Food to Detox

detoxify - master

“You are what you eat” rings even more true in China, where traditional Chinese medicine beliefs put emphasis on the different natures of food. That is why red dates enjoy enormous popularity and why Chinese people do not drink cold water during a meal. Boiled coke with ginger for example, is a popular remedy for a sore throat. Some foods are promoted as healthy because of their detoxifying effects. These are believed to help the body get rid of toxins, garbage, and excesses, keeping the internal organs clean and refreshed.

The staff at China Gaze suggested 20 detoxifying foods that work well for your body system, and here are 10 to get you started:

1. Sweet potatoes (facilitate bowel movement)

2. Green beans (eliminate toxins, induce diuresis, and quench thirst)

3. Oats (relax bowels, stimulate bowel movement, and detoxify the body)

4. Barley (improve blood circulation, induce diuresis and reduce swelling caused by oedema)

5. Millet (detoxify and induce diuresis)

6. Brown rice (stabilize the digestion system, absorb water and fat)

7. Red beans (stimulate bowel movement, help with constipation and induce diuresis)

8. Carrots (help treat constipation, clear toxins)

9. Chinese yams (rectify the digestive system, reduce subcutaneous fat accumulation and help the immune system)

10. Burdock (improve blood circulation and metabolism, regulate bowel function, help treat constipation)

For details on how to prepare these foods to maximize their detoxifying effects, continue at China Gaze. Other famous TCM foods generally believed to be detoxifying and good for the body include: wood fungus (or cloud fungus), which clears up toxins in the blood, helps blood circulation, and stimulates the bowels; honey, which cools down the body if eaten raw, relaxes the bowels, and has painkilling effects; and seaweed, which absorbs the fat in the blood and helps keep cholesterol down. Seaweed is also believed to prevent leukemia. So, if you need to flush out some free radicals or kick your bowels into gear, these Chinese remedies will hopefully be of some use.

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The Basics of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 | By:

Acupuncture Zhēnjiǔ 针灸

The name alone—a potent combination of the Latin words for needle and prick—induces cringe reflexes. Portrayals of acupuncture in Western popular culture only add to its mystique. Yet, in China, acupuncture is revered as a cure-all for conditions as varied as high blood pressure, drug addiction and depression.

An acupuncturist assesses a body’s qi, or vital energy, and any imbalance of it, to diagnose causes of sickness. Then the healing begins, with fine needles inserted into specific acupoints on the body (there are361 intotal, according to the current TCM textbooks), situated on meridians along which qi flows.

In Chinese, acupuncture encompasses two equal parts: zhen, the needle, and jiu, which is translated as moxa or moxibustion. Moxa makes use of dried mugwort herb, which is rolled into a cigar or pyramid shape, then lit, and applied directly to the skin for a warming effect. Together, needle and mugwort help to balance out a body’s qi.

Cupping Báguàn 拔罐

Its folk name, baguan, literally means “pulling jar,” and reveals the popularity that cupping enjoys as a home therapy. In the countryside, the elderly are still prone to rinsing out jars and using matches and cotton balls to administer this treatment for aches and pains. Professional cupping therapists place cups on acupoints, using heat for suction, which draws blood to the surface. This process stimulates blood flow and qi. Round purple welts appear on the skin, indicating areas where toxins have been drawn out.

Although cupping is now widely associated with TCM, its origins are global. The prophet Muhammad speaks of cupping as the best form of healing in the Hadith books. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians, along with the Chinese, used this healing method thousands of years ago, starting with natural implements like animal horns, then moving on to bamboo, clay and finally glass cups.

Herbs Cǎoyào 草药

Herbs are widely used in TCM. Dark bitter brews, usually cooked in clay pots, are a traditional way of ingesting medicinal herbs. Modern TCM has offered patients the convenience of popping herb pills instead of tediously boiling and preparing the ingredients. Chinese cuisine also incorporates herbs—those slices of ginseng, and bits of colorful wolfberry, floating in teas and soups serve medicinal, as well as aesthetic and tasty, purposes.

Externally, herbs can be administered in varied ways—as plasters (placed on acupoints and removed after two days), fumigations (directing the steam from brewed herbs towards a problem area) and baths (repeatedly soaking patients in42°Cconcoctions for ten minutes at a time). Many herbal uses, internal and external, are preventive. For example, it’s common for TCM practitioners to boost the body’s defense against winter colds by applying plasters in the summer.

Scraping Guāshā 刮痧

In principle, scraping is just like cupping. A practitioner drags a small flat scraper, made of animal horn or jade, down the patient’s body. Tiny reddish bumps appear on the skin where disease-causing xieqi (evil qi) is stored. These cutaneous bumps are the sha that makes up half of this treatment’s Chinese name, guasha.

Scraping taps the body’s meridian system, opening up capillaries and stimulating blood flow. Although scraping is also frequently done at home inChina, and aroundSoutheast Asia, it’s not as simple as it looks. A professional can target ailments in a specific organ—say, the lung—by scraping along its corresponding meridian (in this case, on the arm). A more general and intensive treatment involves scraping all of the body’s twelve major meridians. Done properly, scraping can alleviate high blood pressure, fatigue, and even osteoporosis.

Tuina Tuīná 推拿

Pain is gain, in traditional Chinese massage therapy, or tuina (push grasp), which employs a series of methods: hand-massage of muscles and tendons, acupressure to adjust the flow of qi, and joint manipulation to realign muscles, bones, and ligaments (also known as bone setting). Tuina is not the leisurely massage of the West. A vigorous session is punctuated with pained groans, and often the pop of a relocated joint. Some specific hand techniques paint a clearer picture of what’s involved: cuo (twist and rub), tina (lift and grasp), and bashen (pull and extend).

Between 150-215, the famed Chinese physician Zhang Zhongjing wrote about tuina. Hippocrates, meanwhile, had already created bone setting devices, and the Egyptians also carried these practices through families of healers. Tuina‘s global popularity is perhaps unsurprising, as it is a trusted method of curing musculoskeletal conditions and chronic ailments of the digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems.

Reflexology Zúliáo 足疗

Reflexology—a specialized form of massage typically practiced on the foot—is often confused with general massage or tuina.

Massage parlors all around China display the ubiquitous diagram, which shows zones on the foot that map to the organs in the human body—although not all such venues adhere to reflexology principles. While tuina works on the meridian system, reflexology works on holographic principles. A reflexologist applies specific pressure using hands, fingers, and thumbs to reflex areas, to improve circulation, relieve tension, and enhance the corresponding organ’s functions.

Reflexology has a long and geographically dispersed history. The earliest archeological evidence, dating over 5,000 years, was found in China.EgyptandJapanalso have a long history with reflexology. The West was the last to catch on, some time in the 19th century.

Special thanks to Professor Ji Xiaoping and The Meridian (明经堂, 8456-7010, http://www.mingjingtang.com).

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