Artemesia in “Health and Wellness” Magazine

January 2016 “Mental Health” editionRead it online at

http://www.joomag.com/magazine/mag/0501663001451917079?feature=archive   IMG_5271_a

Check out Tara’s article.  Some good info about the uses of acupuncture, acupressure, tuina, cupping, moxabustion and Chinese herbs in the treatment of anxiety.

 

 

 

 

December 2015 “Men’s Health” edition: 

IMG_5382

Men Enjoy the Benefits of Acupuncture

By Kathleen Fluhart, R.N., Dipl.Ac., M.Ac., L.Ac., Artemesia

Are you a man that suffers from stress, high blood pressure, low back pain, fertility issues, anxiety, depression, insomnia, prostatitis, benign prostate enlargement (BPH) or erectile dysfunction (ED)?

If so, you may want to consider acupuncture. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) recognize acupuncture as an effective treatment for all those conditions — and more.

Eighteen years ago, when I first started practicing acupuncture, my practice was probably 90-95% female. Now, on any given day it’s not unusual to see almost as many men as women in my clinic. While it is true that most of my male patients come to me seeking pain relief, they also often report enjoying acupuncture’s various “side effects” such as improved sleep, lessened irritability, lowered blood pressure, cleared sinuses, decreased use of inhalers for asthma, increased sexual energy, or simply an increased sense of well being.

Let’s examine stress and it’s relationship to some of the common health issues men deal with today: depression, insomnia, anxiety, low libido, erectile dysfunction and various pain conditions. We live in a fast-paced, stressful world that requires us to be productive and gives us little time to relax and contemplate our health and our lives. In addition, we’re entering the cold months of decreasing daylight hours, and many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Add to all this the demands of the upcoming holidays (increased spending, overeating and drinking, travel and perhaps even a few “difficult” relatives) and it’s reasonable to expect stress levels to increase further! Our bodies react to high stress by releasing cortisol, a hormone that can manifest within the body in many ways and can cause or aggravate many of the problems listed above.

How can acupuncture help stress, depression, and anxiety?

Rather than masking symptoms, acupuncture helps the body heal itself. In oriental medicine, all dis-ease is due to vital energy (qi) that is either deficient or excessive in various places in the body. Sounds simple, but it’s not. Most people have combinations of both excess and deficient energy manifesting in a variety of ways. This is why one needs to seek out a fully educated acupuncturist who has a master or docterate degree in Chinese medicine – someone who can truly understand and customize your acupuncture treatment.
When the trained acupuncturist inserts a needle, he/she stimulates the body to transport its healing fluids and its vital energy so the patient moves into a more harmonious state. Your practitioner may also recommend dietary changes or a Chinese herbal formula to increase the effectiveness of the acupuncture.

Can acupuncture help my sexual function problems?

Acupuncture is recognized by leading national and international health organizations as an effective treatment for ED. This is an ideal opportunity to explain that there are 362 main acupuncture points on the human body. Many treatments use points far from the area being treated. Be assured that there are no acupuncture points on the genitals, nor are they examined. (Think “Treating the mainland also treats the peninsula”).

ED can occur due to stress, lack of sleep, and medication side effects. “Kidney yang deficiency” is the most common diagnosis in Oriental medicine, however a trained practitioner may also inquire about palpitations, the color of your urine, a heavy feeling in the scrotum, and your thirst levels to determine if the heart, spleen, or liver meridians (energy pathways) are also involved. FYI, many of the medications currently used for ED can potentially exacerbate the problem by creating medication dependancies. Getting to the underlying imbalances of ED may start making a lot more sense when all this is considered.

Can prostatitis be helped with acupuncture?

Most men don’t pay attention to their prostate gland until they have problems such as frequent, painful or nighttime urination and/or dribbling urine. Leading nation and international health organizations recommend acupuncture as an effective treatment. In younger, asymptomatic men, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can also be used preventatively. We can proactively prevent both prostatitis as well as enlargement of the prostate (BPH).

How about male infertility?

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are also useful for correcting imbalances related to male infertility such as low sperm count, poor sperm motility/morphology and premature ejaculation.
When addressing your health needs, please join many other men and consider using this gentle healing system to help bring your body back into a harmonious and balanced state.


 

IMG_5297November 2015 “Diabetes” edition:

Acupuncture and Diabetes: Restoring balance and health is treatment target

By Kris McClanahan, Dipl.Ac., M.Ac., L.Ac., Artemesia

Over the past several decades, diabetes has clearly become more prevalent. We read in the news about rising numbers of cases in the United States, and it’s also more likely that we now have family members who have been diagnosed with diabetes.
In recent years, people are learning more about acupuncture as a treatment modality and are including it as an option in their overall health care plan. Acupuncture is widely known for treating pain, and many people are learning how it can address the symptoms of other health conditions, including diabetes.
In my practice, I see many people coming for acupuncture treatments to help manage stress, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, weight-loss challenges, chronic pain and digestive complaints. Many of these people also report having diabetes or a “pre-diabetic” condition with elevated blood sugar levels.
So how can acupuncture help those with diabetes and pre-diabetes? Let’s begin with some background on the condition.

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is defined as a metabolic disorder where the body is unable to process glucose (sugar) in the blood. When we consume foods that contain sugar, our bodies normally store the sugar for later use when we need energy. This is where insulin, one of the hormones in the body, plays an important role. Insulin processes and converts sugar so it is available when needed for energy. High blood sugar happens when insulin cannot move glucose from the blood to the tissues, where sugar is needed for energy. The three most common symptoms of high blood sugar are excessive thirst, frequent urination and persistent hunger even when eating regular meals.
While there are several types of diabetes, the most common is type 2. Sadly, in the United States, a rising number of children and young adults are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. Over time, these young people are at risk of developing the early signs of serious diabetic complications usually seen only in adults. The complications can include fatigue, eye problems, heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease, periodontal disease, complications with pregnancy, depression and diseases of the nervous system.
Traditional Chinese medicine recognized diabetes as a “wasting and thirsting” condition or a “sugar urine illness” characterized by excess thirst, hunger and frequent urination. Those who had this condition were treated with Chinese herbs, foods, acupuncture and exercise. Each individual was evaluated and treated based on specific patterns observed by the Chinese medicine doctor. Today, diabetes is still less prevalent in China than in the United States; however, China has also seen a rise in diabetes cases in recent years.

How can acupuncture help people with diabetes?
Acupuncture works to restore balance and health by inserting thin sterile needles at specific sites on the body. Today in China, clinics and hospitals offer both traditional therapies and Western medicine therapies. Acupuncture, along with herbal formulas, diet, exercise and regular blood sugar monitoring, is a routine prescription in that country.
When I began gathering information about how diabetes is treated in traditional Chinese medicine – and more specifically how acupuncture helps people with diabetes – I found very little documented research. Some research results indicate acupuncture may be helpful in improving circulation, lowering pain levels and managing blood sugar. For example, individual case studies describe patients with peripheral neuropathy symptoms reporting less pain and numbness in their lower extremities after acupuncture. A single case study described a person with diabetes who also reported improved eyesight after one year of twice-weekly acupuncture.
Diabetes is a complex health condition that requires one to be under a doctor’s care. More controlled clinical research studies are certainly needed to specifically measure the effects of acupuncture on lowering blood sugar levels. Acupuncture is recommended for people with diabetes who seek support for their weight-loss program and for those who need additional pain management, two therapeutic areas in which acupuncture has been shown to be effective.


 

IMG_5271_aOctober 2015 “A Cure for Cancer” edition:

Acupunctures Role in Cancer Treatment
By Tara Bissell, Dipl.Ac., M.Ac., L.Ac., Artemesia

Did you know that acupuncture is endorsed as a valid therapy by the National Cancer Association and that The Mayo Clinic now recommends acupuncture as a way to enhance the immune system and possibly alleviate cancer symptoms and cancer-treatment side effects?

It’s true. In fact, a majority in the western oncology community as well as many medical insurance companies, health savings and flexcare spending accounts now support the use of acupuncture as an adjuvant to chemo and radiation therapies. The known benefits of acupuncture for cancer patients can include improved pain management, immune system modulation, reduction of inflammation, nausea, dry mouth and dry throat, improved sleep, reduced hot flashes (common in female reproductive cancers) and improved quality of life.

What is it?
Acupuncture is the insertion of extremely thin, sterile, single-use needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the body’s healing resources and bring about greater health and balance in the body’s systems.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are unique in that they are personalized therapies; your innate constitution and current health situation are assessed to select the acupuncture points and therapies that will be used in your treatment each time. The aim is to support you and to assist your body to regain balance, since the body’s wisdom knows how to be healthy once stresses are removed. As you change and feel better, your treatments will change to match your needs. This is not a one-size-fits-all medical model. Another plus is the amount of quality time you receive from your practitioner. You will have time to talk, ask questions and receive quality treatment with every visit. Your feedback is critical.

Does it hurt?
Acupuncture needles are so thin and flexible that they are nothing like those used in other medical modalities. They are not hollow, so they can be as thin or thinner than a cat’s whisker. During a treatment you may feel nothing at all or you may feel immediate change/relief or you may feel a unique sensation. Response to needle insertion varies from person to person, from point to point and from treatment to treatment. Most people experience deep relaxation and a feeling of restored wellness during and after treatments. Many even report feeling quite blissful!

Are there other therapies used?
Yes. Many practitioners incorporate other non-needle therapies such as Chinese herbal applications, acupressure, manual manipulation of muscles, joints and connective tissue, as well as nutritional and exercise recommendations.

Is it safe?
Acupuncture treatments are very safe. Acupuncturists must undergo extensive training in this country to learn traditional Chinese medicine. They are also educated in some of the basics of western biomedicine. Additionally, the FDA regulates the sterile needles used by practitioners; acupuncture needles are discarded after each use and are never re-used.

Are there side effects?
Side effects of acupuncture are practically zero, other than feeling a bit sleepy or energized after a treatment.

Will acupuncture help me during chemotherapy and radiation?

Acupuncture can enhance the immune system’s regulatory ability, provide relief from pain and nausea and offer an oasis of well-being and peace while you undergo chemotherapy and radiation. It is appropriate in every stage/grade of cancer and it will not interfere with the effectiveness of your other therapies.

How do I choose the right acupuncturist?

Although national regulations and state medical board licensure ensure that practitioners receive proper training and stay current with their skills, each practitioner is unique in their style of treatment.  Some acupuncturists specialize in treating certain populations and conditions, such as women’s health or cancer support.  Or they may specialize in certain techniques or modalities within Chinese medicine, such as herbal medicine, Japanese acupuncture or sports medicine.

It is helpful to do some research before scheduling your appointment to see if you are drawn to the individual’s approach and personality.  Research practitioners’ websites, blogs and even photos to help select someone that feels like a good fit for your needs.  Visiting and touring the clinic, or calling and chatting with the office staff are also excellent ways to get a sense of the practice, since most offices are happy to answer questions before scheduling an appointment.


Artemesia featured in The Lexington Herald-Leader!

Acupuncture offers an Alternative Gentle Form of Medicine

Click here to read the article:

http://www.kentucky.com/2011/12/06/1984319/acupuncture-offers-an-alternative.html#storylink=misearch


Mustard Plaster

This remedy is great for breaking up congestion in the chest. It can also be used for arthritic joints (ones that are not hot and inflamed), for backache, or to improve circulation.

You will need:

  • 1 tablespoon of mustard powder (do not use the prepared condiment-style mustard)
  • 4 tablespoons of flour for an adult, 8 tablespoons for a child and 12 tablespoons for an infant
  • Vaseline
  • Two pieces of flannel, each cut to measure about 8 x4 inches

Mix the mustard powder and the flour (using the appropriate proportions regarding age) and add enough water to make a paste that is thin enough to spread. Spread the mixture on one of the pieces of flannel, leaving a margin on all sides. Using the other piece of flannel, make a ‘sandwich’ with the mustard mixture contained in the middle.

Put a layer of vaseline on the middle of the chest, over the sternum (breastbone). Put the plaster on top of the vaselined area. Do not put anything heavy or hot on top of the plaster. Leave the plaster on the chest until the plaster gets cool. Remove the plaster if the skin gets irritated, or if a rash appears. A mustard plaster can be used several times a day. After removing the plaster and the vaseline cover, keep the chest covered to prevent chills.

If this remedy does not seem strong enough, you may omit the flour and just make a paste with mustard powder and water. However, it is imperative that the chest has an ample covering of vaseline in order to prevent burns!!!

IMPORTANT: Do not use this second method on children!

Sesame Oil Massage

This tones and moistens the skin and keeps the muscles warm. It is very beneficial for people (such as the elderly) with very dry and fragile skin.

Approximately 1-2 minutes

You will need:

  • tablespoons of sesame oil
  • an old towel

There are three possible ways to heat the oil:

  1. Put the oil in a small plastic or glass cup and place that cup in a bowl of very hot water until the oil is skin temperature.
  2. Put the oil in a glass container and microwave it for about 10-15 seconds, or until skin temperature. Very carefully test a small amount to make sure it is not too hot.
  3. Heat the oil in a ceramic aromatherapy vessel that uses a candle in the bottom as a heat source. Again, use caution, and heat the oil no hotter than skin temperature.

Once the oil is warm, put your towel on the edge of the tub so that you have a soft place to sit while you apply the oil. Be sure the towel is secure and cannot slip. Alternately, you can sit on a non-skid plastic stool which has been placed in the bathtub or shower. If neither of these options is feasible, try placing a sheet of plastic on the floor underneath the location where you will be doing the massage.

Begin by applying about a tablespoon of oil to the head, and then massaging the oil into the scalp with a circular motion, using the palms of your hands. Continue massaging the face, ears, temples, and then the neck area, using both the palms of the hands and the fingers.

Concentrate on oiling the head (scalp, neck, temples and face) and the feet (be sure to get between the toes) using one tablespoon of oil for each. Use the remaining oil for massaging the feet, being sure to massage between the toes.

If you like, bathe or shower with warm (not hot) water. Shampoo the hair. Dry off vigorously with your towel. Pitta types (ruddy complected, strong digestive fire, assertive people) can substitute sesame oil mixed with coconut oil, especially in the summer.

Sesame Oil Massage (more extensive)

This tones and moistens the skin and keeps the muscles warm. It is very beneficial for people (such as the elderly) with very dry and fragile skin.

Approximately 5-10 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 cup of refined sesame oil from health food store
  • an old towel

There are three possible ways to heat the oil:

  1. Put the oil in a small plastic or glass cup and place that cup in a bowl of very hot water until the oil is skin temperature.
  2. Put the oil in a glass container and microwave it for about 10-15 seconds, or until skin temperature. Very carefully test a small amount to make sure it is not too hot.
  3. Heat the oil in a ceramic aromatherapy vessel that uses a candle in the bottom as a heat source. Again, use caution, and heat the oil no hotter than skin temperature.

Once the oil is warm, put your towel on the edge of the tub so that you have a soft place to sit while you apply the oil. Be sure the towel is secure and cannot slip. Alternately, you can sit on a non-skid plastic stool which has been placed in the bathtub or shower. If neither of these options is feasible, try placing a sheet of plastic on the floor underneath the location where you will be doing the massage.

Begin by applying about a tablespoon of oil to the head, and then massaging the oil into the scalp with a circular motion, using the palms of your hands. Continue massaging the face, ears, temples, and then the neck area, using both the palms of the hands and the fingers.

Use a circular motion to massage the shoulders and elbows. Use long strokes on the upper and lower arms. On the chest and abdomen, use large circular motions, and work in a clockwise direction. Move your hands up and down, in straight strokes, on the sternum (breastbone). Reach your back as best you can, using up and down strokes.

Use vigorous strokes on the legs, massaging them as you did the arms. Use the remaining oil for massaging the feet, being sure to massage between the toes. Bathe or shower with warm (not hot) water. shampoo the hair. You may choose to not use soap except for the axilla (arm pits) and genital areas. Dry off vigorously with your towel. Pitta types (ruddy complected, strong digestive fire, assertive people) can substitute sesame oil mixed with coconut oil, especially in the summer.

Kuzu

Kuzu root is cool and sweet energetically, and acts on the stomach and large intestine. Thus, it is great for diarrhea. You can try any of the following recipes, but note that the last recipe is for more acute conditions. These teas are good for balancing acidity, for treating ulcers, gastritis, colds, intestinal flu, and sore throats, and for restoring the appetite. They are also helpful for relaxing aching muscles, soothing hot skin eruptions, and easing toothaches.

Recipes:

Kuzu Ginger Tea (the best one for sore throats)

  • 1 tsp. of kuzu
  • 1/2 cup water (4 oz.)
  • 1 pinch of freshly grated ginger

Dissolve the kuzu in 1 tsp. of cold water to make a thick paste. Add the remaining water slowly. Place over low heat, simmer until the liquid is clear, then remove from heat immediately. Stir in the ginger and sip while warm.

Kuzu-Soya Tea

  • 1 tsp. of kuzu
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 dash of soya sauce, such as tamari

Dissolve the kuzu in one tsp. of cold water and make a paste. Slowly add the remaining water, then place over low heat and simmer until the liquid is clear. Remove from the heat immediately, and add a dash of soya. Let the tea cool slightly, and then drink it all at once.

Kuzu Tea For Acute Conditions

  • 1 umeboshi plum
  • 1 dash of ginger
  • 1 tbsp. soya sauce
  • 1 rounded tbsp/ kuzu
  • 1 cup of bancha tea

Dissolve the kuzu in a little bancha tea. Heat the rest of the tea and add the dissolved kuzu. Leave the mixture on low heat until it starts to simmer and becomes clear, which should take just a few seconds. Add an ume plum (or ume plum paste), soya sauce, and ginger juice. Stir over low heat 2-3 minutes. Drink the tea hot, on an empty stomach. Do not eat for an hour afterwards.

Ginger Compresses and Soaks

Use these mixtures for joint problems, including arthritis, gout, bursitis, muscle contractions, sprains, musculus-skeletal cramps, bone spurs, localized pain, and inflammation. Ginger compresses or soaks can also be helpful for headaches, earaches, dandruff, skin problems, and bronchitis. In general, they will will help to draw out toxins and stimulate circulation. The treatment is cumulative in its effect, and treatment must be continued at least 2 times a day for the entire time prescribed.

You will need:

  • 2-4 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and grated, to 1 quart of water;
  • or, 2 tbsp. ginger root powder to 1 quart of water.

Place the ginger in a pot, and pour boiling water over the ginger. Steep the mixture for 15 minutes. You can also place the grated ginger in a cloth bag, tie the bag off at the top and place it in the hot water, leaving the ginger bag in the water until the water turns yellow. Then, squeeze the bag to express the remaining ginger liquid. Do not boil the mixture after the ginger has been added, as you will lose the valuable oils from the ginger. Use the mixture at as hot a temperature as you can stand without burning yourself. Use caution and common sense, and avoid temperatures that are too hot for comfort and safety.

Compresses:

Dip a piece of flannel, terry, or other heavy cloth into the hot solution. When the saturated cloth is cool enough, wring out the excess liquid and apply the compress to the area to be treated. You can cover the compress with a thin towel and a piece of plastic,or use a hot water bottle to keep it warm longer. Repeat the process until the skin holds a bright red color, or the mixture becomes cool. You can repeat this process 3-4 times a day, using fresh ginger each time.

Ginger soak for feet, ankles, hands, and wrists:

Pour the solution (see above) into a container or bathtub. If you have a heart condition please consult with your physician before using the ginger bath! Soak until the water cools and/or the skin is bright red in color. Be careful not to burn yourself. The same solution can be reheated and used one more time. The application should remain effective for 30 minutes after use (the area treated should still feel hot and ‘gingery’).

Dry Brush Massage

Dry brush massage is very popular in Asian countries. The underlying premise is that we have defensive energy or ‘chi’ just under our skin; the chi becomes stimulated with brushing. This energy, termed ‘wei chi’ in Chinese medicine, is responsible for helping us fight off colds and flu. Dry brush massage can be self-administered, or given by a helper. All you need is a stiff loofah sponge or brush.

Using circular or ‘creeping’ motions, work over the surface of the entire body, varying the pressure and speed according to the tenderness of the skin. This can be done before one takes a shower or bath, or on towel dried skin after one finishes bathing, because the sponge or brush will not maintain its stiffness once it becomes damp.

Western traditions that use dry brushing instruct one to always brush on the body towards the heart. In Asian medicine, however, it is advised to brush following the paths of the meridians. If you do not know the paths of the meridians, use the former technique. Try doing this regularly, especially during the winter months, and see if you can tell a difference in your immune system.

Dry brush massage is also used for tics, various neurological problems, anxiety, and aches and pains (especially those involving the back and neck).

Castor Oil Packs

Uses: Castor oil packs are very useful because they increase circulation and promote both healing of the tissues and elimination of toxins. Thus, they are used for:

  • inflamed or swollen joints, tendonitis, bursitis, and muscle strains
  • liver detoxification (use over the upper right abdomen, including the lower rib cage area)
  • constipation or other digestive disorders (see below)
  • improving lymphatic drainage

There are a few simple precautions to be followed when using castor oil packs. It is essential that you read the precautions below before proceeding.

Caution – do not use castor oil packs in the following situations:

  • orally (do not swallow; do not put in or near the mouth)
  • if you are showing symptoms of appendicitis, such as pain in the lower right abdomen, fever and perhaps nausea
  • on open wounds
  • if there is a possibility you could be pregnant, or if you are nursing

 

You will need:

  • Castor oil (from the health food store)
  • Several pieces of flannel or wool, slightly larger than the body area to be covered
  • A piece of plastic slightly larger than the flannel, and old clothes or sheets (castor oil does stain)
  • A hot water bottle or microwavable hot pack or heating pad.

Pour the castor oil on the flannel, saturating an area large enough to cover the area which you will be treating. Then, place the flannel over the affected body part and cover it with plastic. Place the heat source over the pack, and leave both in place for up to 1-2 hours. When you remove the pack, you can rinse off your skin with warm water and soap, or with baking soda if necessary. The pack can be reused 25-30 times if stored correctly. Between uses, keep the pack in a covered container in the refrigerator. Repeat the castor oil pack for 3- 7 days depending on the condition. Consult a medical practitioner prior to use, especially for symptoms including but not limited to: abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and excessive vaginal bleeding.

Amazing Medicine Soup

This recipe is a wonderful way to ward off a cold or flu, if used when one is first exposed to cold and wind. I learned of its incredible effects after being in Washington, D.C. with my tai chi teacher, Charles Yang, some years ago. We were waiting to take the subway, and our train was delayed. Meanwhile, we were waiting out in January’s bitter cold for almost an hour. By the time I got home, I had chills and a fever, and knew I was getting sick. There just happened to be an Asian grocery store close by, and Charles went over to find fermented black beans and the other ingredients necessary to make the soup. In the morning, I was as good as new, and ready to see more of our capital! It is good to keep the fermented beans on hand just in case.

Cold and/or flu is considered very yin. This soup is salty and yang; thus, the soup balances the yin and yang in the body.

Recipe:

  • a handful of fermented black beans (roughly a half cup)
  • two cups of water
  • an inch of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced in small pieces
  • the bulb of a scallion-cut into pieces

Bring the water to a boil and add all the ingredients. Simmer for a few minutes. Decant the liquid, and sip the soup until gone. One can use the solid ingredients again by adding more water to the solids which are left after decanting , and then repeating the technique. The soup can be taken twice a day for a couple of days until the symptoms are gone.

IMPORTANT: The soup is quite salty, and thus may not be appropriate for people on low salt diets.

Seasonal Cycles and the Glory of Spring

Asian medicine grew out of many traditions that correlate health with living in tune with nature. It is by living in harmony with nature that we learn to flow with life’s changes and adapt to our current life circumstances.

Spring is a time of vibrancy in nature. The trees wake up as the amount of daylight increases and the earth warms up. It is a time of growth and expansion after the quiet and restfulness of Winter. In Winter, we take the time to see what ‘seeds’ we want to plant for the next year, and Spring is the time to take action by planting those ‘seeds.’ Spring correlates with youthfulness and new beginnings. It is the best time of year to make decisions, and to initiate changes and new projects.

Spring is associated with the element of Wood and the two energetic pathways or meridians that travel directly to the Liver and Gallbladder. Although these meridians are named after the two organs they serve, they are a part of a larger energetic system and have many attributes and correlates. For example, disruptions in the function of the Liver and Gallbladder energetic systems can result in problems such as depression, headaches, eye problems, and digestive disturbances and difficulties in movement due to joint problems. Imbalances of the Liver and Gallbladder meridians are also related to poor planning, decision making, and vision for one’s future, which can result in frustration and irritability, and anger.

Suggestions for having a meaningful spring:

  • Start a garden or window box and watch your plants grow and flourish. Contemplate the process of the seedling sprouting, growing, giving, pulling back and transforming. Or, visit a greenhouse!
  • Just as you would spring-clean your home, adjust your diet to include foods that cleanse the Liver and Gallbladder, such as spring onions, lettuce, lemons, limes, and dandelion and other greens.
  • Get outside and exercise. Movement activates the liver and gallbladder organ systems, lifts the mood, and strengthens the muscles and tendons which stabilize the joints. Stretching and walking are excellent forms of exercise and are a great way to celebrate warmer weather.
  • Look at areas in your life where you express irritation and frustration. What is this telling you? Try planting seeds of patience!