Chinese medicine has always paid close attention to the rhythms and cycles that surround us and how best we can live in accordance with these to maximise our health.
It’s generally when we have ignored these cycles that our health starts to suffer and we need medicine.
As the seasons change and transition into one another, we have a chance to reflect on the naturally occurring rhythms around us. As humans we relate to daily, monthly as well as seasonal cycles. One such cycle is called the circadian rhythm, which relates to how we engage with activity, rest and sleep. When done well, the way we negotiate our circadian rhythm can really feed us, strengthen us and drastically improve our fertility. We can, of course, get it wrong.
In clinic we’ll often refer to the circadian rhythm in relation to the brain – the pineal gland and melatonin production. However, we are constantly learning more about it.
See, for example, the exciting recent research by Japanese American neurobiologist and geneticist Joseph Takahashi, which has found that all tissues in the body contain genes which are impacted by the circadian cycles, with the highest levels being in the skeletal muscles:
“That was a surprise. We used to think the clock was only in the brain, but now we know that the clock genes are expressed throughout all tissues in the body,” said Joseph Takahashi, PhD, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Dallas.”
For more from Mr Takahashi click here.
With the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbs, our goal is to re-establish the innate cycles within the body, so that the body can make its own medicine. The body makes melatonin, FSH, LH, it makes oestrogens and progesterone, and it makes testosterone. The body is actually capable of restoring its own health when given the right help and conditions.