10 Takeaways from Class 4 of Ancient Wisdom Modern Health
I teach this class through Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Today I talked about the 8 Principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Herbal Medicine, Nasal Breathing, and Nitric Oxide.
1. Eight Principle Diagnosis is a fundamental way to diagnose and create a treatment plan in Chinese medicine.
In general it goes: yin/yang, 8 principles, meridian theory, then five elements. Eight principles means differentiating whether a condition is interior or exterior, excess or deficiency, hot or cold, yin or yang.
2. Using pulse and tongue to diagnose are keys to getting the diagnosis and treatment plan correct.
What people tell us is important, but the pulse and tongue are a window into what is going on in the body, and can tell us more honestly and directly.
3. It's important to get the 8 principle diagnosis correct, especially when treating with herbal medicine.
Unless someone uses very aggressive needling techniques, it is nearly impossible to injure someone's health with acupuncture. Acupuncture relaxes and stimulates the body, and the body takes over to do what it needs to do to heal. With herbal medicine however, you are introducing substances which have strong actions on the body, and if the diagnosis is incorrect, you will choose the wrong herbs and potentially injure someone's health.
4. Chinese herbs are usually given as formulas rather than as single herbs.
This is the opposite of western botanical medicine, where we like to give one herb at a time.
5. Chinese herbal formulas are works of art, or meticulously engineered scientific strokes of genius.
Classic herbal formulas are thousands of years old, and the herbs are chosen to work together to boost effects, mitigate side effects, direct the formula, and so much more. The more you study a formula, the more incredible and awe inspiring it is. The way the herbs all work together are genius.
6. Nasal breathing is important to health.
7. The organ for breathing is the nose, not the mouth.
The ancients knew this: the nose is part of the lungs/metal organ system, and the mouth is related to digestion/earth, not breathing.
8. Nitric Oxide is a chemical compound important to our health. It is made by our body/endothelial cells, but can also be created when we eat certain foods, like green vegetables.
Our nasal cavity is lined with endothelial tissue and makes nitric oxide. Green vegetables contain nitrates which when mixed with saliva break down to nitrites and then break down further into nitric oxide during digestion.
9. Nitric Oxide kills viruses, bacteria and other pathogens, including coronaviruses, which enter through our nose and into our lungs.
There are studies at Mass General and Ohio State where people are given 30 minutes of breathing with nitric oxide three times a day to treat COVID. Nitric Oxide is also the body's strongest vasodilator and dilates blood vessels and is excellent for heart health.
10. Nitric Oxide is increased when we breathe with our nose rather than our mouth.
...and when we do a humming breath - breathing in and out through our nose, and humming on the exhale, our nasal cavities vibrate and the amount of nitric oxide we create increases by 15 - 20 fold.