In this continuation of part 1, I will address Heat/Excitation and Cold/Wind/Constriction, as well as what we asses in general when considering the tissue states.
This new age is very different in appearance and perspective from that of the ancient civilizations. And it will continue to change, becoming more extreme. With it we must allow our observations to apply old information in new ways, continuing to evolve our practice. The 6 Tissue State model, I believe, gives us ample room for growth, especially if we approach it as an art as opposed to a dictated science. We only need advance the discipline of our intuition through observation, study, theorization and experience to grow our practice.
When assessing the tissue state of a person, we take the following into account:
Endocrine function: thyroid, adrenal, pancreatic function, reproductive hormones
Nervous system: Central Nervous System (CNS), and Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)
Eliminatory organs: respiratory, skin, urinary, colon
How nutrients and toxins are catobolized and anobolized (digestive organs and liver)
Immune function: Lymph and spleen
4 humors: phlegm, black and yellow bile, and blood
4 Temperaments also known as the personality of the person (phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric, melancholic)
Pulse and tongue assessment
While it is important to understand to some degree each of these assessment parts, it is not necessary to have mastered each to use the tissue state model. In this case, observation and study are key as you parallel the tissue state model with your own practice.
The 6 Tissue States
In the explanations that follow, I will give general information about each tissue state. Please note that I do not outline how to tell them apart when they look similar, or what to do if the natural state of a person is complicated by prescription drug use, addictions and lifestyle choices that may alter who they are. Also recognize that the recommended treatments should be used on a per person basis, not as a strict science.
Heat/Excitation-A State of Excess
The excited tissue state brings exaggerated function that is chronic and fairly predictable in pattern. This individual has a high metabolic rate. They catabolize and anabolize very efficiently.
The heat, however, driven by an over active nervous and immune system, can eventually push inflammation beyond the functional limit of the tissue and to become destructive. Tissues and organ systems become overexcited, and tissue breaks down from the excess. Auto-immune illness is one example of a Heat/Excitation tissue state.
According to the eclectic doctors as outlined by Matthew Wood and me, indications of Heat/Excitation are:
o Constant low grade fever without sign of acute illness
o Tissue is red, swollen and painful to touch
o Sensitive to pressure and warmth or heat
o Nervous excitement and restlessness, wakefulness, excessive movement
o Strong sex drive
o May tend towards defensiveness
o Sensitivity, tenderness and pain with nervous system overstimulation
o High blood pressure signifying stress put on heart and circulatory system
o Dark urine, regardless of how much water is consumed, when or if vitamins are taken
o Elongated flame shaped tongue with red tip
o Fragile capillaries
o May be sensitive to sound and light
o Has an extremely strong immune system, and rarely suffers from acute illness
Imbalances to watch for: ADHD, psoriasis/eczema, increased allergic response especially affecting the respiratory tract; advanced causes will see fragile circulatory system and heart from excess heat, and hemorrhoids, auto-immune disease
The blood here is thin, hot and high.
How to balance:
Plant tastes to balance: Use plants that are sour in taste to cool overexcited function. They are also anti-oxidant, which will assist cell repair thereby improving function. Other support: I combine acrids with sours sometimes, especially with autoimmune disease. Acrids are excellent relaxants and diaphoretics which help relieve heat without overtly stimulating. Sweet plants can also be of some benefit when heat becomes too drying.
Calm excesses in nervous system, support heart, kidney and respiratory tract.
Be sure to observe per person.
Cold/Wind/Constriction-A State of Excess
Wind was a term the Greeks used to describe the cold constricted state. Wind shakes and causes chills. When the wind blows people shrink back and contract their muscles. And wind is ever changing. It comes up quickly and leaves.
The Cold/Wind/Constriction state embodies wind. It’s dysfunction is, however, rooted in the nerves. The body is cold, with heat trapped in the nervous system. In this state, the nervous system cannot release the tension. The nerves stick in contraction. As the tension builds the symptoms worsen and the nerves become wound tightly. Remember: Constriction=tension!
Because the wind is ever changing, so does the symptom pictures of wind conditions. For example, Irritable Bowel Syndrome moves from constipative to diarrhea; headaches that move from one place in the head to another with tension in the neck and spine; pains that sit by the liver, move to the spleen and then to the stomach- these are all signs of wind.
According to the eclectic doctors as outlined by Matthew Wood and me, indications of the Wind/Constriction Tissue state are:
o Cold pores with lack of perspiration
o Dysmenorrhea with spasms
o Physical tension in the spine and neck which leads to: headaches, migraines and muscle aches
o Tension leading to spasm: IBS/spastic colon, bronchial, vascular
o Chills with heat alternating (but not due to acute infection)
o Diarrhea with constipation
o Muscle tremors and shakes (this can be seen in the tongue; if in your 15 seconds you witness the tongue tremble it is seen as wind)
o Many maladies of the involuntary nervous system which involve backward movements (hiccoughs, tremors, ticks, acid reflux, vomiting, colic)
o Cold hands and feet with cold joints
o Gas and bloating
o Wiry pulse
o Symptoms come and go quickly
o Loss of libido
Note: some of these symptoms are associated with auto immune diseases. That is why I use acrids in these cases.
How to balance:
Plant tastes to balance: Use relaxing acrids to help relieve nervous system stress thereby opening pores and increasing circulatory energy. The cooling action will pull heat that polarizes to the head in Spring and Summer. Other support: Sweet and salty plants can also be helpful here if there is dryness.
Improve digestion and nutrition. Gentle exercises to relax, with strategies to realize awareness and control of tension.
Be sure to attend to other organ system deficiencies and symptoms.
Stay tuned for more on tissue states. In the next article, I will write about Dry/Atrophy and Cold/Depressed.