Growing Stuff and Grounding Meditations

Last week I went to check out an allotment that I agreed to help a friend with.  She had warned me that it needs a lot of work, so I had prepared myself to be confronted by a bombsite, but it isn’t too bad.  It just needs a bit of tidying up.  All the beds need weeding and digging over and the shed needs a new roof, but apart from that it’s looking good.  At home I have a small garden with just two beds for growing vegetables, but even so it still yielded plenty of veg for the summer.  So, I’m looking forward to having much more space this year.  The allotment is massive compared to my home garden so I’m expecting a massive crop this year.

                       

Be like a Tree

Being in contact with the earth is so important for good health.  You don’t have to get your hands dirty; just standing on it mindfully every now and then is good for you too.  What does this mean?  Try sitting in the garden, or even better, take your shoes and socks off and stand on the grass.  Close your eyes, breath slowly into your belly and imagine you are a tree.  Your roots are spreading deep and wide into the earth, connecting you to the planet, grounding and nourishing you.  In Qi Gong this exercise is called Zhan Zhuang, or ‘Standing like a tree’.  Give it a go and let me know how it makes you feel.

Don’t be put off by the cold, damp weather.   Why not embrace it and enjoy it?  Better than simply feeling miserable when, afterall, there is nothing you can do about the season or the weather; this is the UK!  Feel the dampness on your face and the wet grass between your toes.  And then go back indoors and appreciate your warm home too.

Steve Coster Acupuncture Southend cancer

Connecting to the Earth and Heaven

The concept of Earth and grounding is fundamental to Chinese Medicine.  It is central to everything.  In the Five Element system it is the Earth that connects all the elements to each other.  In Qi Gong it is man who connects Heaven and Earth.  We need to be grounded; not only metaphorically but literally.  Gravity helps of course, but we all know people who have their heads in the clouds and are ungrounded, flitting from one thing to the next.  It’s important to have the creativity and freedom that comes with an attachment to the heavens of course, just don’t lose contact with the ground.

southend acupuncture cancer fertility pain

Being grounded is an essential aspect of Wing Chun and Qi Gong too.  In both arts emphasis is put on the development of the horse stance, a stance used to ground oneself to generate power and stability.  It’s about being as solid and immoveable as a mountain, but not totally rigid and inanimate.  Mountains move, the whole Earth does in fact, we are just unaware of it!  By becoming connected to the Earth, one is not only able to absorb power from it, but also transfer force into it, just like the roots of a tree.

Supermarket buddha

We can also connect with the Earth through our food; not just by growing it ourselves, but by touching it, smelling it and tasting it.   Recently I’ve been making my trips to the supermarket more like a meditation.  I try to ignore the hubbub around me and just wander up and down each aisle, paying attention to the stuff I need.  So instead of hurtling around chucking stuff into my basket and getting out as quick as I can, I take a good look at the food.  I look at the vibrant colours and the different shapes.  I touch it, feeling the different textures.  If it’s not packaged, I smell it.  I actually enjoy going shopping now!  Sometimes I even smile.

If you give the grounding exercise a go, or the shopping meditation, let me know how you get on.  How did it make you feel?

If you have any questions about acupuncture, or any of the topics in my blogs, please do contact me.  Find out more about me, or my treatments  here.

Southend Acupuncture Cancer

Cancer and the role of Acupuncture

The role of Acupuncture in the care of cancer patients is contentious.  Some studies show that Acupuncture and Acupressure are of great benefit in the relief of pain and other symptoms, while other studies seem to show that are no significant benefits.   All I can say is that the proof is in the pudding.  As an Acupuncturist at the Macmillan Centre at Southend Hospital I have had some great results, helping patients with pain, hot flushes, anxiety, and lots of other side effects associated with cancer treatment.

Cancer diagnosis and treatment

Cancer treatments have come a long way in recent years, especially if they are identified early.    It is now possible to identify a cancer in it’s very early stages and remove it completely, therefore curing it.  Today you are likely to live nearly 6 times longer after a cancer diagnosis than you were 40 years ago.   You are 95% more likely to survive bowel cancer than you were only 15 years ago.  Cancer treatments, however, can stlll be incredibly harsh and unforgiving.  Even if you get away with the least invasive of treatments with minimal side-effects, you are still left to deal with the emotional impact of having a serious illness.

Acupuncture can help

In Chinese hospitals you are just as likely to be treated with Chinese medicine as you are with Western medicine.  A recent study in China showed that a large proportion of cancer patients use Chinese Medicine in conjunction with conventional Western medicine.  In a recent study in Hong Kong 63.3% of a total 786 cancer patients used Chinese medicine in conjunction with Chemotherapy.

The NHS is a long way from offering Acupuncture routinely, but you will find it on a Tuesday at the Macmillan Centre at Southend Hospital where I volunteer.   As a volunteer therapist I am able to support cancer patients with acupuncture and Tui na. Some are currently undergoing treatments while others are in recovery.

Studies have shown that Traditional Chinese Medicine in cancer management has the potential:

  1. To raise the quality of life
  2. To improve the immune response
  3. To minimise the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy
  4. To treat the complications during the peri-operative period and promote the rehabilitation of patients after operations
  5. To ease the pain

Cutting Down your Risk

Although Acupuncture can help during cancer treatment (and the effectiveness of the treatment), there are a few things you can do that can either reduce the chances of developing it yourself or to boost your treatment and recovery.

I think therefore I am

Our cells are affected by our emotions, something the Chinese have known for thousands of years. In Chinese Medicine we say that the root of all disease is emotional.  Each organ has an emotion associated to it:

The Heart – Joy and happiness

The Lungs – Sadness and Sorrow

The Liver – anger and frustration

The Spleen – Worry and over-thinking

The Kidneys – Fear

If we experience an intense emotion such as a shock, or a negative emotion over a long period, like having to endure a job we hate or being in an abusive relationship, the organs will eventually be affected.  We can be slowly worn down by fear or anger, especially if you are unable to express that emotion.  So it’s important that we are mindful of what we are feeling so we can do something about it. Easier said than done, I know.  It may take a bit of guidance and practice, but the potential for a new job or relationship is there.  Nothing in life worth having comes easy I’m afraid.

So we all have to do things we would rather not be doing, like work.  Just walking out of a job is not advised, and doing your dream job might be a few years away.  Changing the way you think can make all the difference.  It wasn’t that long ago that we thought disease was spread by a ‘bad air’ known as a miasma.   It was John Snow (not that John Snow, the other one) who made a connection between an outbreak of cholera on Broad Street in London and the water supply. If it wasn’t for such reformers as John Snow we would all be walking around wearing plague masks looking like evil penguins! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miasma_theory

You are what you eat

What we eat can also have an effect on the development of cancer.  Certain foods, such as sugar and trans-fats, have been shown to be particularly bad for us.  Some foods on the other hand, such as turmeric, have been shown to be good for us.   Many medical professionals, however, will tell you there is not enough evidence to support this.  But even if there is the slightest risk, isn’t it something we should take into consideration?  If there is enough evidence to suggest something is unsafe, surely it should be approached with caution, and at least warrant thorough investigation?

Southend acupuncture pain cancer backache

This is only my opinion of course.  Everyone should be free to eat as much sugar as they like, but it would be nice to be presented with all the facts so you can make a well -informed judgement.  But we have to be realistic; if there is money to be made certain people and organizations will be reluctant to show us the truth.  For decades the tobacco industry insisted that smoking posed no significant risk to health, when all along they knew how deadly it was.  Why wouldn’t Big Business making money from sugar products do exactly the same? And the meat and dairy industries?

Remember when John Gummer encouraged his daughter to eat a burger to proof beef was safe during the mad cow epidemic.  Did you know that Australia and the USA will not accept a blood or tissue donation from anyone who lived in the UK for more than 3 months between 1980 and 1996?

Here are some links you may find interesting:

https://www.donateblood.com.au/faq/vcjd

https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/eligibility-requirements/eligibility-criteria-alphabetical/eligibility-reference-material.html

If you have any questions about acupuncture, or any of the topics in my blogs, please do contact me.  Find out more about me, or my treatments  here.