over-eating, medications, alcohol or sugar, it is not able to metabolise stored energy.  In Western medicine terms this is similar to Non Alcoholic Liver Fatty Disease NALFD, causing exhaustion, sore joints, disturbed sleep, even our nails and hair begin to thin.

Use this point regularly to improve flow and clear dampness from the body which causes swelling, stagnation, lethargy and low energy. 

Find the point in the hollow between the first and second toe just above the knuckle of the big toe. 

Traditionally we use the thumb to massage the acupoint with deep and steady pressure. Try massaging the point in a circular motion without removing the thumb from the skin. You can also hold and gently press, imagining energy travelling from the core of your body, out of your thumb and into the point you are connecting with.  Use the visualisation of the spiral to focus and direct the energy into the point for dispersal of stagnant energy or to gather and flow energy to an empty point, which feels cold, waxy and flacid.

Massage the point anywhere between 30 seconds and 3 minutes until you feel a change in the energy.  Remember this might be an all over body sensation not just felt in the localised area or point.  Consistency is key so I encourage daily massage of this point to clients who suffer stagnation, pain, lethargy, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia together with daily Qi gong to release the fascia. 

To connect with the rising energy of spring and shake of fatigue of a foggy, clogged Liver try this coiling and uncoiling of your body. 

Connect with the life force, Yin Yang, energy pattern; expanding and contracting, tightening and softening, firm yet elastic, intrinsic to all living things, from tiny atomic particles to vast expanding galaxies, and let your life force flow.

Within this (w)holistic system, there are also emotional and spiritual aspects to increasing energy, reducing pain and releasing viruses.  You can find out about these either by joining us in Chi Flow with Jo or by buying my books.  If you have a specific question, remember you can always Ask Me Anything

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Do you feel sluggish, physically lethargic and mentally foggy?

Do you have slow metabolism and easily gain weight?

Do you find yourself getting puffy easily, have swollen limbs or get bloated often?

Do you have oily skin, weeping lesions or acne?

Do you have loose stools or a lot of discharge?

Are your energy levels on the floor?

Is that you? Then we are on the same page and this Chi Flow with Jo programme is perfect for you.

Chi Flow is a way to start your day with positivity and connection with other people just like you.

Welcome to something different that is heart-centred, simple, easy and fun!

  • 30 min Daily Qi Gong exercises working on the Spleen and Liver (recordings also sent daily)
  • Daily Live Check in – for Q&A and support
  • Daily nutrition advice and recipes
  • Free access to Live Evening Talks
  • Library with 100’s for videos for whatever you feel like
  • Closed Facebook group for sharing and support

Chi Flow doors open to join the last week of the month closing on the first day of the month to begin the new Qi Gong moves, Acupressure and Food Medicine

Have a look at what others say about the practice

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Self-administered acupressure or Chinese Medicine is not a substitute for visits to qualified healthcare practitioners.

Knowing how to treat yourself and your loved ones with complimentary therapies like acupressure can be greatly beneficial and convenient. However, for serious and chronic conditions, you’ll want to visit an Shiatsu therapist / Acupuncturist or other qualified healthcare practitioner who can develop a treatment plan based on your unique medical history and combination of symptoms.  The information provided should not be considered medical advice.