Surely Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday has no links to Traditional Chinese Medicine, right?  Wrong! This time of year with the emergence of spring is linked to the liver and gallbladder in TCM.  It is a time of awakening from winter where we have traditionally eaten warming foods, fatty foods and foods that would sustain us through the long winter months.

Of course in our modern day we have no need to put on weight to see us through the winter months but we still do it by over indulging at Christmas and by feeling the need to eat warmer comfort foods.  Everything comes around in cycles and we do things for a reason even if we don’t realise this.

We often see spring beginning and start to think about getting that bikini body prepped (trust me, I haven’t had a bikini body for 40 years but I still begin to think about those holidays that might be coming up! Not this year of course!).  But this is a natural cycle of events not just something we do for the holidays, it is what nature guides us to do. But going on a diet just brings extra stress and cortisol to your body which is not healthy for anyone. However if we use a holistic approach we will feel much better and maybe even shed a few pounds – win, win!

This is something that I am starting to realise at the age of 57.  Diets have never worked for me but what if I ditch the diet and try to follow the TCM principles to food?  Using food to heal the body has to be preferable to starvation right? In TCM we advise to make small swaps with food not a total change to how we eat.  We look at what the body needs not what it wants and by making one or two swaps its easy to do long term.

So during this time of the liver and gallbladder season (spring) lets consider what we can swap out to improve our health. The liver processes all of the food we eat and the drink we consume.  It detoxes and metabolises everything that passes through our body, food, drink, tobacco, pollution, even medication.

In Chinese Medicine the liver  links to springtime and regeneration so at this time of year, Lent, we often give up something that your liver will thank you for! It gives your liver time to clear out the toxins and for the gallbladder to get to work producing bile. Therefore clearing out fats that have been stored up over winter is really important right now. So there it is! This is how TCM links to pancake day.

So what can we swap out over the next few months instead of abstaining or giving something up like we usually do?  Over winter we create heat in our bodies with our foods to keep us warm.  But with the change in the weather this heat needs to be gone or it could lead to inflammation and then pain.  We need to begin to cool down our bodies slowly and the best way to do that is with food.  This is why in the summer months we eat salads and cold foods.  So right now you could begin to introduce some raw uncooked food into your diet with all of the wonderful vegetables that will be coming up.  Try swapping cream and butter with coconut oil and coconut milk in stews and curries, try thinly sliced courgettes, carrots and peppers tossed in a little lemon juice and olive oil in place of your cooked vegetables.

Instead of this time of year being a time of denial and abstention, see it as trying out new things, adding in new food and meals to your day. You don’t need to eradicate the things you love just balance these out with lots of fresh vegetables. Get your liver working at a super pace to boost your metabolism.  Your Liver and Gallbladder will thank you for it!

It has taken me a while to decide to write this post during Covid-19 lockdown because I fear that if we give too much emphasis on something like this then it becomes very real in our lives.  I began by faithfully waiting each day for the bulletin from Boris to hear what developments were coming next.  I found myself almost devouring everything that was said on the news channel and what a depressing story it was making! I listened to Boris Johnson’s speech after he was out of hospital and hoped that now he would do something more to support our NHS because he had a taste of the selfless care they give to each and every one of us at critical times in our lives. I sat almost in a trance listening to all of this bad news day after day until I realised that there had to be more to Covid-19 lockdown life than this.

I now try to avoid the Covid news if I can and I don’t wait for the daily bulletins to be told how bad things are.  I started to look for the good news that surrounds Covid like Captain Tom and his amazing fund raising efforts to date standing at almost £27 million, or the 106 year old lady that has beaten Covid, or the way in which communities have come together to support each other and watching the many amazing videos on facebook of people doing live broadcasts to entertain their neighbours.

I have chronic asthma and fibromyalgia and so have been in complete Covid-19 lockdown for six weeks now, for four weeks I didn’t leave the house at all but recently I have been going for walks every day just to get out of the house.  It has been amazing walking around my local area where there is hardly any traffic on what is usually a very busy road.  The streets are deserted with only one or two people in their gardens.  We are going to have beautiful gardens and houses at the end of this because we have had the time to do jobs around the house. I miss my grandchildren terribly and keep in contact via photos and videos from their parents and the odd facetime call. My husband has been furloughed from his job but he has lots of things to keep him occupied in his woodworking workshop. We have not yet had a crossed word thankfully!

The fibro pain has got really bad since lockdown and I think it is because I am stagnant and not doing the things I normally do, hence the walking routine I have started.  I have been self-treating more with acupuncture to try to get the qi moving again to get rid of the pain. I have also started doing sound baths for my clients on facebook live once a fortnight.  This has been really good and people have appreciated it saying that it has helped them to sleep better.  It is wonderful to help people when I cant treat them as I usually would.

A new world developing for the better good? I hope that when you read this maybe in the future that you will remember how it felt to appreciate and feel grateful for some of the things we gained from being in lockdown rather than remembering the things we lost.  I hope that the world makes changes to how we live for the better and that we all make time for ourselves, our family and our community in the future so that the things we have learned during this time continue to have an impact for good. I hope our NHS and care system is supported more by the government and by us, we must not go back to over running these services for minor issues.  Most of all I hope that I too remember what is important in this world, that time is something you must not waste because you cannot get it back.  I am going to enjoy life with my family and make time to do more than just work.


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Sound Healing Therapy in Wigan

I have recently become interested in the use of sound healing therapy here in Wigan.  I studied a tuning fork therapy course in which I was taught to balance the auras and chakras in the body. So how can these vibrations help to heal the body?

Our body is made up of energy and this energy resonates at a specific frequency that is unique to us.  When we work or suffer stresses of any kind those frequencies can get out of tune as it were.  We can get blockages in those energy pathways which cause stagnation and can lead to pain or other illnesses.  Just as acupuncture or reiki or reflexology can remove these blockages to get things flowing properly again so too can sound frequencies.

One of the therapies I use with the tuning forks is called dual toning where two different notes or frequencies are played at once, on in one ear and the other in the other ear. What happens is that the two sides of the brain then connect and create a third internal tone called a binaural beat.  It is this binaural beat that synchronises the brain to provide clarity and a greater concentration.  Using this method you can find a frequency that will alleviate pain or lift your spirits.  This is called entrainment where you can synchronise your brainwaves to adjust and then match in order to heal the body.

Years ago doctors used to use tuning forks to detect broken bones or to detect hearing loss.  Now the forks can be applied to the body at various points in order to release tension and blocked energy in the organs and meridians.  A bit like acupuncture where the needles release blockages a tuning fork can be applied in much the same way, great for people who don’t like needles!

Why not book in and experience sound therapy healing here in Wigan?  People find they are transported off into a deep state of relaxation and often deep sleep, waking to find that they feel completely refreshed and more balanced.

Contact me or book in to give it a try