Lately my thoughts go to sugar and sweets in general. I'm now in year 4 of my treatments with my chinese medicine doctor. The changes i have experienced over the past 4 years are obvious. I used to think with a western medicine mindset that first of all, I was doing something really wrong to always be getting sick, and secondly, I would have to live with consistently diminishing health for the rest of my life. The bronchitis, losing my voice at least 2 times a year, the constant migraines, my eczema, the swelling skin during spring summer and fall (drs said were allergies), not to mention being FREEZING all the time; my whole body was failing me in my thirties. This wasn't right!

This balance in my body is of utmost importance. Balance of life habits and choices. Four years of talking shop with my TCM has taught me this. I had lived in CHina for nearly six years before TCM (traditional chinese medicine) revealed itself to me.

These treatments over the years have RATIFIED my body, mind and life. Every symptom I described above has been minimized. With every treatment, my body awakens and my awareness is finer. Years and years of slamming my body with bad life habits, western medicine, horrible eating and drinking habits - I can feel it all slowly changing my physical and mental health.

SUGAR. Sugar is a good thing, just like everything else we can ingest, but the excess in which we consume it is unbalanced. As with anything in too much excess, it affects our stomach and spleen meridians profoundly. The Pi Wei Jing Luo (spleen stomach meridians) are the Earth element in the 5 element cycle. It is the center, for if we do not eat, we will perish. The earth element nourishes all the other elements (the cycle goes like this: 

Water (kidney and bladder) feeds Wood (liver and gall bladder) feeds Fire (heart and triple warmer) feeds Earth (stomach and spleen) feeds Metal (lungs and long intestine) feeds Water.

Sugar is found in just about everything. There are natural sugars we get from vegetables and fruits, grains which make our staple foods. Then there is the added sugar, coming to you in a variety of sweeteners - from corn syrup to agave to fructose to 'natural' sugar to processed sugar. Sweet perhaps a long time ago was more a dreamy sometime, but nowadays, is part of our every meal.

Sugar is fire. Eaten in excess, you might not feel it after years of conditioning, but it affects you. Fire symptoms can include:  Phlegm. Heartburn. Gas. Canker Sores. Migraines. Dry skin. Blemishes/Acne. Dandfuff. Eczema. Diahrea. Constipation. Yeast Infections. Athlete's Foot. Shingles. They continue to intensify as the meridians get rougher and more backed up. Just like a wheel filled with gears and pathways, if you don't maintain your 'roads' then the routes will slowly break down causing your qi to reroute or get stuck. Dis repair and dis-ease result.

Here's a really simple example. Halloween. Kids are bombarded with sweets. Consumption of sugar goes up significantly, and right after halloween, the phlegm in the body multiplies. Oh, it must be a virus, you say to yourself. Nope. It's sugar. If you don't believe me, give it a try. Eat sugar excessively for a day and see how you feel. Feel what happens in your body.  Or, cut out sugar for a day and see how your body responds.

I've written other blogs about 'living with injury' in the west; a person suffers unnecessarily because they think that's just the way it is. But in Chinese Medicine, most things can be repaired. 

Suffering is silly, and is YOUR decision. As your disheveled roadways/meridians are still roads that the qi (energy) travels around, the imbalances realize themselves in symptoms that, after they become intense enough, you start to notice.  I must be "coming down with something" "feeling feverish," "breaking out," all these things are coming from what's inside you. 

Western medicine recommends drugs, then surgery, and as you walk out the door, you get a lollipop. Ha. Western medicine treatments exacerbate the problems you're having because it only focuses on the symptom; foregoing the disrepair issue at hand that is causing all the ailments. I liken it to the Golly Gump mindset; eat a frog to kill the fly, eat a cat to kill the frog, etc. Chinese medicine is all about repairing the roadways to PREVENT the symptoms from ever occurring. My TCM calls this "yang shenti" (nurturing the body) rather than "zhi shenti" (curing the body). Just think about the difference in these two concepts NURTURE or CURE. 

So what do you do? Slowly change. Make the decision to alter your life habits to include nurturing habits. Change is exciting and at times fearful. But change is always a great catalyst to learning, something humans always do.

Find a TCM in your area. Check out their payscales. In the US they usually have a sliding scale for treatments. It is recommended that you see someone 1 -2 times a month, if possible once a week. The work you do on yourself is what carries the treatments into fruition. If you don't change your life habits, the TCM has minimal effects. To really feel it, you gotta do the good work. Repairing your body's meridians/roadways requires time, change in habits, acupressure and acupuncture.