We have been joined by Stacy Kluck, Licensed Acupuncturist who has just moved back to Iowa City from Chicago. She has been practicing there as well as teaching at the acupuncture school and acting as assistant dean of students. Stacy is really enthusiastic, loves Chinese medicine, is expert in herbology as well as the Five Phase approach to acupuncture, and is really brightening things up at the clinic. She has brought a whole new feel to the clinic and is stimulating everyone to think in new ways about our medicine and what we can do for people. It is great to have a young enthusiastic Chinese medicine fanatic among us, as well as such a hard working, generous spirit. We are looking forward to helping LOTS of people with our new team. Thanks Stacy
In the process of preparing my new clinic, I’ve been thinking a lot about Feng Shui. I’ve said before that the words mean wind and water. This morning we have the windows open, for the first time in several days, and I feel a nice breeze coming in. The air is slightly moist, but it feels good to hear birds singing and feel that gentle breeze.
Here is an example of wind and water at work, giving a positive, clean, refreshed feeling. This results in me feeling upbeat and hopeful, energized, and good about things. Ready to begin the day. The breeze (feng) and perfect moisture level of the air (shui) are presented in a perfect balance, so as to bring about a positive experience. The Qi flow around me enhances the Qi that I feel. Later today, the water level in the air may rise, leading to a less pleasant experience, and the breeze may decrease, making the feeling less pleasant and refreshing.
Then, I will improve the wind and water in my home by turning on the air conditioner, to reduce the moisture in the air to a comfortable level, to circulate the air, and to lower the temperature to a comfortable level. So wind and water will be managed in such a way to enhance the Qi of my home.
But did you ever notice that after a few days with the windows closed and a/c on, the air in the house gets sort of dead? The Qi is not good. There is not enough wind to make us feel good, even though the water level in the air is managed. So, running the blower fan on the a/c continuously can really help. Or opening the windows at night to let in some fresh air. Or just keeping fans going at low speeds all the time when the house is closed, as I do. Gotta have that wind for best Qi.
So the ideas of feng shui point to a set of conditions that make us feel certain ways. Our mind and body are programmed to respond to certain conditions with particular responses.
At the new clinic we have a set of feng shui problems that are nice examples of common obstructions to Qi flow and we will work to correct them. We have a persistent smell of ‘medical clinic’. And no air flow. The air has been sealed up in there for years since the last occupancy, so it is dead. And the smell of medical clinic never leads to a positive experience. Who likes the smell of a hospital? Reminds me of the smell of my aunt’s medical clinic when I was a kid. Very same disinfectant, I think. So the smell evokes memories, not pleasant. And this is not good for our Qi, and for the quality and flow of Qi in the clinic. So today we open the windows and get the fans going to clear out the dead air and bring in wonderful new air with its healthy Qi.
The second problem in the clinic is a degree of filth. There are dead bugs everywhere. Very bad Qi. Dead Qi, in fact. So we need to vacuum those. And the carpets are really dirty. So we remove the old icky ones and thoroughly clean the not so icky ones. Then we will install new flooring in a large area. This will help get rid of the bad Qi that is hanging around. Finally, we need to clean the bathrooms, shine mirrors, scrub sinks to impeccable cleanliness, and basically wash or paint every surface. I think the act of touching every surface, especially touching with water, is a really good way to refresh the Qi. Its like splashing your face with water when you get up. Refreshes in a very basic way. There is water again, where the shui (water) of feng shui points to the enhancing effect of proper use of water. Good Qi.
Yesterday we tested the air handling system at the clinic. We wanted to see how the air flow worked, how noisy the blower was, and how moving the air would change the feel of things. Yes, it helped. The blower is on the roof, so not too noisy, and the air flow is good in every room. So the feng (wind) part of feng shui is improved.
Finally, we will improve the Qi flow by painting a couple of accent walls in the appropriate colors to support the space, based on the colors indicated by the Ba Gua map of feng shui, and position furniture and artwork for best Qi flow. We may have to spend some time thinking about this, but it will be really helpful to the health and positive experience of our patients, and to the health and energy of the people that work in the clinic. We will use the feng shui map of the clinic to help us with the location of furniture, to choose function of rooms, and to correct anything that blocks the Qi flow through the clinic.
I always say that I paint the colors of the walls a color that vitalizes me because I am the one who has to be there the most. I know that the current decorating trend of using neutrals, gold tones with red and earth tones, and possibly olive green tones makes me feel pretty icky. I am definitely a winter in the old color-me-beautiful scheme. I look best in jewel tones and I feel best when looking at them. I don’t care that they are currenly not in fashion. (But thank goodness some magenta showed up on the racks this summer.) So I have a good idea already of what colors will energize me in the clinic.
After bringing home paint samples the other night, I did a test to see which exact off-white would be best for me. I had avoided choosing any that had a greenish, rustish, brownish, or greyish tinge, as I knew those would be bad for me. I stuck to ones that had a pink, cream, or peach tinge. Not blue, as I don’t want the clinic to be cold. But warm in a jewel tone way. So sitting with these color samples in front of me, I took them one by one and looked at the color. While looking, I turned my attention inward to see how my energy responded to the color. Looking at certain ones, I felt a gentle electric type of feeling in my hands and head, like I wanted to jump up and do something. Looking at others, I felt a bit tired, like I should lie down and rest. Interesting. I noted the energizing ones.
Then, just for kicks, I did the same exercise, but this time I looked at the backs of the samples. Color side down, I focused my intention on each card, one by one. This time I knew I would eliminate any pre-judgement I had about what I liked or what was best. Guess what. Yes, I chose the same samples. Now I have it down to two off-whites.
Now I don’t want anyone to accuse me of being crazy or psychic, but I do believe that we each have an electromagnetic field and that it is in contact with the fields of everything around us, and that since color has a bit to do with light, and since light is electromagnetic energy…..It is just a matter of being able to turn my attention to my inner experience to sense my response to a particular energy field. Maybe woo woo, maybe physics, maybe both. But certainly a fun experiment.
So, I have chosen my paint colors, and have a specific plan of what we need to do to prepare the new clinic. And the wind and water will work wonderfully to optimize the Qi of the clinic, and the Qi of everyone who passes through it.
I was reminded yesterday about the effects of the seasons on people’s disharmonies. In Asian medicine, the spring season is related to the organ called Liver and the element of Wood in the 5 Phase system. One of the symptoms of Liver disharmony is Wind, typified by spasms, quivering and shaking, or any symptom that comes and goes fairly frequently. We are seeing a lot more cases that we would call Wind in the clinic these days. They include upper back, shoulders, and neck spasms, headaches, muscle spasms of all kinds, and things like twitching eyelids. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a case of Bell’s Palsy.
It is so interesting to see, over and over, the insight and wisdom of the ancient Chinese. They observed the cycles of nature, the seasons, and the correlations in human health and disease.
Sometimes to patients, it might seem strange that we say, “you have Liver wind”, but in many ways, it makes sense.
The Liver gets into this state, often because it is not nourished by Blood and Yin, which are naturally depleted by the drying effects of winter, and the less than optimal nutrition of winter. Blood and Yin can be built by eating vegetables and fruits in season, they moisten and nourish. The Liver needs this moist nourishment in order to carry out it’s function of smoothly circulating the Qi. When it cannot smoothly circulate, we have the result of Wind, which demonstrated the lack of smoothness in the movement of Qi.
The flavor of Sour is related to Liver in Oriental Medicine. Sour things help the Liver more smoothly circulate Qi, because when it is running amok, the sour astringency pulls thing back in to order. We use peony root for this in herbal medicine, but things like citrus fruit and other tart fruits can also help this. So, isn’t it interesting that we are getting such a crop of citrus in the grocery stores right now. Take advantage of this.
The element of Wood in the 5 Phases makes sense related to springtime because, obviously, the trees and plants are coming back to life. The sap is rising in the trees. I saw tubes coming from Maple trees into buckets just yesterday in Amish country.
So, happy spring. And may your Liver smoothly circulate Qi.