I had eczema on the outer thenar section (the fleshy part between the joint and the wrist) of my thumb for over a year, then it moved to the other side as well. Why on earth have eczema just there?
I visited my friend for a SCIO session and her machine informed me that I had a gluten sensitivity. As soon as I stopped eating so much gluten, the eczema cleared up. I have a sensitivity, not an actual allergy but as soon as I do eat, say, a slice of bread and a biscuit, there is a slight tingling in this region.
The meridians are energy pathways which flow in a continual loop up and down the body but are divided into 12 main sections and named after our abdominal organs.
The energy is most vital at the fingertips and toes which is the first or last point of the meridian and is known as a Well point. The energy gradually gathers in flow and depth through four following points called the Spring point, Stream point, River point and finally Sea point which is situated at the elbows or knees. At the Sea point, the energy is vast and deep and moves into the interior of the body.
On the Yin meridians and according to the Five Elements, the Well points pertain to Wood, the Spring points pertain to Fire, the Stream points pertain to Earth, the River points pertain to Metal and the Sea points pertain to Water. On the Yang meridians the Well points pertain to Metal and so forth.
The Spring points are used to treat Heat conditions and to clear Heat from the meridians. Liv 2 is great to disperse Liver-Yang so helps with headaches and red itchy eyes.
The Lung meridian runs from just below the clavicle, up over it then down the arm ending in the thumb beside the nail. My eczema occurred around Lu 10 which is the 10th point along the meridian and the second last one before the end, i.e. the Spring point.
But why there?The way I understand it is as follows: due to emotional issues, huge sensitivity to cigarette smoke and the Fynbos around where I live, my lungs are my weakest organ. The skin and lungs are closely connected both in western and Chinese medicine. In TCM the skin is under the control of the Lungs which keep it moist and which also disperses our Defensive Qi in the area between skin and muscle,
Gluten creates inflammation in my system, known in Chinese medicine as Damp-Heat. Eczema is also a form of Damp-Heat.
Because the rest of me is pretty healthy, the Damp-Heat manifested in an area of weakness – the Lung meridian on the Fire/Spring point.
Fortunately, I’ve discovered heaps of easy gluten free muffin recipes, so I really can have my cake and eat it.
I Did Shiatsu Treatments Based on TCM to Help Two Young Women fall Pregnant. (All thanks to Giovanni Maciocia and his wonderful books)
Both ladies hadn’t been able to fall pregnant for about a year and the doctors said that there was no specific reason. I investigated possible treatments according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
The menstrual cycle in Western medicine is largely composed of two main phases; the follicular phase and the luteal phase.
In the follicular phase, increasing amounts of oestrogen cause the uterus lining to thicken and follicles in the ovary begin to develop. After several days, a dominant follicle releases an egg which is carried along the Fallopian tubes to the uterus. This is the ovulation period.
The second, or luteal, phase is dominated by progesterone. The follicle which housed the egg becomes the corpus luteum and produces progesterone. If the egg is not fertilized and implanted, the corpus luteum shrivels and dies causing sharp drops in both progesterone and oestrogen. These hormone drops cause the uterus to shed its lining and menstruation begins.
Traditional Chinese Medicine sees the menstrual cycle in four phases.
Starting at menstruation, the flow of menstrual blood is under the control of Liver-Blood and the Penetrating Vessel.
The follicular phase is when various hormones stimulate the development of the ova and the uterus develops a new layer of endometrium. In TCM, this is seen to be influenced by Liver-Blood, the Kidneys and the Conception Vessel.
During the ovulation period, hormones mature the egg and weaken the walls of the follicle allowing the fully developed egg to be released into the Fallopian tubes. Fertilization by sperm usually occurs in the widest part of the Fallopian tubes. This phase is influenced by Kidney-Yin and Kidney-Yang, and the Conception and Penetrating Vessels.
The Luteal phase is the period between ovulation and the onset of menstruation and lasts about 14 days. The corpus luteum is producing progesterone in preparation for pregnancy. This period must be at least 10 days long in order to support pregnancy. From a Chinese point of view, this period should be subdivided into two parts; the first part, where temperature rises after ovulation, is influenced by Minister Fire of the Heart, Kidney-Yang and the Governing Vessel. The second part is under the control of Liver-Qi and Liver-Blood whose movement is essential to move Blood in preparation for the period, and the Penetrating Vessel.
PHASE INFLUENCING ENERGY TREATMENT PROTOCOL
1) Menstruation phase Penetrating Vessel Invigorate and move Blood
2) Follicular phase Conception Vessel, Kidney-Yin Nourish Blood and tonify Kidneys
3) Luteal Phase A Conception and Governing Vessels, Tonify the Kidneys, strengthen the
Kidney-Yin and Kidney-Yang Governing, Conception and Penetrating
Vessels, if necessary, resolve
Dampness and tonify the Spleen
4) Luteal Phase B Penetrating Vessel Move Qi, invigorate Blood, warm the
Uterus, if necessary, expel Cold
and resolve Damp-Phlegm
My Shiatsu treatment protocol was as follows:
During menstruation Day 1 – 5 Blood is moving which relies on Liver-Qi and Liver-Blood
If too little Blood – Move Blood
P6, Sp6, Sp10, UB23, UB24, K3, K5, CV4,CV5
If too much Blood – stop bleeding
GV20, CV6, LI11, Sp6, Sp8, Sp10, Liv1, Liv2
After menstruation Day 6 – 14 Kidney phase Blood and Yin and empty
Lu7, Sp6, Sp10, UB23, UB24, K3, K6, Liv3, Liv8
Mid cycle Blood and Yin gradually fill up the Penetrating and
St25, St28, St29, St30, Sp6, Liv3, Liv8, UB23, UB24, K3
Day 14 – 28 Sp4, Sp6, GB34, GB41, Liv8, UB23, UB24, K3
Before menstruation Yang rises to prepare to move Blood. Liver-Qi moves in preparation
to move Blood
Sp6, UB23, UB24, K3, K5, K6
The treatment included a typical shiatsu massage, tracing of the meridians and the specific and concentrated working of the applicable pressure points. Treatments were an hour long once a week. In the first instance, the lady fell pregnant within 4 weeks, in the second instance, within 6 weeks. Both delivered healthy girls.
I’m one of those weird people who doesn’t like anything ugly or nasty, especially in movies, so I tend to watch a movie whilst I’m outside hanging washing, or changing the sheets, or bathing the dogs. Then, if what I’ve “watched” is OK, I might just eventually watch the movie – not necessarily in one sitting though. Basically, I only enjoy a movie if it’s totally entertaining with nothing I can relate to, so Red and Men in Black are easy for me and Indiana Jones is my favourite.
The best and shortest movie I saw was, I think, a local South African production. It was about a married couple, but a very unsuccessful partnership. The man’s only interest was his sports car. The wife did all that she could to get her husband’s attention but to no avail. She eventually used to leave “little notes” for him to read which annoyed and irritated him to death.
One day she puts on a sexy negligee and sits provocatively in his car hoping that the combination will seduce him, but the opposite occurs, He has a fit, evicts her from the car and proceeds to wipe it down. Naturally she’s somewhat upset by the incident. A short while later he’s inside watching telly, she’s packed a bag and walks out saying she’s left a little note on his car. His expression, of course, speaks volumes but not as much as when he sees the car. She’d taken a screwdriver and scratched GOOD BYE across his bonnet.
YES! I’m sure any woman, resonating with the situation, felt a thrill of pleasure.
As a child I was never sick; never had chicken pox or measles or any of the normal childhood diseases. I think I developed sinus problems in my teens and in retrospect, it probably started when I went to boarding school when I was 11.
My mother loved me, there was never any doubt, and she felt that I’d have a broader life experience and an importantly good education at this particular school. It was a good school, I wasn’t unhappy, and now I’m proud to say that I went there but as an 11-year-old, it was a bit of an ordeal. I was young, I still fed my teddy and played with dolls. My mother’s word was law and I always did as I was told. It never occurred to me to protest about being sent to school, I went although I really didn’t want to leave home.
This is where the relationship between my situation and sinusitis comes in. Sinusitis can be called “internal tears”. People who don’t feel able to express their sadness and frustration must release it somehow and sinus is literally suppressed tears. This was suddenly brought to light years later when watching a sad movie at friends one evening. I refused to cry in public and as I left that evening my sinuses were in overdrive. A week later, when nothing helped, I read Adel Davis’ book “Let’s Get Well” and there it was – sinus is internal tears. My astonished husband went to hire a sad movie the next morning so that I could cry. Now, I try very hard not to suppress tears when they need to come out, but I do avoid sad situations and movies.
Next situation: asthma. When my daughter was 21, she decided that she wanted to work on the ships. My conscious self was delighted; a great experience, see the world, meet people, travel, have fun. BUT! Deep down my subconscious didn’t want to let her go – to fly half way around the world by herself, without me there to make sure she was on the right plane, at the right place and safe. These suppressed emotions manifested as asthma. I don’t get asthma - I’m never sick, but I sure couldn’t sleep because I just couldn’t breathe. Only when she was safely on board and I could see photos on Facebook did the symptoms disappear.
Then my mother got ill. She got ill because I told her of my plan to move to Mossel Bay. Consciously she felt she cold cope but subconsciously and internally she just literally went to pieces and she became very dependent on my energy. Although she’d have denied it, she was clingy, and I battled. My conscious self was frustrated and irritated, but my subconscious self obviously felt very differently because the asthma came back.
Two months after she died, I drove down to Mossel Bay and I drove down as sick as a dog. Mossel Bay has marvellous Fynbos and with my weakened immune system, it’s wreaked havoc with my lungs. I eventually succumbed to having an asthma pump, but I didn’t enjoy the dependency.
It’s been a journey but that’s another story. Now I only have asthmatic symptoms when I’m really irritated and can’t safely express my emotions. Because the emotions and situation have weakened my lungs, I’m particularly susceptible to cigarette smoke and really battle when in a smoky atmosphere. My partner smokes and likes going out to pubs and gets annoyed because I don’t want to join him. I get defensive which, once again, stimulates the asthma. Oh, what a joyous journey this is.
I had a discussion with a lady the other day regarding the rate of commission charged by South African estate agents. She was horrified at the percentage that we charge in comparison to that charged by other countries.
In 2000 the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa (IEASA) issued their Tariff Book whereby they recommended a 7.5% commission on residential property sales. This rate therefore served as a benchmark in the estate agency industry. In 2004 they no longer issued any guidelines, so commission no longer has a set rate.
Mexico and South Africa charge the highest commission: 7.5% + Vat. The USA charges 5%. To put this into perspective though, our monetary value is no where near that of the other currencies. In the UK, agent commission can be as low as 1.18%. For a home of £150 000, commission would be £1 770.00 = R31 306.91 at today’s rate.
Say a property here sells for R1 million. Commission at 7.5% + 15% Vat is R86 300.00, leaving the seller with R913 700.00. If the seller wants R1 million in his pocket, the agent should list at R1 086 300.
People are also under the impression that agents will do anything for their commission and that it is negotiable. What they don’t understand is that agents receive about a quarter of the commission earned.
The following is a commission report which I received as an agent when VAT was 14%
GROSS COMMISSION: R90 000,00
VAT 14% R11 052,63
Royalty %6 R 4 736,84
Agency 50% R37 105,26
Agent 50% R37 105,26
Agent deductions: PAYE R 7 421,05
NETT COMMISSION: R29 684,21
Agents work really hard for their money, use their own petrol, often their own phone accounts. They have to pay for boards and other advertising materials. The agency pays for internet advertising which can be very expensive, newspaper advertising, admin staff wages, printing, rent etc. Running an estate agency is not a cheap enterprise.
I always told my sellers that I preferred to list at full commission because that way I was able to negotiate should a lower offer come in. I only ever once made full commission. Agents who list at a low commission often make the seller drop their price in order to secure a deal. I’ve heard of deals which didn’t go through because the agent refused to drop commission.
The best way to list a property is to list at market value – i.e. what properties are selling for currently, and at full commission. That way the seller doesn’t waste years waiting for the property to sell, the buyer purchases something at market value and the agent earns the correct wage. It’s a win-win-win situation.
It’s interesting that, as we age, our ears and noses seem to grow. According to the western medical outlook, our bones stop growing after puberty, but our cartilage doesn’t. Cartilage, of course, is what the tip of the nose and the ears are made of. There is an overall decrease in the production of collagen and elastin which is why we become wrinkly and saggy, and why our ear lobes become thin.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has an interesting perspective.
When we are conceived, we inherit “Essence” from our parents which is what creates our constitution. This rarefied and precious substance is stored in an area located between the kidneys in a place called the “Gate of Vitality” or “Ming Men”.
This original essence cannot be increased but it can join with the energy which we receive from the food we eat and by living a healthy lifestyle.
General living, stress and ageing depletes our Essence and once it is finished, we die.
According to TCM, the kidneys are related to the ears, there are two of them and they have the same basic shape.
Again, as we age and slowly lose our Essence, we develop ear problems like hearing loss and tinnitus. The fact that our ears no longer have the same full shape as in our youth is another example of depleting Essence. I’m so aware of how difficult it now is to get my earrings through the holes in my ears. Of course, wearing earrings, especially heavy ones, is detrimental to the collagen in the ears.
Ear shape is another fascinating subject and part of Chinese physiognomy (face reading). People who have large ears with long fleshy lobes show a great constitution, and a successful life; statues of the Buddha all show him with long ears. Long ears are also a sign of wisdom in old age, so one would hope that, as we age, and our ears grow long, we’ve acquired some wisdom.
Fever blisters or cold sores are caused by a virus called Herpes simplex, referred to as HSV1. Once you’ve had an infection, it’s likely that you’ll get more when you’re stressed, and your immune system is low.
Once an infected lip has ‘cleared up’, this nasty little virus doesn’t die, it scuttles back down the nerve to settle in a small area called a dendrite, waiting for the person to get stressed in order for it to attack again. Interestingly, after the first attack, the body produces antibodies to the particular strain of virus which prevents an infection at a different site.
This virus is very infectious and is spread with direct contact. The other main strain of the virus is HSV2 which is commonly known as genital herpes. Studies have shown that 50% of the cases of sexual transmission occurred when the infection was not active. People who have had outbreaks of HSV1 are, fortunately, less likely to contract HSV2.
Both shingles and chicken pox are caused by the same virus. HSV1 is also the primary cause of other dreadful conditions like inflammation of the brain, inflammation of the gums and mucous lining of the mouth and sometimes it even effects the eyes.
But there’s hope. Nutrition and knowing what not to eat are very important.
Two amino acids come into play here – L-Lysine and L-Arginine.
L-Arginine changes in the body to form a powerful neurotransmitter that helps blood vessels relax which improves circulation. This can be very beneficial in the flow of blood in the arteries of the heart. Because it improves circulation, it may benefit those suffering erectile dysfunction.
L-Lysine helps in the creation of carnitine which is important for energy. It also plays a role in the absorption of calcium and formation of collagen so benefits bones and connective tissue including the skin.
Unfortunately, L-arginine “feeds” the herpes virus. L-lysine, on the other hand, inhibits this feeding function of L-arginine. Therefore, if you are prone to cold sores, it’s a good idea to avoid foods high in L-arginine and increase the amount of L-Lysine you consume.
Foods high in L-Arginine are: nuts, chocolate, pumpkin seeds, squash, oats, wheat and spirulina.
Foods high in L-Lysine are: red meat, tuna, shrimp, eggs, cheese, milk, and white beans.
As soon as I feel the tingling on my lip, I take L-Lysine supplements along with an increased quantity of multivitamins and Vit C. Topically Aloe Vera is great - and it contains a good quantity of L-lyysine.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine there are different ways to diagnose the disease, dependent on other symptoms and tongue diagnosis. However, the presenting condition is one of Heat. Quite a few meridians run around the mouth so there is often a connection with those organs. They are the Large Intestine, Stomach, and Liver meridians. The Conception Vessel and Governing Vessel meet in the mouth and the Heart meridian runs up the cheek. Herbal formulations will work to clear toxicity, nourish Yin, allevate Heat, clear Wind, and sometimes resolve Dampness. Acupuncture will be used to clear these pathogenic factors and points can include: GV14, GV20, LI4, LI11, St36 and Sp6.
From the Body/Mind point of view, fever blisters are a clear message that intimacy is unwanted. Fever blisters often flare up after emotional stress or conflict. It needn’t be just relationship-related, it can be work related too. It is a signal to be left alone, often in a case where the desire cannot be verbally expressed.
Like a car carrying wood to the braai, L-Carnitine carries long chain fatty-acids (the wood) to the mitochondria (braai) of the cells. It also carries the toxic waste (ash) away from the cells. In other words, Carnitine increases the use of fat as an energy source, and it prevents fatty build-up, especially in the heart, liver and skeletal muscles.
L-Carnitine is formed in our liver and kidneys and is found in our muscles, including the heart muscle, because these muscles use fatty acids as fuel. Carnitine is made from two essential amino acids: lysine and methionine (essential meaning that our body doesn’t make them, we need to get them from the food we eat). The name carnitine is derived from the Latin word carnus, or flesh, as the compound is isolated from meat.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Carnitine may be helpful in treating chronic fatigue syndrome because a lack of function of the mitochondria may be a factor in fatigue.
Aging: As we age, concentrations of carnitine in the tissues declines which means that there’s less to fuel the mitochondria. Supplemental carnitine may help in the management of cardiac ischemia (restriction of blood flow to the heart) and peripheral arterial disease (poor circulation in the legs).
Diabetes: Carnitine is beneficial to diabetics because it reduces the health risks posed by poor fat metabolism.
Cancer: Chemotherapy, radiation treatment and resulting poor nutrition can lead to extreme fatigue. Supplementing with carnitine may lead to less fatigue, improved mood and better-quality sleep.
General: Carnitine inhibits alcohol-induced fatty liver and can lessen the risk of heart disorders. Carnitine can aid in weight loss, improve muscle strength and improve the quality and motility of sperm.
Possible symptoms of deficiency include heart pain, muscle weakness, obesity and confusion. Vegetarians are more likely to be deficient in carnitine because it is not found in vegetable protein.
The best sources for carnitine are animal products like meat, fish, poultry and milk. The redder the meat, the higher its carnitine content. However, the consumption of too much red meat can lead to cardiovascular disease, gout, and other health issues. Dairy products contain carnitine primarily in the whey.
Excess carnitine is excreted in the urine.
It was late evening on Christmas day and it was raining. I took my mother back to her retirement complex then decided to drive home on the back road instead of the highway. It’s a pretty desolate road for about two and a half kilometres, especially in the gloom of a wet evening
As I drove I passed a nurse. She was elegant as she walked tall in her uniform and carried a bright stripped umbrella. My immediate reaction was pity that she had to walk in the rain, and on Christmas day. I felt a flash of guilt as I drove past.
The voices in my head spoke to my gut and told me to turn around and give her a lift. “But this is South Africa, we don’t do that here”, I argued back. The further I drove the more I was compelled to turn around and fetch her. Eventually I could ignore the feeling no more.
As I reached her, I called to her through the open window, I was by now going in the opposite direction. “I have to give you a lift” I said. She looked surprised then smiled as I did a U-turn in the middle of the empty road. As she climbed gracefully into the car and told me that it took her an hour to walk to work and that she was grateful for the ride. She even called me an angel, which I strongly refuted.
As I dropped her off at the hospital some part of me knew that she had to arrive early, that she had to be there then. It was just feeling of accomplishment, of having done something right. I know nothing else, just that the angels used me.
Correct, in many parts of the world, the main component of sand is silica. In fact, silica is the second most abundant element on the planet – the most abundant is oxygen.
According to Wikipedia, silica is most commonly found in nature as quartz.
Silica is astonishingly useful. It is the main ingredient in the production of glass and optical fibres. In food production it is used as an anti-caking agent in powdered foods like spices and non-dairy coffee creamer. It is even used in the manufacture of wine, beer and juice to help remove particles in the liquid. It aids the powder flow when tablets are formed and because of its natural absorbency, it’s used in cosmetics and toothpaste. And it makes great cat litter.
So how do we get it? Silica, in the form of silicon dioxide, reacts with water in the soil to form small amounts of Orthosilicic Acid (OA) which plants can absorb. Some of the plants that contain a good quantity of silica are avocados, flaxseeds, onions, wheat, rice, cucumbers, alfalfa, beets, brown rice, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, bell peppers, soybeans, bamboo, and the herb horsetail.
The problem is that we aren’t benefiting too much. The silica content in foods has diminished over the years because of over-production of land, food processing and the way we cook food. When plants absorb silica from the soil, it does not go to every part of the plant, it tends to be deposited in the parts which we remove, e.g. the outer part of grain which is shed prior to grinding the grain into flour.
So why do we need it? Well, it helps to hold us together; silica is the key ingredient in collagen. Collagen makes up about 75% of the dermal layer of the skin and is responsible for its elasticity and resilience. As collagen decreases, wrinkles form, so silica slows down the skin’s ageing process.
Internally, silica is one of the trace minerals that your bones must have to improve their strength and density. Bone tissue is composed of silica, along with calcium and magnesium, which gives it strength. Silica also helps to build healthy hair and nails. It is of benefit in high blood pressure, arthritic pain and for strengthening gums and teeth.
I was introduced to nutrition as a small child when my mom used it to treat an ulcer. Since then I've been interested in supplements, healthy eating, reflexology, shiatsu, energy work and Traditional Chinese Medicine.