Welcome to Summer: Stay Well…Stay Balanced!

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Summer time fun!

Summer Hot Fun Joy Abundance…Summer is the Fire Element and it’s time to check in with the Heart and Small Intestine. The heart houses the mind (or Shen) in Chinese medicine and it is the Emperor of all our organ systems. Any imbalance within this organ system can result in sleep disturbances, anxiety, forgetfulness, jumpiness, and or palpitations.

Our appetite for life is seen through our eyes and as a practitioner of TCM, I often look into your eyes to see what’s going on in your life, are you feeling satisfied, over worked, burdened or tired? It’s important to keep our Heart Qi in balance. Play but don’t play too hard, exercise but don’t exercise to hard. Fun and rest are very important in the summer because the heat in the summer can tend to build up and rise in our bodies.

The Small Intestine in Chinese medicine separates the pure from the turbid. There are many ways to interpret this. In its simplest form it’s the absorption of pure nutrients in the small intestine, leaving the turbid to be excreted out the large intestine. Philosophically, it can be your ability to process or filter your own emotions.

A nice cooling tea in the summer is chrysanthemum flowers and goji berries with a little honey. It cools the heart and the liver during hot sunny days. Green teas are also very cooling. I often make ice tea with herbs from the garden and add a little lemonade or white grape juice. It will keep in the fridge for a few days. Melons also clear body heat in the summer. So dig into those watermelons, cantaloupes, and honeydew melons. Cucumber, spinach, watercress and dark leafy greens all keep the body cool over the summer also, and don’t forget those yummy berries.

A nice yoga pose to keep the heart open is to roll up a towel and place it in the small of your back running up your spine while lying down with a pillow under your knees. This will relax your heart and help vent out any heat that has gathered in the body. Summer time is a very active time, trying out new sports, renos to the house, gardening… Make sure to pace yourself and start slowly. If you do get injured, take a rest, do some light massage and slowly regain your strength in the muscles you pulled or injured.

My son Mateo was in a Skip-a-thon at school and went right at it. He was so excited to tell me he skipped for 2hrs straight (flat footed jumping 2 feet off the ground) He is now jumping on his toes and all is good.

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At the end of the summer, there is Late Summer (or Indian Summer). This season involves the Spleen and Stomach, the Earth Element. This is the perfect time to work on your immunity or any long standing asthma problems. At this time of the year, there are no acute symptoms to treat, therefore I can address the root causes of your imbalances. Are you someone who does not transition well between seasons? Do you catch colds often? The Earth Element plays an important roll in your immunity and is seen in the middle of the circle within the Five Element System. There are so many things to keep your mind and body in balance but if you are struggling to find the right balance for you, visit me in my clinic at Simple Remedies at our new location around the corner at 1111 Fort St. (free 2hr parking on Meares St.,above Cook)

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In Health

Gigi Vincentine, Dr. TCM. Dip. My summer holidays will begin on July20th-July31st. I’ll be back in the clinic on August 3rd. Happy Summer! Lotus FlowerLotus PondLongJing Tea Terraces

Acidic vs Alkaline

lemonIn Chinese Medicine, you will often hear things like “you have too much heat in your body, we have to cool your blood or clear heat from your liver and large intestine.” I’m continually fascinated by how much the Chinese Ancient Sages knew thousands of years ago without microscopes, MRIs, or blood tests. Does heat correspond to acidity? Yes, but not always. Both the Chinese Yin/Yang philosophy and the alkaline/acidic philosophy have one thing in common; Balance! One is not good or bad, they just need to be in balance.
Yin and Yang need to be in balance just like our blood needs to be in balance at a Ph level slightly alkaline or about middle of the ph range 7.35-7.45. Qi and oxygen are produced and transported in our cells properly only if ph levels are within a healthy range. We have heard it before that disease lives in an acidic environment. Inflammation can only exist if we are acidic.  Chinese Herbal Formulas and Acupuncture work to find that balance for you.  Balancing your nervous system, endocrine system and elimination systems to reduce stress in your body and increase energy and well-being.

Here are some quick and easy tips to alkalize your body!

*Reduce your stress levels and breath deeply

*Exercise not too little and not too much. Qi Gong or Tai Chi are perfect example of exercises that calm your nervous system and increase your oxygen carrying capacity.

*Eat more vegetables and fruits (juicing is a great way to restore your alkalinity)

*Drink lemon water first thing in the morning

*Add some herbal teas to your daily routine ie Simple Remedies’ Mineral Tea

*Kelzyme For Life is another great way to increase your alkalizing minerals like calcium and potassium

In my own clinic I often suggest more of an Asian diet for this reason.  There are less acidic forming foods like meats, cheese and sugar, and more alkaline forming foods like vegetables, seaweeds, herbs, seeds and nuts. Remember we can eat some acidic forming foods. Research suggests about a 60% alkaline forming diet, although this depends on your constitution and the climate where you live. More vegetables it is!

I found this great article for more healthy tips on how to return to alkalinity through diet and lifestyle. http://www.eastwindsacupuncture.com/balancing-acidalkaline-foods

This is a detailed list of acidic and alkaline forming foods. http://www.rense.com/1.mpicons/acidalka.htm

blood cellsAn image to show you how alkaline blood really has the space to move around and carry oxygen and other nutrients. They have a negative charge as to repel each other. (not clumping together like the acidic blood)

Sleep Better

Sleep time is restorative time. If you’re not getting enough sleep, and waking up still feeling tired, your body didn’t get a chance to fully recover and heal throughout the night. Short term worry or travel disruptions aren’t usually a problem. It’s the long term sleepless nights, or difficulty falling asleep or easy to wake that cause a disruption in our lives.

Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can help! There are many patterns/imbalances in the body that can cause insomnia. Your Chinese Medicine Practitioner will be able to assess and diagnose your particular situation. In general though, we say that insomnia is a Shen disorder, or a heart spirit mind disorder. During sleep, we would like our Shen to reside and settle in our heart for a good nights’ sleep. If the heart is deficient and lacking in Qi, blood or yin, the Shen has no where to lie and remains restless and ungrounded.

Some Simple Tips for getting to sleep

Tip #1 Avoid stimulus and eating before bed

Tip #2 Have a routine so the body gets used to winding down

Tip #3 Minerals like Magnesium can help relax the body and bring energy out of your head down into the body

Tips #4 Massage your feet to further promote the energy out to your head down into the body (this one is my favorite)

Tip #5 Use your breath along with a mantra/song or visualization to help your body let go of your day

Happy Sleeping! For more information or help with your sleep imbalances contact Gigi Vincentine Dr. TCM Dip. at Simple Remedies. Her hours in the clinic are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or visit her website http://www.gigivincentine.ca

Welcome to Spring…Stay Healthy, Stay Balanced

chinese clipartSpring… can you feel it sprouting up inside you? We can certainly see it on the outside, in our gardens and on the trees. We can even hear it in the birdsong. In Chinese Medicine theory our Qi is now starting to commence its journey towards the outer layer of the body. In summer our Qi will be in the outer most layer and in winter it will retract to our inner core. Now it’s time for growth, expansion and spreading our Qi.

The expression, “Don’t spread yourself to thin.” is very applicable in spring time. We all get excited and start doing all the things we couldn’t do throughout the winter. Don’t do everything at once, prioritize! Stay grounded like the roots of a tree while your buds are sprouting out into the fresh air. Remember with spring comes rain and wind. Keep yourself warm and safe from the elements.

From the winter stews and soups, you may feel like eating crunchier foods. It is certainly time to start munching on some raw foods, but don’t over do it. Remember we need to protect our stomach fires and not douse them out by eating too many cold foods. You can always “warm up” those salads by adding some ginger to your dressing or fresh lemon juice to aid digestion.

Have you been waiting to do a cleanse? Yes, it’s time! We move into the Liver/Gallbladder season and hence we could use a little detoxifying. A simple way to cleanse during this time of year is focusing on more green in our diet. Green being the Liver/Gallbladder color of the 5 element system. What’s green in our surroundings that grow like weeds? WEEDS! I.e. dandelion greens, nettle leaves, cleavers. They grow abundantly all around us. Nettle in particular is well known to help us with our allergies. This is because of the high level of minerals and cleansing properties of this plant. Dandelion greens is a bitter plant and helps flush out the liver and kidneys. Cleavers are a diuretic, lymphatic tonic, and a detoxifier. Come into Simple Remedies and explore your options with our well informed staff or if you have some medical concerns make an appointment for a consultation to speak to me in person. Acupuncture or massage can be a very helpful adjunct to a cleanse by making sure the toxins are being flushed out through your sweat, bowels or urination. It can also help with irritability and low energy as we go through detoxification.

When you are on a cleanse, give yourself time and space for it. It doesn’t mean you have to quit your job or go on holiday, but you will get more benefit from it if you take time each day to meditate, do more yoga, or take some rest. There are lots of approaches to clearSONY DSCing out the winter cobs webs. Choose one that fits your needs and lifestyle.

Happy Spring, I couldn’t resist putting this picture in of Alia Blue with the Daffodils. Vancouver Island’s ultimate Spring flower. (this pic was taken 3 yrs ago)
Welcome to longer days and shorter nights and a season of growth and inspiration.
Gigi Vincentine Dr TCM, Dip, R.Ac, R.TCM. P.
http://www.gigivincentine.ca

Read a great article of this year’s forecast-Year of the Yin Wood Sheep http://foreverconscious.com/chinese-astrology-year-of-the-yin-wood-sheep-2015

Some pics from the Health Show!!!

A great day at the Health and Wellness Festival yesterday.  A big thank you to my volunteers Mateo and Alia.  They showed everyone how fun acupuncture can be for kids.  We also demonstrated some cupping, guasha, and tuina techniques.  How fun! I was so happy.

I met many new vendors and practitioners in our community.  That was really special.  I also had lots of new patients try out new techniques and overcome their fear or hesitation about acupuncture. I achieved all my goals:)

It was a pleasure to share the day with Glennis and all the Simple Remedies fans.

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Health Show,Saturday February 7th, 2015, Conference Centre, Victoria

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Join me at the Health and Wellness Show on Saturday, February 7th from 10am – 5pm.

I will be teaching some new and old Chinese Medicine techniques, including cupping, guasha, pediatric acupuncture, relaxation treatments and more.

Special pediatric demo at 2pm with relaxation treatments throughout the day.

See you there!