It’s time to sprout, bloom, grow, and feel renewed!

 

The philosophical principles of the Five Elements used in Traditional Chinese Medicine refer to the balance and flow of qi, yin and yang energies that occur during specific times of year. According to this philosophy, your body changes in accord with the five elements that occur with a specific season: Fire relates to summer, Earth relates to late summer, Metal relates to fall, Water relates to winter, Wood relates to spring. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners use principles related to these elements to examine the imbalances of the body, diagnose, and treat health problems. 

bdbb3ff05e45f718cb03e29254a9e2bfSpring is represented by the following qualities: 

  • Element: Wood
  • Color: Green
  • Nature: Yang
  • Taste: Sour
  • Organs: Liver, Gallbladder
  • Emotion: Anger

Spring is thought to be a good time to detox and cleanse because it the time of year when activity returns. If we stay in winter-hibernation-mode too long, i.e. if we don’t start moving, our Liver energy stagnates causing muscle aches and pains especially on the sides of the body, irritability and anger, sighing, PMS, constipation or irregular digestion. 

Keep your Liver Qi flowing smoothly this season! 

Move your body – help your Liver flow by keeping your body moving. Try yoga or Tai Chi or go for a walk around the block and breathe in some fresh air!

Eat Greens – try to incorporate as many green vegetables into your diet, slightly cooked or sautéed is the best! Need help jump starting your Liver and digestive health? Try a Liver detox!

Taste Sour – Sour flavors stimulate liver qi. Add lemon to your water, try apple cider vinegar + honey in warm water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing. 

Spring Clean – Just like your body, the energy in your home can stagnate, so it’s time to clear out space to help the flow of energy in your home.

Get Acupuncture treatments – Acupuncture rebalances the overall health of your body to help alleviate symptoms associated with Liver Qi stagnation.

What your dreams and sleeping patterns are saying about your health

static1-squarespaceA single poor night of sleep can derail an entire day or even week. Imagine what chronic poor sleep can do to the mind and body! Western medicine includes some potentially valuable sleep treatments, but they also have considerable drawbacks. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is less well known as a sleep health treatment, but is similarly powerful. Let’s take a look at both approaches:

Continue reading What your dreams and sleeping patterns are saying about your health

Support through the Fall to prepare for the Winter.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a two thousand year old medicine that looks to nature as its teacher. In the Fall, imagine the leaves changing colors, falling from trees, and eventually drying. Like fragile leaves, our Lungs are most susceptible to the wind and dryness in the Fall. Acupuncture and other Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities help prepare Lungs for the cold winter months ahead. Fall is also the time to harvest, a time when nature transforms and transitions towards an ending. In Fall, nature shifts from activity to rest, letting the the earth lie fallow through the winter.

Just as the seasons cycle, so do our energies, emotions and bodies. Fall and the Lungs are also associated with grief and with letting go. It’s not unusual to feel these shifts emotionally or physically. Old pains (physical or emotional) might reemerge and ache with the appearance of gusting cold winds rustling them from their trees.

 

 

Ancient wisdom teaches us not to avoid, but to lean in and listen to what the season is teaching us. This season ask yourself:

  • Is it time to slow down & reap my harvest?
  • Do I really want to resort to allergy meds that make me drowsy or should I try a natural alternative?
  • Are old injuries reappearing and aching suddenly?
  • Do I have something that I need to let go?
  • Am I grieving and need support along the way?
  • Am I prepared to slow down and turn inward?

WHY I TRIED ACUPUNCTURE AND WHY YOU SHOULD TOO!

First off, let me start by saying, I have a needle phobia and I mean a bona-fide sweaty palms, heart racing out of my chest, kind of phobia. As a child, I used to cling to the undersides of chairs before I let a nurse or doctor pry me off and stick a needle in me. As an adult, I find myself still fighting the fear of needles, often fainting at blood draws, etc. Believe me when I say that acupuncture, a therapy using needles, was the LAST treatment on my radar.

So, how did I get in the treatment chair (and not hide under it)?   About up six years ago, I found myself in a doctoral program, stressed and exhausted with migraines, insomnia, and some serious anxiety (not to mention many other symptoms that I didn’t even realize were related until I began to get treatments).  I visited doctors. I tried medication. I worked out. Nothing gave me relief, and no one had the answers because “nothing was wrong” with me. So, I decided to take my studies of meditation and embodiment into my own hands and become my own research experiment. I found a wonderful acupuncturist who was extra caring.After a lot of talking, calming, and deep breaths, the needles went in (about 12 in total). To be clear: the needles are needles…don’t let anyone tell you different, but they are not hollow like the ones used to draw blood.

acupuncture needles

They are as thin as a whisker and don’t suck anything (e.g. blood) out of you! If you’ve never had an acupuncture treatment this might sound strange, but after a few moments with the needles, I could actually feel a heavy energy traveling along lines (what I now understand to be meridians) from my head to my toes. It was a divine experience feeling cocooned in a warm blanket of qi (or energy), and, best of all, my anxiety (the anxiety I walked in with prior to thinking about needles and the anxiety I had about the needles) disappeared. I was able to breathe, my headache stopped, I relaxed…in short it was incredible. If that’s not enough to at least get you to try a treatment or two, then I don’t know what is!

The “magic” behind acupuncture is that the needles tap into your body’s own healing capacities. The needles simply remind the body to “wake up” and “reboot” what needs attention (i.e., what’s become stuck, or tired, or overworked). That’s why when you go in for a treatment to address anxiety (e.g.), you might also get a better night’s sleep, your digestion might improve, and your overall energy might increase. Repeat: This all happens naturally! (I’ll discuss the Western scientific understanding of how this works in my next post.)

I didn’t decide to start pursuing a career as an acupuncturist for another couple of years after this initial experience, but did continue to receive treatments. The truth is, I still don’t love the needles per-say, but I fell in love with the philosophy of this medicine and what the needles could do. I knew I had to learn more! I left my graduate program, enrolled in school for Oriental Medicine, and now I want to share all of the knowledge I’ve gathered up in the nine years I’ve been a graduate student (yes nine, phew!) as a philosopher and as a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner.  If you’re curious about acupuncture or looking to try something natural to get back into balance, I’d love to work with you! Schedule your appointment with me today!