Tag Archive for: wellness

Can you feel it? The sun warm on your skin, the daylight lingering a bit longer, the crocuses are in bloom, and trees and bushes are beginning to bud.

Spring is here in the Northern hemisphere!

Even in high-altitude places like Denver, Colorado, where we’re likely to get snow well into May, we’re also blessed with 60º days and bluebird skies in between the snowstorms. You can feel the change in season everywhere you look.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which is rooted in the Taoist philosophy of living in harmony with the world around you, the change in seasons has a big impact on your body, emotions, and even your state of mind. 
Spring is the time of year when the “Yang” is rising…things are waking up from the stillness and inward focus of Winter. It’s a time of regeneration, renewal, and potential. We can see it in ourselves as “Spring fever,” the feeling that we want to go out DO something!

Each season relates to one of the five elements in TCM, and the Wood element is associated with Spring.

The nature of Wood is growth, reaching out like the tulip bulbs pushing out of the earth. Its nature is in bringing our intentions out into the world. The organ systems associated with Wood are the Liver and Gall Bladder. 
The Liver is the Yin side of Wood energy, called the “Little General” in TCM. It’s the energy behind your long-term Vision and direction for your life.  Healthy Liver energy helps you plan, set goals, and see the big picture. If it’s depleted, you may have trouble with both your metaphorical and physical vision (eyesight) as well as sore, tight tendons and ligaments. Excessive Liver energy can lead to irritability, frustration, and feeling pent-up, along with migraines, high blood pressure, and tinnitus. 
The Gall Bladder in TCM is the Yang side of Wood. Healthy Gall Bladder energy is about taking that Vision into the world with action, decision-making, and using wise judgment. Weak Gall Bladder energy can show up as overwhelm, unable to make decisions, or take action, and even feeling fear about moving forward.

So how can you best support your body, mind, and spirit as we transition from Winter to Spring?

So glad you asked! TCM gives us a great guidebook for being our healthiest and living into our potential at each season. Everything in Spring is about supporting growth and movement, but doing it with ease.


Green is the color of the Wood element, and it’s also the best kind of food to eat in the Spring! (I’m not talking about green beer, people.) Fresh Spring vegetables are the very best thing you can eat this time of year, and it’s the tastiest time of year for them, too. Sour foods like citrus and pungent foods like garlic are also excellent in supporting the Liver.
Fill your plate with things like….
  • Fresh baby greens, like spinach, arugula, lettuce
  • Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes 
  • Fresh Spring herbs like Chives, Parsley, Mint 
  • Spring onions
  • Radish
  • Lemons
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Limes
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
Sounds like a lovely Spring meal, doesn’t it? It’s also important to not overburden your Liver by keeping alcohol, greasy foods, and sugar to a minimum. 


The Wood element governs the tendons and ligaments, so stretching is one of the best things you can do for your body in the Spring. Staying flexible in your body helps you stay flexible in your mind, too. If there’s anything that will irritate your Liver, it’s being inflexible, preventing natural movement and growth.
It’s good to get moving, too, especially out in nature. Just be mindful not to overdo things. It’s a great time to do some yoga, go for a hike, maybe some Tai Qi in a park. It’s a time to start rebuilding your strength and flexibility after Winter.


Take advantage of our natural tendency and start planning and acting on anything that’s been percolating over the Winter. What goals do you have? What lights you up and gets you excited for life? A healthy Wood element helps you to have a clear Vision for yourself and your life, and to make a doable plan to make it happen.  Take some time to sit down and dream big! Then write it down and start to make a plan. The energy of Spring is supporting you!


Acupuncture is so helpful if you’re feeling stuck in any way in the Springtime. It gets your Qi moving and balances out your whole being. In the Spring, it’s common to see an increase in migraines and other headaches, vision problems like increased floaters, blurriness, or just weak vision. We also see a big uptick in frustration, irritability and feeling stuck or pent up. 
Acupuncture can also help tame your Spring allergies, eczema, and itching, and help you get healthy in time for Summer. Chinese herbal medicine and supplements like quercetin, stinging nettle, and NAC can make a huge improvement, too.
Book your acupuncture appointment with Dr. Jennie today. Whether it’s for overall wellness and stress relief, or to treat something specific like chronic back pain, she’ll get you feeling better fast. You’ll leave each appointment feeling better than when you came in, and see big improvements over the course of treatment.
Let it be easy, and start taking care of yourself now!

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness

Most people love a good massage. They also tend to think of a massage as a luxury more than as healthcare. And goodness knows, a massage can feel luxurious!

But did you know that massage therapy is good for your health in a variety of ways? 

Massage’s proven health benefits…

According to the Mayo Clinic, massage can

  • Reduce stress while increasing relaxation (which benefits us in many ways)
  • Reduce your pain, soreness, and tension in muscles
  • Improve your circulation, both lymphatic and vascular
  • Increase your energy and alertness
  • Lower your heart rate and your blood pressure
  • Improve your immune function

In addition, studies suggest that massage can also be helpful in relieving

  • Anxiety
  • Digestion
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Stress-related insomnia
  • Low back pain 
  • Soft tissue sprains and strains
  • TMJ pain
  • Upper back and neck pain

That’s a lot of whole-body benefit from something as lovely as a massage!

How often should you get a massage?

That depends on what you need. If stress management and relaxation are your main goals, a monthly massage may be a great choice for you. If you’ve got chronic low back or neck pain that you’ve struggled with for years, weekly massage for 3-4 weeks, then tapering to every other week, then as needed can do wonders for your chronic pain. If you pulled your hamstring playing tennis, 2-3 sessions can do wonders in getting you back on the court.

If you’ve had pain for years, it will likely take more sessions to unravel than a newer injury for a few reasons. An old injury has had time to become more fibrosed, which requires some gently “breaking up.”

Massage therapy does this by stretching, releasing trigger points, getting the blood and lymph moving, and it takes a few sessions to get to the different layers. Old injuries also have had a long time to create “compensation patterns” in other areas, as your body learns to adapt and move around the injury.

Your massage therapist will work those area, too, to help realign your whole body as your heal from the old injury. 

A good licensed massage therapist will assess your situation and let you know what you need.

Monthly massage for overall wellness 

If you’re looking for a great addition to your wellness routine, monthly massage is an excellent choice. Not only will you feel great during and after your massage, but it can also help maintain your overall health in all the ways listed above, and keep you feeling relaxed, loose, and pain-free. It’s a great and pleasant choice to manage stress and pain, while also making you feel well-cared for.

Book your massage with Alexandra today. She has over two decades of experience and a lovely heart. Whether it’s for overall wellness and stress relief, or to treat something specific like chronic back pain, she’ll get you feeling better.

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness

Well, cold and flu have hit hard this year! Hopefully you’ve been taking great care of yourself and are feeling great! Prevention is always the best remedy.

If you’ve been wondering what you can do to stay healthy when people all around you are sick, here are some natural ways to keep your immune system strong, and some tips for what to do if you start to feel a bug coming on!

How to keep your immune system strong!

  • Get enough sleep!
    • I know, it’s pretty boring, but 8+ hours of sleep each night is a must for a strong, healthy immune system.
  • Hydrate!
    • Drink water or hot tea w/ honey throughout the day to keep well hydrated. When your mucus membranes are dried out, it makes a prime breeding ground for those viruses and bacteria
  • Daily Nasal Rinses
    • This is advice I give to people all year long (and most likely to get a groan.)
    • Nasal rinses, either with a neti pot or a NeilMed bottle, with warm salt water, are helpful for several reasons.
    • At least once a day, preferably twice a day, do a nasal rinse to
      • keep your nose, throat and sinuses clear of congestion
      • keep those membranes moist and healthy
      • reduce inflammation in the nasal passages
      • physically rinse away germs and allergens
  • Cut way back on sugar
    • We all love a little sugar, but here’s some good reasons to limit your intake, especially in flu season
    • sugar creates Phlegm and congestion, according to Chinese Medicine
    • sugar weakens the Immune System
    • sugar increases systemic inflammation, which isn’t good for anything!
  • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin D is essential for immune health, and most of us are low in it, especially in the winter months.
    • Take 5,000 IU daily, and make sure your supplement also has vitamin K2. We carry a great version of this. Let us know if you need some!
  • Daily exercise
    • Daily exercise strengthens your immune system.
    • It doesn’t have to be a lot every day.
      • Even 10 minutes of movement helps to keep your lymphatic system moving.
      • Sweating is an important way for your body to expel pathogens.
  • Herbs
    • We have several different Chinese herbal formulas that are excellent at keeping you healthy in cold and flu season. Depending on what’s going on with you, we can prescribe herbs to
    • boost your immune system
    • fight off bugs you’ve been exposed to
  • Regular acupuncture and massage
    • Acupuncture is excellent at boosting your immune system.
    • Acupuncture can also treat your chronic congestion, coughs, sinus issues, and more, making it easier for your body to fight off germs.
    • Massage has also been shown to improve the immune response
  • Manage your stress
    • Studies have shown that stress takes a huge toll on your immune system. Finding ways to manage your stress is important for your overall health.
    • Manage your stress with
      • daily exercise
      • daily meditation or prayer
      • keep it in perspective —don’t sweat the small stuff
      • get regular acupuncture, craniosacral therapy and massage
  • Wear scarves!
    • Keeping your neck and chest warm and protected from the wind does wonders for your health in the winter. And if you feel congested in your chest, it’s especially important to keep it warm and covered.

What to do if you feel a bug coming on

  • Start taking Cold Nip!
    • At the first signs of a bug, start taking Cold Nip every 4 hours.
      • It has strong antiviral herbs, along with 3 classic Chinese formulas that are extremely effective at treating early-stage colds.
      • The sooner you start taking it, the better.
        • The maker of Cold Nip, Six Persimmons Apothecary, has done research showing that it’s 80% effective in nipping a cold in the bud when started right away. Keep this stuff on hand! Let us know if you need some. We always keep it in stock!
  • Hot tea with honey
    • Lots of fluids are really important, and warm fluids are best.
    • Add some honey to your tea to help soothe your throat and chest, and keep your nasal passages from drying out.
    • If you have cough, add some lemon ( or even a bit of whiskey to make a hot toddy for a deep cough.)
  • Sweat!
    • In Chinese Medicine, the first thing we do for early stage colds is try to get you to sweat. The herbs and acupuncture points help your body to push the pathogen out through sweating. So take your Cold Nip, drink your hot tea, bundle up and…..
  • Get to bed early
    • Again, sleep is imperative to help your immune system.
    • If your feel a bug starting, aim to get at least 9 hours of sleep, and as many naps as you can.
      • And I mean actual sleep, not lying in bed with Netflix.
  • If it’s flu, take Oscillococcinum homeopathic or call for an herbal consult with us.
    • Don’t mess around if it’s the flu. If you haven’t had the flu (influenza) in awhile, you may have forgotten how bad it can be. And for some, it can be dangerous. So take extra care, and stay away from people as much as possible, because influenza is very contagious.

You already know a lot of this. But we all need some reminding sometimes. We get caught up in the daily grind and think we’re doing ok, until it hits us.

As always, if it starts to seem serious, and especially if you’re having trouble breathing, go to your medical doctor right away!

In the meantime, stock up on herbs like Cold Nip, and let us know if you have any questions!

Jennie Luther, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness, LLC
Phone: 720-507-1705
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