Traditional Chinese Medicine -TCM for Animals

(continued from July 2012 holistic animal care issue)

All living things embody Chi or life force energy. Chi is the energy that constantly flows through the body moving blood and fluid, nourishing, replenishing and protecting the body, bones and organs through the meridians. Chi, in nature, has two major aspects that are opposite, yet interdependent of each other and are constantly dividing and transforming into each other to keep balance. Harmonious flow of Chi is the goal of Chi. Chi holds a Yin and a Yang, (Fire and Water). These are its two major aspects that work constantly to be equal, which keeps the body, mind and soul balanced. Yin (Water like aspect) holds a downward energy presenting itself as colder, wet, dark in hue, deeper in nature and has density while Yang (Fire like aspect) is hot, dry, red, active and more transparent with an upward nature. When Yin and Yang are balanced the immune system is strong and internal organs function properly, but if Yin and Yang become imbalanced, illnesses can occur. Look at the patterns of disharmony to see if it is an excess – usually acute in nature or if it is a deficiency, which is usually chronic in nature to see how to bring the Yin and Yang back into balance. For example, if your dog has hot spots, purple tongue, and it is the middle of summer, by using the chart you would know he has a Yang excess or a Yin deficiency and would feed your dog the Yin or Cold foods to tonify his system and cool it down.

Chi has many functions and six of the most general of these functions are to:

1. promote blood circulation and distribution of body fluids

2. warm the body

3. defend the body from internal and external pathogens

4. control bodily functions

5. transform essential substances such as digestion transforms food into nutrients and body fluids transform into blood

6. nourish the body (Spleen turns food into nutrients for the organs, bones and tissues).

All of these functions are necessary for the continuous flow of chi through the body and for maintaining health. Chi is the spark that emanates Life!

The Five Element Theory is used for the purpose of identifying the nature of the imbalance, illness or disease. It works for those that need the tangible to “see” scientifically how the imbalance occurred and can be brought back into balance by using the Food Therapy charts containing the elements. Click here to purchase our charts that can help you greatly with your animals’ diets.

Within the Five Element chart there is the outer creation cycle that follows the seasons, if you will and is constantly in transformation – Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. Fire being the mother of Earth, Earth being the mother of Metal, Metal being the mother of Water, Water being the mother of Wood and Wood being the mother of Fire, and thus the cycle continues. Each of these elements has a control cycle within the structure of the circle and the energy flows across to the element it controls.

For instance, Fire controls Metal because it can melt the steel with heat, Metal controls Wood as an axe can chop the wood, Water controls Fire by extinguishing the blaze and Wood controls Earth with its root system.

Each element has several attributes associated with its element. These attributes are extremely beneficial in helping determine which element is being affected and which acupressure/acupuncture points or food sources should be used n treatment. Each element has a season, climate, direction, color, emotion, orifice, smell, governed body part, and a pair of meridians that are associated with each element. When we apply the Five Element Theory, we look at the indicators of the animal to see what element is showing a deficient or excess condition. For instance, if a dog has watery eyes, a rather offensive odor and putrid breath, very brittle nails that are splitting, walking with a limp, itching constantly yet there were no fleas, and his tummy is HOT and dark red in the late winter/early spring, by using the chart we would determine that he is suffering from a yang or excessive Wood condition because the hot stomach, outward symptoms of the eyes and “obsessive” scratching. The chart tells us that the Wood element is related to the Liver and Gall Bladder and the acupoints along the liver and gall bladder meridians should be part of the treatment plan, as well as treating with cold foods and spring/summer herbs because of the heat and irritation (itching).

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a lifetime journey of learning, but to understand the basic principles of food therapies - (hot, neutral and cool foods and proteins), adapt to the constant seasonal changes by balancing Yin and Yang, you promote a harminous flow of energy (chi) and maintain a center of balance. This ounce of prevention can provide a long, healthy and happy life for our animals by following these simplified principles of the TCM diet, acupressure points, and the tuina massgae techniques for our animals. Just keep in mind an easy start is to utilize our Food Therapy Charts. You can use muscle testing to help you determine which foods you should be feeding. If you do not know how to do muscle testing, we offer an instructional ebook with photos.

Remember to make holistic care a way of like, not a last resort.


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