Spring 2023 Newsletter

Happy Spring!!!

In the tradition of the Traditional 5 Element System Spring energetically emerges around the Spring Equinox, March 21st. Yet Meteorological Spring is marked by March, April, and May (Northern Hemisphere). So I’m being proactive. Spring is ruled by the element of Wood. The element of Water from the previous season (Winter) feeds the Wood and helps it grow.

The organ systems of the Liver and Gallbladder are related to the Wood element. Other tissues related to Wood are nails, tendons, ligaments, and eyesight. Spring is about bursting upward and unfolding.  Typical signs of weakness or stagnancy of circulation result in inappropriate anger, frustration, even depression, and resignation with an inability to focus and find direction.

In the meantime, here are some essential tips for getting your body in sync with the world around you.

1. Breathe

Metal element controls Wood and is associated with the Lungs. Therefore it is essential to increase the supply of oxygen in the blood, boost Lung function and ‘pacify’ that ‘angry’ Liver.

2. Stretch.

The tissues that correspond to Wood are tendons and ligaments. Stretching it increases flexibility and decreases potential sprains by bringing blood, oxygen, and nutrients to tissues and promoting the circulation of energy, lymph, and blood.

3. Eat green things.

The color green is the color of spring and now is the time to really increase your green vegetable intake. The best choice right now is leafy greens, sprouts, spring onions, mustard greens, and herbs such as turmeric, basil, marjoram, cumin, fennel, dill, ginger, mint, chamomile, and lemon balm which are all helpful in preventing Liver energy from becoming stagnant.

4.  Slow to Anger.

Anger is the emotion associated with the Liver and Spring.  Becoming excessively angry, and/or perpetually irritable adversely affects the Liver element.  Practice a little restraint when a situation or person gets under your skin.  Feeling angry or complaining constantly are self-indulgent and destructive responses. Anger begets anger. Your body’s biochemistry responds to anger by down-regulating serotonin and other feel-good neurochemicals. You put yourself in a vulnerable and depressive state by allowing your anger to dominate your emotional landscape. The liver is the main energy (Qi) pump in the body that, once stagnant creates a systemic response.

The healthy Wood qualities are the following:

• able to plan effectively
• make clear decisions
• even-tempered
• sense of being firmly rooted, but flexible
• is well-organized and efficient
• high level of confidence and assertiveness
• energy level is consistent and high

if any of the above seem challenging feel free to email me.


5_element_pres_graph7dfd92Does everyone have it in the Spring? Not really. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, an allergic reaction is an immune response to an external pathogen due to weakness of the systemic ‘defense’ called Wei Qi (Chee). This type of defense is controlled by the Lung (Metal Element) which with the absence of proper oxygenation and nourishment by the Earth (mother) element becomes weak and unable to perform its ‘defending’ duties.

During the Wood/Spring time the element rebels and ‘attacks’ the Metal that is being drained by Water/Winter.

Acupuncture is a very effective tool in boosting immune function therefore diminishing allergic response.

Sample Spring Refrigerator Shopping List

Use these tastes of foods to address each of the five elements and aid the Liver/Wood moving through the circle..

  • Sour: The most beneficial way to bring sour flavor into your diet is to eat lots of young greens tossed in lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
  • Bitter: alfalfa and other sprouts, amaranth, asparagus, basil, chickweed, chicory, dandelion, dandelion root, lettuces, nettle, oregano, parsley, quinoa, scallion, thyme. watercress, young kale, or any other green, leafy plant you find.
  • Sweet: asparagus, basil, beets, chamomile tea, chrysanthemum tea, cow and goat milk, dandelion, dried or fresh fruit in season, eggs, fennel seed, ghee, grains, honey, jasmine tea, lime flower, mungbean sprouts, nettles, olive oil, parsnip, pea sprouts, potato, soya milk, spinach, winter squash.
  • Pungent: anise seed, arugula, basil, black & white pepper, cardamom, chickweed, cilantro, cinnamon, dandelion, fennel seed, garlic, especially wild spring garlic, ginger, jasmine, lemon balm, minor’s lettuce, mint, onion, parsley, peppermint, radishes, scallions, spring onion, ramps. star anise, watercress.
  • Salty: alfalfa sprouts, bee pollen, dandelion leaf, dandelion root, fish, kelp, mineral salt, miso, nettle, nori, seaweed, tamari.

Thank you for reading and I hope to see some of you soon. Have a Happy, Healthy, stress and allergy-free Spring.


Fall 2022 Newsletter – Long Covid (Part 2)

In the last newsletter, I mentioned a common denominator in the Pattern Physiology of Long Covid being Kidney, Spleen, and Lung Qi (Chee) Deficiency. So far we looked into Kidney deficiency as being the most detrimental among the three.

According to the Six Levels of Physiology In Chinese Medicine Spleen and Lung Circuits belong to the level of Taiyin.. Therefore let me address these two Circuits together as we’re now in transition between these two systems.

Fine print: Kidney Deficiency has NOTHING to do with renal failure, neither does Lung deficiency with COPD or Spleen Deficiency with hyposplenism. We’re talking about weakened ENERGY of a specific Circuit (or a channel), not an organ.

Spleen… Why should it matter to you? 

In Chinese Medicine digestion is a main function of the Earth Element and is represented by The Spleen/Stomach circuits. We will be discussing Spleen as being the Yin (functional) vs Yang (structural) aspect of the two. Most of you are familiar with the function of the Spleen circuit but for those who are not, here is a list of the main characteristics:
  • Responsible for transformation & transportation of nutrients
  • Controls the muscles and the four limbs
  • Houses thoughts
  • Controls sleep

Symptoms of SPLEEN deficiency may include: 

  • Abdominal bloating after eating
  • Foggy-headedness
  • Intolerance of Damp/Humid weather
  • Loose stool (at times with undigested food)
  • Sugar cravings
  • Sudden energy drop

The Health Consequences of Spleen Qi Deficiency

If left untreated, spleen qi deficiency can eventually result in a blood deficiency (not enough qi to create and nourish the blood), and/or a spleen yang deficiency (the loss of the warming function of the spleen). When blood is not properly nourished or there is not enough being generated by the spleen, the heart and lungs are easily affected, leading to a decline in their function.

How to Avoid Spleen Qi Deficiency with Your Diet

  • Eat at regular times/intervals each day
  • Eat a larger breakfast, moderate lunch, and light dinner
  • Don’t eat late at night
  • Don’t overeat
  • Avoid under-eating
  • Be present when eating
  • Chew your food slowly and thoroughly
  • Avoid ice drinks or ice water year-round
  • Avoid Raw and cold foods during months with “R” in it

Lungs.. Why should it matter to you?

In Chinese Medicine Fall is the season associated with the metal element. This is the season of contraction and moving inwards, of dryness, and the Lungs and Large intestine are the organs associated with this element. It’s at this time of the year that the Lungs are at their most vulnerable and most likely to be affected by wind, cold, and dryness. Chronic coughs tend to come up this time of year as it gets quite cool and dry, and colds and flu become more prevalent.

Functions of the Lungs (From TCM view)

  • Responsible for respiration (Governs qi and respiration)
  • Controls diffusing and descending of qi
  • Regulates water passages
  • Controls the skin and space between skin and muscle (cou li)
  • Manifests in the body hairs
  • Opens to the nose
  • Controls nasal mucus
  • Houses the corporeal soul (Po)
  • Affected by worry, grief, and sadness

Symptoms of Lung (circuit/singular) deficiency may include: 

  • A cough, which may be mild but continuous
  • Shortness of breath
  • Low speaking voice
  • A tendency to catch colds
  • Spontaneous daytime sweating
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Dislike of Speaking
  • Fatigue
  • Weak Voice
  • Symptoms get worse with exertion

How to Support Lung energy with Your Diet 

  • Eating fewer salads and more soups. The ingredients are easier to digest and the watery medium nurtures yin and fluids in the body
  • Cooking by steaming and boiling foods is more enriching to the yin as the foods retain more moisture
  • Apples and pears nourish and moisten Lung Yin, particularly when poached
  • Honey in warm water before bed can ease a dry throat, and assist with dry constipation
  • Pungent foods can help disperse mucus, such as onion, garlic, turnip, ginger, or horseradish
  • Such foods as seaweeds, marshmallow root, flaxseed, and fenugreek can help repair the mucus membranes of the Lung and Large intestines

An ancient Chinese herbal remedy for the beginning of a cold
In the very beginning stages of a cold, when you initially have that first thought ‘I might be coming down with something is the best time to try and treat and evade it. This ancient Chinese herbal remedy is used for this very early stage of a cold.Ingredients

  • 3 spring onions, white parts only, chopped roughly
  • 2 slices ginger (approx. 1/2″ piece size)
  • 2 sprigs of mint
  • 2 cups of water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Continue boiling until the liquid has halved (approx. 10-15 minutes). Discard the herbs, keeping the liquid. Drink as soon as its cool enough, get into bed or rug up on the couch to enhance sweating and help the body sweat the cold out. If you feel damp after sweating, get changed and dry and rest for the remainder of the day.

Winter 2014 Newsletter

Happy Winter!!!

In this month’ Newsletter:

  • Cooked vs Raw Foods
  • Tips from India
  • Stamford Location is open

A TCM Perspective on Cooked vs Raw Foods

Most of my patients are surprised to hear the recommendation to skip salads and cold foods during winter months. Ever wondered why Chinese prefer to eat cooked food, drink warm water, and never include salad on either restaurant or home menu?

The answer lies with better understanding how digestion works from a Chinese medicine perspective. Chinese Medicine sees life as a series of warm transformations—the underlying philosophy of Taoism where change and transformation are natural processes which, given the proper environment, will happen on their own. The process of digestion is viewed in the same light. Give the body proper food and liquid, a proper environment, and there will be abundance of energy and balanced metabolism. The stomach is viewed as a pot that needs to ‘cook’ the food in order to extract the nutrients (separate the clear from the turbid). The ability to transform food into usable nutrients for the cells is dependent on the ‘digestive fire’ to ‘cook’ the foods and ensure this transformation is completed. Using cold/raw food will lower or in some cases simply put out that ‘digestive fire’ resulting in symptoms like bloating, gas or upset stomach.

Importance of Cooking Foods

  • Cooking increases the warming properties of food
  • Helps break down food structure
  • Nutrients are more available and better assimilated
  • Relatively few nutrients are lost in simple cooking
  • The energy of the body is less focused on digestion and can be used in other ways.
  • Moderately cooked food is recommended to help support mental clarity and energy metabolism.

Remedies to beat the Cold:

  • Use ginger, cinnamon, clove, basil, rosemary in teas and foods regularly.
  • Warming seeds and grains: Oats, spelt, quinoa, sunflower seed, sesame seed, walnut, pinenut, chestnut, fennel, dill, anise, caraway, carob pod, cumin, sweet brown rice
  • OK to use Neutral grains rice, corn, buckwheat and rye. Other grains are too cooling.
  • Veg/Fruit: parsnip, parsley, mustard greens, winter squash, sweet potato, kale, onion, leek, chive, garlic, scallion; cherry, citrus peel and date.
  • Small amounts hot peppers/spices
  • If needed, butter is only warming dairy product. Milk/cheese are neutral.
  • Meats: anchovy, mussel, trout, chicken, beef and lamb.

India trip feedback

I recently returned from the trip to India where after just over a week i’ve learned simple yet profound steps to stay connected with the environment, the food and to avoid getting ill.

  1. Food. Food is an essential part of any culture but in India it is short of religion. The cafeteria of the resort where we stayed had white walls, not a single picture on a wall and no music.. Bottom line – NO DISTRACTION. Of course i managed to smuggle my phone since it was one of the only wifi enable spots but the point remains.. From TCM stand point Spleen is the energy circuit responsible for digestion and mental function. Once combined whichever side you focus more on wins..
  2. India-128Color.. Have you had Thali?
    Thali a cornerstone of the southern menu. It is served in a stainless steel platter with little bowls (vati) consisting of a wide variety of dal, roti, papad, curd (yoghurt), small amounts of chutney and a sweet dish to top it off. It is typically eaten with hands (this time I used a spoon) to engage all 5 senses. The combination of colors and tastes was very close to 5 elect theory: there was a yellow dish – Earth, white rice and yogurt – Metal, a few greens – Wood, red dish – Fire and for the Water element – a Jackfruit pudding..
  3. Mindefullness.
    Every day from 4am before going to work every person in Kerala goes to temple. A form of meditation is performed and intention is set for the upcoming day. Try it for 10 minuites every day for a week and see what happens.. If you can’t meditate by yourself there is a donation based class at Dew Yoga that takes place every Friday at 6.45pm.

Amma update..

We will be resuming lectures, talks and workshops with Amma upon her arrival to US. I’ll send another letter upon having the dates.. Please stay tuned.

Have a warm, safe and healthy winter.