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In Summer, Nourish Your Heart

Summer is a time of abundant energy, long sunshine-filled days, and warmth. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), summer has many different associations that help define it and therefore help us understand how to stay in balance with the season. To shed some light on the context of summer, its element is fire, the color is red, its emotion is joy and the governing organs are the heart and the small intestine. One way you can stay healthy this Summer is to adjust your habits in order to support your heart.

acupuncture in summer heart

The heart is the main organ associated with the season of summer, and as such, it should be paid close attention to and nourished to remain healthy. The heart’s main function is to circulate oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. In TCM, mental activity is also associated with the heart. This mental activity is known as Shen in Chinese medicine. Often compared to our mind, the Shen goes deeper to include our thought processes, memory, consciousness, and emotional well-being.

Summer is the most appropriate time to calm the Shen and provide
it with enrichment that will last throughout the whole year.

When the fire element is balanced, the mind is calm, sleep is sound and the heart organ is strong and healthy. If the fire element is not balanced, there may be depression or an excess of joy which manifests as mania. Symptoms of an unbalanced fire element include heartburn, insomnia, agitation, nervousness, digestive upset, rashes, palpitations, and excessive perspiration.

The small intestine, the second organ associated with summer in TCM, is responsible for separating the pure from the impure, allowing the body to use the pure and dispose of the impure. When the heart is not balanced, the small intestine, the brother to the heart, will not function properly either. For many people, this manifests as digestive upset of some sort: vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, etc.

Going outside and engaging all of your senses is an easy way to nourish the heart. A technique known as “grounding” has been gaining popularity over the past decade, and science is showing that it can be very beneficial. All one has to do is walk or stand in the grass while barefoot. The energy from the earth is incredible, and it can be very healing. While you’re there, take time to listen to the sounds of nature that surround you and enjoy the fragrances of the flowers. Taking in the experience with all your senses can be very grounding and have a calming effect on the mind and body.

Probably the two most important things you can do for heart health during the summer months is drink plenty of fresh water and eat cooling foods. No matter what season of the year, water is vital. It is recommended we drink at least 64 ounces per day. Cooling foods like fruits are good at keeping fire under control, which is healthy for the whole body. Other foods that are beneficial for the summer months include peppers, eggplant, cabbage, kale, broccoli, spinach, melons of all kinds, beets, radishes, jicama, carrots, berries, pineapple, cucumbers, peaches, peppermint, grapefruit, and mushrooms.

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Eastern vs. Western: How the Medical Practices Differ

Almost everybody knows there are two very unique ways of treating disease and maintaining health. But not everybody knows how these two methodologies differ from one another. And depending on where you live in the world, there may be one that is more prominent than the other. Both systems have their pros and cons. So let’s differentiate between the two. This is the battle between Eastern and Western medicine.  Let’s get ready to rumble! continue reading »

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The Flu & You – How Can TCM Help?

Chinese medicinal clinical studies have suggested that using acupuncture as a preventative approach to colds and flu can reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract infection and shorten the duration of the illness. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine work by rebalancing the body’s systems, regulating the body’s healing energies, and enhancing the immune system.

Even though germs, bacteria, and viruses are everywhere—in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink—according to Chinese medical theory, they do not cause disease. Illness occurs when our Wei Qi and our meridian organ systems are weak and out of balance. When this occurs it creates a hospitable for germs, bacteria, and viruses to thrive, leading to a cold, the flu, or worse. continue reading »

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Meridian Point: Large Intestine 4

Large Intestine 4 is one of the most important and influential acupoints in the entire body. The Chinese name for Large Intestine 4 is “He Gu” meaning union valley or converging valley. The point is located on the hand in the web between the thumb and index finger, also described as the depression where the index finger and thumb bones part. This area of the hand is often described as “valley like” hence the name converging valley. continue reading »

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Germ Theory: 101

Why do some people always catch a cold, and others don’t?
Viruses, germs, and bacteria are everywhere. They are in the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink, but not all of them are bad or harmful.

Think of the immune system as your body’s security detail. The cells, tissues, and organs that comprise it help repel foreign invaders like harmful bacteria, parasites, and other microbes that can cause infections. Disorders of the immune system range from everyday annoyances like mild seasonal allergies to serious illnesses like leukemia. Stress, lack of sleep, and other common conditions can contribute to a weakened immune system, which can make you vulnerable to infections. continue reading »

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