Welcome the year of the Dog

The Chinese New-year is coming February 16th.

There are 10 heavenly stems and 12 earthly branches. Every year, there is a different meeting of a stem and a branch for a cycle of 60 years at a time. The meetings are determined based on the planetary movement which has a relatively repetitive pattern.
This year is influenced by the energy of the 5th Stem (Wu) & the 11th Branch (Xu) which makes it an Earth – Dog year.
The 5TH Stem is a Yang stem (odd numbers are Yang) in which the Earth element is hosted by great movement Fire. (Stomach in Fire)
In the Chinese nourishment (Sheng) cycle, fire nourishes/ generates earth, therefore in this case the relationship is reversed and the movement is “backwards”. In this kind of relationships brings a tendency for things to move a little slower and it is expected to have delays, especially when it comes to being able to enjoy the fruits of ones’ labor.
A Yang stem in the house of fire also has a controlling/ balancing (Ke) act on the Yin of the metal, and in this case the energy of the Lungs (Fei). Fei is gathering and distributing Qi as which supports distribution of fluids. The metal aspect of the lung is related to their contraction, gathering of air and the ability to control the pores – creating a “protection” from outside invasion of external pathogens, the first line of defense in our body, the outmost external layer of the skin, Fei is also related to the emotion Sadness.
In Wu years, the Fei may suffer and there is a higher chance for people to contract upper respiratory infection, or having harder time recovering from them (in my practice I already see the impact), people with asthma and allergies may have harder time this coming spring and others with weak Fei Qi may fall into slight depression, hence it is important to support the transition to spring by working on the Qi of the Fei and the supporting the movement from Gan (Liver) in to Fei with a treatment like Liv1 +14 as an example.
Since the 5th stem Wu is a Yang Stem under influence of great movement Fire – it has Unlike (Vs’ like) relationship, or opposing relationship with the 10TH Stem Gui (or Kidney in Fire). This relationship is posing pressure on the Kidneys’ energy (Shen Qi). Shen Qi is the responsible of maintenance of life and endurance and receives it’s nourishment from Fei in the Sheng cycle, the combination of Fei being jeopardized and Shen Qi under pressure by the influence of the 5th Stem, this is making Shen Qi vulnerable. It is important not to over exert in the attempt of making things happen faster. It will be a good idea to bring down the Qi from the upper Jiao into the Dan Tian especially with patients who already have a tendency for excess or “empty” fire. Points of the Zu Shao Yin can be appropriate ;Kid 25/24/23 along with points like Kid 12, 13 or 10, would serve this purpose and also support of the upper Jiao.
The 11th branch – Xu, is related to the energy of the Pericardia (Xin Bao) – The Heart governor or the protective layer surrounding the Heart.
Because Xin Bao is considered to be the communicator between the Heart (Xin) – between the master of the kingdom to the rest of the body, it is protective by nature just like the Dog, loyal, caring, honest and social. To some extent Xin Bao is responsible of our emotional immune system. Furthermore, The 11th branch is at a time of which energy transition and gathers inwards – the “end” of a cycle (11th branch out of 12). This fact is contributing to the tendency of people born in the year of the Dog to keep things “close to their heart” but are also good at expressing themselves to whom they trust. In general terms, in a year influenced by this energy there might be more tendency for issues regarding communication, especially by people who are reserved. Together with the influence of the 5th stem, this might add even more to the tendency of things to get stagnant in the upper Jiao and cause Damp and phlegm to accumulate, St 40 or Pc 5 come to mind in that regard.
Metal element in Chinese medicine is about refinement, accuracy and separation of the pure from the murky, and all those concepts are strongly related to boundaries. The Dog is a territorial creature by nature, and with the influence of the 5th stem (which puts “pressure” on the metal as mentioned earlier) there might be some conflict regarding boundaries and borders this year, or a need to define and resolve issues regarding them. The influence of the stem Wu “shaking” and “blurring” defined borders on some levels, while the impact of the branch Xu requires to guard and be very clear about them.

Over all this year is strongly impacted by both energies of Earth and Fire. Creativity, playfulness, expansion and communication are all strongly highlighted, all of which can be productive, or destructive.
Important key words to remember while moving onward with this year are Communication, Patience and Honesty, and Flexibility.

 

Happy year of the Dog to all, may the kind heart and the playfulness of the dog be apparent.

Eran Reznik

Dipl. Ac, LMBT.

Emotional freedom from evolutionary pain.

How does our pain and illness relate to life experiences?

Life is a constant change of events. From the time we are born through childhood and into adulthood, we go through numerous life experiences that shape us as the individuals we become. Some of these experiences are making us smile while others are not so pleasant.

Any life experience is an exposure to energy. The way a person is affected by a life event  and to what extent is determined by two factors – how resilient an individual is (their internal integrity) verses how powerful the experience is (How strong the external factor). This is also true to any external influence, like the weather, bacteria or food – all are external energies introduced to one’s body.

Life experiences can be overwhelming and hard to process, especially at a young age (but not only). Even though every life event is serving a purpose and is part of our evolution as the whole humanity, some can leave an emotional scar (and maybe physical as well) and give room for “destructive patterns to take the space”. They can alter who we are as individuals, and cause us to change the way we live life, preventing us from being true to our own nature.

It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as one may think, we all have “Daemons” of some sort and to some degree we live just fine.

Some of these “daemons” are passed on to us by our ancestors (and present for many generations in families), some are due to traumatic events we have had to endure, and some are related to unresolved past injuries, loss of consciousness or even drug use.(including Marijuana)

A great deal has been written in ancient Chinese writings about emotions as a contributor of disease, and in some cases, they are viewed as “demons” that can gain control of our lives. External influences as such are “parasite–like”; consuming one’s energy and prohibiting from them to be true to our heart and live life to their fullest potential. 

In the beginning of evolution of Chinese medicine, daemons and ghosts were considered to be the only contributor of disease, and all diseases were considered to be as a result of ghost possession. later on new concepts evolved such as invasion of external cold or heat. Now days we can understand that when a person get’s sick is because of bacteria or virus or allergen, but those too can be interpreted as some type of energy that is introduced to the body and is invading it.

There are specific techniques in acupuncture to help patients process these life events without digging into old wounds, or dwelling in the past. By using specific acupuncture points at specific times, the treatment allows the body to let those “demons” go.  In order for healing to be successful, such a process is essential, without it, the “demons” will continue to consume the individual’s “upright energy”  .

It is written in The Yellow Emperor’s book of Internal Medicine, (which is considered to be the doctrinal source of Chinese medicine)

“In order to make all acupuncture thorough, one must first cure the spirit.”

 

Eran Reznik – Dipl. Ac, LMBT.

 

5 Misconceptions about Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one tool out of many utilized by Chinese medicine practitioner to bring a patients’ body back to its best and ultimate function. Often times there is a lot of confusion about what is acupuncture exactly, what can it help with, how it’s preformed and other wrong preconceived notions about it. In this article I’ll try to shed some light on this topic.

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Mistake # 1 People don’t want to get acupuncture because it hurts and they are afraid of the needles;

Although acupuncture is by definition requiring the insertion of needles, referring to those tiny needles in the same name as needles that are used to draw blood and so on is a very misleading factor. The acupuncture needles are so small and thin, they are flexible. The insertion of the needle is typically not painful at all and barely felt under the execution of a skillful practitioner. There are over 400 acupuncture points in the body, if a patient is uncomfortable with the needles at first, it is always possible to use points that are not as sensitive. Some points are slightly uncomfortable at the moment of insertion (mostly points located at the toes or fingers) but the sensation from the needle passes within couple of seconds and the feeling of relaxation and overall benefit of the treatment outweighs all the initial discomfort.  Furthermore, Chinese medicine has many tools such as Moxibustion, herbal medicine, cupping, Gua sha, Tuina, Shiatsu, nutrition, Qi Gong and lifestyle changes all of which can be used if the needles are completely out of the question.

Mistake # 2 The needles are going to be inserted in the site of pain;

When Chinese medicine is practiced in holistic way, the acupuncturist will not necessarily place the needles in the site of injury or pain. In Chinese medicine there are 2 terms – “Ben & Biao”. “Ben” is the root, the cause of the disease, or the pain. “Biao” is the manifestation, the pain itself, the inflammation in a specific joint for an example. With Chinese medicine, the goal is to treat the ROOT cause and not so much to focus on the symptom. In Chinese medicine, in order to treat the sick, there is a need to use the healthy, if an individual is suffering from tendinitis of the right elbow, it means something is unhealthy and presenting itself in this elbow, trying to “fix” it with the sick elbow is opposing the philosophy behind Chinese medicine. It is okay at times to insert the needles in the site of injury to promote better energy movement (or oxygen and blood flow) but not as a system of practice.

Mistake # 3 The acupuncturist is going to place a lot of needles on your back and all over the body;

This is farthest from the truth, there are many branches to acupuncture and many practitioners with completely different approach. Even though many practitioners do use significant number of needles in each treatment (10 and more), in Classic Chinese medicine the mindset of the practitioner is “less is more”. When treating the problem from the root and with the understanding that each point does many things the practitioner try to focus the treatment and choose just the right points to make the proper change in the body. It is possible to compare it to trying to shoot an arrow on a target, if one is precisely in the center, there is no need for anymore. On top of it, the actual number of needles is important since in Chinese medicine, every number echoes a different vibration. For an example, I usually use between 1 to 5 needles per treatment.

Mistake # 4 You need to believe it in order for it to work;

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are science based art. Chinese medicine is based on a theory that is driven from the understanding of cosmologic changes and astronomic phenomena. It is a theory that is based on thousands of years of observations at nature and the human body corresponding to it. It is true, that just like any form of medicine, acupuncture and Chinese medicine are limited and sometimes the progression of a disease is too great for things to be mended, but when addressed in the proper time and manner, acupuncture can be very effective for variety of health problems. From headache, migraines or joint pain to gynecological or respiratory issues, to more of a chemical based symptoms and disturbance such as insomnia, depression and anxiety, acupuncture can be so helpful at times that it seems like magic.

Mistake # 5 everything is okay with me so I don’t need to get acupuncture;

What considered to be “okay” in our mind is based on perception, the majority of patient I see over 45 years old, had at least one major surgery that was needed because of dysfunction of a joint or and organ and are taking daily medication to get their blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar level or hormones under control. This is not the definition of healthy by any means and it is time people understood that. You deserve a better quality of life and if things are addressed on time, they might be prevented. You don’t need to wait until all hell breaks loose, little symptoms like not sleeping well, unsettled digestive system, crappy mood and body discomforts and pain of all sort can be enough of a sign for you to know you should go and get a holistic treatment. Preventive medicine is the best medicine and Chinese medicine is exactly about that!
Chinese medicine is a holistic and preventive medicine, it works with the body and relies on the bodies’ ability to heal itself (yes, it can, just like you heal when you get cut). It is not one size fits all, every person responds different, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and the ability of every individual to heal is depending on many factors such as constitution, genetic background and family health history, their own health history as well as their life style and more. When it comes to Chinese medicine, two people with seemingly the same health issue will respond completely different to the treatment and will also need a different treatment. I hope I was able to shed some light on this misunderstood form of medicine and will try to keep sharing as much information as I can with everyone. Blessing to all
Eran Reznik
Dipl. Ac., LMBT.
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