How to Eat for Winter!

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You might know all about healthy eating, but did you know what’s deemed as ‘healthy’ changes from season to season according to Chinese medicine? 

And that eating what would be considered good for your constitution in summer might actually be thought of as the opposite in winter? When the weather is cold, like during a British winter, we need to be eating thermogenic foods to keep our systems running properly. “All bodily processes are warm, so most of us need warming foods in winter to maintain healthy organ function and overall wellbeing.

In TCM, the spleen and stomach are seen as the central organs of digestion. They control the break down of food and assist the absorption of elements that nourish organs and tissues to increase energy (qi) and blood in the body. The spleen and stomach also belong to the earth element, the mother element of all organs. The earth element needs to feed all other elements (wood, fire, metal and water) in your body and their organs pairs which means a strong, healthy digestion leads to a healthy body.”

The concept of digestive fire in Chinese medicine is central to good health, and it’s important to keep the fire ‘stoked’ and not do anything which depletes it. When we don’t eat warm food and consistently eat cold or raw foods it can deplete this system. Our stomach works best at approximately 37 ̊C, so if we consistently put cold foods and fluids in, our digestion is working hard all the time. “That might be OK for some time if an individual has an excess of heat, or a stronger digestion. But if your body constitution has an excess of cold, the spleen won’t be able to do its job, your energy and blood production will be compromised and this will result in a lack of energy, tiredness and blood deficiency symptoms such as insomnia, loss of appetite, irregular periods, fatigue, anxiety and more.

This winter, keep your digestive fire stoked with these thermogenic foods:

GINGER

In TCM ginger is the number one food used to help with stomach discomfort and food allergies. This is because fresh ginger warms your stomach energy, while rebalancing lung and immune function. Its yellow colour corresponds to the earth element (stomach and spleen) in TCM, and its sharp taste to the metal element (lung and large intestine). Ginger’s warm and activating essence can also help lessen arthritis pains, reduce inflammation, and get stagnated energy flowing again.

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Try Emilia’s immune-boosting ginger tea:
Make yourself a balancing blend by adding three or four slices of fresh ginger, a squeeze of lemon, two or three leaves of fresh mint or a peppermint tea bag (optional) and some raw honey, to taste, to hot water and allow to steep for five minutes. The sour lemon and refreshing mint boosts your liver function, while raw honey soothes and benefits the lung and large intestine.

Please note, if you suffer with heat, anxiety or insomnia, the warming properties of ginger can potentially overstimulate body and mind, therefore we recommend you avoid consuming it in the evening.

ONIONS

“Similar to ginger, onions are warming in nature and are used in TCM as a qi tonic to counterbalance illnesses brought on by cold weather,” says Emilia. “The white color of the onion corresponds to the metal element, and it boosts the lung and large intestine. Studies show that the sharp tasting onions, garlic, shallots and leeks are rich in sulphur, giving them their classic smell but also helping to absorb viruses, bacteria and detox the body. Onions also have the natural ability to induce urination and perspiration to help remove toxins.”

Try Emilia’s simple winter broth when you feel like you are coming down with that Winter cold:

Make yourself an easy hot broth by adding one spring onion, a slice of fresh ginger and a few black peppercorns to hot water. Wrap up warm and allow your body to open its pores and expel the cold whilst drinking.

TURMERIC

Turmeric is related to ginger and has been prescribed as a food and herbal medicine for thousands of years. This orange root is packed with pungent flavours of earth, pepper and bitterness, and supports the function of your stomach and spleen. In TCM, turmeric enters the heart, lung, liver and gallbladder meridians and is used to invigorate blood, remove stagnation from the body and reduce inflammation.

“It is used for menstrual pain (often from qi and blood stagnation) and traumatic injuries and can be used topically for a variety of skin disorders including skin inflammation, bruising, insect bites and ringworm. Turmeric is also a great source of fibre, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium.”

Top tip!

Always mix turmeric with fat. This spice is fat soluble, which means that it can only be absorbed properly by the body when in combination with fats. This is why you will often find turmeric mixed with ghee (clarified butter), a delicious and healthy substitution for butter. Use a pestle and mortar to mash fresh turmeric root into a paste, mix with ghee and you can use it in a multitude of savoury dishe


EATING FOR WINTER

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Cooked food in winter is always better than raw, according to Chinese medicine. Cooking warms the energetics of food so focusing on soups, stews, and casseroles is great. These nourish the yin aspect of the body, build immunity and boost energy during the cold season. Fruit should be poached or stewed and spiced with anise, cinnamon, and clove so its nature becomes warming and moistening.

“All vegetables should also be steamed, cooked or roasted to aid digestion and increase the natural sweetness from the vegetable. Combing small amounts of warm food with the cold can balance the yin yang too, so if you really crave sushi for lunch, have it, but add the warmth of wasabi and a hot miso broth to start, and ignite your digestive fire.

Don’t forget - Enjoy your food. Bon appetite


ESCAPADA KITCHEN:

Winter Chai Tea:

- 1 cup water

- 1 cup of milk

- 1 cinnamon stick

- 1 teaspoon grated ginger

- 4 pods of cardamom (cracked)

- 3 crushed peppercorns

- Black tea to taste

- Cloves

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Heat the milk in a saucepan over a very low heat. Put the tea bags into the pan, then add the cracked cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, nutmeg and cloves. Sweeten with light brown soft sugar to taste (chai tea should be sweet, but use less if you like), then leave to infuse, but not boil, for 10 mins.

The Theory of the Five Elements & What it Means for You!

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The Theory of the Five Elements and What it Means for You

Nature and your body are very much intertwined, according to the theory of five elements. Ancient Chinese philosophers discovered that most things in the world can be broken down to five energy types - wood, earth, fire, metal and water. There’s said to be a little bit of all five elements within each of us, but Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) advises that we must sustain a balance of them all in order to maintain good health. In TCM understanding how the elements affect your health allows you to create a comprehensive and effective treatment plan to eliminate disease and chronic conditions. The five elements are constantly changing, each becoming dominant at different times in the year’s natural cycle, and, in return, affecting your health. Each element is also associated with different body organs and tissues, senses and emotion, season and climate and colour.


The Five Elements and ME!

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Your Liver ⎮ Wood│ Spring │ Green │ Anger

The Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of our emotions, energy and blood. Excess stress or emotions can have a huge effect on our liver health so it’s vital to rebalance it. As the blood storing organ it nourishes our eyes and tendons i.e. if you have any eye issues or muscle cramps your Liver needs to be looked after. The emotion associated with the Liver is anger so if you are the type that get irritable or angry easily your liver is out of sync. The sour taste corresponds to and supports the Liver function so if you crave sour, have it. Your Liver needs an extra boost.

💛 How to Show Your Liver Some Love 

When stressed, choose gentle exercise such as walking, swimming, and yoga instead of extreme gym sessions. Excessive workouts stress the body and overwork your tendons, so they may eventually lose their flexibility, impacting the Livers function of being “flexible” and quick healing.


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Your Heart │ Fire │Summer │Red │Joy

The Heart is the king of all organs. True cardiovascular health is not just about physical fitness, it’s about true contentment with one’s life. Happiness, joy and love are often associated with the Heart representing a state of peacefulness. Stress or lack of joy can directly impact this organ’s function. The Heart controls blood and perspiration i.e. when Heart Qi is deficient, excessive perspiration can occur. The heart can also suffer when there is a lack of blood, as the heart houses the Shen, our Spirit. Any mental emotional instability e.g anxiety can be caused by a lack of blood not nourishing the Heart.

💛 How to Show Your Heart Some Love
Smiling is pure medicine to the Heart. Smiling stimulates the Heart and brings a sense of internal , so smile at yourself when looking in the mirror and at people around you. In no time you will feel a true smile emerging. Feel gratitude for yourself.


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Your Spleen│Earth│Late Summer│Yellow│Sympathy 

The Stomach and Spleen, our digestion or „middle“ is responsible not only for digesting foods, but also for digesting your emotions and thoughts, keeping what nurtures you and letting go of what doesn’t. Chronic worry, anxiety, or overthinking the Spleen. Just as Mother Earth’s job is to nurture growth and all living creatures, our digestion is key to your overall health. Tired and craving sweets? The muscles are governed by the Spleen, so weakness or tired legs and sweet cravings (taste corresponding to and supports the Earth is sweet) might be due to a a weak Spleen. Naturally sweet, and warm foods support a healthy middle.

💛 How to Show Your Spleen Some Love
Eat mostly cooked or warm foods and beverages - your middle is warmth loving by nature, so eating cold or raw foods and cold drinks can damage the digestion function over time. Yellow and orange grains and vegetables are energy boosting!


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Your Lungs│Metal│Autumn│White│Grief

The Lung’s major functions include maintaining a strong immune defense. It’s associated season is Autumn so if you tend to catch colds or have allergies in Autumn, take good care of your Lungs. The nose is the Lungs sensory organ, a runny nose, sneezing, congested sinuses, or loss of smell, indicate a compromised Lung function. The associated tissues is your skin, so if you want to have healthy skin it’s important to take care of the Lung and its partner organ the Large Intestine. Emotionally and physically, the Lung is responsible for “letting go” of whatever you don’t need, from life experiences to emotions to actual metabolic by-products.

💛 How to Show Your Lungs Some Love
Wrap up warm in windy and cold weather, especially chest and neck. A high part of the Lung’s job is to protect you from pathogens like cold and flu, so you can save Lung energy by covering up your skin when it’s cold outside.


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Your Kidneys│Water│Winter│Black│Fear 

The Kidney is the “reserve generator” of energy in the body, storing “pre-natal Qi” inherited from your parents and supplying essential Qi to any organ running low on Qi. That’s why, in Winter, the time fo the year associated with this organ, it’s especially important to conserve energy by getting more rest. The Kidneys rule over your ears and bones. Hence any ear problems, such as deafness or tinnitus or osteoporosis are a signal that Kidney energy needs extra support. It’s associated emotion fear can be a red flag that the kidneys, the powerhouses of the body, are themselves low on Qi and are working too hard.

💛 How to Show Your Kidneys Some Love
First identify and stop energy drains! Sleeping before midnight, resting when you’re tired, and giving yourself permission to take a break and de-stress throughout the day can have a huge impact on how you conserve your energy.


Escapada Kitchen

Ingrid's Favourite Winter Recipe💕

PUMPKIN SOUP

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Pumpkin Soup is a very nutritious ayurvedic recipe. Pumpkins taste sweet, as well as being rich in beta-carotene, which helps improve immune function. It, also, has fiber, potassium and vitamin A. This soup provides satisfaction, but does not weigh in the stomach, and can be a perfect food for dinner in wintertime!
In this recipe is included the ingredient Ghee, which is clarified butter. Considered a healthier fat than butter, it has several health benefits and so is one of the foundations of Ayurvedic cooking. Being a very versatile ingredient, it can be used in any type of cooking, replacing the own butter or other vegetable oils.

Long pepper, also used in this ayurvedic recipe, serves to season dishes, It delivers a spicy and aromatic flavour, full of health benefits. It works as a natural stimulant of gastric secretions, favouring the digestive processes of the stomach.

Ingredients
1 pumpkin 
2 sweet potato
- enough water to cook the pumpkins
- 1 teaspoon of ghee
- 2 tablespoons ginger
- ½ teaspoon long pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 pinch of sugar
- juice of a lemon
- 1 teaspoon of fenugreek
Salt to taste
4 tablespoon of coconut milk
nutmeg 
parsley

Preparation
Heat the ghee in a pan. Add the cumin, ginger and ground long pepper, let it roast well. Then add a pinch of sugar, lemon juice, and the rest of the condiments.
Add the sliced of pumpkin and sweet potato and continue to steam for another 3-4 minutes. Add enough water to cover the pumpkins Reduce the heat and cook slowly until the pumpkins are tender. Using a hand mixer, beat the soup until it has a creamy consistency, adding a coconut milk while beating the soup. Return the soup to the pan and heat if necessary. Garnish with a little nutmeg and parsley.


Why you need Acupuncture in your Life!

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How we work at our Escapada Clinics:

Integrative Health is a medical system that encompasses us as a whole individual and takes into consideration our physical body, mind and spirit. This means that our health should not be just the absence of disease, but the feeling of wholeness, balance and resilience.

We may know what’s good for us but we often struggle with the practical application of a healthy lifestyle in our everyday busy lives. In addition, with an overwhelming amount of information around us, the idea of Integrative Health can seem like an unachievable concept. At Escapada, we want to explore a diverse yet simple and individualised approach to Integrative Health. Within our clinics and on retreat, we not only treat with acupuncture but focus on nutritional intake and lifestyle advise.

Is Acupuncture for me?

Your daily stresses, lifestyle choices and injuries can upset our natural balance and lead to physical and emotional symptoms. With Chinese medicine and Acupuncture, you can begin your journey to better health. Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old healing technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites--commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints. The most common method used to stimulate acupoints is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin. Pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation may further enhance the effects. Acupuncture can be used as a natural medicine from child to old age. 

What can acupuncture treat?

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Because the goal of acupuncture is to promote and restore the balance of energy, which flows throughout the body, the benefits of acupuncture can extend to a wide variety of conditions, from emotional disorders (anxiety and depression) to digestive complaints (nausea, vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome). It can be beneficial for pain syndromes due to an injury or associated with chronic degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and can also be helpful in treating neurological problems like migraines and Parkinsons or as a rehabilitation strategy for individuals who suffered a stroke. Respiratory conditions, including sinusitis and asthma have been relieved with acupuncture, as have many gynaecological disorders and infertility. Acupuncture has also proved beneficial for reducing fatigue and addictions, and for promoting overall well-being.

Studies in the U.S. indicate that acupuncture can help relieve chronic low back pain, dental pain, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and symptoms of osteoarthritis. It has been shown to assist in the treatment of emotional pain syndromes such as post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as controlling chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. It has also demonstrated clinical success in achieving pregnancy when used in conjunction with in-vitro fertilisation.

Case-controlled clinical studies have shown that acupuncture has been an effective treatment for the following diseases, symptoms or conditions:

  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)

  • Biliary colic

  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)

  • Dysentery, acute bacillary

  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary

  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)

  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)

  • Headache

  • Hypertension, essential

  • Hypotension, primary

  • Induction of labor

  • Knee pain

  • Leukopenia

  • Low back pain

  • Malposition of fetus, correction

  • Morning sickness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Neck pain

  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)

  • Periarthritis of shoulder

  • Postoperative pain

  • Renal colic

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Sciatica

  • Sprain

  • Stroke

  • Tennis elbow

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE HISTORY & HOW acupuncture WORKS

Acupuncture is a complete medical protocol focused on correcting imbalances of energy in the body. From its inception in China more than 2,500 years ago, acupuncture has been used traditionally to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, as well as to improve general health.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the oldest continuous systems of medicine in history, with recorded instances dating as far back as two thousand years before the birth of Christ. While acupuncture is the most often practiced component of traditional Chinese medicine, one should know that it is only one important piece of a much larger puzzle. Traditional Chinese medicine encompasses several methods designed to help people achieve and maintain health.  Along with acupuncture, TCM incorporates adjunctive techniques such as acupressure and moxibustion; manipulative and massage techniques such as tuina, cupping and gua sha; herbal medicine; diet and lifestyle changes; meditation; and exercise (often in the form of qigong or tai chi).

The traditional explanation for acupuncture’s effectiveness is that it modifies the flow of energy (known as qi or chi) throughout the body, but there is no scientific consensus that this is actually its mechanism of action. Research published in the May 30, 2010 online edition of Nature Neuroscience demonstrated that the effects of acupuncture needling include influencing the activity of adenosine, an amino acid which becomes active in the skin after an injury to ease pain. This may explain in part why pain relief is often experienced as one of the benefits of acupuncture. In fact, much research in the West has focused on this pain-relieving effect, rather than acupuncture’s traditional role of balancing energy to address a wide range of disorders, and the more subtle mechanisms that may be responsible for its overall benefits to health.

Chinese Medicine was a system of medicine that was formed through observation, observation of disease patterns and how we interact with nature and our surroundings. A consultation with an acupuncturist at initial meeting can take up to one hour because a Chinese Medicine practitioner will look at you as a whole and not just a disease name or symptom.
 

THE MICROCOSM WITHIN THE MACROCOSM

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Due to its complexity, Chinese Medicine seems difficult to comprehend. TCM ( Traditional Chinese Medicine) is based, at least in part, on the Daoist belief that we live in a universe in which everything is interconnected, another way to put it: we are the microcosm within the macrocosm. What happens to one part of the body affects every other part of the body. The mind and body are not viewed separately, but as part of an energetic system. Similarly, organs and organ systems are viewed as interconnected structures that work together to keep the body functioning. 

Many of the concepts emphasised in TCM  have no true counterpart in Western medicine. One of these concepts is qi (pronounced "chi"), which is considered a vital force or energy responsible for controlling the workings of the human mind and body. Qi flows through the body via channels, or pathways, which are called meridians. There are a total of 20 meridians: 12 primary meridians, which correspond to specific organs, organ systems or functions, and eight secondary meridians. Imbalances in the flow of qi cause illness; correction of this flow restores the body to balance. Other concepts (such as the Yin/Yang and Five Element Theories) are equally important in order to have a true grasp of traditional Chinese medicine.

Perhaps the most significant developments in TCM are the concept of Yin & Yang and the understanding of Qi. Yin and Yang represent two opposing forces in nature, which are simultaneously related to one another. Often they are understood as female or lunar and male or solar principles. All the phenomena of nature, every function of our body, and every disease can be divided into yin and yang. 

Finding a good acupuncturist and letting them get to know your body and the way it works - is worth it’s weight in gold for a natural approach to health!


Next Month:

We discover the world of ‘The Five Elements’ and how we treat accordingly and what you can do at home for your own self healing through the seasons.



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What are Healthy Sleeping Habits and Sleep Hygiene?

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What can I do to get a good nights sleep?

While the word “hygiene” conjures up images of hand-washing and teeth-brushing, sleep hygiene is different. It’s the habits that you can put in place each evening to optimise sleep. And it doesn’t take much effort. Just a few simple changes can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and night spent tossing and turning.

Escapada Top Tips for a Better Nights Sleep:

Environment:

Your bedroom should be at the forefront on the journey for better sleep. A third of your life is spent sleeping in a bedroom. All too often, people overlook the importance of what a bedroom actually means in getting great sleep.

Many of us use our rooms to watch TV, browse the internet, talk with our spouses about life decisions, and a variety of other activities not associated with sleep.

If sleep is important to you, it's time to start looking at how your bedroom impacts your sleep, and methods to improve it.

  1. Clean Out All the Clutter

Your room isn't your gym, office, or playroom. To begin associating it with sleep, you need to get all the stuff out that is potential distractions. Put the treadmill in another, get rid of the computer and work desk, and most importantly (and probably the hardest) ditch the television.

Having your bedroom as the place to go for other activities only leads to your brain associating the room with other things. If your bedroom is where your office is, it can help make your mind busy and even anxious about work, because you correlate the room with busy work.

Getting rid of the TV helps in many ways. For one, it's too easy to watch it before bedtime as it's in the room. Engaging programs can keep your mind awake longer as you get sucked into the story.

TVs also emit blue light, which can trick the body's production of melatonin into slowing down. Light is associated with wakefulness. When there's light, your body doesn't produce as much melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep, making it more difficult to fall asleep.

And speaking of distractions...

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2. Ditch All Electronics

For the same reasons you shouldn't have a TV or computer in your bedroom, you also shouldn't have a cellphone, tablet, laptop, portable game console, or e-reader in the room either. Most of these devices also emit the sleep stealing light and are used for consuming content that may rob you of sleep because it's so engaging.

3. Keep Your Room Cool

As you go to sleep your body temperature begins to drop as it prepares itself for slumber. Keeping your room a cool temperature (between 60-67 degrees) can help aid the process of cooling your body.

4. Use Aromatherapy

Research has shown that using certain scents in a room can help promote sleep. What aromatherapy does is creates an atmosphere that is relaxing and calming, which can help you wind down to sleep. It is also good as part of a routine that, through continued use, your brain will pick up as a cue that it's almost time for bed. The best scents to use are lavender and vanilla.

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5. Make Your Bed Comfortable

If you're waking up feeling stiff, numb, or tired, or maybe just had great sleep in a hotel bed, it may time to replace your mattress and/or pillows. Most mattresses are designed to last up to 10 years, but if your mattress has lumps, sags, rips, or holes you may want to think about replacing it. Similarly if you find yourself constantly fluffing your pillow throughout the night, it may be time for a new one.

You spend a third of your life sleeping on your bed, and while up front costs of a new bed may be scary, it may be worth your while to get the best that you can afford. Choosing a mattress really comes down to personal preference, whether you sleep better with a bed that is firm, bouncy, or has a little buoyancy, there is a mattress to fit your needs. 

There are mattresses available to suit all types of sleep needs including adjustable stiffness, preferred sleep positions, disturbances from a tossing/turning partner, or even have covers if you have allergies to certain fabrics or dust mites.


Adjust your Lifestyle:

  1. Keep a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day—even on the weekends—reinforces the natural sleep-wake cycle in your body.

  2. Skip the nap: Sleeping throughout the day makes it harder to fall asleep at night. If you must, limit your snooze session to 30 minutes, and give yourself at least four hours between the nap and when you plan to go to bed for good.

  3. Develop a bedtime routine: Creating a set of habits to run through at night will help your body recognize that it’s time to unwind. For instance, 30 to 60 minutes before bed, read in bed or take a warm shower or bath. (The warm water trick is particularly helpful – as you cool off, the drop in your body temperature will help you feel sleepy!)

Make Healthier Choices:

The foods and beverages you consume, whether you smoke, and how often you exercise can all play a role in how well you hit the sack.

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  1. Stay away from stimulants at night: Nicotine and caffeine are chemicals that are designed to help keep you awake, so drinking tea or coffee or eating chocolate (all of which contain caffeine), or using anything containing tobacco or nicotine should be avoided for four to six hours before you plan to go to sleep. Even alcohol, which initially makes you feel sleepy, makes it harder to get high-quality slumber, so skip more than a single glass of liquor, wine, or beer in the evening—especially as bedtime gets closer.

  2. Pay attention to food and drink intake before bed: Feeling hungry or overly full at bedtime means that you’re less likely to get comfortable sleep. Plus, drinking too many liquids late in the evening could cause you to make multiple trips to the bathroom throughout the night. So choose your food and beverages wisely and time your meals accordingly.

  3. Get physical during the day—at the right time: Exercising during the day fosters sleep at night, but keep this in mind: Exercising too close to bedtime may keep you wired and make it hard to settle into sleep. Listen to your body; most people will want to work out at least a few hours before bed, if possible, or at least swap their Crossfit routine for something more relaxing, like yoga, if they are working out in the later evening hours.


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Ingrid’s Night Cap;

Warm some milk (almond/oat or whichever milk you like). Mix half milk with half water. Add a pinch of nutmeg and a dash of honey.

You can also add cinnamon to make it sweet, especially nice during the Winter….

Enjoy…..








Are you getting enough Sleep?

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The Importance of Sleep!

Sleep is not important - it is essential. Sleep and health are strongly related - poor sleep can increase the risk of having poor health, and poor health can make it harder to sleep.  Sleep disturbances can be one of the first signs of distress and that the body is out of balance. An old Chinese quote says that “replenishing health with medicine is not as good as replenishing health with diet, but that replenishing health with sleep is the best treatment of all”

How much sleep should I get?

Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health. To determine how much sleep you need, it's important to assess not only where you fall on the "sleep needs spectrum," (what age you are) but also to examine what lifestyle factors are affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep such as work schedules and stress.

The National Sleep Foundation released the results of a world-class study that took more than two years of research to complete. The panel agreed that, for healthy individuals with normal sleep, the appropriate sleep duration for newborns is between 14 and 17 hours, infants between 12 and 15 hours, toddlers between 11 and 14 hours, preschoolers between 10 and 13 hours, and school-aged children between 9 and 11 hours. For teenagers, 8 to 10 hours was considered appropriate, 7 to 9 hours for young adults and adults, and 7 to 8 hours of sleep for older adults.

Why do I wake at the same time every night?

In Chinese Medicine theory, night time is Yin, while daytime is Yang. That means that Yang activities, such as working, eating and exercising should be done during the day, while Yin activities such as relaxing, digesting and sleeping should be done at night. Many people report that they fall asleep easily, but wake at the same time in the middle of the night. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you can't fall back asleep and wake up tired the next day. The concept of an “Organ Clock" in Chinese medicine is a useful tool in understanding why this occurs. In Chinese medicine, energy or qi, moves through the body’s meridians and organs in a 24 hour cycle. Every two hours the qi (or energy) is strongest within a particular organ and its functions within the body. And that's not all - the body, mind and emotions are inseparable in Chinese medicine - meaning that if you have disharmony in your physical body, it is tied to your emotional state. So if you wake up at 3 AM, when Liver energy peaks, you may be suffering from Liver Qi stagnation, which could be related to an unhealthy diet, excess alcohol consumption, unresolved anger or high levels of stress. If you consistently wake at 4 AM - it could be due to an imbalance in your Lungs, which is related to grief and sadness, fatigue, or reduced immune function. 

Check out the guide below to find some insight into why you might be waking up at a certain hour.

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11 PM - 1 AM  //  Gall Bladder (strongly tied to the Liver)
Emotion: Indecisiveness
Functions: The Gallbladder stores and excretes bile to facilitate proper digestion. It also rules the decision making process, controls the sinews and tendons and governs dreams. 
Symptoms of imbalance: Indecision, frequent sighing, rash decisions, poor judgement, difficulty making decisions, shyness, timidity, high cholesterol, resentment, dream-disturbed sleep, weak tendons, tendonitis. 
Tips: Avoid alcohol, transfats and spicy foods. Eat a small dinner well before bedtime and avoid snacking before bed. 

1 AM - 3 AM  //  Liver
Emotion: 
Anger/Irritability
Functions: The Liver is responsible for detoxifying our bodies and processing emotions each night. The Liver stores the blood and governs the qi of the body. It is associated with the tendons, nails and eyes. Think back to a night when you had too much to drink or a period of intense frustration at work. Did you wake up around between 1-3am unable to fall back asleep? From a Chinese medicine perspective your liver was overloaded with and struggled to do its work.
Symptoms of imbalance: Explosive outbursts of anger, bottled up emotions, resentment, irritability, moodiness, frustration, high blood pressure, chest distention, PMS, bitter taste in mouth, digestive upset, dizziness, migraine headache, breast tenderness, blurred vision, eye floaters, red face, tendonitis, frequent sighing. 
Tips: Make sure to drink alcohol in moderation and eat your last meal a few hours before bed. Consider a whole foods cleanse. Cut out coffee for a week and replace it with green tea. Find ways to deal with your anger and frustrations in a healthy way. Get regular exercise. 

3 AM - 5 AM  //  Lung
Emotion: 
Sadness/Grief
Functions: The Lungs govern the respiratory and immune system, regulate the sweat glands, and moisten the skin.
Symptoms of imbalance: Feelings of sadness or grief that have not been dealt with, shortness of breath, sweating easily, weak voice, shallow breathing, fatigue, cough, frequent cold/flu, fever with chills, sore throat, runny nose, headache, allergies, asthma, chest pain, pale complexion, dry skin, depression, crying.
Tips: Try breathing exercises, meditation or yoga to improve your lung capacity. Consider getting counseling or talking to a friend about feelings of sadness or grief. Write in your journal about your emotions before bed each night. 

What time should I go to bed?

Many of us are creatures of habit and think nothing of it, especially if we get a decent amount of sleep each night. But, according to Chinese medicine, it’s not only how much sleep you get that matters, but also when you get itA bedtime of 10:30pm (at the latest) is advised so that you are asleep by 11pm when the Liver and Gallbladder start to regulate qi, process emotions, balance hormones and detoxify the body. According to Chinese medicine, the window from 11 PM - 3 AM, which correlates to the Liver and Gallbladder, is most important in terms of maintaining health, especially as we age. Many of us have heard the old adage: “Every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight.” This idea is supported by modern sleep science - we experience the deepest part of sleep during the first third of the night. This deep sleep, or Slow Wave Sleep (SWS), is the most restorative part of our sleep. During these hours the stress hormone cortisol is reduced and parasympathetic nervous system activity increases, which allows us to fully rest and move away from the fight or flight responses that dominate during waking hours. SWS is associated with memory and learning. A lack of this type of sleep can lead to reduced daytime functioning and alertness as well as waking feeling unrefreshed. Further, human growth hormone, which is essential to repairing our bodies from daily injury and maintaining health, is released from 9pm-7am, making each hour of sleep during this time critical. 



Message from Co-Founders ~

Irregular sleep patterns, poor sleep hygiene and insomnia are some of the most common complaints that we treat in clinic. Many of our clients don’t even recognise it as a problem and can fail to see the links between poor sleep quality and dis-ease in their body. When we don’t get sufficient quality sleep, our bodies start to give out to us. The beauty of Chinese Medicine is that it aims to treat the root of the problem as to why the client is struggling with their sleep. Taking a sleeping tablet is not solving the root of the problem , it may be poor sleep hygiene, stress, anxiety, unresolved grief or even imbalanced digestion.

Because we see these problems so much in our clinics, it inspired us to create a full retreat around this topic as it is so important to get it right for an individuals health. Dedicating a full four days to sleep hygiene, the importance of sleep and rest, is simply the best way we can show how essential it is to get it right and to get yourself into a good sleeping routine. See full details below:

Restorative Sleep Retreat ~ Nov 29th - Dec 2nd // Kerry, Ireland

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Stay tuned for our next E-Magazine which will focus on our top tips for establishing a good sleep hygiene routine and some yummy night time recipes from Ingrids Kitchen to send you off to Zzzzzzzzz land.

Lots of love,

Maeve & Emilia




Why you need a digital detox?

Do I need to digitally detox?

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What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Read the news? Check your emails? Scroll through social media? Now, imagine your phone’s not in the room. If that makes you feel aimless or uncomfortable, it may be time for a digital detox. Depending on who you are, and how much you use technology in your daily routine, a digital detox might seem either insane or too easy. It’s not until you begin to experience the highs and lows of a digital detox rollercoaster that you realise just how addicting social media and television is.

Why should I do a Digital Detox?

1. Start using your time for things that need it!

When was the last time you completed your tasks and/or to-do lists on time without procrastinating? The digital world is a distraction that easily gets in the way of managing our time. We are wasting too much time on something that doesn’t matter in the long run. It’s time to gain back control of your sleep patterns, your work schedule, and your free time.

2. Regain your love for yourself!

With so much comparison going around, it’s no wonder that self-love is strange to understand. Every picture on social media gives a new meaning to the word “perfect,” and “beautiful.” When your reflection in the mirror doesn’t add up to the images you see on social media, your self-esteem goes down. When we’re constantly comparing, there’s no way we live the life we were always meant to be. It’s time to put down that smart phone and invest that time in developing self-love.

3. Get back to your creative self!

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With all the energy the digital world drains from us, there’s less time to feel motivated to create, to complete our goals, and to chase our dreams. By taking time back for yourself, inspiration has room to rise again. It’s time to remember what it feels like to accomplish something, to dream outside of the box, and to chase the life you actually get to live. When you have time to reflect, pause and observe you have a chance to see patterns and connect dots. Patterns are the insight necessary to have ideas both big and small. 

4. Don't miss those moments!

Memories are always being created, and if we are constantly checking our phones, we’re bound to miss something. It’s simple pleasures that make life more fulfilling. It’s time to stop letting life pass us by and start experiencing all the real world has to offer us–instead of looking for it in a TV series or an Instagram account. When your phone is down, your eyes are up and you’re looking around noticing things, talking to people, listening to those around you and receiving information from all your senses, you are topping up your creative fuel. As Alfred Hitchcock says, "Ideas come from everything". But you have to be present to notice things.

5. Positive relationships!

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Nothing kills meeting a friend for a catch up when they spend their time with you updating their instagram with photos of their cup of coffee.  Being present is one of the key but basic elements of positive relationship building. Being on your phone makes this next to impossible. We touch our phones 80 times a day. It’s a staggering number that most likely makes you cringe. It’s truth that we’ve become slave to our devices. Which gives better hugs? Your partner/friend or your phone?

 

Simple steps to start today!

- Ban phones at night, sleeping with it outside of your bedroom (just buy an alarm clock!)

- Go phone-free entirely on the weekends

- If you establish a maximum daily time allowance for your devices then you will be more likely to it and you will probably notice the need for daily allowance decrease

- Make sure you turn all screens off at least two hours before bed - that means no phone, no laptop, no iPad. "Your bedroom is for sleeping - so don't turn it into a cinema, a shopping centre, a bank or a casino.

How long should I detox for?

A week is typically a good time for a digital detox. However, if you’re enjoying the process, why not extend it? Pick what works best for you, but be sure to challenge yourself.

Moments are passing us by, and there’s a life out there that’s waiting for you to explore!

On our retreats:

On our health retreats, it has been a subject we have battled with! Do we ban phones?? Do we turn off the wifi?? etc etc. We never want people on retreat to feel like they are in school but yet there is an overwhelming need to digitally detach from our technology. Normally on retreat, this happens naturally over the course of a couple of days - being in the right environment surrounded by healthy interventions, time off etc.,  allows a natural process of digital detachment to happen, however this is not so easy back in our normal lives. The break from this on retreat is invaluable for our guests, to realise, firstly, how addicted they are to their phones/laptops and most importantly to another world of social media, that is in fact not the real world you are living in. Secondly, how wonderful it feels to let go of technology...Even for just a few days and break into your own reality...Just you and create that time and space for you....

We have decided to 'digitally detox' our next two retreats in Mallorca. Maybe sometimes people do need a helping hand. We will let you know how we get on. If you need a digital detox ~ see our next two retreats:

 

AUTUMN REJUVENATION ~ DIGITAL DETOX
MALLORCA, SPAIN // SEPT 22ND - 29TH 2018

&

PRE-WINTER IMMUNITY BOOST
MALLORCA, SPAIN // NOV 1ST - NOV 4TH 2018


 

Come Away with Us & Escape your Routine