Welcome and Ku Kham Sang
The Tibetan greeting "Ku Kham Sang" (སྐུ་ཁམས་བཟང་།) means, "Good health and well-being." "Ku" is the honorific term for the physical body and "Kham" is the honorific term for the mind or well being. "Sang" means "Good." When these three words are used together as: "Ku Kham Sang" they are a wish for good health and well-being every time that you see someone.
Stay Healthy In The Cold & Flu Season With Tibetan Medicine
Summer has passed and fall has just arrived. Teachers are back to teach and students are back to learn, but they are susceptible to catching cold or flu because fall is considered "cold and flu season" in the west. Normally, at this time, people tend to catch a cold or flu because someone near them had it or because the weather is changing. According to Tibetan Medicine, the body is made up of five different elements: earth, fire, water, air, and space (within Tibetan Medicine) and earth, fire, water, metal and wood (within Tibetan Astrology.) When these five elements are in homeostasis the mind and body are balanced but if any of these elements become imbalanced then the body and mind also start to present health issues. The five elements also are also considered to be the main components of our external environment and each element corresponds with different seasons and different internal organs.
For this particular season we are transitioning from Summer to Fall and our elements are considered to be transitioning from "fire" to "metal". Therefore, our Lungs and Respiratory system become more focused than other organs which explains (from the perspective of Tibetan Medicine) why the fall season is considered to be "cold and flu" season.
In general, teachers, students, and people who work inside big open office spaces or with the public frequently can be at a higher risk to "catch" either a common cold or flu. Cold and flu are considered two different things from the perspective of Western medicine. Within Western medicine, people are often encouraged to get a flu shot as a preventative method. However, since the flu can be caused by different types of viruses, some patients (even if they receive a shot) can still get very sick. If flu symptoms are not prevented or controlled well a patient can get bronchitis or pneumonia.
The Center For Disease Control (CDC) and western medical science generally recommend drinking lots of water or other fluids, eating chicken soup, and going home to rest. The CDC also advises us to wash our hands frequently during the season and to use anti-bacterial hand gel. There are some researchers who claim that anti-bacterial gel does not work and could potentially even be harmful, this is still a controversial subject. There are also some manufacturers who claim to sell natural herbal based anti-bacterial gels which they say are healthier than those with chemicals in them. In short, there is not a perfect and absolute method to prevent colds and flu according to the western medical system. Therefore, the commitment of our center is to offer holistic, complementary, and alternative healing approaches to the general public.
According to Tibetan Medicine, a "cold" or "flu" can not only occur in the fall season but at any time when there is a transitioning of the temperature (for instance, when the seasons change.) I often joke with my San Francisco area students that we experience all the seasons here within a single day. In general, we need to be cautious about what we wear and how to take care of ourselves not only throughout the year but also throughout the day. We need to be aware of temperature changes throughout the day. For instance, in San Francisco, the weather could be very good in the early morning, but the late morning is much colder, and then it gets even colder still in the afternoon. Suddenly, it can turn very windy, cold, or hot.
I'd like to share health tips for the cold and flu throughout the seasons and throughout the day. Since bacteria and viruses are not part of the theory within Tibetan Medicine, we consider there to be six different stages of "cold like" conditions. If someone reaches the stage of becoming contagious, this is described as being within the realm of 18 different types of contagious disease. Tibetan Medicine advises wearing protection necklaces, boiling herbal medicines, breathing herbal steams, and taking different types of herbs for prevention. Within Tibetan Medicine, a cold and flu prevention necklace is not just for decoration but for is used for prevention of cold and flu. This necklace is thought to have an excellent effect in the prevention of colds and flu within in the history of Tibetan Medicine. This necklace's application is that it is generally worn and sniffed 1-2 times daily early in the evening or late at night. (Please note that this necklace is not to be used by infants or toddlers and it's ingredients are not meant to be ingested.)
During the avian flu that swept through Asia a few years ago, this necklace served as protection to a great number of people within the areas of: Tibet, China, and India. I even used it for some of my patients when the flu was reported here within the United States a few years ago and they were protected well and did not become ill from colds or flu. (See the photo and the comment below in this enewsletter.) Another common method for the prevention of illness within Tibetan Medicine is to make a herbal decoction (Herbal Tea). If you have a cold or flu and you catch the symptoms early enough, Tibetan Herbal remedies are capable of preventing cold or flu. The steam or vapor of a single herbal decoction (or a combination) can be inhaled by yourself, friends, and family members in the home as a preventative method. The early signs are frequent sneezing, a scratchy, irritated, or sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches, chills, fever and shivering, dry or mild cough, chest congestion, low energy and appetite.
If you notice these symptoms, consider contacting your local doctor to help you try to resolve these issues in the early stage. If you are past these symptoms, then you need to work toward treatment rather than prevention because you are one step behind. One of my patients who was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis for many years had a doctor who told her that she needed to be extra careful not to get a cold or flu because it could be deadly since her immune system was very weak. She worked in a big open public space on a computer most of the week and there were hundreds of people working in the same area. She would be very scared whenever she heard anyone around her coughing or sneezing. After she started taking these herbal teas it kept her healthy for two years in a row. She didn't catch a cold or flu even while other people around her did. The Tibetan Wellness & Healing Center wishes for everyone to stay healthy in the fall of 2013.
~ MenpaYangdron Kalzang, Tibetan Doctor and LAc.
Winter Health & Nutrition Classes
Taught by Yangdron Kalzang, LAc
Location: The Tse Chen Ling Center, 300 Jules Ave, San Francisco, CA
(at the corner of Jules and De Montfort streets)
If you wish to attend please RSVP to:
(Donation: $10-$20. Classes limited to 20 people.)
Protect Yourself From Overeating
Saturday Nov 16th, 10:00am-12:00pm
Learn strategies to protect yourself from overeating during the year end holiday season.
Healthy Winter Soup Day
Saturday Dec 14th, 10:00am-12:00pm
Learn how to make a delicious and warming winter stew with the guidance of Tibetan Medicine (lunch included).