The fires of health and disease

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As we watch the fires burning around the Northwest, we are concerned about the welfare of those close to the fires, and those exposed to the smoke. How hard it must be to lose your animals, your home, or your crops. It is a reminder that the forces of nature are still in control. Yes, the courageous men and women out there fighting the fires will eventually tame them. But nature, nonetheless, still rules. It is no different in our health.

Fires rage in our health on a regular basis. In traditional Chinese medicine, we look at things from a different perspective. "Fire" is a common condition in the body that we treat. There are eight principles in traditional Chinese medicine. When we look at health, we ask: Is the condition an interior, or exterior manifestation? Is it an excess/full condition or a deficient/empty condition? Is it yin (meaning in a nutshell quiet, downward, passive) or yang (active, upward and forceful)? And is it cold or hot? There are several "hot" or "fiery" conditions and subcategories as developed in traditional Chinese medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes heat as being either a deficient heat, or excess heat. A deficient heat condition is where the yin, the fluid, is dried up - such as dry mouth or throat, dry stools, scanty-dark urine, afternoon low grade fever or feeling too warm in the afternoons (not associated with being out in the hot sun). Mental restlessness and fidgeting and some anxiety fall into this category as well, although not as easy to explain. Excess heat may include high fever, sweating, thirst, skin conditions that are raised and red. Also any burning condition, whether it is in the bladder, stomach or anywhere else. Extreme mental restlessness is also considered a hot condition.

Other "hot" or "fiery" conditions in the body include: hot flashes, facial flushing, rheumatoid arthritis, and any other inflammatory condition, headaches - especially those that are pounding, sore throat, mouth ulcers, heart burn, even insomnia and extreme anger are considered hot conditions. Anything that appears red and "angry" or "fiery."

The nature of traditional Chinese medicine is simple: if it is hot, cool it down. If cold, warm it up. If excess, reduce it, or if a deficiency, build it up. Most conditions are combinations of the above eight principles. It can be deficient heat, internal cold, and many other combinations.

We do have some control over the forces of nature when it comes to our body. Any time we become excessive with anything, we can create an imbalance in the 8 areas. For instance, smoking and alcohol abuse can result in excess heat in the body. Chewing on ice, excess exposure to cold, eating too many raw or cold foods can create excess cold in the body.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. If you are experiencing any inflammation in your body, you have a hot and fiery condition. Traditional Chinese medicine has the tools to help. Using acupuncture, herbal remedies, and dietary modifications, we can help to quell the flames to enable you to enjoy life again!

Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with more than three decades of experience. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d'Alene clinic. Visit www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about her, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Carling can be reached at (208) 765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.

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