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Traditional Chinese Medicine

The Benefits of Detoxifying your Body with Acupuncture

The Benefits of Detoxifying your Body with Acupuncture

Life can be incredibly stressful. Even if things are “going well,” the constant pull of the needs of others including kids, coworkers, parents, and even friends can leave us feeling drained and often leads us into making poor lifestyle choices. But what if there was a place you could go to heal your body and your mind? A sanctuary of sorts, where you can find serenity and healing through the art of acupuncture. Your acupuncturist can help you find the path to detoxification—a journey of renewal and revitalization for both body and soul.  continue reading »

Total Solar Eclipse, 2024!

 

 

Astrology is a bit like politics, in that I try to feel out the room before bringing it up to risking being alienated as the kooky, New Agey “acupuncture guy,” who believes in everything unproven. In fact, I feel I owe it to my profession, a system of medicine that has been repeatedly proven, to keep my affinity for the subjective or ethereal realm on the hush, at least until I’ve established some degree of intellectual and/or emotional credibility in the space.

Although I’ve heard of a few practitioners that take into consideration (Chinese) astrology when diagnosing patients, my understanding is that the two paradigms have nothing to do with one another. The fact that they often attract similar people is more a byproduct of western society in recent generations. I doubt during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE) in ancient China the acupuncturists were more inclined to be wary of Geminis, attracted to Pisces, or signed up for an ayahuasca retreat.

With that said, I enjoy astrology. I enjoy the psychology of it, the character trends and tendencies, and over the years I’ve observed obvious proclivities in each sign to offer part of the explanation for why people are the way they are.

On the other hand, I’ve never gotten excited about astrological forecasts. “What’s to come” for me this month or even this year, I take with the same grain of salt I do the meteorological 7-day forecast. Maybe I should, but I don’t write out my desires or intentions at each month’s new moon, frankly because when I did in the past I was always just disappointed!

However, I am quite excited and intrigued about the upcoming solar eclipse this Monday, April 8th. Supposedly a total solar eclipse is a time of major new beginnings, potentially coinciding with major terminations in our lives that are largely outside of our control. If nothing else, for something this unique I’ll at least take some time to observe, do some prayer or meditation, and dust off the old astrology pad for a list of intentions .

But don’t listen to me ramble on about it. I wouldn’t necessarily label astrology even a hobby—it’s more an interest of mine—and definitely not my formal education. If you’re curious about next week’s eclipse, I highly recommend the long-time astrology guru of NYC, Susan Miller’s Astrology Zone, here: https://www.astrologyzone.com/all-about-eclipses-a-guide-for-coping-with-them/

Good luck with everyone’s new beginnings, and see you on the other side!

Spring is “Shao Yang” Season!

As I made my way this Monday through my ten-block, 2 ½ avenue walk from Penn Station to the office, the 41-degree winds whipping into my face, masquerading as 30 degrees, that lovely sweatshirt-only, spring day of the previous weekend felt like ancient history, only to return like an overdue hug on Tuesday.

Even on these open-air, warm days, I’m cynically aware of what they ares. A tease, a mere foreshadowing of the still relatively distant future, a glimpse into a climate we may or may not experience each year, and for the next several weeks one that will rear its head only sporadically, thereby confusing our wardrobes and forcing us to check the weather app daily.

Spring corresponds with the wood element in Chinese medicine, which corresponds with the gallbladder meridian, or shao yang layer of health and disease.

At their root, “shao yang pathologies,” which can be anything from gastrointestinal to neurological, emotional, autoimmune, or otherwise, are said to be caused by “dry,” or weak guts. Vulnerability in metabolism leads to inflammation that flares upwards, commonly manifesting in symptoms such as chest tightness, throat dryness, eye dryness, most dryness, headaches, etc.

“Heat above, Cold below,” as we call it, which really just means the “cold” or weak microbiome has caused substances that should have descended as stool or urine to rise in the form of inflammation and harass upper portions of the body. One of the most signature symptoms of a shao yang pathology is the experience some have of alternating heat and cold sensations. So, while we can probably blame much of spring’s recently more chaotic, unpredictable nature on global warming, there is systemic logic to it. We might even acknowledge that in spite of our ongoing environmental crisis, spring is still the only season that consistently behaves so erratically. And erratic… is shao yang. Even the “shao yang pulse,” is signified by being ever-changing. One minute it feels wiry and rapid under the clinician’s finger—the next it’s like a slippery little ball. As my teacher would say: “This person is ‘shao yang’.”

How to temper our internal and external shao yang challenges? Simple and same as always really: Warm, easily digestible foods, and early bedtimes.

Soups and stews, congees, eggs, and steamed vegetables are light on the gut. They should generate healthy metabolic fluids and are less likely to create inflammation. This will address the “cold below.” As for the “heat above,” early bedtimes will modulate neurotransmitters and maximize the kind of organ recovery that can be attained only through a good night’s sleep (and/or Chinese herbs).

Err on wardrobe for the calendar more than the forecast, obviously within reason. Our bodies are still considered “cold” from the half year of cold, so all the youthful “heat pathologies” walking around outside in cut-off belly shirts cut low again on top will be more vulnerable to viruses.

Exercise should be consistent, but moderate. Regular enough to quell the heat above, but mindful to not sweat so much as to weaken the cold below. If you’re aiming to have the beach body ready for summer, the best way is by avoiding gluten, dairy, sugar, and raw foods, along with mild core workouts.

Finally, the wood element of spring is most supported by the sour flavor, so this is a good time of year to add foods like lemon and vinegar to your daily intake. Although they are uncooked, pickled foods, such as sauerkraut or kimchi are good to have alongside your warm meal, as they help to prevent the “shao yang stomach.”

 

Happy Shao Yang Season, everyone!

Acupuncture & Cupping: The Basics

Acupuncture & Cupping: The Basics

Cupping and acupuncture are the winning combination for dealing with chronic pain and muscle strains. Its popularity has grown in recent years, and you’ve probably seen professional athletes and celebrities with the telltale giant red welts all over their bodies. Here’s what you need to know if you are thinking about adding cupping to your acupuncture treatment.  continue reading »

Happy Lunar New Year!

 

 

Happy Lunar New Year of the Yang Wood Dragon! Although I enjoy the psychological aspects of astrology very much, the forecasts and recommendations always land rather vague or obvious for me. I take them with the same grain of salt I do seven-day meteorological forecasts. For example, when Gemini is advised for the month to stop, rejuvenate, and take care of ourselves, I assign it about as much weight as I do when the News recommends I bring an umbrella next Tuesday.

The dragon is the most revered animal sign in Chinese astrology, so much so that many Chinese families aim to procreate during these years. As an aside, I imagine this might lay groundwork for a child that feels intense pressure to succeed, between the apparently already competitive nature of their parents compounded by the overcrowded classrooms and job markets they likely find themselves in. Nevertheless, the dragon is considered powerful and brilliant, fortunate, and successful.

The wood element is a strong one as well, typically motivated, proactive, angry, and determined. It corresponds with the liver and gallbladder channels, the former of which is yin and responsible for storing our blood and nutrients and sending them to the central nervous system. The latter of which runs up the entire sides of our bodies and acts as “the pivot” between our yin (organ level) systems and yang (immunological and neurological) systems. Neither of these channels, to my understanding, have any direct connection to their biomedical organs of the same name.

Wood is a creative element, which means a year of the wood dragon is a good one to succeed in creative projects by way hard work. But honestly, what year isn’t?

I will share with you from https://www.thechinesezodiac.org/year-of-the-dragon/ that some of the most promising sectors for business this year are in solar energy, cybersecurity, and AI. In my opinion, this does bear systemic logic. We can think of the liver as acting as cybersecurity for our healthy body fluids, and the gallbladder as parallel to the pivot created by solar energy between the sun and our devices. Pretty cool.

Supposedly lucky numbers for this year are 8, 14, and 21, and the auspicious color is emerald green. So, if you have to choose a date for something like a job interview, a performance, or an IVF transfer, maybe you’ll choose the 8th, 14th, or 21st, and wear an emerald green piece of clothing or accessory for it. Although, an emerald green suit on a job interview is likely inadvisable, unless it’s an audition for Broadway or to act as a Disney park character.

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