Give Yourself a Total Health Makeover
Dec 31, 2016 04:55PM
by Rene Ng, DOM, AP, L.Ac.
How time flies––2017 is officially here, and during this time of the year, many people create resolutions to help reach their goals for this new season of life. So, how about a “Total Health Makeover” to manifest your optimal degree of wellness in 2017?
This makeover focuses on the core of your being––mind, body and spirit. If you focus on improving the health, integrity and vitality of this core, your entire self will be enhanced. These three elements are mutually independent on each other. If one is weak, eventually all three will become weakened too. Therefore, it’s important to strengthen all three at the same time.
Makeover Focus: The Body
When you think about resolutions for the body, you likely focus on three areas––weight, face and hair. Let’s first address the weight factor, as it’s often the primary concern on most resolution lists. To effectively manage weight, you’ll need to manage how fat and water are produced in the body, and why they are often retained in the midsection.
Exercise and good nutrition play a major role in this issue, but they aren’t the only contributing factors. In fact, with aging, the body’s organ systems begin to decline, inhibiting the body’s ability to manage fat and water. The liver is responsible for the production and management of fat, the spleen for the absorption of water, and the kidney for addressing leftover water and fluids through urination.
If any one of these organ systems are impaired, you will experience weight gain, and neither increased exercise nor proper nutrition can produce a sustainable effect on reducing this weight gain. Therefore, as part of your resolution, include an action item to address any impairment or imbalance within your liver, spleen and kidney systems.
Advanced Weight Reduction with Cold Lipo Laser
There are many natural options available to help with weight reduction. The most advanced and effective is cold lasers to “burn off” the fat. These lasers––including the FDA-approved Zerona laser used at my clinic––dissolve the fat cells and move them into the interstitial space after which they are excreted from the body as waste.
The process is similar to liposuction, but with one major difference––rather than cutting into the body, lasers are non-invasive, and are instead used to sculpt the body. Patients do not feel any pain during this entire process. Cold laser treatments reduce inches from the waist, hip and thigh areas. The procedure works quickly, and is completed over the span of just two weeks. During this time, patients typically report an average loss of three to five inches.
This process is even more effective when used in conjunction with Acupuncture and Chinese herbs. The laser removes the physical excess fat and water, while the complementary Acupuncture and Chinese herbs address imbalances inside the body which caused weight gain in the first place. If you desire to rapidly shed unwanted inches, consider cold laser treatments as a primary option. Of course, the results differ for each individual, and effectiveness cannot be predicted.
Weight Reduction with Nutrition
“You are what you eat” is a common yet accurate phrase. However, contrary to popular belief, avoiding sweets, fatty foods, dairy and desserts alone does not result in weight loss. This is not the type of nutrition I’m even talking about. Instead, I’m referring to foods that benefit the spleen, kidney and liver systems, while minimizing or avoiding foods that hurt them.
For example, Chinese Medicine states that eating raw, uncooked vegetables is unhealthy. These are believed to strain the spleen and stomach, impairing their digestive and absorbing functions. This results in bloating and water retention, and can also cause food sensitivity or intolerance, gastrointestinal disorders, fatigue, blood deficiency, iron deficiency and general malaise.
Since the spleen is also responsible for managing the muscles, those who frequently consume raw vegetables often report muscle weakness and anemic-like conditions in addition to the previously mentioned symptoms. This is why you won’t find raw vegetable item on the menu at most Chinese restaurants. In my clinic, I have helped many patients reduce their excess weight just by advising them to reduce or eliminate their raw vegetable intake.
Your natural healthcare practitioner––especially a qualified and licensed Acupuncture Physician––can help you create a diet plan to strengthen spleen, liver and kidney systems, returning them to homeostasis. This helps the body to function more actively and smoothly which results in excess weight reduction.
Weight Reduction with Herbs
There are many herbal products on the market, both Eastern and Western, that are extremely effective in helping the body eliminate excess fat and water. Diuretic foods like mushrooms and barley are also effective means of achieving this.
Find the right herbs that, not only remove excess weight, but also benefit the organ systems causing this issue to begin with. In China, oolong tea is often consumed to increase the body’s Yang and metabolic energy, leading to fat reduction and weight loss. Green tea is also consumed to strengthen both the spleen and stomach which enhances the absorption of food and water, meaning less retention.
The state of health inside your body is commonly reflected on your face. The actual location where lines, pimples, discoloration, rashes, wrinkles, age spots or puffiness manifests can directly correlate to imbalances in the body. Through addressing those imbalances, the facial symptoms will recede and diminish.
Increased circulation to the face also rejuvenates the skin, reduces puffiness, restores color and luster, and improves skin tone. In my clinic, I combine several techniques to address skin issues like Chinese herbs, Acupuncture, Chinese An Mo massage with Jade Roller, follicle and skin cell stimulation with laser and dermarollers, cellular activation with RF, electrical stimulation and infrared, and lifting with Gua Sha and moxibustion.
Many people confront hair issues on a daily basis––thinning, receding hairlines, greying, bald spots and split ends, for example. Hair is comprised of cells which need nutrition to stay healthy and grow. The hair receives nutrition from blood circulating to the area, so it’s imperative that an adequate supply of blood reaches the scalp to feed your hair.
If you frequently consume processed sugars, consider reducing your intake because these ingredients contribute to thinning hair. Stressing the cells can also lead to poor hair health and thinning, so discuss with your hairdresser about how to keep the cells de-stressed with the right types of shampoos and conditioners.
Certain cold lasers, dermarollers, electrical stimulation, and massage devices can also be effective in promoting hair health and regrowth. In China, herbs like He Shou Wu are taken to strengthen and grow the hair, while maintaining its natural color.
Regular Health Maintenance and Tune-up
Our body operates like a vehicle. When a car is brand new, its engine runs smoothly. However, with time, that car will begin showing signs of wear-and-tear.
The same regression occurs within the body as age takes its toll. Therefore, just like it’s important to schedule car maintenance on a regular basis, taking consistent care of the body and addressing problems as they occur, can help you maintain wellness––relatively free from aches, pains and ailments. You can achieve this with the following factors:
Proper nutrition based on each individual’s constitution, body needs, lifestyle and place of residence
Physical exercise on a consistent basis
Whole body circulatory massage to promote blood flow and invigorate the muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissues
Yoga, Tai Chi and other stretching exercises
Regular treatments with Acupuncture, herbs, moxa or cupping to invigorate and balance the body’s organ systems
Makeover Focus: The Mind
Which type are you––a “half-empty” or “half-full” kind of person? If your mind is not spirited, then you will view circumstances as “half-empty.” You will become more introverted, passive, lethargic, unmotivated, and you might even show signs of anger or depression. On the other side of the spectrum, if your mind is spirited, you will view those same circumstances from a “half-full” perspective. You will become positive, alert, energized, creative and eager to take initiative. So, how can you invigorate the mind?
First, remember the brain––although considered an organ––also functions like a muscle. Therefore, it needs both nutrients and oxygen. Without these components, the brain will become weakened, flaccid and heavy. Dull headaches are often a symptom of the brain not receiving adequate nourishment. The following factors can help you invigorate the brain.
Oxygen and Fresh Air
Make time in your schedule to stroll through a wooded area with ample trees and foliage. The presence of trees generally indicates abundant oxygen. Spending time in these surroundings will oxygenate the blood which enlivens the brain.
You can stimulate blood flow to the brain through local, physical stimulation. Perform a gentle massage on your scalp area, using either your fingers or a massage tool. Adequate blood circulation to the scalp can also benefit hair health and growth as well.
In Chinese Medicine, brain health is maintained by the kidney organ system. Therefore, eating foods that benefit the kidney system like cashews, goji berries, Chinese yam, seaweed and bone broth (especially when rich in marrow) can help nourish the kidneys.
In addition, various herbs are also known to directly affect the brain health. In China, royal jelly is consumed to restore vitality to the brain, but make sure you’re not allergic to bees before consuming this. Other herbs like Ginkgo Biloba also known to improve memory and focus. Your nutritionist and Acupuncture Physician can help identify herbal supplements that benefit the brain and can help address your specific needs.
Neck and Shoulder Massage
Stiff neck and shoulder muscles can prevent the smooth flow of Qi and blood to the brain by causing obstructions at the base of your skull. In this case, you might present with symptoms like dull headaches, muffled hearing or pressure behind the eyes. A neck and shoulder massage can relieve those muscles and loosen congestion to promote circulatory flow to the brain.
Cranial Sacral Therapy and Lymphatic Drainage would also increase circulatory flow to the brain. When the lymph nodes are clogged, a congestion below the cranial bone of the skull can impede with the flow of Qi and blood into the brain. This can also make the muscles around the neck and shoulders tight which worsens the condition.
Makeover Focus: The Spirit
Now, let’s turn our attention to the engine of your body––the spirit. This component drives our body to function and remain active. In order to maintain a positive outlook, a healthy spirit is essential. If your spirit becomes dull and lethargic, you experience boredom and disinterest in your own life. So, how can you perform a successful makeover on the spirit?
Many people, including myself, are religious, and this can be a powerful avenue. In religion, we find some of the deepest meanings and values in life––kindness, respect, appreciation and generosity, for example.
One of the greatest benefits of religion is having a reference point to becoming a quality human being. There are many resources that you can turn to for this guidance, whether through a church or temple, or a spiritual text. If you value religion, placing a deeper emphasis on your personal belief system can help stimulate your spirit.
For those who are not religious, you can stimulate the spirit through becoming one with nature. Being in-tune with your surroundings jumpstarts the energy in your body and accentuates your appreciation for life. Nature helps the human soul to become grounded with its roots. Taking a walk outside and listening to the birds chirping overhead, the rustling of leaves or the twigs snapping under your feet can refresh your spirit, bringing the turbulent energies in the body back into harmony.
Another wonderful and effective way to stimulate your spirit is to volunteer with a charity. Many people in our community are impoverished, homeless and less fortunate than ourselves. Fortunately, organizations like the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities have been established to help those in need. These organizations depend on donations and volunteers to function.
Schedule time to volunteer for these causes. Ring a bell for the Salvation Army. Collect canned goods for the hungry. By giving to others, you’ll receive nourishment for your spirit. You might be surprised how acts of kindness can positively fuel your zest for life.
Strengthening the Organ Systems
In Chinese Medicine, the human spirit can be divided into five components––Hun, Po, Shen, Yi and Zhi. In last month’s Natural Awakenings issue, I wrote an article that chronicled out these elements affect a person’s overall health.
Each component is tied to an organ system within the body. If that organ becomes impaired, then the corresponding component is affected, and your spirit will suffer. Therefore, by treating the keeping the organs healthy, you can positively enhance the spirit. The Hun is tied to the liver and governs emotions, the Po is tied to the lungs and governs sensitivity, the Shen is tied to the heart and governs mental functions and sleep, the Yi tied to the spleen and governs intellect, and the Zhi is tied to the kidney and governs will-power. Your Acupuncture Physician can help differentiate which components are imbalanced and how they can return to homeostasis.
Seminar on Weight Management
On January 16, I will be giving a seminar on weight management at Four Pillars, located in Lakewood Ranch. During this seminar, I will be covering in detail why the body accumulates weight (other than because of poor diet and insufficient exercise). I will also discuss how you can reduce this excess weight naturally.
The mind, body and spirit dictate our entire lives––how we function, who we are as individuals and what helps us maintain wellness. If you resolve to address these components in 2017, you could experience happiness and vitality like never before. Your Acupuncture Physician and other natural healthcare practitioners can help you create a plan of attack to achieve this. Then, as 2017 draws to a close, and 2018 approaches, you can reflect on this year with positive memories. Have a safe, blessed and exciting New Year!
Rene Ng, AP, L.Ac., is a board-certified, licensed Acupuncture Physician and Chinese Herbalist in Sarasota. Depression, cancer care, Multiple Sclerosis, trauma, insomnia, thyroid issues and pain management are among the many health challenges he addresses at his clinic located near Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Ng is also a four-time winner of Sarasota’s “Favorite Acupuncture Physician” award. For more information, call 941-773-5156, email [email protected] or visit ChineseMedicalSolutions.com. To register for his upcoming seminar, call 941-373-3955. Space is limited.