Some Guidelines To Consider In The Chinese Nutritional Model To Health

In the East, one approach in the improvement of health that has been used just as much as medicinal herbs for thousands of years is Chinese nutritional therapy. Food was not only used as a means to sustain life but also as a way to heal diseases and prevent its development. This insured the preservation and continuance of the human race.

The Chinese nutritional model to health provides a holistic and qualitative concept of specifically prescribed foods that emphasize on the flavor and thermal nature of foods as well as their energetic properties. This therapeutic strategy works since it is grounded in natural law’s fundamental principles, and is an easy to follow common sense diet that involves most of the foods we eat anyway. The main principle is simple: to add where there is too little, to lessen where there is excess, to cool the heat, and to warm the cold, energetically.

A dietary plan and food energetics are formulated based on a person’s symptoms, medical history, and unique constitution. The plan will contain foods to avoid and foods to eat, how to combine different flavors and how to prepare them. If a person has an existing health problem that needs to be resolved, the dietary plan will be specifically designed to introduce foods that promote natural homeostatic balance and eliminate any aggravating drinks and foods.

A typical diet usually should consist of:

1. 5 percent raw foods like fruit and salads, except in summer.

2. 5 percent fish, chicken, game, beef, lamb-meat

3. 30 to 40 percent cooked vegetables like fennel, lentils, cabbage, beans, carrots, and potatoes.

4. 50 to 80 percent grains: wheat, spelt, rice, oats, millet, barley, and corn.

The following are some recommendations to healthy eating:

1. Avoid eating when you are preoccupied with certain things (like talking to someone on a phone, reading a book, or watching TV, or when at the desk or in front of a computer).

2. Chew your food well and do not hurry your meals.

3. Do not eat when upset, angry, or stressed.

4. If possible, eat organic, unprocessed and high quality foods.

5. Eat foods that are appropriate for the season.

6. During large meals, drink minimal amounts of liquids. Dinking lots of liquids can prevent proper absorption and dilute the process of digestion. This will lead to a lack of vital energy and tiredness.

7. Make it a habit to consume food in smaller portions, and eat one cooked meal a day, at least. If your digestion is impaired for any reason, you should eat food that is easy to digest and is easily transported throughout the tissues.

5. For vegans and vegetarians, it is important to include energetically warming foods recommended by a qualified practitioner.

For most practitioners, the most important part of formulating a plan of treatment for their patients is a proper dietary arrangement.

Because the common western diet is very different from Chinese medicine diet, there are often a lot of changes that need to be made. This is especially truly when it comes to cooked foods and raw foods.

Dietary modifications should, however, be made in small, gradual attainable stages in order for the body to get used little by little to the new ways. This approach works 100 percent, as it is easy to adjust and is designed to address the unique constitutional requirements of the patient.

Vita-Health Acupuncture and Wellness Center
12301 Taft St #200
Pembroke Pines, FL 33026
Phone: (954) 880-0090


Tai Chi, Qi Gong, And Kung Fu Can Help Improve Your Breathing Techniques

It is commonly perceived that if you work in the fitness industry you must be very healthy. This is true, in a lot of ways. Sure, if you work as a fitness instructor, you certainly get a lot of exercise, a lot more than the average Joe in the street does. However, what most people don’t realize is that this work also carries a great deal of risks to health, albeit of a different kind. People working in the fitness industry can be more susceptible to health risks related to too much exercise. While exercise is a bit as much about aesthetics as it is about health, some of fitness industry workers might fall victims to unhealthy body image standards.

If you look at the lifestyle of a fitness employee, you will see someone sometimes spotting for a client, helping maintain the machines, and doing a full shift that lasts several times as long as the regular gym members visit. Unlike those he trains, the fitness employee may not need to spend all his time working up a sweat. But throughout the day, all his work adds up, which at the end of the day can be very exhausting and stressful. You probably may have a more difficult day if you are an aerobic or yoga instructor. In a single day, you might need to teach several sessions. This means you need to maintain high energy levels and find a way to stay in shape for several hours a day.

Breathing techniques and vocal exercises might help improve your breathing. At least, you’ll not need to work overtime to bulk up since you’ll be making use of the muscles you already have.

If you work at a fitness center or gym, it is important to stay health mentally healthy besides being physically healthy. You’ll likely be assisting a lot of clients who are obsessed with how their body look or have poor body image issues. After working for some time, you might consider yourself hardened against such things, but what you may not realize is that their attitudes may have a subliminal effect on you and your co workers that you may not be aware of till you are having real issues. If you are having these problems, you may need to assess yourself. You can find relief by taking mood-enhancing pills, going to a therapist, or through spa treatments. Breathing exercises, especially the ones yoga practitioners use, can help you maintain mental clarity and stay calm. You’ll also be able to tap in the natural processes of your body, instead of screwing them up with chemicals causing a variety of side effects that might harm your body for a long period of time.

If you want to learn breathing exercises, you may be interested to know that Asian meditative exercises and martial arts such tai chi, qi gong, and kung fu include a great deal of preparation that involves breathing techniques. You can integrate these activities into your own physical and mental fitness program, even if you have no intention of learning the martial art itself. That is, if have no issue imbibing a little spiritualism or religion along with your well being.

Dr. Hailing Fu is a doctor or Oriental medicine and the founder of Ling’s Acupuncture, Inc., in Orlando, FL. She has also served as professor and clinic director at the Florida College of Integrative Medicine in Central Florida.


Gua Sha Therapy Cures Stiffness And Pain Caused By Inflammation Of The Joints And Bones

Gua sha is a very old seemingly facile Chinese Medicine treatment in Maitland that treats a wide range of underlying conditions in the body.

Gua sha are two Chinese words with gua meaning to scrape or rub and sha referring to the dotted reddish coloration that may rise to the skin surface during treatment. It’s important to note that the coloration is not the bruising or breaking of the blood vessels but the deep, extracellular fluids, composed mostly of waste material and toxins, going up to the surface. Gua sha is a gentle procedure and no bruising actually occurs. The presence of the rising coloration can be an indication of an underlying condition, like arthritis. However, the relief and healing of pain still take place even without any coloration developing.

In gua sha treatments all the healing occurs within a mere 20 – 30 gentle strokes through a clothing or sheet or directly on the skin; people are incredulous at the simplicity of the procedure. But although it may seem a facile treatment, doing the procedure wrong could result, at least in zero benefits, or worse, in injury.

Gua sha therapy has an uncanny ability to cure stiffness and pain caused by inflammation of the joints and bones. In simple terms it is a treatment that’s perfect for people with arthritis.

There has to be a perfect explanation of how a surface treatment like gua sha could affect deep tissues. One theory argues that the body’s connective tissue system is actually a moving-scaffold-like multilayered, communication organ. The gentle unidirectional scraping transmits vibrational ripples through the connective tissue layers, and like a speaker amplifies the ripples as it travels to the deeper layers, activating the self-healing components of the body. The stem cells attached in the outer layer of the bone or periosteum, which happens to be a connective tissue, may very well be one of these healing components.

Modern science has still not yet discovered how gua sha therapy actually works. So, while we’re waiting for an answer, you may want to know that this therapy can be incorporated into any type of massage therapies to help relieve muscle fatigue, soreness, and, aches, and pain.


Licorice Can Offset The Undesirable Effects Of Menopause

Women are often plagued with the undesirable effects of menopause. Fortunately, there are a lot of remedies readily available for this problem. They range from hormone replacement therapy and other conventional medications to more alternative natural treatments. Women adversely affected by menopause should closely study all possible treatments, and select the ones that they are comfortable using. Several medical studies have already been done looking at the efficacy of these treatments and the potential risks in using drugs and herbs to manage or treat the symptoms of menopause.

An herb called licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is one of the most commonly used natural remedies for menopause. This herb is known to have immune boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. Many traditional herbalists have been using it against the adverse symptoms of menopause. Symptoms such as depression, fatigue, and headaches associated with menopause are reduced with use of this herb. Licorice is a plant that grows in a lot of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries and its powerful medicinal qualities have shown it to be a reliable remedy for various types of health problems not related to menopause. In ancient Egypt, licorice was used for the common cold and several forms of illnesses.

This herb is an ideal remedy for menopause. During menopause, the woman’s body no longer produces estrogen. Licorice has been shown to naturally replace the estrogen lost due to menopause. However, the type of estrogen found in the licorice plant is not human estrogen but are plant derived although are still helpful to menopause sufferers. When estrogen levels rise in a woman in menopause, it helps lessen her hot flashes and other symptoms associated with low hormone levels.

Licorice needs to be converted into digestible form in order for it to be used as a remedy for menopause. It is available as teas, pills, and chews. Licorice candy cannot help relieve the symptoms of menopause because it does not contain any of the licorice plant. This candy is mostly sugar and flavored with an ingredient called anise which is responsible for giving licorice candy its distinctive flavor.

To treat menopause symptoms, drink a cup of licorice root each day. Women taking drugs for high blood pressure or those who have high blood pressure should not take any form of licorice product. The plant is known to elevate blood pressure that could be potentially dangerous to anyone with high blood pressure. Licorice can also cause water retention and also has properties that help relieve constipation. Taking the herb can result in more than normal bowel movements. Before taking licorice supplements consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first.


Jamie Catlett is an acupuncturist in Jacksonville, FL and the founder of Jacksonville Acupuncture Clinic.


Falun Gong Can Help Stop Marijuana Addiction

In traditional Chinese medicine, Falun Gong or Falun Dafa is a form of “cultivation system” or Chinese spiritual movement. It was developed in 1992 by Li Hongzhi. In 1998, the Communist government of China banned this movement saying that the teachings of Falun Dafa are “heretical”. There have been several cases of flagrant human right violations committed by this government against the practitioners and followers of Falun Dafa.

What makes Falun Dafa different from the other schools of qi gong is that this practice eschews the rituals in daily worship and places greater emphasis on theology and morality. Its core principles are Compassion, Patience, and Veracity. It has reshaped the perspective of existing schools of qi gong and played a huge role in the transformation of the lives of millions of people all over the world by promoting wisdom and good health.

Falun Dafa prohibits homosexuality, pre marital sex, drugs, alcohol, and smoking and puts an emphasis on ethical and moral behavior. These run counter to the aims of the practice and are known to bring in negative Karma.

If you are a practitioner of Falun Dafa, you should continuously abide by its principles of compassion, patience, and veracity. These principles are actually universal principles that anyone with a good heart and conscience shares. They help cultivate the whole aspects of your being: your body, soul, and spirit. But in order to achieve this, the practitioner must follow five sets of exercises that are very easy to learn and are made up of meditation and gentle movements. These exercises are meant to help you realize your goal, which is to cultivate your entire being. While each exercise has a profound inner meaning, they work extremely well in the treatment of stress and anxiety especially within the context of marijuana withdrawal.

The Goals of the Exercise

These exercises are designed to help increase your energy within a short period of time whilst simultaneously alleviating anxiety and stress.

The exercises are easy to learn and very simple. They focus on the meridians or pathways of energy in the body. They are designed to open and stretch all the meridians circulating throughout the body in order to smooth the flow of energy to areas where flow is obstructed. Practitioners will be able to boost their energy levels in no time at all when they perform these exercises.

How does falun dafa help people stop their dependence from marijuana?

The falun dafa exercises open up all the meridians in the body and this helps enhance a person’s well being and stamina. They can also help the mind focus on positive things and erase the negative energy in the mind and body. More importantly, the exercises put a greater emphasis on breathing and are gentle. These two factors help in the decrease of stress and anxiety in a person who has recently stopped smoking marijuana. In the spiritual aspect, the exercises can provide a person with support in case he finds himself relapsing from marijuana.

Acupuncture Health Center
1303 Astor St #101
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 715-1824


Chinese Nutritional Therapy And An Underlying Imbalance In Self-Realization

When we explore Oriental medicine in general and Chinese nutritional therapy in Boca Raton, in particular, we are learning how to attain balance in our lives through balanced eating that can provide us the energy we need to live the life we want to live.

According to great sage Lao Tse, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”

Health is a Balancing Act

If someone asks you “How balanced are you?” How will you answer? Most people associate balance with not falling while riding a bicycle or not falling while standing or walking. Asking one how balanced he/she is in the framework of Chinese medicine may mean if he/she is balanced not only physically but emotionally and psychologically, as well.

“You Are What You eat”

If your diet is energetically and nutritionally balanced, so are you. From the perspective of Oriental medicine, you may want to include in your checklist the questions: Am I ‘energetically’ balanced?, or Am I ‘nutritionally’ balanced?; your food provides you with the energy you need to be balanced energetically and nutritionally balanced — and you’re healthy in terms of spirit, mind, and body when you consider yourself an energetically and nutritionally balanced person.

The Five Flavors

A diet that’s energetically and nutritionally balanced may include foods that combine the following five flavors:

1. Spicy
2. Sweet
3. Bitter
4. Sour
5. Salty

A Balanced Feeling

Lots of individuals ‘think’ they’re balanced. But obviously there’s a huge difference between ‘thinking’ and ‘knowing,’ just as there’s a definite distinction between thinking that you just ate something nutritious compared to knowing you did. When it comes to knowing if you are indeed energetically and nutritionally balanced, the most important factor to consider is that you FEEL energetically and nutritionally balanced.

Intellectually, it is easy to demonstrate the difference between feeling and thinking, but because our culture espouses the development of our mental faculties, whilst tending to abandon the fostering of our intuition and feelings, it’s a little bit hard to know what balance feels like. This irrational and unhealthy imbalance can hilariously manifest in a normal conversation when a person genuinely asks someone “Are you really feeling okay?” and the other wryly responds, “I think so.”

Even this underlying imbalance in self-realization can be addressed with the power of Chinese nutritional therapy.


Six Highly Nutritious Foods Commonly Used In Chinese Cooking

Traditional Chinese cooking focuses more on having more vegetables than meat and because of this, it is considered a healthy way of eating. It also fosters a variety of crisp and colorful vegetables that can be a part of a healthy recipe. The following are some of the popular Chinese cooking herbs, spices, and ingredients that can assist you in choosing the right flavors to your Chinese meals, if you are interested in learning how to cook Chinese recipes at home

1. Mushroom

As one of the more highly popular Chinese cooking ingredients that can add more taste to your recipes, mushrooms are very easy to find that you can buy in markets. Some of them can actually be bought right after they’re harvested from their natural environment. You can also use dried mushrooms for your stir fried recipes and for soups and stew.

2. Tofu

Bean curd or tofu is also a very commonly used ingredient in Chinese cooking and is widely used in vegetarian recipes. This type of food originated in China and is now a very popular recipe ingredient in a lot of Asian diets. This food possesses little smell or flavor and prior to use one should drain it to allow it to absorb the spices and flavors of the other ingredients in the dish. For vegans and vegetarians, it is usually a replacement for meat since it is considered to be a good source of iron and protein but low in fat and calories. Because tofu is soft and tender, it can be easily digested.

3. Bok Choy

Another commonly used vegetable in Chinese cooking and a very popular food throughout the world. Bok Choy is a vegetable commonly used in stir-fried dishes, soups, and stews

4. Dried fungus

This is one dried ingredient commonly used in Chinese cooking. Dried fungus is commonly used in stir-fry cooking and is often cooked with onions, celery, chicken, and tofu. Its size is small when you buy it in the market, but it expands after you soak them in hot water for about 15 minutes. After they are soaked, you can cook them along with the other ingredients.

5. Ginger

Ginger is one of the most popular spices used not only in Chinese cooking but in other dishes throughout the world. Because of its biting, pungent, and aromatic flavor, it is one of the most basic flavorings in Chinese cooking. At times, instead of fennel, ginger is included in the five-spice powder. Besides enhancing flavor to your food, ginger also provides certain benefits to health such as its ability to prevent nausea and motion sickness, and in fostering good digestion.

6. The five-spice powder

One of the very popular ingredients in Chinese cooking, five-spice powder is usually utilized as food seasoning which you can include to your dish like pepper. Five-spice powder, as its name indicates, is comprised of five spices that typically include cloves, cinnamon, fennel, start anise, and Szechuan peppercorn. This powder is typically used as seasoning for fatty meats as well as in vegetarian recipes.

Heather Shultz is a licensed acupuncturist in Marlton, NJ with advanced training in modern acupuncture techniques and traditional Asian therapies.


Some Things You Should Know About Cupping Therapy

One of traditional Chinese medicine’s most ancient healing methods is Cupping Therapy. The use of this healing technique was first recorded when the renowned herbalist Ge Hong wrote in his book, A Handbook of Prescriptions, about a type of cupping in the early fourth century. Books later written during the Tang and Ch’ing dynasties depicted cupping in great detail; a whole chapter of a form of cupping called “fire jar qi,” which was able to relieve stomach pain, dizziness, and headaches was mentioned in one textbook.

Ancient practitioners first utilize animal horns that have been hollowed-out for cups, and put them over specific energy channels (meridians) and/or points. These days, thick plastic or glass cups are used by most acupuncturists in Bellmore, while in other countries, pottery, iron, and bamboo are still used. The preferred manner of delivery by far, are glass cups due to the fact that they do not break easily or deteriorate unlike pottery or bamboo, and they enable the acupuncturist to see the skin and assess the results of the treatment.

Cupping- How does it work? What conditions does it treat?

In a customary cupping procedure, the practitioner soaks up a cotton ball with alcohol, lights up the ball and then places the flaming ball inside the cup. The fire eats up all the oxygen in the cup creating a vacuum inside the cup.

As the fire burns, the cup is quickly placed upside down on the patient’s body. The vacuum in the cup causes a suction effect on the skin and draws the skin upward onto the cup as the air cools within the cup. The skin being pulled into the cup is believed to dilate the pores of the skin. This stimulates blood flow, eliminates blockages, realigns and balances the circulation of qi, and creates a path for toxins to be filtered out of the body.

The cups remain on the patient’s skin for five to ten minutes based on the problem being addressed. Numerous cups may be used all at once on a single treatment. There are practitioners who will apply small amounts of herbal oils or medicated oils on the skin prior to placing the cups on the body. This helps move the cups easily up and down on specific meridians or acupoints.

Cupping therapy performed in China is mainly used to address respiratory problems like congestion, asthma, and bronchitis; certain types of pain; and gastrointestinal conditions. Some practitioners are good at using cupping to decrease swelling and treat depression. The body’s fleshy areas, including the abdomen and back (and, to a lesser extent, the legs and arms), are frequent used areas of treatment.

Are there different types of cupping?

Aside from “dry” cupping”, which is the conventional type of cupping depicted above, there are practitioners who also use “air cupping” and “wet cupping”.

“Air” Cupping

Rather than using fire to heat the cup, the cup is placed to the skin, and a vacuum pump is connected to the side or end of the cup. The pump sucks out the air inside the cup creating a vacuum.

“Wet” Cupping

In this procedure, before the cups are applied on the body, the skin is first punctured. When the cups are applied and the skin is drawn to the cup, a tiny amount of blood may come out of the puncture site. This is deemed to remove toxins and harmful substances out of the body.

Does cupping therapy hurt? Is it safe?

In a cupping therapy procedure, the drawing of the skin to the cup cases the blood vessels at the skin surface to expand. This can lead to round small bruises on the site of treatment. However, the bruises are usually not painful and vanish a few days after treatment.

Cupping is deemed to be a safe form of treatment for most people, (especially air cupping as it does not involve the use of heat or fire). However, it can result in bruising and swelling on the skin

Moreover, there may be a number of occasions in which cupping should not be administered. During a cupping procedure, the cup should not cross bony areas, such as the shoulder blades or the ridges of the spine if the cups are being moved; pregnant women should not have cupping on their lower back or stomach; cupping should not be given to patients who easily bleed, patients who suffer from convulsions and high fever, and patients with inflamed skin.


Some Of The Problems Addressed By Chua K’a Massage

Chua K’a Massage was first developed by ancient Mongolian warriors, and was introduced in America through the work of Oscar Ichazo and the Arica Institute. This type of massage works on the theory that the body houses the memory of pain long after the healing of a wound. Knowing that not removing the memory of an injury made their bodies weaker and made them live in fear, the ancient Mongolian warriors utilized Chua K’a Massage to the areas of trauma to restore their wisdom, courage, and health of their bodies.

Chua K’a was initially used as a self massage. Using their hands as tools, practitioners helped liberate their bodies from injury, fatigue, and stress. After a person has performed Chua K’a on his body for several hours, he may experience a feeling that’s both profound and cathartic without any sensation of pain. By awakening the Spirit Body, the massage can bring about states of ecstasy and restore awareness to zones that were previously dormant. Various emotional fears are also set free with each Zone of the body. Chua K’a is highly recommended as an ideal form of deep skeletal-muscular therapy. The following are some of the problems that can be treated by this self massage technique:

• Frozen shoulder and shoulder pain
• Issues with grounding
• Old wounds that never felt totally healed
• Loss of range of movement and neck pain
• Lack of self acceptance and self awareness
• Indigestion
• Leg and foot pain
• Fear of failing and fear of dying
• Breathing difficulties
• Back aches

Amy-SuiQun Lui, L.Ac.
Asian Health Center
27059 Grand Army of the Republic Hwy
Cleveland, OH 44143
Tel: (440) 833-0983


The Role Of Taste, Season, Element, Organ System, Direction, And Color Of Herbs And Foods In Chinese Diet Therapy

In Chinese medicine, herbal and diet therapies are subject to change based on the seasons of the year. In the cold season, for example, we need to consume warming herbs and foods as this helps maintain the thermal equilibrium of our bodies; conversely, we need take in cold herbs and foods in summer, to keep ourselves from overheating.

Some people tend to have a problem with certain foods in the spring than at other times of the year. Springtime is the start of the allergy season and even food allergies can become more common at this time of year. This is the time when Wind is the most dominant atmospheric condition which gives rise to allergies. Furthermore, Wind can exacerbate existing allergies and may likely contribute to the rise of new allergies. If you are not careful, some harmless foods that you consume at other times of the year, in spring, may cause you allergies or other kinds of problems.

In Chinese medicine, one of the external pathological factors you need to watch out for is Dampness. Some “allergies” are actually bodily reactions from eating foods that increase Dampness in the body. Dampness in the air or environment can infiltrate the Interior and harm your Spleen. The Spleen is especially sensitive to Dampness and if you have a weak Spleen, it can be very vulnerable to Dampness infiltration. A weak Spleen may even create more internal Dampness, which worsens the infiltration of external Dampness in your body. Dampness-producing foods include oranges, wheat, dairy products, milk, etc. For people with an unhealthy Spleen, when they eat damp herbs or foods during cold periods of the year, it can create further problems in their body. The Spleen is also very sensitive to cold but not as much as it is to Dampness.

During spring, Wind is the dominant atmospheric energy (Wood – The Gallbladder & Liver are the most vulnerable), in the early summer, it is Heat (Fire – Triple Heater, Pericardium, Small Intestine, Heart), in late summer, Dampness (Earth – Spleen & Abdomen), in fall, Dryness (Metal – Large Intestine & Lungs), and in the winter, Cold (Water, Bladder & Kidneys.

Like Western medicine, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in Bellmore acknowledges that the body has a system of checks and balances built within it. In TCM, one of these checks and balances is the so-called Victor-Vanquished relationship. In this relationship, each Element controls another. These include:

Water (Bladder, Kidney) controlling Fire (Small Intestine, Heart), Metal (Large Intestine, Lung) controlling Wood (Gallbladder, Liver), Earth (Stomach, Spleen) controlling Water (Bladder, Kidney), Fire (Small Intestine, Stomach) controlling Metal (Large Intestine, Lungs), and Wood (Gallbladder, Liver) controlling Earth (Stomach, Spleen).

Earth will be over controlled if Wood is too “strong;” Earth will be out of control if Wood is too “weak”.

Certain individuals suffer from imbalances in the Spleen due to weakness of the Spleen. Their condition can be treated by simply supplementing their bodies with herbs and foods that strengthen the Spleen. But there are also cases when the cause of Spleen weakness is due to a strong Liver, and not because of a problem in the Spleen. In cases like these, merely providing the Spleen with strengthening foods and herbs is like continuously draining water out off a leaky rowboat. You have to keep on scooping water out until the leak is corked. The leak, in this instance, is the Liver that is too “strong”. It inhibits the Spleen, which causes it to function inefficiently. It is not enough to strengthen the Spleen you need to also calm the Liver to prevent it from being a control freak that suppresses and over controls the Spleen.

Wood over dominating Earth (which, in TCM, is the Elemental method of diagnosis) is similar to the Liver attacking the Spleen (This is the Organ Analysis method).

Each of the primary tastes in TCM is related to a specific Organ and Element. Salty taste is related to Water (Bladder, Kidney); spicy, pungent, or acrid to metal (Large Intestine, Lung); sweet to Earth (Stomach, Spleen); bitter to Fire (Small Intestine, Heart); and sour to Wood (Gallbladder, Liver). An Organ can be in trouble if it gets too little or too much of what it needs. Not consuming salt or taking too little of it may lead to a loss of significant amount of fluid passing through the urinary system. But when you load up on too much salt, and can be harmful to your heart. Fire (Heart) is controlled by Water (Kidney). Overconsumption of salt can lead to water buildup in the body that in turn, can overstress the heart.

Furthermore, each taste has its own specific qualities. The sour taste has a tendency to generate Yin and fluids, and it can also “plug leaks” (which may be helpful for diarrhea, excessive sweating, etc.). Earth (Spleen) is controlled by Wood (Liver). Spleen plays a huge role in the transport and conversion of drinks and foods. The buildup of Dampness is the symptom that’s likely to arise when the Spleen is weak. A person with Dampness should avoid drinks and foods that generate fluids.

The bitter taste has a quality that hardens, sedates and diffuses Heat. It also overcomes rebellious Qi and clears Damp Heat. Metal (Large Intestine, Lung) is controlled by Fire (Small intestine Heart). There are a wide variety of bitter herbs that bring about problems in the Lungs. While the Lungs are averse to Damp, they also have a dislike for excess dryness.

The sweet taste has a moderating, balancing, and tonifying quality. It can help halt pain and tonify deficiency. Water (Bladder, Kidney) is controlled by Earth (Stomach, Spleen). Be reminded of the urinary problems diabetics suffer when you think of this connection.
The pungent taste can eliminate pathogenic elements and has a scattering quality. Spices have a warming quality and can be hard on people who are too Hot but helpful for people who are too Cold. Metal is the Mother of Water. People become too Cold because of deficient Yin in the body, spices can be of great benefit for these people. Heat, however, has a rising or ascending quality and so when you over consume spicy herbs or foods, it can lead to a buildup of too much Heat in your Lungs. Wood (Gallbladder, Liver) is controlled by Metal (Large Intestine, Lung).

The salty taste has a descending or downward quality. It is useful for swelling and constipation and can help soften hardness. This activity can be biomedically portrayed as the osmotic slope generated when salt travels through the large intestine. This attracts fluids back into the Large Intestine (or it can hinder them from leaving) and this can benefit constipated individuals who need to pass dry and hard stools. The salty taste can help lubricate those dry stools.

In dietary therapy, one of the concepts of TCM is that in order to be in harmony with a season, one should consume foods that possess the energy of that season. Hence, in the winter, one ought to consume salty and cold foods in order to receive the energy of that season (and stave off conditions that may later develop). In the spring, Yang energy increases and so you should eat Yang foods. Still, you need to address idiosyncratic deficiencies. For example, if you are too Cold, regardless of the season, you need warming energy.

In Chinese medicine, an ideal balanced diet is one that has all the five tastes included at every meal. The percentage of the flavors may vary based on the needs of the person. For instance, although a person who is too cold needs to include all the five tastes, he may need to eat a higher proportion of salty and spicy foods to keep warm. Because of the negative viewpoint about the ill-effects of salt to health, a significant cutting back on salt for people with chronic fatigue syndrome can only aggravate their condition. Lots of people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome say that increasing their intake of salt in their foods helps them feel better. Most people with chronic fatigue syndrome also suffer from Kidney imbalance and so it’s also important for them to strengthen their Kidneys.

In Chinese dietary therapy, eating raw foods is prohibited. This is one rule that may not be appropriate at all times. Sometimes, eating a salad with raw foods can be good for the body provided that it is added with spices (like cayenne pepper). Obviously, eating raw foods should not be recommended for some people with deficient yang but the there are people who benefit from eating veggies and raw fruits in moderation.

In TCM, Directions are also related to the Elements: North is related to the Black Tortoise and the element of Water, South to the Red Phoenix and Fire, East to the Green Dragon and Wood, and West to the White Tiger and Metal. You would notice that there are also colors in diet therapy that correspondence the directions and elements. For TCM dietary therapists, this can be very helpful in determining diagnosis. More often than not, people with imbalance in the Liver have a greenish skin color. People with Kidney imbalance tend to have a dark or blackish complexion.

It is very difficult trying to explain how directions can be a helpful tool in diagnosing a condition. This is very foreign in how Western medicine diagnoses disease since it has no logical explanation. Nevertheless, it does work in Chinese medicine. For some reason or another, some individuals feel uncomfortable when they sit in a certain quarter. Some people with liver imbalance, for instance, may at times, experience discomfort when they sit “in the East” (facing West and back to the East). They may refuse to seat in a room on the West or on the West side of the table if they are given a choice of where to seat. Some people meditating in the four directions, testing sitting in the North, South, East, West, may find that some quarters feel more comfortable or uncomfortable than the others. This discomfort may at times suggest imbalance in an Element. No one can explain this phenomenon, but it nevertheless, happens.