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Happy Chinese Lunar New Year – Welcome the year of the dragon!

year of the dragon

The year of the dragon

The Chinese Lunar New Year starts on the first day of the first moon of the lunar calendar. This is why the date varies each year. 2024 brings in the year of the Yang Green Dragon on February 10th. Celebrations continue through the first 15 days of the first month of the lunar calendar until the full moon arrives.

 

The most well-known aspect of the Chinese lunar new year is animal from the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac contains 12 animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Follow this link to read about the great race that explains how these animals earned their places in the Chinese zodiac. Each year also associates with one of the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, or water. It is also either a yin or a yang year.

 

The dragon Chinese zodiac symbol

The dragon is auspicious in Chinese culture. It symbolizes freedom, transformation, and connection. April is the month associated with the dragon. April is a month ripe with the transformations of spring, which is right in line with dragon energy. The dragon is also associated with the time 7:00a.m. – 9:00a.m. on the Chinese organ clock. Check out my blog on the Chinese organ body clock to learn more about this fascinating aspect of Chinese medicine. The 7:00a.m. – 9:00a.m. time period is “stomach time”, and it is the optimal time to have breakfast and prepare our bodies for the day.

 

The wood element

Wood is the element associated with this Chinese Lunar New Year. The color of the wood element is green, and this is why the year is called the green dragon. Wood is also associated with the spring, which is a time of change, action, and transformation. This is an important year to take action and follow through on plans. When we do not activate our wood element energy, the wood can express itself internally instead, resulting in frustration and depression.

 

The yang nature of the year

This year is a yang year. Yin and yang are one of the most fundamental concepts in Chinese medicine. Yin is nurturing, cooling energy. Yang is warming, quick energy. Yin and yang complement each other. Chinese medicine defines yin and yang in comparison with one another. Since this year will have more yang energy, the year favors action. While the wood dragon is already quite yang in nature, this year the dragon will have even more momentum to move forward and shine.

 

Connection with the digestive system

As mentioned earlier, the dragon has a connection with the stomach and digestive system. Since this is a wood year, the emotions of anger and frustration associated with the wood element more easily arise. This can result in issues like indigestion, reflux, decreased appetite, and slow digestion. It is important to be aware of this and manage these emotions, so they do not disrupt the digestive system. It is important to note that we digest information as well, which includes things like news, TV programs, and social media. Be mindful about the types of information you take in, especially before bed.

 

Focus on healthy movement in 2024

Exercise is important in 2024, and dragon energy needs movement. At least 30 minutes of movement exercise is recommended several times per week. This could include strength training, cardiovascular workouts, walking in the woods, yoga, and qigong. If you have not heard of qigong, you can read more about it in my blog Enhance your vitality with qigong. Certainly, movement is very important to support and smooth the wood element energy. Additionally, keep in mind that balance is key. Balance movement and activity with rest and regularity. Eating and sleeping at regular times can help achieve this balance.

 

Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you support you in the year of the yang green dragon? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

How Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can support your New Year’s resolutions

A new approach to support your New Year’s resolutions

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are a great option to support your New Year’s resolutions. When our energy is not flowing smoothly, then physical, mental, or emotional pain, discomfort, and illness can result.  Acupuncture and Chinese medicine help restore the optimal flow of energy so the body can heal itself. Therefore, it is effective in helping with a multitude of challenges people face. This includes supporting New Year’s resolutions.

 

Top New Year’s Resolutions

Below are some of the top New Year’s resolutions for 2024 and how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help.

 

Lose weight

This is usually the #1 New Year’s resolution, especially after all of the holiday eating and drinking. People gain weight over the holidays, realize they don’t feel well, and want to shed the extra weight. Check out my blog How acupuncture and ear seeds can help you lose weight for help with this resolution. Not surprisingly, the weight loss ear seed kit is the #1 most popular ear seed kit sold.

 

Quit smoking

Many smokers want to quit, and find that they don’t have the support and resources they need. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help with the cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and even the motivation to quit. Read more in my blog How acupuncture and ear seeds can help you stop smoking.

 

Drink less alcohol

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are great for helping with additive behaviors, including excessive alcohol consumption. There is a proven ear acupuncture protocol that is very helpful for addiction. As with smoking and weight loss, treatment can also help reduce cravings.

 

Eat healthier

This is a particularly interesting resolution because not all healthy foods are beneficial for everyone. For example, eating cold raw salads for dinner every night in the winter can actually cause loose stools and low energy in some people. In acupuncture and Chinese medicine, we look at the patient’s overall constitution and energetic balance to understand what is going on specifically with their body. From there, we can make recommendations for what foods would best support their health.

 

Reduce stress

The Mayo Clinic’s article on stress management shares that stress can have a negative effect on the body, mood, and behavior. It can lead to a variety of health issues including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Reducing stress can have a huge effect on overall health and well-being, and is an excellent choice for a New Year’s resolution. See more in my blog Acupuncture for stress and anxiety.

 

Get better sleep

Quality sleep is so important to our health. A lack of sufficient sleep has been linked to weight gain, cognitive decline, and an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. We do our best healing when we sleep. Learn how to create healthy sleep habits in my blog: Improve your sleep with acupuncture

 

Can’t decide? Acupuncture & Chinese medicine can help with that too

Having trouble deciding what you want to focus on in 2024? There are so many exciting and important things to learn and focus on that it can be difficult to narrow it down and prioritize. That’s where gall bladder energy comes in. In Chinese medicine, gall bladder energy is responsible for decision making. Strengthening gall bladder energy can make decisions much easier.

 

Do you have a resolution or health concern you’d like support with that you don’t see here? Have a look at my blog What acupuncture can treat- it may surprise you! to learn more about common conditions treated.

 

Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you support your New Year’s resolutions? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

Support yourself this winter

support yourself this winter

Make time to support yourself this winter

In Chinese medicine, winter is a time to go deep within and nourish and restore yourself. The days are shorter, and we are advised to wake up later, go to bed earlier, and rest more. Outside, much of nature goes into what appears to be a state of dormancy. On the surface, branches are bare and still. But deep inside, life is quietly active and gently restoring itself.

Now is a perfect time to give yourself permission to rest and heal. It’s a great time to be introspective as we welcome the new year and new possibilities. What can you nurture that you want to cultivate in the coming year? Try to be still and listen if you need guidance. Sometimes the answer will come in an unexpected and delightful way.

In Chinese medicine, our organs are associated with phases or elements. In the winter, the water element is dominant, and the associated organs are the kidneys and the bladder. Fear is the emotion associated with the water element, and the bladder is associated with letting go. Recognizing and managing any fear is right in line with the energetic shift of the changing seasons.

 

Alignment with the seasons and phases

People are often fascinated to hear about how their organs are associated with the different seasons and how this relates to symptoms they experience in their bodies.

 

In Chinese Medicine, there are five phases of transformation: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. While in Traditional Chinese Medicine these are called elements, Classical Chinese Medicine refers to them as phases because they develop and change into one another. The five phases or elements correspond to the seasons spring, summer, fall, and winter. Chinese medicine further divides summer into two parts: summer and late summer. Late summer refers to the transformation between the warmer summer weather and cool fall weather. The seasons and phases (or elements) are associated as follows:

 

  • Spring: Wood. This is when nature starts stirring from winter’s dormancy. Trees and plants blossom. New branches grow out of old wood, and new growth begins.

 

  • Summer: Fire. This is the time of warmth and activity. Nature is moving actively, and as a result is growing and flourishing.

 

  • Late summer: Earth. This is the time of harvest. It is also is the pause between the rising of the warming and active phases of wood and fire and the declining and cooler phases of fall and winter.

 

  • Fall: Metal. This is when nature releases what is no longer needed. Leaves fall from the trees. The compost from dead leaves enriches the soil so it can prepare for the next cycle of growth in the spring.

 

  • Winter: Water. This is a time of rest. Animals hibernate, the days are shorter, and nature gets still and goes within to build up reserves.

 

How the winter season influences the kidneys and bladder

As I shared earlier, Chinese medicine associates the kidneys and bladder with the water element and winter. The water element governs the bones, teeth, ears, reproductive organs, and hair on the head. This is a time of year when people may experience issues with bones, joints, or teeth, fertility issues, urinary tract problems, hair falling out or graying of the hair, or hearing issues. All of these conditions indicate an imbalance in the water element on the physical level. Fears, phobias or lack of will power indicate an imbalance on the mental and emotional level.

 

One way to support yourself this winter is to practice the art of yangsheng. Yangsheng is the ancient Chinese art of nourishing life. It is a practice of self-cultivation or self-care. In the Chinese culture, yangsheng is crucial to overall health and longevity. You can read all about how to practice yangsheng in my blog “Learn the ancient Chinese art of yangsheng – nourishing life“.

 

You might also consider practicing the relaxation response. Dr Herbert Benson, a pioneer in mind / body medicine, created the relaxation response term and practice. The relaxation response counters the fight-or-flight stress response. It works by slowing down the rate of breathing, reducing blood pressure, and relaxing muscles. It is a great way to nurture yourself this winter. Learn how to practice in my blog “Healing yourself with the relaxation response“.

 

A very luxurious feeling, and surprisingly inexpensive, option to nourish yourself is with hydrosols. Hydrosols are aromatic floral waters. They nourish your skin by delivering a fine mist of therapeutic plant essence to your skin. You can read all about hydrosols in my blog Nourish your skin with hydrosols.

 

Consider Chinese medicine to help support yourself this winter

One of the reasons that acupuncture treatments are effective is because they trigger the relaxation response. Additionally, they take a customized approach to helping people feel better. Every individual is unique, and no two people will experience the same symptoms for exactly the same reason. When I see a new patient, I make the time to ask a lot of questions and review their health history. This allows me to determine what is going on with their energy. For example, it is important to know whether a patient’s energy is getting stuck or is deficient. I develop a customized treatment to address their specific needs and restore the balance of energy. This might involve acupuncture needles, ear seeds, qigong exercises, and diet and lifestyle advice.

 

Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you support yourself this winter? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

 

About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directionsClick this link for a listing and description of services offered.

What do you want to let go this fall?

let go this fall

What are you ready to let go this fall?

Fall is a beautiful time of year, and a great time to release what no longer serves you. The weather shifts, giving a break from the summer heat. Cool breezes gently loosen leaves from the trees. The leaves start to change color, in beautiful shades of gold, orange, and red. Then, the leaves start to fall.

 

This is the time of year when many people start feeling a little sad, or even a little stuck or unfocused. This can result in depressed feelings or digestive issues, for example. In Chinese medicine, our organs are associated with phases or elements. In the fall, the metal element is dominant, and the associated organs are the lungs and the large intestine. Feelings of sadness and needing to let go are right in line with the energetic shift of the changing seasons.

 

Alignment with the seasons and phases

People are often fascinated to hear about how their organs are associated with the different seasons and how this relates to symptoms they experience in their bodies.

 

In Chinese Medicine, there are five phases of transformation: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. While in Traditional Chinese Medicine these are called elements, Classical Chinese Medicine refers to them as phases because they develop and change into one another. The five phases or elements correspond to the seasons spring, summer, fall, and winter. Chinese medicine further divides summer into two parts: summer and late summer. Late summer refers to the transformation between the warmer summer weather and cool fall weather. The seasons and phases (or elements) are associated as follows:

 

  • Spring: Wood. This is when nature starts stirring from winter’s dormancy. Trees and plants blossom. New branches grow out of old wood, and new growth begins.

 

  • Summer: Fire. This is the time of warmth and activity. Nature is moving actively, and as a result is growing and flourishing.

 

  • Late summer: Earth. This is the time of harvest. It is also is the pause between the rising of the warming and active phases of wood and fire and the declining and cooler phases of fall and winter.

 

  • Fall: Metal. This is when nature lets go of what is not needed. Leaves fall from the trees. The compost from dead leaves enriches the soil so it can prepare for the next cycle of growth in the spring.

 

  • Winter: Water. This is a time of rest. Animals hibernate, the days are shorter, and nature gets still and goes within to build up reserves.

 

How the fall season influences the lungs and large intestine

As I shared earlier, the lungs and large intestines represent the metal element and fall. Just as the trees let go of their leaves in the fall, this is the perfect time to let go of what we no longer need. When we hold on to grief rather than letting it move through us, we can feel depressed and sad. When our large intestine does not let go of waste the body does not need, we can feel bloated and uncomfortable. Additionally, we can feel foggy and unfocused when our lung and large intestine energy are weak. The metal energy is not strong enough to cut through to reveal what’s really important.

 

In Chinese Medicine, the skin belongs to the metal element. This is a time of year where people frequently experience dry, itchy, skin. There can also be an increase in acne and rashes, among other skin conditions. A dry, itchy condition can indicate an energetic deficiency. On the other hand, a hot and red condition can indicate excessive energy.

 

 

Help your lungs and large intestine release what no longer serves you

Every individual is unique, and no two people will experience the same symptoms for exactly the same reason. When I see a new patient, I make the time to ask a lot of questions and review their health history. This allows me to determine what is going on with their energy. For example, it is important to determine whether their energy is getting stuck or is deficient. I develop a customized treatment to address their specific needs and restore the balance of energy. This might involve acupuncture needles, ear seeds, qigong exercises, and diet and lifestyle advice.

 

What are you ready to release this fall? Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you let go of what no longer serves you? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

 

About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directionsClick this link for a listing and description of services offered.

Ease into the transition of late summer with Chinese medicine

late summer

Late summer – the fifth season

Chinese medicine recognizes five seasons: spring, summer, late summer, fall, and winter. Late summer is important because it is the shift between the warm seasons to the cool seasons. It is the time when the hot yang energy of the summer starts to shift into the cool yin energy of autumn.

 

Chinese medicine associates our organs with phases or elements. In late summer, the earth phase is dominant. The organs associated with earth are the stomach and spleen. The earth element is all about transformation. It signifies the turning point between the peak of summer and the gradual change into fall. The earth element demonstrates an inflection point, just like the space between an inhalation and exhalation.

 

Alignment with the seasons and phases

People are often fascinated to hear about how their organs are associated with the different seasons and how this relates to symptoms they experience in their bodies. In Chinese Medicine, there are five phases of transformation: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. While in Traditional Chinese Medicine these are called elements, Classical Chinese Medicine refers to them as phases because they develop and change into one another. The seasons and phases (or elements) associate as follows:

 

  • Spring: Wood. This is when nature starts stirring from winter’s dormancy. Trees and plants blossom. New branches grow out of old wood, and new growth begins.

 

  • Summer: Fire. This is the time of warmth and activity. Nature is moving actively, and as a result is growing and flourishing.

 

  • Late summer: Earth. This is the time of harvest. It is also is the pause between the rising of the warming and active phases of wood and fire and the declining and cooler phases of fall and winter.

 

  • Fall: Metal. This is when nature lets go of what it no longer needs. Leaves fall from trees. Compost from the dead leaves enriches the soil so it can prepare for the next cycle of growth in the spring.

 

  • Winter: Water. This is a time of rest. Animals hibernate, the days are shorter, and nature gets still and goes within to build up reserves.

 

How the late summer season influences the organs

As I shared earlier, the spleen and stomach are the organs associated with the earth element and late summer. This is a good time of year to focus on digestive health, centering, and stability. Ancient classical Chinese texts share that spleen and stomach energy are the foundation of health. The stomach takes in nutrition and works with the spleen to transform the nutrition into qi (energy) and blood. Spleen energy then transports the qi and blood to various organs.

 

Spleen energy is also responsible for holding and ascending energy. It holds the blood in the vessels. It helps keep organs like the bladder and uterus lifted. Weak spleen energy can result in prolapse of these organs, or varicose veins, for example. Stomach energy, on the other hand, is a descending energy. This energy helps food descend into the body to be transformed and utilized. When stomach energy is weak, the energy is said to rebel and go upward, which can result in indigestion, burping, etc.

 

Additionally, earth energy is responsible for the digestion of thoughts and emotions. Energy stagnates when we don’t express ourselves. As a result, we can feel mentally stuck. We may have a repetitive thought that we can’t get out of our head. We might even feel physically stuck with issues like constipation and bloating.

 

Help easing into the transition of late summer

Every individual is unique, and no two people will experience the same symptoms for exactly the same reason. When I see a new patient, I make the time to ask a lot of questions and review their health history. This allows me to determine what is going on with their energy. For example, it is important to determine whether their energy is getting stuck or is deficient. I develop a customized treatment to address their specific needs and restore the balance of energy. This might involve acupuncture needles, ear seeds, qigong exercises, and diet and lifestyle advice.

 

Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

 

About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directionsClick this link for a listing and description of services offered.