Spring Health, Wellness + Wisdom with Chinese Medicine

By Dr. Lauren Dulberg DACM, L.AC


Spring is all about the energy of rebirth and renewal. It’s a force that is breaking its way out of winter and anticipating summer like a flower whose bud’s makes its way through the cold winter earth. This is the same idea with the concept of “Qi” in Chinese Medicine, which rises up in Springtime and surges through our bodies in its splendor.

With this, comes an energy of immense growth and the motivation to push through and forward into planning and projects, that may now come into fruition. There is also an underlying feeling of restlessness with all of this movement that also occurs naturally.  

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In Chinese Medicine, we take these seasonal changes as opportunities to help us increase our health and prevent illness. According to the philosophy of Chinese medicine, we are in fact reflections of nature and our bodies are like microcosms of the universe.  Which is why in Winter, we may feel more inward, conserving our energy and stoking the internal fire. We are encouraged in winter to eat warm foods, decrease our physical activity and increase our internal activity such as meditation. In Spring it is the time to move, be motivated and create.


Spring in Traditional Chinese Medicine is related to the Liver and Gallbladder. Every season in TCM is connected to a different organ, emotion, energy, color and sound. This is all based off of the philosophy of the 5 elements and how as in nature, our own bodies reflect these 5 aspects or elements of the natural world.



When the liver Qi is flowing as it should, we feel at ease and in good balance but when it is blocked we feel stressed, irritated, uneasy and sometimes angry. Anger is not always a negative thing or is being stressed, but usually a response to something that does not agree with you or something that you do not resonate with, can make these feelings arise. Sometimes this is the catalyst we need in order to change and move forward. Anger can actually end up being very constructive and motivating. Of course when we experience too much of any emotion and are overtaken by that emotion, our mind/body/spirit feel out of alignment and illness can arise.


Going from one season into the next, can cause stress on the body and a lot of times, sickness occurs or outward manifestations of imbalance both physically and emotionally. In Chinese Medicine, we avoid this by preparing the body the season before, by following certain health principles.


Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years, to help this transition and give balance to seasonal changes and concurrent illnesses. The medicinal thought that goes along with acupuncture, is one of a preventative medicine whose strength is not only curing the root of disease but curing the disease before the disease occurs.

There is an old story, about how the local doctor in a village would get paid from the families of the village, as long as they were healthy but not when they were sick. This is because Chinese Medicine is stellar at keeping people healthy and preventing illness from developing by observing certain patterns and adhering to nature’s changes. With this idea we look at all aspects of health including lifestyle, diet and other practices which may increases one’s potential towards optimal health for the seasons to come.




Spring + Chinese Medicine


The Big Picture

Element: Wood

Color: Green

Nature: Yang

Organs: Liver, Gallbladder

Emotion: Anger

Voice/ Sound : Shout

Flavor : Sour

The Wood Element

Wood gently penetrates the earth to bring forth water, the source of all life. Drawing from our roots, we find the energy to push forward with strength and firmness of purpose, always remaining supple, yielding, and true to our nature. Wood is gentle, persistent and filled with creative potential



The Liver Meridian

Emotion : Anger / Out of balance emotions : Explosive Anger, moodiness, bitterness, irritability

Function : Stores the blood, responsible for smooth flow of Qi + Blood throughout the body, regulates the secretion of bile, connects with the tendons, nails and eye

Liver Qi when flowing smoothly through the body : ( picture a flowing river or stream) allows for our emotions to feel at ease and good balance. When they become blocked or “stagnant” we call this Liver Qi Stagnation.

When liver Qi gets blocked : We feel easily irritated, stressed and angry. This can then lead to physical manifestations and various illnesses associated with this pattern. Bottled up Liver Qi a.k.a Stress has become such a norm in modern day life. We have learned to function with it everyday = SELF CARE.

Self-Care has become such a buzz word because modern life has created this constant need to find balance to harmonize our stressful lifestyles. There is great importance of being aware of stress since it has been connected in both Eastern + Western medicine to various diseases. We have acupuncture points and herbal formulas that specifically release stress and move Liver Qi and actually change how your body responds to stress. Chinese medicine has been proven to rewire the brain since acupuncture puts the body into a deep state of Theta and Beta waves and changes the receptors that normally get overstimulated in the brain when the body is under a deep state of stress.



Anger - The Emotion of The Liver Meridian

Anger which is another aspect of the Liver and the emotions associated with it, is not always a negative emotion. Sometimes it is the catalyst needed to move forward and take charge and create change.

Anger and frustration can be very constructive and motivating providing the energy needed to move through certain times in our life. Too much anger and outbursts in Chinese medicine, can lead to physical manifestations. When we have too much anger this can lead to unhealthy forms of reactions and violence. Of course this is the extreme end of Anger but we need to look at our anger and learn to work with it or release it. This is unhealthy anger vs. healthy

Working with the emotion of anger has been part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years. There are actual points and various herbal formulas associated with different aspects of anger. We also recommend meditation and therapy to get to the root of your anger and releasing it.

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The Spirit of Spring



Chinese medicine has 5 different aspects of the Spirit. The Hun Spirit, which is the Spirit of the Liver and the ethereal soul, resides in the liver. It is understood as the spirit that doesn’t die and goes from one life to the next .

The hun contains our reason for being, our purpose and our path. As it is reflected in nature the Spirit of Spring uncovers what has been kept under the ground for months. Now with the energy of Spring, we have the yang qi to face all that comes in our path and to avoid nothing that stands in the way of our growth and expansion.

Spring is the time when we need to excavate and extract what is needed to be cleared out from our depths and bring all to surface for a conscious spring cleaning, of what may need to be released.

Just as the leaves on the trees are expressing themselves, Spring is the time to hide nothing from ourselves and to allow what needs to be expressed be FULLY expressed.


Spring Spirit

  1. Rebirth + renewal  - We are a reflection of nature breaking our way out of winter + anticipating summer like a flower bud making its way through the cold winter earth. This is a time of rebirth of the soul and renewal of the spirit.

  2. Surge of Yang Qi - making a time for immense growth and expansion Creation - Bringing ideas into Fruition

  3. Courage + Willpower - the Gallbladder governs this energy to follow through on dreams and goals. During Spring we have the momentum of courage and willpower to made dreams become reality.


Physical Manifestations of the Liver + Gallbladder

  • Muscle tension, prone to have tendon and ligament injuries

  • Sciatica (radiating pain from lower back into buttocks and down the leg)

  • Headaches, especially migraines

    Irritability and outbursts of anger

  • Visual disturbances

  • Menstrual irregularities, PMS, fibroids

  • Digestive disturbances, including heartburn (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, IBS, constipation, diarrhea, bloating

  • High blood pressure, with tendency toward atherosclerosis

  • Some Patterns of the Liver + Gallbladder





Nutritional Therapy For Spring



There are specific flavors and taste that correspond to each organ. There are flavors that nourish and flavors that can cause more imbalance. Food is seen as medicinal with specific properties, temperatures and actions. While certain foods can be used as medicine, others can do the opposite and make certain imbalances worse. Food is understood in Chinese medicine in very detailed and powerful way and when applied to season health, nutritional therapy and food medicine is key. Below is some Chinese Medicine Nutritional therapy specific to Spring.



Avoid Sour

Sour is connected to the liver so in Spring we recommend reducing sour and increase sweet nourishing the Spleen and calming the liver. Sour can affect the liver and increase it’s yang, impairing its function.


Eat Sweet and Pungent foods

The taste of “sweet” in Chinese medicine is actually not sugar but the sweet taste in rice. Sweet enhances Qi in spring . The Yang Qi in spring becomes dynamic and vigorous. Qi movement in the body tends to be upwards and outward which is why we suggest eating a lot of Pungent Foods!

Sweet Foods

  • Rice

  • Honey

  • sweet fruits

  • nuts, yams

  • sweet vegetables such as carrots and potatoes,

  • sweet cereals such as corn, rice and millet



    Pungent Foods

  • Scallion

  • Onion

  • Garlic

  • Ginger

  • Radish

  • Daikon

  • Leeks

  • chives

Eat Local


Physiological changes in the human body correspond with this natural diversity. Local and in season is what is best for your body in any season, In Spring so many foods and herbs are starting to grow. Eating those foods are key. Go to your local farmers market and



Avoid Foods Cold in Nature

In Chinese medicine the Spleen is a cold wet organ and unless it is hot outside, we advise not eating cold natured or too much raw food because it can damage the Spleen Qi and Yang Qi which leads to array of health imbalances from gynecological to digestive and various other issues. Since Spring is the time with Yang Qi starts rising to be in full force in the summer, eating foods that are cold can damage yang which can then create health issues in the months to come. Instead of your morning smoothie, have eggs or oatmeal. In Asia, breakfast is always soup. Keep it warm, to help the body maintain health Spleen Qi which in Western medicine = a healthy gut.

5 Tips on Staying Healthy This Spring



1. Move

Since spring is a time of renewal and rebirth it is also a time to let go of any stagnation you may have in your life. A good way to do this is through exercise.  It’s a better time than ever to start a routine. Exercise also allows the Liver Qi to flow as it should which is why most people feel great after a good yoga class or run.



2. Make A List Of Ideas – Then Do It

Remember all of those little projects you were thinking of starting, that letter you needed to write, how you want to stop smoking, start writing more or work on that dream you have been putting off for some time – Now is the time to start.  Springtime is a moment when after a long Winter, where the energy is more inward and Yin, the Yang comes back around and is infused into our daily energy (back to the flower breaking through the cold winter soil). The Gallbladder governs courage and the willpower to follow through on goals, dreams and decision making. With strong Gallbladder Qi we can put that first foot forward and jump right in.



3. Eat Your Greens

Green is the color of Spring – this is no coincidence. And it is also no coincidence that the green edible plants that grow during spring can greatly help course the Liver Qi such as mustard greens, dandelion greens, sprouts, celery, cilantro, mint and spinach.



4. Detoxify

Spring is the time to cleanse – both physically and emotionally. Winter is not the time, according to Chinese Medicine to eat less or cleanse since we need to stock up. Spring is when we can cleanse with a healthier outcome. Take a week or two, to cleanse the body of wheat, dairy and sugar (what I call the 3 evils).  

Most people have a hard time in modern life to do more extreme cleanses such as juice cleansing ( I recommend soup cleanses instead), listen to your body if you do decide to do this and be aware of how you are feeling throughout the cleanse.

Detoxification of the mind is also ideal for this season. When I say “detoxify”, I mean – release. Take some time to go within and try and see what you may be holding onto and what you are ready to let go of. To Marie Kondo the mind. When we internalize our emotions and hold onto them for a long period of time, disease can occur. Through meditation, acupuncture, herbal medicine and yoga we can help ourselves release and let go of things that are causing these blockages – wishing them good riddance. Ciao! Hasta La Vista!



5. See Your Acupuncturist For A Seasonal Tune-Up

Seasonal change comes with its own fair share of issues. Since we are always trying to go from imbalance back into balance and achieving a harmonious equilibrium, just as in nature, we easily fall out of sync and have our own versions of storms, volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. We see these imbalances through injuries, irregular sleep patterns, digestive issues, gynecological issues, emotional issues, allergies, colds and stress – to name a few.. Seasonal acupuncture or regular acupuncture treatments help keep you in harmony and prevent issues even if you are not experiencing any. When we keep our Qi flowing as nature intended, harmony and equilibrium is achieved and health is a constant state of being.

Seasonal Acupuncture can also help during seasons you have a harder time with. Such as if you are someone who suffers from allergies in Spring. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have both been proven to alleviate and treat even the worst seasonal allergies.



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Dr. Lauren Dulberg DACM, L.Ac

Dr. Lauren Dulberg is the owner of Two Rivers Acupuncture & Wellness in Nyack, NY which is located in Rockland County, where she specializes in Women’s Health, Pediatrics, Emotional Health and Internal Medicine. She is a Board Certified Herbalist and Rockland County’s first Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine
























The Year of The Pig

Personal Fortune, Health & Wellness, Climatic and Political Forecast for The Lunar New Year 2019

By Dr. Lauren Dulberg

Chinese astrology has been intertwined with Chinese medicine for thousands and thousands of years. Each new Lunar Year brings about another elemental energy that dictates what illnesses may be present and how many herbalists in China, create specific herbal formulas for the year to come.

Besides possible medical issues that may occur, Chinese astrology is also used to predict climatic changes, energetic tendencies, finances and many personal fortunes and misfortunes. Warnings and good omens alike. The Year of The Pig is a Double Yin Earth and Water element year which creates an abundance of Yin energy and also Water and Earth based energetic properties.


Overall Themes and Happenings for The Year of The Pig


  • Water, mud, landslides

  • Muddy vision, lack of clear thinking

  • Pigs symbolize - family, friends, home, good food

  • Yin Earth Cycle - good for farming, crops, farm animals

  • Government - more focus on local state government, internal affairs vs foreign + peaceful transitions of heads of state

  • Not a good year for risky investments

  • A good year for business/ small businesses

  • “Businesses should plan in the Pig Year and launch new projects and expand in the Rat Year”, which is in 2020. Home building, publishing, environmental/ecology industries and businesses based on natural sciences should all have good years. Earth Businesses such as real estate, education, healing, medical, dinning, farming all have good outcomes this year as well as partnerships.

  • Themes : Generosity, Peace, Nourishing, Family , Forgiveness, Community, Truth

  • Domestic skills and crafts

  • Yin nature -women's health, men tuning into their yin nature

  • Family, Friends and Community

  • Yin Energy : “The previously disenfranchised will gain more rights. This includes: women’s rights, gay rights; and children’s rights too. The silent minorities will find their voices and be heard. Expect to have more spokeswomen emerging to fight for these causes, not just against men in power or the current system”

  • Health : “The combination of Earth and Water signifies Spleen Dampness in Chinese Medicine. To counterbalance this dampness, saunas can be helpful. This dampness can manifest as problems with the Spleen, Pancreas and Stomach, which are Earth organs. This may cause digestive disorders, so warm, cooked foods are recommended to ease digestive distress. The lack of fire makes circulation problems increase and there is slightly more risk of heart failure and small blood clots, hemorrhoids and varicose veins due to stagnant and thicker blood.”

  • Health continued:  “The combination of elements symbolized as muddy water can also affect the Kidneys and Bladder. This can manifest as more Urinary Tract Infections, which make the urine cloudy... Or, there may be an increase in small kidney stones . It is unfortunately easier for Kidneys to fail, requiring dialysis or even transplants. Kidney deficiency may also manifest as lethargy, low back problems, teeth problems, knee problems or as a low sex drive. Be sure to rest and sleep more to support your Kidneys. Interestingly, although people may not be having as much sex this year, they will likely be much more fertile and many babies will be conceived. Phlegm is another manifestation of muddy water, so the number of people who fall ill with respiratory infections is expected to rise”

  • Politics and energetic themes “ Those who attempt deception must be very good at keeping secrets as water is always trying to become clear. So this year, their deceptions will likely not be as hidden as they think or won’t stay hidden as long. The downward push of Earth into Water makes mud, but then rises up to dry in the sun. This means what’s been hidden below must come out. So, past venial sins will rise up to be remembered and will need to be cleansed and consciences cleared.”




Full Reading

The Year of the Brown Water Pig - A.K.A “Yin Water Pig “

By Lillian Bridges




This is a Yin Earth Year with the Yin Water Pig. This combination is a tricky one as the Elements are in opposition. Luckily, they are in the Yin form of the elements so any skirmishes or conflicts should be minor. The combination of Earth and Water together make mud, which is why this year’s Pig is brown! This can be taken literally, meaning that there will be more mud created in the natural world, or it indicates that there may be a lack of clarity in people’s thinking. Taken even further, it may be that there will be some mud-slinging politically – a messy proposition!

The Pig is the final animal of the Chinese 12 animal system. This means that many long-term projects, ongoing investigations or delayed lawsuits will be finalized. There is a lot of energy around completion and concluding things that can’t make the jump into the next cycle. Pigs are peaceful animals, except when angered, which is rare. To the Chinese, Pigs symbolize the values of family, friends, home and good food. In fact, the pictogram for home is a roof with a pig under it. So plan on being more of a homebody or staying closer to home this year, as that will bring more fortune than traveling around. The Yin Water of this year is embodied by what is called small water – clouds, mist and rain - especially consistent rain over a long period of time. As rain feeds the streams and then the rivers, it is easy for two rivers to join and cause the water level to rise.

This indicates the dangers of flooding over low-lying ground in many places in the world. The rivers run to the sea, which in large quantities carries mud that clouds the water. Unfortunately, this water runoff can cause pollution, increased bacterial levels and algae growth, which impacts sea creatures and animals as well as tourism, fishing and shellfish farming. The symbolism of muddy water also means that there may be oil spills or problems with water quality and the safety of water supplies in many places. Water borne illnesses may be the catalyst for action. Clean water will become a major governmental issue with more money being dedicated to water safety, clean water distribution and replacing and repairing aging water infrastructures. Marshes and swamps will increase in size. Lakes, reservoirs and some major dams, levees or dikes may be breached or overflow, and soil or sand erosion is expected. Water supplies can increase if steps are taken to retain the water.

As for natural disasters, volcanoes and earthquakes will calm down, although they will still be a factor on a lesser scale. Earth is on an unstable foundation, so landslides are definitely predicted, especially in burn areas and in arid places that are not used to an increase in rainfall. Flash floods can be a problem and may cause washouts of roads and bridges. Water always seeks to go down, so expect that caves, mines, and tunnels will flood and basements will flood. Bogs and quicksand may become an issue in some places and sinkholes may also become more prevalent. There may be problems with buildings built on unstable Earth that will create problems with the foundation sinking, the building tilting and some may possibly collapse.

Storms should be less intense this year, with storm surges as the bigger threat along with sand and soil erosion. There will be bands of weather across large areas that stay put for long periods. There will be more drizzle and more fog, which may cause car crashes. And, there will also be a lot of sea mist, which may cause some problems with shipping. Some areas will experience freezing fog and sleet rather than major snowstorms. Be careful and cautious while traveling in the winter months, as there may be an increase in icy sidewalks, black ice on roads and frozen bridges. In summer months, there will be an increase in humidity, even in places that don’t usually experience it. The lack of fire in this year means that this may overload the electrical grid and cause outages.

Farming is actually benefited due to Yin Earth, except where flooding occurs. Crops requiring a lot of water will flourish. These include: rice; cotton; legumes; wheat; alfalfa; sugarcane; lettuce; cruciferous vegetables; and almonds.Livestock - all farm animals - will have more than enough water this year, which they need. Grass will flourish and will feed range and migrating animals, so there will an increase in offspring. Yin Water nourishes Yin Earth and makes things grow. There should be a bumper crops in fruits and vegetables and there will be a renewed increase in biodynamic and organic farming.

Water has a cycle: evaporation of water makes clouds; then clouds make rain fall which makes streams flow to rivers; and rivers flow to lakes and oceans; eventually evaporating again. The Yin Earth cycle makes everything grow and is symbolic of the soil, which nourishes plants that feed insects and animals and composts to create more fertile earth. Both elements are involved with recycling, especially of organic material. This will give a big boost to the recycling industry and scientists will find new ways of dealing with or processing food waste and trash as well as water reclamation.

Governments will pay more attention to the internal workings and policies of their countries. States or Provinces will have more influence on their populace than the central government and representatives of these regions will have a strong impact on legislation. Countries will be less focused on relationships with other nations or with foreign affairs. There will be withdrawals from occupied or foreign territories and past differences can more easily be resolved. Negotiations, treaties, agreements and alliances between countries will be given blessings from the Pig Year. Changes in command or government positions will be smoother and more peaceful than usual.

Internationally, most relationships should be harmonious and amicable. If heads of government or politicians choose to fight with others, they will find that they will be more evenly matched this year and will not be able to dominate as they have in the past. Resistance will meet an equal resistance. This can lead to impasses where both sides need to lower their expectations considerably in order to compromise and find solutions. Incremental gains and small wins will be much easier to achieve this year.

It is not expected to be a good year for the Stock Market and it looks to become decidedly Bearish. This is due to Fire being trapped inside Earth and put out by Water. The stock market’s volatility is considered fiery and there is a dampening energy on market growth. Risky investments or investing for quick profits is not advised. Investors will be feeling less optimistic and more fearful, so more conservative investment strategies will become more popular and more comfortable for investors. It is a time to hold onto your money and for the first time in a long time, savings accounts may do better than many investments.

Overall this is a good year for business because both the Earth and Water Elements feed the Wood Element that business runs on. However the Chinese saying is that “Businesses should plan in the Pig Year and launch new projects and expand in the Rat Year”, which is in 2020. Home building, publishing, environmental/ecology industries and businesses based on natural sciences should all have good years. Earth Businesses, like Real Estate home sales and all businesses involving Food will get a boost: food growing, production, distribution, preparation, and sales will also have a good year. Farm to Table restaurants and family dining restaurants will do best. Beauty products and spa treatments using mud, clay, seaweed or stones will be very popular. Partnerships and businesses working together and joining forces will become stronger and gain mutual benefit.

The energy of the Pig will make Education-related businesses flourish, particularly involving children and children’s educational toys. The Pig also benefits all professions involving caring – healing, therapy, counseling and social work. Charities and nonprofits that focus on the welfare of children and the disenfranchised, as well as shelters for the homeless and feeding the hungry will receive more donations and gain more volunteers. This is definitely not a year to flaunt money, power, status or conspicuous. Generosity will be one of the themes of the year and people will be more inclined to help others less fortunate.

This is a year for cultivating all domestic skills – cooking, scrapbooking, housekeeping and gardening and these skills can more easily be made into professions this year. People who practice these crafts will be more appreciated and those who work in support positions, such as all assistants or those working on assembly lines in manufacturing, will get more credit.

One of the curious aspects of the elements of this year is that they are both Yin – Yin Earth and Yin Water. Because both the Earth and the Water Elements are also considered more Yin, it is almost like having a quadruple Yin year. Yin and Yang are often misconstrued as opposites, but they are actually interdependent and can transform to become the other, as each carries the seed of the other within. In Chinese Medicine, men are said to be Yang on the outside and Yin on the inside, whereas women are said to be Yin on the outside and Yang on the inside. So everyone certainly has both Yin and Yang characteristics. However, most societies have been incredibly Yang-focused for a very long time and that balance is about to change.

This points to the rising power of Yin in 2019, and it is important to find strength in a Yin way, not in a confrontational Yang way, particularly for women. There will also be an expectation for men to express more of their Yin nature. Men need to be brave enough to start exploring their inner selves and bring forward more Yin actions, like compassion. This is a year of focusing on family, friends and community.

The Yin issues are important this year and improvements in these areas of life can and will be made legislatively and as movements. This involves things like: birth control; pregnancy; parental leave; childcare; children’s health; women’s health; family health; and eldercare. The previously disenfranchised will gain more rights. This includes: women’s rights, gay rights; and children’s rights too.

The silent minorities will find their voices and be heard. Expect to have more spokeswomen emerging to fight for these causes, not just against men in power or the current system. Educating children will become a priority and other social causes, such as feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and caring for refugees, particularly child refugees, will become rallying causes.

Aggression and violence will not be tolerated this year and strides will be made in creating systems or passing legislation to deal more effectively with these societal problems. This is not a year for holding grudges or plotting revenge. These energies will not be appreciated or allowed and will bring rebukes and ostracism and censure. Conciliatory words and soothing tones of voice are advised in communication for harmonious interactions. People will feel much more Pro-Peace and will find it easier to cooperate and compromise.

The energies of this Pig Year will also encourage retirement in those that are close to retirement age, as the Pig values the reward for working hard and the relaxation and rest that comes at the end of effort. This coincides with the peak of the Baby Boomer generation who are reaching retirement age. So if you are not retiring this year, you may find yourself wanting to retire. Be sure to dedicate more time to rest and relaxation and vacations this year.

People will be very interested in food this year and the theme is that food must taste good. They will be less concerned about the calories or the nutrients and more focused on flavor. People will be cooking more; gathering and eating together more. They will cook family recipes and from their heritage. Comfort foods will bring pleasure. It is important to eat more cooked foods this year instead of so many raw foods. Fruits and Root Vegetables and Pulses all belong to the Earth Element and will be very nourishing this year. Yin Earth is also lightly sweet foods or sweets eaten in small quantities, so small pastries, light desserts, and creamy custards will be popular and consumed more than dense heavy desserts.

Weight gain is very likely this year, especially around the stomach. But it will occur in small increments and may not be noticed until the end of the year. This might also occur because people will be drawn to wearing comfortable, oversized clothing that drapes and hides weight gain well. Because the Pig energy can be somewhat sedentary, light exercise, particularly bouncing with rebounders and shaking Qi Gong is recommended for moving the lymph fluid. Massages, including Lymph Massage or Bodywork will help alleviate tension and enhance relaxation. Calisthenics and stretching like Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are also good and taking frequent strolls will be enjoyable forms of exercise. People will also be drawn to group exercise and exercise classes, instead of individual training.

The combination of Earth and Water signifies Spleen Dampness in Chinese Medicine. To counterbalance this dampness, saunas can be helpful. This dampness can manifest as problems with the Spleen, Pancreas and Stomach, which are Earth organs. This may cause digestive disorders, so warm, cooked foods are recommended to ease digestive distress. It is also advised to add Ginger to the diet to aid digestion and for warming the stomach, along with more spices like Cardamom and Cinnamon, and hot drinks. Soups and stews are also good. It is very important to eat very regular meals. However, people won’t be able to resist snacking this year.

The lack of fire makes circulation problems increase and there is slightly more risk of heart failure and small blood clots, hemorrhoids and varicose veins due to stagnant and thicker blood. Giving blood helps alleviate these conditions and some foods are considered very good for improving blood quality. These include Mu’er (Wood Ear) Mushrooms and red fruits that look like hearts, like Cherries, which in Chinese Medicine is said to clean the blood.

The combination of elements symbolized as muddy water can also affect the Kidneys and Bladder. This can manifest as more Urinary Tract Infections, which make the urine cloudy (Blueberries can be helpful). Or, there may be an increase in small kidney stones (Watermelon juice can be helpful). It is unfortunately easier for Kidneys to fail, requiring dialysis or even transplants. Kidney deficiency may also manifest as lethargy, low back problems, teeth problems, knee problems or as a low sex drive. Be sure to rest and sleep more to support your Kidneys. Interestingly, although people may not be having as much sex this year, they will likely be much more fertile and many babies will be conceived.

Phlegm is another manifestation of muddy water, so the number of people who fall ill with respiratory infections is expected to rise, with congestion lasting longer than usual. If you find yourself suffering from congestion, cook more Chicken Soup with Garlic, Ginger, Green Onions and Cayenne Pepper and drink hot Water with Lemon and Honey – a shot of whiskey makes it even better!

People will want to stay at home more because the Pig is considered a home loving and family-oriented creature and they value comfort. There will be a strong pull to gather together with family, friends and workmates often. It is a good year to spoil children and grandchildren. The Yin nature of the year may bother a lot of people, but it will balance out their Yang natures. Take naps and spend more time just being. The idea is to relax and enjoy life in the Pig Year and spend time with loved ones.

People will be more caring, considerate and nurturing this year, and more willing to help others. This is a very good year for dealing with family issues and overcoming previous hurts. Forgiveness is easier and reconciliation is one of the themes of the year. People will take romance seriously and there are likely to be more proposals. It is not a good year to play with someone’s heart or engage in superficial relationships.

The Pig is considered an honest creature, so truth will be valued. However, muddy water means that things won’t always be that clear. People will be a bit more confused and hidden danger will not necessarily be easy to see. Those who attempt deception must be very good at keeping secrets as water is always trying to become clear. So this year, their deceptions will likely not be as hidden as they think or won’t stay hidden as long. The downward push of Earth into Water makes mud, but then rises up to dry in the sun. This means what’s been hidden below must come out. So, past venial sins will rise up to be remembered and will need to be cleansed and consciences cleared. Therapists and ministers will be busier counseling, and Catholic churches will see more people seeking confession. These sins may also be revealed to the world but anonymously or in confidence and those who prey on Yin people will be found out, as Yang does not have as much power this year. Emotionally, people will feel more worried and more fearful, but can be consoled easily by their loved ones. Most people will feel like hugging and cuddling more.They will feel more affectionate and less angry. Confrontations should be easy to diffuse and patience will help. It is easier to feel a connection to others and it is easier to make friends. The main goal is contentment and enjoyment of life – resting and healing to prepare for the new cycle.

Overall, the Pig brings gifts to most people this year. Tigers, Rabbits and Sheep get particular benefit, but any barnyard animal is favored. Snakes, Monkeys and Pigs (except those celebrating their 60th birthday) will find this year more difficult. This means that they may have to work harder, move, travel more, change jobs, start a new job, get married or have a baby – the Chinese call it experiencing “Good Bad Luck.” The remedy is to carry a Tiger Charm.


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* Bridges, Lilian The Year of The Brown Pig 2019 www.lotusinstitute.com


The Late Summer Season According to Chinese Medicine

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By Dr. Lauren Dulberg DACM, L.Ac


This summer has been one of the wettest ones on record in the Northeast and the humidity levels are higher than average. While late Summer should be the perfect time to lay in the sun at the local pool or have a sunny day at the beach, we are instead needing our rain gear and find ourselves dealing with floods and rainforest like conditions. 

Chinese Astrology knew this was already in the cards. Not only are things like  personality, lifestyle and relationship situations predicted in Chinese astrology, so are medical and environmental happenings. This is such a profound part of Chinese culture that herbal formulas are designed depending on the properties of the year and certain types of epidemics are predicted with associated formulas as well. This foresight actually saved the day during SARS, since the formulas which were eventually administered via the government worked when antibiotics didn’t. 

This year  is the Double Earth Dog year, according to renowned Chinese Medical Astrologer Lillian Bridges. She states this year  this year will bring about wetter than normal conditions
 

“ Earth years are warm weather-wise, so expect more warm fronts and warm rain, which could also melt snowpack quickly. It is likely to produce more atmospheric rivers like the “Pineapple Express,” which produce a lot of rain. Overall, there will be more moderate temperatures this year. However, the Earth Element is also associated with Humidity and Dampness, so there will likely be significantly increased humidity even in areas where it does not usually occur, particularly in the summertime.” 


Not only does Chinese astrology predict this damp jungle like weather but according to Chinese medicine, this is the time of the Spleen which is the dampest time of the year. All organs channels in Chinese medicine have their own properties, emotions, time of season, foods, tastes they crave and so on. The Spleen is the element of Earth and is associated with the end of the summer. In Chinese Medicine the Spleen is known as a cold and wet organ who is in charge of making our body's Qi + Blood, which is what we need to stay healthy. The Spleen keeps various organs in the body such as the bladder and uterus, from prolapsing, holding the blood and most importantly, it transforms the food we eat into energy and transports that energy into nutrients to other parts of our body. It is also associated with the emotion of worry and overthinking. Meditation and keeping the overthinking at bay, trying to not stress the little things, and calming the mind are also very important for spleen health. 

The spleen when out of balance or weak is connected to various health imbalances from digestive to gynecological to emotional. Diabetes, hypothyroidism, muscular issues, fatigue and chronic immune problems are also connected to an unhealthy spleen. In Chinese medicine, a happy and healthy spleen can be nourished and helped via Chinese medicine and diet. Nutritional therapy related to the Spleen is key for maintaining good and balanced health. 


How To keep The Spleen Healthy + Happy According to Chinese Medicine 

Regular acupuncture treatments, along with herbal treatments formulated for specific to conditions and symptoms related to weak Spleen Qi or Spleen Damp and Spleen Yang Deficiency,  can greatly enhance and change the health of the spleen and digestive system. Diet which is another aspect of Chinese medicine is one of the most crucial modalities for Spleen health. 

What we advise is contradictory to modern day health trends since one of the most important things we stress not to eat or drink are cold, raw foods and beverages. Salads, smoothies, juices and yogurt are all viewed as healthy dietary options in Western culture since the 1970’s but in Chinese medicine, they actually can cause a lot of damaged if consumed often, especially in women. 

Human beings for millennia have been eating very consistent diets. Cross culturally we can find certain traditional diet trends that stand through the test of time. Some sort of grain, animal stock or vegetable stock soups, animal protein, ( in some cultures just eggs + butter), and then lightly cooked or steamed vegetables. In Asia, Chinese medicine has been ingrained in the diet for 5000 plus years, so you would never see anyone eat anything but something warm for breakfast. Eating a salad for a meal or drinking a green juice is basically unheard of.


In Chinese medicine, cold raw food creates dampness in the Spleen which will then lead to a slower and colder spleen and ultimately leading to a sequela of health events but the spleen can not function nor produce abundant Qi or Blood when it is not healthy. Maintaining warmth in the Earth center of the body is very important. Gut health has been a key part of Chinese medicine since the beginning. Not only do we see foods such as wheat and sugar, that may not be good for you as negatively affecting the digestive organs, we also understand each organ has its own properties. We must live in accordance with those nuances, especially when nourishing our center and healing through our diet. 


Food The Spleen Does Not Like 

  • Iced Beverages
  • Smoothies
  • Juices ( yes even green juice )
  • Raw vegetables as a meal ( a little on the side is ok ) 
  • Yogurt, Cheese, Milk
  • Wheat 
  • Sugar 

Foods That Make the Spleen Happy + Healthy 

  • Warm soups
  • Warm food in general
  • Steamed and lightly cooked vegetables
  • Orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potato, and squash 
  • Rice, Barley, Oats 
  • Legumes
  • Turmeric, sage, black better, ginger, nutmeg 
  • Bone broth 
  • Lemons, strawberries, cherries and in season fruits 


Living With the Seasons  

When we live in harmony with the seasons and learn about ways to create balance and health in the body in one season, it can affect how our immune system responds in the seasons ahead. Fall is the season of the Lung and this is when we to see a lot of colds and flus starting as well as allergies. Keeping the spleen healthy in late summer contributes to strong and healthy lungs in Fall. 

Preparing for the seasons ahead is one of the oldest forms of preventative medicine. Know the clouds before the storm. 


To a Happy + Healthy Summer & Spleen!