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Easing Transitions with the Earth Element

Easing Transitions with the Earth Element

We all are very familiar with Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter but why does Chinese Medicine include a fifth season and where does it fit on the calendar?

According to TCM theory, the fifth season is actually that important time between the seasons, where we ‘return to center’ so we can ‘pivot’.  About 2-3 weeks before the beginning of each season is a time of transition.

Each season correlates with an elemental energy. Spring belongs to the wood element, Summer to fire, Fall to metal and Winter to water. The transitional time between the seasons rightfully belongs to the earth element as this is the time when the seasonally dominant energy returns to the earth to be transformed into the next seasonal energy.

The Earth Element is generated and managed in the body by the spleen and stomach. These organs are in the business of metamorphosis. As digestive organs (according to TCM), they transport and transform the food we eat into nutrition to build our blood and nourish our cells. The spleen governs the muscles, and is important in the free movement of the body. The associated orifice is the mouth and spleen Qi manifests in the lips. The Spleen is also known for housing the intellect (yi) and is involved with the thinking aspect of spirit. The color of the earth element is yellow, and the taste is sweet.

The Chinese Lunar Calendar sets the start of the seasons earlier than our Gregorian calendar, so if we are following the seasons according to Chinese Medicine We are currently in Late Summer, and this is the time to pay special attention to the energy of transition.

The benefit of nourishing our earth element during this time is to gain balance and stability for periods of change. The earth element represents our wide center stance from which we can safely assess the next move (picture the slow smooth movements of tai chi). The importance of core stability rings true whether we are talking about physical activity or more subtle energy dynamics.

1) Diet:

Avoid damp cold food such as ice cream as it can put a burden on the spleen that prefers warm, dry conditions. Eat breakfast between 7-9am which is stomach time according to the Qi clock. From 9-11am is spleen time. Some gentle activity is ok but as the spleen converts food to Qi, try to take it easy so you do not disrupt digestion. Avoid processed sugar while enjoying the natural balance of sweetness from the earth with foods like apples, carrots, dates, and sweet potatoes.

2) Release Worry-Patterns:

The spleen houses the intellect and is responsible for thought but can be weighed down by overthinking. This will slow its ability to transform our food. We can all think of times when worry led to unpleasant digestive experiences.
So, find ways to shift patterns of over-thinking and worry.
(Cue the serenity prayer…)

3) Yellow: 

Stimulate earth energy with its color and brighten up someone’s day by wearing more yellow. Notice the yellow colors in nature, stop and absorb their frequency. And eat yellow foods: bananas, yellow peppers, lemons etc.

4) Earthing: 

You know what to do. Connect direct! Get those bare feet on the ground (pesticide-free please).

Now get some Vitamin-E on those earthy lips and pucker up: you’ll be ready to give Fall a sweet kiss hello.

Welcome to Earth Element in 5 Element Acupuncture.

There are 5 elements or Seasons of energy in Acupuncture.  Each is associated with time, color, sound, odor, foods and other associations.  These 5 Elements are s follows.

Earth (Late Summer) Holding energy, nourishing, supporting

Metal (Autumn) Descending movement, letting go, loss

Water (Winter) Stillness, persistence movement, power, regenerating

Wood (Spring) Uprising movement, birth, growth

Summer (Fire) Dancing energy, playfulness, blossoming

 

Late Summer & The Earth Element

Late Summer is a nurturing time of the year. We have a surplus of fruits and vegetables, gifts from the growth and busyness of the Spring and Summer seasons.

In Late Summer, the activities of Summer start to slow down while harvest time kicks into gear. The plants and trees offer their bounty of fruit and vegetables. Food is available for all animals before fall approaches and preparation for winter begins. Late summer reminds us that Mother Earth gives us all that we need without asking anything in return.

So how does this the energetic movement of Earth and Late Summer show up in us? 

Emotionally, the Earth Element shows up as the emotions of sympathy, empathy, and compassion. Our ability to give and receive caring feelings and mothering energy.

Physically, the Earth Element shows up as our Digestive System.  The Stomach, Spleen, and Pancreas are the organs that break down, digest, and helps to transport nourishment to the body.

Spiritually, the Earth Element gives us the ability to feel an inner nourishment through stability, security, and abundance. When we overflow with this energy, we are able to share our bounty with others.

When the Earth Element is in balance we have the gifts of nurturing, thoughtfulness, nourishment, taste, sympathy, and stability to give to others.

When the Earth Element is out of balance, we may feel obsessive worry or sympathy, self-centered or insecure, not be able to give or receive help or care from others. We can feel a lack of abundance, what we have is not enough. Physically, muscle pain, digestive problems, ulcers, or headaches can occur. Issues with the relationship with food and body image can arise as well.

If your Earth Element Qi is feeling stuck here are 4 practices that can help:

  1. GIVE…Lend a helping hand to a neighbor in need; give a random gift to someone in your life; volunteer your time at a homeless shelter or food kitchen; Give out hugs; Literally, feed your partner or friend.
  2. GRATITUDE…Keep a daily gratitude journal; Give thanks to the Earth and her creatures for providing nourishment; When you say “Thank You” look the person in the eye and mean it from your heart.
  3. RECEIVE…Consciously accept the thank you, gifts, and offerings of others; Be aware of the processes of taking in food, chewing and digesting.
  4. ACUPUNCTURE… If you have been receiving seasonal acupuncture treatments, between now and October is the perfect time to come in for your Late Summer session. It can help bring Nourishment to your body, mind, and soul! If you are new to acupuncture, massage, nutrition, or energy medicine, now is the perfect time to start acupuncture treatments! Give Jean Donati Acupuncture a Call at 410-984-3700.

Allergic Rhinitis? Try Acupuncture for Relief!

Allergic Rhinitis? Try Acupuncture for Relief!

For many sufferers of allergic rhinitis, there’s no need to hear a news report detailing the pollen count outside, as their runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes will let them know. Often these symptoms strike in the summer and spring, but some patients also have symptoms due to an allergy to dust, mites or dander, to name a few. This condition is more commonly referred to as hay fever, seasonal allergies, or just plain allergies.

Symptoms typically include sneezing, runny nose, postnasal drip, and irritated eyes, ears, nose and throat. Normally, when a healthy body comes into contact with foreign particles in the air (allergens), the immune system initiates a response to neatly and harmlessly dispose of the allergens—not so for sufferers of hay fever. In their case, the immune system becomes hyperactive and destructive to the body, causing the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine recognize allergic rhinitis as a condition that is provoked by external factors, although it generally occurs because the body already has a pre-existing deficiency. For example, some patients with a long-standing lung Qi deficiency are more susceptible to dust, dander, pollen, etc. in the air.

The Qi circulating in the lungs and its corresponding meridians is called lung Qi. When lung Qi is not strong, problems with breathing, coughing and general immunity may arise because the lungs are related to defensive Qi. As the name implies, this Qi functions in the same capacity as the immune system.

The nose is the sense organ corresponding to the lungs, so when there are blockages in the lung meridian, the nose also may be obstructed. Emotions associated with the lungs are grief and sadness. Sometimes after crying or an attack of allergic rhinitis, one may experience a stuffy nose, red eyes and irregular breathing, which reflects the strain on the lungs. A good way to counter these symptoms is to concentrate on deep, regular breaths which can help stabilize the emotions as well. In general, aerobic exercise is an excellent way to strengthen lung Qi, which in turn helps strengthen general immunity.

Acupuncture treatments may be used year-round, even if your allergies only occur in certain seasons or in the presence of certain allergens. When your allergy symptoms are not active any underlying deficiency you may have can be addressed.

If you have allergies, call 410-984-3700 today to see what acupuncture and Chinese medicine can do for you!

Chinese Medicine for Asthma Relief

Asthma is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in the lungs and, consequently, a narrowing of the bronchial tubes–also known as the air passages. This makes breathing difficult as airflow is restricted. Tell-tale signs of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and a feeling of tightness in the chest. Some substances and conditions may cause or worsen the symptoms of asthma including physical activity, cold air, smoke, emotional distress or airborne allergens.

Conventional medical treatment offers a variety of pharmaceutical drugs, which are specific to the patient’s triggers and symptoms of asthma. If you suffer from asthma, additional treatment from your acupuncture and Chinese medicine practitioner in addition to conventional medical treatment may prove to be a winning combination.

A study called “Immunomodulatory Effects of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Allergic Asthma: A Randomized Controlled Study”, published in 2007 in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, demonstrates the role acupuncture and Chinese medicine can have in the treatment of asthma symptoms. At the end of the study, it was shown that 79 percent of the study group felt an improvement in their general well-being. Significant improvements in the immune system were detected from the blood samples collected by the study group as well. The authors of the study were able to conclude that acupuncture, in conjunction with standard treatment, provides outstanding improvements to the immune system.

There are a few things one can do at home to help lessen the severity of asthma symptoms. According to acupuncture and Chinese medicine, the environment plays an important role in the health of an individual. For example, if one lives in a cold, damp environment, it may prove to be problematic. Not only may the cold contribute to constriction of the bronchial tubes, but the damp air may foster mold or other airborne pollutants that can irritate the air passages as well.

While it may not be possible to move to another climate, it is possible to focus on removing dust, animal dander, and other pollutants from your home. If your home is damp, consider using a dehumidifier, as this will help in eliminating mold. Sometimes breathing in cold air can cause wheezing and trouble breathing, so covering your mouth and nose in an effort to warm your breath may be helpful.

For soothing relief on a cold day, try a nourishing, warm soup. Keep the ingredients simple, the less processed and refined your food is, the easier it is on your digestive system. According to acupuncture and Chinese medicine, phlegm is produced in the stomach, but stored in the lungs. This is a direct reference to the importance of eating well and avoiding phlegm-producing foods.

Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising every day will help strengthen your immune system as well. If you are finding it difficult to lose weight and lack motivation to exercise, this is something your practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese medicine can assist you with. If an addiction to smoking is contributing to your symptoms of asthma, there are treatment protocols to help reduce cravings for nicotine and other substances.

Acupuncture Provides Allergic Rhinitis Relief

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study that showed that acupuncture can significantly relieve allergic rhinitis symptoms.

In this German study, 5,237 men and women were analyzed to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture in addition to routine care in patients with allergic rhinitis, compared to treatment with routine care alone.

In this trial, patients with allergic rhinitis were randomly allocated to receive acupuncture for a three month period or to a control group that received no acupuncture. All patients were allowed to receive routine medical care. The Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) and general health-related quality of life (36-Item Short-Form Health Survey) were evaluated at baseline and after three and six months.

Improvements were noted at the three- and six-month evaluations for the patients receiving acupuncture. The authors of this trial concluded that treating patients with allergic rhinitis in routine care with additional acupuncture leads to clinically relevant and persistent benefits.

Source: European Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2008 Nov;101(5):535-43.

Study Shows Reduced Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

A study “The Effects of Acupuncture on Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis,” published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in February of 2013, brings encouraging news for sufferers of seasonal allergies.

Researchers set out to determine if acupuncture treatments plus the use of antihistamine drugs could significantly reduce symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis. 46 physicians from 6 hospitals and 32 outpatient medical clinics contributed to the large-scale trial.

All of the study participants tested positive for allergies to birch and grass pollen. Their symptoms included nasal blockages and runny noses. An evaluation occurred at 8 weeks, after the patients underwent 12 sessions of treatment each.

Patients who received real acupuncture treatments experienced a statistically important reduction in their symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis when compared to the sham acupuncture and histamine-only groups. Additionally, the real acupuncture group also witnessed a reduction in the need for antihistamines to manage their symptoms.

Source: M. Ortiz, C.M. Witt, S. Roll, K. Linde, F. Pfab, B. Niggemann, J. Hummelsberger, A. Treszl, J. Ring, T. Zuberbier, K. Wegscheider, and S.N. Willich. The Effects of Acupuncture on Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis. (2013). Annals of Internal Medicine, 158(4), I. https://doi.org/10.73260003-4819-158-4-201302190-00001

Small Study Finds Reduction in Adult Bronchial Asthma Symptoms

To study the effects of acupuncture for the treatment of adult bronchial asthma, researchers conducted a clinical trial in 2009 called “Effects of Acupuncture Treatment in Patients with Bronchial Asthma.”

The results appeared in the journal Japanese Acupuncture and Moxibustion. The trial demonstrated that acupuncture is an effective and safe therapy to help reduce the symptoms of adult bronchial asthma, which causes inflammation of the airways, wheezing and dyspnea (labored breathing).

During the study, participants with mild to severe bronchial asthma received one acupuncture treatment per week for a total of 10 weeks. The number of asthma attacks and the unpleasant sensations of dyspnea, were recorded before and after treatments. Each patient’s level of difficulty breathing, whether on the inhalation or exhalation, was reported subjectively.

Researchers reported that acupuncture treatments significantly alleviated the patients’ dyspnea, and there was a major decline in their number of asthma attacks. There were no negative side effects resulting from treatment.

Source: Suzuki, M., Namura, K., Egawa, M., & Yano, T. (2006). Effect of Acupuncture Treatment in Patients with Bronchial Asthma. Zen Nihon Shinkyu Gakkai Zasshi (Journal of the Japan Society of Acupuncture and Moxibustion), 56(4), 616–627. https://doi.org/10.3777/jjsam.56.616 https://ssl.jsam.jp/onlineJournal/pdf2/39.pdf

Jean Donati Acupuncture, LLC
604 E. Joppa Rd
Towson, MD 21286
410-984-3700
/www.East2WestMedicine.com

Six Different Types of Menopause

Menopause is a natural decline of the Kidney Jing, or essence, according to Chinese Medicine. So, how does one prepare? Simply put, we have to be more “Yin” in our approach to life. Yin is restful and nourishing. So slowing down, taking more time for rest and finding balance is an appropriate approach.

See the full article below to find out more about each of the 6 types of Menopause…Which one are you?

Give us a call and together let’s discover which “type” of menopause you may be experiencing. We’ve got healthful options to support you through your healing journey. We can do this! Give us a call today.

Acupuncture_Menopause_Type_towson_MD_Jean_Donati

 

Kidneys in Balance: Activity & Rest in the Colder Months

acupuncture kidneys towson Maryland_Jean Donati Acupuncture

Winter is kidney season!

Kidneys are, in many ways, the alpha and omega of Chinese medicine organ theory, as they manage development and decline and therefore both life and death. They are also considered the root source of our energy. Essence, or jing qi, is the energy we receive at conception (also called prenatal qi). The kidneys are like a battery that is not rechargeable. Throughout our lives we slowly deplete this reserve. How fast it gets depleted depends on our lifestyle, environment etc.  Read more here….

https://east2westmedicine.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/newsletter1_KD-in-Balance-1.pdf

 

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