The path of qi through the organ systems throughout the day:
Let’s talk about each of the channel systems in order from the #chinesebodyclock Everyday your qi travels through the channel system at specific times correlation to each of the organ systems. During these times there are some things that your body will respond extremely well to and have outlines some of them here so you can get just a little more in touch with your body. There are also things that should be avoided during these times as they can damage the the vital flow of qi and lead to longterm stagnation or disease. Here is a nice list of the first half of that systme.
5-7 AM: Wake up!
The Large Intestine’s time is from 5-7am and this is the best time for you to wake up. Drink a glass of water at room temperature, or even better warm water with lemon, to help facilitate your first “movement” 💩 Moistening the intestines and replenishing your body’s fluids is the perfect way to start your day!
Try not to sleep in as this can damage your qi and make you lethargic for the rest of the day. Even if you're tired, just get up and try to get that qi flowing. This is also not a great time for excessive thinking or mental strain, and it's best to avoid sex this early as it can also leave you drained for the rest of the day.
7-9 AM: The most important meal of the deal! For real though.
The next stop is 7-9am and corresponds to the Stomach. This is the best time to eat breakfast, take a little walk, and start working. Breakfast should be a warm #congee as it helps build the digestive fire 🔥 in the body. Cold cereal will douse the fire and can lead to chronic digestive disorders. An oat or rice based congee with go ji berries and walnuts is one of my personal favorites. 😋 The walnuts are great to support the kidneys and the go ji berries support the qi and the immune system.
Do not skip you breakfast!! I could write volumes on how important breakfast is, so be sure not to skip it. Also, don't rush your breakfast, or eat while scrolling social media and watching the news. Feelings of anxiety stop the digestive function of the body. Eat in a nice calm and quiet environment.
9-11 AM: Get to work!
From 9-11 am the spleen does its thing. It’s important to have eaten before this time because this is when the spleen will start to digest and build your #qi This is the best time to start strenuous activities like working out or working on a complex project for work or school because you have access to that brand new qi from your healthy warm breakfast ☺️😋🙏
Don't let that energy go to waste on social media. this is one of the most productive times a day. Help yourself stay focused and get a lot done by limiting social media. And don't wait to be told what to do, get to work on your projects even if you don't feel motivated to get started. you'll be amazed at how fast you can get into work during the phase of the qi cycle.
11-1 PM: Heart Healthy Lunch ❤️
This is of course the time to have lunch. This is the time of day when our digestive fire is peaking so its great to have all those hard to digest things like meat and raw fruits and vegetables. The emotion associated with the heart is JOY, so this is a great time of day to connect with peoiple who bring you joy. Have lunch with your dear ones and nourish the love in your life. The heart houses the "shen" or "spirit" in Chinese medicine, and the shen will grow strong if nourished in the right ways! It's is also a great time of day to take a short nap to keep your heart strong.
Don't focus on meaningless activities. The Heart is about joy! If you focus on stuff that is trivial, it can lead to feelings of meaningless in life. Make sure that activities done during this cycle are important to you.
1-3 PM: Get organized!
The Small Intestine sorts out “the good from the bad” in our gut. So the time from 1-3 pm is a great time to sort out the good from the bad in your life. Organize your life and get rid of what doesn’t bring you joy haha! If y’all are on Netflix you know what I’m talking about. Check out #mariekondo on her new show #tidyingup and find your #unexpectedjoy .
Now this is not the time to focus on the meaningful work, this is about discernment. Find the bad in your life and clean it out, find the good in your life and clean it up. But don't start new projects and bring fresh ideas in. Focus on the stuff that's already in your life and how it can help you.
New Thoughts on Ligament & Tendon Injuries
For decades we’ve been told RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation is one of the basic tenants of sports injuries. But does it really help? In some instances it can be extremely appropriate, unfortunately these are pretty rare and severe situations like bone fractures and severe muscle trauma. The main concern when using RICE is to treat compartment syndrome - a condition where inflammation causes increased pressure in an area that can become quite dangerous. This is a very serious and painful condition which requires immediate medical attention, and in these cases inhibiting inflammation is helpful. But what about for everyday twists, sprains, and injuries involving ligaments and tendons? No, it's actually going to make it more difficult in the long run. Unlike muscles, ligaments and tendons do not have very much blood flow, and blood brings the healing properties to an injured area.
While it's true that icing will help with pain, because it numbs the area, it doesn’t actually help with healing at all. It stops inflammation by stopping blood flow, but like we said, increased blood flow is actually how the body heals. Check out this article if you want a deeper understanding of the inflammation process. When dealing with tendons and ligaments, we already have a limited about of blood, so using RICE will actually prolong recovery time. You can use it immediately after injury to help with the pain, but shortly after (48 hours or so) you’ll want to move to a different strategy that promotes healing rather than inhibits it. So what the hell am I supposed to do, you ask?!
The solution is MEAT: Movement, Exercise, Analgesics, Treatment.
Movement - we want to stimulate blood flow to the area, moving around and stretching up to pain tolerance will increase the flow of blood and fluid to the site of injury facilitating faster healing. Don't just let it sit there, this will lead to stagnation - the root of all illness in traditional Chinese medicine.
Exercise - we’re still stimulating blood and lymph fluids to come to the area with this one. The focus should be on eccentric exercises that load the joint and tendons with a little weight. Muscles turn from red to white (due to decreased vascularization/blood flow) as they turn into tendons and attach to the bone. Eccentric movements are when the muscle/tendon lengthens and strengthen the tendon end of the tissue, whereas concentric movements strengthen the muscle belly. Weight lifters know them negatives and its basically the opposite of Don’t go for a 5k run, don’t max your deadlifts. Simple, stable and easy exercises are our focus. Here's a few good videos on our patient education page to get you started if you're still confused.
Analgesics - pain management is important, so let’s not throw it out the window. When you’re in pain, your body is stressed and its ability to heal is also inhibited. That being said, avoid NSAIDs, we want to let inflammation do its thing. Acupuncture, herbal medicine, contrast hydrotherapy, rest, these are all viable options. Even small amounts of tylenol are fine if that’s your jam.
Treatment - Here’s where a qualified medical professional will make sure you road to recovery is safe and effective. Whether its acupuncture, physical therapy, massage, or whatever your favorite treatment is, make an appointment and get in to see your provider. But there are also some at home therapies you can do, especially contrast hydrotherapy. I cannot stress enough how powerful this therapy is for tendons and ligaments. The changing temperatures promote blood flow by expanding and contracting the tissues in the area. It's my go to for chronic ligament and tendon injuries. Do a cold wrap or ice bath for 1 minute for every hot wrap or bath of 3 minutes - generally about 4 times.
TLDR - RICE is good for a small amount of serious cases and for right after injury to reduce pain, but will prolong the healing in ligaments and tendons. MEAT enhances and promotes the bodies natural healing responses and gets you back in action faster.
Red Raven Acupuncture in Southtown serving San Antonio's southside and surrounding areas! Being the only clinic in the south part of town offering private treatments, I have patients not only from all over San Antonio but from Leming, Floresville, Devine, and Calaveras. Check out the Yelp for reviews to what people have to say about acupuncture!
Acupuncture, Herbs, and Chinese Medicine are all on the rise in the United States creating endless possibilities and opportunities for patients. Practitioners are able to work with all types of populations - traditional one-on-one treatments, cost-effective treatments in community clinics, traveling with sports teams, or even cosmetic and relaxing acupuncture in retreat and spa settings. As acupuncture grows and more people become aware of this powerful medicine, especially for pain management, pain-management clinics and hospitals are becoming common sites to see acupuncturists or get referrals. The military is also becoming on of the biggest referral sources for acupuncture as research concerning post-traumatic stress has shown positive results for treating veterans and their pain.
If you are in southern San Antonio and are curious about acupuncture, check out the FAQ, or contact us for any questions you may have. No questions? Great! Straight up book right now y'all!
I get a lot people who want to try acupuncture, but keep putting it off and could never figure out why. When they finally come in, they feel so much better and ask themselves "why didn't I do this sooner?"
We have this idea that we need to be already healthy or healing, before we come get a treatment - which is ridiculous. But this is a pervasive thought, not only for patients but for practitioners. We might even be worse about it.
These are all things I've heard, and a few I've even said. When I look at them now, I realize how silly it is to put it off. Acupuncture helps with energy, it helps with sleep, it helps with immunity. Why in the hell am I waiting?!?
One thing I tell people is that if we aren't doing things that we know we should, that we know make us feel better and heal, then that in and of itself is a pathology. That pathology can be treated with acupuncture. It's most likely a qi stagnation or qi deficiency (or both) that's causing the issue. Don't wait for it to get better and you are eating healthier again before seeking treatment. Get acupuncture so it can help you get to that healthy space and continue to move forward!
One of the central ideas in Chinese Medicine is Qi, pronounced Chi, and in Japanese - Ki. But what the hell is it, and why does it matter? This is probably the second most asked questions I get as an acupuncturist, right after "Does it Hurt?" That being said, so many people have tried to answer it over the years, I hate to rehash it again. So I'm going to quote one of my favorite books here. Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine, authors Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold said of Qi:
“That which animates life is called Qi. The concept of Qi is absolutely at the heart of Chinese Medicine. Life is defined by Qi even though it is impossible to grasp, measure, quantify, see or isolate. Immaterial yet essential, the material world is formed by it. An invisible force known only by its effects, Qi is recognized indirectly by what it fosters, generates and protects.
Matter is Qi taking shape. Mountains forming, forests growing, rivers streaming, and creatures proliferating are all manifestations of Qi. In the human being, all functions of the body and mind are manifestations of Qi: sensing, cogitating, feeling, digesting, stirring, and propagating.… It is the fundamental mystery and miracle.”
So there you have it, lol. My mentor liked to say that "Qi is function" as a concise idea, and I think that gets the point across. Your body's ability to do its job is fueled by qi. Honestly, the concept is so deep I could talk about it for hours, but I won't :) I will say that qi is not finite. Through acupuncture, herbs, lifestyle, exercise, and qigong - you can change the amount of qi in your body and increase your health and longevity! Pretty cool, huh?
and you want to know some things before you start...
That's what I'm here for! This FAQ will answer all the questions you may have about how to start. Let's just jump right in:
Hopefully these answered some of the questions and concerns you may have about acupuncture. Please feel free to leave comments and ask any other questions you may have. Also, look for another FAQ about the basics of Chinese Medicine techniques and theory for all you health geeks out there.