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.

My Menopause Story

My Menopause Story

At 34, I had a rough birth with my twin boys.  That’s me in the photo.  It’s taken just after putting up the Christmas tree so I know I had another 3 weeks and a kidney infection before I gave birth to them on January 5th 2003.  They weighed 6.7 and 6.3 lbs – that’s a lot of baby for a 5-foot woman to carry.  So when they were delivered via emergency C-section at 40 weeks after 2 days labour, I had nothing else to give.

My body didn’t even have the energy to contract my uterus so I haemorrhaged and almost died. Yes I saw the white light and someone had a chat with me.  It was an amazing experience and being so knackered I wasn’t sure I wanted to come back.

But back I came to look after my twin boys and run the environmental empowerment organisation I owned,  The company worked with the regeneration of Ballymun, well known for its high levels of unemployment, drug usage and high-rise tower blocks. It could be a dangerous and stressful area of Dublin to work in. I over identified with the success of the projects and worked way too much. I had qualified as a shiatsu practitioner in 2002 but this job was where the money was.

When the twins were 2, I found out my partner was having an affair within the company. I was just too exhausted to carry on. I turned the business into a community development. I left him and my business.

That’s when my Peri-Menopause symptoms started. I would get so dizzy I thought I was going to black out.  The first one happened on a busy motor way which triggered panic attacks leaving me feeling anxious all the time. My sleep pattern was disrupted and I was so exhausted I would forget my children’s names. I felt so isolated and alone, I often thought I wasn’t going to make it. My whole body hurt. I was only 5ft tall and weighed 14 stone because I comfort ate all the wrong food.

Luckily I had my background of Chinese Medicine and Shiatsu to guide me.  I started to improve my diet following Traditional Chinese Medicine Guidelines.  I began to practice a Chi Gong and receive regular shiatsu. I started with baby steps, little by little. I’m 55 now with no panic attacks, and no anxiety. I sleep well, and can remember what I walked into a room for. My skin is glowing and I have no grey hairs. Keeping the weight off can be tricky but I know what to do when the pounds start climbing on and if I have the odd bad nights sleep I know which points to press, which foods to eat and which Chi Gong exercises to do to ensure that things come back to balance naturally. My life is good, I have a sense of purpose, I wake up feeling rested, and I am happy.

The problem for me is that I was suffering Adrenal exhaustion. My kidneys, had nothing left in the tank to balance my hormones naturally, which meant I was either on overdrive with my heart bouncing out of my chest or too exhausted to move of the sofa.  For you it might be your liver making you feel bloated or gaining weight around your middle or your spleen out of balance, craving sweet food to give you energy but with a brain fog to see nothing clearly.

There are no two people the same / there are no two menopause is the same / there are not two solutions the same.

Which is why I created Chi Flow with Jo Intermittent fasting programme.

  • A fasting schedule that increases gently and slowly – not eating from 8pm to 8am – could you do that?
  • 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 Boost metabolism Talk
  • Join me LIVE in my kitchen for easy simple healthy recipes including Castor oil pack to clear a fatty liver
  • Closed Facebook group for sharing and support

We are often told we need to endure or just wait for the menopause to pass, but that can take years.

Don’t regret getting older – this is your time to shine.


So if you are

  • The queen of stripping: taking off layer after layer, with skill and speed when a hot flush hits?
  • Too exhausted to do anything, but when your head hits the pillow, you find it impossible to sleep?
  • A supplement junkie, trying everything to thicken hair, reduce hot flushes, help you sleep, stop your joint pain but nothing works long term?
  • Too nervous to go out because anxiety and heart palpitations appear out of nowhere?
  • Slowly gaining weight around your middle but your arms and legs are staying skinny?

It’s never too early and it’s never too late to make changes so you can be more confident, less anxious, get fitter and stronger, find your purpose, say goodbye to self limiting beliefs and negative emotions.

YOU CAN DO IT ! 

Your best life experiences are still to come

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”

Lao Tzu – Chinese Medicine Philosopher.

At the end of the month I will be giving a FREE fasting and the menopause Qi Gong class – to receive the live link and the recording sent to your email – simply CLICK HERE or enter your email into the form below.

Fancy a FREE Qi Gong class at the end of the month?

 

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Fasting for women over 40 – Chinese Medicine Style

Fasting for women over 40 – Chinese Medicine Style

I have been intermittent fasting for quite a few years now and it is my saving grace. At only 5 ft small, I have to watch my weight and especially since as I age (I’m 55), extra wobbles and curves can creep up and stay on.  I use Intermittent fasting together with the Qi Gong exercises in Chi Flow with Jo to get fit and healthy not necessarily to get skinny, and it works

At the beginning of every year everybody in Chi Flow with Jo practices intermittent fasting/digestive resting for 6 weeks. (Chi Flow doors open on January 2nd in preparation for fasting the night of Sunday 7th January // Doors will close Monday 8th of January to begin the 6 week Programme)

It’s super easy and supper effective – I use my knowledge of Chinese medicine to do it safely and easily so that following the fasting period I don’t rebound back, end up craving the sweet stuff and piling on more of the pounds I lost.  I am also careful not to stress the body by excessive dietary changes or intensive cardio training.  This combination can often exacerbate symptoms or sore joints, brain fog and hot flushes.

Our main goal in Chinese Medicine and Chi Flow with Jo is to move, often stagnant, Liver energy (akin to Non Alcoholic Liver Fatty Disease) and support the Spleen meridian system by clearing dampness from the body. Which if left unchecked can be the cause of many conditions such as joint pain, inflammation, hot flushes, brain fog, anger, irritation, sugar addiction, heavy limbs and a slow metabolism

I have found my weight has been stable and within my healthy range, my energy levels are clear and consistent throughout every day, I don’t suffer any dietary issues or inflammation and I have not experienced prolonged brain fog associated with menopause and age bracket. I enjoy consistently high mental energy and clarity. 

One menopause symptom I have to watch is Insomnia and after overindulgence at Christmas I can find my sleep patterns all over the place.  Intermittent fasting helps get my circadian rhythm and sleep cycles back to normal.

I am not alone: This method of watching when you eat rather than what you eat has become very popular. In 2019, it was the most Googled diet on the planet.  But Traditional Chinese Medical wisdom has long recommended eating during daylight and resting the digestive organs at night.  This is part of living in harmony with the circadian cycles and following the energy of nature.

The Liver is the organ in charge of metabolism.  After a meal, the fat is stored by the liver around the belly. Between meals, stored fat is slowly released, keeping body cells supplied with energy. However if the liver is congested through over-eating, eating at the wrong time, or toxic overload from medication, excess hormones, alcohol and fats, the liver is not able to metabolise the energy already stored so we can’t shift the belly weight, feel exhausted, suffer sore joints, disturbed sleep, even our nails and hair begin to thin.

Traditional Chinese Medicine always recognised the early meal as the most beneficial to health. If you eat during earlier hours it gives your body more time to incorporate food and repair itself.

According to the TCM meridian clock (a chronological map of the strength of the organs at different times of the day), the digestive organs of the Spleen and Stomach are most active in the morning (Stomach time being 7-9am and Spleen time 9-11am). So it makes sense to load up your calories earlier in the day, when the digestive fires are strongest.

Ensuring there is no food intake in the evening and night allows the Liver to rest and detoxify the body.

 

“I know what I should be doing to lose weight, but I need a way to do it that fits into MY life.”

“I have been thinking about weight loss for a while, but life is so busy I find myself putting convenience first.”

Is that you? Then we are on the same page and this Chi Flow with Jo intermittent fasting programme is perfect for you. When a diet lays down the law, it can be frustrating. Everything ends up being harder than it should be. Welcome to something different. this is so easy. You feel in control of your eating, you feel light and free, pain reduces and sleep becomes easier.

PLUS – You are not alone, there are almost 400 of us, all ready to begin in January.  This is the game changer … acting independently but still being part of a group and therefore accountable

Once you experience this Chinese Medicine method of fasting, you will will be able to use it. This is not a “one-diet-fits-all” plan. You will gain control over your food and you will notice the difference.  Having the support and the accountability of the group is essential to help you stay on track and to help you when you go off track.

This method with Chi Flow with Jo is not about Yo-Yo dieting – it’s about creating new habits and that doesn’t happen overnight which is why it’s a 6 week programme

  • A fasting schedule that increases gently and slowly – not eating from 8pm to 8am – could you do that?
  • 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 Boost metabolism Talk and join me LIVE in my kitchen for easy simple healthy recipes
  • Closed facebook group for sharing and support

Chi Flow doors open to join on the January 2nd in preparation for fasting to begin on the night of Sunday 7th January

Doors will close Monday 8th of January to begin the 6 week Intermittent Fasting programme

Have a look at what others say about the practice:

A recent review article in the “New England Journal of Medicine”, titled “Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Ageing and Disease”1 reviews the scientific research currently available on intermittent fasting, and comes to some very positive conclusions about the practice. It states that, ‘preclinical studies and clinical trials have shown that intermittent fasting has broad-spectrum benefits for many health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, cancers and neurological disorders.”

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There are some people that this fasting practice does not suit so I would ask that if you are diabetic/adolescent/pregnant/have chronic illness/kidney issues/recently recovered from illness or surgery/hospital it is best that you do not intermittent fast. 

Also, if you have a food disorder or have had one in the past it is best that you chat with me before taking part. If anyone is unsure about joining in, please contact me and we can have a chat – or ask me anything at my free Qi Gong class at the end of December 

Bone building exercises

Bone building exercises

In my last post about improving bone health and slowing the effects of ageing, I shared what to eat following the 5 element diet in Chinese Medicine.
In this blog post I will share what we can do to strengthen the whole skeleton and prevent bone thinning,

Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the loss of old bone. This affects men and women, but women who are just past menopause, are at highest risk.

Studies show that the right type of activity and movement is critical to maintain bone density and strength. What works best is load bearing exercises such as squats, leg presses and lifting weights. These are standard practices in gym’s, where people use equipment to build body mass, muscle and bone strength. However as a 53 year old menopausal woman, that wouldn’t be my kind of thing at all. I don’t want the fuss and bother of going to gym, working out how to use special equipment and perhaps even injuring myself in the process. So I use my own body weight and gravity as resistance training to improve muscle and bone strength. This can be as effective as training in a gym with weights or weight machine.

Why not try it?

Every morning in Chi Flow with Jo, over 400 of us practice simple, effective exercises, just like the one in the video, to build healthy bones, muscle mass and core strength. All that is required is concentration on coordinated movements and breathing. No special equipment, no special expertise and no previous experience. (sign up for free class at the end of this post)

YouTube player

Tiger what tiger?

The deeply focused and relaxed states we attain in Chi Flow with Jo also help regulate the nervous system. When the body is under stress or fearful situations such as running away from tigers, the body flushes out calcium and magnesium because these chemicals are not needed in the flight of fight response. 

Every so often, this is no problem, as how many tigers do we generally encounter! but if the body is responding to every day events such as project deadlines or dinner on the table as if it were being chased by a tiger, then this is a serious problem.


As I discussed in my last blog about food for strong bones, calcium and magnesium are the two minerals essential for bone strength.
5% of calcium and magnesium is transported around the body in the blood, the rest is stored in the bones. If the flight or fight response is constantly being triggered, and the calcium and magnesium being flushed from our system, eventually the body will have to go looking to the bones for the calcium and magnesium to restore the body to balance.  This is just one of the bone weakening effects stress can have on our body.

To prevent this mineral loss and bone thinning, we must maintain our emotional, mental and physical balance, learn how to self soothe and return to calm after stressful anxious times. Chi Flow with Jo with breath and movement coordination, activates the naturally occurring emotional and physical mechanisms of self-repair and health recovery.

In postmenopausal women, studies show moderate exercise helps preserve bone mass in the spine and prevents fractures, plus it shows increasing physical activity can improve your mood and stop the loss of minerals at times of stress.

Add to this that women who are not physically active are more likely to have heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Sedentary women may also have chronic back pain, insomnia, poor circulation, weak muscles, and depression.


Happy hormones

Endorphins which are morphine-like substances found naturally within the body, account for moods of well-being or euphoria such as we experience after enjoyable workouts or even eating chocolate.  These happy hormones, are released in the brain and this improved mood can last for several hours which in turn helps the body fight stress.  Qi Gong and Chi Flow with Jo will boost these happy hormones to improve your mood and your mental strength. Research conducted by Harvard Medical School indicates that regular Qi/Chi gong practice is a safe and effective way to maintain bone density, relieve pain, improve balance and the ability to do daily activities.

Here’s what some members of Chi Flow had to say

“I can’t recommend this highly enough, a great way to support your body and just in half an hour – go on you deserve it. Best thing I’ve signed up for in years!” Solway Shiatsu

“Totally recommend Chi Flow with Jo. I started the practice last October and my body feels well and flexible.” Maighread

“I do them 3+ times a week and it makes a HUGE difference to my energy levels and general health & coping skills.
Give it a go for a month and see the difference.”  Helen

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