What Acupuncture is used for during Cancer Treatment

I am sharing this article that was posted in acufinder.com. It was written by their editorial staff. Over the years, I have supported many patients as they go through cancer treatment. It is always an honor to help people manage the pain and discomfort that comes with chemotherapy and radiation.

There have been many advances in the early detection and treatment of cancer. While the standard medical care for cancer is effective, the treatments are aggressive and cause numerous unwanted side effects as well as a lowered immune system. Acupuncture has received much attention as an adjunctive therapy in cancer treatments for its use in pain relief, reducing side effects, accelerating recovery and improving quality of life.

What Acupuncture is used for during Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture provides a total approach to health care for people with cancer. It can be used to address many of the concerns that come up during and after chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy and surgery.

According to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture may cause physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure and body temperature, boosts immune system activity, and causes the body’s natural painkillers, such as endorphins, to be released.

Areas that acupuncture has shown the most promise include:

Nausea and Vomiting
Dry Mouth, Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
Stress, Anxiety and Fatigue
Pain Management
Increasing White Blood Cell Count

Nausea and Vomiting

The strongest evidence of the effect of acupuncture has come from clinical trials on the use of acupuncture to relieve nausea and vomiting. Several types of clinical trials using different acupuncture methods showed acupuncture reduced nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, surgery, and morning sickness. It appears to be more effective in preventing vomiting than in reducing nausea.

Other symptoms caused by cancer treatment

Clinical trials are studying the effects of acupuncture on cancer and symptoms caused by cancer treatment, including weight loss, cough, chest pain, fever, anxiety, depression, night sweats, hot flashes, dry mouth, speech problems, and fluid in the arms or legs. Studies have shown that, for many patients, treatment with acupuncture either relieves symptoms or keeps them from getting worse.

Boosting the Immune System

Human studies on the effect of acupuncture on the immune system of cancer patients showed that it improved immune system response, including increasing the number of white blood cells.

Pain Management

In clinical studies, acupuncture reduced the amount of pain in some cancer patients. In one study, most of the patients treated with acupuncture were able to stop taking drugs for pain relief or to take smaller doses.

Acupuncture is also very useful for support if you are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or hormonal therapy. Because chemotherapy and radiation therapy weaken the body’s immune system, a strict clean needle method must be used when acupuncture treatment is given to cancer patients.

Winterize Your Earth Qi

I always love to share the wisdom of Master Liu He. I am already pretty good about doing #1-4 (some more so than others), but I am hoping to carve out the time to try the warm sea salt on the abdomen this fall. Last fall, I took Master Liu He’s advice and soaked my feet in hot water with leeks before bed and I found that it was much easier for me to fall asleep because my feet weren’t cold.

The earth qi is related to our spleen and stomach. Beginning with Winter, the weather gets cooler and the cold Qi increases our gastric acids and gastrointestinal contractions, making digestion challenging. Meanwhile, with cold weather our appetite increases and we want to eat more. All this taxes our spleen and stomach system. In Chinese medicine our abdomen is considered our second brain, as digestion slows down our thinking becomes blocked. This increases our negative emotions, especially anxiety, depression, fear, and worry.

How do we winterize our Earth Qi?

1. Think less and slow down your daily activities/lifestyle.

2. Eat warm and cooked foods, especially high fiber whole grains. Avoid cold and raw foods. Eat a little honey each day to enhance digestion.

3. Go to bed early and get up late.

4. Take in winter sun often.

5. Take a 30-45 minute walk per day in nature.

6. Heat sea salt until warm and wrap into cotton fabric. Place the fabric on your navel until it cools down.

7. For Qigong practice, stand with feet parallel to your shoulders. With both feet, grasp the earth several times throughout the day. This movement opens all of the jing-well points, for promoting the spleen/stomach function.

A smooth spleen/stomach function can preserve kidney yang for the upcoming deep winter.

Integrative Medicine: Weaning GERD Patients off PPIs

I discovered this great article explaining why it is not advisable to take Praillis sack and similar medications on a long term basis.

Mary (not her real name) is a 45-year-old woman who originally presented with mild gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and was started on a proton pump inhibitor. When we first saw her three years later, she was still on PPIs.

As family physicians, we see many patients like Mary who are initially prescribed PPIs for mild GERD, continue their medication for a long time, and subsequently suffer various side effects associated with PPIs. The question that arises is how to safely wean these patients off PPIs. One possible answer is to use an integrative medicine approach.

But first, let’s back up and consider the function of the entire gastrointestinal tract and the processes that are involved in maintaining the health of our guts. Taken as a whole, the GI tract is one of the largest organs in our body, and its surface area can expand to the size of a tennis court. In our lifetime, we take in 30-40 tons of food that we break down, process, sort, and then use or eliminate.

In addition to the cells of the GI tract, the gut contains 100 trillion bacteria (400 different species), which is 10 times more than the amount of cells we have in our entire body. These bacteria break down food to make nutrients more available, inhibit pathogenic bacteria, and form a layer on the gut mucosa, which protects the intestinal lining and communicates with the enteric immune system.[1,2]

From the perspective of integrative medicine, when we ingest substances that harm this delicate ecosystem, the gut barrier can break down (known as increased intestinal permeability), the microbial ecology can become imbalanced (called dysbiosis), and we can ultimately get sick.[1] Disease not only shows up in the form of GI disorders (e.g., GERD, IBD, IBS, gastroenteritis), but can also present as systemic problems.[3] When the gut mucosa is disrupted, it can become inflamed. Through the more permeable intestinal walls, improperly digested food substances can cross the GI mucosa and trigger further inflammation.[1]

How do we keep our guts healthy and our immune systems intact? One integrative approach is to use the 5Rs of Functional Medicine, where the goal is to support optimal GI health and address the underlying mechanism of disease. The 5Rs stand for remove, replace, repopulate, repair and rebalance. These methods can be applied to many GI conditions, including GERD.

The problem with GERD is not that there is too much acid, but that the acid is in the esophagus rather than the stomach. PPIs block the secretion of acid, thus eliminating symptoms, but they do not address the underlying problem of regurgitation of the gastric lumen contents into the esophagus. In other words, PPIs don’t cure GERD; they only treat the symptoms.

Over time, the body upregulates acid production to compensate for the lack of acid secretion, so stopping PPIs becomes difficult because of rebound symptoms.[4] Some studies have found that long-term PPI use is associated with hyperplasia from increasing gastrin production, as well as increased gastric atrophy.[5,6] Although long-term PPI use has been associated with an increased incidence of gastric cancer, no direct link has been established.

PPIs are valuable in the short-term treatment of GERD, but long-term use may lead to serious complications, including increased risk for pneumonia and Clostridium difficile, and decreased absorption of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium and iron.[7-12] In fact, our patient Mary was found to be Vitamin B12 deficient.

Despite these potential complications, PPIs are recommended in many circumstances, such as preventing gastrointestinal bleeding in elderly patients on NSAIDs. As with other medications, physicians need to balance the risks and benefits of PPIs, depending on the condition. They should also bear in mind that many patients are on PPIs with no good indication.

The long-term side effects of PPIs make sense based on the multiple roles of acid in the stomach. Acid functions to kill bacteria in the stomach, and it helps break down food to make nutrients more available. In the duodenum, acid helps stimulate release of pancreatic enzymes, which further aid digestion. Higher acidity in the stomach also increases the tone of the lower esophageal sphincter. Thus, acid production plays an important role in tightening LES tone, getting rid of unwanted bacteria, and providing us with properly digested nutrients.

Our goal with Mary was to wean her off PPIs and help her regain the normal function of her GI system. We used an integrative approach based on the 5Rs, as outlined below. Such an approach should begin at least one week before starting to wean patients off PPIs.

Remove. To stop symptoms and prevent their return, it is important to remove the triggers. Certain foods can be aggravating, including caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, chocolate, fatty foods, dairy, and acidic foods, such as orange juice and tomatoes.[13,14] To identify triggers, patients can use a food diary to document food intake and symptoms. Alternatively, patients can try an elimination diet where specific foods are eliminated from the diet for 2-4 weeks, and re-introduced one at a time to see if symptoms return.[15] Other triggers may include tobacco use, increased weight, prone position, stomach distention and stress.[14] For some patients, addressing lifestyle factors may be enough to stop their GERD symptoms. Don’t underestimate the power of tobacco cessation, weight loss, propping the head of the bed 4-6 inches, eating meals several hours before lying down, eating smaller meals and stress management.

Replace. Once the main triggers are removed, non-aggravating nutritious foods can take their place. Patients may also benefit from replacing vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium or iron, if low.[10] In addition, one small study found that, instead of suppressing acid, some patients may benefit from supplementing with acid to increase LES tone, break down food and stimulate digestion.[16]

Repopulate. Patients who suffer from small bowel bacterial overgrowth after long-term suppression of stomach acid may benefit from probiotics. We recommend at least 10-14 billion units daily, preferably with several different species present. Some symptoms of bacterial overgrowth include bloating, gas, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.[17]

Repair. Various herbs and supplements may help protect and repair the lining of the gut.[3] Many of them act as demulcents and create mucoprotection of the esophageal mucosa, but they can also decrease absorption of other medications, so medication doses must be monitored.[3] One week prior to weaning off PPIs, patients can start taking one or more of the following herbs:

Marshmallow (althea officinalis): can be ingested as tea, up to 5-6 grams daily, or as a tincture, 5 mL after meals.

Licorice (glycyrrhiza glabra): best taken as deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) 380 mg tablets, 2-4 tablets taken before meals. Glycyrrhizin acts as a mineralocorticoid and can cause hypertension, hypokalemia and edema with prolonged use, so deglycyrrhizinated licorice is recommended.

Slippery elm (ulmus fulva) root bark powder: one to two tablespoons of the powder mixed with water and taken after meals and before bed. To increase palatability, mixture can be sweetened with honey.

Chamomile (matricaria recutita): used for inflammation and spasmodic effects. 1-3 grams steeped as tea, 3-4 times a day.

Throat Coat tea (Traditional Medicinals): contains all the above herbs (licorice root, slippery elm, marshmallow root), but in smaller amounts. Can be taken with meals.

Rebalance. The enteric nervous system houses more neurotransmitters than the brain and makes up 70% of the entire immune system, so stress can affect gut symptoms.[1,18] Many modalities can be used to help decrease stress and prevent the return of symptoms. Stress-reduction modalities include biofeedback, relaxation techniques, meditation, self-hypnosis and journaling. Some studies have found that acupuncture may be helpful for treating GERD symptoms.[19,20] Regular aerobic exercise is also recommended when tapering off PPIs, but symptoms can be exacerbated if exercise occurs right after meals.[13] High-intensity activities like running or cycling may aggravate symptoms.

When using the 5R approach above, it’s important to taper off the PPI slowly. The higher the dose, the longer the taper; counsel your patient to expect rebound symptoms. Begin by decreasing the current PPI dose by 50% each week until the patient is on the lowest dose once daily. After two weeks on this dosage, change to an H2 blocker. If the patient cannot tolerate going straight to an H2 blocker, you can alternate an H2 blocker every other day with omeprazole. After 2-4 weeks on the H2 blocker, taper or stop altogether. After 2 weeks off the H2 blocker, try tapering off supplements. Your patient will benefit from continued lifestyle modifications.

As mentioned above, the 5Rs can be used not only for GERD, but also for many other problems with the GI tract. We encourage our patients to see their symptoms as a message from their body that something is out of balance. Often patients themselves identify what is out of balance or come to realize that triggers such as stress can make their symptoms worse.

For Mary, her food triggers included soda (high in caffeine and acid) and fatty foods. She cut back on her intake of soda, replacing it with citrus-flavored water and herbal tea. She incorporated more whole foods into her diet and cut back on the processed foods. She worked on getting more exercise, starting with walking. She noted her symptoms were the worst at night, so she tried to eat earlier and not snack before bed.

We advised Mary to prop the head of her bed upright and described a body scan meditation that she could do before bed. We also recommended Community Acupuncture, where she could get treated on a sliding scale. She started chamomile and Throat Coat tea, several times daily.

Mary incorporated all these changes into her lifestyle prior to attempting the medication wean. Altogether, her taper from PPIs took 3 months, but now she is free of GERD symptoms.

PPI Taper

Remove triggers

Foods, especially acidic, spicy, fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine and dairy: Consider elimination diet.

Increased intra-abdominal pressure: Encourage weight loss, avoid tight-fitting clothes.

Stomach over-distension: Encourage smaller meals and less fluid intake with meals. Slow down, chew food well and relax while eating.

Prone position: Eat last meal 4-5 hours before bed, place 4-6” blocks under head of bed (don’t prop on pillows as this can increase intra-abdominal pressure).

Smoking: Stop.

Stress: See “Rebalance,” below.


Vitamin/mineral deficiencies: Consider B12, magnesium, calcium and iron. (Goal for B12 > 400 pg/mL. Measure RBC Mg, not serum Mg).

Consider betaine hydrochloride 650 mg tabs 30 minutes before meals. Start with lower doses, increase until symptoms return, then back down to previous dose. Avoid with NSAIDs or steroids.


If signs/symptoms of small bowel bacterial overgrowth (bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal cramps) from poor digestion, consider probiotics (10-14 billion units daily, multiple species present).


Add one or more of the following:

Marshmallow: Tea up to 5-6 g daily or 5 mL tincture prior to meals.

DGL 3×380 mg tablets OR Sucralfate 1 g after meals.

Slippery elm: 1-2 tbs powdered root in water OR 500 mg caps OR 5 mL tincture TID.

Chamomile: 1-3 g in tea, TID to QID.

Throat Coat tea: Can be taken with meals.


Decrease stress: Lifestyle changes, mind-body techniques

Regular aerobic activity: Not right after meals.

Consider other modalities, such as acupuncture.

Taper off the PPI slowly.

The higher the dose, the longer the taper. Expect rebound symptoms.

Decrease the current PPI dose by 50% each week until patient is on the lowest dose once daily.

In 2 weeks, change to H2 blocker. If symptoms flare, can alternate H2B every other day with omeprazole.

After 2-4 weeks on H2 blocker, try stopping or weaning.

After 2 weeks off H2 blocker, try tapering off supplements.

Continue lifestyle modifications.

Written by: Sarah Murphy, MD, and Hana Grobel, MD

Source: Sonoma Medicine Spring 2017, The magazine of the Sonoma County Medical Association

The Numerous Health Benefits of Bone Broth

Here is an article explaining the many benefits of bone broth. Ingesting bone broth is such an excellent way to heal your gut and receive a multitude of nutrients.

There’s a common Latin American saying that sums up the powerful health benefits of good, old-fashioned broth… “Good broth resurrects the dead.”

That may be a slight exaggeration, but bone broth does have a centuries-old history of therapeutic use in traditional cultures. And it is well-known for being a soothing dish that is nourishing for body, mind, and soul. Physicians as far back as Hippocrates of Kos – revered as the “Father of Modern Medicine” – have recommended the bone broth diet as being beneficial for health.

Fast forward to the present day and to Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant. During an eight-month stretch in 2013, he ruptured an Achilles tendon and then fractured his knee, both potentially career-ending injuries. And yet in 2015, at the age of 36, Bryant not only returned to the harsh rigors of pro basketball, he actually thrived.

What was his secret?

Bryant and his handlers credit at least some of his recovery and longevity to a particular chicken and vegetable soup – specifically, bone broth.

What is Bone Broth?

Bone broth, regular broth, and stock all have the same basic ingredients – water, meat or bones (or both), vegetables, and seasoning. Regular broth is made with meat and may contain some bones. It is typically simmered for a short time, is very light in flavor, and rich in protein.

Stock is made mainly with bones, along with a little meat. Often the bones are roasted before simmering to improve the flavor. Stock is typically simmered for 3-4 hours and is a good source of gelatin.

Bone broth is also made with bones and may also contain a small amount of meat adhering to the bones. As with stock, bones may be roasted first to improve the flavor. The main difference is that bone broths are simmered for very long periods of time, usually more than 24 hours – so that not only gelatin, but also healthful minerals are released into the broth.

Bone broths are very rich in protein, especially the amino acids glycine and proline, and are a rich source of minerals as well. Glycine supports detoxification and is also used to make hemoglobin, bile salts, and other natural chemicals in the body. Proline supports skin health, especially in combination with vitamin C. Gelatin also supports skin health and tone.

Quite simply, bone broth is a nourishing concoction that is known to contain many essential and non-essential amino acids, gelatin which together help to form connective tissue, as well as nutrients that support the immune system, gut healing, and brain health.

No wonder the bone broth diet is known as “nature’s multi-vitamin”! Let’s take a closer look at some of its many health benefits.


Statistics show that when Americans are sick, more often than not they seek the comfort of a hot bowl of chicken soup.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the idea of hot soup as a flu and cold remedy has been around for centuries – and may in fact help to ease the symptoms.

All liquid broth soups speed up the movement of mucus, because they are hot fluids that dilate blood vessels, increasing blood flow. This allows mucus to flush everything out including the infecting agents and alleviating congestion.

Soups are also hydrating in general because they contain both water and salt, which are both important when fighting off an infection. Further, some research suggests chicken soup can reduce inflammation associated with colds and flu, providing further symptomatic relief.


In recent years, healthcare researchers have begun to understand that our overall health and well-being are intimately connected to our gut. In fact, many modern diseases are now believed to be strongly influenced, if not caused, by a toxic mix of gut bacteria. The Standard American Diet (SAD) – high in unhealthy hydrogenated and trans fats as well as processed, refined, and overly sugared foods, while simultaneously being low in complex carbohydrates, plant-based foods, healthful fats, and other needful nutrients – doesn’t help matters much in this regard.

According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of “Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS),” the bone broth diet is excellent for healing the gut. Indeed, it forms an integral part of her patented “GAPS Nutritional Protocol,” as described in her book.

Her healing protocol relies on the fact that bone broth or stock is easily digestible, helps to heal the gut lining, and contains many valuable nutrients and minerals which boost and balance the immune system.

For instance, “leaky gut syndrome” is a health condition in which partially digested food, toxins, viruses, yeast, and bacteria gain access to the bloodstream from the intestine, which is otherwise a barrier that prevents their access.

Leaky gut is believed to be the root cause of many allergies and autoimmune disorders – and may even lead to neurological disorders such as autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities. By sealing the gut and optimizing the immune system, the bone broth diet can help to heal leaky gut syndrome and lower our risk of getting these disorders.

Is bone broth beneficial for autism?

Dr. Campbell is convinced that bone broth can be used to successfully treat autism. According to her, autistic children are born with perfectly normal brains and sensory organs. However, what they lack from their birth is normal gut bacteria.

Up to 90 percent of all cells and genetic material in our bodies is represented by our gut bacteria – and we choose to ignore them at our own peril.

Dr. Campbell has discovered that the digestive systems of autistic children have unusually high levels of harmful or “pathogenic” gut bacteria, which damage the integrity of their gut walls. As a result, toxins and bacteria get into their blood when they are not supposed to and eventually also enter their brains.

These toxins in the brains of autistic children interfere with their ability to process the flood of sensory information they are exposed to on a daily basis during their development. As a result, they don’t learn how to understand language, how to use it, or how to develop the natural instinctive behaviors and coping behaviors that normal children do.

Instead, they develop symptoms that we call autism.

Dr. Campbell believes that bottle feeding (instead of breastfeeding) is a contributing factor because it doesn’t protect children against abnormal gut bacteria. Indeed, her research shows that a large percentage of the mothers of autistic children were bottle-fed.

Additionally, they also received multiple courses of antibiotics throughout their childhood, worsening the state of their already abnormal gut bacteria. In other words, bottle-feeding along with overuse of antibiotics means that each passing generation of women have developed increasingly abnormal gut bacteria, raising the risk of autism in their children.

Add to this the modern SAD diet of processed, refined, overly sugared, and junk food, and what we have on our hands is a disaster in terms of intestinal health. This type of diet almost exclusively feeds pathogenic gut bacteria, allowing them to proliferate – and in some instances even dominate.

So how does all this relate to bone broth?

Dr. Campbell’s therapy for autistic children includes easily digestible foods that are dense in nutrition – which includes bone broth as well as fermented foods. According to her, it takes two years to get rid of pathogenic bacteria, re-establish normal beneficial bacteria, heal the damaged gut lining, and restore the gut to being a source of nourishment instead of a source of toxicity. Additionally, this bone broth-based diet also clears out many toxins from the body on its own.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Using her own GAPS nutritional healing approach, Dr. Campbell has successfully treated her own son who is now autism-free. She currently heads a clinic in Cambridge, England, where she continues to treat children and adults with autism, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, immune disorders, and digestive problems.

bone broth reduces joint pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of degenerative joint disease in the U.S. It is typically experienced as a progressive loss of cartilage, along with joint pain and inflammation of the connective tissue that makes up the inner surface of joints, especially the knees and hands.

As a result, the bones at the affected joints begin rubbing directly against each other, bone spurs develop and soon result in pain and inflammation. Bone broth is full of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which have been shown to help support cartilage health.

In fact, one study showed that taking glucosamine and chondroitin is as effective as taking the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) Celebrex for treating osteoarthritis. Another study found that glucosamine chondroitin from cartilage is more effective for reducing osteoarthritis pain than taking it in a pill form.

Bone broth also contains hyaluronic acid, which is given orally as a supplement for osteoarthritis patients and also injected into knee joints to reduce pain and increase function and mobility. While these treatments are effective, they are also expensive.

It’s a lot easier – and cheaper – to make bone broth at home and avail yourself of all the powerful joint-healing benefits of these nutrients. In fact, bone broth is chockfull of a form of collagen that also contains the amino acids proline and glycine – and both of these have been shown to help rebuild tissues.

The protective action of all of these nutrients in the bone broth diet is believed to happen in two ways. First, as basic components of cartilage and synovial fluid, they help the joint to repair itself. Second, their anti-inflammatory actions are believed to prevent many inflammation-induced breakdown processes in joints.

Together, these two mechanisms slow the destruction of cartilage in joints and may even help to regenerate joint structure, resulting in less pain and greater mobility of the affected joints.

In summary, all available evidence indicates that bone broth’s many healthful ingredients can be used to reduce the symptoms of cold and flu; support a healthy gut, and support healthy joints that are free from pain and inflammation.

Posted by Epigenetic Labs

Acupuncture Animal Studies

Such animal studies help to confirm the “objective” effects of acupuncture as well as test the effects of acupuncture on anatomical structures and physiological functions not easily studied in humans. The following studies all appeared in issue #4, 2006 of this journal.

Read full article

Source: The Classic Corner: An Archived Abstracted Report from 2006 by Honora Wolfe on Recently Published Acupuncture Animal Studies

Zhen Jiu Yan Jiu (Acupuncture-moxibustion Research), published by the Institute of Acupuncture-moxibustion of the Chinese National Chinese Medical Academy and the Chinese National Association of Acupuncture-moxibustion, mainly carries articles on acupuncture animal studies.

Activating your Shao Yang | Lifestyle Advice from Master Liu He

I am once again sharing my favorite information from Master Liu He.  I didn’t do as well with soaking my feet in warm water this winter as I did in the spring and I noticed the difference.  My hands have been colder in the daytime than they were when I was more diligent about soaking my feet at night.  I will try to get into soaking again for the next few weeks until spring arrives.

With the beginning of the Chinese Lunar  New Year, we all give birth to Shao Yang Qi “Young Yang Qi”.

Just as giving birth to a new baby, this “Young” Yang needs to be tended and developed for the yang to grow through the seasons.

In order to protect your Qi baby or young yang energy, keep the following suggestions in mind as you tend to this new energy allowing growth:

1. Stay warm. In some areas the weather is beginning to warm however you want to keep your feet and legs warm. Not wearing sandals and shorts.

2. Wear loose clothes and relax as much as possible. Do not overexert yourself.

3. Practicing Qigong for the Liver and Gallbladder. Here is the Youtube link for Liver Purification Qigong. Jade Woman is also another form to practice at this time of year.

4. Walk gently for 30-45 minutes outside. No excessive sports or sweating.

5. Drink mung bean juice after breakfast.

6. Eat a small amount of sweet flavored foods to facilitate the gentle rising of the Liver Qi. Do not eat a  lot of sour flavored foods as this draws the Liver Qi in and down.

7. Do not eat spicy foods. Spicy foods contain a lot of heat and has potential to harm the Liver Qi.

8. Go to bed a little later then in winter however not later then 10:30pm.

9. Continue to soak feet in warm water before bed.

Wishing you a happy birth Qi!

Winter Solstice Lifestyle Advice

Here is the winter advice from master Liu He on how to preserve your energy in the winter. If you are able to protect your yang qi in the winter, it supports your health throughout the rest of the year.

Winter Solstice is the biggest Yin to Yang transition time of the year. For many people who are ill or with chronic illnesses, they may experience worsening symptoms from now until January 28, 2017(Chinese New Year).

During this time, the earth starts to bring all of it’s Yang Qi to a deeper level to protect and preserve. In the Spring, the Yang Qi is then able to re-birth with vigor. As we mirror nature, the same theory applies to our bodies.

This is why it is best to not use too much Yang Qi during this season. When Yang Qi is not preserved at this time, all the Spring diseases could occur such as: cold hands & feet, Yang Qi not being able to rise the entire year, difficult digestion, allergies, etc.

With the Yang Qi residing internally, we experience less protection on the outside. To provide protection, we need to wear warm clothing and practice more Qigong. In addition, eat more ginger in the mornings, lamb, and more grains (Eight Treasure Longevity Congee).

Nourish Your Kidney Yin

soupHere we are moving into the cooler months of the year.  I am so thankful for the rain we have recently had in the Bay Area.  Check out these tips for the winter season from Master Liu He

Nourish Your Kidney Yin

As we enter the Winter season, people may experience more yin depletion. Master Liu He advises all students at this time to nourish your Kidney Yin and not bother your Kidney Yang. With sufficient Yin energy, just as in a stage of pregnancy, the Yang can then give a healthy birth in Spring. Winter is considered a time for storage, just as nature and animals take this time to hibernate. She stated, if you do not preserve your Yang Qi,  all the Spring diseases will occur such as: cold hands & feet, Yang Qi will not be able to rise the entire year, difficult digestion, allergies, etc.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Think less and slow down your daily activities/lifestyle.

2. Eat warm and cooked foods. Avoid cold and raw foods.

3. Eat chicken soups and oysters.

4. Go to bed early and get up late.

5. Shower/bathe less – no more than 3 times per week (Especially not a sauna; avoid excess sweat.)

6. Soak your feet in hot water with sea salt for 20 minutes at night.

Autumnal wisdom from Master Liu He

I have been trying out these suggestions myself. I haven’t been able to do all of them (I still have to buy some pear and daikon.), but I have been faithfully eating ginger and soaking my feet in leek water. I am curious to see how this makes me feel come winter.  

Boosting Younger Yang Qi to Protect and Nourish Your Yin Qi!

Strong Yang Qi gives you the foundation for a strong and vibrant life. The form (body, organs, etc.) is Yin Qi, we need Yang Qi to animate and bring to life. In our fast paced modern society, we drain and consume our Yang Qi on a daily basis. In order to support the Young Yang Qi, here are some suggestions:

1. Eat 2-3 slices of fresh ginger root each morning after breakfast. Do not eat in the evening, morning only.

2. Eat warm and cooked foods, especially high fiber whole grains. Avoid cold and raw foods.

3. Look at the sun rising and the sun setting.

4. Eat pear and/or daikon in the evening.

5.  Soak your feet in warm water with the white part of the leek for 10-15 minutes.

6. Drink 1 cup warm water when you first wake up and 1/2 cup warm water before bed.

Image credit: © Dietmar Rabich, rabich.de (edited by Sting), CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Spirit of Renewal: Spring and Traditional Chinese Medicine

100_3023Spring: It is the long-awaited change of winter to spring. Seeds sprout, flowers bloom, and the sun warms the earth. There is a sense of renewal and new life all around.

While winter was a time to conserve energy and reduce activity, spring is a time of regeneration, new beginnings, and a renewal of spirit.

The Principle of the Five Elements

The five elements refer to wood, fire, earth, metal, and water in Eastern philosophy. The Principle of the Five Elements (known as the Wu Hsing in Chinese) describes the flow of Qi and the balance of yin and yang.

According to the principle, all change – in the universe and in your body – occurs in five distinct stages. Each of these stages is associated with a particular time of year, a specific element in nature, and a pair of organs in the body. Change links together the seasons of the year, aspects of nature, and your body’s organs and bodily processes. A practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine uses this principle to diagnose and treat health problems, linking specific foods, herbs, and acupuncture points to the restoration of yin-yang and Qi.


Spring is the ideal time for cleansing and rejuvenation for overall health and well-being. As spring is represented by the wood element and includes the liver and its complementary organ, the gallbladder, these two organs are usually the primary targets for springtime cleansing and health regimens.

Element: Wood
Color: Green
Nature: Yang
Organs: Liver, Gallbladder
Emotion: Anger

Learn more about the Liver and Liver Qi Stagnation

Put Some Spring into Your Step

Spring corresponds to the “Wood” element, which in turn is conceptually related to the liver and gallbladder organs. According to the philosophy of Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flowing of Qi (energy) throughout the body. When the liver functions smoothly, physical and emotional activity throughout the body also runs smoothly. So, for optimum health this spring, move your Qi!

Stretch – The liver controls the tendons. According to Chinese medicine, the liver stores blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons in times of activity, maintaining tendon health and flexibility. Incorporate a morning stretch into your routine. Try yoga or tai qi.

Eye Exercises – The liver opens into the eyes. Although all the organs have some connection to the health of the eyes, the liver is connected to proper eye function. Remember to take breaks when looking at a computer monitor for extended periods of time and do eye exercises.

Eat Green – Green is the color of the liver and of springtime. Eating young plants – fresh, leafy greens, sprouts, and immature cereal grasses – can improve the liver’s overall functions and aid in the movement of qi.

Taste Sour – Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the liver’s qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing. Garnish your sandwich with a slice of dill pickle.

Do more outdoor activities – Outside air helps liver qi flow. If you have been feeling irritable, find an outdoor activity to smooth out that liver qi stagnation. Try hiking or take up golf.

Enjoy milk thistle tea – Milk thistle helps protect liver cells from incoming toxins and encourages the liver to cleanse itself of damaging substances, such as alcohol, medications, pesticides, environmental toxins, and even heavy metals such as mercury.

Get Acupuncture treatments – Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help improve the overall health of your liver as well as treat stress, anger and frustration, which are often associated with liver qi disharmony.

By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM
Source: www.acufinder.com