Mind Medicine

The emotions are considered the major internal causes of disease in TCM. (Traditional Chinese Medicine).  Emotional activity 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 become uncontrollable and overwhelm or possess a person, then they can cause serious injury to the internal organs and open the door to disease. It is not the intensity as much as the prolonged duration or an extreme emotion, which causes damage. While Western physicians tend to stress the psychological aspects of psychosomatic ailments, the pathological damage to the internal organs is very real indeed and is of primary concern of the TCM practitioner

I sent this out to a few friends and family members recently:

People mainly think that health is eating healthy food..with some exercise…neglecting the emotional…Is this true?

The answers were wide and varied.  Some chose to focus on the food and ignore any mention of the emotional component.  This is interesting to me when I contextualise my last 18 months.

I wasn’t sick, run down or fatigued before this moment in time.  Sudden loss has all the symptoms of any other serious trauma – this is a fact.
Would you believe me when I tell you that this sudden loss was captured by my body at a cellular level?  ie my highly charged emotional state resulted in disease?  I’m not talking about just sadness and depression.   I’m talking about nervous and hormone systems and internal organs.

Would you believe me if I told you my kidneys represent my fear, my liver represents my anger and my lungs represent my sadness.

Would you believe me if I told you my fear around lack of security – the sense of survival – is causing my mudlahara, my root chakra, my foundation to wobble?

Would you believe that the chaos in my mind was reflected in my blood?

Would you believe me if I told you at a Soul level I invited all of this in, that my path towards SOMETHING is being formed through my experience?

If the mind can heal the body, but the body cannot heal the mind, then the mind must be stronger than the body. Every miracle demonstrates this

  ‘A course in miracles’

Alternative medicine is a bit hopeless at the serious end of disease.  Too little too late in most cases.  It is in fact a lifestyle choice..a preventative.  Determining the onset of serious illness requires listening skills.  The signs can be vague and commonly dismissed.

Of course we can identify the outcomes of common chronic disease by these familiar names – the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, IBS, leaky bowel and thyroid disorders.

But…what if ALL diseases started with a single thought?  What if acne was caused by unsupressed anger.  What if cancer was caused by 30 years of depression and hopelessness?  Would you believe me?

Is all disease preventable?

And  if it is,  where is the stick by which we measure perfect health and whose protocol do we use?  Or do we just suffer on alone searching for remedies and cures?

There is simply too much information in the unisphere (thats a new ponicornism šŸ˜‰ to intellectualise everything and verify any blanket conclusion….or is there?

Before I go on…let me change gears for a bit…

In a separate conversation on Fear and Anger.  The question was:

Is all fear behind anger?  If so what are you afraid of?

My answer:

Anger is a feeling that is a provocation and an opportunity.  A chance to look inside and observe what person or situation stirred up a reaction in you.  It always comes back to the reaction in yourself and the awareness of the learning thats presented.  Anyone who angers you is your master and your mirror.

Fear is not a feeling.  Its of the mind, therefore an illusion.

But what of anger?  Anger is an emotion that is stored in the liver.  The liver is the bodies largest internal organ.  It is literally the core of chinese medicine and for good reason.  It filters out all the shit that gets poured into the body.  By shit I don’t just mean alcohol, drugs, sugar and processed food.  I mean emotions.

There is no doubt you can f*ck up your body by mistreating it using either method.  But its the mind stuff that interests me.

Take anxiety as an example.  It affects all of the Zang organs.
The spleen for obsessing and over thinking.
The lungs for grief, self esteem and the inability to let go.
The liver, anger, frustration and the inability to let go.
The kidneys fear and phobias.

Anxiety almost always leads to kidney deficiencies because its related to FEAR which is a water deficiency.   And yet anxiety affects multiple organs and in fact the whole body.

Integration
In my head I write protocols.  Every minute of everyday I think about a recipe for common chronic, sometimes terminal illness.  If I open my kitchen drawers I find 101 different remedies, supplements and potions.  Yes I’ve learned a lot.  But is it of any use.  Am I just wasting my time?

None of us can afford to spend $12 on chia seeds, but somehow we’ve had to resort to superfoods to keep us going and amp us up because our lives have ACCELERATED.  We are turbo charged, so we must turbo charge our energy.

But…let me take a minute…stop…look inward…change tack…FEEL my body…FEEL the wind on my skin…access the present moment with my breath…observe any contraction or tightness in my body…feel any anxiety in my abdomen…sense tight muscles in my head and neck…experience the swirling chaos in my forehead…unlock my chest, activate my diaphragm, BREATHE from my belly, filling it long and slow then exhaling the longest slowest breath that I’ve ever exhaled.

All of a sudden I feel energy in my feet and legs.  But the rest of me…those tough spots need to be twisted, squeezed and oxygenated out of the tissue.  ie exercise.

In the last 5 minutes I’ve literally diagnosed myself… through a very brief meditation.

1.  Movement required…cardio…yoga…qi gong..
2.  Abdomen tight and full…green juice…probiotics…twists and stretches to stimulate stomach meridians.
3.  Tight neck, crown, shoulders …anxiety, stress or worry…journel…ask the question? Whats causing this?  Look into the reason why… massage…breath

Intuition…
…is literally ‘listening’ to our body, deciphering its messages and taking action on them.

While food, exercise and lifestyle have an impact on health, I can confirm in my experience that exposing your body to long term ‘over thinking’ does not assist regeneration.  And if thoughts are negative in nature…doubt, insecurity, anger, sadness, this could just be the precursor to ALL chronic and serious illness.

Would you believe me if the frenetic pace at which our lives are lived has contributed to an epidemic?

Disease of the mind.

PS I should note that writing is creative and,  as long as it doesn’t require research, is therapeutic as it shifts paralysed thoughts.  Talking Helps, So Does Writing.
James Pennebaker found that the value of expressing deep feelings stemmed first from the willingness to confront the disturbing emotions. By confrontation, he means actively thinking and talking about the experiences and acknowledging the feelings theyā€™ve stirred. Putting those feelings into words makes it easier to understand what has happened and eventually assimilate it into oneā€™s life.

References:
http://www.shen-nong.com/eng/principles/sevenemotions.html

http://www.storiedmind.com/recovery/why-writing-heal-depression/

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Panchakarma

Panchakarma means ‘5 actions’.  Pancha means 5.  Karma means action or procedure.

Panchakarma is the penultimate cleanse for the elimination of toxins (ama) and the replenishment of tissues.  Panchakarma comes from the ancient, holistic, healing system of Ayurveda which has its roots in India.

For five thousand years the people of India and China have been using plants to treat every disease known to mankind.  Why?  Because it works.  10 years ago a group of traditional scientists asked US Congress to fund research into Ayurveda.  What started as a $10m project grew into $100m. Ayurveda was approved as an addition to the 27th arm of NCCAM – the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine as a result.

This study was heavily related to the Human Genome Project which was formed to study how genes function individually and collectively.

How do genes relate to Ayurveda and Panchakarma?

Genes are switched on and off as we age.  When genes are on they make protein and perform a function.  And vice versa.  As we grow older some genes are switched on, others off.

Herbal therapy (ayurveda) works by utilising the protection system of a plant.  Plants produce toxins to protect themselves from insects.  These toxins have a unique ability to bind to our genes.  They provide the switch that the body hasn’t been capable of actioning.

There are 3 stages of PK therapy:
1.  Purva Karma – pre-treatment
2.  Pradhana Karma – primary treatment
3.  Paschat Karma – post treatment

The 5 actions referred to consist of the following and appear at  various times during the 3 stages of PK.

1. Vamana – purging
2.  Virechana – liver flush
3.  Vasti – enema
4.  Nasya – nasal treatment
5.  Rakthamokshana – bloodletting

I’m Day 5 of a 21 day PK.  Day 1 I felt completely overwhelmed.  This might have had something to do with moving out of my villa and packing all of my worldly possessions (again) into bags…knowing that as of the 21st June I’m not sure where my path is going to take me..and said bags (again).  It’s not so much stress as its the emotion that comes with goodbyes, closing one door to open another that seems to put me into a temporary tailspin.  But that lasted one day and I woke up on Day 2 feeling completely settled in.

So what happens when Panchakarmering?

Each day begins with medicated ghee (Snehapana).  Ghee is derived from clarified butter – the protein is removed.  The purpose of the ghee is to bind to the toxins (ama) in the body.  The body is literally saturated with ghee. Tomorrow I have my last serving of 10 tablespoons with some nasty looking herbs swimming in the bottom.  Taking it is not so bad, and my body was craving the fat the first few days…now..not so much.

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7am is yoga time for an hour.

Then Kitcheree is served for breakfast and lunch.  I really love kitcheree.  Its such a great comfort food.  Rice, mung dhal, veges and spices are combined into a soupy mix that my body craves..it craves it because I’ve literally felt like I’ve been starving!..which is unusual.  Because when I fast I rarely feel like I’m starving…ironically…

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In the afternoon, EVERY day I have 2 hours of treatments including Abhyanga (medicated oil massage), Shirodhara (medicated oil dripped onto the forehead), Nasya (oil decoction into nostrils),  Pasta (paste of onion, garlic, ginger, pepper applied to the body) and Bashpasweda (steam treatment).

3 times a week a 45 minute meditation is offered which I generally decline preferring the mozzie-less, air conditioned comfort of my awesome room and a guided meditation of my choosing.

Purva karma finishes for me shortly and I move into the primary treatment next week.

Why are you doing another detox?

My latest bloods show Candida, low white blood cell count (low immune system) and low thyroid.  Hormone, electrolyte panels and a few other bits haven’t come back yet.  But my system is so ready for a reset.  I tend to do monthly liver flushes but the last structured fast was back in December.  None of the above are surprising after having parasites.  Panchakarma is literally a program of rejuvenation so it makes sense.

Alternative medicine takes more time and a more effort than traditional medicine to get results, but I’m willing to do this rather than to fall prey to a Western medical system, that frankly I feel doesn’t serve me or anyone.  I just can’t support the miseducation given to thousands that are simply listening to an authority figure for want of better information and choices.

I have a strong belief in mind medicine.  Its really crazy how stress, anxiety and depression can f#@k up your body.  I love the philosophy of Ayurveda because of this.  As well as having amusing names for conditions like Cantankerous bowel syndrome to keep me entertained, Ayurveda encompasses not only science but religion and philosophy.

In Ayurveda the whole of life’s journey is considered to be sacred.  Truth is Being, Pure existence, the source of all life.  Ayurveda is a science of Truth as it is expressed in life.

Isn’t that beautiful?