Tag Archives: spleen

Yogapuncture for Late Summer Acupressure and Moxabustion

It seemed only fitting to use the 2 most tonifying points for the spleen/stomach system this season: Sp6 and St36. As we explored in class there are a variety of ways to stimulate these points to strengthen our center whether it be through pressure from seeds, our fingers, the heat of moxa or acupuncture needles. Here are some benefits of these points and a reminder on how to find them.

smokeless moxa over SP6 for premenstrual cramps

SP6 SANYINJAO “3 yin intersection”

This acu-point is named 3 yin intersection because the 3 yin channels of the leg (liver, spleen, and kidney) converge on this point. Because of this meeting place all three of these organs are stimulated when this point is used. This point is used for a variety of ailments and is considered a primary point for digestive, gynaecological, sexual, urinary and emotional disorders. Sp6 is considered to be one of the most important points to harmonize and cool the blood as well as to invigorate circulation. This point is contraindicated during pregnancy due to its ability to assist the body with labor both by encouraging efficient contractions and reducing the pain of said contractions.

To find this point rest your pinky on the highest point of the body protruburance on the inside of the ankle, find the tender spot where your index finger rests in the depression close to the tibia bone.

ST37 ZUSANLI “leg 3 miles”

This acu-point is named leg 3 miles because soldier would burn moxa over it to give them endurance to march 3 more miles. St36 is also the command point of the abdomen and so it is useful for anything relating to the stomach and digestion. Qin Cheng-zu of the song dynasty went a step further and said that with this point “all diseases can be treated.” This point is the most important point to stimulate the spleen and stomach to build qi and blood. St36 also works to harmonize the stomach, tonify the spleen, nourish blood and yin, clear fire, calm the spirit and resolve dampness.

You can find this point by placing your 4 fingers under the knee cap and then pressing in one finger breadth lateral to the tibia.

If using acupressure gently press into these points for 1-3 minutes on each side. If applying moxa hold the moxa stick above the point until you feel the warmth of the moxa on your skin. Use a pecking motion so the skin does not become too hot. When the point feels warm appx 5-10 minutes change sides. This is a great practice at the change of the seasons to keep the body strong.

When doing moxa make sure to be in an open or well ventilated space. The stick may be reused if stamped out without water after use. Store only after it has cooled and is no longer smoking.

Never do moxa without the guidance of a trained and licensed acupuncturist.

While acupressure is powerful it is important to make sure you are working with a licensed and trained medicine professional and is not a replacement for medical care.

Yogapuncture for Late Summer: Spleen, Damp, Worry and Transitions

Calendula

The spleen and stomach system relate to the season of late summer, approximately the last month of summer time as well as the last 18 days or so of each season when we are slowly but surely becoming the next season. Because of this and the other functions of the spleen system it is closely tied with transitions environmentally, energetically, emotionally, and physically. In class we explored the breath and the space between the inhalations and exhalations, the place where one becomes the next.

Here is the quick reference for the spleen system:

Element: Earth                    Color: Yellow

Taste: Sweet                         Emotion: Overthinking/Worry

Opens to: Mouth                 Manifests on: Lips                            Controls: Muscles and extremities

The main function of the Spleen system is to transport and transform the food we eat. When you think of the spleen/stomach it is easy to think about digestion. This system takes the food we consume and transforms it into usable energy then takes it where the body needs it so it can be used. Digestion and absorption is all about the spleen. The spleen also plays a role in overseeing the water in our bodies as well making sure it is where it needs to be and taking it away from where it doesn’t belong. The pathogen of the spleen is dampness. If you’ve ever been outside on a damp day you can feel it in your body in a distinct way. People who have spleen imbalance can be very sensitive to this kind of weather. Other examples of dampness in the body include pain that is worse in damp weather, heavy achy limbs, edema, diarrhea, phlegm, and retained fluid.

The spleen also controls the blood. While the heart pumps the blood throughout the body and the liver stores it at rest the spleen makes sure the blood is contained where it is supposed to be. When the spleen is weak you may experience bleeding because of this such as spotting in between periods, long or heavy periods, nose bleeds etc

The spleen also controls the muscles and limbs and containment is involved here as well. Healthy muscles are those that contract when used and relax at rest. When the spleen is weak the muscles will be weak and the skin flabby. Malnourishment or excessive consumption of processed foods can cause this weakness in the body as well. Energetically the spleen moves upwards, when this energy is weak it can cause issues with the muscles such as prolapse of the uterus, rectum or other internal organs.

The spleen manifests on the lips. When the lips are soft, red and full it indicates the health of the spleen energy. When pale, dry or thin this can indicate issues or depletion of the spleen energy.

The taste of the spleen is sweet but not the way you might associate this flavor with. Full sweet flavor comes from root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, yams, beets, wheat, sweet peppers, corn, squashes etc Because the spleen is essentially a part of all seasons as the space between one and the next you can think of spleen foods as the foundations of your diet. Many orange and yellow foods are great first foods for babies when introducing solids because they are easy to digest.

The color of the season is yellow and it is easy to see why. Look around outside and everywhere you look there is vibrant yellow. The fields are golden, the flowers are yellow and even some dried leaves are yellow in color. Eating foods that are yellow are also beneficial to the spleen system.

The emotion is worry or overthinking. I can imagine when we depended on growing our own food how this season could be a time of worry. Did the crops yield enough to sell and hold us over winter? Would the coming winter be a rough one? In modern times we damage our spleen energy with multi-tasking. The spleen has many jobs but it is important to take it one step at a time. One way to protect your spleen is to make meal time your one and only priority. Turn the television off, put your smart phone in another room and enjoy the aromas and delicious sight of your foods. Chew thoroughly before taking another bite, putting your fork down in between tastes and enjoy good company and conversation.

If you find yourself in a state of ruminating and can’t get your mind to get off the hamster wheel the best way to clear your mind is to do movement where your opposite hand moves with your opposite foot. Walking is a perfect example of this and even simply walking in place can help especially if your thoughts start up when you’re trying to sleep.

Here are some spleen recipes:

Golden Milk, a spleen tonic

Green Lentil Curry

Mindful Eating for Thanksgiving

Roasted Red Pepper Chili with Zucchini and Quinoa

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

Coconut Lime Butternut Squash Soup

Cheesy Pesto Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

http://www.food.com/recipe/black-bean-and-sweet-potato-chili-vegetarian-408973

Savory Pumpkin and Feta Muffins

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Tomato Basil Chicken Sausage

The color of the season is yellow and it is easy to see why. Look around outside and everywhere you look there is vibrant yellow. The fields are golden, the flowers are yellow and even some dried leaves are yellow in color. Eating foods that are yellow are also beneficial to the spleen system.

 

 

Yogapuncture for Late Summer (yoga)

The focus of our yoga practice this season is about finding equilibrium during times of transition. In each pose be mindful of your breath especially in the spaces between the inhale and exhale, the place of becoming. That’s what this season is all about. We do a series of postures in different ways to explore how it feels and which feel best for right now. The intention is to bring these postures into your daily practice however they feel best. Remember especially if you are short on time to pick 2 poses to practice everyday, the one from class you liked best and the one you liked least. 😉 Let’s begin.

Qi Gong

 

 

Wide Mountain Twist

Stand with feet shoulder width apart or wider. Feel how your feet make contact with the ground. Inhale arms to T exhale twist upper body to the right keeping hips square. Move with breath inhaling to center and exhaling to twist noting the space between each inhale and exhale. Repeat 3 times on each side and return to wide mountain to observe body for 3 breaths.

Standing with wide legs march in place for 3 breath cycles.

Closed leg mountain 

Standing with big toes touching and outer feet parallel inhale finger tips to shoulders exhale releasing shoulders down. Inhale lengthen spine and exhale twist. Repeat on opposite side. Do 3 rounds o each side.

 

With feet together march in place for 3 breath cycles.

Mountain Pose

Bring feet hip width apart. Inhale arms to cactus, exhale twist. Repeat other side. Do 3 rounds, return to center and observe for 3 breaths.

Repeat one more round of standing mountain twist which ever feet and arm combination felt best in your body.

With feet hip distance apart march in place for 3 breath cycles.

Mahasirs Mudra

Curl ring finger into palm and bring middle and index finger to touch thumb. Keep pinky extended and rest back of hands on thighs or knees. This mudra can help with clearing congestion and headaches especially when caused by weather changes. It also can help when we are spending too much time in our heads. Rest in this mudra for 3-6 minutes spending time observing your breath allowing for the spaces between your inhalations and exhalations to comfortably lengthen.

Acupressure SP6 & ST36

Bridge wide legged

Place feet shoulder width apart keeping knees and feet parallel. Arms are in a wide “V”, shoulders and neck are relaxed. Take a deep breath and feel the pause, with the exhale lift the hips off of the ground and hold for 3 breaths. Inhale and release, exhale and allow the body to soften. Repeat 3 times.

Low Twist

Lie on your back, knees bent feet on the floor. Bring arms to a “T”. With an exhale drop knees to right with knees pointing down and away from the body. If you feel any tightness in the hips of knees elevate the left thigh/knee with a blanket or block. If you want to go deeper into the twist turn the head to the left. Take 3 deep breaths. Lift right leg and then left back to center when you are finished. Repeat on the left.  

Bridge feet together

Thighs, knees and feet touching and arms close to body. Inhale, pause and exhale lift hips into bridge. Slide shoulders down and slide arms toward midline. Take 3 breath cycles and release. Observe effects of pose.

Twist II

Take a deep breath and as you exhale drop knees to the right bringing the thighs parallel with right arm. If any tightness is felt place a blanket or block under your right thigh. To go deeper turn head to the left. Both shoulders should be resting comfortably on the ground. Take 3 deep breaths, observing the gentle squeeze of the internal organs as you exhale.

Bridge Pose

Bring feet hip distance apart for this bridge pose. You can place a block inbetween your thighs. Three breath cycles

Twist Up

Arms in T, exhale knees into chest. Inhale pause, exhale drop knees to right with the knees pointing up to the arm pit/shoulder. Place a blanket or block under thigh for support if needed. Take 3 breaths. Pause in the center and Repeat on the left.

Supine Spleen Salutation

Start lying on your back, knees bent, feet hip width apart.

  1. Inhale
  2. exhale bridge pose
  3. inhale release
  4. exhale knees to chest arms up and over head
  5. inhale release arms at sides, extend legs up bent knees if need be
  6. exhale knees to chest
  7. inhale to starting point, do 3-5 rounds

Final relaxation 

Hold for 5-10 minutes in restorative pose of your choice

 

Late Summer Self Care Package Details

The late summer yogapuncture is in Crystal Lake on Friday September 15th at 7:15. If you’d like to join there are a few spots left. I am including a self care package that goes along with the theme of this yogapuncture and all of it relates to the spleen/stomach system in Chinese Medicine. The self care package is designed to assist you through out the season and hopefully give you a few new things you might not have tried before. Here are the 4 items that will be in this care package and what they are for. Since the spleen/stomach system’s main job in Chinese Medicine is to “rot and ripen” our food both transforming and transporting the energy our body uses from the food we eat and the color associated with this system is yellow/orange it only felt fitting to include a few things that support digestion.

Trikatu pastilles

These are hand rolled “pills” of powdered ginger, peppercorn and long pepper with raw, local honey are part of Ayurvedic medicine (Chinese Medicine’s). These can be enjoyed before or after a meal to assist with digestion and are especially good if you have a tendency to run cold or struggle with gas and bloating. Not sure if you run cold? If raw foods seem to give you an upset stomach that could be an indication of cold in your belly as one example. Black pepper is known to assist in the absorption rate of the foods it is paired with. These are especially helpful in the fall/winter seasons when the temperatures are colder.

Smokeless Moxa stick
Moxabustion is a preventative tool in Chinese Medicine. Mugwort a yellow spongy herb in the chrysanthemum family is heated over acupuncture points for a variety of ailments and also to aid the body in staying well. Instead of stimulating acu points with pressure or needles the warmth of the moxa stick held over acupuncture points helps to improve circulation and boost energy. Because moxa can be a create a thick smoke smokeless moxa is used for the same benefit, its scent is similar to incense and does not linger as long as regular moxa. Instructions on how to use the moxa stick and which points to stimulate for fall will be included. You will also get a chance to give it a try at the yogapuncture class. 🙂
Belly Bag
This is a weighted bag filled with rice that can be heated or used “as is”.  Place over your abdomen to help facilitate deeper breathing and connect with your center. A freeing sensation is often felt when the belly bag is removed after resting over the abdomen for a period of time and can help with managing stress combined with deep breathing. We will also be using these in class also!
Golden Milk tonic concentrate

Golden milk includes turmeric and ginger (both are yellow/orange) which are helpful anti inflammatory herbs. This concentrate is homemade and takes the labor out of making your own golden milk at home. Drink daily for a boost of energy, to support your spleen/stomach system and reduce inflammation. It reminds me of a latte and feels cozy in your belly on a cool fall day without any of the guilt. This golden milk is also dairy and caffeine free.

If you would like a self care package let me know by next Wednesday Sept 13th. The cost is $35 I will only be making them to order this time. They will be ready for class on next Friday and if you can’t make it to class I can mail to you or you can pick up by me. If you have any questions please let me know!

See you Friday!

Mango Kiwi Salsa

We’ve been having such an unusual “winter” this year. I hope you’ve been enjoying the mild weather and sun shine as much as I have. This salsa was inspired by the season of transition from winter to spring. The flavor of winter and the kidney system is salt, the flavor of the spleen system and transitions is sweet, and the flavor of spring and the liver system is sour. This salsa has a little bit of each flavor and its quite tasty and easy to make. You can enjoy it all through the spring time too as the sour flavors and cilantro have a gentle detoxifying effect on the body. We enjoyed it yesterday at a very special Yogapuncture for Balance with couples, hosted by Jill Eggert at Malooley Chiropractic in Cary.

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What you need:

2 Mangos, cubed (spleen)

3 Kiwis, cubed (Liver)

1 punch of cilantro chopped (Liver)

Juice of one Lime, or more to taste as you desire (Liver)

A pinch of salt to taste (Kidney)

Corn Tortilla Chips (Spleen/Kidney)

What you do:

Mix everything together and let stand. Eat at room temperature. Refrigerate to retain freshness, eat in 1-3 days. Enjoy!

Golden Milk, a spleen tonic

I’ve seen this recipe floating around the internets and finally had a chance to make it today.

It’s quite lovely. Perfect on a fall rainy day.

Yellow is the color of the spleen/stomach system in Chinese Medicine and yellow foods help to nourish this system. The spleen is active in times of transition and is responsible for transformation and transportation of the food we eat into useable energy.

This is a great alternative for an afternoon pick me up in place of coffee.

Like Nourished Kitchen says, it’s easy to find ginger. I found turmeric at Meijer, right next to the ginger 🙂

This is the recipe I used. Let me know what you think! Stay dry and warm today

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