Winter Soltice: Yin Meets Yang

The winter solstice this year falls on Tuesday, December 21st. This is a magical moment in terms of Chinese Medicine’s view of seasonal rhythms. It is the exact time when yin, the dark aspect of the yin-yang (tai ji) symbol, reaches its peak, and the spark of yang is born again. It’s a time when we honor the darkness while celebrating the coming of the light. The word solstice means ‘sun stand still’, marking the time when the sun reaches either its highest or lowest point in the sky (depending on the hemisphere) and, to ancient astronomers, appeared to stand still. To those of us in the Northern hemisphere, December 21st will be the shortest day of the year and the longest night.

In Chinese Medicine, winter is the season of the kidneys. The kidneys are our source of ‘prenatal qi’ which we inherit from our parents. This prenatal qi corresponds with our genetics and is therefore a vital connection to our ancestors.

Kidneys are also considered the source of all our energy, the storage for our essence, our constitutional strength. Careful conservation of this energy helps to ensure health and longevity. Getting adequate sleep is critical in this kidney essence conservation effort. While we sleep we give our bodies time to detox, repair and replenish. It is basically a time to recharge our batteries. And in order to prevent burnout, we must also adjust our sleep patterns to fit the season. When we are in the season of extreme yin, exemplified by short days and long nights, nature is reminding us to follow suit with our daily sleeping and waking rhythms. Night time in winter is longer and when we align with the seasonal energy we naturally get to bed earlier and wake later and use that extra yin time for rest which is what winter is all about. Ironically, our current western traditions around the solstice have evolved to become a very hectic time so it’s important to check in with yourself, set boundaries and make sure to get the downtime that seasonal change is encouraging.

Dec 21st marks the beginning of winter and is the moment of extreme yin, but it also marks earth’s movement towards increasing light. From this day forth there will be more daylight each day. The yang within yin is also the life under the frosted ground, the seeds that prepare themselves to burst forth in spring. Seeds represent the potential for manifestation, so this is also a time to look inward to find our potential, overcome fears and recognize the opportunity for hope and renewal. The ancient Taoists honored the mysterious blending of yin and yang at the exact moment of the solstice as a transitional moment of perfect harmony and reconciliation. They saw this as an opening, a chance for new ideas and creational energy, a time for conception.

While caught up in the rush of the holidays, take time to consider the shifting seasonal energies. Eat yang nourishing foods (soups and stews, bone broths, shrimp, walnuts, black beans and kidney beans, and warming spices like cinnamon and ginger), remember and pay homage to your ancestors, sleep like a bear, and create your own rituals to birth ideas. Remember your potential and generate hopeful visions for the future.

Schedule your next acupuncture session around the solstice to assist your own magical transition. Acupuncture can help fortify your kidneys, and support the seasonal surge of yin while you nurture your seeds of yang!

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Harvest to Hibernation

Fall is traditionally thought of as harvest time, a time for gathering nature’s bounty, and preparing it for storage. Food is preserved for hibernation season. While we, as humans, do not actually hibernate in winter, we resonate with the energy of the season. Many animals hibernate, plants die down while roots preserve energy for the spring. The sun is low in the sky, days are shorter, it is darker and colder and we are drawn home.

Home is where the heart is but it is also where the hearth is. Preparing the hearth means creating a warm, safe space. Fall is a time to make sure our homes are ready for the extreme yin season, while also preparing our bodies, minds and spirits. Surviving and thriving in winter relies on the ability to draw on the reserves of food, warmth, and energy that we have gathered and preserved in accordance with the seasons.

Here are some things to consider in Fall to better prepare for winter:

Nutritional transitions: In Chinese Medicine, Fall is lung season. Don’t miss this opportunity to nourish and moisten the lungs with foods like pears, apples, figs, cauliflower, and daikon radish. Keeping the lungs strong will build immunity for the sometimes harsh conditions we face in Winter. Plenty of fiber is also important to help clean out LI (the lung’s paired organ) and prevent digestive stagnation as everything slows down in Winter. Most food should be cooked to maintain the body’s digestive fire. Warming teas with cinnamon and ginger are delightfully seasonable as temperatures drop throughout fall and winter.

Lifestyle transitioning: Winter is the peak of yin time. Yin time is about going inward into stillness. Fall is the beginning of the yin season and when we should begin that inner journey. The excitement of summer quiets down and we begin to require more sleep and rest in general. We simply need to slow down as we don’t want to expend the energy reserves that are needed to keep us warm and healthy throughout the frost.

Emotional transitions: In preparation for the reflective yin time ahead, we are compelled to feel some grief as we say goodbye to summer and observe the natural cycle of death happening around us as the earth progresses towards winter. If we have created space and time to feel the natural sadness of letting go in the fall, and release those energies appropriately, it will be that much easier to face the emotional energies of winter, the darkest season. Winter is associated with the emotion of fear and facing our fears helps us tap into our strength, our courage and our willpower.


Schedule some fall acupuncture to ‘prepare the hearth’ and set yourself up for a smooth transition into winter!

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Are You an Alchemist?


Do you keep your living space tidy and organized? 

Are you detail oriented? 

Have you ever been called a ‘perfectionist’? 

Do you follow recipes when you cook? 

Do you pride yourself on your integrity? 


Most of us have at least some of the metal element energies within us. They may even be in excess when it comes to certain aspects of our personality. For instance, if we are overly rigid in regards to our own expectations of our education or career, this can lead to stress and lack of joy in the process. Or on the flip side, if we completely drop expectations and make half-hearted efforts in our work or projects, we lack that sense of refinement attributed to the metal element, and allow for sloppy results.  


Exaggerated expressions of the metal element are seen in dogmatic, authoritarian strict personalities that prefer control and are bound to routine. Associated health concerns include issues of rigidity and dryness such as stiff joints and muscles, dry skin, poor circulation, restricted breathing, constipation and a reserved, flat affect unable to confer much emotion. 

Autumn, the season of metal, is the perfect time to tap into our inner alchemist, organize our space, bring order where it is needed, clean up the chaos, and use ritual to empower our intentions. As always, we must be aware of the equilibrium of energies and compensate for rationality and self-control with passion and spontaneity. A little dose of “go with the flow” helps to balance things out. A true alchemist will recognize that with any ritual, following a set structure is important, as long as you leave room for the magic. 


Let us help you tap into your magic and nurture your inner alchemist in time for the fall season! Click the Book Now button to schedule your appointment.


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Can you just NOT AFFORD to get sick right now?

Life can get insanely busy and being out of commission for a few days with a cold/flu can be really annoying and inconvenient!

Your immune system is your body’s security detail — the cells, tissues and organs that comprise it help repel foreign invaders like bacteria, parasites and other microbes that can cause infections. Stress, lack of sleep, improper hygiene, poor diet, and lack of natural vitamin D can contribute to a weakened immune system, which can make you vulnerable to infections.

Acupuncture can treat a wide range of health conditions, including immune deficiency, by stimulating and balancing the immune system. Acupuncture can strengthen a weakened immune system by increasing red and white cell counts, T-cell count (which destroy bacteria and harmful viruses in the body) and by enhancing humoral and cellular immunity in patients with immune-related illness. It is thought that acupuncture does this by provoking the body’s immune response through the use of the needles: the body thinks the needles are a threat and marshal their white cell and T-cell count to fight them off. However, the effect of this lasts days after the acupuncture session and so works on viruses and bacteria as well.

So, sick and tired of being… well, sick and tired? Acupuncture may be a great way to fill in the missing gaps in your immune system and keep you healthy!

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How Often Should I Receive Acupuncture?

We get asked all of the time, “how many acupuncture treatments do I need?”.  The answer is, it depends! 

     Treatment frequency and number of treatments needed depend on a variety of factors: your constitution, the severity and duration of the problem, and the quality and quantity of your Qi.  Acupuncture works in a series of treatments.  You can never have acupuncture treatments too close together, but you can have them too far apart.  It works cumulatively and we want to continue building on your progress.  Please refer to your treatment plan given to you by your acupuncturist to know when to schedule your next appointment.  Acupuncture is also great for long term emotional health, immune response, and longevity so we recommend a minimum of one treatment per month for optimal health and wellness.

It is super important to note that If we treat you today, but then before your next appointment a week later your symptoms slowly start to creep back in so by the time we treat you again we’re at square one, then we went too far between the first appointments.  We’ll be stuck in this see saw of your symptoms improving, then getting worse, then improving, and getting worse.  We don’t want this, we want your symptoms to slowly improve, and improve, and improve.  Your acupuncturist will work with you to find a treatment schedule that works for you.  After you are on a consistent schedule and your symptoms are starting to improve, the frequency of treatments can lesson.

It is also important that between visits you are making note of any changes that may have occurred, such as the alleviation of pain, pain moving to other areas, changes in sleep or mood, and any changes in the frequency and type of symptoms.  These are all things to discuss with your acupuncturist during your next visit.  This may indicate the need to bump up or lesson the number of treatments or discuss the possibility of adding herbs as well.

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