Soaking Up Summer’s Splendor

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink in the wild air.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


Like a carnival of color and activity, the Summer season sweeps in bringing luxurious growth, abundance and vigorous activity in the natural world!  In this time of warmth and plenty we also are invited to maximize our own growth, expansion and joy.

How can you best keep in step with the rhythms of summer and maximize your health? Check out the following to get started…



According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the sunny summer season is, perhaps not surprisingly, associated with the element of fire. What does this mean for us? The appropriate tilt of the earth and the resulting long, warm days give us a wonderful opportunity to reap some of the benefits, verified through research, of safe sun exposure during the short summer season…

  1. Boosting Vitamin D Stores– Technically a hormone, Vitamin D is essential for life and must be taken in via food or manufactured by the body during sun exposure. Adequate Vitamin D levels are necessary for supporting healthy bone, muscle and neurological function and provide powerful mood balancing, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.  In just 30 minutes of midday summer sun exposure, the body can produce up to 50,000 IU of Vitamin D in a fair skinned person! In those with darker skin pigmentation, it may take up to 2-3 hours to produce the same amount of Vitamin D. Individuals with sun sensitivity, kidney or liver dysfunction or those engaged in shift work may have difficulty producing adequate Vitamin D and require supplementation. The same is true for those living 37 degrees north or south of the equator during winter months. If any of these apply to you, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that you consult a doctor for regular testing (every 3-6 months) and use a balanced Vitamin D supplement as needed. Why is testing important? Many individuals are deficient in Vitamin D and excess supplementation of Vitamin D can lead to toxicity via an increase of calcium in the blood and subsequently nausea, vomiting, weakness, frequent urination and kidney stones.
  2. Improving Heart Health- Sunlight stimulates the production of a chemical in skin called Nitric Oxide. Nitric Oxide helps to relax and dilate blood vessels and thereby lower blood pressure, which is one of the strongest risk factors for heart disease. No wonder we all feel more relaxed after a sunny getaway!
  3. Improving Immune Function – At latitudes closer to the equator where populations are exposed to more intense sunlight, rates of lymphoma, breast, prostate, colon and ovarian cancers as well as autoimmune conditions including Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and  Type 1 Diabetes are significantly lower than in populations living further from the equator with less sun exposure. Increased exposure to sunlight has also been linked to lower rates of  asthma as well as viral and bacterial infectious diseases. What great reasons to enjoy some summer rays and help support your immune system in the process!

Note: It is strongly recommended that after 20-30 minutes of midday sun exposure or your skin becomes flushed, to cover up if you’ll continue to be outside. If you’ll be uncovered while swimming for prolonged times choose a clean sunscreen that utilizes non-nano zinc oxide such as those found here. Most sunscreens commonly found at grocery or drug stores contain toxic chemicals that can cause cancer and negatively affect hormone function. Yikes!



“Cool as a cucumber” is an apt phrase when we consider food medicine in summertime. Cucumber, melon, lettuces, sprouts, berries and citrus fruits all contain high volumes of water which aids the body in cooling and detoxifying. Conversely excesses of meat, eggs, nuts, seeds and grains tend to cause sluggishness, fatigue and overheating. Therefore it is best to plan your meals around light, fresh and local produce if possible.  If you aren’t already growing some of these foods in your own garden, they are usually readily available at your local farmers market or farm stand. So get out and enjoy the healthy bounty of summer!



For many folks, when they think of cooling herbs, various mints might come to mind. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed the incredible cooling effects of a glass of mint tea on a hot summer day….or more decadently some mint-chip ice cream! Why do we feel cooler when consuming mint? Mints contain a natural chemical called menthol that triggers cold-receptors in the body and thereby creates a cooling sensation.  Ahh!

Perhaps less well known, is the power of hot natured spices such hot peppers, cayenne, fresh ginger, horseradish and black pepper to cool the body. While this may sound counterintuitive, these potent herbs induce sweating, thereby cooling the body…and adding lots of flavor in the process! It’s also noteworthy that most culinary herbs contain powerful immune and digestive boosting components so try to include at least one of these on a daily basis to reap the benefits!



In TCM, the summer season is associated with the heart and the emotion of joy in particular. With the extended daylight hours and slower pace, this is an ideal time to reflect on and include activities and connections that energize and bring you joy. Why is this important? Research continues to affirm what many of us know intuitively, that how we spend our time and who we spend it with has a significant impact on our quality of life. So how can you build up your storehouse of joy that will keep giving in the seasons ahead? You might consider the following…


1.What activities make me feel alive and joyful and how can I purpose to include these in my life on a regular basis? This might be a favorite sport, art, craft, project, music, dance, outdoor adventures, gardening, inspirational books or podcasts, volunteer opportunities…


2.What people help me cultivate joy and contentment? How can I regularly plan to connect with these folks in meaningful ways such as book clubs, shared meals, weekly walks or spiritual enrichment groups?


3.How can I change my work or home space to create a more joyful and pleasant environment? You might consider; reducing clutter, adding houseplants, including inspirational artwork,  changing furnishings or detoxifying your space (for tips on how to get started explore here).


4.How can I incorporate a daily gratitude practice into my life? The posture of gratitude has been shown to be incredibly healing, cultivating perspective, contentment and renewed purpose. Try setting aside a few minutes of time in the morning, at a meal or before bedtime to reflect on and speak out what you are grateful for that day. You might also consider developing a written or art based gratitude journal. Having a visual record of things for which you are grateful can be especially helpful, hope inducing and inspiring to look back on in the midst of challenging seasons.



How will you choose to embrace

the invitations of summer today?!


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Spring Into Life!

Spring, glorious spring! … a time when the stored energy of winter rises up and bursts forth in a fantastic array of green shoots and colorful flowers. As animals awaken from their long winter naps or move on to summer territories we are also invited to awaken and begin a new season of growth!

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the season of Spring is associated with the Gallbladder and Liver organs. The health of the liver in particular is critical  for proper detoxification, digestion, iron storage, blood sugar regulation as well as the production of cholesterol, protein and beneficial immune factors.  Read on to explore how you can best support these vital organs via food and lifestyle…



Nature once again provides a nod to what will best serve us this season as it springs forth in new growth. We can live in harmony with this example and feel our best by following the suggestions below and eating earlier in the day to allow for proper digestion during sleep.

  1. LOAD UP ON GREENSsprouts, salad and dandelion greens, broccoli and other cruciferous veggies are rich in phytochemicals that aid your body’s natural detoxification processes and aid digestion. If these are new to you, consider starting with a simple goal of including at least one fresh, green plant food each day. Many farmers markets are now open and are great sources of these nutrient dense foods. Sprouting kits are also easy ways to quickly grow your own greens at home!
  2. CHOOSE MINIMALLY COOKED AND RAW FOODCook food for a shorter amount of time such as steaming or water sauteeing to preserve its cleansing properties. Include at least a small amount of raw food in your diet daily unless you are prone to loose-stools. If you have trouble with digestion, consider implementing some suggestions in the link below.
  3. LEAN ON LEGUMES FOR PROTEIN – beans, peas and lentils are excellent sources of protein that also contain phytochemicals and high amounts of fiber which aid in removing toxins, feed beneficial gut bacteria, promote regular elimination and maintaining a healthy weight. Avoid excesses of nuts, oils, meats, sugars and alcohol which can make the liver and gallbladder sluggish, impeding digestion and detoxification pathways. Have trouble digesting beans? Be sure that you’re preparing them properly by starting with dry beans and soaking overnight or buying pre – sprouted products. Explore more info here to help optimize your digestion today!


In TCM, the liver and gallbladder are associated with the Wood element and the body’s tendons which are nurtured through movement. A traditional picture of the body and the Wood element in healthy states is that of flexible and resilient bamboo, bending and flowing with the wind. Similarly, we are invited to choose daily movements that promote flexibility, increase circulation and overall resilience. Focus on trying activities that bring you joy… perhaps sports, swimming, hiking, cycling, dance or a hike in nature.Purpose to set aside even a short window of daily activity to reap the benefits Need more suggestions to get started? Consider the following…

  1. START SMALL – If you’ve been sedentary for a while, be encouraged that even a 15 – minute walk has been shown to improve mood and mental clarity, lower blood pressure, relieve pain and improve digestion. Start with small increments of daily movement and increase as you are able!
  2. MASSAGE FOR THE SOLE – Foot massage is an easy and relaxing way to help increase circulation, support detoxification and bring balance to the whole body. Start by soaking your feet in warm water for 5-10 minutes followed by rolling a tennis or golf ball to massage the soles of the feet- spending extra time in the liver and gallbladder areas in the center of the feet as pictured here.
  3. EXPLORE YOGA, TAI QI OR QI GONG – These ancient practices are all centered on balance, flexibility and flow and have a myriad of health benefits for mind, body and spirit. Most local gyms and YMCAs offer at least one type of these classes or you can explore classes online. Keep in mind that any postures or forms that involve gentle twists and  those that open up the hips and sides of the body are especially good at improving circulation to the liver and gallbladder.


A winter of being couped up, especially amidst a global pandemic, can be enough to leave many folks feeling stuck, frustrated or irritated. TCM acknowledges that these negative emotions can cause the liver and gallbladder to become overloaded and stagnant, potentially translating into physical symptoms such as headaches, poor digestion, hormone imbalance, weight gain, skin issues and overall feelings of dis-ease. In addition, to supporting these organs via food and movement, help to cultivate a mindset of kindness and peace  via the following…

  1. GET CREATIVE! Living with a creative intention shifts the focus from old and entrenched ways and leaves space for something new to be born. Work in harmony with the new life of Spring and start a garden or do some landscaping. You might also consider taking up a new art form, learning to play an instrument, exploring photography, trying a new recipe, building that project you’ve been putting off or wherever else you creativity leads. Creativity not only helps us feel better but also translates into greater productivity!

Intentional breath work is a powerful way to shift your overall well-being quickly.

Consider engaging in a simple practice of mindful breath work as follows…

WHILE INHALING SLOWLY: Focus on breathing in thoughts of possibility, kindness and peace

WHILE EXHALING COMPLETLY: Focus on intentionally releasing anger, frustration and stresses 

To explore mindful breathing techniques and to further understand the benefits of proper breathing read more here.

 3. CLEAN IT UP – Research indicates that folks living in clean and clutter – free environments report feeling happier, less stressed, more focused and energetic and reported more restful sleep. So this season is great opportunity to do that “Spring Cleaning” you’ve been putting off. If the prospect of cleaning a whole home is overwhelming, start small with one room, closet or drawer. Be mindful of the cleaning products you choose to use as many conventional products contain harmful allergens, carcinogens and hormone disruptors. This is also a great season to clean out your personal care products as they too often contain harmful chemicals. offers helpful resources to aid in detoxing your cleaning regimes or get more information here for home detox tips and here for cleaning up your personal care routine. 




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The Power of Breath


To meditate with mindful breathing is to bring body and mind back to the present moment so that you do not miss your appointment with life.

– Thich Nhat Hanh


“When one gives undivided attention to the vital breath, and brings it to the utmost degree of pliancy, he can become as a tender babe.”


If you had access to a FREE TOOL that could help induce states of calm, improve your overall health and well – being today and prevent disease would you use it?

If the answer is yes then…

 Breathe in- 2-3-4-5 and out-2-3-4-5 … and again…and again…

Breathing is essential for life and therefore we are designed to do it automatically, without thinking. However, we also have the ability to consciously change our respiration with intention.



Ancient Chinese, Indian and Greek texts are replete with the importance of proper breathing for vibrant health. Likewise, old spiritual traditions have long known that the key to unlock states of calm, greater awareness and connectivity is through mindful breathwork. Essentially the ancients knew that improper breathing prevented healing and was a precursor to disease…or dis-ease. Conversely, mindful breathwork was universally understood as a powerful and immediate way to change the mind and improve overall health immediately. If you didn’t catch that incredibly significant bit here it is again…


Ok, you might say, that worked for the ancients, but we live in a modern world full of technological advances. Is mindful breathing still important today?  Let’s explore what the research suggests…



It seems that what was once true is still true when it comes to the power of breath in maintaining and improving health. Modern research studies have revealed that utilizing ancient breathing practices can provide a myriad of health benefits that include; decreasing stress, relieving anxiety and depression, preventing panic attacks, improving quality of sleep and relieving apnea, improving lung function and reducing or relieving asthma, lowering blood pressure, regulating abnormal heart rhythms, improving immune, digestive and cognitive function, maintaining healthy weight, regulating hormones, increasing athletic performance and decreasing pain.




Our noses are incredible organs that are designed to warm, filter and humidify air to condition it before arriving in our lungs. This helps to protect our delicate lungs from airborne pathogens and SIGNIFICANTLY improves breathing efficiency. Unfortunately, many of us tend to breathe through our mouths while waking or sleeping. Why does this matter? Mouth breathing shrinks our airways, dries out the mucosal membranes in our throats and exposes our lungs to cold, unfiltered air and harmful pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi.

  • Nasal breathing provides 20% more oxygen as compared to mouth breathing!
  • Nasal breathing has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • Nasal breathing can help to reduce the incidence of snoring and sleep apnea
  • Nasal breathing stimulates the production of Nitric oxide which sterilizes the air, dilates airways and enhances the o2 taken up by the blood
  • Nitric oxide, which is produced via nasal breathing is antiviral and currently the subject of COVID-19 trials
  • Nasal breathing helps to maintain open airways and proper facial bone structure. Conversely, mouth breathing changes the shape of our faces, causing airways to close

In our stressed – out modern worlds, many of us are stuck in chronic over breathing patterns. Over breathing throws off the delicate oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) balance which is necessary to induce states of calm and to properly oxygenate every cell in the body. Spending more time in exhalation allows levels of carbon dioxide to build up which might sound harmful BUT without adequate levels of C02 in our body we will never fully thrive. Why?

  • In a process is known as the Bohr Effect (named after Nobel Prize winning physicist Christian Bohr who discovered it) C02 is necessary to offload 02 from the blood to be used by the cells. More specifically, hemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood to the cells and C02 must be present to cause the release of O2 in the blood into the cells.
  • CO2 dilates the smooth muscles in the walls of the airways and blood vessels to increase breathing efficiency and blood flow to all areas of the body. This results in increased O2 delivery to all bodily tissues and organs, and has been shown to improve asthma, heart and skin conditions, improve athletic performance and even help to dissolve fat
  • When we over breathe, less O2 is released to the muscles and tissues and they work less effectively and efficiently. It is noteworthy that over breathing for just a few minutes can reduce blood flow to the brain by 40%!
  • Adequate levels of C02 ensure adequate O2 levels which regulates a neutral blood pH, a necessity to promote cell life
  • Adequate levels of CO2 are necessary to produce calming neurotransmitters and human studies reveal that long slow exhalations increase CO2 and helps to prevent panic attacks!

Not only is thorough chewing essential for proper digestion, it is vital for the formation of healthy airways and dentition. Skeletal records show that as little as 400 years ago, before the advent of braces, human skulls had completely straight teeth, broad faces and well – defined jaws. Records show that the diet of ancient civilizations included large amounts of fibrous vegetables, nuts, seeds animal matter and ligamentous animal protein that required a significant amount of chewing. Compare that to a standard modern diet that is highly processed, soft and fiber poor which results in a need to chew very little. What affects does chewing less have upon our health?

  • Chewing causes the release of stem cells in the skull that help to build new bone in the face, resulting in better jaw alignment, improved head posture, wider and stronger airways and a more youthful and balanced appearance. Contrary to previously thought, humans are capable of regenerating facial bone well into their 70s and possibly beyond
  • Breast fed babies have a significantly lower incidence of crooked teeth, snoring and sleep apnea as compared to bottle fed babies. This is due to the increased positive stress of chewing and sucking during breast feeding that does not occur with bottle feeding
  • Lack of chewing can lead to facial bone loss which results in not only “sagging” faces but also airway obstruction as the soft tissues in the throat have less bone to attach to, often resulting in increased incidences of snoring and sleep apnea
  • Chewing gum (especially harder varieties like mastic gum) and a variety of palate expanders have also been shown to build facial bone, even in adults. To explore the latter, contact a dental professional who specializes in functional orthodontics.




Maximize your breathing efficiency by focusing intentionally on nose breathing even for just a few minutes at a time. You may choose to do this while on a walk or during a prayer or meditative practice. You might also begin to simply observe yourself throughout the day and notice how often you find yourself breathing through your mouth instead of your nose. If you have trouble breathing through your nose, you can explore the resources listed below for tools. Both books offer simple techniques that may be helpful in clearing your nose. If these are not helpful you might consider booking an appointment with Dr. Schmidt to assess possible causes of nasal obstruction and treatment via acupuncture, herbs and lifestyle change.


There are limitless ways to do this, but you may start by experimenting with either of the following commonly used patterns…

  • EXHALE MORE FOR GREATER CALM – experiment with a breathing cadence that focuses more time in exhalation. Try inhaling to a count of 4 and exhaling to a count of 6 or longer. Experiment with extending your exhalations with the intention of fully emptying the lungs of breath
  • EXPLORE THE OPTIMAL CADENCE – 5.5 -6 BREATHS/MINUTE – try breathing in for 5-6 seconds and exhale for 5-6 seconds for several minutes. This pattern has been shown to be the most efficient breathing rhythm with a myriad of health benefits and is interestingly the cadence of many ancient mantras and prayers such as the Catholic rosary.

Be a curious observer of yourself and pay attention to how experimenting with different breathing practices affects your physiology either through subjective observation or with the use of a tool.

  • SUBJECTIVELY – after several minutes of breathing you may note increased feelings of calm, sensations of warmth, a rosy color in the cheeks, reductions in tension and pain or increased saliva in the mouth. All of the above are signs that your nervous system is shifting into a calming parasympathetic state, where healing, rest and proper digestion can occur!
  • VIA TECHNOLOGY – Want to measure the physiological changes mindful breathing makes? Consider using a simple and easily accessible tool such as a blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter or a heart rate variability monitor. Take a measurement before beginning a breathing practice and then again after 5 or more minutes of practice and observe the differences.



WANT TO LEARN MORE? Check out the following resources full of research references and practical tools…

Krasowski, J. A. (2020). Breath, The new science of a lost art: by James Nestor, New York, NY, USA, Riverhead Books.

McKeown, P. (2015). The Oxygen Advantage: The simple, scientifically proven breathing technique that will revolutionize your health and fitness. Hachette UK.


Restoration: Winter’s Invitation



The thought of Winter might bring to mind images of still and snowy landscapes, relaxing days on skis and skates or perhaps a bear slumbering away in the safety of its den. In nature, Winter is a season of quiet, of storage, of renewal and a preparation for the rebirth of Spring. It is a time where the lifegiving energy of plants goes inward and many animals burrow away in states of hibernation to rest and await the exuberance of a new season.



In our modern world where productivity is often praised as the highest goal, the quiet rhythms of winter may not often be valued. Wisdom traditions however have long known that winters’ rest and restoration is a prerequisite for summers bounty. One might say that winter holds the potential for summers growth in its storehouses of water and nutrients. If you doubt the truth in this, talk to any seasoned farmer or gardener and they’ll be quick to affirm that any patch of ground that isn’t amended and allowed to rest won’t be worth “a hill of beans”.

Similarly, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has long understood that without proper rest and renewal our health will begin to fail. Taking the cue from nature, TCM prioritizes the Winter season to focus on restoration and highlights the importance of nourishing two organ systems in particular, the Kidneys and the Urinary Bladder. In TCM both organs are associated with the Water element, their renewal analogous to filling of lakes and reservoirs or a deepening snowpack in order to nourish growth in the hot days of Summer. From a Western Biomedical viewpoint, the association of the kidneys and bladder to water will perhaps make intuitive sense as both organs are involved in fluid metabolism and urine production. The kidneys remove waste products from the blood and send them via urine to the bladder which marvelously expands to store this waste until we reach the nearest loo.  However. There’s more to the story…


In TCM the kidneys are also grouped with the adrenal glands and are collectively regarded as the roots or energy storehouses of the body, that govern growth, bone health, reproduction and aging in the body. A quick review of modern physiology will help remind us why the ancients held these organs in such high esteem and prioritized the importance of their revitalization.

The adrenal glands, also known as the suprarenal glands as they sit atop the kidneys, produce an array of valuable hormones including cortisol, DHEA, epinephrine, norepinephrine and aldosterone that regulate:

  • immune function
  • metabolism and healthy weight
  • blood pressure
  • response to stress

The kidneys also serve a variety of critical functions including:

  • filtering the blood and removing waste products from the body via urine
  • removing toxins and drugs from the body
  • modulating the levels of potassium, calcium, sodium and phosphorus.
  • balancing the fluids in the skin and rest of the body
  • releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure
  • producing an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
  • releasing hormones that control the production of red blood cells

When the adrenal glands, kidneys or bladder are in states of dysfunction a myriad of debilitating conditions can ensue including: osteoporosis, nerve damage, high blood pressure, nutritional problems, cardiovascular disease, extreme fatigue, urinary disease, hormone imbalance and even life-threatening kidney failure.


THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THERE IS MUCH WE CAN DO TO SUPPORT THE HEALTH OF OUR “WATER” ORGANS! Check out the following tips on how you can fill up your own reservoirs today…



PRIORITIZE THIS! If we don’t have a “well” to draw from we will most certainly experience disease in one form or another so recharge your vitality by…

*Getting to bed well before midnight and allowing yourself as much sleep as you need.

* Giving yourself permission to take breaks and short naps as needed

* Letting go of  tasks or relationships that are energy drains

* Getting massage, acupuncture or other bodywork to help support your body’s built in systems of renewal

* Planning a day or weekend away by yourself or with an encouraging companion where the only goal is to simply enjoy and unwind…no work allowed!



*Make soup the star of supper:

Focus on rich and warming organic bone or root broth – based soups. These one – pot meals provide vitamins, minerals and collagen to help energize and nourish bones, joints, skin, smooth muscle (your bladder thanks you!) teeth and raw materials to support healthy organ function.So, load up that slow cooker with quality raw materials in the morning and ladle up a heaping, hot bowl to enjoy fireside come evening!

 *Include dark colored produce and grains in your diet:

You’ve likely heard the nutritional advice to “eat the rainbow”, which is wise as various colors of plants contain different phytochemicals with unique nutritional benefits. In TCM, Winter is associated with the colors black and blue (picture the depths of the ocean) and is a time to highlight the antioxidant rich plants such as blue and blackberries, black rice and sesame seeds, dark leafy greens and beans, dark purple cabbages and cauliflower, dark mushrooms and seaweeds. These dark pigmented plants contain the highest amounts of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are incredibly cell protective, prevent urinary and other infections, aid detoxification, lower cholesterol and are powerful cancer fighters. The value of these rich pigments is not recent news, in ancient China black rice was so valued for its nutritional content that it was forbidden for anyone to eat except for the Emperors…and thus it developed its alias as “forbidden rice”. Thankfully this superfood is available to even us commoners these days!

*Bring on the bitters!

The bitter flavor is often left out in the standard western diet in favor of sugar or salt. This is unfortunate as bitter compounds have a slew of health benefits. TCM holds that bitter flavors have a downward and clearing action. Probably the most familiar application of this are digestive bitter tinctures that sometimes show up in aperitifs. This time old tradition was and is still used because upon tasting bitter compounds our digestive systems begin to excrete acid, enzymes and bile in preparation to digest whatever meal was to follow. But bitters go beyond digestion. Bitter compounds have also been shown to help regulate immune function and to help improve the detoxification capability of the kidneys and liver! Great! How do you work these helpful compounds in? They are found in great amounts in leafy greens, root vegetables and in the skins of citrus fruit. Unsure of how to use citrus peel? Try including the zest of citrus in your favorite dressings or dishes, add some orange or tangerine peel when brewing herbal tea or simply eat a bit of the natural “wrapper” with that next delicious orange.

*Just One Cup thanks… and Hold the Goodies:

Allow your adrenal glands a chance to be restored by minimizing caffeine and refined   sugars, both of which cause excess cortisol releases, taxing the precious adrenals. Stick to one cup of coffee or caffeinated tea in the morning when your cortisol naturally peaks and if you want a second cup, switch to warming herbal teas such as ginger, cinnamon, clove or orange that are nourishing but don’t cause cortisol spikes and adrenal depletion.



We are designed to move daily for health, but winter is a time to focus on moving in ways that conserve and restore energy. Consider the following …

*Reduce the intensity of your workouts at least one-two days per week to allow for repair and recovery

*Include practices such as yoga, qi gong or stretching that serve to balance, strengthen and restore the body, mind spirit connection

*Practice self-massage – soak your feet in mineral or Epsom salts (skip if prone to loose stools as Epsom salts are laxatives) and follow up with massage by rolling a golf or tennis ball on the soles of your feet. This acupressure technique will help to bring balance to the entire body and strengthen both the kidneys and bladder as their nerve pathways run through the soles of your feet.   Spend a little extra time massaging Kidney 1, also known as Bubbling Springs using the guide for location. In TCM this point is well known for its ability to for cleanse, rejuvenate and awaken up the entire body.



In TCM the ears are associated with kidney health so the relative quiet of winter is an excellent time to nourish your spirit via reflective questioning and listening. Spiritual traditions have long known that without these intentional and meditative “pauses” it is difficult to be aware of and learn from where we’ve been in order to thoughtfully decide where we’d like to go.

 In your reflections you might consider the following meditations…

*What slowing and nurturing rhythms help me to feel calm, peaceful and nourished? How can I be intentional to engage one of these practices this week ?

*What draining habits or relationships am I being invited to let go of or address that I might rest and experience peace more completely? What is a next step I can take  toward being free of these obstacles in order to experience restoration?

 *What tools, support or perspective do I desire to help develop more resilience to stressors?Whether you’re already engaging in restorative practices or haven’t even begun to consider them, be encouraged that any ways you choose to replenish your well of reserves today will provide refreshment come Spring and Summer. Purpose to include even one small, 2 minute change this week that can intentionally nourish your mind, body and spirit!

NOTE: As with all our posts, the information presented here is not intended for diagnosis or treatment. If you are need of support in your healing journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out for our help. We’d be happy to schedule an appointment or give you referrals as needed. You are not alone!


Creating Healthy Habits That Stick!

A new year is here, ripe with fresh opportunities to cultivate changes for a more balanced and vibrant life. Why is this important to consider?


Research indicates that what we think about and how we spend our time determines who we will become. In other words, the daily choices we make and habits we follow are forming who we will be for better …or for worse.


You may have already set some “resolutions” for the New Year or perhaps are still considering what healthy changes you’d like to incorporate into your daily rhythms. Whatever your good intentions, consider applying these science – backed tips to help your new habits survive the long haul…


  1. Create GOALS that are MEASURABLE and EASILY ACHIEVED IN 2-3 MINUTES. Why? HABITS STICK when we FEEL SUCCESSFUL! When we succeed at something it positively reshapes the way we view ourselves which encourages more healthy habits. Starting small may seem silly but oftentimes people create goals that are unrealistic then feel defeated when they don’t achieve them and subsequently give up entirely. Want to avoid that pitfall? Consider modeling your goals after the following examples…If you want to work out more, consider a goal of doing simple exercises for 2 minutes 1-2 x/week. Similarly, if you want to include more healthy food options consider a goal of eating 1-2 vegetables / week. Small successes really do compound to create big, long term dividends!
  2. REWARD THE NEW BEHAVIOR IMMEDIATELY and TANGIBLY. Why? Our brains respond to a rewarded behavior by releasing This helps us FEEL HAPPY and creates a DESIRE to do the SAME BEHAVIOR AGAIN to receive the reward. It’s important to make the reward VISIBLE and TANGIBLE as our brains are encouraged by VISUAL PROGRESS which drives us to repeat the new behavior. Consider keeping a tally sheet, marking a calendar or a using a marble jar to keep track of your successes. Be sure to make a check mark or add a marble to the jar IMMEDIATELY after doing the new habit. This will help your brain connect the new behavior with the reward. After you’ve accumulated a week’s worth of marks or marbles you might reward yourself with something that aligns with the overall goal. For example, if your intent is to implement stress reduction practices such as prayer or meditation you might reward yourself by getting a massage, taking a luxurious bath, or downloading some new music that is calming or brings you joy. After completing your daily goal for a longer period of time such as a month, you might consider treating yourself to a relaxing weekend away.
  3. Make NEW HABITS YOU’D LIKE TO CREATE OBVIOUS AND APPEALING and keep HABITS YOU’D LIKE TO GET RID OF OUT OF SIGHT AND UNATTRACTIVE. Why? Our brains follow the path of least resistance so whatever is most visible and easily accessed is what we will innately choose. Therefore, if your intent is to read more in place of scrolling on social media you might create a special reading area or room and leave engaging books in plain view while keeping your cell phone turned off and in another room. You can also PIGGYBACK A NEW BEHAVIOR ONTO AN ESTABLISHED HABIT. This established habit will act as a CUE to remind you to implement the new behavior you’d like to establish until it too becomes engrained. For example, if you regularly have tea or coffee in the morning, utilize the time it takes for water to boil to pray, meditate, make a healthy lunch or do some simple exercises. Following this with your favorite healthy morning beverage can also serve as the reward for the new behavior!

Whatever new habits you are being encouraged to develop, know that you hold incredible power and freedom to change the trajectory of your life through your daily thoughts and the choices.

How will you harness this power to grow in 2021?



Clear, J. (2018). Atomic habits: Tiny changes, remarkable results : an easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones. New York: Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Fogg, B. J. (2019). Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.