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. 

Baking Tea with Cup; Plant

The Meaning Behind: Being Well and Balanced

Hi Friend!

I know it sounds like a simple name but I would love to share with you why I chose Being Well and Balanced. The definitions are from Google:

Baking Tea with Cup; Plant

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

BEING: “existence, the nature or essence of a person.”

I intentionally chose “being” because in today’s society of “doing” I wanted to create a conscious awareness about “being.” There’s so much to do, there’s so much to not do, and I know it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with all the options. So I invite you to “just” be for a moment. You, “just” being, is enough. You are enough because God created you as so. He loves you, not for what you do, but for who you are because He made you in His image. This is soooo difficult for me. I’m a recovering perfectionist and I greatly associate what I DO with who I AM. So this name reminds me every day, be who are you and the rest will follow. 

WELL: “in a good or satisfactory way, in a thorough manner; in good health, free or recovered from illness; sensible, advisable.”

Sometimes I use the fanciest words I can think of, other times I appreciate the more simple words. My mission and message to empower each and every person to live their best life needs a simple, thorough, sensible word. A word everyone knows and can relate to. It’s even better that the word “well” also pertains to health, as in being in good health and free from illness. When you are well, you’re more likely to live up to your highest potential.

BALANCED: “arranged in good proportions; taking everything into account; fairly judged or presented.”

There are so many sides to every story. While there is a universal truth, many other things may be relative. This is a huge theory in Traditional Chinese Medicine, while there is yin and yang, there is also yin within yang and vice versa. And variables are always in motion and constantly changing. This makes balance a goal, but at sometimes also an illusion. A podcast with Dave & Rachel Hollis talked about how balance is an illusion because things are always changing and you most likely will never be balanced because it’s a journey. It’s not a destination. You don’t wake up one morning and go, “I’m balanced. There is nothing more for me to do.” I believe, as long as we are on this earth, we will be constantly striving for balance.

Being Well and Balanced, Blooming Tree Image

When strung all together, to me, it means:

Being your true, authentic self.

Being open to learning, improving, and growing.

Striving for your own balance, one moment at a time. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and also the reasons behind the names you’ve chosen for your website, company, blog!

With faith, hope, and love,

Emily Kappelman 

 

Lifestyle Adjustments for Winter

Winter is the season of the kidney. According to the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, by Maoshing Ni, this is when “all things in nature wither, hide, return home, and enter a resting period, yin dominates yang.”

IMG_0078

This is visible in the trees and plants and even the animals. It’s natural for us to be more quiet and reserved during the winter. In the fall I shared some tips for adjusting your lifestyle according to the seasons so here are more tips to help make winter a little more tolerable.

Some recommendations from the Yellow Emperor are:

“Retire early, get up with the sunrise”

Is anyone else struggling to adjust to it getting dark at 5:00 p.m.!? It seems to be more difficult this year, so I find it helpful to go to bed a little early and attempt to sleep in a little extra… Obviously this is not always easy/possible but it’s good to be mindful of the change.

“Stay warm, avoid the cold, keep pores closed, avoid sweating”

Eat warm foods and drink warm drinks to help warm your body.  Be sure to layer up and keep your skin covered – your skin is your largest organ and can be very susceptible to the wind and cold, wind and cold are very common causes of EPIs. When your skin pores are open, your chances of getting sick (from an EPI) are increased.

“Conservation and storage philosophy”

Just like the bears hibernate, it is helpful to conserve your resources and energy. The winter corresponds to yin, as opposed to yang. Yin is internal and more hidden. In order to have enough yin, it is helpful to rest.

During the winter I like to stay in, cuddle up by the fire, and drink warm tea. What about you?

Yin and Yang

The most basic theory of acupuncture is yin and yang. Before we talk about theory, let’s talk about pronunciation. Most people know how to say “yin,” but a little pet peeve of mine is when people say “yang” like Cristina Yang’s name from Grey’s Anatomy, with a long vowel sound, which is incorrect. It is actually pronounced with a short vowel sound, like yawn.

Ok, now for the theory:

Most people associate yin and yang as simply opposites, but there is a little more to it. While yin and yang oppose each other, they also support each other. Neither can exist without the other; they are infinitely divisible in each other, and they are dynamic.

Everything in life, in this universe, plays a role in the yin yang theory.

Some examples:

Yin Yang
Moon Sun
Midnight Midday
Winter Summer
Water Fire
Cold Heat
Stillness Movement
Dark Light
Hidden Revealed
Hard Soft
Heavy Light (mass)
Female Male

Acupuncture Ally: Lemon & Honey in Warm Water

We all know it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, I mean, roughly 50-75% of our bodies are made of water! But a common complaint I hear is that water is boring or people just don’t like it.

IMG_2115A fabulous way to make water a little more flavorful is to add lemon and honey. When I make this I use about a teaspoon of local honey (I love supporting local bee keepers!) and a couple drops of Young Living Lemon Essential Oil, which is a high quality therapeutic grade oil brand that is safe for ingestion.* Another option to incorporate lemon is to add a fresh slice right to warm or hot water.

Lemon: the temperature is cold; the taste is sour; the channels of the body it affects are the gallbladder, liver, kidney, lung and spleen. This promotes Qi and blood circulation, clears heat, removes toxins and transforms phlegm.

Honey: the temperature is neutral; the taste is sweet; the channels it affects are the spleen, stomach, large intestine and lung; the effects are: nourishes Yin, tonifies Qi, supplements Qi and blood, promotes blood circulation and removes toxins.

Lemon and honey are great additions to your daily habits year round, but especially in the autumn and winter since these seasons are Yin in nature, as opposed to Yang. Yin has to do with thicker, denser, more liquid substances throughout the body. According to Chinese medicine, when you combine foods of sweet and sour properties you have a wonderful mixture to tonify the Yin of the body. With the season of autumn being dry in nature, it is so important to be sure you’re nourishing and hydrating yourself.


Temperature: It’s also important to drink room temperature or warm water. This is one of the biggest differences between western and eastern theories. While western theories may say ice cold water boosts your metabolism to burn calories, according to eastern medicine, the cold may be hard on your digestive system.

Think of the spleen and stomach as a melting pot; food and liquid needs to be warmed and mixed in order to be digested. When you eat or drink warmer temperature items, you are helping the work of the spleen and stomach. When you eat or drink cooler temperature items you are making the spleen and stomach work harder. In today’s age with diet and lifestyle, many peoples’ spleens are already a little weak, so the ice and cold temperatures add to the problem. You may be experiencing bloating, gas, or loose stools if your spleen is deficient or weak.

This is one simple change you may add into your daily life. I will say it is a tough transition, and there will be foods and drinks you always want to be cold, but if you could incorporate more room temperature to warm things in your life your spleen with thank you for it! I promise you eventually get used to it! Just remember, small steps. Change takes time, but it’s worth it to feel more well and balanced.

*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 professional for correct usage of other.