Damp and Heat Explained

Marney Murray brings us an article explaining how Damp and Heat (two basic elements of Chinese Medicine) effect our bodies, and how to remedy them. damp and heat

With summer almost here, parties and Christmas feasts generally mean over indulging in rich foods, alcohol and hanging out by the pool. Sound like fun? Not for everyone… How does climate and diet affect us during summer?

During the Qing and Ming dynasties (1368 – 1911), famous Chinese physicians found damp and warm weather conditions during the long summer period exacerbated many uncomfortable symptoms in many patients. These symptoms were due to ‘Damp’ and ‘Heat’ already existing internally in their patients. This article will explain what damp and heat is in the digestion and how to reduce it to minimise the uncomfortable side effects mentioned in the column to the left.

Damp and Heat internally manifests as a sticky type of fluid or residue (collectively called Dampness) generated due to incomplete digestion. The Dampness has a tendency to slow us down energetically, hence the feelings of heaviness or dulled senses.

This tendency to clog or obstruct the body’s metabolic rate is one of the reasons excess heat can appear in the body. The heat generated is “pent up” due to the sticky fluids not allowing it to escape as normal – much like the steaming/fermenting process of a compost heap. Damp and Heat hinder the usual metabolism of fluid, leaving the digestion less available to process the last meal, contributing to further Damp and Heat generation in the body.

To eliminate Damp and Heat, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are used to promote the movement of Qi benefiting the digestion and energy.
Damp and Heat conditions are generally long standing, and have been getting worse over a period of time, so a contentious effort and commitment to results are required from both patient and practitioner.

One of the most effective ways you can begin to reduce Damp-Heat is through diet and eating habits.

Eating only until 50-60% full will ensure that the digestion is not over loaded and can process all the food eaten, even if you eat more frequently. Lower consumption of rich, sweet, greasy, raw or cold foods as they reduce the efficiency of our digestive organs, whilst taking care with spicy, hot foods and alcohol will prevent excess heat. Beginning to adjust the diet to a more neutral and cooling one before the indulgent Christmas period will make summer a more pleasant time of year for you.
See your practitioner for dietary advice and print outs of the above mentioned food categories.
Putting your health first!
marney@albatherapies.com.au

Dying of Thirst

It’s that time of year again and every year seems to be getting hotter. Hydration (drinking water) at this time is very important. At a seminar recently, I heard that to cleanse the body properly each day we need to drink 4 glasses (1 litre) of water per 22 kilos of body weight. So for a 66 kg person, 3 litres of water must be drunk. That’s pure water – not juice, tea or coffee.

If you drink soft drinks you should drink even more water; they may be cooling but they are actually dehydrating and acidic. Soft drinks also serve to leach calcium from our bones. What about mineral water you ask? Well, there’s natural mineral water and there’s carbonated mineral water. The bubbles in natural mineral water are from the bicarbonate in the water which makes them slightly alkaline – Good! ‘Carbonated’ or ‘Lightly carbonated’ usually means that they have added carbon dioxide (acidic) – not good. The body’s normal pH is about 7.4 (slightly alkaline), normal urine pH is 6.0 (due to acidic waste products) and normal saliva pH ranges from 6.0 to 7.4 (depending on what you’re eating). Soft drinks as well as the carbon dioxide have phosphoric acid in them making them one acidic drink! The body tries to neutralize this by using minerals (from bones) – there goes the calcium, magnesium, silica etc. Non-fluoridated water (I’ll discuss this in the next article) like we supply in the Alba Therapies waiting room, is best.

We have a wide range of water filters from URwater (http://www.urwater.com.au) for sale at Alba Therapies. Ask Elly, our wonderful receptionist, about great tasting water in your home. So drink plenty of water this summer and have a happy and healthy festive season. Cheers!dragonfly_tap

HRT Alternatives

So you’re a woman at a change over point in your life and instead of celebrating the liberation from the monthly bleed; you are suffering hot flushes, sweating, sleeplessness, anxiety and a host of other symptoms you weren’t expecting or wanting. You’re not too enthused about the prospect of HRT and you’ve tried all the off-the-shelf products and have had little or no relief.

Thchinese-herbsen its time for a herbal prescription tailored to your needs. We (at Alba Therapies) don’t use Black Cohosh in any of our successful individualised herbal prescriptions. Why? There is a herb called Black Cohosh in Chinese herbal medicine but is a different species to those used in pre-packaged preparations. It too reduces heat, but it is recommended not to be used long term in cases of Yin deficiency, which is the main syndrome in menopause. Notice I said “main” not only.  Perhaps once or twice in over ten years of practice has anyone walked into the clinic with only one syndrome. Menopause is hardly ever only one syndrome but a complex interactions of various systems in the body. It all depends on how you have treated your body in the last 20-30 years on how many syndromes present themselves. Our herbs are in a convenient granule format, no boiling required. Add acupuncture to your treatment plan and speed up the whole process.  Herb preparations equate to the cost of your daily capuccino. So you can be free of your symptoms and truly celebrating this part of your life.