Chinese New Year and the Beginning of Spring/Yang

Chinese New Year and the Beginning of Spring/Yang, Mend Family Acupuncture in Los Angeles, CA

Happy New Year!

I know it feels like Winter to most people right now but according to Chinese Medicine, this is the beginning of Spring. Spring means growth and the start of Yang energy growing stronger in the world around us as well as within us. In a mere 6 weeks Yang and Yin will be more balanced during the vernal equinox and we will be emerging from the predominance of darkness (Yin) and move more into the light (Yang). 

Winter is a time to look inward and now that Spring is sprouting it is time for physical outward regrowth. A great Qi Gong exercise is "Combing Therapy" or "Shu Fa". Combing therapy has been around for thousands of years and is found in many Eastern Medical Texts. 

Traditionally, combs were made of either bone or wood. However, a more modern comb will suffice or you can simply comb your scalp with your finger pads/nails for an even more effective treatment – since the fingers actually contain Qi. Combing is a super simple "exercise" that can be done every morning or night at home to stimulate blood circulation of the scalp and promote hair regrowth and lessen tension headaches, as well. 

This may seem silly, but by stimulating the scalp you are stimulating the most Yang area of the body. The scalp is also a microsystem of the entire body, so stimulating the channels on the scalp actually mobilizes Qi and Blood in the entire body.

Spring is also the time associated with the "Wood" phase of the year and the Liver. The Liver is a Yang viscera. At the beginning of Spring nourishing the Liver helps expel and rid yourself of disease and protect your health. Nutritional recommendations at the beginning of Spring are geared to nourish and support the Liver. Patients with chronic Liver Fire (anger issues) and Liver Qi Stagnation (PMS, body aches, depression, anxiety etc...) need to be aware of their diets during this critical season. As a general rule, eating mildly acrid and warm foods will accentuate and support this function. Great foods to eat this time of year include: scallions, leeks, chives, cilantro, ginger and garlic.  

Here is a very simple recipe with leeks to warm and move the Liver Yang. Shred leeks and then stir-fry thin pork strips in cooking oil, adding soy sauce and pepper to taste. This recipe nourishes the Liver and protects the Yang.

Another traditional beginning of Spring recipe is Pork Bone Red Date Soup. Even before bone broth became the latest health craze in America it was considered an important food for health around the world. This dish builds blood, warms the interior without being drying, and can be taken to either prevent or treat an existing cold.

PORK BONE RED DATE SOUP
Ingredients:

Pork bone, about 3 lbs
Chinese dried red dates (Hong Zao, or Da Zao), about 6 pieces
Ginger
1 Large scallion white
Salt

Instructions:

Place washed pork bones into a slow cooker and add enough water to cover bones (about 2 quarts)
Cut ginger and scallion into large pieces, place in slow cooker with bones; add dates as well to slow cooker
Cook on low for 8 hours or more (the prep can be done in the evening and left to cook overnight); add salt to taste
Drink broth daily
Other vegetables or ingredients can be added to this soup as desired. 

Happy Chinese New Year!!!!!