Blue Heron Holistic Health Shaping Healthy Bodies, Minds, And Hearts Through Chinese Medicine

Late Summer Energetics

The season of late summer is upon us. The weather is changing and the season is in transition towards fall. The element of Earth is the overarching one for late summer as well as each change of season and is associated with the organs of the stomach and spleen. The changing of the season can be difficult for some, but it doesn’t have to be. Are you in balance? This season has to do with nourishing ourselves and feeling the abundance in our lives. Are you satisfied? Do you have enough and are you able to share your abundance? If you find yourself feeling resistive to change, are overindulging, overly ingratiating, forgetful, extremely fatigued, worried, foggy-brained or needy of attention, then you are experiencing Earth out of balance. If you are able to be accepting of the opinions of others, life changes (and cycles) and new ideas, you are in balance. If you are especially drawn to the color yellow and/or have a yellow colored complexion you may have a propensity towards having too much of the earth element. Amma bodywork therapy can re-balance you if your body, mind and emotions.

 
Often times in this season we see the body present itself with ailments related to the digestion. Physically the body can be affected by nervousness or hurried eating, and the food will not be assimilated if this is the case. If you are “holding on” to emotions and thoughts, you may experience constipation. An inability to “stomach” ideas of others or resisting the end of summer may cause indigestion for some. An inability to nourish the body or mind is imbalance as well. Eating whole foods deliberately and without other distractions is important to the absorption of nutrients. If there are problems with the skin or muscles there is an imbalance with the Earth element. This may come in the form of tension (inflexibility), stiffness, edema, loose or flabby skin or muscles and cracking or peeling of the skin.

 
By getting Amma bodywork, you can have your imbalance shift and your body will get back into its natural rhythm. An increase in your immunity, increased energy, improved digestion, and heightened willpower will happen as the result of a session. Let go into the coming fall by nourishing your body and getting things flowing!

 

Many Blessings,
Tanya

Why I Practice Amma

I have often been asked why I became trained in Amma and why this is the path I have chosen. Those who know me are aware of my passion for Chinese Medicine and Eastern and Holistic Nutrition. There have been many reasons that I began this work. First off, there was seeing my grandfather suffer for years on medications and the results of their side effects and interactions with one another. Then there was always my passion for alternative health and living ideas, which coincide with my holistic view of the Earth and deep care for this sweet planet we call home. The implications of being born into a time and place where we have grave environmental contamination from pollution of all kinds and where we all are paying the consequences has weighed heavy on my mind since I was a late teen. And then there has been my personal journey in which I have had blood sugar issues all my life, and later on I was faced with being diagnosed with a “disease”. I was told I would have to either have radiation, surgery or be on medication the rest of my life. I knew there were alternatives, and I have incorporated those to become dis-ease and pain-free! Today I am not on medication and have never had invasive Western treatment because of several Amma Therapists that shared their wisdom and knowledge with me. I am grateful.

For those I haven’t shared with I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease, a form of hyperthyroidism that speeds up your metabolism and your heart rate. Not only was I constantly eating and hungry, but I was an emotional wreck on a daily basis. At that time in my life I was close to losing everything: my mind, my job, my relationship, and I have never felt more out of control. While I did get on Western medication to get stabilized (and for which I am deeply thankful), I quickly reversed my condition and within three months was off of medication, never to be on it again.

It has now been four years and I no longer suffer. I have adopted a gluten-free life which is imperative to my thyroid health. I also take many high quality supplements daily and have incorporated a daily meditation practice into my life. I eat organic and many locally-raised foods. My exercise regime is full of regular hiking, dancing and mindful movement. And last but certainly not least are the Amma treatments and other energy and healing modalities I receive monthly or more. My thyroid only acts up a little now and again when in times of stress and imbalance. It is a reminder to me to take the self-care needed to feel good in my body.

I am grateful for the life I live and while it takes persistence and continual learning, I know that those things come with greater ease than accepting a path without it. I am now dedicated to working with people to prevent pain and to reduce and alleviate pain for those who suffer. I know pain has its lesson for all of us, but I have learned that once you stop and listen to what your mind/body/heart is saying, it will move on as it is temporary like all things in life.

Many Blessings,

Tanya

The Summer Season

In Chinese Medicine there is a ruling element for each of the seasons. The fire element rules the summer season. The main functions of fire in the body are of heating and circulating. The heat is essential in the body to warm the digestive fire and help the body absorb the nutrients. The other aspect of heat is that of the emotion and energy of vitality, joy and warmth to others. The fire element also carries out the ideas that the wood element sets forth and it feeds on creativity, action and change.

 
High blood pressure and low blood pressure, edema and cold hands and feet can be signs of a fire imbalance. Out of balance fire may also look like excessive joy, nervousness, inappropriate laughter or sadness. If there is fatigue, being overly shy, afraid to play, overly serious, or fainthearted then you also have a need to get your fire back in balance. Other signs of disharmony include not being able to sort out things in your life, difficulty having sound judgment, trouble with compassion or serving others, and either no sex drive or too much sexual activity.

 
Some of the ways to build up your fire are to eat more cooked foods esp. some whole grains and lots of vegetable, as well as some fruits during the summer. Keeping hydrated as well as limiting sugar, alcohol, meats, fats and dairy will help you feel light and at your best. As always, avoid processed foods and keep salt and caffeine to a minimum. Getting regular exercise is also necessary and this should always be mindful movement. My favorites include Qigong, a gentle yoga, biking, hiking, running or strength training. Emotionally it is important to process any anger, sadness or worry with journaling, counseling, play and other therapies.

 
Amma bodywork is one of the best ways to balance the fire element. Because Amma is based on Chinese Medicine, I can address the correlating organs of the fire element: the heart, small intestine, triple warmer and pericardium and help remove any blockages that have occurred. The body will then begin to regulate the blood flow better, assimilate the food digesting, and extract the nourishment. And finally the person will be able to express themselves with creativity, warmth and vitality!

 
Blessings,
Tanya

Breast Health

It was a little over two years ago that I had an annual exam and my doctor felt lumps in my breast. She told me very seriously that I needed to have the lumps checked out, in a firm and urgent tone. I left there feeling anxiety welling in me, and later, panic formed. I was frightened, and facing what many women in our society must: to reconcile that I may have breast cancer. My great grandmother passed from breast cancer and I never got to know her, so I took this information even more seriously. I also knew the possibility that I may be totally safe and the lumps could be benign. However, after leaving there, I developed a fear of my breast tissue that had the lumps. I couldn’t touch them without being thrown into a panic. I knew that this was something I needed to overcome, but the thought of cancerous tissue was more than my mind could handle.

Luckily by this time I was graduating from the Amma Therapy program and was on my way to becoming a holistic practitioner. There was more than the physical going on here I knew, and there were alternatives for me to seek out to help resolve this no matter the outcome. I was armed with knowledge, but nothing trumps an experience of an invitation of death on your doorstep.

I also had a great resource on my shelf, a book: “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” written by an MD. This doctor had been in practice a long time and seen many patients with lumps in their breasts. Her words calmed me. I learned that fear in my body would only create more of a problem. It didn’t mean that everything was going to be okay. I was not yet in the clear. It meant that I needed to change my mind about the way that I viewed lumps in my breasts.

These lumps are commonly benign and are either fibroadenoma or cysts, and sometimes still referred to as fibrocystic disease. Disease is a strong word and I prefer to state that we can be in dis-ease, or I refer to our health issues as disharmonies. Lumps are a common phenomenon and you do not have to be in fear when you find them. There are many reasons they can occur and be there even for some time. After all, 90% of lumps are benign. And if you do have cancerous tissue, there are often ways to work to remove the cancer from the body without having to use chemotherapy, radiation, or remove a breast, especially if it is caught early on.

Over time if the blood, qi and lymph of the breast tissues aren’t moved and become stuck in the chest, lumps can form. This can happen from improper diet, from emotional issues and being exposed to too much radiation, as well as other toxins in our environment. Wire bras constrict the flow of blood, lymph and qi, and can also be a factor in this energy restriction.

The liver meridian is linked to the breasts and the associated emotions with the liver are anger, frustration and resentment. Having any of these emotional issues can block the flow of energy in this area. It is good to keep in mind that many illnesses come about due to blocked emotions. This can be highly unconscious and if you have sent unloving thoughts to your breasts because of size or other body image issues, it will be important to forgive yourself and to love yourself as you are now.

Most people in our society are pretty well educated on the importance of doing regular breast exams. This is good self-care that I highly encourage. Massaging the tissue around the breasts regularly (especially where the bra lines are) to move the energy is important. Taking your bra off when you come home from work in the evening, or at least an hour or two before bedtime assists the energy to flow properly.

Diet, exercise and reducing stress are also huge factors in maintaining healthy breast tissue. Reducing dairy products is known to benefit breast tissue. And if you are consuming any dairy whatsoever, be sure it is organic so you are not adding additional hormones to your body, which may contribute to breast swelling, tenderness and pain. Reducing caffeine (and yes this includes chocolate), sugar and refined carbohydrates will help decrease the overstimulation of breast tissue. Alcohol, caffeine and tobacco are all very hard on the liver, and therefore stagnate the energy in and around the breasts.

Exercise is also essential because you have to move your body to move your lymph (or get bodywork). Working out four hours a week is recommended. Expressing all of your emotions in a positive and balanced way through journaling, meditation, counseling and mindful movement are also important in dealing with stress.

Amma therapy, a form of acupressure and massage, is very effective in helping move lymph, blood and especially the liver qi in the body. An entire treatment is focused on moving energy through all of the body, and getting regular treatments is great preventative health care. Specific points can be done during a session around the breasts and over other areas of the body to help coordinate the flow so that all organs are networked and in proper alignment. Sessions can assist in reducing lumps, pain and treating other women’s issues.

It is my desire to bring peace, clarity of mind, and to assist you in your health so you may go out and do good things in the world!

Blessings,
Tanya

Winter’s Energetics

Winter is a time to go within, to recharge and to prepare for the coming time of growth in the spring. It is a time of introspection and yin building, where the focus is on stillness, listening and reflection.

The water element rules the winter. Water is our life blood, and it also circulates all of the body’s fluids. Therefore, water is able to move out waste, help nourish the body, and carries heat to warm us. The kidneys and the bladder are the associated organs and assist the body in cleansing and moving water through the body. The kidneys also help heat the body. When the water energies are in balance in the body, circulation will be present and will help us to maintain warmth.

Fear is the primary emotion that is associated with the kidneys. When there is an imbalance or stuck energy of the water element, we can become overly emotional and fear can easily rise up.  Being overly negative or constantly anxious will also affect the bladder and kidney. Resentment that is held over a long period of time will strain the bladder, and can cause bladder infections.

The ears, teeth, bones, the spine and knees are additionally associated with the kidneys. If you have any issues with these areas, your kidney energy needs attention. The kidneys are responsible for our overall life force, our growth, development and sexuality. If you suffer from fatigue, overuse stimulants or any kind of drugs, or have sexual dysfunction, this also points to a tax on the kidneys. Inappropriate rest or exercise, and not nourishing the self with high quality foods will deplete the kidneys too. A person’s will is related to the kidney energy. If you lack willpower to make the changes in your life that you wish to, the kidney energy is deficient.

Amma Therapy will address all of these issues by balancing the kidney energies, as well as the other organs that have become stuck and are contributing to the dis-ease. It is always nice to see how much people are able to resolve emotional build up, unhealthy mental habits and physical stress during an Amma session.

The Metal Element, Lungs and The Large Intestine

Here we are in the beautiful autumn season ruled by the element of metal. The eliminating organs of the skin, large intestine, sinuses and lungs are governed by the metal element, and need to have extra attention during this time. This time of year is also referred to as “cold and flu” season, which runs through the winter months. The reality is that this can be a time of health and wellness for you and your family, if you are vigilant with good hygiene, healthy food and preventative measures. There are various ways to care for these delicate organs of the lungs and sinuses, as well as the large intestine, to keep them at their optimum. Traditional Chinese Medicine always looks at things holistically and I will identify ways to care for your emotions, mind and spirit as well as body.

We know that sugar causes inflammation in the body. With the holidays, we tend to over-indulge and have more desserts. Some indulging can be okay in moderation, but this is a time to also honor your body by eating more whole foods. An accumulation of mucus forming foods and processed foods will lead to sluggish digestion. This improper elimination leads to toxins building up that eventually come out of your sinuses, and respiratory system. This is how you get sick.

Begin to care for your body by cutting back on the sugar, dairy, fried foods, noodles and bread. Start drinking warm lemon water daily to alkalize the body. Eating lots of steamed organic veggies will add lots of vitamins and minerals into your system, which will prevent disease and support the nervous system, which will decrease stress.

If you are “uptight” or nervous, it may be because you aren’t expressing yourself creatively or not expressing your feelings. With all of the family and holiday requirements, this can come up more often. By not expressing one’s self, the intestines will slow down and this will again affect the lungs and sinuses.

Breathe in with the new and out with the old with consciousness. As the days get darker, it is easier to go inward more, and meditation and breathing practices will assist your health. Breathing and awareness of this helps us to be in tune with our emotional state. The ruling emotion of the autumn season is grief and sadness. When we hold on to melancholy, we are not allowing the large intestine to move things through and out. We also sometimes become stuffed up in our sinuses, holding those feelings in. Journaling and working through these emotions, not stuffing them away, is necessary.

Any kind of mindful movement practices will additionally assist the body in releasing these emotions. Getting in enough sleep and proper exercise- a good half hour a day will also move the emotions and stress through, as well as keep the lymph moving, which is the body’s defense system. Amma or other bodywork is great for tuning up the body, releasing blocks, and moving the lymph. This increases one’s immunity to the pathogens that always surround us.

Wishing you all the best in health & joy!

Tanya

Transitioning to Winter: The Season of Rest and Sleep

Seasonal Imbalance and Amma Therapy

Here we are in the transition season from fall into winter. The transition periods between seasons are governed by the Earth element. During these transition times we may feel out of sorts and it is important to get 7-9 hours of sleep, rest and exercise. You may find yourself in disharmony if you are feeling resistive to change, are overindulging, overly ingratiating, extremely fatigued, worried, and foggy-brained. If you are especially drawn to the color yellow and/or have a yellow colored complexion you additionally may have a propensity towards having too much of the Earth element.  By getting an Amma bodywork treatment you can have this imbalance shift and your body will get back into its natural rhythm.

Sleep, TCM, the Heart and Kidneys

Sleep in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is often related to the heart, as it is the organ that is responsible for governing thought, memory and sleep. The acupoints correlating to heart imbalances such as insomnia are stimulated in treatment and the stuck energy is then released allowing the organs to work together in unison and the symptoms to dissipate. The heart also houses the shen, which is the name of the emotional component of the heart, and also referred to as the spirit. Acupressure points can assist the shen when it is disturbed, as there will be either excessive or dream-disturbed sleep, an inability to feel adequately rested, or insomnia. There is also a heart and kidney balance that must be maintained as the heart gives blood to the kidneys, and the kidney raises heat for the fire needed in the heart. Pathogens and a blood deficient diet, heavy menstrual periods and other issues can also affect the heart and therefore sleep. The kidneys not only need to assist the heart, but they store our essence and life energy. They are the organ that predominantly presents with a chronic neglect of rest. As with any chronic condition, continued treatments will assist in building the body back up, along with self-care recommendations and Chinese herbs.

Seasonal Cycles, Stress and Sleep Deprivation

Although we are not taught to slow down this time of year in our culture, our bodies need to be in rhythm with the seasonal cycles. This is the season of hibernation. We require adequate sleep for rebuilding our bodies and processing the day.  Often times with the holidays we feel obligated and excited to be active and social. And there are many positive aspects to doing so when balanced with rest and good sleep. However, since improper rest and nutritional deficiencies are often present, stress-related disorders are high this time of year.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and depression around the holidays are all too common. And depression is linked to not having proper sleep and rest. Another result from deficient sleep is higher anxiety levels, which are exacerbated by being overly busy and over thinking. Without getting proper sleep, your ability to think, process information and your memory become impaired. Sleep is so essential that when our circadian rhythms are disrupted, our white blood cell count goes down, and our ability to physically respond to stress and pathogens is limited. To top it all off, when you don’t sleep enough, you crave foods and eat things you shouldn’t. This negative cycle takes you down the path to sickness and disharmony.

Insomnia and Sleep Deprivation Prevention

A good way to disrupt this vicious cycle is to create a plan that builds in adequate rest and sleep. If you suffer from insomnia, there are things that can be done at home. Scheduling the TV and the computer to go off an hour or two before bedtime will allow your body to produce melatonin and your body will not be tricked by the artificial lighting into thinking it should stay up late. Too much socializing can lead to late nights and inadequate rest. Challenge yourself to say ‘no’ or answer with ‘let me get back to you’ when you know you could be over-committing. When you find yourself over-committed, sometimes you can gracefully back out. Remember the reason for the season is to spend quality time with loved ones, but you can’t be everyone to everybody.

Here’s to sleep!
Tanya

Tanya Kutterer
Amma Therapist
Blue Heron Holistic Health
tanyabhhh@gmail.com

Autumn and Colon Care

Many of us are finding ourselves fatigued these days and in need of a reset. There are a variety of things to keep in mind at this time and you will have to see what’s right for you to add or change. Whether it’s starting a meditation practice, getting in a new exercise routine, giving yourself permission to rest or get pampered, taking a mini-retreat, or finding a more balanced way of eating, you will need to make the change or your body will assist you through illness. Funny how the body will tell us even when we don’t want to listen and insist we don’t have time. Being sick at home forces you to make time. Instead of waiting, take a well day and get an Amma treatment as your reset.

Besides the overall energy of needing to go inward during the fall, there can be deeper seated issues for a lack of energy. One way to overcome this fatigue is through the care of the colon. The time of autumn is ruled by the organs of the lungs and the colon, which are yin yang pairs. The colon plays a larger role in our overall health than we give it credit for and if we are overly fatigued we may be literally backed up. Sometimes through illness or acute bowel movement issue, we know that the colon isn’t functioning optimally. However, when a person is feeling relatively good how would they know if their colon is working the best that it can?

Here are some ways to tell if your colon is functioning properly: you wake up in the morning and you don’t have bad breath, you are having at least one bowel movement a day, your face complexion is clear, you don’t have bloating or gas after meals, and you have energy throughout the day without artificial stimulants. Surprisingly, skin disorders, headaches, weight gain, eye issues, and muscle or joint pain are often related to a colon disharmony. In fact, most illnesses can be traced back to the colon.

The colon absorbs water and nutrients and eliminates what the body does not need. Diets high in sugar, unfermented dairy products, flour products- especially gluten grains, all tax the colon and accumulate inside of it. In addition, recreational and prescription drugs, birth control pills and antibiotics kill the good flora in your gut, as well as add to the mucosal lining and further prevent absorption of nutrients. Limiting these foods and substances or cleansing to eliminate all of these for a time will assist your body into balance. It is additionally imperative to have an adequate amount of water each day. If you aren’t properly hydrated, the colon will not be able to absorb the nutrients from the food no matter how high the quality.

Anything that you can do to care for the lungs will also positively influence the colon, because they are yin yang pairs. Using big deep breaths, a good cardio workout, expressing and releasing emotions -especially sadness or grief will greatly help the colon (and lungs) to be in good form. If you aren’t getting rest or enough sleep, the colon will not have energy to perform, so sleep is excellent medicine.

Besides food, the colon is easily strained by emotions and stress. There are so many nerves that run into and from the colon that it is probably no surprise that stress and anger cause the bowels to contract, thus impacting proper elimination. Stress will drain the adrenals and thyroid and lead to a greater loss in energy. By keeping your interaction with negative people to a minimum, having meals without stressful conversation, journaling, or finding a therapist to talk, you will be on the right track. Addressing your stress by getting regular Amma bodywork will keep the body in balance and boost the immune system.

How does Amma assist? Amma is a holistic modality and it balances the energies in the body. There are specific techniques to assist the colon such as manipulating over the intestines to help move its contents through. Stimulation of specific points for the presenting symptoms and massaging over the colon and lung channels will unblock the stagnation of energies. Often, stomach and spleen points will be addressed as their role is to assimilate and absorb nutrients. The liver points and channel often need extra attention depending on how much extra work they have been put under. When the colon is dirty, the liver will not eliminate into the colon like it is supposed to. The liver will get further strained causing one to have more anger and frustration, as this is the corresponding emotion of liver. All of the organ systems are interrelated, so energetic bodywork movement with corresponding points that treat the person as an individual and the body as a whole is always the focus. Each patient is also given recommendations to assist their individual system to perform its best- be it with food, herbs or lifestyle.

The best part is that after the treatment you will have clarity and things will seem sharper. You will feel peaceful and at ease, and also fresh like the energy after a storm. That’s why Amma is so amazing!

Here’s to health!

Tanya Kutterer

Amma Bodywork Therapist
Blue Heron Holistic Health
tanyabhhh@gmail.com
208-371-4410