Great Brightness/Great Luminance Kidney 12
Great Brightness can be found at the near center of the abdomen, below the navel, in an area called the dan tian. This the is center and storehouse of a person's qi. Its name and location suggests its revitalizing effect this point when one is feeling depleted on any level, whether it be mentally, physically, or spiritually. It can also be used to address issues local to the abdomen and reproduction.
Of all the elements - Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood, Water is the most yin or interiorly oriented. It is associated with winter, the time of the year when there is deep stillness in nature. Water and yin are also associated with out deepest sense of who we are, our purpose and our "blueprint" as human beings. "Great Brightness" sounds as though it could be a point belonging to the Fire element, which represents the heart, joy, and connection. However as a point belonging to the water element, it represents the illumination of one's inner purpose and that manifestation out into the world.
Each element is associated not only with a season, but with a whole set of correspondences, including a taste.
The taste belonging to the Metal element is pungent, a strong, acrid flavor. "Anything pungent is said to scatter qi." Examples include: garlic, cinnamon, and ginger.
Food with these flavors are used to keep illness at bay or when a cold or flu is first setting it because they disperse qi and pathogens. They often cause sweating which is one means of dispelling an illness at the initial stages.
Recently I made the usual sweet potato fries with a twist. Key ingredients: cinnamon, rosemary, sea salt, and lime juice.
Sweet potatoes nourish yin and provide long-term energy. For those that crave sugar, sweet potatoes are your friend. This recipe balances their sweet taste with salty and sour flavors, harmonizing the earth, water, and wood elements. Plus, it's delicious. Great to serve with a veggie soup such as this one which I recently posted: http://www.food.com/recipe/vegetable-cod-soup-216731
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
Wash and cut organic sweet potato into wedges or shoe-string fries and place on baking sheet or cast iron.
Drizzle with a high temperature oil such as coconut or sunflower oil.
Sprinkle to coat with sea salt, parsley flakes, cinnamon, and rosemary.
Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.
While potatoes are in the oven, cut several lime wedges.
Squeeze fresh lime juice on the fries in place of any other condiment as a great sugar-free and I must say, better! alternative.
Inner Gate Pericardium 6
As a point on the fire meridian, Inner Gate is connected to the Heart, and has to do with joy, nurturing healthy relationships, being connected to one's heart and to the hearts of others, and staying calm and connected to one's true self.
In the Five Element tradition this point is used to enliven one's spirit when they have become weary. It reconnects a person to their source of joy and allows them to feel safe and connected rather than isolated. "The name Inner Gate describes the point's ability to reach the inner aspects of a person...especially when a person becomes oppressed by sadness or lack of joy. Opening this gate can ease a constricted chest and strengthen the qi of the upper burner [chest region] if it has become depleted. This allows patients to brighten and settle in the their mind and spirit" (Hicks).
Other common physical uses:
Alleviates nausea and morning sickness.
Useful in treatment of insomnia, palpitations, and a wide range of emotional disorders.
Notes: The Pericardium channel descends through the diaphragm, which is why it is able to treat imbalances of the Stomach and Spleen such as nausea, vomiting, hiccup, bloating, and stomach pain. It is often used to treat those symptoms when they are experienced during pregnancy, as well as from the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Bubbling Spring Kidney 1
Element: Wood within the Water element
Location: Bottom sole of the foot, where the the Kidney meridian begins.
This wonderful point name denotes the image of a vibrant ground spring bubbling up with potential and life. When tonified, Bubbling Spring enlivens and revitalizes Kidney qi (willpower, energy, motivation, endurance.) As a wood point on a water meridian, it also contains the essence of wood: clarity, simplicity, and vision.
To descend qi that has risen to the head or chest (manifesting as heat.) To alleviate heart palpitations, when Kidney and Heart qi are not communicating. This point is where the Kidney qi makes contact with the earth, and so it is a strong point for grounding both physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Points should always be utilized within the larger context of a treatment plan prescribed by a licensed acupuncturist.
The element corresponding to the Winter is Water - winter is a yin season; in nature there is activity deep beneath the surface, as animals hibernate and live on stores of food saved over the year. Traditionally this is a time of hibernation, reserved physical and mental energy, and introspection. Winter is a time to connect with your roots and nourish essence.
The roots in Chinese Medicine are your Kidneys - one's qi, energy and vigor is thought to stem from them, the point "Gate of Life/VItality" lies just between them. The classics say that "the Kidneys are responsible for the creation of power. Skill and ability stem from them." (Larre and Rochat de las Vallee)
What is Jing? Jing is stored in the Kidneys and is the energetic substance that governs all the transformations and growth in your body, feeding vitality and vigor over a lifetime. The Chinese character for Jing represents four grains or seeds bursting with potential life, and the color qing, which is the color of a sprouting bud!
Interesting facts about Kidney and Jing - Your Energy Stores
-The kidneys store jing
-Every individual has a fixed amount of jing to "spend" over a lifetime
-The quality and quantity of jing is constitutional, and it is inherited from your ancestors and parents
-In treatment, lifestyle advice is made in respect to one's jing
-Jing is depleted by over time by overwork, frequent ejaculation in men, too many childbirths in women, frequent drug usage, poor diet, lack of rest or lack of appropriate exercise
-Jing follows a long term cycle of growth - governing reproduction and fertility, conception and pregnancy.
-For women, the jing cycle is every 7 years, for men, a new cycle of jing begins every 8 years.
So how does one nourish essence or Jing?
-Pace yourself. When you push through to a "second wind" you are tapping into your jing. Unlike qi that you receive continuously from food and air, one spent, jing can't be re-gained.
-Take time to be still. Meditate, or rest for starters. Listen to your body if you are tired. Stimulating it with caffeine only further erodes Kidney Yin.
-Don't burn the midnight oil. Sleeping is the body's ultimate way of rebuilding and restoring. A rule of thumb is to be horizontal by 11:00 PM to allow your liver blood to regenerate your organ systems.
-Eat a nourishing diet of yin foods - these include preferably organic root vegetables - yams, parsnips, beets - all soups (watery substances nourish yin), whole grains like rice in moderation, eggs, and organic non-farmed fish and sustainably-minded meats.
-Limit or avoid refined sugars and refined foods in general, they stimulate energy but erode Kidney and Stomach Yin over time, creating heat and inflammation. Nourish yin with whole, natural fruits.
-When thinking about nourishing yin, make sure food is warm and cooked, and that liquids are not cold! Cold injures the kidneys. If you enjoy a fresh green juice in the winter, add grated ginger to warm internally.
-Follow a gentle exercise routine that gets your qi moving to the extremities and so nourishes vitality, 20-30 minutes of walking is perfect.
-Acupuncture treatment nourishes jing by supporting the kidneys and the water element, and by helping the body to remember what is truly nourishing.
-Take time to be and not do. I've realized that stillness is an active practice. It takes some time to get used to, but it is essential to nurturing yourself!
Chinese Medicine and philosophy looks at nature to see how to live healthfully. They witnessed that all living things are dynamic, the seasons progressing naturally into one another is the basis of Five Element Acupuncture. The same is true for the generation of energy. Yin as stillness is the very basis for yang, dynamic vitality. The two are intertwined and interdependent, one cannot exist without the other. Nourishing both creates the best foundation for healthy, balanced living.
Many people know that Acupuncture can treat physical pain, but few people are aware of it’s potential to foster dynamic creativity and healthy expression. As a Five Element practitioner, my goal is to engender the proper movement of the elements as they show up in each individual. In my initial series of treatments I address blockages that I see in each person that may be preventing them from healthy movement.
A recent patient with a main complaint of anxiety reported, after seven treatments, that she had finally gotten over her crippling writer’s block of several years. She attributed the new movement to the renewed sense of wellbeing and groundedness she experienced with regular Acupuncture treatments. For now receives monthly sessions for maintenance.
Typically, patients come in for treatment because they are experiencing stagnation or a blockage, which manifests as headaches, digestive issues, or physical pain. The Five Element tradition is unique in that it allows not only for physical healing, but also addresses long-held emotional or mental burden that may encumber the free expression of one’s spirit. Time and again patients report not only an experience of renewed wellness but a sense of “coming home” to one’s self. Whatever your goals and aspirations, Acupuncture can help create a clearer vessel for their expression.