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.

Feeling creaky?  Get your blood and chi flowing for mobility and flexibility

Feeling creaky? Get your blood and chi flowing for mobility and flexibility

Are you stiff in the morning? Do your knees hurt when you stand up? Or are you finding it difficult to pick up or hold things like a coffee cup?

It could be that you are suffering Arthritis. This is a general term can refer to a wide variety of conditions such as Osteoarthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Gout, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, and Fibromyalgia all of which cause pain in the joints.

In Chinese medicine, each client is different and viewed as a whole (holistically) including diet, lifestyle choices and genetics.

This means the same disease is treated differently depending on the person presenting.

However we can treat different diseases with the same protocol. In general painful, swollen joints would be treated by addressing the Liver.

Each of organs in Chinese Medicine is related to a season, flavour, time of day, a body part, an emotion and even a symbolic animal.

The liver (yin) with it’s partner the gallbladder (yang) is connected to the tiger. It is related to the spring and governs the tendons and ligaments, which give the body the ability to be flexible and agile.

TCM says that strength comes from the tendons, not muscles.
If you think of a big cat, it is strong, agile, and flexible.  Compare this to a cow, which has huge muscles but little real strength.
The liver, governing the sinews and tendons, has the ability to release strength and power.

Part of its function in western medicine is the regulation of metabolism and the release of energy stored in the body.

Ensuring the health of this organ will mean good blood flow to all the ligaments and tendons surrounding the joints plus an increase in energy levels which can be affected by arthritic conditions.

Joint pain which can happen as we age, especially following  menopause but all conditions of stiffness and pain can be reduced by treating the liver with food, acupressure and Qi Gong exercise to reduce the painful swelling symptoms.  For food and acupressure solutions see my next blog – Ouch, Gout !

 It is true that whilst you are in the middle of a flare and your joints are red and inflamed, exercise is difficult. Pain decreases your activity level, and when the body is not moving much, your joints can stiffen and become less flexible. But a recent clinical review showed exercise modalities such as Qi Gong can be beneficial for restoring your flexibility after the immobility of a gout flare up.

Try this Tiger Move from the 5 Animals practice. For the month of June we will be using acupressure, diet and Qi Gong to improve all aspects of flexibility and mobility – they will cover a range of ability including some seated movements so that everyone can get mobile.

If you would like to try gentle, effective movement in your own home but as part of an line group that meets every weekday morning, join us for a free class:

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Clear Damp Cold Fat with Drying Warming Adzuki Tea

Clear Damp Cold Fat with Drying Warming Adzuki Tea

In my clinic, when I see a bulge at the top of the spine, I usually find a client who is exhausted. Perhaps they have suffered a shock through grief or are experiencing a chronic condition which feels like it is draining their very life force.

Sometimes this condition is called a widow’s or dowagers hump, which gives you an idea of an old woman who has been bent by the burdens of the world, weighed down with grief, loss and disconnection.  However this condition is becoming more common for a younger generation that leads a sedentary life, working sitting at computers most of the day.

Whatever the physical or emotional cause the result is a mound of fat accumulation at the top of the spine, which in terms of Chinese medicine is a failure of kidney yang to warm, regulate and move water around the body, building up as cold, damp fat.

In Chinese Medicine, if left untreated, can cause neck and shoulder pain plus it can prevent energy travelling up and down the spine creating headaches, back-pain, spinal degeneration and even compromising the immune system.

 

The path for flowing energy through the spine is the Governing Vessel. It starts between the kidneys, flows down inside the body to the perineum and then runs up the length of the spine, through the brain, over the top of the head and down the midline of the face.

Governing Vessel 14 (abbreviated GV-14) is the point at which the fat pad can accumulate. It is the intersecting point for all of the Yang meridians on the back of the body. When it is unobstructed and flowing well, it opens the yang, clears the brain, and calms the spirit. It can also dramatically increase white blood cell production and improve the immune system.

In Chi Flow with Jo we focus specific energy exercises to warm and move the energy in this location and you can sign up for a free class. But here I share a fantastic recipe, Adzuki Bean Tea, which in terms of the food energetics of Traditional Chinese Medicine drains dampness, increases water metabolism, improves digestion and reduces water retention

 

Adzuki beans are related to the Kidney system and so are especially good for increasing flow around the spine, ankles, knees and kidneys. As they reduce oedema so you will find that they will also reduce joint pain, bloating, whilst increasing energy and promoting better urination.

Adzuki tea is yang and warming, and is the kind of healing tea you want to sip on cold autumn/spring days or in or freezing winter, especially when you feel cold, weak, and exhausted.  Although the tea tastes mild, is quite potent. I would advise diluting it with hot water to begin with.

Adzuki Bean Tea

  • 100g of dried adzuki beans
  • 
1 litre of water
  • 2 inches of dillisk or wakame seaweed

Method
1. Soak the adzuki bean in water for between 4-8 hours.  Wash and drain.
2. Place the washed beans in a pot with the seaweed and the water.
3. Bring the ingredients to a boil on high flame. Do not add salt.
4. When boiling, lower the flame to medium.
5. Let the beans simmer for about 30 minutes with the pot lid on .
6. Do not stir the beans.
7. Then strain the beans out and drink a small cup of the tea, either hot or at room temperature.
8. The colour of the liquid should be brown.
9. You can eat the same beans. Just add more water if needed, bring to a boil, and let simmer until soft.
10. You can store excess tea in a glass jar.
11. Keep any stored tea in the refrigerator.

Do not drink chilled adzuki bean tea and do not microwave the tea. You can drink the tea at room temperature or warm it up on the stove or what I find easiest is to add water from a recently boiled kettle and dilute it.

There is no specific time of the day to drink the adzuki bean tea; however,  the afternoon between 3 and 7, when the bladder and the kidney meridians are the most active is a prime time.
Use the cooked beans in wraps, stews and even mashed up and made into veggie burgers.  There’s a great Aduki & Cashew nut pate recipe in the Good Food Cookbook (page 82) and you can find more recipes for other Kidney Yang foods such as Chestnuts, Garlic, Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove, Lamb and Sage.

Weakness in the kidney energy system often manifests as fear and insecurity.  But a person with balanced kidney energy is able to let go of the past, live in the present, and be undaunted by the future.

Sip this tea and say this affirmation “where I am is where I am meant to be, when I relax, everything I need comes to me”

Sign up for Free Class at the end of the month

Chi Flow with Jo Waitlist

 

 

 

 

*1study: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2021.746021/full

The information in my blogs are complimentary therapy and are not intended to replace conventional medicine. If you are having distressing symptoms please visit your healthcare practitioner.

Virus – get out!

Virus – get out!

Did you know that Covid and other such virus’s can remain in the body causing inflammation, lethargy, joint and muscle pain and other symptoms common in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue such as anxiety and depression.*1

Non classical monocytes patrol the endothelium and create an inflammation in response to an infection.
If viral remnants become lodged in the fascia the monocytes will keep creating inflammation in order to rid the virus from your body.

Studies show that for some people, long after a person is infectious, the immune response persists as the markers of non classical monocytes remain elevated.

So how to push the virus out of the fascia tissues of the body so that the inflammation response stop?

Qi Gong practiced in Chi Flow with Jo gently opens and releases 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.
Different to yoga, which tends to release and stretch tight muscles, Qi gong opens hydrates and lubricate the joints, ligaments, and fascia.
Qi Gong has worked with the fascia as a source of wellness way for hundreds of years.

YouTube player

By gently stretching and making more elastic, the veins, arteries, nerve tissues, and other connective tissues, viral remnants are released from the body and inflammation, pain and stiffness is reduced.

In Chi Flow with Jo we combine Qi Gong exercises, acupressure and 5 element food medicine. Here is a fantastic point for releasing stiffness, pain and pathogens from the body. The triple heater also regulates the temperature of the body so if you find yourself having hot flashes or re-occuring fevers, try this point.

Triple Heater 5 (outer gate)
Find it by measuring 3 fingers up from the crease of the wrist on both arms, and press gently but firmly for approximately 30 seconds. Do this consistently during the day and every day.

However this point is generally not used alone.

Sweet, pungent foods are used in Chinese Medicine to expel anything trapped in the interior of the body to the exterior. Have a look at the delicious Pear, Cinnamon and red date tea.

If the body is weak, the Yin energy needs to be nourished so that there is enough Yang energy to expel viral remnants. As I discussed in my last blog the Kidney energy in the body can sometimes be too weak to push the virus out from the body. Bone broth and the other Salty flavoured foods build Kidney energy. This organ system is seen as the roots of the body, so build it from the inside.

Qi Gong, practiced in Chi Flow with Jo, together with the acupressure points, builds the Yin energy of the body so that there is sufficient Yang energy to move the blockages from the channels.

If you experience post viral or menopause symptoms, such as fatigue, anxiety, sore joints, painful muscles and hot flashes, come practice with us. No special equipment, clothing or previous experience necessary.

It’s easy, fun and effective – with almost 300 of us on line every morning – you don’t have to suffer alone.

  • 8.20 meditation
  • 8.30-9.00 Live Qi Gong
  • 9.00 Q&A Live with me and the group

Daily Live sessions recorded and emailed directly to you with Acupressure points and 5 element food guidance, so you can practice whenever and where ever suits you.      Also includes:

  • Mid-Monthly Health Talk
  • Guided Monthly Meditations
  • Access to extensive Library with Qi Gong/Acupressure and Food Medicine instruction videos

Doors are open NOW and will close 1st April

to begin the moves, live, online, together.
Only €2 per class

CLICK HERE TO JOIN TODAY

or Sign up for Free Class at the end of the month

Chi Flow with Jo Waitlist

 

 

 

 

*1study: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2021.746021/full

The information in my blogs are complimentary therapy and are not intended to replace conventional medicine. If you are having distressing symptoms please visit your healthcare practitioner.