The lunar Year of the Yang Red Fire Monkey runs from Monday Feb 08 2016 to Friday Jan 27 2017. This is a year of adventure, discovery, questions and answers, when luck can strike at bizarre times and fortunes can turn in the blink of an eye. Risk, strategy, learning, change and progress feature prominently in a Monkey Year.
The light is shifting and the leaves are falling. Our schedules are busy with school and work. It is also a common time of year to catch a cold or cough. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) appreciates the falling of leaves, the harvesting of crops and the slowing and cooling of the energies of nature that happens in autumn. Our bodies reflect many of the aspects of our natural world;Though the darkening days and transition away from the warm weather can leave us with a feeling of loss, this process of “letting go” is important. Fall is a time of refinement, getting rid of things that are not serving us.
One way to do that is through the breath. Both the physical lungs and the TCM Lungs control the breath. In TCM, the Lungs and Large Intestines are the organs most closely related to the fall season. Both can be thought of as organs of elimination. The large intestines obviously eliminate digestive waste. The lungs eliminate respiratory waste.
The Lungs also control the skin. Your skin breathes too. Sweating and light exercise daily can help detoxify the body and cleanse the skin; but too much sweating drains the Lung energy. Because the Lungs also help with managing the distribution of water through our bodies, it is important to make sure that you stay hydrated, especially as you lose fluid through sweat.
One of the times that sweating can be specifically therapeutic is when you have the start of a cold or flu. An elevated temperature—or fever—is one of the ways that your body can defend itself against infection. Try not to take medicines to bring down the fever, let the body work it out.. At the early signs of infection, helping bring on a sweat by eating spicy food, garlic or onions; spending time in a sauna or hot bath; and exercising (if energy permits) may help fight off a cold. Pay attention to how you feel, however, as rest rather than exercise may be your better option in some situations. Still, you can bundle up in warm blankets after a hot soup or tea that contains garlic, onions, ginger, and/or honey to sweat while you sleep.
Foods that support the Lungs and Large Intestines include white or clear foods such as pears, bone broth, jook (traditional rice porridge), radishes, daikon radish, cauliflower, and cabbage. Herbs like reishi mushrooms and astragalus support the Lung energy and the immune system.
Go back to the breath. Expand your chest, open your lungs, and breathe in deep to honor and nourish your powerful body!
*If you find yourself needing an immune boost try these wonderful natural remedies : acupuncture, cupping, Chinese and Western Herbs ( I can help with selecting the appropriate formula), SLEEP, Vit D3, fermented foods, bone broths and Zinc!)
The fifth season is late summer or Indian summer. The Chinese call it Long Summer (chang xia). Its element is earth and the corresponding organ is the spleen. The Chinese element 'earth' 土 (tu) holds the same place as the Hindu element ‘akasa’ or space. It is that which holds and contains everything. It is the bedrock which allows everything else to be. It’s primary function is integration. By holding everything it allows all of the apparently separate things of existence to recognise their non-difference.
The spleen is also responsible for clarity of thought and our ability to concentrate. When the spleen is weak our thinking is unclear and we worry; constantly running over the same thing in our minds. In this way mental and physical digestion are very closely linked. You will notice that it is much harder to think clearly after a large meal. When the spleen and stomach are digesting, the mind cannot and vice versa. This is also why excess worry produces stomach ulcers.
Enjoy the end of Summer, relish in the gorgeous light, the earlier evenings and the abundance of the garden. Take time to eat consciously and exercise outside! This is my favorite time of year, what's yours? In honor of late summer I will be taking some time off to head North with my family. I'm excited to see the beauty of the Oregon Coast and to spend precious time with my husband and two children. I look forward to seeing you upon my return! If you need assistance while I am away, I am happy to refer you to one of my awesome acupuncturist friends/colleagues.
* The first paragraph was an excerpt from Matthew Brewer at Energy Arts
Melissa has moved to Larkspur! Come visit her new digs! The Grand Opening Party is Friday, August, 1st, 2014 from 6-9pm. Food, drink and festivities! Enter a drawing for a complimentary treatment and other great prizes.
We can't wait to see you there!
When I had my daughter almost six years ago I became very interested in the power of the placenta and for good reason, it is truly an amazing organ! Imagine, you grow an entirely new organ at the onset of pregnancy that nourishes your baby while in utero. Many believe that it can nourish the mother too.
The placenta begins to grow at the very first cell division in pregnancy and grows to approximately 9 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick in the middle. A placenta resembles a disc or slab – one side attaches to the lining of the mother’s uterus, the other side (often called the tree of life) attaches to the umbilical cord.
For centuries the placenta has received ceremonial handling across cultures. Placentas can be planted, buried, burned and (my favorite) eaten. Almost all mammals consume their placenta, as if there is an inherent hunger or need to eat placenta. It is full of minerals, hormones (including oxytocin, the happy hormone) and iron, perfect for a postpartum mother.
In Asia, the placenta is considered a powerful tonic and it is used to restore one’s vitality after illness or injury. The placenta if consumed or encapsulated (with minimal heat), can be a rich source of nutrients for the mother postpartum. Humans for millennia have used placenta in aiding homeostasis. It has been shown in countless studies across many cultures that the placenta is the perfect food for postpartum mothers. The placenta helps to restore iron levels; it aids in recovery and can increase milk supply.
In Wales, in 2000 a group of homeopaths “proved” the efficacy of Placenta humanum as a remedy for both mother and for the child: “Placenta humanum, has indicated its benefit in the treatment of conditions where the child’s immune system has failed to respond effectively to a challenge or illness. If the remedy is prepared from the child’s own placenta, it provides an added individualized boost to overcome the child’s own particular inherited tendencies.”
Following the birth of my daughter, I used our placenta to make a homeopathic tincture. I took two to three droppers-full daily for the first month (individual dosage can vary). Since then, I’ve used it when I have felt hormonally “low”. I have snuck a dropper full in my daughter’s bottle, scrambled eggs and smoothie and she has never complained!
With my second birth I chose to encapsulate my placenta as well as make a tincture. I did eat a little hunk of the placenta; it was mild tasting, very similar to Ahi sashimi. My acupuncturist arrived within hours of the birth. She took the remainder of my placenta and started the process of encapsulating it almost immediately. First, she lightly steamed it with some ginger, lemon and pepper. Secondly, it was cut it into strips and put it into a dehydrator on the lowest setting. Once dry, she ground it up and encapsulated it for me. I started taking the pills two days after giving birth which I believe, helped me rebound quickly from the birth of my son. I took four pills twice daily for two weeks, which is what felt right to me. I saved the remainder of the capsules in the freezer for future “hormonal emergencies”.
I believe both forms of placenta preparation hold merit. Placenta that has been encapsulated is very potent, it is best to be consumed as soon as possible postpartum. Yet, if frozen, can last for years. The tincture can be used for mom and baby, and since there is more of it, it can potentially last you a lifetime.. Many mothers report feeling relaxed and content after taking their placenta pills and tincture.