You are what you eat!

So, one of the things we do in Chinese Medicine is talk about dietary sources of medicinal foods & herbs.  Today many of us have heard the phase “You are what you eat,” originating from a book written by a French Author in the early 1800’s.  As far back as thousands of years before there was a phrase coined “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” by the classical age Greek physician Hippocrates.  In the Far East too, the Chinese discerned how to relieve illness by managing the food we eat.  The Chinese physicians mapped out the thermodynamics of food and considered that if a person was ill with a cold disease for example (something such as chills to the bone) that foods and herbs warming or hot would help return the person to homeostasis and foods that are cold would cause further harm…

I have recently been reading a superb book by a current US physician named Dr Michael Gregor, M.D.  I use my Chinese Medicine dietary knowledge on a daily basis; I know some practitioners who insist that whatever was said in the Chinese Medicine ‘bible’ is fact, however I look at these things differently and consider that we can build on and compliment ancient knowledge with new understanding; so long as the source isn’t tainted!

Dr Gregor’s book is extremely well sourced and adds another level of insight to nutrition from the aspect of modern research.  Unlike research from some of the large drug companies, there is no Big Carrot or Big Broccoli, so the research seems to be mostly untainted.  Dr Gregor’s passion is derived from his own grandma’s journey, she was given 3 weeks to live with heart failure before she found her own nutritional expert, who within the space of several months turned her life around, and extended her lifespan by 30 years+!

Dr Gregor is a Western Medical physician who writes for other Western Medical DRs who he says are given substandard schooling in nutrition in the current medical school model.  A visit to see him at his clinic often results in a prescription for nutrition rather than something you will get from the chemist; how refreshing is that!

I wanted to share this video with you on a simple hack Dr Gregor has for getting the maximum nutrition from Broccoli.  I hope I’m not spoiling the ending, but if you are cooking broccoli the trick is to add mustard powder for a strong anti-cancer effect!  Don’t take my word for it, watch the video linked below from Dr Gregor’s own NutritionFacts.org.

Sometimes the simple things can make a HUGE difference!

Here is the video blog on Broccoli:

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/second-strategy-to-cooking-broccoli/

Sciatica pain relief with Acupuncture

Sciatic pain (sciatica) typically affects the body unilaterally, with pain extending from the hip / lower back down one leg.  People often describe the uncomfortable sensation as a ‘pain in the butt cheek’, often worse when sitting, as numbness, burning or tingling which runs down the leg or even as sharp and shooting sensations from the hip the calf.

Sciatica is a symptom of an underlying lower back condition such as a structural impingement or compression of the sciatic nerve, which exits the spinal column around the upper sacrum.  Trauma, chronic disk degeneration or even pregnancy can be the cause of the condition.  Sciatica and Piriformis syndrome are two conditions which are often confused, they are quite different structurally however the pain and symptoms are very similar, pain management of both conditions resolves over time, and the symptoms of sciatica can be expected to improve in the absence of significant structural damage.

Sciatica is a condition, which can come and go over time; western medicine typically treats it with surgery, painkillers, anti-inflammatory medicine and even cortisone injections.

Research into acupuncture treatments has shown effective pain relief and the resolution of symptoms are manageable naturally with acupuncture.  Fine needles are inserted into specific sites, which trigger a nerve system response including a cascade of natural endorphins and enkephalins for pain relief. Blood circulation to the area is increased which nourishes the surrounding tissue and over the course of several treatments it is likely to resolve the symptoms and prevent further deterioration of the condition (McDonald & Janz 2017.)

At Root & Branch Oriental therapies, Mark Davis [Dr of Chinese Medicine] treats sciatic pain using a combination of trigger points, electric stimulation, cupping and distal acupuncture using the ankles and wrists.  Increasing blood flow and relaxing the muscles around the lumbar vertebrae is the first step followed by targeting the nerve itself to increase circulation and muscle relaxation along its pathway down the back of the leg.

Manual therapies such as Shiatsu can also contribute significantly to rehabilitation through stretching and by working on the tight muscle tissues of the Glutes, piriformis and hamstrings.

References:

Table 1 & 2 of the Acupuncture Evidence Project (McDonald J, and Janz S, 2017) retrieved from: www.acupuncture.org.au

Further Reading:

https://www.spine-health.com/blog/acupuncture-and-stretching-helped-my-sciatica-open-letter-spine-health-reader