Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Getting enough rest: a good way to start the New Year

Published:Wednesday | December 31, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Tracey-Ann Brown, Complementary & Oriental Medicine

After the usually very hectic Christmas period, many will find themselves especially looking forward to catching up on some much-needed rest. While most people recognise that they function and feel much better when they are well rested, the endeavours of daily life often make it very difficult for us to get enough. With the reflection that usually accompanies the transition to a new year, one thing to consider is how to get enough rest and sleep.

BENEFITS OF REST

Chronic or prolonged low energy or exhaustion over time can affect a number of daily functions, such as: the carrying out of daily tasks, work, mood, health, and can affect the general quality of life.

The benefits of sufficient rest include:

Improved overall health

Less pain, whether due to chronic or acute pain conditions

Improved moods

Better weight control

Boosts brain function, clearer thinking and improved memory

Improved energy and immunity

Lowers stress

Aids sleep

In traditional Chinese medicine, a feeling of exhaustion or depletion is typically characterised as a deficiency of the body's qi.

TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE

Although in traditional Chinese medicine, chronic tiredness is often considered a deficient condition, in some cases, it is considered an excess condition brought on by the obstruction of the proper movement and transformation of qi, which is the case, for example, in persons suffering the after-effects of the chikungunya virus, which is accompanied by pain and which has continued to affect so many.

In the case of a deficiency, treatment depends on the type of deficiency.

Lung Qi Deficiency: fatigue accompanied by shortness of breath and coughing

Spleen Qi Deficiency: fatigue accompanied by digestive problems such as poor appetite, abdominal bloating especially following meals and loose bowel movements

Heart Qi Deficiency: fatigue accompanied by palpitations, racing of the heart and slight breathlessness

Yang Deficiency: characterised by an intolerance of cold alongside feelings of fatigue

Yin Deficiency: characterised by an intolerance of heat alongside feelings of fatigue.

Blood deficiency: tiredness which is worse at midday, accompanied by poor memory, dizziness, poor sleep and blurry vision.

HERBAL REMEDIES

Herbs which are beneficial in boosting energy and a general feeling of well-being include:

Ren Shen (Radix Ginseng): one of the most well-known qi tonics. Ren Shen has a wide range of actions and can be used for lung qi, spleen qi and heart qi deficiencies.

Da Zao (Chinese Date, Jujube): is used to strengthen in cases of spleen qi and blood deficiencies.

Gan Cao (Licorice): is used in cases of lung and spleen qi deficiencies.

Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica Root, Tang-Kuei): another very popular herb, is indicated in cases of blood deficiency.

Yin Yang Huo (Licentious Goat Wort): indicated in cases of yang deficiency, it is also used for impotence.

Hei Zhi Ma (Black Sesame Seed): is used in cases of yin deficiency and blood deficiency.

As we all look for ways to rejuvenate and replenish, here's to a healthy and joy-filled New Year.

Dr Tracey-Ann Brown is an oriental medicine practitioner of acupuncture and herbal medicine as well as adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology in Oriental/ Chinese Medicine. email: traceyannbrown@gmail.com; yourhealth@gleanerjm.com.