Embrace the Summer with a Healthy Heart: A Journey through Qi Gong, Food Medicine, and Acupressure

Embrace the Summer with a Healthy Heart: A Journey through Qi Gong, Food Medicine, and Acupressure

Embrace the Summer with a Healthy Heart: A Journey through Qi Gong, Food Medicine, and Acupressure

Today, we’re diving deep into the heart of summer – quite literally – as we explore the Heart in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

In TCM, each organ is associated with a specific season, and high summer is the season of the Heart. This time of year is bursting with vibrant energy – flowers blooming, bees buzzing, and the world alive with activity. Let’s explore how we can harness this energy to nurture our hearts.

The Heart in Traditional Chinese Medicine

In TCM, the Heart reaches its peak activity from 11 AM to 1 PM, the busiest and most active time of the day. The Heart’s flavour is bitter, its sense organ is the tongue, and its emotion is joy. Right now, take a moment to focus on the centre of your chest, think of someone you love, and feel this area soften and glow.

Humming and singing, using the tongue, can quickly connect you to the joy of the heart, while negative speech can harden it. How we use our tongue significantly impacts our emotional and physical health. Use your tongue wisely, bless your food, give thanks for things throughout your day and let joyful energy flow through your heart.

Learn to use Mantra in my previous blog

The Element of Fire

Each organ in TCM is also associated with an element.

The Heart belongs to fire, an element with many faces – from the wild, destructive forest fire to the comforting glow of a hearth or the serene flame of a candle. All types of fire share the power of transformation, and this is the energy we want to cultivate in our hearts – a gentle, transformative flame.

Fire symbolizes constant movement and transformation, embodying yang energy.

While unchecked fire can be destructive, within boundaries, it illuminates, warms, and brings clarity.

Fire is the element of the organ.  Our hearts are like an internal flame, often called the “emperor of the body,” with all other organs in service to it.

The Heart is where our consciousness, or “Shen,” resides, connecting us to the divine, whatever that might be for us, a sleeping baby, singing prayers together in community or taking a walk on the beach.  To enjoy life (In-Joy) life is to be connected to the divine and nourishes Heart Health.

The Universal Symbolism of Flame

The flame is a powerful symbol across many cultures and religions, representing transformation, enlightenment, and the divine. In Christianity, the Holy Spirit is depicted as a flame, symbolising divine presence and inspiration. In Hinduism, the sacred fire “Agni” represents purification and the connection between the earthly and the divine. 

In Buddhism, the flame is a metaphor for spiritual awakening and the illumination of wisdom. The ancient Greeks revered the hearth goddess Hestia, whose eternal flame represented home and family unity.

Across these diverse traditions, the flame signifies the profound interplay between destruction and creation, a source of warmth, guidance, and spiritual insight.  (read more in a previous blog)

Nurturing Your Heart

To ensure our heart burns brightly without raging out of control, we must provide a safe container for it – a home.

In TCM, the blood is the Heart’s home. Keeping our blood vibrant and healthy is key.

Foods for a Healthy Heart

The taste for the Heart is bitter. Bitter greens like chicory, watercress, dandelion leaves, and rocket nourish the Heart and help the Liver detoxify the blood.

Red foods are also fantastic for the Heart, containing antioxidants like anthocyanins and bioactive polyphenols that ensure smooth blood flow, reduce stress, and lower blood pressure.

Incorporate red peppers, beetroot, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, Chinese red dates, goji berries, watermelon, rosehips, and pomegranates into your diet.

Pomegranates, with their bittersweet flavor and abundant seeds, are perfect for heart health. Try sprinkling pomegranate seeds on a salad with bitter greens and crumbled feta for a delicious, heart-healthy meal.

For more recipes, check out my cookbooks at joannefaulkner.ie/cook-books.

Qi Gong for the Heart

Qi Gong, a moving meditation, helps us gain perspective on our emotions and the world around us. It’s a fantastic tool for maintaining a balanced and peaceful Heart. (scroll down for the free class)

Let’s try a simple Qi Gong move together.

You can do this sitting or standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Place your hands on your heart/Middle Dan tien and take a deep breath in. 

As you inhale, slowly extend your arms out to the sides, palms facing up, as if opening your heart to the world. Exhale, bringing your hands back to cover your heart/middle Dan tien.

Repeat this exercise nine times and feel calmness in your heart and perspective with your problems.

Finally, bring the energy and your hands down to the lower Dantien, just below and behind the belly button. This movement symbolises opening up and receiving energy while staying grounded and centred.

Balancing Your Shen

Remember, your emotions can either fan your inner flame into an inferno or cause it to dwindle. Keeping your “Shen” balanced means not letting external factors control our joy or sadness. By nurturing our Heart, we can drop our emotional armour and connect more deeply with ourselves and others.

Remember, your emotions can either fan your inner flame into an inferno or cause it to dwindle.

Keeping your “Shen” balanced means not letting external factors control our joy or sadness.

By nurturing our Heart, we can drop our emotional armour and connect more deeply with ourselves and others.

Sun Simiao, a great Chinese medicine practitioner, said

“In your heart, there is love; don’t love too deeply. In your heart, there is hate; don’t hate too deeply, because too much of any of these will attack the Shen.”

Our spirit is a unique treasure that must be protected like a flame, not allowed to burn out or blaze uncontrollably.

Moderation and Inner Balance

Before and after my morning meditation (at which you are welcome to join me, simply sign up for the free class below, I dedicate my practice by reciting, “May I be free from passion, aggression, and prejudice.”

While we understand avoiding aggression and prejudice, passion must also be moderated. Too much passion, even for a noble cause, can lead to imbalance. Don’t let your passion and heart fire overwhelm you; maintain touch with softness, humour, and compassion.

Conclusion

To wrap up, remember to nourish your Heart with bitter greens and vibrant red foods. Practise gentle, heart-opening Qi Gong moves to keep your “Shen”/Spirit noursihed and balanced. Approach your emotions with perspective and moderation, allowing your inner flame to glow steadily and warmly.

Stay connected with your heart, and let it shine with joy and compassion.

For more tips, recipes, and Qi Gong practices, sign up for a free Qi Gong class below.  August will focus on Healthy Heart Practices with Qi Gong, Acupressure and Food Medicine.

Until next time, keep your heart open and your spirit bright!

WATCH THE ENERGY UPDATE BELOW TO LEARN MORE

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DISCLAIMER:

No content is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice and guidance of a qualified health provider before making any adjustment to any medication or treatment protocol you are currently using or stopping any medication or treatment protocol you are currently using.

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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When Panic Attacks …..

When Panic Attacks …..

In my last post “What to eat when Panic Attacks “ I explained how Chinese Medicine uses the bitter flavour of food to calm and support the heart when you are feeling anxiety and panic.  This kind of attack is usually driven by anticipatory stress, running around too busy juggling too many things.  However, more and more I see in my practice how burn out and exhaustion are causing these same symptoms and playing havoc with peoples bodies and minds.

The heart with its racing palpitations and chest tightening panic can be a symptom of the over exertion of the nervous system and the depletion of Kidney energy. Just like a car that over revs the engine, the adrenal glands that sit just above the kidneys, pump hormones like cortisol and adrenaline into the body causing your heart to beat faster, elevating your blood pressure, increases blood sugar and draws energy supplies from the body that are needed for digestion and repair.  When the body is already exhausted and you are already running on empty this can cause symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.

But how did we get here and what can we do?

One hundred years ago, the lives of most people were deeply structured, we had a clear sense of identity, sets of societal and religious rules to live by. We knew where we belonged because religion and society rarely allowed personal freedom. How we lived and how we died was set when, and whom we were born to.

However, now more than ever we have a choice about our lives.  As a woman living in Europe, I can chose which country I live in, I can chose my gender, my government, my job – everything I identify as, I have a choice about. Compared to 100 years ago where people, especially women had far fewer choices.  Marriage, children, employment, social class; one’s life path had far less variety of choice.

Unfortunately there are still places in the world that don’t allow that freedom of choice for human beings. I call out Iran and their killing of #Mahsa_Amini

Let us all stand together in connected peaceful protest so that all human beings have the freedom to express themselves.
Freedom of Choice is something humans need for growth and evolution.

But as we see in Iran, emotional growth can often stir up fear and resistance in people who would like to stick with the “normal” because with freedom of choices can come great responsibility.

With choices comes a great feeling of responsibility and questions such as: am I getting it right?  is there something better?  would I be happier somewhere else, with someone else?  With freedom of choice can come self doubt and the pressure to get it right, to have it all leads us to over work, over thinking, over-achieving, over doing and and eventually burn out.

I wouldn’t go back 100 years, I love the personal choice and the personal freedom.  As a single mum of 3 boys, I have never wanted to marry.  I own my own house and run my own business but I am very aware of the pressure that comes with this personal freedom – awareness is the first step to making change and being well …… Let me share

I used to suffer from Panic Attacks but I kept it quiet.

I felt a failure because I couldn’t cope. I could hardly stand in a queue in the supermarket without feeling the rising fear of panic and adrenaline rush up my spine.

The terror as I gritted my teeth and forced myself not to let the emotions take over. I told myself over and over, I wasn’t going to collapse as my head span and cold sweat covered my body. it was emotionally and physically draining.

It all began when my twin boys were 3 and my youngest was 3 months old. I was a 42-year-old, single mum who had just lost a partner and her business. I was driving back on the motorway from a kids party an hour from my house. In the fast lane overtaking, with the three kids in the car, the world began to spin and my vision went black. I don’t know how I managed to carry on driving but on a Sunday afternoon the road wasn’t busy and I made it over to the hard shoulder. I sat in the car trying to breathe, trying to calm myself. The kids were fast asleep and strapped in and that helped. When I managed to calm my breath, the trembling and the tears began. I felt so alone, I felt I had no one to call to come and help me, support me, drive me home, so I sat on the hard shoulder sobbing. Then, driving at a snail’s pace, I drove myself home.

I realised through my knowledge and application of Traditional Chinese Medicine what had happened. I was exhausted, my nervous system was completely overworked and stretched tight to a frazzled snapping point. I had grown 3 children inside me in the space of 3 years and I was approaching 42, which if you read the previous post, is a potent time for a shift in hormones. This all relates to the kidneys in Chinese Medicine and so I began to make changes in my life.

I used foods that support the Kidney & Bladder which are salty in flavour and blue/black in colour such as seaweeds and adzuki beans.

I avoided the Kidney draining foods such as coffee that I was overusing to get me through the long days and crying baby nights and made the kidney strengthening Barley water instead.

I also used acupressure potent points and simple Qi Gong exercises for calming a panic attack. It took me a good few years to calm my nervous system but using Chinese Medicine I understood what my body was saying to me before it needed to shout it loud with a panic attack.  Im 54 years old now – sailing through my menopause WITHOUT hot flushes, sleepless nights or any more panic attacks – it is possible and I can help you make that change.

If you would like to learn to listen to your body you can buy the easy to use cookbooks or watch the 1-minute video and learn a potent acupressure point that reduces chest tightness, panic, anxiety, shortness of breath.

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For the month of October we will be focusing on Reducing Anxiety with Qi Gong, Food Medicine and Acupressure points – why not join us for the free class

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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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How to stop catching colds

How to stop catching colds

Have you ever wondered why some people catch more colds than others? or why you tend to catch colds more in the autumn? or most importantly, how you can protect yourself against those colds and flu’s?

Well, I share some of my Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to show you why and how.

Just like western medicine which talks about our Immune system – Chinese Medicine has talked about Wei Chi for thousands of years. It’s the energy that forms a powerful boundary around your body, defending you against invading virus’s and pathogens. Chinese medicine likes to describe the body as a kingdom where each of the organs have particular roles: The Heart is the Emperor, the Lung is the Chancellor in charge of regulation, the Liver as the General for planning and executing orders and so on…… the Wei Chi is the wall that fortifies and protects the kingdom within.

If your defensive system is robust and the pathogen weak, you don’t get sick. But if the pathogen is strong, and your boundaries are weak, the higher the chance the invading virus makes it into your body and you “catch a cold.”

There are a few strategies to improve your defences such as good sleep plus being in-tune with your environment and dressing appropriately but most importantly, within the kingdom of your organs there must be balance.

What I do as a Shiatsu practitioner is to listen to your body and diagnose which of your organs is out of balance; what is too Yin and needs support or what is too Yang and needs calming, thereby creating harmony in your internal environment.

Without specialised training, you can do this by simply paying attention to your symptoms and following the 5 element system of Traditional Chinese Medicine, laid out clearly in my book, showing you what needs Yang warming and moving and what needs Yin cooling and nourishing.

As we move into Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, we can experience extreme external changes of cold winds, warming sunshine and drenching downpours, all in one day, so it is important to keep the internal system in balance.

Following the 5 element system of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the pungent flavour moves and warms the internal body. It moistens the Lung & Large Intestine, the organs associated with this season and largely responsible, together with the Spleen, for the strength of Wei Chi Immunity. They stimulate blood circulation and prevent the accumulation of internal dampness which can be pernicious in Autumn.

These pungent foods include onions, scallions, radishes, ginger, wasabi mustard, garlic and horseradish. Here I share one of my favourite Autumn recipes from my first, smaller 5 element cookbook – Vegetarian French Onion Soup, which strengthens the Lungs, warms the Large intestine and fortifies your Wei Chi.

All through the month of October in Chi Flow with Jo every morning we are practicing Qi Gong exercises, recipes and acupressure points to benefit breathing. In November we will move specifically to focus on the Immune system. Doors are closed to join Chi Flow with Jo until Sunday 24th October but you can join the wait list and receive free classes at the end of the month.  (see form below)
If you can’t wait that long you can always buy my books which lay out clearly what foods to eat for which organ and time of year or why not book an online consultation or in person Shiatsu if you’d like a personal diagnosis.

In the meantime try this wonderfully warming, pungent soup and fortify your inner kingdom

Vegetarian French Onion Soup

25 g butter
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1.5 kg onions
Large sprig of fresh thyme
4 crushed Bay leaves
Good splash of toasted
sesame oil
2 pints miso stock (to taste)

Melt the butter together with the oil, add the onions and fry for a minute or so on a high heat. Give them a shuffle and a stir, making sure the butter doesn’t burn and the onions don’t stick.

Throw in the herbs, bay leaves, a splash of sesame oil and turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting leaving the lid on. The onions need to cook for at least 20 minutes until they are a toffee colour and sticky consistency. Pour in the miso stock and simmer for at least another 20-30 minutes.
The longer the better. A slow soup in the making but worth the wait.

As you are cooking the miso, you retain the delicious flavour, but will kill most of the probiotic contained within the paste. So just before cooking use a mug to remove some of the soup, dissolve a further tablespoon of miso into the mug of removed liquor, turn off the heat and stir back into the soup. Remove the twiggy stalks of thyme and serve with delicious spelt bread which is the following recipe in Shiatsu & the Art of Conscious Cooking.

 

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Store cupboard tea for immunity

Store cupboard tea for immunity

Always make sure to have these two store cupboard ingredients that will always help to keep you healthy. I also share a recipe that puts them all together in the best flu-busting, immune-supporting, inflammation-reducing, spirit-lifting, tasty tea, I know.

The first ingredient is ginger. Traditionally the rhizome (root) is used in complementary medicine all over the world but the flowering plant originated in China and is closely related to turmeric and galangal.  Ginger has been used for over 1000’s of years in Chinese Medicine to treat nausea, chest infections, digestive conditions, colds and flu.  At the moment in the treatment of COVID-19 wild ginger (Xi Xin) is part of a compound which has been very useful when treating the virus.*1  Wild ginger can only be prescribed by a Chinese Medicine physician as it can be toxic if not used properly.  However, there are no such worries with regular ginger.  We can all use it in large doses to strengthen the immune system and keep the mucus from settling on the chest.
The pungent flavour in Traditional Chinese medicine supports the immune system with foods such as garlic, ginger, and any of the onion family such as scallions, leeks and regular onions.  These ingredients in Chinese medicine disperse phlegm that builds up in the lungs and helps to strengthen the immune system.   Which includes our next ingredient turmeric.

In Chinese Medicine, turmeric stops blood stagnating and coagulating thereby reducing pain, swelling and stiffness all over the body. It helps the gallbladder produce bile, aiding the liver’s detoxifying powers, invigorating blood and moving Chi in all areas of the body. In the abdomen, it reduces cramps and the pain of slow-moving menstruation blood and in the lung, it keeps passageways open aiding breathing.

Cinnamon is another fantastic ingredient. With its gentle Christmas spice flavour it warms the lungs and allows flow. With its sweet flavour it also supports the spleen, which according to the simple 5-element theory is the mother of the lung.  Out of balance, too much sugar creates internal dampness, which clogs the lungs, making conditions such as pneumonia even more difficult to treat.
So whilst the maple syrup in the tea is a good alternative to refined sugar as it contains minerals and antioxidants it is still a sugar and will cause problems if taken in large amounts.


Immune Boosting, Anti Inflammatory Tea

Page 309 – Good Food, Better Sex

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•750ml water
•1⁄2 a lemon, sliced or rough chopped rind included
•2-inch ginger root, roughly chopped
•1 tsp. freshly grated turmeric
•1 stick cinnamon
•1 tbsp. maple syrup (more or less to taste)
Put all ingredients into a large saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-20 minutes. Strain and serve. Once strained I like to keep this in the fridge, filling half a mug and topping up with boiling water when I want a hot cup. It’s a very pleasant drink to take warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Feel free to change quantities of ingredients depending on your taste or illness.
 
Ginger and Turmeric can be kept in the fridge or freezer to be grated or chopped when needed.
 
I hope this insight into how you can use Chinese Medicine to complement your health by using simple food as medicine.

 

Why not  Buy the books which are full of food medicine recipes, acupressure points and energy exercise to help us stay young and healthy.  Find Chinese Medicine in your kitchen for lowering cholesterol, balancing hormones, building blood, strengthening bones, calming anxiety, reducing hot sweats, strengthening bladder, prostrate, nails, hair and much much more.

If you would like to learn more for individual solutions that work specifically for you work 1-1 with me  

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I’m showering – How about you?

I’m showering – How about you?

I’m in West Cork.  I came down six days ago after I shut my clinic, rescheduled my clients and did a big supermarket shop.  Since then I haven’t seen anyone.  I have my virtual connection with the world at 8.30 am on Facebook live as I share my morning chi gong energy movement and of course I have my partner and kids here with me.  But apart from that, everything is quiet.  Lots of looking out of the window at mountains and sheep, listening to peaceful music and watching the clouds.

Social distancing however I have noticed is having an unexpected effect.  My partner and I are both a bit smellier than normal.  Nothing to get dressed for.  No shower in the morning before the day begins.  No outside contact has meant never-ending duvet days where I wear only comfortable clothes and elasticated waists.  I wonder if I will ever want to wear jeans plus belt again and wonder why I ever did.  

My shower was part of the structure of the day. It went like this; Morning chi gong, a 2k run, shower, clients.  That was my morning routine before meeting clients.  Communicating to them that I am clean and fresh and that the Shiatsu treatment is a blank Hygenic canvas where they could lay their emotional and physical body with aches, pains, hurts and heartache to be cleansed and refreshed.  

But now with the outside world receding, I’m talking to myself, asking myself, what do I need?  How do I want to spend my time today now that the structure has disappeared?  Who do I want to be?  My answer so far is that I need a shower.  I have noticed that without washing, I hug and touch my family less.  With soft cozy socks and sweatshirts, I am dissolving, into a warm safe fug of my own microcosmic isolation.  

Isolation can become pleasurable as we escape the world around us.  We make believe that we are safe and untouchable by the virus that is infecting the world, separate from each other, responsible only for ourselves.  But that is never true.    The food that I eat is grown and transported by others.  The coal on my fire is mined by others.  The electricity powering my computer is generated and managed by other people.  We are a world, an ecosystem, connected by need and support.  We give and receive to ensure that we remain whole.

So what have I to give now that my business is closed and my identity recedes into soft complacency?  Everything, I still have everything to give.  This time is what my morning routine, cooking of soups, guided meditations, journaling, courses given, teachings received, intermittent fasting, yoga, massages, eating seaweed and giving shiatsu has been for.  

Even though I’m not on the front line, stacking the shelves or in the hospitals administering the oxygen.  I have everything to give.  I have a responsibility to show up, showered with my best possible sparkly self, ready for the day ahead.   To lead, in the way I think the human race can respond to this COVID19 virus, stay calm, stay at safe distance, not buy all the toilet roll, to love, to be kind to one another and that includes myself.  At a very practical level, this means crying when I need, laughing when necessary and not losing the plot when my son thinks water balloon fights and Harry Potter on audio all day is homeschooling.  

So today I will shower, wash my hair, put on clean leggings, and do what I do in my Shiatsu practice.  I will connect.  My self-care is at the root of your care. 

I will share my chi gong routine at 8.30 am every morning and every evening I will send love and attention to any part of the human race that is unwell and suffering from disease. 

I will keep my faith that what we think creates the world and that we will come out of this with many positive changes.  I will practice what I have preached for years.  Now is the time to make beliefs real.  There are tears to shed and I grieve for what we have lost but there are some amazing stories and creative funny videos out there at the moment that remind me how much I love being human and how fantastic we all are when we care for each other. 

We have a responsibility to be the best possible we can be for each other.  Mine includes a shower, what’s yours?

I will share this post on my Facebook – please share what you are doing during this time to keep spirits up and your crazy down.    It may help or inspire someone who is struggling today.


Many people have been so wonderful offering to pay for Shiatsu treatments without receiving them or even to give donations for the Facebook live.  All absolutely real heart-warming gestures but at the moment I’m doing ok despite having sunk my savings into the self-publishing and launch of the new book.

So, if you have been meaning to buy the new book but just haven’t got around to it – NOW would be a good time 🙂 sent straight to your door, what could be better.  CLICK HERE

 

good food better healthOr book your first of two Online Consultations with me as part of the Good Food: Better Health Online Course.  To find out more CLICK HERE

The course includes: 2 Online Consultations
Copy of the new book sent straight to your door
30 Days / 30 Videos of bitesize cookery programs and self-shiatsu in your own home 


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Flying Solo at Valentines? – Recipes and Tips for a great night

Flying Solo at Valentines? – Recipes and Tips for a great night

I’ve spent many Valentine’s nights by myself and it’s possible they have been the most romantic.  I have taken myself off to the cinema, lit candles, taken bubble baths and listened to Beethoven’s moonlight sonata in Christchurch cathedral without a lover to rely on.  These have been glorious times and now in a relationship, I feel the pressure, as to what I can do to please another.  But when you are doing it solo, there is no one to please but yourself, so here I share a couple of tips and some events on how to spend a delicious, loving, sensual, tactile, Valentines all by yourself.

1.  Ask yourself how you are feeling and what you would like.

This is the place to start.  Treat yourself like your best friend and ask “how are you, how are you feeling?”  Are you feeling tired and exhausted and all you want to do is curl up with a good movie and have an early night, or are you bursting full of energy and want to go out dancing? If the former, perhaps it’s a quiet walk on the beach where there are only natural noises and your body can relax that you need.  Everything is acceptable and allowable even on Valentine’s Day.  The best relationships we have with people are when they listen, really listen without jumping in with their advice or opinion.  That is what love is.  So, ask yourself the questions, how am I feeling and what do I need, then listen to the answer without expectation of what you should be doing.  Allow yourself to do whatever you like, without judgment or self-criticism.

2.  What do you want to eat?

After you have asked yourself what you’d like to do, ask yourself what you’d like to eat.  Start with the flavour.  Is it sweet, salty or sour?  You can use the interactive quiz at joannefaulkner.ie/app to help you.  I would advise, keep it simple.  Pick an easy dish you can put together easily without the stress, that still looks and tastes beautiful.  In Chinese Medicine, the heart is feed through the eyes as well as the tongue, so make sure you present your dish well for yourself.  Think of the plate or bowl you will use.  What utensils will enter your mouth?  Do it all with attention and love, you deserve it.  I share here a recipe that is super easy and super tasty from my new cookbook, ‘Good Food: Better Sex – A Guide to Intimacy and Love using Traditional Chinese Medicine and Food’.  It’s one of my favourites for its simplicity, taste, colour and appearance. 

Exotic Strawberries – excerpt from the book ‘Good Food: Better Sex’

In Chinese Medicine, strawberries are named as the queen of fruits.  They are red in colour which benefits the heart and they nourish the kidneys and the Chi by cooling and bringing moisture to the body. Use strawberries as an aphrodisiac to get the juices flowing.  Perfect for those intimate whisperings as they moisten all mucous membranes, especially preventing dry mouth and throat.  Strawberries are high in the B-Vitamin, Folate and folic acid, which is recommended for women about to conceive or in the early stages of pregnancy, as it helps with the development of the baby’s brain, skull and spinal cord.

  • 400g thick natural Greek yogurt
  • 400g strawberries
  • 2 tbsp of agave syrup
  • 2 tsp rosewater (optional)
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 75g chopped pistachio

Hull and quarter the strawberries leaving them to marinade in the agave and rosewater for 4 hours. Take ¼ of the soaked strawberries and mash with a fork.  Gently fold the mashed strawberries into the yogurt so that the pink ripples beautifully through the white. Scatter the remaining strawberries and pistachios over the furrowed yogurt and spoon lovingly into the mouth.

 

You are your best lover, you know what you like and you know what you don’t like.  If you don’t listen and give yourself what you want, how is anyone else going to?

 

 


 Here are some suggestions for a wonderful Solo Valentines 

Good Food: Better Sex – Book Launch

Have a Positive Valentine Night with Joanne Faulkner of Shiatsu Conscious Cooking and her new book ‘Good Food: Better Sex, A Guide to Intimacy and Love using Traditional Chinese Medicine and Food’. ❤️?

During this evening, Joanne will show you how to use the 5 elements of Traditional medicine to interpret your body’s symptoms and how to use the five flavours of food to treat emotional and physical conditions. She will discuss how the ancient art of using food as medicine can help you harness your powerful, creative sexual energy and direct it for better health and longevity. ?

More than just a cookbook, this is a journey with food providing the path back to love and acceptance for our sweet selves. We will discuss recipes that have sexual health benefits but more than that, we can learn how to empower and cherish ourselves with food. ?

7.30-9.30 on 13th February, Bewley’s Cafe, 78/79 Grafton Street, Dublin 2

Special price book offer on the night €20  and FREE CAKE 🙂

Click here to learn all about it! https://www.facebook.com/events


POLLEN DANCE CLUB: This is an alcohol-free and drug-free event which makes it in some ways safer, as a woman, to go alone. Come along and feel the love on the dance floor and dance to the best upbeat, eclectic international music in town.  It offers a friendly, easy-going dance vibe at St. Kevin’s Community Centre, Dublin 8 where you can come and dance to your heart’s content in a fun, friendly environment.   Saturday 15th February 6 pm-10pm

https://www.facebook.com/events/758246141363390/


VALENTINE’S DAY GUIDED WALK: Blooming Romance in the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin 9- An alternative Valentine’s Day activity to delight the senses! Discover the pagan roots of the day, Ancient Greek tales of metamorphoses, and the love lives of birds. Meet at the Education & Visitor Centre – €5 per person. Friday 14th & Saturday 15th February 3.00pm

https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/valentines-day-tour-blooming-romance-tickets-72928688671?aff=ebdssbdestsearch


VALENTINE’S PIANO RECITAL by Candlelight – St Patricks Cathederal  — Fri 14th Feb – 08:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  Use the link to get discount tickets   ——

Discount tickets click here


 

Sexual Energy in Chinese Medicine is used for DNA health and longevity.  It is the core of your being and Good Food: Better Sex takes you there with nourishment beauty and love.  Cherish yourself with this book – buy it here https://joannefaulkner.ie/shop/

Sign up to the newsletter on the home page and never miss a blog – next week watch a video on simple 2-minute massage to relax the nervous system and have fun at Valentine’s