"Earth is a stabilizing force during times of transition. After all the activity of spring and summer, nature’s time to grow and bloom, earth can help us get centered and balanced in late summer as we organize ourselves for the autumn harvest and begin to prepare ourselves for winter, the season of rest."
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news for some of you, but fall is coming! With kids looking towards going back to school and the slightly shorter days, it’s time to turn our minds towards fall, but also starting to prepare our bodies for the seasonal changes that are ahead. Anyone around you starting to get some late summer colds? Believe it or not, fall has started to creep into the acupuncture clinic, and so we feel it is our obligation to give you a heads up!
6 weeks before and 6 weeks after the fall equinox is a crucial time for boosting your immune system in preparation for the winter months. This is especially true if you have small children, a compromised immune system or fall allergies. So even if you are feeling great (and we hope you are!), it's important to refocus on making sure your body and mind are as healthy as they can be.
You probably thought there were four seasons right?! Well just to make things even more confusing, Chinese Medicine went ahead and added a fifth season, LATE SUMMER. Late summer is dominated by the EARTH element and harvest time. It starts the third week of August and goes until the fall equinox the third week of September. Being healthy according to Chinese Medicine is all about being in-tune with the season you are in. Most of summer is dominated by the fire element and is a time of long days, cooling foods and lots of activities. Late Summer is dominated by the earth element, where we begin to strive for balance between being an extrovert and the beginning of turning and tuning inward.
When earth is balanced, digestion is strong and emotionally we feel grounded. Out of balance it can present as the tendency to worry and feel anxious as well as having low energy and digestive distress. These symptoms can become especially unbalanced in late summer and because they are related to a seasonal imbalance, often respond very well to acupuncture and herbs during this time of year.
It is a time to reap the harvest, nourish the body with amazing foods, refocus our efforts on taking supplements and herbs to strengthen the body and tuning inward with more frequent acupuncture sessions. It's an incredible time to spend outdoors, to breath the fresh air and contemplate where life will be focusing our energy this fall. Revisit your intentions and plans, and write down some new goals. Buy a new journal and start writing, while still going out swimming and playing with friends.
So just to re-cap your late summer to-do list, for those who may be skimming this article....:)
1. Go to the farmers market and enjoy the local foods that are so abundant this time of year
2. Try to start getting more sleep as the body becomes more grounded and inward focused.
3. Receive regular acupuncture to boost the immune system and keep the earth element in balance.
4. Start herbs and/or supplements if needed for allergies, immune, digestion or other imbalances that may occur for you during this time of year.
5. Go for walks outdoors to directly connect with the earth element and breathe/contemplate plans for the coming season.
Enjoy and be present for every moment of your summer, but keep an eye towards where you are heading and your fall will be vibrant and healthy!
WELCOME TO OPEN CIRCLE ACUPUNCTURE & HEALING
“Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness.”
Welcome to Open Circle Acupuncture’s first blog post! I am so excited to begin this conversation with you all about many different topics of health and wellness. I truly hope all of these many topics we will explore can be a dynamic and inspiring conversation for years to come. For me, starting Open Circle Acupuncture is the culmination of many years of practice, learning, listening and experiencing all that this amazing medicine has to offer. Kim and I are so thrilled and excited to be starting on this new journey together and with all of you!
One of the things I love most about Chinese medicine and acupuncture is the theory that optimal health comes from aligning your lifestyle and mind with that of nature. If you’ve ever gone for a walk in the woods and truly quieted yourself, don’t you just feel healthier, more aligned? So, in that spirit, I’d like to start with writing about winter and the water element since this is where our practice is born.
When the New Year arrives, even though it is cold and yin we all feel a sense of newness, of rebirth and the desire to set our intentions for the year. Maybe it’s to exercise more, or eat healthier, but maybe this intention can be more internal, to complain less, to get more quiet and peaceful inside. Personally, I think those types of New Year’s resolutions are more natural to this time of year. When I want to get going on a cleanse or a new exercise routine, it always feels more natural for me to do this in the springtime, whereas renewing a meditation practice, yoga, qigong, writing in a journal or reading a new book seem much more natural in the winter.
There is good reason for this. When you are truly aligned with the winter season, which is the most yin or introspective time of year, we are allowing life to slow down, and this is not always easy. It is commonly thought that the water element is associated with the emotion of fear, but this is not completely accurate. When the water element is finding its balance, it comes from the ability to transform fear and doubt to wisdom and trust. By knowing when to conserve energy, draw back from the overstimulating and busy world we live, we can tap into immense power and energy that we will have to give back to our life.
In this spirit of the water element, here are a few tips for staying well this winter:
Melissa is a self described 'nerd' about all topics relating to health and wellness. She is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and co-owner of Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing.