S3 Ep 1 – Open Your Eyes to the Possibilities for Health: Ramey Discovers the Theories of Chinese Medicine at Third Opinion MD

Sep 5, 2023 | Podcast

The power of healing is in the “Why.” In a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes, you’ll get to join Ramey on a unique health journey.

Ramey is a healthcare worker for eye issues. But she’s also someone who’s had eye problems for most of her life. She has that special insight from both sides of the healthcare fence. In this episode, she’s taking my class on self-care and prevention for the eyes.

Now Ramey wants to become a client and dig deeper. Through my Health Strategy Consult program, she learns to better manage her health by moving beyond the diagnosis and into why and how she developed her conditions.

Explore Beyond What You See

 

It starts with understanding health differently by stepping outside the healthcare expectations set for you. Witness how one person starts to reset her entire health perspective, expands possibilities, and restores hope on what it means to be healthy.

 

The Health Strategy Consult at Third Opinion MD is an opportunity for you to share with me everything that contributes to the state of your health. To form your own Health Strategy, you must first open your eyes and your heart to the possibilities.

 

It’s not just about your diagnosis or about the lab tests that you’re getting. So many things are involved in understanding your health story: your emotions, family upbringing, environment, nutrition then and now, and your lifestyle.

 

Your symptoms are not the problem, but they are messages from you about potential root causes. Good detective work requires collecting all the clues and facts into a meaningful and effective strategy. The current healthcare systems are not doing this. Hospitals, clinics, insurance and pharmaceutical companies tend to act in their own best interests, not yours.

 

Blended medicine, from East and West, is good medicine and helps you form your own Third Opinion.

 

Join Ramey in episode 13 to learn why Chinese medicine is one of the most elegant and accurate medical systems to put you back in charge again.

 

 

What You’ll Learn

  • Current healthcare approaches focus too much on the “what” and not on the “why” you have certain health issues
  • The definition of a complex system, and how it applies to you and your health
  • How Chinese medicine is an elegant example of an efficient medical system
  • Why learning fundamental Chinese theories are so important to gain more control over your health
  • Start learning about two of the most important theories in Chinese medicine: Yin Yang theory and 5-element theory
  • How to look at eye conditions as more preventable than inevitable

 

Resources

 

Don’t forget to Subscribe to the podcast and leave a review!

 

Sign up for the Third Opinion MD Newsletter to stay up to date on workshops, podcast news and more: https://www.ThirdOpinionMD.org/newsletter

 

Follow Third Opinion MD on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thirdopinionmd/

 

Book a Complimentary Health Strategy consult with Barbara de la Torre: https://www.ThirdOpinionMD.org/contact

Transcript

[Post-class interview with Ramey]

 

Ramey: [00:00:00] My name is Ramey Wells, and I am a technician at an eye doctor’s office.

 

Barbara de la Torre: Which class did you take?

 

Ramey: I took the eye qigong class.

 

Barbara: Eye health? Eye health for qigong. For prevention and self-care?

 

Ramey: Yes, yes. Obviously, it relates to my job, but I also have lifelong eye issues. I have two retinal detachments. I have some things in my eye and then I have no peripheral vision anymore.

 

So, and then I’m dealing with, I call my left eye the volcano. It’s just active. It’s, it’s going to, something’s going to happen anytime. So, I really want to, be proactive about it instead of waiting until it detaches or whatever it’s going to do. I just want to take some control.

 

Barbara: Do you really believe that, that that’s going to happen to your left eye?

 

Ramey: I have been told that it will, I have been just told that because they don’t know what happened with [00:01:00] my right eye, that my left eye probably will have it happen too.

 

Barbara: So, that was a Western doctor that told you?

 

Ramey: Yeah.

 

Barbara: So, what do you think now that you’ve learned a little more about Chinese medicine, about the why?

 

Ramey: I feel like I have definitely more control over it rather than it’s something happening to me. I can definitely at least do something to try and. intervene and get things. It’s sort of less of, oh, this is just genetic stuff that I have to deal with. And somewhere, some great grandma had these eye problems or something, but more of that it didn’t have to get this bad.

 

And that I can maybe help, you know, my son or some of our younger patients to, you know, help.

 

Barbara: You know, you can help yourself.

 

Ramey: And myself, most importantly.

[End interview, begin narration, and introduction to season 3 and the episode]

 

Barbara: I’m your host, Barbara de La Torre. I’m a physician and artist bringing a blended perspective to you about healthcare and exploring simpler ways to restore and maintain your health.

 

This is the beginning of pulling that curtain back, really letting you [00:02:00] see how I work with students. And soon, I’m going to show you how I work with clients. In season three, this is all about how to form your health strategy. Forming your own third opinion is so important in this day and age because it’s confusing and there are mixed messages that you get about your health from all these medical systems, from the media.

 

It’s really time to learn about not just what you have, but why. My client Ramey took my class on self-care for the eyes, and she’s a healthcare worker for the eye issues. But, also, she’s someone who’s dealing with her own eye issues. And after taking my eye health class, Ramey wanted to dig deeper to manage her health a little bit more in a comprehensive way.

 

So, she signed up for my health strategy consult program. It’s like an opportunity for you to just share with me everything that contributes to the state of your health. Now it’s not just about your diagnosis or about the lab tests that you’re getting. [00:03:00] So many things are involved in creating your health story: your emotions, your family upbringing, environment, nutrition (past and present), your lifestyle.

 

Your symptoms are not the problem, but they are the messages from you about root causes. This is what I call true detective work and what healthcare is not doing for you. In fact, it was missing so much that I had to leave corporate medicine to start this program.

 

You’re not going to get this from healthcare. You have to form your own health strategy. But we’re going to start with Ramey taking one of my classes on self-care and prevention for the eyes to deal with her eye issues.

 

Now I want to just take a moment before we launch into this podcast episode to really ask you a favor. I am spending an enormous amount of time putting all of this together as an independent podcaster.

 

And so all of this I’m offering you for free. In [00:04:00] exchange, I would love it if you would leave a review and a rating on any or more podcast players, because I want this to go out there. I want this to reach your friends, your family, anyone you deeply care about. This is so important because I don’t have sponsors.

 

I have the freedom to create content that is enriching, it’s helpful, it’s engaging, hopefully for you. But the only way to do that is for me to do that independently at this point.

 

Now, if I find a sponsor in the future that will support this creativity and the ability to help as many people as I can, wonderful. But until then… I need your help. Let’s get this out there!

 

Leave a rating and a review on Apple, Spotify, Amazon, Google, whichever player you use. Just go to my website at thirdopinionmd.org/podcast. You can also go to my Instagram account, thirdopinionmd. If you are on [00:05:00] Instagram, let people know about it. I do make my announcements on Instagram about the show, about presentations, about… where I’m speaking professionally or if I’m giving a class, I may announce something, help me share this.

 

And lastly, I have a newsletter where I make those announcements too. If you’re a provider, if you are a patient, or you know someone who could benefit from this, tell them to sign up for the newsletter. You can do that on the website at thirdopinionmd.org/newsletter.

 

Thanks so much, and enjoy the episode.

 

[Resume Interview taken from the Eye Health Qigong Class]

 

Barbara: What do you think of, when I talk about self-care and prevention for your eyes, what do you think about?

 

Ramey: Well, I think more clinical. I think of just like, don’t touch your eyes. Don’t wash your hands. Go see your eye doctor. That’s where my brain goes. Just because that’s just what we do. We go see the doctor when we, you know, right. So, the idea that [00:06:00] I could do something. My own practice to help and eyes is completely foreign to, you know, other than vitamins.

 

Barbara: I’ll just start with, you know a little more about this. Do you mind sharing that?

 

Ramey: What? My eye stuff?

 

Barbara: Either that or what you do for a living.

 

Ramey: Oh yeah. I work for the, an eye doctor. I would do all the intake for patients. See like the initial issues that they come in with and, then talk, just hearing what the doctor has to say and, that piece. So, I’m in eyes, almost, well, four days a week, I am in eyes and then my own eyes.

 

Barbara: What do you think your patients think about what self-care and prevention for your eyes means?

 

Ramey: I don’t, you know, honestly, it depends because if they are, if they have a lifelong struggle with their eyes, they’re going to probably just do the like, well, “I come in and I get my eyes checked and I get contacts and I get glasses.” That’s it.

 

It’ll be, that’s [00:07:00] the, I would say 90%. There’s probably a little bit that would take it and want to do a little something different with that. But most, most, it’s just the doctor, just refraction. And there is no, when we talk about the back of the eye or you have a nerve back there, you have, there’s fluid in your eye, there’s all sorts of things happening that we should look at.

 

So, get this scan that we can see the back of your eye. People don’t want to do that. They don’t want to know, you know,

 

Barbara: they don’t want to… They don’t want to hear about that?

 

Ramey: Yeah, what do you mean? I, it’s just, I can’t see. That’s why I’m here. I’m just like, well, you could, you know, glaucoma, and if you have diabetes, then you have other, you could have other risk factors, other things, detachments.

 

Barbara: You know, what’s interesting is that self-care and prevention in our medical culture is very passive aggressive. We do the aggressive care and the patient comes in with a very passive attitude. And even if they have one that’s a little bit more inquisitive or curious, they’re told just get this done.

 

Now [00:08:00] you, just to share, if you don’t mind sharing, you’re also someone who goes to the eye doctor. And tell me a little bit more about that

 

Ramey: So that is, from, yeah, patient perspective, it really was just coming in, looking at the front of my eye, fixing whatever refraction, and that’s, that’s the extent of it.

 

So, with my detachments then I got familiar with that there’s more to it here, and there’s certain things going on. And then again, with fertility, just like with my fertility, all unexplained eyes stuff.

 

Barbara: That was that a retinal detachment?

 

Ramey: Yeah. So, I had two of those, two of those in the same eye.

 

Barbara: How, how old were you?

 

Ramey: I was 29 with my first one and then, and that’s when I lost vision. So, I have no peripheral anymore. On the right side. Because I wasn’t doing any prevention for risk factors for high myopia. That is why I had the retinal detachment because I wasn’t paying any attention.

 

Barbara: When did you have high myopia? When [00:09:00] did you first get diagnosed with that as a kid?

 

Ramey: I would say when I started wearing glasses in 4th grade and then it was a rapid progression. So, and I remember now looking back, 7th grade, I switched into contacts. That’s usually a sign that you’re, it’s getting worse. And so I, my prescription is still unstable. So, 30 years of, of, Changing prescription is not usual.

 

Barbara: What was your myopic number that you recall?

 

Ramey: So, right now in my one eye, it’s negative eight. So minus eight. When I started wearing glasses, I feel like I was pretty in, I was, I was up in the twos. Like the world was blurry for me, if I remember correctly.

 

My mom had really bad vision early. It’s been my whole life and now I’m looking at research, it’s like women, women, especially between like 24 and 44 are more susceptible for these detachments and things like that.

 

Barbara: But they don’t talk about why from the Chinese, right?

 

Ramey: Exactly.

 

Barbara: And usually they don’t know why.

 

Ramey: No.

 

Barbara: And, what’s interesting is that, [00:10:00] and I’ll share with you, I have high myopia. Minus 10 for glasses, I think. Oh, I’m up there. I was minus 9. Now I’m down to minus 8 and a half and minus 7 and a half.

 

Ramey: Okay. So, we’re right, yeah.

 

Barbara: Yeah. We’re right there. Now, retina’s always been very stable, but also, I had a different sort of path and also different parents. And one of the things to, which we’ll learn about is the idea that the liver plays such a critical role. And it’s not the only thing that plays a role in the eye health, but it’s the most important one for the tendons and the muscles around the eye, for the iris, for just the eye in general.

 

And if you have any early eye issues, which both of us did, it means that our liver is pretty much involved. In liver health for Chinese medicine, you know, we [00:11:00] talk about the liver like it’s supposed to process your drugs and medicines. And, when it goes bad, you’re in trouble and don’t drink too much What they don’t tell you is that it can cause problems with infertility early miscarriages

 

Ramey: See, they don’t tell you.

 

Barbara: They don’t tell you. They don’t tell you. It can cause also, it, because every organ, and I’ll go over this too. Every organ has a job. Not just the job that we see in western medicine where you look at the enzymes and the organ itself, but the channel that you see, for example, this here. This is your liver channel right here that starts in the foot and then comes up all the way up to the ribcage here.

 

And, actually, there’s an interior, then it dives into the body and comes up and meets the eye. So, there’s, there are channels that are on the surface and then there are channels that are deeper channels. When the liver’s job is to move blood and move chi, and qi has directions that it goes in with each organ, okay, [00:12:00] what its preference is.

 

Like the stomach, stomach qi, where do you think the qi should go? Up or down? What’s best?

 

Ramey: I would down.

 

Barbara: Exactly. So, if you vomit, if you vomit, that is called rebellious qi, that is not going in the right direction. Liver qi is expansive, and every organ, I’m talking about the channels as the, with the organ names, so every channel has a very broad scope of influence over the body, and the mind, and the emotions.

 

The liver’s job is to be expansive for planning, for strategy, the general, of the, of the army. And when that is stagnant, and there are things that can stagnate it, it then gets stuck. And if that gets stuck, then you have problems with periods, with eyesight, with migraines, with all kinds of things. So, it’s much more than going to the eye doctor.

 

Henry David Thoreau said, the [00:13:00] eye is the jewel of the body. Now, you and I, being those… folks that had to go to the eye doctor. We know they’re jewels because we didn’t want to lose them, right? But, for many people they don’t. They just think of it as just a checkup and it’s just something that they need to do.

 

But he was on to something because, as you’ll see, that there’s a much more important role of the eye. So, we’re going to go over a couple of principles of Chinese medicine. There are two, there are many theories, but there’s two, and they underlie, remember that ladder I showed you with qigong and herbs and acupuncture? They’re all based on this. Yin yang and five elements.

 

We’ll start with the yin yang. You’ve seen this symbol [see show notes above for reference to the Taiji symbol]. Where the yin and the yang. This symbol actually looks, it looks so simple that it’s deceiving to think that it’s just nothing, nothing at all. If I was stuck on a desert island and I was told, you’re [00:14:00] only allowed to have one book on one topic, I would keep this one.

 

Because it explains nature. So what yin yang is, and you see this symbol actually tells you all the four laws of yin yang. Yin yang is about a relationship of opposites, and it is also about how they transform, how there’s always little of one in the other, they’re inseparable. You’ll see that it defines and explains dynamic relationships of all things, everything!

 

That’s what we call elements in a system. And systems are everything, from, there’s a complex system I’ll go over. It’s the idea that of a person, of an organization, a tree. They’re all complex systems. If there’s an element that, some elements that interconnect and achieve something, that’s a system.

 

The body’s a system. And so, in yin yang, you’ve got opposites that are [00:15:00] complementary parts, and they include balance and dependence. And that’s important because that helps us understand health. When we look at these four laws of yin yang, you can see that that symbol becomes much richer.

 

Ramey: Right, right.

 

Barbara: Not only are they opposites, that’s what we usually see. We’re like, oh, yin and yang, you know.

 

Ramey: You can’t have evil without good. The good and evil, I’ve always heard that, right?

 

Barbara: Oh, but there’s so many.

 

Ramey: The light and the dark. It’s a very simple way.

 

Barbara: Exactly. There are many, many attributes. Because you can’t understand night without knowing what day is. You can’t understand love without understanding hatred. If everything was love, you would not know what that meant. Or what a strawberry tasted like. They also depend on each other. Like, for that definition. They can also consume each other. This is important in health.

 

Ramey: That makes sense, yeah.

 

Barbara: Because a lot of things have attributes, including our organs, including parts of our body, including, [00:16:00] you know, different functions. They can transform into the other. So, the idea of transformation and consumption are kind of similar, but one can overtake the other if one’s stronger than the other, and transforming meaning one can become it. And just as it can do it the other way around.

 

In health, areas of the body are either predominantly yin or yang. And illnesses have a yin or yang nature to it. So, if you’re speaking, it’s a language. So, if you’re speaking in yin and yang, you can really explain a lot of stuff going on instead of just saying, I have glaucoma, I’m nearsighted. That is not a really thorough explanation of what’s going on. Because this tells you what’s happening relative to your environment, and you’re inseparable from your environment.

 

Health also is about finding a balance between the yin and yang. And not, and there’s this concept in Daoist (Taoist) medicine, Daoism (Taoism) is the, is [00:17:00] considered what, Dao (Tao) means the way. And the Way [Dao] is not even meant to be religious at all. It’s just 5, 000 years plus of observation of how nature works. It’s just the way things work.

 

So, if you see that things work a certain way, in our organs like our heart, our lungs, our liver, our kidneys, our spleen, stomach, if those have been functioning the same way for a million years, they’re not going to change.

 

But if we start to change the way we behave around the way they work, things will not work as well. And then we get out of balance. So, this is an example of some attributes. You can keep going, you know, for as many, and we say black is yin, white is yang. Cold, hot, you get the idea of like, you start to define sort of what it is.

 

Light is yang, where dark is yin. Dry versus damp Active versus resting, male versus female. And some people would [00:18:00] ask, they’d say well, why are you attributing female to one thing? And male to another? We’re not, they’re just a relation. In fact, if you were to talk about sexuality, now the way people are talking about it as opposed to 20 years ago, this is a beautiful way to describe sexuality in relationships of interdependence, as a spectrum, as one into the other. It becomes less dogmatic and black and white. So actually, it’s quite elegant.

 

Lower part of the body, like the legs, are yin, but not always yin. They’re yin relative to the upper part. Always relative to something else. Internal is yin, external is yang. Taoism and Confucianism and Buddhism are very integral to Chinese medicine, but Taoism plays a big, big role. Because it’s, again, natural observation. It’s scientific inquiry.

 

Some people [00:19:00] are born more yin or more yang. You might have somebody who’s more introverted, somebody who’s more extroverted, somebody who runs cold, their body runs cold, or their body runs hot. And then as a result, they may have a tendency towards a certain imbalance on the yin side or the yang side.

 

And even if they have the tendencies, they could still, a young person could get a yin illness. You could start like looking at different things in terms of yin and yang.

 

So, now we get to this concept of five element theory. Now these two theories work tandem with each other. They explain things from, they’re explaining a system in a different way.

 

In all five elements, you’ve seen fire, earth, metal, water, wood. These are used to categorize what are called natural phenomena. So, they put them into these five groupings. So, a lot of times when people hear about fire, earth, wood, they shut [00:20:00] down and they say, “that’s not science. I’m not listening to you.”

 

But what you don’t realize is that it’s another language. And it’s another system of analysis. You’re looking at these five groups, how they function and interact with one another. That is a complex system. It is the most elegant example I’ve seen in medicine.

 

Pretty cool, huh?

 

Ramey: Yeah, really cool.

 

Barbara: And not only that, when you look at complex systems, and we’re talking about systems theory from like computer science, engineers, biologists from the 1930s. Well they didn’t make it up, they discovered it, but the ancients knew about it already… 5, 000 years ago.

 

What a complex system is, is that you have to have the elements. They have to interact with each other. So, in other words, grains of sand on a road are not part of a complex system because they’re not interacting with each other. But they are elements. And they have to achieve something. And that’s what your body’s doing [00:21:00] with these different organs and different channels and they’re all interacting.

 

And what these elements do is they can show you, that’s the beauty of understanding why we draw this, why we study it. So, if you’re on another island and that’s all you want, you can only take one thing and you have to choose one more thing, or you get a second thing.

 

Ramey: This one?

 

Barbara: This one. Because it can show you whether things are in balance or not. Each element has many characteristics, including the organs and the senses. So, you’re guessing we’re going to get to a sense organ. Like, can we guess it? Like, this [pointing to a table in class] is full, but it’s just to demonstrate to you something, that this is not even scratching the surface of what the attributes are with each of these elements.

 

Look at, in terms of a person’s life, where you’re growing, you reach your peak potential, you start to decline, and then you eventually die. Or the seasons [00:22:00] of spring, summer, harvest, fall, and winter. Or the colors. There are colors attributed to each of these

 

Ramey: Yeah, I mean, I can just think of them in my head, probably, too.

 

Barbara: You mentioned your favorite color was green. That’s also associated with liver.

 

Ramey: Yeah. The acupuncturist said the same thing. She was like, literally, I think you need to go, like, hug some trees, touch some trees.

 

Barbara: Yeah. Being in nature is a good thing, right? That you can get so into this that it could be a lifetime of study of the five elements. But this is what supports everything we do in Chinese medicine, everything. And it doesn’t mean that it’s exclusive to it. It means that self-care is at your fingertips. It’s part of you. It’s who you are. It’s not like we’re just one element.

 

We come into this world as a certain sort of mix. We all, we have all five, but we have this certain recipe that makes us who we [00:23:00] are, makes you who you are.

 

And if you have a little bit more of this, you can tell based on, on your, your health story, which you shared with me. And it was just so elegant, everything that was coming up. I remember I asked you if, you know, your favorite color was green and you said yes, right? Or if you liked sour foods, yeah? Springtime, you know, being outdoors.

 

Ramey: Well even, did you, was your father drinking when you were conceived? Like even just something that simple, it’s just like, oh, okay.

 

Barbara: Yeah, yeah. Because the drinking would have affected, and he, the fact that he was drinking, may not have caused it. He may have already had an underlying wood issue. Liver. And your mother had liver issues. So, guess what? Your 401k is dealing with some Wood.

 

 

And everything has a rhythm, including these yin organs. And the yin organs here are the [00:24:00]Liver. Yin, remember, yin related to yang. What would you think if it was solid versus hollow? Solid would be yin, hollow is yang.

Another thing about, the solid organs tend to, here is Heart, Spleen. Spleen is like the pancreas, the digestion. This is again the way they, translations and what we know now. And then Lungs. Lungs are not hollow, by the way. They’re very dense. They’re very dense. And Kidneys, they’re also not hollow.

But all of these are nourishing. These are all nourishing, providing you with air, blood, with nutrients, with enzymes, and then with, good fluids, and also electrolytes. And gallbladder, the small intestine, the stomach, the large intestine, the bladder are all hollow organs. [00:25:00] So they transport. So, there’s movement. Something being solid and nourishing versus something active and moving and hollow, you have yin and yang.

Now we’re going to focus on these five, what we call the five organs. The five yin organs are going to be the nourishing yin organs. You kind of start to get to know them. So, they need to be in rhythm for you to be healthy.

If we focus on the wood element, because we’re, of course, we’re looking at eyes, we see that the season is spring. That means that that’s the time where if there’s any wood imbalance, that’s where it’s going to come up. Migraines, dizziness. Different types of things. Yeah, different things will come up. Even, vision might even be a little worse sometimes during springtime. Sour food, that would be like a preference for taste.

And it may not last your whole [00:26:00] life. It might be during the time that you first started getting the eye issues. Were you liking lemons and things like that when you were a kid? Wind is something that there are climactic factors that affect each element. In other words, if you were in a windy day practicing Qigong, which by the way you shouldn’t do.

 

Ramey:  You shouldn’t do. I was going to say that. I know that from teaching. It’s windy. It stirs them up, the kids.

 

Barbara: Well, it can cause also, it can, you can take, there are certain climactic things that can affect you badly. You could get certain conditions you could get illness from it. It’s just understanding what you’re more prone to.

Anger is the emotion that tends to come up for wood imbalance Then you have the liver and gallbladder, the yin and yang organ, and the eyes are the sense organ In other words, it’s they say that it opens to the eyes, but as you’ll see, the eyes are not just about the liver the eyes reflect nourishment from all five yin organs. [00:27:00] The color is green and then it governs the muscles and the ligaments and the tendons.

But they’re not just connected to the liver. For you, yes. But in general, you have to understand that all diseases of the eye are closely related to the liver. All of them. But the eyes are also nourished by all the yin organs. And then you have internal factors that we don’t talk about in Western medicine.

And that’s behavior. Emotions and your constitution, how you come into this world with the patterns of the five elements. The eyes require a lot of qi, that’s another thing that we are, if you’re not, I don’t know if you’re noticing this, but a lot of people are getting worse with their eyes at a younger age.

 

Ramey: Yes, oh, I mean the research is really, it’s eye opening…

 

Barbara: But they’re not saying why. This is why. The reason why. It’s because you have a lot of, when you, where the qi goes, the eyes go, right? So, if you are using [00:28:00] up your qi, looking at the screens, all the time, which we’ve been doing since 2008, or 2007, that whole generation of kids now coming in? They’re going to be in glasses by the time they’re in second grade.

 

And for us, we were actually the oddballs, right? But now it’s not rare. Myopia is a big thing in pediatrics. The other thing is you have what’s called leakage of qi. You don’t want to lose qi. But you’re using it so much that, when you use a lot of screen time, you’re fixating your eyes. So, you’re also not moving the eyes very much.

 

And you’ll see two groups of people that don’t move their eyes very well. Elderly, and, and I’m going to use this very loosely, crazy people. Yes, because, and I, and I say this as a former psychiatrist, just to kind of summarize it. When they have really severe problems emotionally, it is [00:29:00]connected with the five elements and with the channels.

 

You’ll see that a crazy person has a very fixed stare, and also the person who is elderly has a fixed stare. But in qigong, the monks who were doing qigong, something called Eight Treasures, was from the 1200 A. D. They were doing this because they were sitting and praying often. They were not healthy and they developed a qigong that would help stretch the tendons.

 

Now the eyes have tendons, all the muscles in the eyes have tendons, and if you stretch those tendons by moving them around and looking, you actually live longer. Longevity is tied to the tendon flexibility.

 

Not only do the eyes get old from improper use. All your organs are getting old because they’re supplying all this qi and your eyes are just leaking qi. You’re leaking it, leaking, leaking, leaking.

 

Also, there’s things you can’t unsee with a lot of things that we have. We talk about, people try to downplay and [00:30:00] say, “Well, pornography is not that bad.” It is. You don’t unsee things. The media, when you show lots and lots of crime, you’d show all these bad things happening, then people start to change their thinking.

 

But you’re spending so much energy that, as my master teacher, Master Liu He said, “Where the eyes go, the qi goes.” We have to take care of our eyes more than just going to the eye doctor. We have to take care of our eyes as if they are the way Thoreau said it, that jewel.

 

Ramey: That tiny little jewel.

 

Barbara: The precious jewel. And I know from where, I was excited when you wanted to take this class because you work in an eye clinic. And you, you actually literally see how people treat their eyes. Yes. And how they even treat the information. If they’re not an active part of this, we’re going to see a lot of people go blind.

 

[00:31:00] Macular degeneration, we’re going to see a lot of people with myopia, retinal detachment. Do you think there’s enough people to take care of them?

 

Ramey: Right. No. you can’t even now. No. There’s not enough ophthalmologists.

 

Barbara: And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to teach you this [Eye Health class with Eye Qigong instruction]. I was so excited when you signed up. Oh my gosh, this is going to be even better. That’s why I wanted to make a whole new class for you.

 

The eyes and the emotions. Behavior is one thing, how we, what we look at, how we move our eyes. But also, we don’t talk about this in Western medicine. But we talk about when someone is blinded by rage. There are other emotions that are also not very good for your eyes, but the anger has the most impact because anger is in that element of Wood where the eyes are. Angry, angry people, especially drinking alcohol, even if you take the alcohol away, if you have this, their Livers won’t get [00:32:00]better, you see? They could be in recovery, but still not addressing that.

 

The overexcitement has to do with other organs, like the heart, this is the spleen, worry, sadness, grief, is lung, and fear, and fright. These are what are called the seven negative emotions. And if it’s anything like a short thing, like a catfight, three minutes long, everybody can have anger for three minutes, and it’s not going to be harmful.

 

But if you’re angry about a relationship for years, it will affect your eyes, it will affect your liver over time. It’s reversible, but you get to a point where you may not be able to do that.

 

The eyes help us focus inward also when they’re closed. And we, we always talk about close your eyes, but the idea that seeing, it’s a sense organ, but it’s more than a sense organ of what we see visually in the world.

 

In fact, the way in qigong, we, we teach a lot about the philosophy of how to live a good life. [00:33:00] Seeing from the Heart is actually something that, that is taught in some qigong lineages, and that’s the one that I studied. The idea of learning to use your sense organs from the Heart.

 

The Heart in Chinese medicine is considered the emperor. If the Liver is the general, the heart’s the emperor. And you’re like, where’s the brain? What do you think?

 

Ramey: I don’t, I’m just applying like what I know about ancient, you know, different cultures and how they thought of the brain, that it was just not useless, but not necessarily the center.

 

Barbara: It is connected to the heart. So the brain, the Heart and the brain have connection with both Shen, that’s the consciousness. There’s also other types of connections with the Heart-Brain connection.

 

The Brain’s also connected with the Liver. There are different channels that go up to the Brain. And “just because a man lacks the use of his eyes [00:34:00] doesn’t mean he lacks vision,” Stevie Wonder. That’s really critical.

 

Now when we do some qigong today, we’re going to be doing a little preparation. What’s the whole point of qigong?

 

Moving qi is not just about moving the qi. It’s about releasing blockages. It’s about moving the sludge or stagnation. Like, for example, with the gallbladder. Cholestasis. Did you lose the gallbladder?

 

Ramey: I did not, no.

 

Barbara: Oh, good.

 

Ramey: It was right at the end of my pregnancy; so, I think I was able to do the medicine and then induce. Basically, they were like, have the baby. Yeah. And then it’ll stop.

 

Barbara: Yeah. Well, if you do these things, it will continue to be healthy. Because the Liver and Gallbladder are what are called coupled organs. It’s a yin yang organ at wood. And couples are like, this one’s like a married couple. You really want them to get along. And the kids, the kids are the muscles and tendons. They gotta get along. You know, if not, then you lose your gallbladder.

 

The Liver is very forgiving up to a point. We don’t want to get to the point where you’re at the doctor’s and they say there’s something wrong with your Liver. You want to be at the point where you know something’s wrong and you can do something to reverse it. That’s the energetic level.

 

Ramey: This is really neat. I’m really excited.

 

Barbara: Yeah? What do you think? What do you think so far?

 

Ramey: I just think it’s just going under the surface more into what I was already, not just the acupuncture part, but just knowing that it’s all related, knowing that just because I had my son doesn’t mean whatever was going on stopped. It’s just those symptoms that were like, you’re going to die. That went with the urgency. went away. Those symptoms. But it was always there. It’s always knowing that, like, being aware of it.

 

Barbara: And it also tells you that when you have all of those miscarriages early on. By [00:36:00]the way, each month of pregnancy is related to the organs. That’s another, that’s a whole other talk. But I’ll give you part of that talk is that the first four to eight weeks is the Liver and the Gallbladder. Just wanted to share that.

 

Ramey: Well, you know, at least I have the answers. You know, it’s all I ever wanted.

 

Barbara: It tells you that, one, it’s not your fault. And second, it is telling you so much about you. Like, the whole point of studying a system is to create a model, and when you create a model you can understand patterns. And when you understand patterns, you can do something about it.

 

But if you’re just told about the elements, you’re just told it’s your gallbladder, it’s this, it’s this, it’s this, you don’t know what to do with them, and you don’t know how to act in order to prevent it from happening again. But if you understand patterns, you can be the general and the emperor of your own health.

 

[00:37:00] I loved hearing your history because your history was so informative of who you are, and where you, and where you came from. And we come in to this world having a window that is balanced. Some of us have a bigger window where we get away with things. And some of us have like a teeny window that we have to just make sure that we stay in that threshold.

 

And yours may be, compared to some people, smaller, and to others it’s bigger. You just have to know what yours is. And if you do, then you know what’s, where you step out. And if you step out, it’s not like do over. It’s just more like, how do I bring myself gently back?

 

Ramey: I like that. Because it’s a good way to articulate that we’re all different, but we’re all, it’s just your window.

 

Barbara: It’s your little window.

 

Ramey: I just can’t do that. Because my window isn’t big enough.

 

Barbara: Yeah. For example, I can’t, nor do I really drink alcohol, but I really choose not to [00:38:00] because I know that I came into this world with a liver that was just, had a baby window.

 

Ramey: Yeah. That’s exactly it. My friends, this vacation, it was hard because, you know, everyone’s drinking and I’m not 20 anymore. I can’t, I just can’t. Not, I’m not, I mean, you could call me an alcoholic. I don’t know. I just stopped before they were like, “you need to stop or you’re going to die.” You know that I stopped.

 

Barbara: When did you…?

 

Ramey: I saw my dad’s situation and just thought, I can’t, my body just can’t handle it.

 

Barbara: But you know, your body tells you that!

 

Ramey: My body told me. Without getting sick, without having like withdrawals, it was just like, this gives you a headache. It makes your stomach hurt. So don’t do it anymore. Yeah. It was basically that. Like, there’s no reason.

 

Barbara: You’re being, you’re being kind and loving to your organs. Your organs love you and you love them back.

 

Ramey: I feel better. I mean, I feel better. But it wasn’t like a life changing, you know, some people quit drinking and they’re like. I just felt it was just like my window. It was just, that’s what I [00:39:00]need to do to stay in my window.

 

Barbara: You have, you’ve got your baby window and your baby window is like, it is true because the society assumes that it’s a one size fits all. Like everyone should be able to do this or not this. For people with any liver issues, they shouldn’t be doing any substances, no marijuana. Minimal medications.

 

This is why, I don’t know if you’ve wondered, When you see people who have lots and lots of sensitivities to medications, guess the Liver. Guess. And it’s not liver enzymes. Again, in Western medicine, they tend to dismiss these people. And honestly, they’re the ones that will do so well with qigong, so well with lifestyle changes, so amazing with just acupuncture and not taking the medicines.

 

So, anxiety, you guessed, anxiety and depression are largely issues with the Liver, and because of all these medications and people change and change and change, [00:40:00] these poor folks are not getting the help they need. And being in psychiatry, I’ve witnessed that.

 

Ramey: Yeah, yeah. I know I’ve, just my own mental, I just know that like, there’s things I have to do, like Lexapro, would it help? I don’t know. I mean, I don’t, you know, it’s like one of those. I don’t want to go down that track because I can see. I don’t want to get on the medication, and I won’t try to do things more, not naturally, but just kind of on my own.

 

Barbara: Qigong balances the emotions. Because what are you doing? You’re balancing the qi. You’re getting it to move again. And you see that the emotions, as you learn more about five elements, the emotions are connected with our organs and channels. It’s us. It’s not the brain. Saying they can come up with all kinds of biochemical things, but the biochemical stuff is attributed to these five elements, too, by the way.

 

Serotonin’s on one pole, dopamine’s on another. You can go really, go to town, right? But you don’t need to know about those [00:41:00] things to put yourself back in balance.

 

Is there a tendency for like more irritability or, or more, anger, like losing your temper?

 

Ramey: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I don’t seem like that on the outside.

 

Barbara: Oh, but, but your, but your constitution does.

 

Ramey: Yeah, exactly. But underneath, when you put that one up, it was just like, okay, that’s me, my whole life though.

 

Barbara: There’s no shame in that, right? It’s more like, hey, that’s me. That’s great. Then I know what I need to do so that it calms it down and dissipates the emotion and balances you so that anger becomes kindness because that’s who you are.

 

That’s what a liver, and, and just to point out liver doesn’t mean that you’re an angry person. Liver means that you have that tendency to do that. But you’re actually quite kind and generous. So, there’s, again, a continuum.

 

Ramey: Right. So, you can’t have [00:42:00] one without the other.

 

Barbara: And you know how to balance it so that you, if you, if you go in that direction you’re like, hmm, I wonder if I need to change what I’m doing here.

 

You’re born. You start to peak and stabilize, decline and die, and you’re reborn. There’s a rebirth in everything, with day and night, with the seasons, with so many things. It’s not about. Nothing stops.

 

But this is the thing, when you look at anger, or worry, or overexcitement. It’s called joy, but overexcitement is a better way of understanding it, like when somebody gets manic. That’s overexcitement. Or if there’s an inappropriate laughter, you know, it doesn’t have to be too extreme. You could notice it subtly in someone. They can even notice their constitution. This is kind of a fun thing.

 

With cooking, you can do this too, with flavors. Sour, sweet. How do you control something that’s too sweet? You make it a little more sour.

 

What do you do when something’s too [00:43:00] bitter, like your coffee? You add a little salt. That’s how you control. Oh, you can do culinary medicine. That’s another course.

 

It’s fascinating how they tapped into taking the way the world works and putting it in five groupings and how they relate to each other. It still blows me away.

 

Ramey: Yeah, that’s so simple, but yet so…

 

Barbara: That’s the Dao, that’s the Dao. Right?

 

Ramey: That’s it. Exactly.

 

Barbara: That’s what Daoism is. Daoism is. It’s so simple. That, as one person told me, “It’s so simple that you’ll never read or practice it.” It is why we keep repeating ourselves, why we still have war, why we still have disease, why we still don’t live as long as we should.

 

According to the ancient classics, we should be living to 120 years. I know that sounds like a long time, right? But that’s actually considered normal if you do all the things you’re supposed to do. [00:44:00]

 

[End interview, begin closing narration]

 

Barbara: Ramey, who took one of my classes, the Eye Health class, reached a point where she wanted to even go deeper than that. And she is now my client, and we’re going to pull the curtain back again and have you sit at the table while Ramey and I work on her health strategy.

 

This is a gift because normally when I work with clients, it’s a very, very private, intimate, vulnerable space. And I ask that you listen as if you’re the one sitting at the table. Because I want to respect your dignity.

 

Let’s hold that space for Ramey as we begin her journey to find her health strategy to expand what it means to be healthy. And I look forward to you joining us again in the next episode for Ramey starts with a complimentary phone call to talk about the process of becoming a client and what it means to form a Health Strategy.

 

Stay tuned.

 

If you’re at that crossroads where you’re not sure where to turn, what direction to take, how much effort to put into something, [00:45:00] let’s talk. I would love to hear from you. You can reach me through the contact page on thirdopinionmd.org where you can schedule a complimentary consult and we can talk about your situation and see if this is the right time for you to start working on your own Health Strategy.

 

Be sure to follow or subscribe to this podcast and submit a rating on your favorite podcast player. Third Opinion MD podcast is produced by me, Barbara de La Torre. Music is licensed through Audio Jungle. Any comments made by the host or guest on Third Opinion MD reflect opinions about health care and self-care.

 

Please consult with your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.

 

Thank you for listening.

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