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!

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!





Healing Through Nature

Many of us have experienced the healing and relaxing effect of being in nature. Fresh air, trees, water, mountains can do so much to bring our overstimulated brains and emotions back to center.

This is not a new phenomenon, but we are seeing more research confirm what we have already experienced. National Geographic featured several research project outcomes, confirming this healing property of being in nature. Most notable in this article, researchers at University of Exeter Medical School found that when people simply lived closer to green spaces, they experienced less mental distress. Also noted in this article, David Strayer, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Utah, finds that the brain can restore optimal cognitive functioning and attention when we replace technology with nature for short periods of time.

Strayer also has reported findings that show spending time in nature increases creativity and flexibility in the brain. Nature appears to calm the prefrontal cortex- the part of the brain that is best known for multi tasking and higher order thinking (worrying?). When this happens we increase our ability to access memories, solve problems, and process emotions. In addition, creativity is increased and we can find new, positive ways of viewing the world.

Nature can even be used to treat and prevent worsening of depression. Researchers at Stanford University, found even short walks in nature can reduce rumination, a strong contributing factor to depression. When interviewing the research participants, Walking in nature was found to increase feelings of a “sense of belonging” and a “sense of being away,” that helped alleviate rumination and negative thoughts.

So, if you needed more reason to get outside and enjoy nature, you have it here. Try to make some time to get out for a walk, sit by a stream or adventure into the mountains- your brain will thank you for it!