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. 

Support your mental health with acupuncture and Chinese medicine

mental health

 Background on mental health, acupuncture and Chinese medicine

May is mental health awareness month. The American Hospital Association shares that “May is a time to raise awareness of and reduce the stigma surrounding behavioral health issues, as well as highlighting the ways how mental illness and addiction can affect all of us – patients, providers, families, and our society at large.” One of the many things I love about Chinese medicine is that in Chinese medicine, an emotional or mental event is just as important as a physical one.


The organ systems and emotions

There are 12 primary acupuncture channels in the body where “qi” or energy flows through the body. These channels follow a structure much like the cardiovascular or the lymphatic system.  The channels are classified as yin or yang channels depending on the organ they are associated with.  The liver, heart, spleen, lung, liver, and kidney are five of the primary acupuncture channels. They each have a set of energetic properties, including an associated emotion.


These are the emotions associated with each of the yin organs:

  • Liver: Anger, also seen as frustration, irritability
  • Heart: Joy
  • Spleen: Worry, also seen as overthinking, ruminating
  • Lung: Grief, also seen as depression
  • Kidney: Fear


Acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments for mental health

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine focus on identifying where the body’s energy flow needs support. A primary goal is to help restore the optimal flow of energy so the body can heal itself. This includes supporting mental health. When designing a treatment plan, my goal is to help restore the proper balance of energy in your body and address your specific concerns. Every person is unique and receives a treatment customized specifically to their needs.


Most often, the treatment includes acupuncture needles. The needles stimulate points in the body where “qi” or energy gathers and help direct and balance energy flow. They are a quick and effective way to balance energy. Additionally, acupuncture needles release endorphins as reported in many research articles, including this one in Neuroscience Letters journal and this one in Science journal.


Some treatments include ear seeds. An ear seed is a small sphere. It stimulates an acupuncture point on the surface of the ear. Ear seeds attach to the ear with adhesive tape that looks like a band aid or clear surgical tape. They work by exerting a gentle pressure on the acupuncture point. Patients can wear ear seeds for up to five days. I love to use ear seeds because they are a great way to continue the treatment at home.  You can read more about ear seeds in the All about ear seeds and auriculotherapy blog.


Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can support your mental health and well-being? 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 directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.