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!





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!