5.18.18
self care rituals

Acupuncture. Herbs. Yoga. Meditation. We modern folks can reap major benefits from the ancient practices of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine). From gut care to skincare, acupuncturist, herbalist and traditional Chinese medicine pro, Mona Dan of Vie Healing, is sharing a few fascinating traditional self-care rituals that’ll help you achieve a vibrancy that flows from the inside and out… 

Rituals have become a popular term in labeling self-care actions. By creating self-care rituals around these tasks, you make them a habit and part of your daily lifestyle. We must take the time in our days to nourish ourselves to not only look and feel the way we want, but to also preserve a life for good longevity.

Drink More Tea Keeping the internal core warm assists in the proper blood flow and reduces stagnation. Green tea is big in the traditional Chinese medicine world, and the reason is that green tea is considered a natural housekeeper. It scans the body and eliminates fattiness and stickiness (called “dampness”) in the body and assists us in draining it. A lot of people are switching to matcha which is great, especially as an early morning substitute for coffee.

There are so many options for tea, and many blends contain other beneficial ingredients to incorporate into your daily routine. Cardamom is great for digestion after meals. Dandelion root is wonderful for cleansing the liver. You can even drink adaptogens, like Schisandra berries with gojis, which are helpful for building and nourishing your blood to aid in better blood flow and reduction in inflammation. You can never go wrong with mint tea, too. All you really need are a couple leaves to add to any tea to enhance your digestion and nourish your eyes.

In addition to tea, waking up and consuming warming foods, such as oatmeal, eggs, warm breakfast bowls…etc., assists in boosting easy digestion, which builds nutrient-dense blood that will replenish hair, skin and nails better and faster.

Pile on the AdaptogensAdaptogens have become so popular because of their ability to relax the nervous without negatively affecting the body. Studies have shown adaptogens have brain and nerve protective, anti-fatigue, anti-depressive and central-nervous-system stimulating activity amongst others. They also increase mental work capacity when stressed and fatigued, especially when you’re mentally exhausted and need to boost and enhance attention.

Mix + Match Your Herbs Fresh or dried, herbs quickly build blood and energy. They help stabilize the nervous system to better assist in responding to our environment as well. Some of the more popular mainstream adaptogenic herbs are ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil, ginseng and licorice root. All of these herbs are beneficial in different ways but when used together, it enhances their benefits.

The basis of herbs in Chinese medicine is the effects they cause when combining them together. One herb alone acts differently but when used with other herbs, different effects are created. In herbology, we go in-depth with learning and understanding the responsibilities of each herb in a formula. For example, each herbal formulation has a chief of herbs in a formula, which comes with the largest dose. Then there are deputy herb(s) that play two roles: reinforcing the chief and treating other symptoms that are also present. The assistant herbs have three responsibilities: reinforcing the effect of the chief herb or treating the secondary symptoms, counteracting any possible adverse effects of the chief and deputy herbs, or to completely have the opposite effect to create a balance.

The synergy of these herbs with the main herbs are what create the yin/yang balance we always aim for. The last herb envoy, the driver, has two main roles, which takes the whole formulation where its intended in the body and also creates a common ground. This herb usually has the goal of treatment in its nature. This is a staple in TCM foundations because of herbs’ ability to heal from the inside out.

Get Your Blood MovingAn acupuncture session a week is a deep internal nervous system workout that is unmatched by any other method out there. The reaction to the foreign needles boosts a positive shock in the body, making the nervous system shift from flight/fight more to process mode like a seesaw.

With cupping, we move internal blood up and out of the body. The process of moving blood helps remind the body to scan itself and naturally detoxify, eliminate and reprocess.

There is also a traditional therapy called moxibustion. Mugwort is lit and heated then used externally around the navel and areas of pain to boost blood flow around areas that need healing. This therapy assists by resetting the nervous system. We give the body an internal work out that aids in optimum organ and blood function.

Dry Brush DailyDry brushing is an ancient practice to cleanse the pores to avoid the irritation of the internal organs. Through the pores, we bring in the outside environment: pollutants, air irritants, viruses…etc. To cleanse the surface of our skin, the largest organ of our body, we encourage healthy circulation, which allows our body to fight for us, blocking the bad from coming in. Another benefit of dry brushing is its ability to assist with lymphatic drainage. A good ritual is to shower with a clean herbal soap, like our nettle soap which helps to naturally remove dead skin cells while the oils of the nettle remain on the surface of the skin and provide moisture through the brushing. After coming out of the shower, use a medium/soft brush and brush the skin for two to three minutes, brushing towards the heart. Always make sure the brush is gentle on the skin.

Try Jade Rolling After the warm cleansing of a hot bath or shower and dry brushing, the jade roller helps with cooling the pores and closing them to prevent toxins from entering. It’s a great addition to your ritual routine.

The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program. 

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  1. “Pile on the adaptogens”… I disagree. I have so many clients that just want to load their shelves with every adaptogen in my shop. The key is to find the specific herb that meets your individual needs. BALANCE. Adaptogens are used to create homeostasis. Think of the more like vitamin and mineral supplements that are ingested to fill a void in the diet…Be mindful. Go slowly! Conscious consumption please:)

  2. I don’t agree with taking a shower before dry brushing. I take a shower after I dry brush my whole body.

    Julia | 05.19.2018 | Reply
  3. This all sounds very complicated &difficult to manage without access to the right naturopath/herbalist/accupuncurist etc etc! Taking old fashioned supplements like calcium or VitC these days seems a risky venture as I’m not sure we’re not leading to imbalance or a surfeit which could do more harm than good. I’m on the look-our for anything that’s been written about how to supplement an already healthy-eating regime, if at all as I’d love to believe that eating five a day each of colourful fruit & veg will go a long way to supporting the aging process. My biggest concern at the moment is healthy hair, nails and joints – all tough issues to heal for post-50yr-olds.

    Michelle Bohlaender | 05.20.2018 | Reply


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