Pulse of Oriental Medicine: Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks

  The Wood Personality Type
Inspiration and Strategic Planning for Success without Coffee and Espresso
Strategic planning for success is a trademark of Wood Personality Types in Oriental Medicine. They are driven with the ambition to win. One unhealthy fuel for inspiration is coffee (espresso, caffeine). The effects of caffeine on this personality profile are negative. You can improve health and in a positive way with the solutions in this article

I Didn't Want To Quit Espresso
I did everything I could to avoid it. I tried different kinds. Drinking it at different times. Taking herbs to offset the side effects. Giving myself acupuncture for the headaches. Nothing worked. I was too irritable, too sound-sensitive. I had migraines and eye pain. I had to quit coffee.

I Needed Espresso
  Actually, I quit espresso not coffee, because by that time, coffee wasn't good enough for me. I thought espresso was 'purer,' a better drug. I thought I needed it. I was too groggy in the morning, and I needed to be inspired! Never mind that part of my grogginess was because I couldn't sleep that well, even
if I only drank coffee in the morning. Never mind that there are better ways to be inspired.

Wood Types and Coffee Don't Mix
  The fact is that, constitutionally, I am a Wood type. I'm assertive with a tendency toward aggressiveness. I enjoy competition and ambition. I make quick decisions, I am disagreeable, direct, and stubborn. I don't like to be wrong. I take the lead out of impatience with others. I like taking
risks. I drive fast and I climb rocks without safety equipment. I loved how espresso made me feel powerful and invulnerable.

But I Didn't Really Need It

A Wood type like me doesn't need coffee. I have plenty of drive, inspiration, and creativity without it. In fact, someone like me needs balance in the other direction. There are chinese herbal formulas that help. the ones that move the liver qi, calm the shen, and protect the spleen. For example, xiao yao san or its modification dan zhi xiao yao san are good. Even the bitter and cold formula, long dan xie gan tang, is occasionally (in the short-term) appropriate.

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Are You A Wood Type Too?

I'm not trying to be self-centered and just talk about me. There are other Wood types out there - they're the type A personalities, the power-drivers, the always-on and frequently-irritable types. If you relate, you may find out how to find balance for yourself. A wood type's stagnation can show up in a number of ways: it can attack the earth leading to digestive symptoms (e.g. nausea and loss of appetite), or the metal affecting breathing or elimination (shortness of breath, asthma, constipation). Stagnation of wood element qi can also rise upwards leading to headaches, red eyes, migraines, eye pain, insomnia, irritability, frustration, and anger.

First Do No Harm - Stop Hurting Yourself
I've heard it said that in treating disease, the first thing you should do is STOP anything that makes it worse. Stop hurting yourself! I know. easier said than done. There's always a reason why we do what we do. Even if it hurts us, it fulfills some other need we don't think we can get met elsewhere. This is kind of like side effects; drugs often fix one thing, but cause imbalance elsewhere. Chinese herbal formulas are better at avoiding this phenomenon. If you are interested in the obsession/compulsion/addiction angle, you may want to read my articles about addiction or food cravings.

The Four Categories of Knowledge

To explain how to deal with your wood type constitution, I first need to divide your knowledge into four categories:

  1. What you know you know (your known abilities)
  2. What you know you don't know (your known limits)
  3. What you don't know you know (your hidden abilities)
  4. What you don't know you don't know (your hidden limits)

(Hey, I'm with you - I don't like the limits, either!)

1. Your Known Abilities - Don't take these for granted!

You know what you know you can do. You might want to make a list of these things to refer back to when you get frustrated. List your talents, skills, achievements, hobbies, etc.

2. Your Known Limits - Limits are no fun, but if you are honest with yourself, you can find ways around them.

If you know you don't know what's causing your disease, you can at least go find resources to answer your questions (that's why I love the world wide web!). The right question will lead you to the right answer. If you know you have headaches, migraines, eye pain, redness, insomnia, irritability, frustration, and anger, your questions maybe be: Why do I have these? What causes them? What makes them better or worse? How can I change them?

3. Your Hidden Abilities - These are cool because they reflect untapped potential!

The only way to find out what you are capable of is to try something new. Bouldering has been that way for me. I always loved to climb trees, thought about rock climbing, and never got around to it. Having a climbing partner has made all the difference in the world. There are many things we should do, even things we want to do, but we find we cannot do them alone. Human beings need human beings.

So, try that new thing you haven't gotten around to. Rent a musical instrument. Get a book. Talk to someone new. Search the web. And find someone who's just as excited about it to share it with. You won't know what you can do until you've really tried!

4. Your Hidden Limits - This may be the scariest category. Fortunately, we have solutions:

Oriental Medicine is a system of relationships based on thousands of years of clinical experience. An OM doctor can say, "Your red eyes, headaches and anger are related. They are part of a pattern. We have herbal formulas to treat that pattern" The 5 constitutional types (Wood, Earth, Water, Metal, Fire) are one system of relationships. Once we have an idea of your pattern or type, we can give you not just herbs, but also appropriate diet, lifestyle, and exercise advice. For example:

Balancing the Wood Type

Exercise: Wood Types do better with aerobic exercise. Running is better than lifting weights. There's nothing wrong with lifting weights, but wood types need to move a lot. They have a lot of energy to burn off, and if they don't do that, it just stagnates and leads to symptoms.

Diet: Wood Types should avoid greasy fried food. And coffee! Sour foods are good for them. Spicy foods could be too hot and moving for them.

Lifestyle: Movement is the key with wood types. A healthy wood type is actually a great leader, a good planner. The archetype is the General.

  • Write it down. Thoughts need to move. Sometimes this isn't possible just 'in your head.' You may just be going in circles. Journaling, writing, and self-examination are good ways to get your thoughts in order and moving. You'd be amazed. I am every time I do it. Write down your goals, your priorities, your resentments, your fears. If you know it, you can do something about it. If you can't write it, you don't really know it.
  • Just do it. Get into action. Do something you know you can achieve. The enemies are impatience and frustration. Don't choose goals that are unreachable; if you do, divide them into pieces you can achieve. If you get frustrated, stop doing what you're doing, and do something else that you can accomplish. Go back to #1, what you know you know, and experience your ability.
  • Renew your inspiration. Many wood types are naturally creative 'idea-people.' If you don't get a chance to let your ideas flow, you may feel frustrated. For ideas to flow, you must be unblocked, rested, relaxed, and enthusiastic. Self-examination (writing or talking) unblocks you. Get out of your head! Restorative sleep (enough and the right kind) is imperative. Learn to relax. Read or listen to inspirational sources for enthusiasm. Seek God with all your heart.

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All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.
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