Category Archives: Seasonal

Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Cool This Summer

The heat is on! In Chinese Medicine, Summer is the Fire Season and is related to the heart, blood vessels, Small Intestine and the emotions. The heart is in charge of memory, consciousness, thinking, sleep and speech. It’s not too uncommon when there is an imbalance during the summer that we see symptoms such as anxiety, inflammation, heart palpitations, and insomnia. In nature, it’s easy to see that extreme heat withers and dries plant life, and we too can easily become overheated during the summer months. By practicing these 5 tips you’ll keep your fire in check during the summer.

  1. Hydrate. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids during the summer, especially if you sweat a lot. If you work outside or sweat profusely, you may also need to add electrolytes. Coconut water (unsweetened), fresh watermelon juice and water with cucumbers added will all help replace electrolytes.
  2. Eat lightly and simply. Skip the heavy meals and use a few simple ingredients in your meals. Prepare vegetables by steaming or lightly simmering. Our tendency is to go for salads, but don’t overdo it with cold and raw foods because they weaken the digestive system. Visit your local farmers market to see what is in season and focus on including those ingredients in your meals. Look for brightly colored vegetables and fruits. Greens help cleanse the arteries and cools the heart. They also help control anxiety.  Try our cooling Cucumber, Watermelon and Mint Salad.
  3. Sweat a little. A light sweat will help to cool the body and prevent overheating. While it may seem counter-intuitive to eat spicy, pungent foods such as hot peppers, fresh ginger, and horseradish during summer, they will bring body heat to the surface creating sweat, thereby cooling you down. But heavy sweating causes to much fluid loss.
  4. Go easy on the ice. Iced drinks, ice cream and frozen treats weaken the digestive system, hold in sweat and heat, and contract the stomach inhibiting digestion.
  5. Slow down. Focus on calming the heart through slow yoga, soft music, breathing exercises and meditation. Relax.

Summer is a time of activity, travel, and play. Enjoy it!

Cucumber, Watermelon & Mint Salad

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cubed cucumber (English or Persian)
  • 2 cups cubed watermelon (de-seeded)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

Combine above ingredients in a bowl. Serve slightly cool.  Optional: Sprinkle crumbled goat or feta cheese just before serving.

Chef’s note: If making salad ahead of time, do not add lime juice and salt until just before serving.

From The Chopra Center.  

Parental Vacation – Give Yourself a Break!

The whirlwind that is the end of the school year is finally over, and there’s no homework, no carpools, no baking 50 cupcakes to take to the school party. Hopefully you are finding time to enjoy the little ones (and bigger ones too). I remember as a child we would go to the beach for a family vacation after school was out, and then my parents would send us off to summer camp. I always thought that my parents missed me terribly when I was away, but I know now that they probably couldn’t wait to get some freedom from us kids. It’s okay to give yourself a little break. Here are some suggestions: Continue reading

Spring Cleaning for Your Body and Mind

Our goal in Spring, as with other seasons, is to align ourselves with the movement of the prevailing season. Spring is a time of upward, expansive movement, and a time of creativity and new beginnings. According to Chinese Medicine, Spring is aligned with the Liver and Gallbladder which are responsible for the smooth flow of energy throughout the body and the storage and detoxifying of the blood. In the same way that many of us engage in spring cleaning during this time of the year, our bodies do the same thing physically and emotionally. Now is the time we see the buds on plants and trees begin to swell, ready to burst forth with strong determination of new growth and beauty. Our activities should also focus on moving forward with strong determination and creativity. If you skipped the January New Year’s resolutions, now is a great time to take those steps toward making this the best year ever.  Spring is the perfect time to stop procrastinating and face the challenges that can impede our forward movement and creative nature.

Now is a good time to let go of stimulants like coffee and alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs. The movement of Spring gives us that boost naturally. Take advantage of this natural boost of energy to begin or renew your exercise program, to shake off the cobwebs and feel alive and refreshed. Movement helps to get the blood and lymph flowing and allows us to sweat out toxins that have accumulated during the dormant winter. This is spring cleaning for our body.

How do you know if you need acupuncture at this time of year? Continue reading

Happy Chinese New Year!

Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year falls on February 16th this year. This is the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. The year 2018 is represented by the Yang Yellow Earth Dog. Sounds like a playful golden retriever to me.

Spring Festival originated during the Shang Dynasty (about 17th – 11th century BC) and celebrates family reunion and the hopes for a rich spring. Spring Festival is probably the most important traditional festival and celebration for families in China. In fact, it is even a public holiday and many people have the week off from work. Families join together from near and far.

Spring Festival Traditions

To prepare for the holiday, homes are thoroughly cleaned to rid them of bad luck, which might have collected during the old year. Scrolls printed with lucky messages are posted on gates to ones home and firecrackers are set off to frighten evil spirits away. These traditions are meant to bring good luck and long life to the family.

It is a Spring festival tradition to include the exchange of gifts and the famous dragon dances. Red, which is considered an auspicious color is the main color of the festival and there are red lanterns decorating the streets everywhere. Businesses combine red with images of prosperity to show their hope for the new year. And because 2018 is the year of dog, red decorations will be joined by dog images and statues.

According to Lillian Bridges who is a noted Feng Shui expert and forecaster, “this will be a much calmer year and may sometimes even seem boring.  But there is a Chinese saying that “Boredom is good luck, because you have choices! There will be a palpable feeling of relief from the tensions of the previous years, especially as we get deeper into the year. Life should get easier and more relaxed.”  Thank goodness!

She goes on to say “The Dog is considered a lucky animal to the Chinese and when one comes to your house, it brings good luck to the occupants. Therefore, anyone who loves and cares for dogs this year will get a little extra luck for honoring them.”  So love on your dog and your neighbors dog.

If you want to read more about Lillian’s predictions for this year, you can read the full forecast here.   I always think they are fun to read and then re-read the next year to see what came true.

Friendships and community are also very important in the Dog Year. People will be drawn to gatherings and reunions of old friends with a shared past and with newly discovered, like-minded others. With that in mind, I am hosting an Open House at my new clinic to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Happy New Year!