Balancing the Yang

Those of us who practice Chinese Medicine look at everything as being a balance between Yin and Yang. When we refer to Yang, we are speaking of things that are warming, active, outward focused, creative and energetic. Yin refers to things that are cooling, inward focused, calming, grounding, restorative. The balance between the two is essential to health in all aspects of our lives.

Chinese medicine also views the seasons as having Yin or Yang qualities. For example, Summer is a very Yang time of year when the weather is warm, we are more extroverted, we stay awake for more hours of the day. Winter, is certainly a more Yin time when the weather and daylight encourage us to sleep more and to spend less time at home instead of socializing.

It is important to remember that we can work to balance these seasonal influences when we feel symptoms arise. It is certainly possible for the Summer months to aggravate any Yang conditions like anxiety, skin rashes and insomnia. And while we may be feeling more energetic, it is possible to over exert that energy, leaving us exhausted and prone to colds or viral infections by the end of the season. The way we combat the heat and high Yang energy of the summer is with cooling Yin foods and calming Yin activities.

Some cooling Yin foods to combat the heat of the Yang Summer include cucumber, celery, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, tofu, yogurt, lemons and mung beans. A few of my favorite recipes are this Watermelon Salad and this Cucumber, Yogurt and Dill Cold Soup. 

Some calming activities to balance the high energy Yang activities of summer include yoga, walking, slow swimming, meditation and Qi Gong. Read more here about Yin Yoga and Qi Gong.

Hopefully you can include some of these to help you stay cool during this hot Yang season. Happy Summer!

Summer- The Fire Element

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we see the seasons as being highly influential in our health. We believe it is essential to use the diet to balance the environmental elements that may create illness or disease.

Summer is traditionally a warm, energetic time of year. We tend to be busier, more outgoing in our lives and be exposed to warmer temperatures. It is a period of growth, excitement and lightness. However, there is a chance that we can become too energetic, warm and extroverted to where it can create and imbalance in our system. That can look like insomnia, scattered thoughts, speech problems, memory loss, anxiety, feeling over heated or experiencing hot flashes and acid reflux.

Both food choices and how we prepare them can help support us through this exciting season. To combat over heating, fatigue and dehydration and to encourage growth, TCM recommends increasing the following foods:

Brown Rice, Oats and Millet

Mushrooms, Cucumbers, Celery, Lettuce, Apples, Lemons, Limes, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Berries, Avocados

Tofu, Tempeh, Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Mung Beans

Dill, Basil, Cilantro, Chamomile, Lavender, Valarian

Examples: Include cucumber slices or strawberries in your water to give it an increased cooling effect.

(Remember, these are general guidelines and each person should take into account their own needs and ability to digest the foods listed here)*

Eating small amounts of these foods raw is beneficial (if your digestion tolerates it). Also, cooking for short periods over high heat or very lightly sautéing can keep the vegetables light and cooling. Use less salt and more water for sautéing. Keeping your cooking oils to a minimum will help maintain the light quality to the food as well.

Food is a powerful health tool and now is a great  time to re-evaluate what your body needs. Let IHD know if we can help!

*  To find out how you can personalize your plan with food, schedule an in person, online or phone consult so you can get the most benefit from your diet.

Health On The Go!

 

Integrative Health Denver is introducing a new service to support those of you who travel or are not local to our office in Denver. Starting in May, IHD will be offering phone consultations for food as medicine, herbal formulas, supplements, lifestyle and Mind Body practices, and long term treatment planning. Together, we can design a plan aimed at balancing your life at home with self care and education. As part of that plan, IHD may also suggest other types of practitioners you can look for in your area to help you achieve your goals. Having a hard time deciding on who to choose to see locally for acupuncture, massage or counseling? We can help you understand what you should look for and what questions to ask before setting an appointment with a new provider. If you are a current local client and need support when you can’t make it to the office, these phone visits can be a way to recenter your health goals and find new ways of achieving them, even while you are navigating a busy schedule. As part of phone consultation, we offer online resources and PDF handouts to support your unique wellness plan.

Appointments are available in 15, 30 and 45 minute intervals. As always, we offer free 15 minute consultations for those who are looking to see if IHD is a good fit. Those who refer a new client will receive a $5 credit towards their next session!

Feel free to share this email with anyone who needs support in designing their wellness plan. Email or call for questions or to schedule. Have a great week!

Jennifer

720-924-1772

info@integrativehealthdenver.com