The calligraphy above depicts the Three Treasures: Jing, Qi, Shen. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the preservation, protection and nourishment of the Three Treasures form the foundation of optimum health and spiritual well being.
Jing means Essence
Qi basically translates as Vital Energy
Shen means Spirit
Jing – Essence
Jing is the source of life, health and longevity. We all are born with Jing Essence, which is stored in the Kidneys and which fuels all other energies. As we age, we naturally deplete our Jing essence; but chronic stress, illness and imbalance will exhaust our Jing faster than we can replenish it through foods and herbs. We must nourish Jing daily with acquired nutritive energy derived from healthy foods, water, meditation, exercise and Chinese herbs. To preserve and protect our Jing from depletion, we must avoid drug and alcohol abuse, bulimia or anorexia, excessive exercise and excessive sexual activities. The latter is especially important for men. Most healthy women don’t have to worry so much about losing essence through sexual activity. For all women it is more important to preserve blood. Chinese medicine tells us that Blood and Jing Essence share the same source. Blood preservation is especially important for a woman because when she loses blood, she loses Jing. The wisdom of a woman’s body initiates menopause as a way to preserve blood and essence for a longer healthier life. Women who experience very heavy menstrual periods or whose periods are absent may experience an Essence vacuity and require acupuncture and herbal treatment to regain healthy balance.
Qi – Vital Energy
In English, Qi roughly translates as vital energy, but its full meaning is as vast as the universe. The calligraphy of the Chinese word Qi depicts rice steaming, meaning that Qi is invisible like steam but also as substantial as rice. This energy is not an ethereal philosophical concept; Qi is palpable, movable, dynamic, storable, fluid and sustentative. It makes and defines everything about us, in us and around us. We are all made of Qi. Plants, herbs, insects and animals are made of Qi. The air we breathe is Qi. The energy we get from exercise is Qi. Acute or chronic illness, poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyles and excessive exercise or sleep will deplete Qi. Breathing exercises and healthy eating habits replenish Qi. Kung Fu practices such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong and other healing exercises that generate, move and store Qi. To nourish our Qi we must live a balanced lifestyle, eat well, breath, exercise and preserve our energy by avoiding types of situations and people that drain our energy.
Shen – Spirit
Chinese medicine views the Spirit as an integral part of our life and our physical wellbeing. Therefore Qi, Jing and Spirit cultivation is essential for health maintenance. The definition of spirituality is uniquely individual because different spiritual practices work for different people. Though the process of Spirit cultivation is dynamic and ever changing, most spiritual practices call for mindful living, intentionally based on right thinking and right action. In addition, certain herbs and tonics can help enhance and develop Shen energy. Buddhist teacher and writer Llama Surya Das imparts these words of wisdom, “Living spirituality and its religions are not monuments or mausoleums, but ARE more akin to rivers, which need and want to keep flowing and inexhaustibly replenishing themselves, outflowing anew while returning to the source, endlessly recycling and revitalizing themselves. Not static but ecstatic — a living river of Dharma, of truth and love, of genuine spirit.” When we nourish our Spirit, we cultivate truth, authenticity and compassion for ourselves and others in our daily lives, the result of which is energetic balance and mental clarity.
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs 32 Union Square EAST, Suite 615N New York, NY 10003 (646) 504.2251
How Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Diet, Exercise and Supplements
Can Help Manage This Auto-Immune Disorder
Hashimoto’s disease effects women eight times more often than men. Clinically, the thyroid is enlarged, accompanied by hypothyroidism. The typical medical treatment is lifelong administration of a thyroid hormone.
Patients diagnosed with Hashimoto’s complain that they are extremely fatigued, suffer from a cold body, many have chronic joint pain or inflammation; sometimes they even have numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. Some present with allergies to food such as wheat or airborne allergens. In my practice, it seems the severity of complicating symptoms exacerbate with age.
How Can Chinese Medicine Help You?
Chinese Medicine treats the root cause of disharmony in your body. During the first visit with your practitioner, she will take an extensive health history and use techniques called Tongue Diagnosis and Pulse Diagnosis. She will connect all of the information she has gathered into a “pattern differentiation”.
Basically, what that means is she finds your unique pattern of energetic disharmony and treats that instead of administering one cookbook treatment for every patient with the same disease.
It is said in Chinese Medicine, “Same Disease, Different Treatment. Different Disease, Same Treatment”. In other words, your treatment is based upon specific Chinese medical methodology to create an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Chinese Medicine works so effectively because your practitioner acknowledges that you are not merely your disease.
So unlike western medicine which gives all Hashimoto’s patients the same treatment, practitioners of Chinese medicine will design a unique Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture treatment protocol especially for you.
How Many Treatments Will You Need?
Treatments for auto-immune disorders are ongoing. At first you may go to your practitioner every week for about 3 months. Then you and your practitioner will decide the best treatment plan for you.
Auto-immune disorders are chronic; therefore, acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapies can be used to support your health and energy throughout your life especially in times of stress.
I teach my patients the self care techniques listed below so that we can create a healing partnership and so they can take care of themselves on a daily basis.
Call Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs in NYC for an appointment: 646-504-2251
Not in NYC? Schedule a Skype Wellness Consultation: 646-504-2251
Self-Care Techniques and Home Remedies For Patients with Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease:
Eat cooked leafy greens, black beans, yellow squash, meat and meat broths for blood vacuity. Patients with blood vacuity are often cold, experience fatigue, have dry skin, hair and nails and possible scant menstruation, skipped, late or missed periods.
Therefore blood supplementation is important for Hashimoto’s patients. Eat almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds and avocado for essential fatty acids which reduce joint inflammation and are shown to level out blood glucose levels. Avoid white refined flour and sugars. Eat whole grains and rice instead. Special attention should be paid to your Spleen Qi. The Spleen produces qi, blood and body fluids essential to health.
Take a complete whole foods based multi-vitamin daily and a Calcium- Magnesium blend the ratio of which should be two times the amount of Calcium to Magnesium. Choose the bio-avilable form of calcium; citrate or citrate/malate. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) found in fish oils especially Omega 3’s reduce joint inflammation. EFA’s can be found in flax seed oil, hemp seed oil and evening primrose oil, fatty fish oils, nuts, seeds and avocado. Vitamin D3 aids thyroid function. Selenium level are usually extremely low for patient with thyroid dysfunction yet it is important for thyroid health. Join our e-mail list to gain access to 15% all supplements via our online ordering system, wellevate, every time you order.
If you feel more energized after exercise keep it up, but if you feel drained try a different form of exercise which consume less energy like simply walking everyday. Exercise will help you feel warmer and reduces stress. Yoga, tai-chi and qi-gong build energy and help many people feel relaxed and centered. In the case of my 25 year old patient, she can work out several times a week, and feel energetic after. But when she stops her routine, fatigue worsens, and it is hard for her to get back into the routine because of the increased fatigue. So maintain a regular program even if that simply means you walk 20 minutes a day.
Keep your immune system strong by managing stress. Stress creates over-thinking and worry depleting the Spleen qi. The Spleen transforms and transports food energy into qi, blood and body fluids necessary for balance. Anger, resentment, unfulfilled desires and emotional depression can further stagnate Liver Qi energy. The Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of energy for the whole body so it is important to keep it healthy. Expressing feelings in discussions and in writing can be very helpful. Avoid people who usurp your energy. Strengthen your support system of friends and family. Avoid overworking.
Get enough sleep. Some people find that mediation or prayer is helpful or qi cultivation/relaxation exercises such as yoga, tai chi or qi gong. Seek professional care from a therapist or support group if needed. Make choices that nourish your spirit.
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. TCM offers herbs which help to warm the body, reduce or eliminate pain, and increase energy. Acupuncture treats pain, relaxes the mind and body and reduces stress.
Special Note: Women who take thyroid medication have a higher incidence of Osteoporosis. That is why it is very important for them to take a calcium supplement 500-1000 mg/daily along with a blend of co-factors that aid the absorption of calcium such as boron, K2, and Vitamin D3, eat lots of leafy green veggies and participate in weight bearing exercise regularly. In Chinese medicine it is the Kidney qi energy that nourishes the bones and marrow. So by eating well and exercising, you can supplement the Kidney energy. You can also supplement the Kidney qi with acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
Call Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs in NYC for an appointment: 646-504-2251 Not in NYC? Schedule a Skype Wellness Consultation: 646-504-2251
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs 32 Union Square East, Suite 615N New York, NY 10003 (646)-504-2251
Chinese herbal therapy has been used for nearly 3,000 years to treat fertility problems.
Modern day research statistics suggest that 35 to 40 percent of infertility problems are caused by male conditions, another 35 to 40 percent by female conditions, and the last 20 to 30 percent a combination of the two, plus a small percentage of unknown causes.1
Many approaches to treating infertility focus solely on the woman, wrongly assuming that female conditions are always the cause.
But these statistics make clear that in order to treat infertility; male conditions need to be explored.
If you have been trying to become pregnant without success for over one year, have both contributors to the baby -making process checked out by an MD to see how healthy things are overall.
I prefer to treat both contributors because Traditional Chinese Medicine does such a wonderful job at regulating, improving, and preparing the body for the pregnancy process for both the male and female.
Infertility can also create more stress in one’s partner’s life, and acupuncture and herbal therapy can help greatly with reducing that stresses to help better support the partner in treatment.
“Six months ago, after feeling uncharacteristically lethargic for several weeks, I was diagnosed by my physician with low testosterone. My doctor suggested that I try testosterone replacement, which was an unappealing option for me. Luckily, a Google search connected me to the acupuncture practice of Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist. Within one session I had a treatment plan that was tailored for me.
Juliette used a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, heat lamps and aromatherapy. We also discussed which foods, according Chinese medicine, that I needed to incorporate into my diet to would help my situation and nourish my energy. I felt that I was in caring hands. My energy level was back to normal in about three weeks. And when I got my lab results six months later they confirmed not only how I was feeling but that I had made a very good choice in turning to Juliette Aiyana for my care because the lab test proved that my testosterone levels rose”. -Male Patient
Common Causes of Male Factor Infertility
Sperm Count – How many sperm are in one’s ejaculate.
Sperm Motility – The ability of one’s sperm to move independently, swiftly, and in the correct direction.
Sperm Morphology – The shape and structure of the sperm.
Seminal Fluid – Mixes with the sperm before ejaculation. Pathologies include the volume of semen, pH of the semen, and fructose level of the semen that mixes with the sperm.
Traditional Chinese Medical Theory about Sperm & Male Fertility
In Chinese medicine theory, the sperm are pure essence (jing) of the male. A person (male or female) is born with their overall essence, or pre-heaven qi. This essence is stored in the kidney and is gradually used up throughout one’s life until it expires and life ends. One can protect his/her essence by eating when hungry, sleeping when tired, and acting moderately and appropriate in life.
In this way, one uses more of the qi of the outside world to live daily and therefore can preserve the essence. Essence is like your savings account; qi of the outside world is like your checking account. You use your checking account to pay most of your daily and monthly expenses and only tap into your savings account when the checking account balance is getting low.
When one is not eating healthily, not sleeping enough, or living to excess (drinking too much, having too much sex, etc.), the essence is tapped into and utilized for daily living, which could result in infertility and could shorten one’s life in the long run. Sexual regulation should change as one ages.
Overall, this reasoning applies directly to male infertility. In general, sperm is more viable for egg fertilization when a man ejaculates once every other day, rather than daily. Additionally, many other lifestyle attributes have been connected very closely to male fertility.A younger man can typically have sex and ejaculate without damaging jing more times in one week, than a man of older age. The older one gets, the more moderate and gentler one’s lifestyle should naturally become including the frequency of sexual activity which can tax one’s energy and tax the jing.
Lifestyle Tips to Increase Fertility
from the Mayo Clinic about how you can increase your chances of producing more viable sperm2:
Take a multivitamin. A daily multivitamin can help provide selenium, zinc and folic acid – trace nutrients that are important for optimal sperm production and function. A multivitamin also usually contains antioxidant vitamins such as C and E, which may help protect sperm from damage.
Reduce stress. Researchers are investigating whether stress might interfere with certain hormones needed to produce sperm. Stress can also impair sexual function.
Get regular exercise. Physical activity is good for reproductive health as well as your overall health. But don’t overdo it. Men who exercise to exhaustion show a temporary change in hormone levels and a drop in sperm quality.
Watch your weight. Too much or too little body fat may disrupt production of reproductive hormones, which can reduce your sperm count and increase your percentage of abnormal sperm. You’re most likely to produce lots of high-quality sperm if you maintain a healthy weight.
Watch out for toxins. Experts think certain workplace and household substances might have an effect on sperm quantity and quality. These include heavy metals, and pesticides and chemicals in solvents. When working with toxic substances, ensure proper ventilation, and wear protective clothing and face masks to reduce the risk of absorbing such toxins.
Quit using tobacco– smoked and smokeless. The sperm of men who smoke may be misshapen and may move more slowly than those of nonsmokers. Smoking can also damage your sperm’s DNA. Experts suspect such damage could even affect fetal growth and development and increase a child’s chance of having certain health problems, including cancer. And chewing tobacco isn’t safe either – it also may cause low sperm counts and damage. As if that weren’t enough, tobacco use can increase erectile dysfunction.
Limit or remove alcohol. Heavy drinking may reduce the quality and quantity of sperm. Limit alcohol to no more than one or two drinks a day. The combination of tobacco and alcohol is particularly harmful to male fertility. Research shows men who both smoke and drink alcohol have lower sperm counts and motility than do men with either habit alone.
Steer clear of recreational drugs. Marijuana can decrease sperm density and motility and increase the number of abnormal sperm. Cocaine, heroin and other opiates can contribute to erectile dysfunction, and amphetamines can decrease sex drive.
Skip the hot tub. To maximize the quality and quantity of your sperm, avoid hot tubs and baths. Spending more than 30 minutes in water 102 F (40 C) or above may lower your sperm count. Saunas and steam rooms may have a similar effect.
Avoid hormone havoc. Anabolic steroids, usually taken illegally, can shrink the testicles and drastically reduce fertility. Anti-androgens used to treat prostate enlargement and cancer interfere with sperm production. Testosterone supplements also decrease fertility.
Stay cool. Increased scrotal temperature can impair sperm production. Experts know that hot work environments, tight-fitting underwear (choose boxers instead of briefs!), prolonged sitting, and use of laptop computers placed on the lap can all increase scrotal temperature.
Avoid lubricants during sex. Personal lubricants, lotions, and even saliva can create a hostile environment for sperm and interfere with sperm motility . However, Emerita and PreSeed brands makes safer lubricants sold in most health food or online stores.
Experiencing Fertility Difficulty? Call us at 646-504-2251 to schedule an appointment.
Patterns of Energetic Disharmony
Typical patterns of male infertility generally fall into two broad categories: repletion and vacuity.
Repletion patterns usually manifest in younger males who have a taxing lifestyle. They can really respond well to lifestyle changes including herb therapy and acupuncture.
The vacuity patterns tend to show up in older males who have naturally used up more jing/essence because they have lived longer lives than the younger males.
This being said, there are repletion patterns that show up in older males and vacuity patterns that show up in younger males. Sometimes there is also a combination pattern of repletion and vacuity in the patient. Acupuncture treatments and herbal therapy are tailored and unique to each patient depending on the pattern present.
Treatment with Chinese Medicine & Research Studies
New sperm production in the testicles takes about 90 days.3 Then the sperm is ready to be utilized and is integrated into ejaculation. The sperm that have been affected by the TCM treatment of herbs and acupuncture will be ready to fertilize after a minimum of three months.
I present this information in order to stress that male patients need to be receiving acupuncture and be stringently compliant with herbal medicine for at least 3 continuous months.
In a recent study, a general improvement of sperm quality, specifically in the structural integrity of sperm, was seen after ongoing acupuncture treatments.4 In another controlled study, 16 infertile males were treated with acupuncture twice per week for five weeks. Compared to the control group, patients receiving acupuncture had increases in total functional sperm fraction, percentage of viability, total motile sperm per ejaculation, and overall integrity of the tail of the sperm.5
In these studies, acupuncture was received more than one time per week, and the use of herbs, which is used frequently in China to treat male infertility, was not analyzed or discussed. Herbal medicine can exponentially increase fertility in males. Acupuncture appointments will usually be one time per week for male infertility.
Herbs will be taken everyday as an ongoing treatment that the patient can utilize during the time between acupuncture treatments. It is like homework for the mind and body. The herbal formula is tailored to fit the different patterns that we talked about earlier of repletion and vacuity.
Diet analysis and modification is also extremely important because the food that you eat will help to treat the TCM pattern that is creating an infertile environment in the body. A balanced diet which focuses on eating a variety vegetables, can improve your sperm overall and increase your chances for conception.6
Other men’s health issues may coexist with infertility such as prostate enlargement, pelvic inflammatory disorder, impotence, etc. These issues will also be addressed using acupuncture and herbal therapy when we treat the infertility because the treatment goal is to create overall health to improve chances of conception.
Acupuncture and herbs can help you successfully achieve fertility and conception, call us now! Here’s to good health!
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs 32 Union Square eAst, Suite 615N New York, NY 10003 (646) 504.2251