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cardiovascular system

“Is health really all about the abdomen? The way my doctor talks, and you know… the main reason I got into all this mess… was ma’ ticker,” Arty knocked on his chest.Emily smiled, “Well your doctor isn’t wrong. The lungs and heart are pretty much – outside of the Brain – the most important organs of the body. They are the “Is health really all about the abdomen? The way my doctor talks, and you know… the main reason I got into all this mess… was ma’ ticker,” Arty knocked on his chest.

Emily smiled, “Well your doctor isn’t wrong. The lungs and heart are pretty much – outside of the Brain – the most important organs of the body. They are the greatest part of production and movement of your Sources of Qi. In TCM, blood is one of the four great substances, along with Qi. Also the Lungs control Qi and ‘face the hundred vessels,’ which means that they control how your blood gets oxygenated and how healthy it is.  Believe it or not… before you had a middle of the body problem, perhaps at youth even, the root of all your health problems is that you do not breathe correctly.”
Arty looked surprised.
“Stand up,” Emily commanded, “and lift your shirt, and take a deep breath.”
Arty did as he was instructed, and not surprisingly, his in-breath was rather short, taking only about 1.5 seconds.
“As I thought,” Emily shook her head, “Your abdomen did not even move.”
Sclerosa frowned, “Should it?”
“Yes. You have three main levels of breathing, as well as 3 sub-levels. Arty is only breathing into the 1st, easiest level. What happens when you shallow breathe is that you put your body into a state of acidosis which is the same stress state you go into as Fight or Flight. This means your Sympathetic Nervous System will engage, and that will increase your blood pressure. So you see, very directly, your lungs face the vessels.
“Furthermore, when the diaphragm isn’t engaged to the 2nd level enough, it eventually locks. At which point your abdomen starts to back up, and fat/damp accumulate. Then eventually the diaphragm cannot expand as normal. That means you cannot easily disengage the SNS. If you cannot disengage the SNS, then your blood pressure stays higher than normal, and the Heart Disease process starts
“So you see, it’s important to breathe correctly, or at least try several times a day. The best way to get good at this is via breathing meditation (Qi gong) or Taijiquan (Tai Chi) or some yoga.”

Heart Health

“Speaking of yoga, what kind would you most recommend?”
“That totally depends on the heart health of the person. For the most part, older, and weaker individuals should avoid hot yoga types (Hatha, Bikram, Kundalini) and stick to cooler, longer more stretching types.”
“But isn’t cardio-exercise good for your heart?” Sclerosa asked.
“Do you feel good or healthy after doing it?”
“Well me… no… I feel like I’m about to die.”
“And I,” said Arty, “always feel like I hafta throw-up!”
“Well that is because of the blockage in your middle jiao. But no… that is not the same thing. All the west has used an old, out-dated study to conclude that cardiovascular exercise causes heart health. But actually, it is just a correlate that people who exercise tend to be healthier. Plenty of people who run all the time have both high cholesterol and heart attacks.”

“Sure. Think about something. Your heart beats every second of every day. Some people twice every second. What other muscle in your body gets such a workout? Not even your tongue. The heart works out all day long, even in your sleep. It doesn’t get weak in 99.9% of people. If anything, working it out too much can cause problems. We call it Heart Qi deficiency, where it’s worked out so much that it starts missing beats. I myself had such a situation when I was working out 6 times a week, 3 hours a day… at age 24. Real heart health comes from breathing correctly, and staying active so that your Qi moves daily or at least regularly. And from nourishing your Blood.”


Blood Health


“How do we nourish the Blood?”

“The most important thing to remember is that the Blood is like a person. It needs all sorts of nutrients, it must stay hydrated, and it must move. You don’t have to move it a ton all at once, you can just keep it active. And to eat plenty of nutrients, you can simply eat a well balanced diet of multiple colors, types of foods, flavors, and of course real and whole foods.”
“What about meat? I’ve heard that all the cholesterol will increase our risk of heart attack,” Sclerosa asked.

“Actually, all of your cells are surrounded by cholesterol. You need both sugar and fat to live. Your nervous system and muscles simply must have these. You need, however, natural oils. Not fried foods saturated in trans-fats. Not things high in triglycerides, but things that are soft, squishy,

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and wet. Most of your water needs to be absorbed through your food. If you try to drink water more because you’re dry (hair, mouth, skin, and nails) you’ll simply force your kidneys to work too hard. Instead, absorb water through your intestines from your food. Meat has water, and all the necessary proteins to build Blood. Can you use nuts, beans, and legumes alone? Some people can, but others cannot. All the longevity cultures of the world have some amount of meat-protein in their traditional diets. Just not the majority.”

“Can I reverse my varicosities?” Sclerosa asked.
“Possibly. But you have to start with the principles, and keep moving Qi. When you move Qi, you start healing processes, and if later on your body is reversed back to a state of equilibrium  then it will start fixing the veins next.”

Asthma and Allergies

“One thing that really keeps me from hiking and enjoying gardening and other things like that,” Arty said, “is my sinuses. They just kill me. When I was a kid I had asthma, but I outgrew it when I was an athlete in high school. But these days, it seems like everything sets off my allergies. Then I get infected, and bronchitis. A couple times I’ve had to get antibiotics. The coughing was so bad, but the phlegm just wouldn’t come out.”
Emily nodded. “Once you’re in the situation, you have to do whatever you can to get out of it. But right now, while you’re not sick is the time to be building the Lung and Defense Qi. The main problem may come down to your Liver overacting on the Lungs. When you undo this process, then the lungs themselves can heal and the Qi is stronger, you won’t have all the allergies. It takes time, perhaps years even, to undo allergies, so try not to get frustrated by the process. Astragalus, Ginseng, Ginger, Atractylodis, and Poria will be in your formula for recovering your Qi.”

What else for the Upper Jiao’s health?

“Should I do anything else to remain healthy?”
“Aside from eating right, drinking plenty of fluids, breathing right, and staying active?” Emily smiled.
Arty smiled too.
“Yes, there is more, but talking about social, financial, and spiritual health may be a bit beyond our scope. However, wait a moment and we will get to Mental Health in full. I just want to say right now that sometimes people have depression because the Blood is not moving, or have anxiety not because of something wrong with their mind or brain, but because they have Heat in the cardiovascular system. Most often this heat comes from the stomach and liver. But lung or heart heat will often lead to anxiety, nervousness, and more. In fact, deficiency of the Kidney often equates weakness of the same hormones that are responsible for ‘grasping the Qi’ of the heart and lungs, meaning regulate the blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate. When this happens, the body itself has anxiety and this fight or flight state in the body reflects upwards in the nervous system to the brain.”
“Is this the cause of my depression and anxiety?”
“Probably. And although I cannot tell you to come off of your drugs right away, there may come a day, if you’re diligent, and work at it, when you can regulate your own Qi and reverse everything. Then you and your doctors will be able to eliminate your use of drugs one by one.”
“Well the fewer drugs, the fewer side effects and then the fewer drugs I need!” 
“Yes, exactly. Absolutely. Sometimes you cannot get rid of all of them. But you can definitely get rid of half or more. And for sure, before you start taking anything Over the Counter, run your current med list through the drug-interaction checker to make sure you are safe to use that medicine, even if it is a vitamin or supplement.”

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