“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” ~ Confucius
Reflection is the idea that an image or idea comes back to us, such as looking in a mirror, rethinking an event, or reviewing an idea. We have the opportunity to take a close view and to reconsider our original thinking.
The New Year is the perfect opportunity not only to reflect, but to use that knowledge as a direction for change. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help be a catalyst for the change you seek. Because TCM prevents illness, relieves stress, aches, and pains as well as improves energy, you find yourself in better balance. This calm and clarity strengthens you as start the New Year with new goals.
Mirror. Mirror on the Wall
Reflection has other connotations in TCM. We believe that outer appearances reflect inner health so a well trained practitioner of TCM will probably observe very different aspects of your appearance than you study when you look in the mirror.
In TCM, bodily observation includes looking at the face, eyes (do you have dark circles?), body type, demeanor, and tongue. Two thousand years ago, when Chinese Medicine was in its infancy, there were no x-ray machines or the very sophisticated MRIs (magnetic imaging) of today. These original healers and diagnosticians depended on their finely tuned observational skills in order to assess their patients. Some of those early ideas seem simplistic today but many elements of diagnosis persist because we do understand that that outer appearances can provide clues to a person’s health.
Being able to observe, reflect and respond are skills that serve us well. I remind myself of this several times a week as I work with my patients. I try to maintain an inner calm so that I can remain open to the body’s signals because these signs will provide warnings that allow me to notice and attend to problems before they get out of hand.
You can learn more about yourself and others using Chinese Medicine. One of the most intriguing areas of the body to study is the tongue. Read on…
Stick Out Your Tongue
Chinese medicine has used tongue diagnosis for thousands of years. An experienced practitioner can look at your tongue and begin to understand your internal problems but you can also be aware of information that your tongue provides. Look for changes in the color of your tongue, teeth marks, shape, and coating. These changes may indicate that something is amiss. A healthy tongue is naturally the same pink-red color as your lips. Someone who is very stressed or irritable may have a tongue with a red tip and sides. Teeth marks may indicate a deficiency or insomnia. Note any changes in shape (do you have a puffy tongue?) If it’s too pale, too puffy or too red it may indicate an imbalance. Healthy tongues have a thin white coating. If you see a thicker coating developing, you maybe catching a cold or flu. If the coating is yellowish the illness has a hotter nature and you could expect a cold accompanied by a sore throat and yellow phlegm. If the coating is thick and white, this indicates a cold with chills and clear/white phlegm but without a sore throat. So if you see a thick coat developing take precautions, sleep more, keep warm (consider wearing a scarf) and try taking some Echinacea or Astragalus to boost your immune system.
These are some fun an easy tips to try at home, in front of your own mirror. Of course, if any of these symptoms persist, check with a trained professional to understand them better.