Transitioning into Autumn
Here we are, late summer is transitioning into fall. The in-breath is changing to the out-breath. This is a Transition Time – an in-between time – and these times can be very powerful for our health if we are paying attention. Transitions are where possibility finds fertile ground.
Each year at this time, Chad and I write and speak about the importance of slowing down, consolidating the big outward energy (yang) of summer and turning towards a more nourishing inward focus (yin). This is a time of Transformation – for the earth and for her stewards (us!).
This time of year from an East Asian Medicine Perspective
The Ancient Taoists studied nature to understand humanity and health. Ayurvedic Medicine also connects our bodies and our processes to the seasons. When we eat seasonal foods, and align with the mood, tone, and impulse of each season and transition time, we bring ourselves into a deeper foundation of living in balance.
- The SPLEEN is the organ of Transformation and Transportation.
- The Element of the Spleen is EARTH
- The Color of Earth and Spleen are Yellow
This time of year cooler breezes arrive and cold and flu season is right behind.
In Chinese Medicine, the cause of the cold is not necessarily due to bacteria or virus directly, but what we call, wind – or exposure to wind and the weakening of our immune system. Exposure to wind can weaken the body’s defenses while carries the pathogens; cold, damp, and/or heat (The symptoms are equal to common infections) into the body through the back of the neck. Wearing a scarf in breezy, cooler weather will do a lot to keep illness at bay.
Transition your diet from cold and/or raw summer-type foods (salads, smoothies, watermelon) into warmer foods that are mostly cooked and seasonal. Fruits like grapes, apples, pears are healthy this time of year in moderation and warm foods like soups, stews, teas, and cooked squashes are highly beneficial.
Japanese Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine use Moxibustion (mugwort) to bring warmth the body via specific acupoints. In our clinic we favor Okyu – a refined Japanse style of direct moxa that is practiced as a standalone medicine in Japan. This is excellent for those of us who tend toward cold. During each treatment we are supporting your body’s immune system, defense layer (Wei Qi) and the organs through a combination of acupuncture and moxibustion. A seasonal tune-up during these transition times support you in keeping your body healthy and resistance level strong.
How deeply are you connecting with Mother Nature? Late Summer through Early Fall connects with the Earth Element – The color Yellow, the Spleen, and is a time of Transformation.
A few ways you can honor transition and transformation: Reconnect with the earth by walking barefoot, Forest bathing and eating and emphasizing yellow and orange foods such as squash, millet, mung beans, peaches (if you have ‘em), sweet potatoes, and more.
Know that you are supporting your spleen and stomach, the earth element within the body. These organs govern Sympathy. The joy of summer leads to Sympathy, Sympathy can also lead to Grief. We want to be sure we are in balance on this spectrum.
“Sympathy is earthy. It arises from the stomach and Spleen in the center of the abdomen. Like humidity in late summer, it is gathering, nourishing and yielding.” ~ Lorie Deschar, Five Spirits
Autumn is a Time of…
- The peak harvest
- Saying goodbye
- The feeling that the “fun is ending”
- Back to the grind
- Getting organized
- Recommitting to health
- Transitional Seasons are a good time to get a “tune up” with Acupuncture
- ALSO– be sure to cover your neck! As the winds pick up, we get colds through the back of our neck. Wear a scarf – even with a T-shirt. Chad does it, it looks suave. 🙂
Keeping Healthy and Boosting Your Immune System During Transitions
This is also a time we can get sick. Here are important ways to keep healthy right now:
1. Sleep. Get enough rest. This cannot be emphasized enough. Your body needs to sleep. It is when it can repair itself. Experiment with how many hours you need. Some do well at 9 or 10 others need only 8. Eight hours of sleep before 10pm is more healing and supportive than the same amount after midnight. This has to do with the circadian rhythm of the body and it’s repair processes. If you are like many people having trouble sleeping right now, book a treatment with Chad – Acupuncture is very helpful with sleep. You may also call Nicole for a health coaching session that will help you make some easy changes and tweaks for promoting better sleep.
2. Disconnect from Technology to Reduce Stress and Anxiety. Yep. We are all feeling it. Commit to your cocoon of safety, love and self-care. Don’t check twitter, take news fasts, take social media breaks, feed your energy towards things that bring you joy. Stress is ravaging our health and well-being.
From our perspective, we are living through a slow-moving trauma – still. Be gentle and tender with yourself. Come in for acupuncture for support with any anxiety you are experiencing. From the holistic nutrition perspective avoid or reduce caffeine and sugar – this exacerbates anxiety levels. Nicole had to give up her vice of cold brew coffee this summer because of this. I switched to dark Maté which gives me energy but has a different effect on my nervous system.
3. Use the Breathe to Regulate your Nervous System. To bring yourself into the parasympathetic state (rest and digest) — if you are having an intense reaction or episode work with your breath. There is a simple technique that Chad guides people through everyday in the clinics.
Simple Breath Technique:
- Big breath in and exhale forcefully out
- Then take a relaxing breath: breathe into the abdomen – below the diaphragm- do not engage the neck and the upper chest, 60% inhale and 100% exhale long and slow.
- Do three of the calming breaths (add more if you feel). At night Chad does 10 breaths before bed.
4. Nourish Yourself with healthy foods and immune boosting supplements. Contact the office for our List of Top Immune Supportive Supplements. Now is a great time to make our favorite remedy – The Master Tonic– Find our easy recipe here.
5. Dry brushing your skin before bathing: Skin brushing is an easy routine you can add to your shower time. It’s invigorating and has tremendous health and beauty benefits. A dry brush moves lymph in between the skin and muscles. The lymphatic system is the waste management system of the body. This promotes a healthy immune system, removes toxins, promotes better circulation, smoother skin, better muscle tone, removes dead skin cells, and feels fantastic.
6. Contrast Shower Rinse. Cold rinse after bathing: cool rinse for 1- 3 min at the end of the shower- it closes the pores and prevents external pathogenic factors from entering through the wei qi layer (defensive layer).
7. Wear a Scarf! (Mama Knows Best) This time of year cooler breezes arrive and cold and flu season is right behind. In Chinese Medicine, the cause of the cold is not always bacteria or virus, but can arrive with the wind. The wind carries the pathogens; cold, damp, and/or heat (The symptoms are equal to common infections) into the body through the back of the neck. Wearing a scarf in breezy, cooler weather will do a lot to keep illness at bay.
8. Come into the clinic for immune support via acupuncture and moxibustion. During each treatment we are supporting body’s immune system and organ function. You can book a seasonal supportive treatment here.
Let Stinging Nettles Help You – In So Many Ways
The Nettles plant – Urtica Dioica (commonly known as Stinging Nettles) is an interesting herbal ally. If you look closely, the needles on the leaves will let you know that it WILL sting you, if you are not mindful when harvesting. However, once the Nettles is dried, blanched, or pulverized, the sting is ameliorated. Best harvested with gloves starting in early spring, Nettles can provide us with a treasure trove of support for many conditions. However, regular use provides the biggest benefit in the long run.
This wonderful plant is safe to use, and is high in calcium, iron potassium, phosphorus, chlorophyll, vitamin C, and other nutrients. Nettles support the kidneys and adrenals making it a potent stress fighter when used regularly. It is alkalizing and anti0inflammatory helping us with joint pain, osteoporosis, PMS, hot flashes and skin conditions like Psoriasis. Nettles contains more Calcium and Magnesium than the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance).
Nettles Works Synergistically with the Body
Nettles has an adaptogenic effect on the body. Nettles can simultaneously
- Bring Healing to Dryness OR Drain Dampness
- Gentle OR Fierce
- Hemostatic OR Circulating
- Nutritive OR Dispersing
- Cooling OR Building Energy
Could Nettles be an Antidote for Coffee?
So much about coffee is alluring. The smell, taste and ritual of morning and/or afternoon coffee. Coffee and conversation with a friend. Coffee is string medicine. Because of this, it takes a toll on us when we consume it regularly.
I would not normally think of using Nettles to replace coffee. When I retreat (yes retreat! ) from my coffee habit, I generally move to Decafe coffee, then black tea, then green tea, and then once I’ve weaned from caffeine and I want that coffee taste, I drink either Dandy Blend or Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom elixir. There are a few to choose from – just don’t choose one with actual coffee in it. These are both fairly good substitutes for the coffee taste. Both are fairly nutritive, especially the mushroom elixir. Yet how can we repair the damage we’ve done with coffee.
Since going deeper into my studies of Nettles, I am convinced that Stinging Nettles power plant ally that can help heal the imbalances we create with regular coffee use. Take a look.
Coffee Vs. Stinging Nettles
|Stress on the Adrenals
||Restores the Adrenals (Especially the seeds)
|Liver Toxicity – uses the same path that stress needs to clear)
||Helps Hold Hydration
Regular use of Nettles can repair and restore the acidity and depletion that occurs from regular use of coffee.
Stimulating vs. Energizing – You get to Choose
Coffee and other caffeine products don’t really “give” us energy. They stimulate our system – but this is at the high cost of our adrenal glands. While the effect may be what we want (after all, I can get a lot done after a cup of coffee) the toll on our health is too great. When we tax our body this way, we are depleting our “jing” or essence.
Nettles, on the other hand, energizes our body and it’s many systems. It does this by nourishing our system and working synergistically with it. In fact, Nettles seed is considered an adaptogen – working to support the adrenals by nourishing and strengthening the HPA-axis – this is the Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal relationship. Adoptogens are herbs that help your body deal with stress. Other wonderful herbs in this category include Ashwaganda, Hawthorn, Schisandra, Rhodiola, Ginseng, Gingko, Astragalus, Holy Basil, and more.
70% of people Suffer with compromised Adrenal function due to stress.
Nettles for Women
Nettles can support us through all phases of the moon cycle including menopause.
- Helps relieve cramps due to stagnation.
- They are loaded with chlorophyl which moves the blood, increasing circulation.
- The Hemostatic action also helps regulate and balance blood flow, lightening heavy flow and nourishing light flow.
- Nettles supports us with pain during ovulation and helps regulate excess water, relieving bloating.
- Excellent for Menopause as they are cooling and anti-inflammatory.
- Great for Pregnancy – it’s like a liquid multi-mineral – Best mixed to use Nettels tea on and off with Red Raspberry Leaf tea (tones the uterus).
Other Amazing properties of Nettles
- Bone Building Nutrients: Nettles carry 15 out the 18 Bone Building Nutrients including Boron which helps maintain and stabilize calcium in the bone.
- High in bio-flavonoids which reduces varicose veins
- Nettles is very supportive to all of the tissues and membranes of the body
- Replenishes energy and builds you back up
You can use the entire plant. Leaf, seed, stalk and root.
Uses of the Seed:
- Supports the kidneys and adrenals
- Builds stamina and lasting energy reserves
- Thyroid support
- Use the seed oil for Alopecia
- Also use for Erectile Dysfunction
- Makes a great hair oil (crush in oil)
Eat the seeds raw or if using daily – dried (as the raw can become overstimulating).
The seed and Root can be tinctured as well as the leaf.
Uses of the Root:
- Anti Inflammatory for Prostatitis
- Great for gout- clears uric acid
Stinging Nettles is a smart plant and it helps your membranes be smart as well. It increases the health of your blood and helps revitalize you and flush out old patterns. It is commonly advised to brew
How to Start using Nettles Daily
You can purchase a tincture at your local health food store. Another easy way to start with Nettles is using it as a tea.
Nettles Tea (Infusion Method)
Nettles tea works best as an infusion
Dried Nettle Leaf
You can purchase online or directly through us at the office
Filtered or Spring water - NO fluoride or Chlorine
Feel free to make more - adjusting the nettle measurement
Organic Milk or Non-dairy Alternative
A few drops of liquid Stevia
Add the nettles in the jar
Fill the jar with hot water just off the boil for tea
Tightly close the lid and allow to steep for at least 8 hrs up to 24 hrs. - I make this at might and let sit over night. I also make more in the morning for the evening.
Strain the plant material out squeezing well
Enjoy warm or over ice. We enjoy it With organic milk or non-dairy milk of choice and a few drops of liquid stevia.
Refrigerate and drink/use within 24 hours
Other Ways to Take in Nettles
The following are best for fresh spring nettles. Be sure not to eat fresh nettles after it has gone to seed – this can be too taxing on the kidneys.
- Nettles Soup
- Nettles Pesto
- Juicing the Nettles – You can drink the juice or use it directly on the skin
- Add it into Smoothies
- Nettle Chips (make like Kale chips)
There is nothing more important than having a positive attitude. The attitude you display toward your day-to-day activities can make a huge difference in improving the quality of your life. Positivity helps to ensure everything functions harmoniously.
Here’s how to allow the enhancing effects of positivity to start impacting your day as soon as possible. Start your day by letting small amounts of sunlight into your room, enjoying a cup of warming herbal tea and just reflecting on what it is you plan to accomplish today. A simple morning routine such as this can boost productivity and positivity throughout the day. (more…)
Most people are familiar with the terms diurnal and nocturnal. Diurnal means active during the daytime, while nocturnal means active during the nighttime. Together the two make up a 24-hour cycle known as a day. But, in traditional Chinese medicine, this 24-hour cycle is viewed as much more than just a day in the life. The 24 hours of the day are viewed as increments of time and every two-hour section is associated with a specific energetic meridian that runs through the body. This is known as the Qi clock.
Do you wake up every night or every morning about the same time? Have you ever wondered why? Some people call that an internal clock. In Chinese medicine, this gives a much deeper look into how the body functions though. Chinese medical theory divides the body based upon the 12 energetic meridians. Each of the meridians is assigned a two-hour time slot. For example, the liver meridian is associated with the hours of 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. If you wake up during this time frame, then there is an issue with your liver meridian. So knowing this information can be very important to an acupuncturist/Chinese medicine practitioner.
During a 24-hour period, your energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) moves through the organ systems in two-hour intervals. Qi draws inward to help restore the body between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. The liver cleanses the blood and performs other functions, such as getting the blood ready to travel outward into the rest of the body. Over the next 12 hours, Qi cycles through the organs that assimilate, digest and eliminate food through the body or our diurnal organs. By mid-afternoon, the body begins to slow down again in preparation for the nocturnal phase. The nocturnal phase is all about restoring and maintaining. So when one organ system is at its peak, its counterpart, on the opposite side of the clock is at its lowest point. An example is 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., which are the hours of the stomach. This is when the stomach is at its peak and also why it is recommended to eat a big breakfast. On the opposite side of the clock lies the pericardium, which is associated with the pituitary, hypothalamus and reproductive organs. The pericardium is at its weakest point between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Here’s a brief summary of the 24-hour qi cycle:
3 a.m. to 5 a.m. is lung time
5 a.m. to 7 a.m. is large intestine time
7 a.m. to 9 a.m. is stomach time
9 a.m. to 11 a.m. is spleen time
11 a.m. to 1 a.m. is heart time
1 p.m. to 3 p.m. is small intestine time
3 p.m. to 5 p.m. is urinary bladder time
5 p.m. to 7 p.m. is kidney time
7 p.m. to 9 p.m. is pericardium time
9 p.m. to 11 p.m. is triple burner time (associated with the thyroid and adrenals)
11 p.m. to 1 a.m. is gall bladder time
1 a.m. to 3 a.m. is liver time
So if you have recurring problems at the same time every day, then there is a good chance that the organ/meridian associated with that time is in distress. This is why traditional Chinese medicine practitioners ask so many questions and also why they look at the body as a whole instead of just one particular organ. By understanding that every organ/energetic meridian has a maintenance schedule to keep daily, you can then treat your body properly so you achieve the ultimate health and well-being and acupuncture can help you achieve that goal. Acupuncturists treat the body based on things like your symptomology, your pulses, your tongue and the 24-hour Qi clock indications you exhibit. The goal is to bring the body back into balance and knowing when the meridians are at their peaks and valleys is a great place to begin.
The holidays are a swirl! Step into this holiday season prioritizing self-care… and love.
Just for you and yours, we have lovely gift cards to turn a gift into a genuine gesture of loving kindness.
You can pick one up during an appointment or call the office and we can mail them out to you in time for the holidays.