Yin Yang. What way does it go? I see it all kinds of ways. We’ll this is the way I learned it according to ancient scriptures and Chinese philosophy. The Emperor’s Palace faced South to receive the warm wind. So, to the East (left) the sun would rise (yang). To the West (right) the sun would set and night would fall (yin). Now yang in this diagram is white, rising, warming. Yin in this diagram is black, falling, cooling, and condensing.
And so here we have the change in seasons as well. Now we are in the West (right) side of this diagram where the yang of all of Spring and Summer is now condensing into Fall, we start to nourish ourselves with all our harvests from the orchards and gardens. So the yang energy of all this bounty is now more tangible and has turned to yin nourishment as we move towards Fall and Winter ( a more yin time of the year).
This time of year, especially late August and September, is a time for prevention prevention prevention! Keep those lungs moist and open! Herbal immune tonics are fabulous. Pear sauce with ginger and cinnamon is a good idea too. Here are some of my go to prevention strategies for kids and adults. The Deep Immune and Deep Immune Kids by St Francis is an immune tonic to help prevent colds and flus and to help adapt to the change in weather and seasons. It’s a good way to keep your energy up and your spirits bright as we move towards darker and shorter days. The Ear Oil and Children’s Ear Formula is something I always have on hand, for those late night earaches that just break your heart. And of course we have the Oregano Oil for under the tongue when you feel something coming on for adults.
Keep yourself warm this Fall by adding ginger to just about everything! Choosing more cooked foods and steering away from cold damp foods like ice cream and melons will keep your body’s energies warm and moving.
From the winter stews and soups, you may feel like eating crunchier foods. It is certainly time to start munching on some raw foods, but don’t over do it. Remember we need to protect our stomach fires and not douse them out by eating too many cold foods. You can always “warm up” those salads by adding some ginger to your dressing or fresh lemon juice to aid digestion.
Have you been waiting to do a cleanse? Yes, it’s time! We move into the Liver/Gallbladder season and hence we could use a little detoxifying. A simple way to cleanse during this time of year is focusing on more green in our diet. Green being the Liver/Gallbladder color of the 5 element system. What’s green in our surroundings that grow like weeds? WEEDS! i.e. dandelion greens, nettle leaves, cleavers. They grow abundantly all around us. Nettle in particular is well known to help us with our allergies. This is because of the high level of minerals and cleansing properties of this plant. Dandelion greens is a bitter plant and helps flush out the liver and kidneys. Cleavers are a diuretic, lymphatic tonic, and a detoxifier. Acupuncture or massage can be a very helpful adjunct to a cleanse by making sure the toxins are being flushed out through your sweat, bowels or urination. It can also help with irritability and low energy as we go through detoxification.
When you are on a cleanse, give yourself time and space for it. It doesn’t mean you have to quit your job or go on holidays, but you will get more benefit from it if you take time each day to meditate, do more yoga, or take some rest. There are lots of approaches to clearing out the winter cobs webs. Choose one that fits your needs and lifestyle.
What have I been treating most this spring? Allergies! Is your nose running? Are you sneezing wildly? Don’t itch your eyes, leave them alone. How about your throat and ears? Ahhhh! There is relief! Acupuncture and Tuina massage regularly during allergy season can help relieve a lot of your symptoms. I also include some herbal formulas that target your eyes, ears, nose and throat. GuaSha and Cupping are also very popular this time of year. Traditionally GuaSha is done within the family home in Taiwan, usually Grandma or Auntie. Here in Canada a lot more Practitioners are using it in their clinics. Give it a try!
While I’m working on your immunity and your response to spring, I am also working on detoxifying your liver and flushing your lymphatic symstem (often seen as your Spleen in Chinese Medicine). Working on your immunity during the Fall and Winter months can help prevent some of your allergic responses in the Spring. Doing a cleanse in early Spring can also help your body deal with all the allergens in this beautiful floral city.
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My winter greens! Something to keep my spirits up during this time of year while everything else is dropping and rotting, the greens are still growing and glowing. It’s Fall, Lung and Large Intestine time. Our energy is starting to turn inward. Think of that bear collecting and gathering it’s nourishment for the winter months. For us we are harvesting our fruits and vegetables and drying, fermenting, canning, and storing our food to keep those 2 batteries (2 kidneys) nourished during the colder months and keeping our Spleen/Stomach in balance. Following the seasons and looking to nature for cues is a great way to stay balanced and keep your immunity strong for all seasons. So this brings us to the foods we could be eating now to build our immune systems for the colder months. Root vegetables! And lots of them! Beets, Carrots, Potatoes,Yams, Parsnips, Onions, Garlic. Eat them in a soup or grill them in the oven. Adding them to bone broths can help strengthen the digestive system and support good gut flora.
A lot of us didn’t want summer to end, I know. However now that the cooler weather is here, I’m looking forward to hunkering down and getting to “work” on all those things I didn’t get around to on those hot summer days. A few of those things are about getting back to routine and taking care of myself. This starts in my garden. Will I ever get to all those tomatoes, beets, carrots, apples, pears and grapes? Well I got to the grapes and made delicious juice. I used the last of the tomatoes for spaghetti sauce. Next? Apple sauce, apple juice, apple pie, apple sandwiches (That’s from Little Bear stories).
Don’t forget Rosemary Gladstar’s Fire Cider recipe.
½ cup of onion, garlic, horseradish (chopped up)
¼ cup ginger (chopped up)
¼ teaspoon cayenne
Put in large mason jar (1quart)
Fill to the top with apple cider vinegar
Let sit for 2-4 weeks, drain and add honey to taste
So when I’m feeling cold and run down, this should do the trick to help prevent common colds and flu, increase my circulation, and clear phlegm. For more information visit http://learningherbs.com/
The Fall, in Chinese Medicine, relates to the Metal Element which corresponds to the Lung and Large Intestine. It’s important to keep our lungs open and our chest turned outward. Don’t let yourself “cave in”. A simple exercise to do this is to wave your arms from front to back on a horizontal plane and clap or do circles with your arms or simply thump your chest like a gorilla. This all helps promote circulation to the chest and keep viruses, bacteria, and phlegm out. For the Large Intestine (hence digestion), it’s time for more warm and cooked foods. We don’t have the summer heat to help us digest so put more heat in your food ie garlic, onion, cayenne and ginger is my favorite. Raw foods take more energy to digest, so if you are feeling a little low, try and reduce your intake of them. Make apple sauce with ginger instead of eating cold fruit. Make oatmeal with berries and ginger instead of cold cereals and milk. Add stewed pears to your diet. Pears are an excellent lung tonic, keeping them moist and free of bacteria and phlegm.
The emotion that corresponds to the Metal Element is sadness or grief. In my practice I refer to it as a feeling of “homesickness”. For me that’s the best way to describe it. For others there can be a real sense of sadness or grief for no apparent reason, especially if they have a history of lung issues. Keep that chest open and know that it will pass.
Fall is the perfect time of year to boost your immune system. Gentle tonics include Astragulus and Elder berry. For kids in particular, (because it tastes so good) Elder Berry syrup can be a great way to keep those viruses away. Add some fish oils and chewable probiotics and that’s far fewer colds this season. Shoni-shin and/or Acupuncture can also be helpful for prevention and treatment of upper respiratory illnesses. Children can benefit with fewer treatments than adults, as their energy is more easily influenced.
In my practice, this is the time of year I encourage my patients with Asthma, COPD, or any Chronic Respiratory Illness to come for a series of treatments before the Winter Season is upon us. It’s also a good time of year for a tune up as the change of seasons can be challenging to your immunity and emotional health.
You can visit me at my clinic: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Victoria Professional Building
1120 Yates Street, Suite 406
This is a fun 2 minute video by Brodie Welch talking about Fall and Chinese Medicine. It takes a few seconds to upload. Enjoy!
Kids are wonderful to work with. I feel blessed every time to be a part of their healing process. Whether it’s Shoni-Shin, Acupuncture, GuaSha, Massage, Ear Seeds or Herbs, they all seem very proud of themselves when they leave my clinic.
Upper Respiratory Illnesses can be quite stressful in the home. Lots of sleepless nights and maybe a few trips to the doctor. Acupuncture, Shoni-shin, and herbs are great treatment options for those looking for alternative therapies. Chronic ear infections, asthma, low immunity, constipation are just some of the recent concerns I have seen in my clinic. If you have a concern about your child or baby, come by the clinic or email me.
For more information visit my website under Clinic Services: Pediatric Shoni-Shin Treatment