Laura Reyda, LAC, LMT

Blog

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome

 

I'm going to try my hand at a blog to see how this goes. The purpose is to talk about ways that you can use traditional Chinese medicine ideas in your daily life.

 

I'll highlight my experiences here in Oneonta,New York and in the Peruvian Amazon to help you see how folk medicine, especially complex folk medicine systems such as traditional Chinese medicine have value in today's world.

By laurareyda24991908, Jan 24 2017 04:15PM

My daughter, Sonja and I went to the Women’s March on Washington DC this past weekend. Apart from the march being an empowering and amazing experience for all of us, my traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) mind kept going back to the idea of “Extreme Yin”.

Let’s unpack some traditional terms here to illustrate the oxymoron of “Extreme Yin”. In TCM theory, illness/ disharmony happen when there is an imbalance. An imbalance of what you say? An imbalance of yin and yang I say. Words like nurturing, cool, fluids, internal, night, darkness, female, and winter are yin in nature. The yin time is a time to be internal, a time to rejuvenate. Yang, the opposite of yin, is heat, external, male. The yang time is summer. It is a time to live externally. We as a culture reward yang behavior above all else. If you are too yin, you’re not getting enough done.

Now that we understand the terms yin and yang, there are a couple rules that apply to their theory.

1. Yin and Yang are interdependent. One cannot exist without the other.

2. When one reaches its fullest extent, it has nowhere to go but to turn into the other (notice the yin/yang symbol below). An example of this is the winter solstice. When we reach the shortest day of the year, the most yin day of the year, there is nowhere to go but to turn back into yang. The days get longer, and yang starts expressing itself.

This brings us to “Extreme Yin”, which at face value means that you are asleep. At the march however, the unashamed ferociousness of the rhetoric was empowering to many of us. It was taking a very yang stance on a very yin subject. After such a yang expression of our yin-ness (if that is even a word), there is nowhere else to go but to turn into yin again. In fact, my dear friend is hosting a post card party this weekend to start writing to congress to protect the ideals that we all stand for. This small gathering is the embodiment of the cycle returning to a more balanced state of yin and yang.

By guest, Jun 21 2016 06:37PM

Welcome to the first installment of my blog. I'm Laura Reyda, a licensed acupuncturist, a licensed massage therapist and a cofounder of Project Buena Vista, a nonprofit that promotes the conservation of the Peruvian Amazon. We achieve our mission, in part, by offering free acupuncture in the communities of the cultural zone of the Manu Biosphere Reserve.

I know that it sounds super random that we provide acupuncture in the Amazon a couple times a year and expect to have an impact on the communities. The truth is that like many similar projects, I had no idea how effective it would be. At the onset, you put yourself out there to do some good and realize that over time, your idea was actually a good one.

You may not realize it, but the words we use to describe our health vary vastly between cultures. One of the greatest joys of working in the US and in Peru is observing how people talk about their ailments. Americans tend to come from a biomedical perspective while Peruvians, particularly rural Peruvians, use more descriptive, folk terms, which to a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner makes perfect sense. The diagnostic model we use in traditional Chinese medicine uses more descriptive language.

To illustrate this point let’s think of a 50ish year old women. A Peruvian woman will say things like, “my palms are burning”, “the soles of me feet are burning”, and “my bones feel hot”. An American woman experiencing these same symptoms will say, “I have a hormonal imbalance”. Both are true but knowing that “steaming bone syndrome” is the diagnosis in traditional Chinese medicine. We choose points and herbal formulas that are known to treat “steaming bone”.

I urge you all to notice the words you use to talk about your health. You may just learn something about yourself.

Stay tuned…. Next time we’ll talk about why wearing a scarf is an excellent idea in the winter….the Peruvians agree.

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