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Do you know the difference between Ayurveda and TCM? When I was trying to conceive, I used elements of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Ayurveda, and I consulted with an acupuncturist who did a few trial treatments on me. She also taught me a little bit about what type of foods I should be eating for my "constitution". This guest post gives some of the basics about TCM and Ayurveda and how they may enhance your health and fertility.

Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine Made Easy

Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine Made Easy
By Richard Heft

Traditional Chinese (Taoism, Buddhism) and Ayurvedic (Hinduism) medicines are religious offshoots that treat the whole person: body, mind and spirit via diet, exercise, meditation, kindness, etc. Both medicines define everything in terms of matter, energy and spirit.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), all matter (body, food, etc.) is a combination, interaction of energetic opposites: yin (cold, cleansing) and yang (hot, building), with one opposite, always in excess. There is nothing neutral, nor stagnant, only varying degrees of hot and cold. One opposite grows, dominates while the other declines, recedes, until the pattern reverses, thus completing the cycle of all life, existence: creation, preservation and destruction. The best example is the seasons produced by the earth's orbit around the sun. As the earth moves closer to the sun, the sun's energetic influences increase, causing the earth (matter) to grow, expand, become hotter, drier, thicker, faster, spring and summer. As the earth moves away, it starts to break down, become colder, damper, thinner, slower, fall and winter.

Every time energy changes, so do its material reflections, manifestations (gas, solid, liquid) change, build up and break down. The body is no different as it also changes, reacts to external and internal changes in hot and cold.

The body becomes hotter, faster, drier and more productive during the spring, summer, and via an increase in building foods, nutrients (build, thicken fuel, stimulate, heat, redden, etc.) and colder, slower, damper and less productive during the fall, winter, and via an increase in cleansing foods, nutrients (reduce, thin, cool, moisten, etc.).

Too much building, especially animal food tends to cause overbuilt, thick, 'hot" symptoms, diseases:

Blood clots, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, kidney and gall stones, fixed pain, insomnia, acne, psoriasis, warts, tumors, cancer

Too little building tends to cause under built, thin, weak, "cold" symptoms, diseases:

Anemia, pallor, fatigue, pain, thin, dry hair, skin, nails, bones, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, amenorrhea, infertility, short-term pregnancy, etc

Too many cold, cleansing foods tend to cause "cold", damp, yin diseases:

Loose stools, edema, cellulite, mucous, phlegm, cysts, vaginal discharge, yeast infections, etc.

Hot and cold is a simple diagnosis and treatment plan. Balancing opposites: building and cleansing foods, herbs, etc, is the key to controlling health and disease. For hot, overbuilt diseases, the colder middle diet (page 19) is recommended. Decrease animal, increase cleansing. For cold, damp, deficient, under built diseases, the hotter middle diet (page 20) is recommended. Increase building (animal), cooked foods and spices, decrease cold.

In Hinduism, Ayurvedic medicine, the union of Purusha (Primal Spirit, energy) and Prakruti (Mother Nature, matter) produces the three gunas stages of transformation of Spirit, God into energy and matter.

Sattva is spirit (shen), light, intelligence, perception, clarity, etc. It is the highest, preferred quality of mind, lifestyle. Meditation, kindness and the vegan diet, especially raw fruits and vegetables increase sattva.

Rajas is energy (chi), thought, mind directed up (sattva) or down (tamas) the brain, spine
Tamas is matter, body (jing), darkness, resistance, degeneration. It is the lowest quality. Animal foods, alcohol, drugs, anger increase tamas, degrade the body mind

The 3 Gunas produce the 5 elementsstages of matter

Five Elements - Ayurveda - West - China

� Ether (metal) Sattva Spirit Shen

� Air (tree) Sattva and Rajas

� Fire Rajas Mind Chi

� Water Rajas and Tamas

� Earth Tamas Body Jing

Five elements: five major organ systems and associated tastes (TCM)

Metal (ether) lungs and large intestine (spicy)
Earth spleen, pancreas and stomach (sweet)
Fire heart and small intestine (bitter)
Tree, wood, liverand gall bladder (sour)
Water kidneys and urinary bladder(salty)

The five elements produce the three Doshas constitutions:

Vata - Ether and air: moves
Pitta - Fire and an aspect of water: digests
Kapha - Water and earth: holds

Vata is air, wind that moves things. It is often associated with dryness, weakness and deficiency, but can be caused by excess heat. Chronic blood, protein and fat deficiency tends to cause dryness and wind (shaking). Blood (nutrients) builds, fuels, moistens and holds. Too little protein, fat and or too many cold, cleansing foods also weaken, dry and shake the body, muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.

Too many hot foods (spices, caffeine, alcohol, smoking, etc.) and or too much sex (jing, sexual fluids are moistening) also cause internal wind (shaking, trembling or paralysis) via excess dryness and heat.

Pitta is a fire (yang), sometimes translated as bile (digests fat). Long-term high animal protein, fat (red meat, chicken, turkey, fried foods, etc.), alcohol (damp heat), coffee, etc. tend to aggravate pitta (hot, yang) causing damp heat (TCM) in the liver and gall bladder manifesting as oily, greasy skin, rashes (dry and wet), gallstones, acne, boils, yellow discharges.

Kapha is water (holds things together), dampness. Dampness (mucous, phlegm. watery stools, edema, cellulite, cysts, etc.) can be hot (pitta) or cold (yin). Too much animal protein, fat and alcohol tends to cause damp heat (groin, armpits), as can overexposure to hot, damp climates.

Digestion, three meals per day, naturally heats and dries (dissipates excess fluids) the body. Long-term cold, damp, low protein, low fat diets (milk, yogurt, soft cheese, ice cream, salads, tropical fruits, juices, shakes, smoothies, sodas, cold drinks, sugar, bitter herbs, etc.) cool, dilute and weaken digestion, nutrient absorption and elimination.

Chronically (long-term) weak digestion decreases body temperature, which cools and hardens water in the lungs, throat, sinus, ears, uterus, vagina into mucous, phlegm, cysts, discharges and yeast infections in the same way, the cold temperatures of night and winter harden water in the air into the morning dew, rain, snow and ice.

Overexposure to extreme cold, damp climates can also cool and dampen the body with excess fluids (kapha): mucous, phlegm, etc. Cold, damp symptoms (clear, white mucous, phlegm) overtime can heat, change into damp heat (yellow color) as the body is naturally hot (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Hot, damp climates can also cause damp heat.

Digestion naturally declines after age thirty, more so in women (menstruation) than men. Men tend to have hotter, stronger digestion, due in large part to testosterone, which is a hot, building hormone, more so than estrogen (hot) and progesterone (cold).

Spices stoke, fan digestive fire (Agni). Ayurvedic medicine often advises the use of six to eight spices per meal (breakfast and lunch) to treat cold, damp conditions (good cold preventative and or treatment). Spicy dinners or late night snacks may adversely affect the ability to relax, sleep.

Hot (yang), cold (yin), vata, kapha and pitta, sattva, rajas and tamas identification of the body, symptoms, diet, herbs, thoughts, etc. is a simple, basic diagnosis and treatment plan for most physical diseases. Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine are similar in nature, in identifying the four energetic extremes of disease.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (Ayurveda)

Excess yang, hot, dry or damp (Pitta)
Deficient yang, weak, cold, dry, windy (Vata)
Excess yin, cold, damp (Kapha)
Deficient yin, dry and windy (Vata kapha)

All disease is a product of cause (input) and effect (output). You reap what you eat. Happiness and sadness is also a product of cause and effect. You reap what you think, do. Mental and spiritual diseases require spiritual practices (kindness, generosity, even-mindedness, unconditional love, forgiveness, virtue, scriptural studies, prayer, meditation, etc.) as well as spiritual guides and good friends to raise one's thinking, consciousness to the level of God, as opposed to bad friends and evil people who lower, degrade. Spirituality requires action not talk.

Richard G. Heft, Acupuncture Physician (FL 1992-2002); owner, operator Food and Thought, health food store, Hollywood, FL (1984-2001); questioned and counseled thousands, author: Permanent Health and Happiness, A Simple Guide to Chinese, Ayurvedic and Western Nutrition and Philosphy (c) 2011 available Amazon (on sale $13.89); WEB: EMAIL; free Ebook (Lessons 1- 5) upon request.

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