11:03 11:03

Windy Conditions

By |2019-04-09T13:31:05-06:00April 8th, 2019|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Spring|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT. NCCAOM CI & CP, CHN

It’s a blustery day!

Each of the 5 Seasons in Chinese medicine has a climatic nature that it corresponds to.  Summer relates to Heat, Autumn to Dryness, Winter to Cold, Late Summer  (the transition of seasons) relates to Dampness, and Spring corresponds to Wind. These climates are simply part of the  nature of the season, and people may be more vulnerable to these climatic conditions, and each can manifest as a series of patterns in the body.  What I pay attention to, as Chinese medicine practitioner and Amma Therapist, is how these may manifest in the body.  Ah…here comes the Wind.   Whipping through the tops of the trees, windy patterns may arise in our bodies as colds, allergies, ticks, stiff necks and more.  In Chinese medicine, Wind corresponds to Spring season and the Liver and Gall Bladder channel, and most Springs are windy.  But Wind can invade in any season, and Wind often picks up again in the Autumn.

Wind can be an exterior or interior pattern

Exterior pathogens (Wind, Hot, Cold, Dry, Damp, Summer Heat ) invade our bodies either because the pathogen is excessively strong compared to normal Wei Qi (immunity), think of plagues and virulent viruses–OR–the body is too week to fend off the invasion.   This is the pattern that appears in people who seem to get sick at the drop of a hat.

Interior patterns are generated by disharmonies within the body.  Eating too many hot foods can damage the Yin (cooling) of the body and lead to heat.  Although there may be a bit of overlap, the treatment focus of interior vs exterior will be different.  Read more on exterior and interior […]

11:45 11:45

Simple Steps for Dealing with Allergies

By |2019-03-21T12:54:03-06:00March 15th, 2019|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles, The Seasons|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

Red, itchy eyes, sore throat, sinus congestion, running nose, puffy face, congested ears, swollen lips, headaches. Although it may be true that certain seasons have a propensity to bombard us with excess pollen, or air particulates from farming, and pollution there isn’t really one season for allergies. Some people only suffer during a spring and/or autumn season while others may suffer all year long. Some people are allergic to only one thing, while others suffer from a multitude or combination of allergens. Whatever the individual pattern, it is estimated that nearly 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. It’s estimated that over-the-counter sales of allergies medicines should reach $14.7 billion dollars in 2015–that’s a lot of sneezing and muzzy headedness.

I used to believe that seasonal allergies were coming earlier every year.  Though this may be partly true, what I now see in my practice is that Boise’s air quality is declining enough that clients are suffering more and often longer with allergies–crud.

Allergies in the eyes of western medicine

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is an example of compromised immunity. Basically, the immune system has a hyper response to a strong pathogen (pollen, an abundance of cat dander, etc) and this causes a rapid physiological changes resulting in itchy eyes and throat, sinus congestion, sneezing, asthma and even diarrhea.  Exposure to an allergen would cause a massive release of IgE antibodies which attach to white blood cells known as mast cells. These cells are mostly located in the lungs and upper respiratory tract, the lining of the stomach and the skin. When these cells are stimulated, they release a number of chemicals including histamine which produce the allergic symptoms.
An […]

09:00 09:00

Spring’s Energetics–The Season Of The Wood Element

By |2019-03-01T11:03:57-06:00March 1st, 2019|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Holistic Living, Spring, The Seasons|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

Welcome to Spring!

When does Spring really begin? For most Western cultures, we correlate the start of Spring with the Spring equinox, around March 20-21st.  But all of us know that Spring has been well underway by the time the equinox pops up. If you look at the seasonal correspondences in Chinese medicine’s Yin/Yang theory, the Winter solstice marks the depth of Winter, yet as soon as we reach maximum Yin (the shortest day of the year), Yang and light start to return–literally, Spring is on its way.  A quick look at the lunar calendar can also help us understand why Spring seems to come early or late from one year to the next.  The Chinese New Year heralds the start of the Spring festivals and planting seasons.  This holiday falls on the second new moon after the Winter solstice, sometime between the end of January and the middle of February.

Our bodies feel seasonal changes, and when we are in harmony with these shifts we can delight in the blessings of the season.  However, the transition from Winter to Spring is perhaps, the most tumultuous transition. It’s a duel between the quiet and restive inward energy of Winter into the strong, upward ascending of Yang energy–and its energy can be big.  The season of the Wood element, Spring is a time of tremendous energy, and excitement in the world and in our bodies.   It’s a time of change and growth.  Our bodies want to move more, we have more energy within us and we want to get up and go!  In disharmony, we resist the changes and encounter difficulties.  During the Spring this can […]

11:22 11:22

Warm To The Core

By |2019-01-25T12:19:31-06:00December 25th, 2018|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, The Seasons, Winter|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

Baby, it’s cold outside.  Now that you have an ear worm to pester you for the day, let’s talk about keeping the core of the body warm.

The Asian cultures have a long tradition of dressing to protect the abdomen and the lower back and with good reason–the Kidneys.  Called the “Root of Life” in Chinese medicine, and their energies and organs are greatly protected in classical Asian medicine and martial arts.   In Japanese, the region is called the Hara, in Chinese it’s the Dan Tian. All Asian cultures hold the same concept–the vital energy of the body is centered in the space  located just behind the belly button to between the two kidneys.   If you’ve ever done martial arts, this where you move from.  It’s your core,  and the store house of energy and we want to keep it warm.

The Kidneys are the “Root of Life” and “Sealed Storage”

Let me see if I can boil down a 5 hour lecture into a couple of simple paragraphs.

All organs have a Yin and Yang aspect, however, these two aspects take on a different meaning with the Kidneys.  The Kidneys are the foundation for all Yin and Yang for all organs. One of the first channels to develop as a baby grows, Kidney Yin is the foundation or “root” for the Yin and the Yang organs alike, making it the basis for Fire and Water in the body.  If the Kidney energy is strong, the baby will grow strong and have vitality.  Kidney energy is required for all growth, maturation and reproduction– the bones, marrow, and spine;  and […]

08:27 08:27

Tips For Handling The Stomach Flu

By |2019-01-25T12:20:51-06:00December 21st, 2018|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Tyra Burgess, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM)

“I am so tired, I have no energy.”

” I am feeling heavy and sick to my stomach. I am queasy and have a slight headache.”

If you have said this to yourself or to someone else, it is likely that you are suffering from the flu. Not the fill your head with snot flu, but the stomach flu. Viral Gastroenteritis, is described by the Mayo clinic as, “Gastroenteritis,  attacks your intestines, causing signs and symptoms, such as:

  •  Watery, usually nonbloody diarrhea — bloody diarrhea usually means you have a different, more severe infection
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Nausea, vomiting or both
  • Occasional muscle aches or headache
Other signs and symptoms are a low grade fever, vomiting, sweating, the hot and cold chills, and general fatigue and achiness. Once one contracts the flu, symptoms will appear with in 1 to three days, and can last anywhere from 24hrs to 7 days. 
 
Treatment for the flu
  • Always come and see your practitioner. While we try to prevent any illness, they do occur, and when they do, we are best utilized as soon as possible, to balance the body’s qi flow, creating balance, and herbal therapies to aid the body through the illness. In our practice we have used several supplements to help bring the body back to balance.
  • Use Pill curing, green clay or charcoal to ease the stomach
  • Take a ginger bath to help push out the pathogen, and kill the invading pathogen as ginger is an excellent microbial. Simply […]
10:13 10:13

Tyra’s Blood Building Stew

By |2018-11-08T12:55:47-06:00November 1st, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Tyra’s Blood Building Stew

A wintertime favorite of Tyra’s that is deeply nourishing and warming.

[…]

08:27 08:27

Autumn’s Energetics–The Season Of The Metal Element

By |2018-09-13T13:36:28-06:00September 10th, 2018|Categories: April's Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Autumn’s Energetics–The Season Of The Metal Element

April Crowell Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

Autumn’s arrival shifts the Qi that had been expanding outward (Yang) in the Summer to begin to shift inward (Yin).  We glide through Late Summer at the equinox and then slide into Autumn–the season of Yin within Yang.  Of the 5 Elements, Autumn is the season that corresponds to the Metal element.

Autumn is the time of harvest and a time to start storing to prepare for Winter’s cold. After shedding their leaves or ripened fruits and seeds, plants die back or their energy retreats to their roots. Appropriately, Autumn’s abundant food is perfectly suited to help our body’s Qi move inward. This allows our bodies to have greater energy to fend off common ailments, a chance to replenish and provide the opportunity to embrace the season’s delights.  During this season, I encourage clients to use foods and tonic herbs like ginseng and rhodiola (if they aren’t treating disharmonies where tonics are contraindicated) to help strengthen the body for the upcoming colder months.

Autumn is a wonderful time to clear out old habits that we no longer need–letting go of that which harms us.  It’s a good to time to consolidate and begin storing energy.  This might include resting more, or adjusting your exercise–take long walks, practice T’ai Chi or Qigong and include meditation into your routine.  

Like all of the 5 Elements, each season has numerous correspondences that Chinese medicine practitioners use to identify patterns in clients, both physical and mental, emotion.  Let’s look at a few major correspondence of Autumn.

Autumn Correspondences

Season Autumn
Element Metal
Color White and metallic
Sound Sighing
Climate Dry
State of growth Decline
Odor Rotten
Flavor Pungent
Yin organ & time Lungs: 3-5am
Yang organ & time Colon: 5-7am
Body tissue Skin
Sense organ Nose
Emotion Grief and longing
Soul Corporal
Vice Obsession with physical appearance
Virtue  Inspiration and […]

12:52 12:52

Bitter – The Flavor of The Fire Element

By |2018-07-24T12:24:32-06:00July 21st, 2018|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Bitter – The Flavor of The Fire Element

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CN

Whoever coined the phrase “bitter hearts” was right.  Bitter is the flavor that goes directly to the Heart.   Bitter. Even its name can make us cringe, and it’s certainly not the most popular of the 5 Flavors (sweet, sour, pungent, and salty) yet it serves a vital role in our health.   The flavor is a powerful mover and enters the Heart, Small Intestines, Triple Warmer and Pericardium–all the Fire organs.  When the Fire element is in-balance we are joyful and can act on life plans, we make meaningful relationships and set appropriate boundaries–engage!

Still frowning?  You don’t need a lot of bitter, so just play along for a bit.

Bitter flavors enter the Heart and other Fire Organs

Each of the 5 Elements has numerous correspondences including flavor, season, color, organs, sound and emotion.  Fire and the bitter flavor correspond with the season of Summer, which is unique in that it has four organ systems rather than two like the other elements.  The Heart (Yin), Small Intestines (Yang), Pericardium (Yin) and Triple Warmer (Yang) all belong to the Fire element-and they have a lot going on.  The Heart, as the emperor, sits on his throne and controls the circulation of blood and allows us our most intimate relationships. Heart needs to express its truest self to the world. Small Intestines constantly sorts the ‘pure from the impure’–what to digest and what not to digest–physically, emotionally and spiritually–who do we keep in our lives, who do we need to let go of? A lot of people can get stuck in the process of sorting.  Pericardium has similar properties to the Heart and the Triple Warmer […]

08:34 08:34

Summer–The Season Of The Fire Element

By |2018-07-05T12:46:47-06:00June 22nd, 2018|Categories: April's Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Holistic Living, Summer, The Seasons|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Summer–The Season Of The Fire Element

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CN

Summer, the season of the Fire Element, has arrived!  The days are long and the bright sunshine invites us outdoors to work in our gardens or play in the sun.  It’s a season of activity and joy.  All seasons represent the possibility for change in our lives.  We can fight their energetic nature or we can use the season’s blessings for our own growth and benefit…and summer has so much to offer.

Why the seasons matter

In Asian medicine’s 5 Element Theory each season (Spring, Summer, Late Summer, Autumn and Winter) possess their own energetic dynamics and movement of Qi (energy). They ebb and flow from one to another.  Understanding the energetic nature of each  season helps us to adapt so we move gracefully from phase to another.  For example– knowing that Spring’s climate is wind, helps those that are susceptible to wind conditions such as epilepsy, headaches, anger, and allergies to take appropriate precautions to not be as easily affected by the condition.  Winter, encourages us to rest and be introspective, to consider our deepest selves–whereas, Summer invites us to expand  and be active.  We need not hunker down or fear each season, rather having  awareness can help us become flexible and adaptive, we can embrace and benefit from the virtue and blessings each season rather than fight them.

Summer Correspondences

Season Summer
Element Fire
Color Red
Sound Laughter–including laughter at inappropriate times
Climate Heat
State of growth Maximum growth
Odor Scorched or burnt
Flavor Bitter
Yin organ & time Heart: 11am-1pm & Pericardium: 7-9 pm
Yang organ & time Small Intestines: 1-3pm & Triple Warmer: 9-11 pm
Body tissue Blood vessels and the Blood
Sense organ Tongue
Emotion Joy or lack of Joy
Virtue Ability to create quality relationships and interactions with others, propriety
Vice Inappropriate relationships and boundaries, victimization

Let’s look a […]

12:41 12:41

Cabin Fever Herbs

By |2018-05-21T12:40:17-06:00May 14th, 2018|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Herb Spotlights, Herbs & Spices|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Cabin Fever Herbs

Cabin Fever. Climbing the Walls. Temporary Insanity. Common terms that imply agitation, anxiety, restlessness, and a general sense of unsettledness. These symptoms are often experienced in the spring by people who tend to run towards yin deficiency from a Chinese Medicine perspective. Much to my surprise Spring Fever means the opposite of these symptoms and is instead associated with lassitude, apathy, and half heartedness, something I will cover in another article.

The following three formulas all have a sedating affect on the central nervous system but through different mechanisms.

A quick note: with any supplement always consult with a qualified practitioner before taking as undesirable side effects may occur when taken by someone who does not need it.

Lavender – Integrative Therapeutics Lavela WS 1265


Lavender has been cultivated and used for thousands of years as a calming and cleansing herb. Experiential evidence has shown that the fragrance of the flowers soothes the mind and extracts of the flowers and plants can be used to effective clean and purify surfaces and living spaces. A simple search of the web will reveal the myriad of uses that lavender has been put to throughout time, anything from placing satchels of flowers in clothing drawers to deter moths and other insects to placing it in pillows to help calm a person to sleep.

Modern science in seeking to understand why lavender has endured in usage through the ages have studied its actions in the brain and its effect on our body. Study results have shown that in the brain, lavender has effects similar to Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) and Gabapentin, both of which help to regulate the nervous system and provide a sense […]