The 12th Invest in ME Research Conference June, 2017, Part 2
MEMum presents the second article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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Novak Djokovic's diet and TCM

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by sarah darwins, Sep 15, 2015.

  1. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    For anyone planning a bid to win next year's US Open ...

    Source: BBC Sport website — http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/34252190

    I knew about the diet but the TCM bit is news to me. Anyone tried experimenting with this sort of thing?
     
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  2. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

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    I think what he's talking about is the so called Organ Clock. In TCM they say on different moments of the day (+ different times of the year) there is a different organ that plays the lead role, so to speak. Stomach, for example, according to TCM is most active between 7 and 9 am. So this is supposed to be a good time to have breakfast. It could also give a TCM practitioner clues about your health when e.g. you briefly wake up every single night around exactly the same time it could be a sign that the organ that is linked to that time is overworked. Same thing goes for seasons: liver has its moment in spring, which makes this a good time to do a liver detox cleanse. (This is probably an overly simplified representation, but that is what I understood from my self-study of TCM, years ago. The same kind of idea comes back in Ayurvedic medicine. I have experimented with this stuff for years and personally I have found this helpful.)

    I know too little about it to really connect all the dots. What I do know is that TCM is a completely different approach towards health than what we're used to. I'll add a picture of the organ clock. It's an interesting idea I think.
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    Thanks, Effi. That’s fascinating. I’ll never dismiss TCM (or Ayurvedic medicine), partly because I assume these were developed by healers who quite literally lived side by side with their patients from cradle to grave, something unimaginable for modern doctors. The opportunities for close observation (not to mention experimentation) which that must have created make me feel that, even if TCM doctors can’t necessarily explain why something happens or works, their observations on human health should be seen as a rich vein of knowledge.
     
  4. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

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    @sarah darwins Yeah it's a totally different approach. From what I've read, in ancient China doctors were paid according to how many healthy patients they had (i.e. keeping them healthy through lifestyle so they don't get sick in the first place). When you think about how in our system doctors who have many sick patients are the richest, it does make you think, doesn't it? I wish we could have the best of both worlds: all the great accomplishments of Western medicine, with all the invaluable ancient knowledge of Chinese/Ayurvedic medicine. But so far it's always either/or, as if when you're into TCM, you HAVE to be against western medicine, and vice versa. I choose to pick whatever actually works for me in my unique situation. I don't care about which 'system' it came from. :)
     
  5. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    Yes. Wouldn't it be nice to see a bit more cross-fertilization there? I was talking to a couple of med students not so long ago about their plans for their overseas electives next year. They were torn between an altruistic posting in an impoverished, disease-ridden place, or a cushy posting (with beaches). China wasn't even on their radar.

    In the same vein, I tried earlier this year to find out what goes on with me/cfs in China but couldn't really find any information. I wonder if they even recognize it or do they deal with it under one or more other categories?
     
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  6. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

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    I remember reading something about Hong Kong being one of the places with the highest number of CFS patients in the world. (found it: here) Question is of course: what do they mean by CFS? [insert lengthy discussion] lol ;)

    I have tried to find some clue about me/cfs in previous years in writings on TCM and Ayurveda, but it seems that me/cfs specifically, and auto-immune illnesses in general aren't really described in the ancient writings. Maybe it has to do with the fact that we are trying to find a label from our Western Medicine to be described in a completely different system. I don't think they work with labels like we do. I think they see every patient as a unique unit, and they let the symptoms lead them to wherever the core of the ailment is. They talk a lot about things like 'too much heat in the liver' or 'dampness in the spleen'. That could mean anything, really. ;)
     
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  7. Dufresne

    Dufresne almost there...

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    Djokovic used to have a serious problem with stamina and dealing with the heat. And when he got down on himself he could seldom turn it around. It's a different story these days. There's no doubt cutting wheat was the key. It's amazing what the smallest detail will do to someone's life at that level, or any level. No doubt here's a good number of everyday people suffering various sensitivities, dysbiosis, toxicities, nutritional deficiencies, etc., all functioning far below their potential. And I think these detractors, if you will, are not best addressed by allopathic medicine. I believe it's mostly the stuff from the alternative side that fine tunes the body to function more as it should; not the band aid approach. Which isn't to say western medicine is not one of our greatest achievements. They do acute ailments and palliative treatment really well, but alternative medicine helps the body (and whatever else we are) get to a place where it can aid in healing itself. I think it's silly not to combine them when suffering from a chronic illness.

    On another note, I'm a pretty serious tennis fan, and for whatever reason Federer has always been my guy. I just relate to his personality. I believe his tragic flaw is he doesn't have that fight to the death, leave everything on the court quality. Djokovic has this, and Nadal has more of it than anybody, provided he's healthy. Federer fears being beaten. He needs to think of himself as the best player in the world. Perhaps at an unconscious level he figures if he leaves everything on the court and still loses to these guys (Nadal and Djokovic) it means he isn't who he imagines himself to be. True this could just be projection on my part, but I swear I've seen him self-sabotage several times since 2008. I understand he's getting older, but he still never gives them his best game. Whether in high performance or health struggles, you've to have your head in the right place.

    The other thing to consider with Federer is his episode with mono. That was about the point when he lost his edge. The same thing seems to have ended Robin Soderling's career. Mono can have a real tail to it as many of us know. It's funny how professional tennis nowadays works as a bit of a microcosm to what we're dealing with. And that's without going into Venus' Sjogren's, or Sam Stosur's Lyme.
     
  8. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    @Drufresne - completely with you on, well, everything ;-) Including the fine-tuning (quitting gluten made a major difference to me, despite not being celiac). On Federer, too, and that bout of mono — I remember all the following season he was sweating heavily, and as we all know Roger does not sweat. I thought his US Open win at the end of that season was his best, simply because of what he'd had to go through to achieve it. I hope when he eventually retires he will open up more about his health and fitness regimes, which seem to be shrouded in mystery. I know he disappears into the desert in Dubai for a while before most major championships. And I seem to recall Novak turned his career around after disappearing up a mountain in Croatia for a couple of months after a particularly tricky season where he seemed to be losing it mentally. Both those guys know things ... !
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
  9. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    What a radical idea!

    Re .. "things like 'too much heat in the liver' or 'dampness in the spleen'." I'm sure that's why there's such a dismissive attitude in the west towards TCM, but it's sort of what I was referring to when I talked about the observational value of some of the older medical systems. These concepts were obviously developed through close observation at a time before it was possible to find out what was going on at an organic, cellular or biochemical level. The terminology may be quaint, but the fact that it isn't literally accurate doesn't mean that the observations behind it or the paradigms of treatment response to particular presentations are misguided. Laughing at these ideas just because of the terminology is a pretty dumb response to almost 3,000 years of continuous close study of the human organism. [edit: just to be clear, I'm agreeing with you! Just thinking out loud]

    One of the few therapies that has helped me is acupuncture, but only when I was seeing a Chinese trained acupuncturist in Canada (7 years of training, as I recall). After she moved away I tried a couple of others but they were useless. One of the things I remember about her was her incredibly acute observational facility. She knew exactly how I was feeling every time I walked through the door. I know she paid very close attention to skin pallor, fingernails, eyes, the sound of the voice etc. What she worked on a lot with me was the gut, which she said was very "imbalanced", something that has only very recently been confirmed through lab work. Her treatments sometimes brought about quite dramatic improvements there, even though they sounded downright weird (she often used a needling pattern on my stomach which definitely involved 'dragons and clouds' !).
     
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  10. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    Re cfs/me in China, I see there was a thread on this in Feb of this year, one which rather suggests the Chinese might be importing more than just a lot of Rolls Royces from Britain: A Chinese Perspective on SEID
     
  11. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

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    Exactly. TCM and other ancient methods look at the body as a system, where everything is intertwined. (The Web that has no Weaver is a good book to read if you really want to get into TCM.) This makes it complicated and not so easy to understand as an outsider, not at all as simple as the terminology would lead us to believe. Western medicine OTOH focuses on every detail of the body separately, which of course has its merits too - e.g. the fact that they are able to do things like succesful face/hand/organ transplants is just beyond amazing. But where they go a bit wrong imo is in totally ignoring the fact that the body is a system. When something (chronically) goes wrong, you can't just shut up the symptom and expect it not to come out somewhere else.

    On the outside both systems seem so different that you'd think they were totally incompatible, but I don't think they are. Maybe one day...
    Right at the beginning when ME started creeping up on me and I had no idea what was going on (and all doctors I went to totally discarded my symptoms as imaginary), I went to see a Chinese accupuncturist for my tinnitus (one of my first acute symptoms). She spoke little else but Chinese so it was hard to communicate. She basically silently and quickly took my pulse every time, and then stuck needles in me without any hesitation. Whatever she was doing, she knew her stuff. The tinnitus went away after 4 or 5 sessions. I tried to ask her once what she felt when she took my pulse and her answer was: 'every thing messed up!' I guess that was probably accurate! lol ;)
     
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  12. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

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    Hm... that article just sounds like any other article from anywhere else, doesn't it? I wonder if anyone has tried battling this beast of an illness with real TCM? I did try the Ayurvedic approach, with a very experienced practitioner. Mostly supplements, dietary recommendations and massages. It did help, especially with digestion (my digestion was so sluggish that my stomach got upset over as little as a glass of water) and we tried so many things. In the beginning it did do some good, but then at a certain point my body just refused to take any of it anymore. Like it was shutting down. The practitioner said that he felt like this disease was untouchable, like there was no way of reaching it. That's another quaint way of talking about disease, but it does feel like that, doesn't it? He kept saying 'I have never seen this before in any other patient'. He himself suggested we'd stop the therapy because he felt like there was nothing more he could do for me. Which really spoke for him I think.

    Ugh one day we'll be able to explain it all! *fingers crossed* (that's a smiley I miss - this one is kinda close: :nervous: or not hehe)
     
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  13. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    Heh. Very similar experience, though mine spoke good English. We did talk about pulse 'analysis', and I know it's mighty complicated. I think western doctors are trained to do a bit more than just measure pulse rate, but TCM doctors seem to go way beyond 'thready'.

    btw, as a summary of the typical me/cfs patient's organic situation ... you can't do much better than "'every thing messed up!" :)
     
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  14. beaker

    beaker ME/cfs 1986

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    I think roger is just very shy. He competes but he is so smooth, you don't see the level of intensity outwardly.
    Remember when he broke down after losing to Nadal at the Australian a few years back ?
    I read that most players do, but they manage to hold it in until they get to the locker room.
    As well as Nole played, Roger kept missing his forehand long. His high number of unforced errors were unusual for him.
    He lost that match to himself. Wonder if something was going on....
    And yes, his game did change after mono. Does make you wonder.
    But up until the final he was doing wonderful and using his new sneak attack !

    I started watching tennis after I got sick.
    I didn't pay attention to the scores or who was playing for a long time. It was just kind of relaxing.
    And it was a way to stay connected to healthy friends. To talk tennis.

    Roddick said he was relieved when he retired, because he micromanaged everything that he ate and did.
    He went on a major diet change later in his career that helped him.
    But never revealed specifics.

    As to ayurvedic. )sp_ I saw a specialist in that for a while. He wanted me to eat "more flesh" yuck.
    I just couldn't do it. He said it was a rare recommendation. Red meat makes me sick. ( one of my first food issues after getting sick so I cut it out )
    It's hard for me to even eat chicken. I took a lot of herbal concoctions from this practioner, but nothing did anything for me. Went for at least a year. Was awhile ago. ...
    Not being able to drive, and being too sick, it became too difficult to keep seeing him longer term. Nice guy though.

    I saw an acupuncturist/CMD when first sick. Accu. made me worse.
    But then at that point, everything did.
     
  15. Dufresne

    Dufresne almost there...

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    @beaker
    I know Federer wants to win; probably more than anyone out there. I'm saying he's terrified of being truly beaten; beaten, playing his best game, by those who rival him as best player of all time.

    That Australian Open is actually the best example of this. I believe he wouldn't have shed tears had he lost to anybody other than Nadal. Remember this was at a time when it was thought Federer was still far stronger than him on hard court. Also Nadal had played a grueling five hour match not 48 hours before. Roger was supposed to win. And when he didn't, Nadal became the only guy to beat him in Grand Slam finals on all surfaces. That's why he was such a mess at the end of the match. I think I remember him saying "it's killing me." He also told McEnroe with a tear in his eye after his loss to Nadal at Wimbledon "that one hurt." Again, because Nadal wasn't supposed to beat him on grass.

    I feel for the guy. He's still the one I cheer for, but it's quite obvious his head gets in the way. Nadal and Djokovic don't have that problem.
     
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  16. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    It is relaxing, especially watching Federer — watching Roger play a long rally is like reading a poem. Whatever happens, he'll always be the player I want to watch.
     
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  17. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

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    @wintersky I'm tagging you here on this thread from another thread (here), hope you don't mind. You seem to know quite a bit about Traditional Chinese Medicine, so I thought you might have some interesting comments on what Novak Djokovic said. :)
     
  18. wintersky

    wintersky

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    Hi Effi and others,

    Thanks for the mention, but the knowledge i have is still way too little in this area. Personally, i follow a similar diet to Djokovic for years. I cut out wheat as much as possible and take no dairy along with zero sugar intake. I will also drink my own self-prescribed Chinese Medicine Herbal Decoction starting at the stomach window (7am to 9am).

    For what it seems, Djovoric's diet is focused on avoiding dampness. Wheat and sugar are supposedly damp-forming (water retention issues, think edema type problems). Milk is said to be a point of contention as some believe that it is not damp-forming.

    In TCM, it's said that hours of a day, along with season is also important. Even if one lives in a tropical country, "winter season" effects are still present. It is said that illnesses heal faster and better during winter season due to the winter temperament reducing the "heaty/warm" effect of herbal decoctions. It has also been said that autumn season is good for healing liver issues while winter is good for "conserving jing/store energy" and doing intensive healing, much akin to how animals hibernate for winter to save energy. Supposedly, sleeping ideally would start at 9pm in winter so that one would not waste precious energy
     
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  19. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

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    @sarah darwins here's an article on TCM treatment of CFS by a Chinese licenced accupuncturist/MD (courtesy of @wintersky ). http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/archives2005/aug/08wang.html
    He seems to have had training in psychiatry, so that's always a tricky one. The physical aspects he seems to get right, but in the end he says it can be fixed in 3 months (possibly longer if you've been sick for years) which makes me think he's talking about chronic fatigue, not cfs. Apart from that this could give us some insight in how this is treated with TCM, so that's why I thought I'd post it anyway. Any thoughts?
     
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  20. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

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    @Aurator It would be interesting to hear more about the TCM point of view on me/cfs. In case you feel like sharing. :) Thanks!
     
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