Chinese Medicine Perspective

Chinese Medicine Perspective

To nurture oneself, or another person, are the collective activities of taking care of, nourishing and protecting, so that the person or individual can grow, develop and flourish.

Nurturing others can only be truly successful when we ourselves feel nurtured. That nurturing comes from without (other people, environments, nutrition) but also from within, from ourselves.

Therefore, self-nurturing ideally should be at the centre of our efforts to nurture other people, who in turn will nurture us, and in doing so wonderful helping cycle is established.  I believe this is the foundation of a co-operative society and how we have evolved as a species.  No small thing, this nurturing business!

In my clinic, I work with lots of people who are driven to help others, and I see very frequently a tendency towards helping other people at the expense of themselves. Our ability to help other people successfully and over the long term is, in no small part, reliant on our own robust health and ability to first nurture ourselves.  

In Chinese medicine, physical and emotional health flourish when there is balance across all the systems in the body.  Our ability to connect with others, grow, live, learn, laugh and reproduce, are in a large part dependent on the state of our QI (pronounced ‘chee’). We can think of QI as the substance of life, indeed our classical texts say “QI is the root of a human being”.  According to Chinese medicine, there are many different types of QI ranging from the tenuous and rarefied, to the very dense and coarse. All the different types of Qi however are ultimately only one QI, merely manifesting in different forms. Due to the centrality of QI in health, nurturing, protecting and building our Qi is vitally important to maintain wellness, longevity and quality of life.  We nurture and build our Qi through a variety of different mechanisms;  in the first instance through taking in food (via the stomach) and air (via the lungs), and combining it with our ‘ancestral’ or ‘inherited’ QI (which underpins our constitution).  This Qi then drives all the activities and actions of the mind and body and enables us to survive and ultimately, thrive.

Nourishing ourselves with the correct foods (and the correct food will vary from one person to another depending on the state of their Qi and individual constitution), getting sufficient rest and sleep, adequate movement and exercise, challenge and mental stimulation, and connection with others, all contribute to helping us maintain balance in the body, and also in life.  This is the essence of self-nurturing.

“Physical and emotional health flourish when there is balance across all the systems in the body”

So How Can We Nurture Ourselves According to the Principles of Chinese Medicine?

There are five components to Chinese medicine that make up a complete system of healthcare – Nutrition, Tai Chi/QI Gong, Tui Na,  Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. 

The first, Nutrition, is concerned with eating the right kinds of food, at the right temperature, in the right quantity, at the right time of day and at the right time of year (do you really need to eat cold food when it is wintry-cold outside?). It is also about making sure that when we eat, we do so with focus and intent to allow our bodies to easily digest food to help make QI (do you really need to type that email while eating your lunch?).Tai chi/QI Gong are physical movements and exercise rituals which help us to generate and maintain our QI. Doing simple tai chi exercises daily helps us to protect, maintain and generate our QI. Acupuncture is one of the most recognized elements of Chinese medicine. Acupuncturists use very fine needles to stimulate our QI to have effects on blood or body fluids and organs to bring us back into a better state of balance physically and mentally. Tui Na (pronounced ‘twee-nar’) is a form of physical therapy which helps to move stagnating QI, nourish the organs, muscles, and sinews, and induce a feeling of profound well-being. 

Chinese Herbal Medicine uses specific plants and minerals to warm, cool, move, drain, build, transform and maintain QI, blood, and body fluids to treat disease and help bring the individual back to health.

Of all the elements in Chinese medicine, people tend to think that acupuncture, Tui Na and Chinese herbal medicine are measures to be used only when we’re sick or unwell.  In reality, and certainly in the case of acupuncture and Tui Na, we can use these very effectively to maintain our health. Indeed, in ancient China where the only medicine was traditional Chinese medicine and all doctors were acupuncturists-herbalists, physicians were not paid for their services if the Emperor or any of his family were unwell. This is because Chinese medicine is about maintaining health rather curing disease (although of course it can be very good at this latter point), and the court doctors were seen to have failed in their job of maintaining health if the Imperial family became unwell.  This is quite different to prevailing use of Western medicine as being the identification and curing or management of sickness and disease.  

Nurturing ourselves ties in with the philosophy in Chinese medicine of health being activities that help balance the body and mind.  Paying attention to what and how we eat, our movements and exercise, getting acupuncture two or three times a year (even when we feel well), and periodically having physical therapy (Tui Na) to ensure the QI is flowing are meaningful ways to nurture ourselves. What’s more, it helps us nurture each other.

Samantha Hamilton Stent is a licensed acupuncturist and member of The British Acupuncture Council. 

You can find out more about Samantha on her website:

http://www.samanthahamiltonstent.com/about-samantha/

     

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What Mindfulness Means To Us…

What Mindfulness Means To Us…

Why is my mind soooooooooo busy? That is a frustration I have often felt and I know I am not alone in it. Sleepless nights I have tossed and turned while my mind is moving a million miles a minute…OR half listening to a child or friend who is trying to have a conversation with you… In a day and age where we have everything at our fingertips and are constantly inundated with media trying to grab our attention, our capacity just to be still is almost non-existent, and we struggle to know what it means to sit quietly without being on phones, laptops or entertained. This month as we focus on the theme of Nurture, we want to look at what that means when it comes to mindfulness. This looks different for every individual. 

Today each of the team members at Nourish have shared what mindfulness means to them moving into 2018. We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic as well, so please share in the comment box below.

—Ineke (Founder)

Heading into 2018 has been a whirlwind for me… we finished last year with a crowdfunding campaign and have had calendars packed full with no time for calm and stillness… It creates a whirlwind in my head that I find it hard to stop and take a breath… There are been many highs and lows in the recent weeks and months and with all that to take in, a new year has pounced upon me so quickly. I have been thinking about 2018 and what it holds for me, in particular focusing on mindfulness and what that means to me. It is something I have rarely included in my daily routine, but something that I see immense value in doing regularly.   This year I really want to focus daily on 1. Taking time each day to appreciate one small thing… whether that be a robin flying past and whistling, the sun beaming through a window or the happy talk of my daughter at dinner time. 2. Having 10 minutes of quiet, for me, this is a way to positively focus on the day ahead and read a small devotion. 3. And most importantly, to approach life in its busyness with peace and contentment. This doesn’t mean I need to be happy all the time but to resolve at working at inner peace and contentment. A book that I have just started to read is called “Mind Calm” written by Sandy C. Newbigging. It was recommended to me to read, so I am aiming to read it over January to help let go of the constant chatter in my mind, to gain clarity, perform my best, worry less, and thereby sleep better. 

—Jackie

Personally, I find I spend too much time thinking about the past and worrying about what might happen in the future. Although it’s great to reflect on good times and our memories of people and places it is not so good if we start to regret decisions, wish we had made different choices and worry about the future. To bring me back to the now I like to pause and observe what is going on around me at that moment.  I take a deep breath and make a mental note of the colour of the sky, the leaves on the trees, how beautiful the flowers are or autumn colours?  Whether I am driving in my car, walking somewhere or at home, I just sit and observe for a short while and appreciate the beauty around me.  I find this relaxes me and brings me back to the present time. I also like to just sit in silence when I get the opportunity, close my eyes and just focus on my breathing.  I wouldn’t call it meditation as such, just a way of being mindful of my emotions and feelings at that time.  It’s a great way to relax and just be….even for a very short while.

—Maddie

Whilst I think that mindfulness is important for your wellbeing, I have never been one for meditation. I have tried apps to help, tried deep breathing first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and when pregnant I did various guided meditations to try and help me relax. However I have never been able to stop my racing thoughts, or just thinking about things to get done, or things that have happened in the day. For me, mindfulness and meditations is about finding a way to help calm your mind, and these things never seemed to do that – they just gave me space in my mind to think about more things. Instead, I have found that the way I seem to be able to properly relax and take time out of the day is to get out and walk, if possible with a podcast or some music. And whilst I know that this isn’t quite the same as ‘proper’ meditation, it is the only time I feel my thoughts quieten and I can just enjoy the moment and relax. 

—Fred

To me, mindfulness means emptying my mind of stress. That stress doesn’t always have to be negative sources but for me, the constant need to stimulate my mind with both useful and useless information can lead to me feeling like I want to explode! Sometimes I just need a bit of peace so that I can slow down and free my mind of doing overtime constantly. I do this a few ways. I either meditate for 15 mins a day using breathing techniques, take the dog out for a walk without technology (yes, leave your phone at home or in the car!), or I like to practice the art of being still which usually leads to me falling into a daydream!! Whichever technique I use I find that they all help me slow down and decrease the stress and increase my mindfulness. Try it out for yourselves.

As you can see we have different views and ways of increasing our mindfulness. The common goal for us is to reduce stress in everyday life and find that relaxed state of mind where nothing else matters and we can let go.  If you have never thought about mindfulness before, our recommendation to you would be to first recognize where you need to slow down in your life and what activity you can do to put yourself in a more mindful state.  Comment below with what mindfulness techniques you use…..   From the Nourish Team

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Home Workout Benefits

Home Workout Benefits

Exercise

Top 5 Benefits Of Exercising At Home

Do you dread going to the gym? Perhaps you like going but you know that this time of year can be a nightmare!

 I may have the perfect solution!

In today’s blog, we are going to be discussing an alternative to getting a good workout at home using minimal to no equipment in as little time as possible!

With this, in mind, I am going to be drawing some inspiration from my ex-colleague and celebrity personal trainer Frank Sinclair.

 Before we start here is a background on Frank…

 I have known Frank for many years and in 2008 we both qualified as Personal Trainers and began working for different David Lloyds Health Clubs.

Meet and follow Frank here…

Photograph taken from fitwithfrank.co.uk

Since then Frank has gone on to build a fantastic business (Fit With Frank) based in Weybridge where some of his clients even include famous celebrities!

Frank specializes in functional movement which helps correct poor posture that can lead to various injuries. He also specializes in weight loss. He has had some fantastic results with clients through his unique methods and I am glad to be able to draw some inspiration from him in today’s topic. 

“If you struggle to make exercise a routine because you don’t have time to spare fear not! You only need 15 mins a day to help you soar towards your goals”

So moving on…

How can exercising from home benefit you…?

1. Cost-effective – Working out in the comfort of your own home can save anywhere between 15 to 40 pounds per month. That’s a huge saving!

2. You don’t need an hour – If you struggle to make exercise a routine because you don’t have time to spare fear not! You only need 15 mins a day to help you soar towards your goals. 

3. Little to no equipment needed – The great thing about exercise is that you don’t need to throw a dumbell around to get a great workout. In most cases, all you need is a matt and yourself.

4. Variety in your workouts – We live in a fantastic age whereby you are able to simply type into YouTube home workouts and be presented with workouts that include yoga, pilates, circuits and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). So being stuck with options or ideas won’t be an issue! 

5. It can be fun – Depending on what you choose to do you can make it as fun as you want it to be. It doesn’t have to be a chore! 

How can you get started?

Easy!!

As I mentioned, working out from home can be cost-effective and this is where Frank comes into play. 

From time to time, Frank uploads FREE home workout videos to his YouTube page that he runs live on his Facebook page. So if you give him a follow you not only can you keep up to date with his latest workouts but you can do them live!!

For some great workouts, make a start with this video below…

In closing, whatever you choose to do remember that you don’t need a lot of time or fancy equipment to get to where you want to get to. There is plenty of FREE help out there and hopefully Frank can help start you off on your journey. 

 

Fred (From the Nourish Team)

 

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Maddy’s Focus for 2018

Maddy’s Focus for 2018

Maddy’s Focus for 2018

05

JANUARY, 2018
Hi, my name is Maddy and I am a Nutrition & Health Coach that trained with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I also joined the Nourish team in November 2017.  As a health coach, I help clients find their own version of health and work with them to build in the changes that suit their lifestyle so that they feel more energized, confident, and motivated to look after themselves.
I always struggle with new year’s resolutions. Being very interested in health and fitness, I have tended to make resolutions around these areas of my life.  In the past, when I was a little too militant about my health, I tried the ‘I WILL work out 4 times a week’ resolution, the ‘I will cut carbs/calories/fat’ resolution, and the ‘I will not drink alcohol’ resolution. Some of these I have achieved in part, though none have lasted the full year and at one point or other, they have definitely all resulted in me feeling bad about myself because I had ‘failed’ at my resolution. 
Over recent years I have been much kinder to myself in the types of resolutions I have set, but for me, being a type ‘A’ person, they have still been things to tick off a list, or that I did or did not do, so still pretty focused on a slightly abstract idea of what I would like to achieve in the year.  I find as soon as a resolution becomes something to restrict or something that will inevitably at some point be ‘failed at’, it really just becomes an added stressor in your mind.
“This Year I Want To Try Something Else.”
This year I want to try something else.  My resolution this year is about my mindset and attitude towards my day to day life.  I tend to get stressed about things easily. Often the ‘little’ things, which of course don’t feel so little when you are in the middle of them.  I get frustrated and upset when my little boy won’t sleep past 5.30am (which is most days at the moment), or is fussy with his food. I often don’t sleep well, and I let the fact that I am knackered get to me, and set the tone for my day. And then I get cross with myself for letting things get to me. Not great.  I want to refocus my energy more positively – partly to help me be more positive for myself, but also to be a little less self-involved and a little more focused on the people that I care about.  For me, this is all about acting with generosity. 
So, my resolution is to act with generosity whenever I can. I resolve to be more generous with my time for others, whether that be family, friends, work colleagues, or the person on the street who is asking me directions. And for my little boy at 5.30 in the morning. I will remember to be generous with my affection for the people I care about – generous with cuddles for my little boy, phone calls to my mum and texts to friends I haven’t spoken to in a while. I will be generous in my cooking efforts and try new meals at home, whether successful or not.   Hopefully, it will become progressively more instinctual as the year goes on. And so more and more the time in my day is taken up with acting generously towards others, and not being preoccupied with my personal worries.  I won’t keep a list, or get cross with myself if I don’t always manage to achieve this in every situation I face. But I will continue to try.

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A Nutritionist’s Perspective for 2018

A Nutritionist’s Perspective for 2018

Join Me On My Journey For 2018!

04

JANUARY, 2018

Hi! My name is Jackie and I am a Nutritionist and Food Intolerance Therapist and joined Nourish in July 2016. I feel passionate that what you eat has a huge impact on your health.  I am a mum of two gorgeous girls aged 6 and 9, so I understand the demands of busy lives and juggling work, children and healthy eating.  I also love a glass of red wine or two as it’s about getting the balance right when it comes to being healthy and happy.

2017 was a difficult year for me, actually, to be honest, the last 6 years have been very tough. Losing my dad, relationship issues and stress have all featured far too much and life has been very serious and emotional. 

I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions! Each New Year I hope that the coming year will be better than the last, as I guess we all do, but that’s about it. 

2018 is going to be a little different!  It is the start of a new chapter in my life as my personal circumstances have now changed.   I want to make it a year of fun, laughter, happiness, new beginnings,  quality time with my girls and more ME time!  I still won’t be making any resolutions as such but will focus on a change of mindset and a having a positive attitude for the future.

But, how am I going to achieve this I hear you cry?  

“I want to make it a year of fun, laughter, happiness, new beginnings, quality time with my girls, and more me time”

Well, that is a good question!  Life is just so busy all the time but I am going to dedicate more time to make it happen.  I want to focus on what I do want rather than what I don’t.

I will start by using tools, which I have used in the past, which really helped.  One of these is journaling.  Every night before going to bed I used to write at least 5 positive things that happened, that I achieved or I am grateful for in my life.  It could be that I am so grateful to have the heating on a cold winter evening or so proud that the Nutrition client I saw a month ago now feels much better since their appointment.  It ends the day on a positive note and when you do have a difficult day and are struggling to find anything to write you can read through previous comments to help you realize how lucky you really are.

I also want to start using my Dream book again.  This is a beautiful book with a lovely cover where I wrote down and sourced pictures about my dreams and aspirations.  It might include a photo of a holiday destination I would love to visit, or the part of the world I would like to have a health and wellbeing retreat one day or even the breed of dog I would love to own to bring more fun and laughter into my family.  It’s a lovely way of being creative and setting and imagining both long and short-term goals.

As much as I love being a mum, what I have struggled with more than anything is the lack of time just for me.  Leaving the past behind I’m going to make sure I do have time to reflect, think, relax and just be ME!  Every other weekend my girls now go and stay with their dad for a few nights.  I am going to make sure that during this time I don’t just catch up with chores but take time to do some things I enjoy such as a spinning class or yoga session and catching up with friends. 

Finally, I want re re-light my creativity in the kitchen! As a Nutritionist healthy eating is important to me as you can imagine, however, in the last year particularly, although we still eat well, I just haven’t had the energy or inspiration to really embrace this side of my personality.  I want to make time to browse through all my lovely health and recipe books and pick out new recipes and re-ignite that passion.

I feel excited about the year ahead!  It’s going to be FABULOUS!  

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