I went on a Wilderness Quest recently. It included fasting and spending time solo on the mountains for four days and nights. (Click here for Part 1)
Fasting? Solo time on the mountains?
Was it hard? Yup! Did I want to give up? Well, Day 4 was a very long day. It snowed all day.
Dragon Boat Festival is an important festival celebrated by Chinese people around the world. This festival is also known as the Double Fifth Festival as it falls on the 5th day of the 5th month in the lunar calendar. This year it falls on May 30th.
I remember when I was growing up in Singapore, my mother and aunties would start to prepare for the festival a week in advance by making Sticky Rice Dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves.
Dragon Boat Festival
One of the best known legends regarding the Dragon Boat Festival is about the famous poet Qu Yuan.
I am going on a Wilderness Quest. Why? Because the forest and mountains call me.
When I first read about the wilderness quest, a twelve days retreat including four days and nights spent solo in nature, my heart said YES! so fast I did not have time to question it. The fear came later.
Spend time alone in nature? Solitude? Sleep under the stars? Sign me up!
I am going with a teacher whom I have a high regard for. I chose to go with her because she is one of the most organized person I know. I figured if I am going to spend four days in the wilderness by myself, with a tarp and a sleeping bag, and fasting, I want to go with someone I trust, is detail oriented, organized and really knows her stuff. Bonus: her cookies are awesome!
Once I said yes, the fear started creeping in.
Who am I kidding? 4 days in the wilderness on my own? (more…)
Tinnitus is a condition where you hear a high or low pitch sound in your ears. The sound can be a ringing, buzzing or whooshing sound and some people complain that it sounds like as if there is a cricket in their ears.
The sound can be constant or intermittent. At best, it does not affect your lifestyle but when it is severe, it can impeded your life as it can affect your hearing and might interrupt your sleep. Some of my patients have noticed that it is worse on cloudy days.
Many people suffer from tinnitus but do not seek help early. By the time patients come to see me, they have been suffering for years.
Tinnitus in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) (more…)
Imagine this, I am at my aunt’s home celebrating my grandmother’s 80th birthday. Everyone is in a joyous mood. We talked, we laughed and although we normally see each other at least once a month, we still have no idea what is really going on in each other’s lives except for our achievements. It is all surface talk.
In the Chinese culture, one does not talk about their emotions. We talk about work, children’s achievements, behaviors and good deeds. Individuality and personal characteristics are not discussed.
In many Chinese families, discussing your emotions is often considered irrelevant and meaningless. If you feel sad or angry, your parents will probably tell you to “buck up” and “don’t take things so personally.”
When you live a life where you are not free to openly express your emotions, it can lead to depression and anxiety. Depression can affect everyone from all walks of life, different cultural backgrounds and all ages.
We all experience changes in our mood. We can be energetic, irritable, sad or happy but for the most part, these moods do not last long and will not affect our daily lives. For people who suffer from severe mental conditions like severe depression or bi-polar disorder, they find it hard to go about their daily lives.
World Health Day is on April 7 this year and the focus is on depression. (more…)
Qingming festival, also known as “Chinese Tomb Sweeping Day” is the day where Chinese people go to grave sites, cemeteries or temples to pay respect to their ancestors. This year Qingming Festival falls on April 5th.
Growing up in Singapore, every year during Tomb Sweeping Day, our family would go to the cemetery and visit my ancestors’ tombs. We would sweep the area around the tombs, pull out weeds, clean the head stones and make offerings. Offerings included fruit, tea, paper money and paper goods. (See below)
However, in the early 1980s, due to the problem of land scarcity in Singapore, cemeteries were regarded as a waste of resources. By 1985, approximately 120,000 graves were exhumed and the corpses were cremated. Most of the ashes were placed in temples which allow one to go to the temple and honor their ancestors during Qingming Festival.
Qingming Festival 清明节
Lemon water in the morning? Put a whole bunch of kale, asparagus and turmeric in your smoothies? Cabbage soup? (Remember when that was the trend?)
I am often asked if a detox is a good idea. Many people want to do cleanse after overeating and drinking excess alcohol during the holidays or while on vacation.
Spring is the time for rebirth and renewal. While it is a good time to do a 7 or 10 days detox after a long winter, my belief is developing habits and choices that are healthy throughout the year is more beneficial for your body.
Spring and Liver in Chinese Medicine Theory
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, every organ has its season and the organ that is predominant in spring is Liver.
Liver in TCM
The liver helps to ensure the smooth flow of Qi in our body. When your liver is not functioning well, you can feel stagnated, angry, irritable and frustrated. When your liver is out of balance, your menstrual cycle can be irregular or painful. Hence developing healthy habits can have a positive impact on your liver health in the long term.
To learn more about the functions of the liver, check out this blog.
5 Tips To A Happy & Healthy Liver
Does any the following sound familiar during your period?
- Painful cramps
- Pelvic Pain
- You crave sugar and/or salt. Where’s the chocolate covered pretzel?
- You carry around the hot water bottle like it’s your best friend
- You are so tired you lie in bed all day watching Netflix
Many women suffer from painful periods and sometimes the pain can be so debilitating that they have to take days off work or school.
Many of my patients and friends suffer from painful periods yet they do not openly talk about it or seek help due to the stigma and taboo related to our menstrual cycles.
How well do you know your sister’s period? Do you share your cycle with your girlfriends? Which of your girlfriends have an IUD? Does the Diva Cup work for them?
In Chinese Medicine theory, gentle to moderate exercise can help to move stagnation and nourish your lungs. Since many dis-ease in our bodies is due to stagnation, exercise can help to reduce pain, aid in weight loss and improve your sleep.
Look for ways to be more active every day. For example, get off the bus a few stops earlier or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Remember to consult with your doctor before starting any strenuous exercise program.
Spring, the sun is shining, the weather is getting warmer, birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming. Then Aaaaachoo! Your eyes start to water, your noise is running and the back of your throat is so itchy you want to scratch at it but there’s no way to get to that sweet spot. Argh!
Personally, I start making funny throat noises to get to that spot and hubby gives me a look. Go ahead and laugh, but allergies sufferers can sympathize.
Allergic reaction in the spring is usually caused by pollen, trees, rag weeds or grasses. Many people take antihistamines but that can lead to dry mouth and other side effects.
7 Tips to Prepare for Allergy Season