Anxiety can be such so insidious. You can feel fine and then you’re hijacked by these paralysing and overwhelming feelings.
You can start to feel like you’re separating from your body, detaching from reality. A veil seems to descend between you and the world. Your mind and heart no longer feel safe and grounded.
You might even feel like you’re going to have a heart attack, pass out or die.
You develop a whole system of checks and balances nuanced to your particular flavour of control, all to avoid being triggered.
You become afraid of your anxiety returning and this creates a type of cage that you comfortably inhabit, because however restrictive, you deem it better than that anxious feeling. And this can work – it does keep things manageable – but sometimes you get stuck there and think it’s a forever thing.
But how to open the door? How to step out of the cage? (more…)
“Life is transformation. There is no life that is not an unceasing transformation.”
– Élisabeth Rochat de la Vallée
It’s the final month of our Winter here in the Southern Hemisphere. As we approach Spring we get closer to emerging from our Yin state and the building of Yang will initiate.
Yang is light, activity, movement, initiation, action, the doing. On a metaphysical, spiritual and cosmological level the most Yang manifestation of a human, the purest Yang aspect of our consciousness, is the Spirit or ‘Shen’.
Shen is translated as something which is divine, marvellous, extraordinary or mysterious. In recent times we call it the Heart-Mind. (more…)
“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.“
– Lao Tzu
In July in the Southern Hemisphere we are in the depths of winter – that deep dark Yin place of stillness, hibernation and rest. The mysterious and all-pervasive impetus for growth has stilled. The soil temperatures are cool and flower buds that have birthed from their seeds are still just kernels of potential, waiting.
Winter can be hard for some peeps. It can get you down, especially if life has also thrown in some tough times or big changes. In winter it’s easier to descend into the deeper layers of consciousness (the sub and unconscious) to places where the script is written. There can be great fear and resistance from most to go there and experience it.
From a Chinese Medicine treatment perspective, winter is a very important season for rejuvenation and renewal. Daoist and Buddhist traditions (as well as many styles of psychology) would posit that it is from sitting with yourself, with a non-judgemental attitude and willingness to just see what’s there and be with it, that enables transformation and disintegrates old constructs. What is liberated provides the alchemical building blocks for the new.
If you’re the kind of person who struggles in the cold, each year you may wonder how to cope with winter in a way that is less defeating, more empowering.
Since water is the element of the winter season, I like to look to the wisdom of water for answers. (more…)
What is Yin?
Yin is a term that comes from the classical Chinese concept of opposite yet complementary forces, Yin and Yang. Yin is described as the “shadow side of the mountain” in relation to the sunny side, which is Yang. Yin is dark, cool and quiet, and so we often neglect the importance of Yin in favour of the hot, bright and loud Yang elements in life.
It’s an elegantly simple concept, yet Yin Yang can describe mind-bending complexities of the mechanisms of the universe. Its essence is encapsulated in the Yin Yang symbol. No matter how you try to dissect this circle, every slice will contain both Yin and Yang. (more…)
Thinking about having a baby? It can feel mega – emotionally, psychologically and physically. Add a trend to have babies later in life, feeling the tick-tock of the biological clock, stepping into the unknown, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Fertility is an arena in which Chinese Medicine gets a lot of success and notoriety.
In Chinese Medicine, the premise for pre-conception care is to be at your optimal vitality and balance. If you are planning to conceive, both parents should prepare their bodies prior to conception. This will increase your chances of:
- A healthy and energetic pregnancy
- Easy breast-feeding and recovery
- Optimal vitality in your children.
In essence, we are preparing the soil to plant the seed, then nourishing the eco-system to sustain growth. (more…)
*Image by the talented Jem Magbanua
When it comes to women’s sexual and reproductive health, attitudes matter. Our culture shapes the way we feel about our bodies and more deeply, how our bodies respond.
“Safe sex” in classical Chinese thought is sex that does not drain the body of needed energy and vitality, but increases it.
Chinese medical history is long and traverses time to places where cultural norms about women’s sexual and reproductive health were quite different.
We all have trouble dealing with our emotions sometimes. Feelings that come up can have all sorts of stories attached to them. Stories we don’t like, feelings we don’t want to experience.
We hide what we feel, ignore it, feel shame and guilt about it, lie about it or blame other people for causing difficult emotions in us.
We also crave certain emotions that are considered positive: we want to grasp on to them, get addicted and attached to things, people and places which generate that emotional feeling.
This attachment to certain emotions can motivate our behaviour and make us feel out of control.
When it comes to emotions, perhaps we never really grew up. (more…)
I use detox as a clinical tool. I find it makes a huge improvement in my patients, especially for (but not limited to) those suffering fatigue, endocrine issues, digestive disorders and adrenal burnout.
Detoxing is also fantastic for pre-conception care.
I always spend time chatting with my clients and really getting a sense of what is realistic and what they can manage. Aspirations can be admirable. But you must know what you’re getting in to, be invested in the benefits and be up for it.
It can either be pleasurable coming home to your optimal health or it can be a total struggle. Preparation is what makes the difference. (more…)
Hay fever. Grrrr, it’s sooo annoying.
What Causes Hay Fever?
Allergic reactions occur when the body’s immune system misidentifies a normally harmless substance as a threat to the body. An inflammatory reaction takes place in an attempt to eject this substance from the system, resulting in a variety of symptoms.
Common allergens (substances that produce allergic reactions) are foods, pollen, animal dander, mould, insect venom, drugs and dust mites.
There are other insidious factors that can set you up to be much more reactive as your immune system is already on alert and trigger happy.
In July I attended an industry seminar called the Adrenal Epidemic. I got the lowdown on the latest research about adrenal fatigue, otherwise known as allostatic resistance.
What you need to know about adrenal fatigue
I’ve summarised what I believe you need to know about this condition, especially if you are:
- someone who suffers from fatigue, burnout, thyroid or hormonal issues
- entering your late 30s, living in the inner city with a really full and busy life, burning the candle at both ends and want to age (in the words of the naturopath leading the seminar) “disgracefully well”
- wanting to stay fertile and juicy and have an easy menopause.
If this is you, then please get to know allostatis and cortisol.