Bones and hearing in Chinese medicine

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can sometimes be difficult to explain. Some of you may have noticed that I ask quite a lot of questions about your condition, and often these may seem like very irrelevant questions. For instance why do I suddenly ask about night-time trips to the bathroom when you’re telling me about your low back pain? It’s because in Chinese medicine, everything is connected along the road networks of the body commonly known as channels and meridians.

Consider this: Just a few short years ago the concept of your gut flora being more important than just drinking a few probiotics seemed novel. As research in the area has ballooned we are finding out more and more that your gut plays a more important role than just to aid digestion and boost immunity – there is now exciting studies on the mind-gut connection. That is, how healthy your gut is could possibly affect your mood and risk of depression. What an unlikely link you may say but in Chinese medicine, it is precisely this so-called irrelevant connections that help us diagnose and treat.

So if you are diagnosed with osteoporosis have you noticed any hearing loss? A recent study has now shown that there is a connection between your hearing and bone health. A study published recently in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism looked at more than 10,000 Taiwan residents diagnosed with osteoporosis had a 76 percent higher risk of developing sudden deafness. This type of hearing loss isn’t permanent and half of those who experience it will regain their hearing.

The researchers said:

While the study couldn’t prove cause-and effect and the reasons for the link remain unclear, the study theorized that heart risk factors, inflammation and bone demineralization may each contribute to the association between weakening bones and quick loss of hearing.

In Chinese medicine, bones and hearing are linked by the Kidney channel and functions. The Chinese medicine Kidney is like the fireplace in a mansion house, it provides warmth for the home and also brings life and family around it. When the Kidney function goes wrong or becomes weak, then you can expect conditions that include low back pain, weakness or pain in the knees, hair loss and tinnitus or hearing problems.

While research is still trying to find the connection between seemingly unrelated conditions, in Chinese medicine it is often explained by something as simple as the pathway of a particular channel. In this case the best course of action is to strengthen the Kidney function through a good, warm diet that includes of dark green leafy vegetables and black sesame, taking herbal tonics and having regular acupuncture.

Osteoporosis tied to hearing loss | The Dallas Morning News

Sitting too much really is bad for you

Being a couch potato isn’t an ideal way to spend the day (which is probably why we curl up on the sofa in the evening-curling isn’t really sitting, is it?) and we all know that exercise is really good for us, mentally and physically. Did you know though that prolonged sitting is actually really, really bad for you?

study of more than 200,000 Australians showed that the more people sat, the higher the risk of death. This study took into account age, gender, weight, general health status and exercise which would all affect the death risk.

The interesting finding was that although exercise did reduce the risk of prolonged sitting, it doesn’t completely cancel it out. What does this mean? It means that a person sitting 11 hours a day and works out 3 times a week is probably not any better off than a person who does minimal exercise but is on their feet most of the day. Surprising, huh?

Exercise is important, and the more you can incorporate it into your lifestyle the better. However these findings suggest that if you couldn’t make it to the gym this week then it’s not the end of the world but you can benefit your health in other easy ways:

1.  Stand on public transport.

I can often be found standing in an almost empty train carriage. It’s just a habit of mine, but after reading about this research, there is even more reason to stay away from sitting on the commute.

2.  Get up when you’re thinking.

Unfortunately most of us are tied to the desk in some way or another. But when you’re not physically using the computer, stand up. I read my newspapers standing up at the kitchen counter, because I have a really nice view of the duck pond from the kitchen window. Some people are investing in “standing desks”, or you could just get up when you have a brainstorming session or talking on the phone.

3.  Walk, walk, walk.

The recent weather (“the wettest drought since records began”) doesn’t make it fun but if it’s practical, resist the urge to be dropped off door-to-door. I have a friend who gets into her car to drive down the road and around the corner to the local shop. She’s a dear girl, but don’t be like her.

The key point to remember is that while we should all strive for physical activity, we should also be focusing on just simply getting up and moving about.