Diet: is it really that important?

How important is it to have the right food on your plate?
A holistic diet -according to Chinese Medicine- is just as much about how you eat, as it is about what you consume.

I usually see a divide amongst my friends and clients when it comes to diet and food.

Some people just eat for the joy of it, not caring much about if they eat a lot of carbs or meat. Whilst other people can be “almost” obsessive about what they eat. May that be superfoods, very specific vegetables and meat, etc.

So what is the correct attitude to diet?

Well, I of course could not give a simple answer to such an important question. Especially as I am not a dietician.
However when it comes to Chinese medicine, we always strife for balance.
Walking the middle path.

Sure, it is important to have a varied diet -according to both food energetics, colours, food groups- but I find it much more important to look at how people eat and digest.

In my experience, our mental health and eating habits combined has a much stronger effect on our digestion and general health than the types of food we eat. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that we should all eat white bread, milk and sugar 3 times a day. I am referring to the fact that if you have a varied intake of vegetables, fruits and meats/nuts, you should not worry too much about whether it is organic or not, or how many superfoods and brown rice you include in your diet.

What is important then?

1. Structure and rythm
It is generally important to follow a rythm in our daily life. Structuring our days around our meals and sleep can provide with a healthy l. So we priorities ourselves, our nourishment amongst other responsibilities.

2. Rest
Taking breaks between meals (3-4 hours) gives our digestive system a rest, as opposed to continuous snacking which will overwork our Spleen and Stomach.

3. Focus /mindfulness
Eating should be about the food and our nourishment. The taste, texture, colour, smell of our food should be in the focus of our mind when we eat. Not TV, Netflix, news, daily tasks or plans for the week.
Let’s do ourselves a favour and eat mindfully. Just when we decide on the food we eat, we should apply the same mindfulness during our time of nourishment.

4. 2/3
There is a Chinese saying that you should only fill your belly 2/3 of the way, so there is space for Qi to do the digestion.
Overeating is overtaxing on our digestive system. Finding the correct amount of food that does not leave us hungry, but also doesn’t makes us sleepy is essential.

5. Fluids
It is important to drink plenty of fluids during the day, however it is best to avoid drinking with our meal. If you have a weak digestion, you may find it beneficial to drink digestives 20 minutes prior to your meals. Or if your meal seems to settle in heavy (lots of fats/oils) you may find drinking a (half) shot of clear spirit (I recommend Bison vodka for flavour 😛) also very beneficial.
On a different note. There seem to be a misconception about the amount of fluid we all need to drink. Generally speaking of we want to hydrate ourselves we have to include fluid-ful vegetables in our diet. Soups, curries, tomatoes, courgettes, etc.

6. 100 steps
Digestion does not stop when we finish eating. On the contrary. It’s fairly important that we rest after a meal for about half an hour. The Chinese has been recommending 100 slow steps after eating. As (slow) walking aids the intestinal movements (peristalsis) and thus digestion.

7. Avoid going to bed on a full stomach
Simple as that, we should not be wasting our energy on digestion whilst we are sleeping. More over, it is most beneficial to have a bigger gap (intermittent fasting) in our day when our digestive system is to rest.

8. Anxiety = IBS
Last but not least, looking after our mental health is perhaps the most important of tasks that we need in order to have a healthy digestion. I’ll talk about this more in detail another time.

So these are only a few points that are in my opinion are just as (if not more) important than the quality of the food we eat.

Thus if you are suffering with any digestive issues, you may find it beneficial to go through this list before you start cutting out your favourite foods.

Of course Acupuncture is an amazing tool to help/reset the digestive system. So if you feel you need some additional support in that regard, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Happy Eating!

Nerve pain and acupuncture

Feeling nervy?
Acupuncture could be your friend to ease nerve pain.

I have been having an interesting week at my clinics so far. I have had not one but 2 clients coming with nerve issues.
It is fairly difficult to rate different kinds of pains, but I think nerve induced pain would be somewhere at the top.

Sometimes it takes years of wear and tear in the skeletal body/spine to develop damage to the nerves. However sometimes a simple “wrong” move can lead to shooting pain down the leg = sciatica.

Does it hurt? Do not live with unnecessary pain!

As a general advice it is best to go and see your GP when you first develop sensations similar to sciatica. Especially if they are combined with sudden change to your bowel and bladder control.

In Chinese medicine we not only work with the allopathic understanding of nerve pathways and pathophysiology (sports medicine) but we are also looking at the affected pathways through a different lens. Which we call sinew pathways or Jing Jin (widely used in Tuina massage).

A combination of medical massage and acupuncture is an excellent way to reduce the inflammation and thus the pain associated with disorders such as sciatica. Although it may take 4-8 sessions to fully control/minimise the pain. It works best if you see a therapist as soon as you can.

In terms of pain management, the best thing you can do yourself is to rest it, do some self-massage and passive movements. But rest is your top priority in order to let the inflammation around the nerves dissipate.

There are two additional treatment modalities which are very effective for treating stubborn nerve induced pain.

They are electro-acupuncture (which is much less scary than it sounds:) and bleeding therapy.

I will talk more about both therapies later on. However in general bleeding for such cases are used at the top of toes to release the sinew pathways, especially in case if the character of the pain is stabbing.

Luckily Chinese Medicine is so rich in options, that you will have the liberty to choose the treatment modailities that you are most comfortable with.

Feel free to get in touch if you are experiencing any back pain that may possibly be radiating down your limbs.

Muscle pain or Emotional Armouring

It is now becoming a mainstream concept that our psyche has a direct effect on our bodies (soma) and vica versa. However, most people still miss the chance to realise the ’cause and effect’ relation between their bodily suffering and their mental state.

Often when we feel vulnerable with slow self-esteem our posture collapses, our shoulders become rounded and our breathing turns shallow.
Likewise, when we feel stressed (threatened) our body naturally prepares for battle and starts using our muscular system as armoring. Unfortunately, our nervous system cannot make a differentiation between psycho-emotional and physical threats.
Whilst it is natural and necessary to experience stress, unfortunately, a lot of us (if not most of us) get trapped in a cycle of constant stress.

Phot depicting an anxous state. Asian male holding his head with finger tips.

Whether that will manifest as a hyperactivated or “frozen” state of our nervous system, it will also directly affect our musculoskeletal system. Which in return leads to misalignment, shortened and inactivated muscles.
Thus prolonged emotions often lead to muscle pain. In worse cases, to chronic debilitating pain.

Our body is a feedback system that is constantly telling us how we feel and where we need adjustment. It is our choice wether to listen or not.
In any case our choices will lead to consequences.

There are at least 71 channels or pathways used in Chinese Medicine.
They all have different purpose and effect when accessed during an Acupuncture session.
However there are 12 sinew channels -encompassing all muscles, tendons, ligaments- that a Tuina Massage therapist works with predominantly.

In terms of Chinese Medicine, people experiencing high amount of stress and anxiety usually leads to the qi (vital energy) to be trapped in the upper part of the body.
You don’t even have to imagine it. Just pay attention to your body when this happens. You will feel as you cannot breath deep into your abdomen, you chest might feel a bit heavy and constricted. Your shoulder (especially your trapezius muscle) will tighten and raise your shoulder. You might even feel tension in your neck as in something is pulling on it -from around a place between your scapula.

This is a basic explanation of when certain Sinew channel pathways become tense and constricted. The real problem is however, when these muscles groups are shortened for a prolonged time, as they will literally start building up armour -especially around the shoulder- that will feel like wood or concrete. Thus ’emotional armouring’.

Photo showing the use of cupping for back pain
Cuping therapy for backpain

There are many ways to reverse this process, however it will always require consistency and investment.
Wether you go for massages regularly, be seen by an osteopath or attend yoga classes. Real, long lasting change will only happen if you bild awareness in your body.
You will need to leave behind aggravating habits and pick up new ones that help to release this armour causing you muscle pain.

That is why Qigong and Tai Chi classes are excellent. Because you not only learn exercises to help and relax both your body and mind. But you also build -over time- deep awareness in your body and your life.

Write me a few lines if you feel the need to work on those stressed out muscles.
Or perhaps if you are interested in joining one of these classes.

Tai Chi, Qigong and Movement Medicine

Movement Medicine is a term currently used for modern practices of dance (5Rythms and such) originating from Shamanic traditions. These are excellent practices to wake up the body and release stagnant energy/qi. I love them for the purpose of self-expression, however they can often be too stimulating and tiring. Hence why I tend to recommend people Qigong and Tai Chi classes.

I love the sound of Movement Medicine as I think it fits perfectly the East Asians traditions that are widely practiced throughout the world today.

Wudang Tai chi and Qigong Seminar 2022 in Hungary
with Daoist Master Zhou Xuan Yun and
Certified Instructors: Anita Eredics and Kristof Eredics
Wudang Tai chi and Qigong Seminar 2022 in Hungary
with Daoist Master Zhou Xuan Yun and
Certified Instructors: Anita Eredics and Kristof Eredics

Qigong, more than slow movements

Qigong (or Daoyin, the term used before the 1940s) is an umbrella term for a wide range of exercises dating back to as far as 5000 years. These are also from East Asian Shamanic traditions and they have been widely used for healing, wellbeing, and self-nourishing (Yangsheng) as well as serving a foundation to internal martial arts (Neidan).

It is a widely known concept of Chinese Medicine that, Qi must move freely in the body in order to maintain good health (originating from the Huang Di Nei Jing).

Now presuming that you may not be familiar with the term qi, we can substituate the word for blood, air, lymph fluids, bioelectric signals and such. Whatever term we use, it will fit the concept. The body needs to have a continous, smooth flow of movement in order to function to its best.

Qigong practice does exactly this. We move in certain ways that has specific beneficial effects on the body. That is medicine.
There is a reason why Qigong is considered one of the four pillars of Chinese Medicine.

We warm up the surface of the body, so the muscles loosen. We stretch and gently engage muscle gorups (sinew channels) in order to open them and creat space for Qi (or any substitute term) to flow freely.
Of course the topic of Qigong is very deep. Nowadays there are as many schools as there are Qigong sets. The most important thing for you (and me) is to practice. To healthily engage in our body. And do so frequently and consistently.

Dao Yin silk painting found in 143 BC. Illustrates people practicing Qigong
Dao Yin silk painting found in 143 BC. Illustrates people practicing Qigong.

Tai Chi Chuan, an internal martial art

Tai Chi is an internal martial art (Neidan) that is about 2500 years old. There are many disagreements about its origins, however my teachers are part of the 25th generation of Wudang Long Men lineage.

Tai chi – similar to Qigong- is mostly practiced for its healkth benefits today. However it is a martial art, and it has been taught as part of the Wudang Arts curriculum as such.
The style that I practice and teach is based on sets of forms that encompasses both martial applications, health benefits and breathwork.

It is a beautiful art that has many layers and an ever-increasing depth, the more we learn.
Usually we practice 28 or 108 step empty handed forms (Tai Chi Chuan). Naturally there are many more beautiful forms (including Straigth Sword, Saber, Fan) that are yet to be learned.

It is usually necessary to practice Qigong prior to Tai Chi, in order for our body to be able to truly engage in the practice. To be present instead of fixating different sensations of pain and discomfort. Both practices can be mildly challanging, however in both cases we are aiming to develop a sense of ‘Active Relaxation’ (Song) in the body. Which is the prerequisit of deeper practices (Neigong).

Practicing movement medicine of any sorts is an investment in our health and spiritual development (if that is in our interest). These arts need to practiced and the real pearls or insight can only be gained from our own experiences.

Qigong and Tai Chi classes in Crystal Palace

I will not teach you how to be your best self. All I can give you are exercises that help you reflect. That show you areas that need improvement and areas that need recongition.
Nonethless, your health will benefit from these practices for sure.

Advert for Qigon and Tai Chi classes running in Crystal Palace

In order to see more information about our ongoing classes, click here.
Feel free to email me, or reach out in other ways if you have any questions.


Change is not only inevitable but also necessary.
Looking at the world, at our own lives or the lives of those less fortunate.. It is very easy to recognize that nothing is constant in this life. The more we attach ourselves or even chain ourselves to that we percieve as stable and constant, the more we suffer -may that be the state of a country, our home, our relationships.

Do not get me wrong. It is essential to live life in a community. To keep strong bonds with each other. To rely on each other. However, these conections need to stay alive!
We need to treasure and maintain these relationships whilst also recognizing when they do not serve us anymore. When it is time to move on.

I will not talk much about Ukrain, as I do not intend to use the subject for my benefit.
That said, Ukrainians had no choice to say no to change. Many fled the country. Their livelyhood is depending on how well they can handle change. How much they are open to welcome it.
The same way the people who are less affected by the war should keep an open mind to receive change in their life. To reach out and do whatever they can to help those suffering.

Change and Chinese Medicine

Life is like water. It is always flowing. We may find ourselves near lakes -abundance-, however even a lake goes muddy if it has no way of movement. To refresh itself. To change bit by bit. To adapt. Health is the very same. Chinese Medicine is based on this very “simple” notion.

Our attitude towards life has to be aligned to the nature of the Dao (the way).
If it is not, we will be harmed. Or the least we will find ourselves struggling even more.

Weather you welcome change in the way you are thinking, the way you are moving or the way you are eating. It will benefit you. It will benefit us all.

My wish for today:
May we all be open to change. May we support all of those struggling with change.

Change can be difficult. Acupuncture has been proven to be an excellent tool to help you process and make changes in terms of your health and lifestyle.
Feel free to reach out today if you have any questions!

Diet: Breakfast

What do you eat for breakfast? and what does Chinese Medicine has to say about it?

I often ask my patients this question. Why is that important -you may ask?

Because according to Chinese medicine our qi/energy derives from the food that we eat and the air we breath.

A bowl of porridge, a cup of coffee and a round object with the chinese organ clock

It is our Spleen, (Pancreas) and Stomach that is responsible to transform the food into qi which is then readily distributed in the body to nourish us from inside out.

Moreover the Stomach is most abundant in qi between 7 and 9 am. Hence why it is so vital to have a generous, healthy breakfast to prepare our energy reserves for the day.
“So when you say healthy, what do you exactly mean?”
There are no fast and hard rules in CM. Health is personal, therefore if you have issues with your digestive system you should contact a professional may that be your GP or your acupuncturist (depending on the severity).
However there are general recommendations which you may take to heart. Here is one for today.

#Eat warm meals. Especially for breakfast.
Let me tell you a short anecdote -which I am sure has been passed down for centuries- from one of my teachers.

During the night our body is in a yin state and our digestive system is resting. When the morning comes we wake up, crawl (or jump – for those morning people) out of bed and just like our body, our digestive system is slowly becoming more active/Yang hence we feel hungry.

Imagine the stomach as a campfire. When you first lit it -in the morning- it has only tiny flames. Now what happens if you throw cold water on it? It goes out. But if you feed it with -nutritious warm food- wood, it will bring warmth and light.

In a more everyday analogy if you try make a soup with icy water it will take much longer than if you used hot water.

The same goes for your stomach. If you start the morning with cold water, smoothies, sandwiches, salads it will have a more difficult job at transforming that food into energy/qi for you.
“What should I eat then?”
Warm cooked food if possible.
Such as porridge, soup, or a quick stir fry.

Especially having some ginger/cinnamon in your breakfast or tea will help to warm you up in the winter times.

Even with the best diet, you may be experiencing digestive issues.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions on the matter.

Tea for your Body and Soul. Fluid Health.

A dear friend of mine gave me this beautiful puerh tea, which was grown and prepeared in China. A real treat for your health!

Did you know that tea is (one of the) healthiest drink most-consumed worldwide?

A Chinese proverb says:
“Better to be deprived of food for three days than tea for one.”
(Deadman, 2016)

Photo of a box of Puerh tea. From China.

They have been traditionally used to aid concentration, restore energy, help the digestion and benefit the spirit (alleviating depression and anxiety). Modern researches show that it benefits*:
+The heart/blood pressure
+Reduces inflammation (antioxidants)
+Improves mental awareness
+Reduce symptoms of depression
+Protect the brain against Alzheimer’s and dementia
+Reduce risks of developing cancer

Puerh is my special favourite of teas. It is type of tea which is fermented -by placing it in the ground to age for years- hence why it is said to nourish the essence (Jing). In general it benefits the Kidney and Spleen and has a gentle warming effect which is perfect for the cold months of winter and early autumn.

What is your favourite tea?
I always welcome suggestions -big fan of tea preparation.

#weekendvibes *

(US Department of Agriculture Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea & Human Health, 2012;
journal of Chinese Medicine, Tea health research, 2015)

Feel free to get in touch if you are also a lover of tea. I would be very happy to set up a community eventy for tea tasting :).

Winter according to Chinese Medicine

Winter in Chinese Medicine is the season of rest and nourishment.

Although it is well past the holiday season, we shouldn’t forget that it is still winter.
The season of rest, replenishment and preparation for the wakening energies of the spring.

According to the classics we shall not exert ourselves during this time. As most part of nature goes to sleep, our qi -would- also naturally sink deeper in our body to nourish our organs, with special regards to the Kidneys.

I have seen so many of my patients complain about feeling tired or not having enough energy to do everything they desire to.

I believe a lot of people lost -some of- their connection to their bodies. Even though they hear it’s “voice” through aches and complaints, they forgot to truly listen to it.

It is time for preservation. Avoid heinous exercises, working too much -or long hours without adequate breaks. Calm the mind and focus it on the present moment.

Instead of asking: what can I achieve here and now? Try asking yourself, what should I really focus on at this moment?

According to Chinese Medicine, winter is the best time to simply focus on yourself.
Find a way to reconnect to the self. Nourish your body and soul so you too may find Harmony Within.

And if you feel like you need some help, do not hesitate to reach out via email or a free discovery call.
Chinese philosophy and medicine offers wondrous ways of establishing harmony and health in your life.

Beautiful photo by Pinter-Bodi Beata.

Diet: Dampness

Is diet just about what you eat?

Sluggishness (especially) in the mornings;
Heaviness of body and mind;
Loose, sticky stools;
Weight gain.

These are only a few symptoms of Dampness in the body.

Damp.. what?

Imagine a clear beautiful river  gracefully flowing through a forest. Now what if this river is being filled with debrish? It slowly becomes cloggy and turn into dirty mud.

The most common cause for this muddiness to develop in the body is improper DIET.

Excessive intake of fried, greasy, raw food; as well as alcohol, sugar, dairy, and even meat may result in the symptoms described above.

However before removing unhealthy, overly processed foods from the diet, it’s important to intorduce new, appropriate foods in your diet.

On the picture you may see a simple stir-fry dish, perfect for lunch or even breakfast -accompanied by some soup or tea.

Bitter and slightly pungent/aromatic food  like kohlrabi and romain lettuce are excellent at transforming congealed body fluids.

Add some radish and leeks in order to strengthen the Lungs (Metal/Autumn) and clear any damp/phlegm that may reside there.

Kidney -especially Aduki- beans are great source of protein in this case. Complementing the dish I also used garlic, thyme and parsley to help clear excessive mucus.

To make this dish more seasonal, add some water and cook it on low heat. In order to introduce the sour balancing flavour of autumn (Metal) you may finish your dishes by  squeezing some lemon/lime juice over them.

Making small changes in the diet is an excellent tool for becoming more healthy over time. However if an already developed illness (or any of the symptoms above) are present, acupuncture treatment may be especially beneficial in order to address those issues.

Please note that we always advise patients to see a professional Acupuncturist in order to determine the accurate diagnoses, which allows us to make personalised recommendations.

For any seriously health concerns please see your GP.

#diet #damp #acupuncture #bloated #sluggish #autumn