As part of a “saving money, being productive, bettering one’s self” effort, The All-Star and I have opted to see how long we can go without cable. Meaning, no TV at the LB apartment. We were always complaining that we don’t have enough time, yet seemed to find hours free for boob tube guilty pleasures. So I fully support the idea. It’s a box of evil I tell you! One that that will no longer tempt me, however, now the TV just sits there, its blank black screen mocking me, reminding me I must use my wits to fill my spare time and that my life is more important than those depicted on Bravo. It’s not fair! Especially since there’s a “Godzilla” outside. (Yes, there are calling the winter storm that is hitting Southern California “Godzilla.” Jeez. Good thing I don’t have “The News” to get me caught up in that one.) And my toe is still broken (actually I think it’s only a bad sprain, but regardless.) I can’t jump around doing whatever hooky aerobic dance-off I find to fulfill my Challenge obligations. I’m just sitting here, in silence, in a cold apartment, with a monsoon outside, alone. Exciting isn’t it? I’m afraid to say it but thank goodness for the internet… Am I still on? Phew.
So, what to do? I should take this opportunity to teach something important and profound. Hmm.. How about just interesting…
First I’d like to say that I’m still totally bummed out about the Challenge being put on hold. I know that I said I would start lifting weights, which I did, on Monday. But yesterday and today I’m so worn out and tired from gimping around on this injured toe that I really don’t feel it smart to exert unnecessary energy that I could be saving to heal my body just so I don’t feel like a failure. So I’m opting to take it easy. It’s what I would tell my patients.
Speaking of patients, and this toe, I want to talk a little bit about Chinese Medicine. After discussing some herbal treatment options with the smartest herb guy I know, I started to think about the channels that run to the toe and how this injury may be causing more than just toe pain. As you may, or may not know, the “science” of acupuncture is all about this “energy” called Qi which runs throughout our bodies on “channels” called Meridians. There are twelve major Meridians, (plus two Extra-ordinary Meridians), which are connected to twelve major organ systems, and these organs systems are what govern our body’s functions. Confused? It took me 4 years of a Master’s Degree to come up with that line, so I don’t expect it to seem crystal clear. What you should understand is that the acupuncture points which we stimulate with the needles are along these meridians and are used to treat the associated organs.
So let’s think about the big toe for a minute, the one that I have injured. There are two major meridians that run to the big toe. One is that of the Spleen and the other the Liver. Spleen’s element is Earth. It transforms and transports the food we eat, contains the blood within the vessels, controls muscles and the four limbs and houses thought. Typical symptoms of Spleen pathology are fatigue, nausea, lack of appetite, sluggish bowels or loose stools, foggy headed-ness and muscle weakness (many of these symptoms I have been experiencing since my injury.) The Liver’s element is Wood. It stores the blood, controls the sinews, ensures the smooth flow of Qi, houses the (Ethereal) soul and controls dreams. Students of Chinese Medicine most often associate the Liver with emotional frustration and irritability which I will admit I have also been experiencing lately, along with some dreams that would scare the socks of your grandmother.
Now, on the hands and feet are points that we refer to as Shu-Transporting Points. It is at these points that the Qi of the organs flows closest to the surface and is most easily manipulated. There are some practitioners that rely solely on these points to treat their patients and find them to be extremely effective for almost any ailment. The very intelligent Dr. Richard Tan has developed an entire method (called The Balance Method) using only these points.
It is my hypothesis that, because I now have significant bruising on the Shu-Transporting Points of both the Spleen and the Liver Meridians, and that the energy there is so easily manipulated, that the energy of the associated organs is stagnating, leading to the symptoms that I described above, especially the nausea, foggy headed-ness, fatigue and bad dreams. It sounds complex but it’s really quite simple. If you can treat pathology by influencing the flow the Qi at these points, couldn’t an interruption in that flow cause pathology? Therefore, it is my recommendation as a Licensed Acupuncturist and Practitioner of Chinese Medicine that I use this rainy week opportunity to take a load off, administer herbs both internally and topically to move qi and blood in order to return balance to my compromised system.
If any of this sounds interesting to you, I highly recommend Between Heaven and Earth by Harriet Beinfield. It’s a great beginner guide to Chinese Medicine and an good read.
Oh yeah, and here’s this week’s How to Win Friends and Influence People flashcard principle…
“Be a Good Listener”