We’re coming up on the halfway point of liver season and I promise I’ll start talking about something else with the next blog post. But understanding the elements of Classical Chinese medicine is crucial to recognizing patterns of imbalance in yourself.
That’s why this year my focus is on teaching you the foundations, so that you can bring seasonal living together with learning what your body needs, and what season your body is in. Because while we are part of the world, we are not always in synch with it.
This blog post is about imbalances in the liver system and what it looks like when our qi isn’t flowing optimally.
Spring seems like it’s a long way off in Minnesota. Just last month we hit a record for snow fall in February. But cold and snow notwithstanding, the wood energy of spring is still flowing.
Now that I’ve covered how to live in accordance to each season, I thought it would be a good time to move to talking about the elements in Chinese medicine.
Just like the elements of the periodic table, the elements of Chinese medicine represent the basic components. You’ll recognize a lot of the movement and terminology in this post from the spring living blog, but this one will take it to another level.
The Complementary Care Police are probably going to come and take my holistic health practitioner card away for saying this, but: I really don’t like detoxes.
I know that they’re all the rage and for good reason – the good ones, when done right, are great! But there are a ton of bad ones out there, and they’re usually done incorrectly or at a time that’s harmful to patients. It’s time that we, as a holistic community, have a chat about that.
Tomorrow is the Chinese new year, and we’re ringing in the year of the Earth Pig!
Think this will be a lucky year for you?
Those of you who have been hanging around for a while, you’ve heard the spiel about the seasons. If you want to skip the details, feel free to scroll down to the bottom.
But for the rest of you, read on.
Spring carries the energy of the maiden – the prepubescent girl with her whole life ahead over her. Summer is the young mother, pregnant or having just given birth. Autumn is the experienced mother, still guiding her children, but watching them make their own decisions.
Winter is the time of the crone.
If you look at the definitions of crone online you find:
an old woman who is thin and ugly.
Or that she’s cruel, malicious or sinister.
But if you dig into the archetype of the crone or listen to the stories women tell each other about old women you see something different. You see a wise woman who uses the lessons she’s learned in life to guide those younger than her to the right path.
The crone teaches us that death cycles are inevitable. Winter always comes, age marches on and one day, we too will be grandmothers. And that scares us. It scares us in the way the nadir of death cycles always scares us. We don’t like cold, we don’t like darkness and we don’t like endings.
But every woman who menstruates will one day go through menopause. That process will mark the end of her reproductive days. As an ending, that’s scary. As a process, it can be frustrating.
This post has two purposes: to give you a guide through menopause to make the transition from mother to crone (or Wise Woman, or Grandmother) go more smoothly and also to show you that as part of a cycle it may be an ending, but it is not the End.
Last week I introduced the concept of death cycles on the Instagram feed. In a nutshell, a life cycle is a cycle an organism follows from birth to the point they reproduce and their offspring begin their own life cycle. A death cycle follows an organism through all the processes of birth, life, death and potential rebirth.
The handy thing about death cycles is that since the year is its own death cycle we can use it as a guide. Spring is birth, summer is growth, fall is decline and winter is death. The unique thing about winter is that it’s the season that contains all the things we, societally, fear, are ashamed of, or hate.
Cold, darkness, old age, labor, and menstruation.
When you work with the seasons and death cycles, you learn that decline is a part of life and it’s usually a healthy part of the process. Trees wouldn’t flourish in the summer if they didn’t rest in the winter, the day doesn’t happen without the night and we wouldn’t continue our reproductive cycle without healthy menstruation.
Have you been told your entire life that your period is gross, something you shouldn’t talk about, something shameful or even, sinful?
What would happen if you saw it has a healthy sign of ovulation and embraced it as a time of rest? My bet is that it would be life changing and if you’re interested you should definitely read on.
Emotions are complicated. Psychology is complicated. Humans, well, we’re complicated. This season we’ve been diving deeply into emotional and psychological disorders on the blog. We started on Halloween with Sun Si Miao’s ghost points, the ancient treatment for conditions like Read more…
Now that the quiet of winter has descended, many of us are finding ourselves contemplating life’s mysteries over a mug of tea. It’s only natural; winter is a time of rest and meditation. It’s the season to stare off into the middle distance and let the snowflakes fall out of focus as our mind takes us to far off fantasies or deep into our core. In honor of this deeply spiritual time of the year, let’s dive into the concept of shen.
A patient’s spirituality is, frankly, none of my business. But I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the spiritual roots of Chinese medicine or address it more deeply than I have in the past. Shen is a huge concept, and treating the shen is important for pain management, anxiety and depression, labor induction, fertility and more.
Understanding the concept of shen will help you understand why.
Maybe I’ve been listening to too much Last Podcast on the Left. Maybe I’ve been watching too much Haunting of Hill House. Or maybe I’m just getting in the Halloween spirit. Whatever the reason, I think it’s time for a spooky, seasonal blog post and that can mean only one thing – it’s time to talk about ghost points.