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Fall Equinox 2015

Oh my, time flies – I feel like I just sat down and wrote my Summer Equinox blog, and here we are entering the Fall Equinox, on September 23.  But there’s something about this time of year that I always look forward to, especially after coming out of a busy summer.  I often find that the summer moves a little too fast for me, without leaving me too much time for reflection.  So when the weather cools down a bit – even here in the Bay the air is feeling a bit more crisp – and the sun comes down a little earlier while rising a little later, my meditation also gets a little longer. I can find time to breathe a bit more again and reflect on myself.

Fall to me is connected to watching leaves change colors for it’s a great reminder of the cycle of life.  Like these leaves, we were vibrant and full of energy from the warm summer sun; now that the temperatures are cooler and the evenings grow longer, our bodies wish to move at a slower pace.  Our systems also nudge us to go within so we can process all that we have accumulated in the summer months, keeping those that are doing us good and releasing those that are no longer serving us.  As we turn our energies inward, all that outward energy we spent in the summer months gets redirected back into our own healing process.  I find that watching the trees let go of their decayed leaves helps me let go of my ‘decayed’ parts as well.

Perhaps this is why grief is the emotion associated with the Fall equinox.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fall is associated with the metal element which is connected to grief.  Letting go is often connected to experiencing loss and separation which often evokes sadness.  But do not look upon grief as a negative experience; instead try to see it as a natural part of the cycle of life.  Grief is actually what allows us to let go so we can make room for the new and healthy.

The colon is the organ associated with the metal element which eliminates unnecessary toxins from our bodies.  As the colon eliminates the physical garbage of our bodies, our minds can eliminate the mental and spiritual wastes we’ve been holding on to so that we can take in the pure.  The lung is the other organ associated with the metal element, and it is what balances the colon.  As the colon purges, the lung takes in fresh air so we can breathe in the new.  To me, the fall weather often brings a certain crispness to the air, and this season, we can be inspired to take in deep, long breaths to help us move forward our cycle of cleansing and rejuvenation.

Acupuncture is good to bring balance to our elements and to ease our anxieties of the changing seasons. It helps with grief and it helps us see the beauty in the changing of the seasons and the letting go/letting in process.

This Fall, I encourage you to take many walks out in nature. Pause, reflect, breathe.  Let go and let freshness in!

Fall recipe: Butternut Squash Soup

3T Olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 butternut squash, peeled & cubed
1 container vegetable stock
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, and squash for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour in enough of the stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
  2. Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.


Summer Solstice 2015

Sunday, June 21st marks not only the first day of summer but also the longest day of the year.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer is associated with the Fire element, which is connected to the Heart organ.  The warmth of the sun powers the world around us, as well as cultivates our inner core.

During the summer months, most of us tend to be more social, enjoying outings, parties, and time with our community.  It is our inner Fire that helps us be more active so we may appreciate all that the external world has to offer.  So this summer, I encourage you to make good use of this Fire by recharging the energy that you consumed during the Winter and Spring months.  Like a solar panel that uses the sun’s warmth to generate electricity, you can soak in as much sun as possible to generate your body’s electric waves by spending as much time outdoors as possible: go on many walks and hikes, have picnics and play in the park, swim in the ocean or lakes, and allow the sun to energize you both physically as well as emotionally.  Not only are you recharging your system, you’re also boosting your Vitamin-D levels, which may protect against osteoporosis and heart-disease as well as alleviate forms of depression, insomnia, and an overactive immune system.  Because the Heart is often connected to emotions, going outside often helps release feelings like anger and resentment, and the sunshine often alleviates feelings of depression or sadness.

Do remember to keep hydrated as you remain active.  Excellent alternatives to ice-cold drinks (which too often shocks our systems) are fresh fruit juices, melons, or lemon water.

Also make time to balance the social with some R&R: relax in a hammock, read in your back porch or garden, take a yoga class, or ride your bike, just to ride it!  Breathing and meditation exercises are also helpful – wake up with the sun, close your eyes, take in a few deep breaths and fill your lungs with fresh air as you take in the morning heat.

Sometimes, excess of the Fire element can create hyper-excitability or restlessness.  Contrarily, people who are deficient of Fire may feel apathetic or gloomy.  An acupuncture treatment during this time may help balance the Fire element in your system.  This will help especially if you feel symptoms like excessive perspiration, insomnia or anxiety.  I also like to tell my patients to take full advantage of the maximum Yang energy of nature to prepare us for the coming Fall and Winter months.  Treating Winter diseases, such as depression, chronic bronchitis and fatigue, during the Summer months helps us achieve maximum results with the least amount of effort.

Thank you for being a part of my Summer and I look forward to seeing many of you very soon!

Happy Solstice,


Summer Recipe: Easy Gazpacho

Combine 4 cups tomato juice, 1 minced onion, 1 chopped cucumber, 1 green pepper, 2 chopped tomatoes, 2 green onions, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 avocado cubed, juice from 1 lemon, a bunch of chopped parsley, a bunch of chopped cilantro, and salt & pepper to taste.  Mix and serve cold!