March 16, 2013


Kanpo (herbal medicine)

The Japanese herbal medicine tradition developed originally from Chinese texts but, like many of the therapies described earlier in this chapter, went through uniquely Japanese stages of refinement and development. Nowadays, in Japan, only medical doctors are legally allowed to practise kanpo, yet over the counter kanpo remedies for the general public are hugely popular.

Japanese formula generally use fewer herbs than the Chinese ones and dried granular extracts are more commonly used than fresh herbal ingredients because they’re convenient and easy to take.

Kanpo diagnosis is based on eight principles described below as four pairs of opposites:

1.   Determining if the person’s symptoms are predominantly kyo (deficient) or jitsu (excess)
2.   Determining the stage of illness (chronic/acute)
3.   Ascertaining whether the disease is external and superficial or internal and deep
4.   Determining whether symptoms are predominantly hot or cold

After the predominant underlying weakness, or kyo, has been identified, it can then be treated with appropriate medicinal herbs. This approach is almost the opposite to the Western medical one, which focuses on identifying and treating the invading germ, virus, or bacteria. In kanpo, the emphasis is on supporting the weak or vulnerable parts or systems of the body to prevent them from succumbing to invading pathogens.

Because kanpo medicine focuses on an individual’s constitution and that person’s particular response to the disease, the treatment for different people with the same disease, according to Western medicine, will often be different. So, for example, if five people were diagnosed with asthma, in Western medicine they may all be prescribed the same type of inhalant medication, yet, in kanpo, their herbal medicine prescriptions, while maybe having some ingredients in common, would probably all differ.

Most kanpo formulas have five to ten ingredients. They’re usually made from plant ingredients including roots, bark, leaves, flowers, fruit, and fungi, although occasionally mineral or animal ingredients may be used. These ingredients are selected according to their individual effects on the body and also their combined effects with each other.

Kanpo herbal medicines are well researched and are regarded as safe to take, with virtually no side effects if prescribed and taken properly. If you’re pregnant, breast-feeding, or hoping to conceive you must always inform your practitioner or consult your GP before taking kanpo medicinal herbs.

You can take kanpo herbal medicines with Western medicine but ensure you’re carefully monitored by qualified and experienced practitioners in case of interactions. Always inform your GP and herbal practitioner of any medicines and herbs that you’re taking.


Moxibustion (also known as moxa) is a warming treatment that involves burning an aromatic herb, Artemesia Vulgaris, to increase circulation and stimulate the flow of ki (vital energy). In Japan, moxa applied directly to the skin is favored, so fine moxa wool (the dried herb) is gently hand-rolled into tiny rice-grain-sized pieces and then placed directly on the skin, lit with a fine incense stick, and burnt down.

The whole process is repeated several times on the same spot until the surrounding skin becomes red and warm. Some spent medical training in Japan and thereto spent many hours practicing this technique, rolling the fine moxa wool into minute sausage shapes between the thumb and forefinger. Being speedy is handy when you have to repeat the treatment many times on various accupoints, often simultaneously. One once demonstrated this through his swiftness across a set of six pairs of points on someone’s back. With lightning speed he placed the moxa grains, lit them, put them out, and replaced them all in quick succession; by the time he got to the bottom pair on the lower back he was just in time to go back to the top pair by the neck as they burnt down and extinguished themselves.

The idea of the rice grain moxa is that it is used to warm and tone the body when a person has a deficient (kyo) condition. The grains are placed repeatedly on the same point until the person starts to feel a sensation of heat. In Japanese medicine, since the moxa grains are so tiny, they are often allowed to burn right down to the skin. Doing so can produce tiny burn marks orblisters but is believed to be therapeutic by mobilising immune cell function.

Actually, the marks disappear within a few days, leaving the skin unblemished. In most people heat is felt after three to five moxa applications as the empty point becomes filled, but in some cases it can take much longer.

Complementary Medicine's Diagnoses - ...cont'd.

Diagnosis by observation (Bo-shin)

Bo-shin involves looking at the tongue and sometimes also the fingers, toes, ears, and face. The Japanese medicine practitioner examines the tongue to assess its color  shape, and coating for information about the functioning of your internal organs.

Micro-diagnosis, which involves the examination of an individual body part for information about the whole body, is also a speciality in Japanese medicine. Just as different parts of the tongue are said to correspond to various parts of the body, so too it is said to be possible to examine the hands, fingers, toes, face, ears, and so on for similar clues.

For example, in analyzing the fingers and toes, redness, red spots, and the sensation of heat in a particular digit indicate a jitsu (excess) condition in the organ to which it corresponds, while pallor, white or brown spots, or sensations of coldness can indicate kyo (deficiency).The practitioner may also take note of your gait, body size and proportions, skin, nails, hair, facial expressions, and even the color of clothes that you’re wearing as all can provide valuable clues to your current state of health.

Complementary Medicine's Diagnoses

Diagnosis by palpation (Setsu-shin)

With Setsu-shin, the practitioner takes pulses on each of your wrists and may also palpate your abdomen and specific points along the meridian channels (channels of vital energy in the body. As in traditional Chinese medicine, Japanese medicine recognizes six pulses on each wrist, corresponding mainly to each of the major organs of the body.

In Japanese medicine, pulse taking has a slightly lighter touch than in Chinese medicine and the practitioner generally takes the pulses on both of your wrists at the same time, comparing the left and right sides of each pulse position with each other.

Abdominal palpation may also be used to determine the relative kyo and jitsu of all your internal organs. Master practitioner Shizuto Masunaga employed a unique form of hara (abdominal) diagnosis. This same form is used by many shiatsu practitioners and some acupuncturists today.

The practitioner palpates each area feeling for fullness (jitsu) or emptiness (kyo). A diagnosis for fullness occurs when the abdomen feels hard and often tender when pressed. In an emptiness diagnosis, the abdomen feels soft and fingers sink in without resistance.

Practitioners also often palpate along meridian lines. Again they are feeling for areas that are soft and sunken and that welcome pressure (kyo) or those that are hard and resistant and painful on pressure (jitsu). These points will form the basis of treatment in both Japanese acupuncture and massage, including shiatsu.

March 15, 2013

Foreign Exchange Volume

Factors that caused Foreign Exchange Volume Growth

Foreign exchange trading is generally conducted in a decentralized manner, with the exceptions of currency futures and options. Foreign exchange has experienced spectacular growth in volume ever since currencies were allowed to float freely against each other. While the daily turnover in 1977 was U.S. $5 billion, it increased to U.S. $600 billion in 1987, reached the U.S. $1 trillion mark in September 1992, and stabilized at around $1.5 trillion by the year 2000.

Main factors influence on this spectacular growth in volume are indicated below. For foreign exchange, currency volatility is a prime factor in the growth of volume. In fact, volatility is a sine qua non condition for trading. The only instruments that may be profitable under conditions of low volatility are currency options.

Interest Rate Volatility

Economic internationalization generated a significant impact on interest rates as well. Economics became much more interrelated and that exacerbated the need to change interest rates faster. Interest rates are generally changed in order to adjust the growth in the economy, and interest rate differentials have a substantial impact on exchange rates.

Business Internationalization

In recent decades the business world the competition has intensified, triggering a worldwide hunt for more markets and cheaper raw materials and labor. The pace of economic internationalization picked up even more in the 1990s, due to the fall of Communism in Europe and to up-and-down economic and financial development in both Southeast Asia and South America. These changes have been positive toward foreign exchange, since more transactional layers were added.

Increasing of Corporate Interest

A successful performance of a product or service overseas may be pulled down from the profit point of view by adverse foreign exchange conditions and vice versa. An accurate handling of the foreign exchange may enhance the overall international performance of a product or service. Proper handling of foreign exchange generally adds substantially to the rate of return. Therefore, interest in foreign exchange has increased in the past decade. Many corporations are using currencies not only for hedging, but also for capitalizing on opportunities that exist solely in the currency markets.

Increasing of Traders Sophistication

Advances in technology, computer software, and telecommunications and increased experience have increased the level of traders' sophistication. This enhanced traders' confidence in their ability to both generate profits and properly handle the exchange risks. Therefore, trading sophistication led toward volume increase.

Developments in Telecommunications

The introduction of automated dealing systems in the 1980s, of matching systems in the early 1990s, and of Internet trading in the late 1990s completely altered the way foreign exchange was conducted. The dealing systems are online computer systems that link banks on a one-to-one basis, while matching systems are electronic brokers. They are reliable and much faster, allowing traders to conduct more simultaneous trades. They are also safer, as traders are able to see the deals that they execute. The dealing systems had a major role in expanding the foreign exchange business due to their reliability, speed, and safety.

Computer and Programming development

Computers play a significant role at many stages of conducting foreign exchange. In addition to the dealing systems, matching systems simultaneously connect all traders around the world, electronically duplicating the brokers' market. The new office systems provide full accounting coverage, ticket writing, back office processing, and risk management implementation at a fraction of their previous cost. Advanced software makes it possible to generate all types of charts, augment them with sophisticated technical studies, and put them at traders' fingertips on a continuous basis at a rather limited cost.

March 14, 2013


The theory of investing.

Diversification and liquidity are dandy, but they both vanish when we need them the most. As 2008 began, millions of investors owned short - term bond funds holding securities ranging in safety from plain - vanilla high - grade corporate debt to more exotic asset - backed vehicles; a small but soon - to - be - highly - visible minority of funds actually juiced their returns by writing credit default swaps. In normal times, these securities were highly liquid, that is, easily exchangeable for cold, hard cash. When push came to shove in the fall of that year, however, shareholders in need of cash suddenly found that they were worth less than they ever thought possible — in some cases, a lot less. Similarly, during the great bull market of 2002 – 2007, investors piled into mutual funds specializing in emerging markets and real estate investment trusts (REITs) — ostensibly because of their diversification value, but in reality because their recent performance had been red - hot. In the ensuing market collapse, the diversification value of these two asset classes disappeared faster than taco chips at a Super Bowl party, falling, in some cases, 60 to 70 percent. (In truth, REITs and emerging markets stocks do offer substantial diversification benefit, but only if held for the long term: during the 10 - year period from 1999 to 2008, these two asset classes provided investors with salutary returns, while the S & P 500 lost money.)

The history of investing.

The stock market is not as agreeable a place as many would have you believe. Forget the “stocks for the long run” bias inherent in both the pre - and post - 1926 databases used by almost all academics and practitioners. JASON ZWEIG, simply put, is the reigning gold medalist in the investing Olympics decathlon, investing demolishes this paradigm with an efficiency rarely seen this side of a Chuck Norris film: Stock markets do not become less risky with time, do not always return more than bonds, and do vanish, with alarming regularity, into the mists of history.

The psychology of investing.

Your own worst enemy is the image in the mirror; this goes double if you’re a guy. As I read Jason’s sections on the investing heart of darkness inside all of us, I trembled that they might fall into the wrong hands: a snappy ticker symbol, for example, is worth a several - percent stock price premium. Of course, when it comes to manic - depressive behavior, few can hold a candle to Mr. Market himself, and the sooner you stop becoming his anxious co-dependent and learn to administer to him the tough love he deserves, the wealthier you will be.

The business of investing.

Beware of geeks bearing gifts: Most financial innovation serves roughly the same purpose as the pickpocket’s decoy, the innocent - appearing chap who bumps into you or asks you the time while his deft accomplice relieves you of your wallet. In much the same way, over the past decade hedge funds, bond funds with clever options strategies, and structured investment vehicles have considerably lightened investor’s wallets.

March 10, 2013

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 15:1-3.11-32. 

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." 

So to them he addressed this parable.  Then he said, "A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.' So the father divided the property between them. 

After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. 

When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. 

So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. 

Coming to his senses he thought, 'How many of my father's hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. 

I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 

I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers."' 

So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. 

His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.' 

But his father ordered his servants, 'Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast,  because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.' Then the celebration began. 

Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing.  He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. 

The servant said to him, 'Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.' 
He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. 

He said to his father in reply, 'Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. 

But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.' 
He said to him, 'My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. 

But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.'"