I believe most of us have been watching and enjoying at least some of the many sporting competitions that the Beijing Olympic Games has allowed us to be a part of through TV and internet for the past 10 days. It seems the atmosphere in Beijing is absolutely amazing. Even sportsmen that do not do quite so well as to be able to stand on a pedestal and receive a medal, still greatly enjoy competing in front of tens of thousands of excited spectators. I have heard interviews with sportsmen who say that it is thrilling to be a part of the humongous event, to breathe in the excitement, to break their own personal records by simply being in an atmosphere of victory. Amazing!
It is also the first time China has received such a large number of tourists... not to mention the Chinese actually meeting people from all over the world, being able to communicate with them and make new friends. In this newsletter I wish to talk about something that the Chinese have shared with the world over a long period of time... something that has improved the health of great many people. I am talking about the traditional Chinese medicine.
I personally have never delved really deep into the traditional Chinese medicine, as it contains the spiritual aspect that I do not agree with, but I have learned some things that have turned out to be very helpful. Unlike most western doctors, the Chinese healers have understood the intimate connection between the emotions and disease for thousands of years. They begin each healing process by looking at a person's body but also including the report of their emotional state. Many pioneering scientists and doctors, including Christian ones, have searched for the ways to help heal their patients as whole - body, mind and spirit - and found that traditional Chinese medicine contains many answers to their previously unanswered questions. So, they have borrowed from this ancient wisdom, expanding their ability to bring healing to their patients. The facts I wish to share with You have been confirmed by modern western science as true.
Stress - The Main Modern-Day Culprit That Causes Disease
It is no news to any of us that stress is the causer of more disease than any other factor. In order to strengthen our immune systems and keep illness at bay, we have to learn to achieve a state of balance and harmony mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically... then illness simply cannot set in our bodies. Unfortunately most people have not been taught how to deal with stress and live in a balanced fashion.
Stress is directly brought about by unresolved issues or demands on emotional resources which are built up over time. Stress causes hormonal changes in our bodies, basically asking adrenal glands to produce adrenaline as a reaction to the pressure we are experiencing. The adrenaline release is part of the body’s fight-or-flight response, which is a natural built in system to mobilize the body for physical fighting or running. In itself it is a good thing. However, when the fight-or-flight response becomes an ongoing state of being, it weakens the immune system, making it more susceptible to all kinds of diseases.
The fight-or-flight response is in reality a life saving emotional mechanism, the purpose of which is to get a person out of a great, immediate, physically life-threatening situation. Unfortunately, we misuse the response by triggering off the flow of adrenalin also when we are in no actual life-threatening situation, namely, when we are anxious or worried. When sudden fear is an emotion that arises from a thought of immediate physical danger, then anxiety and worry result from imagined threats - we expect some future event to be dangerous or unpleasant for us.
All three are genuine fears and thus the mind sends the message to the body to prepare for flight or fight. As the body cannot by itself distinguish between a real danger and an imagined one, so, in response to the message from the mind body releases a flow of adrenaline. The adrenalin increases blood sugar and fatty acids in the blood stream which serve as fuels in combat and flight. However, the person who worries a lot does so throughout a day, most probably even when he lies down to sleep. The blood sugar and fatty acids instead of being converted to exceptional physical energy pile up in the blood. As a result the person develops diabetes and gradually clogs arteries with fats, till at some stage fat particles may clump together, closing some artery completely and so cause a heart attack. When this happens in the brain we call it a stroke.
If the fight-or-flight response is activated only during real danger and laid to peace as soon as the peril is over, the pancreas would produce enough insulin to neutralize the excess sugar. But in the state of constant worry and anxiety the inner organs, of which the pancreas is one, are deprived of regular blood supply. The pancreas becomes sick and its operation deficient. It no longer produces the sufficient quantity of insulin and the result is diabetes.
Toxic States of Being Degenerate the Body
Every form of long-sustained emotional stress, including feelings of guilt, resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness, anxiety, worry, anger, hatred, etc. lead to ulcers. Those are literally toxic states of being, which cause the body to stay uptight for a long period of time, hindering the normal flow of blood to the organs. As the stomach and duodenum are deprived of a regular blood supply, they get sick, making it easy for the stomach acid to nibble at the sick cell walls, causing open sores - ulcers.
Toxic states of being tense up our bodies, causing many of our biological processes to be impaired. Nutrient transport, cell respiration, detoxification, elimination, digestion, assimilation, hormone production, and brain function become severely disrupted, leading to a gradual degeneration and stagnation in the whole system. Once we are in the state of deterioration, we then become easily susceptible to viruses, harmful bacteria, parasites, Candida (fungi). We also begin to store toxic chemicals from food and pollution since our bodies cannot detoxify properly.
Ongoing emotional stress is the main root cause of a whole myriad of health complaints, such as: headaches, migraines, lethargy, digestive problems, depression, debility, insomnia, tension, heart palpitations, irritability, chronic fatigue, skin conditions, eating disorders, reduced concentration, heart failure, abdominal pain, diarrhea, cardiovascular disease, weight gain or loss, addictions, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, respiratory or lung disease, hyper tension (high blood pressure), nervous anxiety, anxiety, and sexual problems like frigidity, infertility, and impotence.
Borrowing From the Chinese
The Chinese believe that certain organs are related to emotional activities, i.e. the heart is related to joy, the liver to anger, the spleen to pensiveness, the lungs to anxiety, and the kidneys to fear. This means that when those emotions are out of balance, they do the greatest damage to their counterpart organs.
Emotional activity, in traditional Chinese medicine, is seen as a normal, internal, physiological response to stimuli from the external environment. Within normal limits emotions cause no disease or weakness in the body. However, when emotions become so powerful that they get out of control and begin to overwhelm a person, they will cause serious injury to the internal organs and open the door to disease. It is not the intensity as much as the prolonged duration of an extreme emotion that causes damage.
As already stated before and scientifically verified, the excess emotional activity leads to severe energy imbalances in a human body, wild aberrations in the flow of blood to organs, blockages, and impairment of vital organ functions. Once physical damage has begun, it is insufficient to eliminate the offending emotion to affect a cure; the prolonged emotional stress will require physical action as well. (TCM does not use synthetic medicines to effect healing to a body. It uses healing plants and herbs.) The emotions represent different human reactions to certain stimuli and do not cause disease under normal conditions.
The seven emotions in TCM:
"When one is excessively joyful, the spirit scatters and can no longer be stored," states the Lingshu (The Vital Axis). In TCM, joy refers to a states of agitation or overexcitement, rather than the more passive notion of deep contentment. The organ most affected is the heart. Over-stimulation can lead to such symptoms as feelings of agitation, insomnia, and palpitations.
In TCM, anger covers the full range of associated emotions including resentment, irritability, and frustration. An excess of rich blood makes one prone to anger. Anger will thus affect the liver. This can lead to the vital energy of liver - inner heat - rising to the head, resulting in headaches, dizziness, frequent head-colds, and other symptoms. In the long run it can result in high blood pressure and can cause problems with the stomach and the spleen. It is commonly observed that ruddy, "full-blooded" people with flushed faces are more prone than others to sudden fits of rage at the slightest provocation.
Anxiety injures the lungs, which control vital energy through breathing. Common symptoms of extreme anxiety are retention of breath, shallow, and irregular breathing, though, the shortage of breath experienced during periods of anxiety is common to everyone. Anxiety also injures the lungs' coupled organ, the large intestine. For example, over-anxious people are prone to ulcerative colitis.
In TCM, pensiveness or concentration is considered to be the result of thinking too much or excessive mental and intellectual stimulation. Any activity that involves a lot of mental effort will run the risk of causing disharmony. The organ most directly at risk is the spleen. This can lead to a deficiency of spleen's vital energy, causing worry and resulting in fatigue, lethargy, and inability to concentrate.
A normal and healthy expression of grief can be unleashed through sobbing that originates in the depths of the lungs - deep breathes and the expulsion of air with the sob. However, grief that remains unresolved and becomes chronic can create disharmony and disease in the lungs.
Fear is a normal and adaptive human emotion. But when it becomes chronic and when the perceived cause of the fear cannot be directly addressed, it will lead to disharmony. The organs most at risk are the kidneys. In cases of extreme fright, the kidney's ability to hold vital energy may be impaired, leading to involuntary urination. This can be a particular problem with children.
Fright is another emotion not specifically related to only one organ. It is distinguished from fear by its sudden, unexpected nature. Fright primarily affects the heart, especially in the initial stages, but if it persists for some time, it becomes conscious fear and moves to the kidneys.
Working With Negative Emotions
Though, saying all this, does not mean that we should painstakingly guard ourselves against all negative emotions... nor does it mean that only positive emotions are life-giving. In fact, there is reason to believe that a normal range of emotions - both positive and negative - are helpful to our well being. Emotions can draw us into life-giving activities, warn us about lurking danger, spur us into productive action, and by sharing them, allow us to create closeness and intimacy with others.
However, there can be wrong emotional responses. In this case emotions are unproductive. Unproductive emotional function can lead to emotions becoming so intense that we cannot focus, use reason, or consider other factors, which can cause us to make wrong decisions.
Though, if we become aware of a negative emotion that we express time and time again - often too swiftly - we can view it as a red light and stop, realizing that there are issues or concerns in our lives that we are not effectively dealing with... or we have at some point in the past adopted a negative emotion as an automatic reaction to certain triggers and have now become stuck, reacting out of an old habit and not out of reason.
The trick is to recognize the difference between unproductive negative emotions that cause us to view life, the world, events, and situations through a distorted, negative lens, and productive negative emotions that cause us to face concerns and conflicts in our lives, deal with them, and move on. Seemingly negative emotions can effectively be utilized by pouring them into a creative process, thus 'bringing light out of darkness'. Many beautiful songs and pieces of art have been launched this way.
Help Yourself By Helping Others
So, by no means do I promote only positive emotions, but I do believe we have to search for ways to utilize the negative energy for our own good and for the good of others. When we stop viewing ourselves as the centers of our universe and concentrating on our feelings as if top priority, and begin to pay more attention to people around us, we will arrest the advancement of unproductive negative emotions... the strongest of which is self-pity. Deepak Chopra, a best-selling author and mind-body philosopher, says that helping others can be the key that unlocks the door to happiness, adding, "Most people don't realize how healing helping others is."
So, lets put all the emotions inside of us to work for our good and the good of those around us, producing positive and beautiful out of a seemingly negative emotion or situation. Surgeon Bernie Siegel, one of the pioneers in mind-body healing, tells a story about one of his cancer patients whom he could not heal through surgery. He says, "A landscaper who had cancer surgery but I couldn't cure him went home to make the world beautiful before he died. Over 20 years later he died with no sign of cancer." ...think about it!
I hope You have found some useful tips from this newsletter that You can put into practice. We do need to slow down and learn to take time to enjoy each day and the people in our lives, as it will not only prolong our days but also make them much more healthy and happy. I believe we all have heard the suggestion to go and help someone who is in a worse condition than we are ourselves. I personally have had to put this tip to work more times than I care to count... and it works! By helping others and doing good to others we actually bring healing to ourselves.
I wish You all great health in Your body, mind and spirit,
Body-Mind-Spirit Health, Fitness & Beauty in Organic Way