Toby Stephens – Clinic Director

  • BSc. Health Sciences (Acupuncture)

  • 6 years Traditional Clinical Apprenticeship in Japan

  • British Acupuncture Council Member

  • Certified Shiatsu Practitioner

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The End of the World! (or just another long hot summer?)

December 20, 2012

The End of the World?
There are those who believe that the Mayans predicted the end of the world on the 21st of December 2012. However, according to the ancient Japanese calendar, it will simply be the first day of summer here in Rio (winter in Japan). Anyway, whilst I suspect we will happily all wake up on 22nd of December, there is still the looming spectre of the realisation that we are all still here and still have plenty of Christmas presents to buy.

 

Sweat
So this means we have a long, hot few months ahead of us. At this time it is natural for our bodies to open up and get rid of a lot of unnecessary things that have accumulated through the winter months. I say “natural” but unfortunately it is no longer “normal”. Naturally, this is a time when the pores of the skin open and we sweat. But nowadays, we have a tendancy to spend a lot of time in air conditioning, so the pores close (and can get stuck closed) and as a consequence the natural clearing and cleaning process of sweating is much reduced.

 

What can we do? Try each day (morning is the best time) to do some kind of activity or light exercise, outside, for at least 15-20 minutes. This will warm your body, let the pores open and make you sweat. “Why heat up the body when it is already hot inside?!” you ask. The point is that the heat inside is not useful and is not moving. It is stuck. So, you will radiate out this excess (and useless) heat stuck in your body.

 

Move!
(Unfortunately) the actual movement of this heat trapped in your muscles and menbranes is only achieved effectively through the generation of heat by your muscles. Not simply by being in a warm place. So yes, you need to move! (Spare a thought for your poor dog who has no pores in its skin and must achieve this same task simply by panting – be grateful for your sweat!). Afterwards you will feel much refreshed – and your body will be preparing and cleaning itself for the next season. This will also help to help clear your system if you have been “celebrating” hard the night before.

 

Incidentally, this need to sweat in the summer is one if the reasons why the English insist on drinking tea, even on a hot day. The warm fluid inside your digestive system begins the opening process from the inside. From the perspective of oriental medicine, your skin and digestive system are closely related and treatment for skin problems often involves the meridians connected with the stomach and intestines. I will explore this idea in a future Newsletter. (

 

A nice cup of Tea
The other reason for our incessant tea-drinking, of course, is addiction!. But the lesson is clear. When our external environment is hot, a hot drink will help the natural opening/ sweating process occur. This is especially true if you’re feeling tired with no energy after eating. Try a cup of coffee or tea (perhaps with ginger!) instead of the usual cold beverage and you should feel more awake and enlivened.

 

Anyway – As we come to the Christmas festivities, I want to thank you for your support over my first few months in Brasil. I want also to thank you for trusting a strange Englishman from Japan with your health. I will continue to do my best for you in the new year.

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