What follows is my monthly newsletter article for the Tacoma Food Co-op. This month’s article helps you to explore your health from a Chinese medicine perspective and then in the following months we will explore how to enhance your health by eating according to your Chinese medicine diagnosis. Past newsletter articles can be found here.
Hello Tacoma Food Co-op shoppers! Last month we discussed the element of water and the season of winter and how that affects the food that we eat. This month, I’d like to embark on a many month journey exploring Chinese medicine diagnosis, how it relates to you, and how to eat according to the tenets of Chinese medicine to create more health in your life.
In order to discover your imbalances according to Chinese medicine, we need to root around in, well – all aspects of you really. Use the quiz that follows to discover how you tick in Chinese medicine. Once armed with your “imbalances” we can then begin to look at ways to help you be as healthy as you can be. Remember that Chinese medicine is subtle , finding disharmony where Western medicine wouldn’t yet, so don’t be dismayed if you come out with three or four different diagnoses. Chinese medicine’s ability to find the patterns that lead to disease makes it a powerful preventative medicine tool. And when you catch something early, it is easier to treat and often responds to changing your food choices. I’ll see you next month as we begin to look at ways to tailor your food choices to maximize your health!
What are Your Element and Your Chinese Medicine Diagnosis?
Answer yes or no to each of the following questions. Don’t worry about what the symptoms mean; just note whether you experience them. If you have more than one-third yes responses in any diagnostic category, then you may have an element of this imbalance in your system. You may have more than one kind of imbalance operating at the same time, so don’t be surprised if you have 50 percent yes answers for more than one diagnostic category.
Kidney Yin Deficiency
- Do you have lower back weakness, soreness, or pain, or knee problems?
- Do you have ringing in your ears or dizziness?
- Is your hair prematurely gray?
- Do you have dark circles around or under your eyes?
- Do you have night sweats?
- Are you prone to hot flashes?
- Would you describe yourself as afraid a lot?
- Does your tongue lack coating? Does if appear shiny or peeled?
- My skin, hair, and/or nails are dry.
- My mouth and throat often feel dry.
- I have dry eyes.
- I often feel hot.
- I sometimes feel feverish in the afternoon.
- I wake up during the night.
- I am often thirsty.
- I tend to be constipated.
- My bowel movements are hard and dry.
- I prefer colder weather.
- Given the choice, I would prefer a cold drink.
- My hands and feet tend to be hot or sweaty.
- My chest sweats, especially at night.
- I flush easily or have a red face.
- I often feel anxious or uneasy; I am a worrywart.
- I am thin.
- I am restless and fidgety.
- I am tired a lot.
- I am a restless sleeper.
- I have vivid dreams.
Kidney Yang Deficiency
- Is your low back sore or weak?
- Are your feet cold, especially at night?
- Are you typically colder than those around you?
- Is your libido low?
- Are you often fearful?
- Do you wake up at night or early in the morning because you have to urinate?
- Do you urinate frequently, and is the urine diluted and/or profuse?
- Do you have early morning loose, urgent stools?
- Do you feel cold cramps during your period that respond to a heating pad?
- Is your tongue pale, moist, and swollen?
Spleen Qi Deficiency
- Are you often fatigued?
- Do you have poor appetite?
- Is your energy lower after a meal?
- Do you feel bloated after eating?
- Do you crave sweets?
- Do you have loose stools, abdominal pain, or digestive problems?
- Are your hands and feet cold?
- Is your nose cold?
- Are you prone to feeling heavy or sluggish?
- Are you prone to feeling heaviness or grogginess in the head?
- Do you bruise easily?
- Do you think you have poor circulation?
- Do you have varicose veins?
- Are you lacking strength in your arms and legs?
- Are you lacking in exercise?
- Are you prone to worry?
- Have you been diagnosed with low blood pressure?
- Do you sweat a lot without exerting yourself?
- Do you feel dizzy or light-headed, or have visual changes when you stand up fast?
- Are you often sick, or do you have allergies?
- Have you been diagnosed with hypothyroid or anemia?
- Do you have hemorrhoids or polyps?
- Does your tongue look swollen, with teeth marks on the sides?
- Do you have a pale, yellowish complexion?
Blood Deficiency (not necessarily equated with anemia)
- Do you have dry, flaky skin?
- Are you prone to getting chapped lips?
- Are you losing hair on you head (not in patches, but all over)?
- Is your hair brittle or dry?
- Do you have diminished nighttime vision?
- Are you lips, the inner side of your lover eyelids, or tongue pale in color?
- My nail beds are pale, and my nails are dry and break easily.
- I get dizzy easily, especially if I stand up quickly.
- I have blurry vision or floaters.
- I have trouble falling asleep.
- I am tired.
- My hair is thin and/or dry.
- I am a vegan or vegetarian
- Sometimes I get palpitations.
- I often feel shaky.
- My muscles are tight, and it doesn’t take much for me to injure them.
Blood Stasis (often associated with blood deficiency symptoms)
- Do you experience periodic numbness of your hands and feet (especially at night)?
- Do you have varicose or spider veins?
- Do you have red hemangiomas (cherry-red spots) on your skin?
- Does your complexion appear dark and “sooty”?
- Do you have chronic hemorrhoids?
- Is your lower abdomen tender to palpation (resisting touch)?
- Can you feel any abnormal lumps in your lower abdomen?
- Does your tongue look dark?
- Do you have dark spots on your tongue?
- Are the veins beneath your tongue twisty and tortuous?
- Do you have dark spots in your eyes?
- Have you been diagnosed with any vascular abnormality or blood clotting disorder?
Liver Qi Stagnation
- Are you prone to emotional depression?
- Are you prone to anger and/or rage?
- Are your pupils usually dilated and large?
- Do you have difficult falling asleep at night?
- Do you experience heartburn or wake up with a bitter taste in your mouth?
- Is your tongue dark or purplish in color?
- I am often irritable.
- I feel tense, overwhelmed, or just generally stuck.
- My bowel movements are thin and long like a ribbon.
- My bowel movements are like small pebbles.
- My ribs or flanks are painful or distended.
- I feel better or have more energy with exercise.
- I am stressed-out.
- I sign a lot.
- I grind my teeth at night.
- I have tense muscles.
- I have poor circulation.
- I feel as if I can’t quite clear my throat.
- I have a nervous stomach and feel nauseous or get diarrhea when I’m stressed.
- I have cold hand and feet.
Heart Deficiency (often associated with heat)
- Do you wake up early in the morning and have trouble getting back to sleep?
- Do you have heart palpitations, especially when anxious?
- Do you have nightmares?
- Do you seem low in spirit or lacking in vitality?
- Are you prone to agitation or extreme restlessness?
- Do you fidget?
- Is the tip of your tongue red?
- Is there a crack in the center of your tongue that extends to the tip?
- Do you sweat excessively, especially on your chest?
- Is your pulse rate rapid?
- Are your mouth and throat usually dry?
- Are your thirsty for cold drinks most of the time?
- Do toy often feel warmer than those around you?
- Do you wake up sweating or have hot flashes?
- Do you break out with red acne?
- Do you feel tired and sluggish after a meal?
- Do you have cystic or pustular acne?
- Do you have urgent, bright, or foul-smelling stools?
- Do your joints ache, especially with movement?
- Are you overweight?
- Do you have a wet, slimy tongue?
- I have trouble controlling my weight.
- My thinking often feels clouded.
- I have sinus problems, seasonal allergies, or a chronic cough.
- I have a tendency toward edema, or swelling.
- My hands or feel swell.
- I often feel tired and sluggish.
- I get achy joints.
- My arms and legs feel heavy.
- My urine is cloudy.
- I feel bloated.
See you next month as we explore ways to eat according to your Chinese diagnosis!
Stephanie Gianarelli, EAMP
Clinic Director of Acupuncture Northwest & Associates