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Tradtional Five Element Acupuncture and winter fatigue

Most of us are well aware that winter can be a struggle to get through. Dark and short days combined with cold damp days leave us feeling tired and fatigued. While most of us can feel tired, a few of us can feel utterly depleted and may have a diagnosis of S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) Winter is considered the most yin part of the year in Chinese Medicine. Yin and Yang can be seen in the seasons in the following ways, Yin is cold whilst Yang is hot. Yin is inward and downward  whist Yang is outward and upward. We can appreciate the difference of yin and yang even within one season, for example a cold winters day with bright sunshine can feel uplifting and rejuvenating, birds might start singing and we are more likely to go outside and play. Someone who struggles with winter may not even feel any better on a bright crisp winters day, the feelings of fatigue and depression at this time may be too profound and deep rooted.

Traditional Acupuncture and the philosophical thinking behind it enables treatments to be directed completely towards the needs of the individual. Treatment in winter is often aimed at our Water energy, the most yin element in the Chinese five phases. If this is our weak area, this may be the most tricky time of the year for us. Acupuncture which is aimed at our weakest area can bring about huge changes in our ability to handle different times of the year. The aim is to find out why, from a Chinese medicine perspective, an individual copes badly in different seasons. This isn't confined to winter. Some people find the adjustment to Spring, Summer or Autumn equally problematic, this is because our qi or energy is hugely affected by the energetics of our environment. The beauty of acupuncture is that there is a fundamental acceptance that good and bad health is directly affected by the environment in which we are living. We are as bound to nature as all animals are, hence the feeling that some have of the need to hibernate in winter. If you suffer from winter fatigue or have a diagnosis of SAD, acupuncture may well provide you with a new approach to dealing with it.

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Spring and Liver Energy

Spring and Liver Energy

In Chinese Acupuncture, the organs said to be associated with the spring are the liver and gall bladder. In Five Element acupuncture, people with an inherent imbalance in their liver and gall bladder energy are described as Wood types. To get an idea of a wood type of person you need to take a look at the function of wood. Good wood allows strength alongside flexibility. Trees are powerful in their ability to stand firm against adversity and the ability to grow and push out. If this energy is out of kilter in you, there will be a tendency to inflexibility in body mind and/ or spirit. This inevitably leads to tension, again in body, mind and/ or spirit. So we may experience stuck conditions or become inflexible in our thinking. We may be a little moody, even come across as angry or overly forthright. Equally we may feel frustrated or thwarted. 

Wood is associated with the spring because of the powerful energy needed at this time of year, the push required to grow and allow new growth. The sort of ailments usually( but not exclusively) associated with wood are headaches, pmt, depression, liver intolerances, anger, sciatica, poor decision making, mood swings. 

The main way to maintain good wood health ( and therefore good health of liver and gall bladder) are as follows:

Exercise is key, by walking, running, swimming, cycling or any means to raise overall heart rate and cardio rate. Movement prevents stagnation, stagnation is damaging to wood energy.

Avoid alcohol, drugs, caffeine, e-numbers, to much spice, too much fatty food, sugar, dairy

Food to eat specifically for liver and gall bladder health and wood energy:

Cooling food, fruits wood be banana, rhubarb, water melon, lemons


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The Aches and Pains of Spring

As spring starts, the sap is starting to rise and we enter a movement from a yin (inward) time of year to the rising action of yang. To get an appreciation of this, think of the seed in the soil lying dormant over winter. It is still and waiting for the changes of spring before it starts it's strenuous journey of growth, imagine the enormous energetic push the seed will need to burst forth with life, pushing apart soil and debris in the search for light. This energetic change could be said to happen to us around this time as we shake off of relative inertia of winter. Spring is a great time for starting afresh with new ideas and themes for our lives. Many of us with gardens will start to work the soil and start planning our planting for the summer. 

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I personally will always attribute Julia's treatment to be the predominant factor in my extended period of remission from Crohn's disease. Julia is both a trusted friend and therapist and I would highly recommend her to anyone seeking an alternative therapy.

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My aches and pains in ankles, knees, hips and lower back disappear and my energy levels are given a very good boost too! It is 45 minutes or so of relaxation in a busy schedule. She keeps up to date with modern acupuncture techniques and has recently returned from a trip to China to experience these new techniques first hand. I cannot recommend Julia highly enough

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I consider myself very fortunate to have found Julia's Acupuncture Practice 2 years ago, when I decided to try acupuncture for back problems. After a few treatments the problems were solved. Since I have every confidence in Julia's ability, each treatment is a very relaxing and worthwhile experience.

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