Lemon; Lemon Essential Oil

Recommendations for Spring Health

Hello Friend!

It’s mid may and it sure is looking and feeling like spring. The trees and flowers are budding (all on their own time), the weather goes from 40 degrees and rainy to 70 degrees and sunny (that’s a big change for our bodies to handle!), and we have more daylight hours! Such a wonderful transition from the winter. As mentioned in Oh What A Spring about living with the season of spring, while winter was a time of yin, spring begins the shift to yang.

The properties of the Yin Yang Theory are:

  • While they oppose each other, they also support one another.
  • Neither can exist without the other.
  • They are infinitely divisible in each other.
  • They are dynamic.

These principles are visible in our every day world: in nature, in our own bodies, and even in the emotions, feelings, and experiences of life. This is nicely explained in chapter four of Between Heaven and Earth by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold… (which I plan to blog about in the near future :)).

Between Heaven and Earth Book; Bird Image

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

Specific Examples of Yin & Yang: 

Yin: cold, dark, female, hard, heavy, hidden, midnight, moon, still, water (element), winter

Yang: hot, light, male, soft, light (mass), revealed, midday, sun, movement, fire (element), summer

With it being in full swing of spring, we need to ensure we are living with the season, and not in opposition to it. We are moving from yin within yin (winter) to yin within yang (spring).

Something I truly appreciate about Traditional Chinese Medicine is the theory… behind everything. Really, you look outside, and there are the elements and principles which one may find the patterns of your own health and wellbeing. While it takes years of studying to master, the medicine itself is intuitive once you know it.

Spring= Wood= Wind=Liver/ Gallbladder= Green= Anger= Eyes= Tendons

So, friend, spring is the perfect time to help support your Liver health.

The Liver is in charge of free flow of Qi (chee) throughout your body. As explained in Between Heaven and Earth, “The Liver Network is to monitor flow, maintaining evenness of emotions and clarity of judgment, giving grace and flexibility to the physical and mental body.” As you could imagine, if your Liver Qi is imbalanced, all sorts of issues may occur. That being said, living in modern America, it’s very common to have an imbalance of Liver Qi due to our busy, hectic, constantly moving lifestyles.

Some ways to help smooth your Liver Qi:

  •  Breath
    • Honestly, everything could be improved upon with breathing!
    • When you do slow, deep, belly out, inhalations you are allowing your lungs to expand fully since you’re helping your diaphragm move the way it’s intended.
    • The Liver can easily get tight and tense. And the Liver Qi, as is all Qi in the body, is impacted by the breath. The breath fuels our lungs with the oxygen it needs to keep us alive. When our body has the oxygen it needs, it will be less tense and more relaxed.
  • Drink your water!
    • Oh water. Something that is so healing and nourishing, yet so many people seem to forget all the amazing benefits of simply drinking water.
    • Basically we’re about 70% water, so we need water to survive and thrive.
    • The Liver will benefit from ample water intake due to having enough hydration in the body to ensure proper flow of fluids, lubrication of joints, flushing of the system, and plump organs.
  • Dry Skin Brushing
    • This is a wonderful method to help the lymphatic system of the body.* When you help the lymphatic system, you also assist the Qi in moving more smoothly throughout the body. When you help the overall Qi of the body move smoothly, you help the Liver.
    • You can purchase a Dry Skin Brush at most local health stores or online for $10-20.
    • You want to dry skin brush only on completely dry, closed skin.* Before you bathe is usually most ideal. It’s also recommended to dry skin brush in the tub, to catch any dead skin that may flake off.. I know I know… sounds lovely, but it feels wonderful!
      • Be sure to start at the hands and feet and work towards the heart.
      • For your stomach, back, and armpits brush in a circular clockwise motion.
      • You can do anywhere from 5-15 passes on each section.
      • Use enough pressure to feel it, but don’t rub your skin raw… that’s NOT the goal. It should feel almost like a good itch. Be sure to go gentler on more sensitive areas.
      • Continue with your shower and moisturize appropriately.
      • Repeat every few days to every day, depending on your need.
      • Even if you only remember once a week… do it! Once a week is better than not doing it at all.
    • *People with open or inflamed should avoid dry skin brushing. Never dry skin brush over burns, rashes, infections, open wounds, etc. Always consult with your health care practitioner before adding this into your routine.
  • Lemons
    • Lemons have amazing benefits for overall health and wellbeing.
    • Lemons can help your body with it’s natural detoxing abilities. And when you think of detoxing, you think of the function of the liver.
    • You can use the food (a slice), the juice (~1tsp), or the essential oil (1 drop)* per glass of room temperature water.
  • Massage
    • When you move your body, you help the Qi move.
    • Passive movements of your body (as in when someone else is doing the moving for your body) provide wonderful benefits to unblocking stagnation within the body and helping to open up the channels.
    • Plus it feels amazing!
  • Mindset/ Prayers/ Reflection/ Appreciation
    • Yes, mindset/ prayers/ reflections/ having appreciation can help your Liver Qi!
    • The thoughts you think create your feelings and emotions.
    • When the Liver is imbalanced, the emotion you may be feeling more of is anger, irritability, rage, and/ or depression.
    • When you can take stock of your thoughts, you can observe what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling. From there you can shift your thought to more accurate thinking or more positive thinking- whichever is better suited for you.
    • Traditional Chinese Medicine realizes that emotional issues can cause physical issues and physical issues can cause emotional issues.
    • So when you take your thoughts and emotions into account, you can change your physical health, and improve your Liver Qi.
  •  Move & Stretch
    • The Liver governs the tendons, so the health of your tendons are a reflection of your Liver Qi.
    • When you move and stretch, you strengthen, lengthen, and nourish the tendons. This will help balance the Liver Qi.
    • Moving/ exercising/ having an active lifestyle will help ensure your Liver Qi is flowing smoothly.
    • When you are stationary, your Liver Qi can easily get stagnant.
    • Human beings were made to move.
    • Move your body = move your Liver Qi!
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
    • Acupuncture
      • When you insert needles into the body, it creates a micro-trauma. This micro-trauma signals to the brain to increase it’s healing mechanisms.
      • Acupuncture helps the body heal itself.
      • When utilizing needles/ laser/ pressure, a licensed acupuncturist can help direct the flow of Qi in the body.
      • If your Liver Qi is imbalanced, your practitioner can help detect this and perform the proper treatment.
    • Herbs
      • Taking herbs is like having a daily treatment specifically to your needs and patterns.
      • Herbal formulas are wonderfully balanced in their ability to help regulate the energy of the body and bring the body back to homeostasis.
      • Herbal formulas should only be prescribed by a qualified herbalist.
    • Check out FeelGoodClinics.com to schedule.
    • Check out my blog post to find a licensed acupuncturist near you!
Needles on Wood

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

Those are my top suggestions to help balance your Liver Qi. I suggest adding one thing at a time to see how it works for you and to establish more of a routine, but feel free to do what you need.

I hope this offers some support to your health during the season of spring!

With faith, hope, and love,

Emily Kappelman 

*The suggested uses in the above post apply only to the use of therapeutic grade, Young Living Essential Oils. Not all essential oils are the same! Be sure to consult with the product label or healthcare practitioner for correct usage of essential oils. 

Loose leaf in a tea cup; lemon and ginger essential oil

What Brings You Joy?

Hi Friends,

What brings you joy?

Some of you may know immediately. For others, you may have no idea… and that’s ok. I would start by giving yourself some grace, but then I would start to brainstorm and reflect on what brings you joy! Joy is such an important part of life and I feel it all too easily gets pushed to the waste side for the “more important things.” And especially with everything going on in the world right now… now is the perfect time to find the JOY!

Loose leaf in a tea cup; lemon and ginger essential oil

I really appreciate other peoples’ experiences and recommendations on what works for them, so I’m going to offer a couple different avenues to assist you in generating more joy. Brendon Burchard gives a great analogy of an energy plant… just as an energy plant doesn’t have energy, it generates energy. I would like to take this analogy and apply it to joy as well: Just like you have to generate energy, you have to generate joy.

MAKE A JOY LIST

This can be a list in your phone, in your calendar book, wherever you can look at it daily. This is a simple list of all the things that bring you joy.

My Joy List:

  • utilizing essential oils, herbs, and tea
  • blasting some upbeat music
  • dancing to said music
  • moving– walking, yoga, tai chi
  • calling a friend or family member
  • going for a walk
  • saying out loud all the things I appreciate
  • cuddling my dog or cat (they aren’t necessarily besties to allow both at once…yet)
  • reading about faith and mindset

MAKE A “MAKE ME LAUGH” PHOTO ALBUM

This is recommended by Brendon Burchard and with today’s smart phones I think this is such a brilliant idea! Go through your photos and videos and create a separate album purely to make you smile and laugh.

My Make Me Laugh Album Includes:

  • our dog, Zeus
  • our cat, Chip
  • all our nieces & nephews
  • my sisters, besties, and road trips 
  • of course my husband

MAKE A “PUMP ME UP” PLAYLIST

This is a recommendation from Rachel Hollis. She suggests creating a musical playlist of your favorite music to get you pumped up for your day. She mentions she’ll be listening to her playlist before she goes onstage at one of her many events.

While listening to exciting music is awesome, I prefer to take it one step further and dance/ move/ sing along. I’ve danced the majority of my life, and while I may not dance in a studio or on a dance team anymore, you just can’t stop dancing. Marie Forleo also says, “movement is magic” and dancing to music is so healing- for the entire mind, body, and spirit. I would have to say, I 100% agree with her.

My Pump Me Up Playlist Includes:

  • Andy Grammar- Honey, I’m Good
  • Ariana Grande- 7 Rings
  • George Ezra- a variety
  • Girl Talk- a variety
  • Songs from The Greatest Showman
  • Gusttavo Lima, Lenny, Dyland- Balada 
  • Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull- Dance Again
  • Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Bieber- Despacito- Remix 
  • Maroon 5- a variety 
  • Shakira- Waka Waka
  • Tiesto, Icona Pop- Let’s Go
  • And a bunch more… 

I love how every person could do these three suggestions and have something completely different! You can make these lists work for you, and only you! I encourage you to reflect on what helps you generate joy in your life. And I know the more you incorporate external avenues to help bring joy to you, it’ll be easier to generate the joy yourself.

It is however, completely possible, sometimes you may need to mix and match items from your lists. Sometimes one thing from my joy list may just not cut it… I’m human, with human emotions. But if you layer up on a couple different avenues or items, the joy has a better chance of increasing and snowballing. Hoping you can Bring The Joy this season.

With faith, hope, and love,

Emily Kappelman

*Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch