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Ask Kat: Tiger Boe's Festive Advice

16 December 17 words: Kat Chu
illustrations: Rikki Marr

The festive period is a time of joy, wonder and merriment. It’s also a time when we neglect our minds and bodies by necking sherries, to deal with the extended family moving in on your turf, and gorging on advent calendars. No one really counts down the days, come now. We’ve heard your decrepit cries for help, and have passed them on to classical Chinese medicine specialist and head honcho over at Nottingham’s community wellbeing centre, Tiger Boe. Kat Chu, in all her holistic, Agony-Aunt wisdom, is here with a few words of advice...

My new year’s resolution is to pack up the fags once and for all. I’ve promised to buy the kids a PlayStation if I’ve not chucked in the chimney sticks by March. Help.
Okay, I’ve got this one sorted. I’m not too proud to mention that I’ve had an affiliation for the owd coffin nails myself, so I know what you're going through. It’s a good idea to replace bad habits with good, as life is about enjoyment and moderation, rather than pain and denial. You might want to think about looking into a few different things to help you fight the nicotine addiction: mindfulness and hypnotherapy are good ‘uns. Once you’ve got your energy back, take the kids out for the day, and hopefully they’ll stop bangin’ on about that PlayStation.

It was our turn to have the job-lot round for the big day last year, and when I was getting the turkey out the oven, I pulled my back out summat horrid. I’ve had a right rough time of it with a proper niggling pain...
You’ve been doing too much, duck. Acupuncture is a great form of pain relief, as it treats pain at the root cause by encouraging the body to physically repair itself, as opposed to relying on meds, which often just mask the pain. Stimulating the acupuncture channels – or surgical pathways, as described in Western medicine – helps to balance and restabilise the body’s internal healing system. Acupoints, also known as critical junctions, allow us to send messages to the body to correct imbalances, both physical and mental. Massage is another option, as it relieves any tension and stress that you may have built up, allowing you to relax and heal. Get it sorted, and this year you’ll be able to carry the whole oven to the table, never mind the turkey.

What with all the cold weather, dark nights, and the in-laws, the festive period is a struggle for me. I find myself feeling low and stressed out very easily...
I think you’ve got a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D), and you’re not on your own there. In Chinese medicine, we view S.A.D as an indication that you’re out of sync with nature. 200 years ago, winter was hibernation time for us; we would have woken up with the sun and gone to bed at sundown. Nowadays, we have electric light and central heating, so we tend to ignore our bodies and burn the candle at both ends, especially during the festive season. All that joy and merriment can become pretty nauseating when you're feeling down.

The best option is a sabbatical in Barbados, but if that’s not possible, get yourself booked in at the centre and we’ll help you to get you back in tune with the natural biorhythm, alleviating physical and emotional symptoms with things like energy work, reiki, and yoga. I also recommend getting your vitamin D levels checked by your GP or pharmacist. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution for the in-laws, but I’m working on it.

Everyone I know has been struck down with a snotty, throaty, grizzly cold. The same fate cannot belie me. How can I give my immune system a kick up the arse so I stand half a chance?
Garlic in the answer. It loves everything our bodies hate and boosts your immune system. Try roasting some to make it a bit more palatable. Acupuncture is also great for coughs and colds and can flush out snot and phlegm like magic; it can activate the lungs and send energy to the organs, kicking out the cold and combatting the virus.

I’ve overdone it. I’ve been out on the lash since November, drank nothing but egg-nog, and all the late nights have left my skin dull as dishwater. I’m starting to look my age...
Well, firstly, you’d be better off bathing in the egg-nog than drinking it. Sounds like you're detoxing from some serious festive merriment, but there are ways to help your liver rid itself of the nasties. The best way to get rid of a hangover is to put some salt on your tongue for as long as you can handle without bringing the Baileys back up. This’ll draw the water from your body back up to your brain, et voila.

The skin is related to the lungs and large intestine in Chinese medicine, so make sure you wrap up warm, ease off the ciggies or the vape pen, and get some good bacteria in your gut. Again, acupuncture or acupressure could be an option, and at the centre we can advise you on what probiotic foods or supplements will be best for you. Plus, a bit of facial rejuvenation therapy will sort your sagging jowls out.

I’m so excited for Santa that I haven’t slept a whole night through for yonks. Is there anything I can do to calm mesen down?
You need to set up a sleep routine. Make sure all your electronics are outside the bedroom when you go to bed, stop drinking caffeine at lunch time and have a hot drink or a bath before bed. You should also try some simple breathing techniques. Inhale to the count of three and exhale to the count of three, that’ll drop you into peace mode and calm your mind right down.

Tiger Boe Centre, 7 Clarendon Street, Nottingham, NG1 5HS. 0115 837 8080

Tiger Boe website

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