Health and You in Han Lu

In this month’s blog contribution we are continuing our journey through the traditional Chinese calendar system of Jie Qi with Han Lu. If you remember from our previous blogs on the subject, the annual calendar could be divided into 24 segments of fifteen days each. Each Jie Qi has very specific seasonal energetic qualities. That seasonal energetic is mirrored in both nature and in our bodies. Each Jie Qi is unique and follows the cycle of the sun throughout the year. The traditional Chinese calendar is on a lunar cycle, and this year the Jie Qi starting around October 8th, is Han Lu or loosely translated “Cold Dew”. 

Han Lu describes the basic energetic transition happening in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in temperate areas. Locally we start to see dew forming on the blades of plants. This is as a result of cooler nights that impede the evaporation of the moisture coming from the plants. Our bodies are largely made up of water, so we are susceptible to the same dynamics that the plants experience. Too much cold and damp can negatively impact the body’s ability to digest food and to metabolize fluids. Some common symptoms are excess phlegm causing cough and congestion, as well as diarrhea, or softer, more frequent stools. In addition, studies have shown that even a slight decrease in body temperature can impact the proper functioning of the immune and endocrine systems. Following are suggested precautions to take to help support your body in the presence of increased cold and damp. 

Diet – During Han Lu incorporate foods that support and strengthen the digestive system and kidney channel. Foods that accomplish this are beef, chestnuts, and walnuts. Beef helps support blood and the kidneys. Chestnuts nourish the digestive system and help ensure that resources reach the parts of the body that need them. Walnuts tone the kidney channel and the blood, support the lungs, and strengthen the bones. Balancing foods to those main ingredients for nourishing the body are sesame, sweet rice, honey, dairy, fish, duck, pear, banana, apple, persimmons, and grapes. Warm congee in the morning will directly nourish the digestive system and help it to prepare for the day ahead. 

Drinking tea can play a vital role in maintaining health. During Han Lu the best tea for sipping throughout the day is lotus seed with black tea. Black tea warms (without overheating), wakes the body up, and supports the body’s energy. Lotus seed nourishes the body, calms the nervous system, and provides a balance to the black tea. 


1 bag of your favorite black tea,

10 lotus seeds,

5 Chinese dates,

2 1/2 tsp honey,

10 g Longan fruit (Long yan rou).

Steep the above ingredients in hot water and let cool. 

Sipping this tea is best so do not drink too much at once or over the course of one day. Remember to let it cool down to a warm temperature as it’s best to avoid drinking very hot drinks during Han Lu. 

Too much cold food in general can stagnate and burden the digestive system. These include icy drinks, ice cream, and cold, raw fruits and vegetables. Spicy and hot foods can bring too much heat and eventually dryness.  These include barbequed foods and chicken.  Too much greasy food will also put a strain on the digestive system right now and should be avoided. 

Lifestyle – We encourage gentle exercise to promote circulation while our bodies are subjected to seasonal temperature changes. According to traditional Chinese medicine, these changes can increase susceptibility to colds and flus. So, if exercising outside during Han Lu, milder exercise with good cover, especially around the neck and head, is best. If heavy exercise, producing more sweat, is important to you then moving inside will protect you the best. Always covering up before going back outside is essential. 

Adequate sleep is key anytime of the year but especially during Han Lu. Being asleep by 11 pm benefits the immune, nervous and digestive systems. The benefits of sleep are being supported by Western medical research. 

It is important during Han Lu to maintain emotional equilibrium as much as possible. Guarding personal boundaries, limiting commitments and the avoidance of emotionally challenging situations or drama are ideal. An equal balance of obligations and those things that bring joy, or feed the soul (i.e. friends, hobbies, activities, etc.) is critical for preserving the vital energy throughout this season.  

Conclusions- Han Lu is a time of transition. Doing what we can to support the body’s processes during Han Lu will minimize the stressful impact of increased cold and damp. Being intentional about diets and lifestyle helps us stay healthy, energized, and in good emotional health for the short and long term. 

White Center Wellness Clinic can help to support you during this, or any season. Are you already feeling fatigued? Spread thin? Like you’re coming down with something? Is stress already taking its toll? With regular acupuncture treatments and herbal medicine, we can help you feel better and prepared to take on life’s daily stresses. We want you to be your very best! Call or go online to make your appointment.

What to Expect at Your Acupuncture Appointment - Reflections from guest blogger Jesse Gilliam

The first time I went to White Center Wellness for acupuncture, I was suffering from anxiety.  I’d tried therapy, mindfulness, and western medication, but nothing was quite getting at the root of the problem. I’d heard from my friends and from plenty of internet searches that acupuncture could be a great treatment for anxiety. So, ready to feel better, I filled out an easy online form for an appointment at White Center Wellness and promptly received a confirmation.

But did I mention I was suffering from anxiety? It turns out that initially, the thought of having someone stick needles in me in an office I wasn’t familiar with didn’t help the anxiety. Would it hurt?  How long would it take? Would I be comfortable? Would it work? Would it be too New Age for me, a guy who lives in Eddie Bauer non-iron button-down shirts? 

Having now been through acupuncture for anxiety, muscle pain, and a respiratory infection, and having the process be comfortable and the results be extremely helpful, I thought I’d write a brief orientation so others considering acupuncture for the first time can know what to expect. Here’s what I experienced.

Before you even enter the office, you’ll receive a form to fill out asking you to describe why you’re seeking acupuncture and seeking some basic health information. For someone like me, who can be a bit shy talking in person about my problems, it was a relief to know I could explain my issues ahead of time so my practitioner had a bit of background. The form took about 15 minutes for me to fill out and was a great look into how this might be different from other medical encounters I had – the questions presented engaged with the whole person – mental and physical health – rather than just focusing on one “problem” area.

The day of the appointment, I drove up to the office and was relieved to find plenty of parking. I walked through a pleasant courtyard and through the front door to be greeted in the waiting area by Lee Mahoney, my practitioner. Lee asked me if I wanted any water and asked if I needed to use the restroom, and then took me into his treatment room.

The treatment room Lee uses has a few comfortable chairs, a massage table, and a table holding Lee’s treatment equipment. Lee asked me to sit down in a chair and had me sit down as well and asked me why I was seeking treatment. We had a 10-minute conversation about particular symptoms I was facing and what a healthy resolution might look like for me. He also did a few things that he told me were to check my overall health, including checking my tongue and my pulse.  

After his initial assessment, Lee explained he’d like to do some acupuncture on me as well as create a customized Chinese medicine for me to begin to resolve my issues. He left the room, asking me to take my shoes and socks off, roll up my pants to the knees, and lay on the table. There’s been other times where I’ve had to take my shirt off –if that’s the case he provides comfortable privacy draping.

The next part was the acupuncture. Lee knocked gently and came back into the room, explaining he would put some needles in my feet, lower legs, wrist, and head. While I was a bit nervous, once he showed me the needles he was talking about my concerns faded. They aren’t big sewing needles. They aren’t even the sort of needles you’d get a shot with. They’re extremely thin, small, and light. 

Then, Lee started to place the needles.  Most of the time, I felt nothing. Sometimes I felt a little itch or zap which then faded quickly to nothing. There was once in the sessions I’ve been too where some discomfort stayed – I just told Lee about that and he moved the needle to another area that he said was also effective. 

After putting the needles in, Lee then applied some heat to a few of the needles by burning dried mugwort, a process called moxibustion. Aside from being a generally cool Harry Potter call out, the process is designed to stimulate circulation through the acupuncture points and increase effectiveness.  And I know this, by the way, because I asked Lee, who is happy to explain what he’s doing – from moxibustion to how the heck does a needle in my wrist help with my cough (check the FAQ for that answer!)

Once Lee had the needles placed, he turned down the lights left me to rest for about 20 minutes. Every time I’ve experienced this process I’ve found it to be relaxing and calming. If you don’t think you can doze off with needles in your ears – think again! Plus, how often as adults with responsibilities do we get time alone without our phones, kids, dogs, or spouses calling for our attention? Lee came in once to check on me, and if I need him, I knew he was in the next room.

Once the time is up, Lee came back, turned on the lights, and asked me to get dressed and off the table, leaving the room to give you time to do that. He asks you to take your time to reorient yourself, and then he’s outside waiting for you with your mixed medicine. I paid my bill and made my next appointment. Treatment time has varied with different issues I’ve experienced from “as needed” to once a week for a month. He always works with me to find the right course of treatment.

I hope reading this has alleviated a bit of your anxiety about acupuncture. I know I’m glad I was able to overcome my initial anxiety and doubt to get some of the great benefits available through acupuncture. And I’m still wearing my non-iron button-down Eddie Bauer shirts through it all!

~Jesse Gilliam

Shaung Jiang, Winter and Your Health

Mirroring our well-being with the seasons

    Wellbeing in the New Year, February 2, 2017 introduced the Ancient Chinese concept of Jie Qi.  Within this system the year is divided into 24 fifteen-day segments.  The Chinese New Year starts in the beginning of February (this is determined on the Lunar calendar so the date on the Julian calendar is not fixed).  The Jie Qi then progress throughout the year in fifteen-day intervals.  Each of the 24 Jie Qi is named to highlight the main “energetic” present during that period and each provides us with a practical guide to healthy living during that timei.  

The current Jie Qi, beginning October 22nd, is Shaung Jiang or “Frost Descends”. It is the first period in which “real” cold arrives ahead of the coldest time of the year.  Shaung Jiang is also an important turning point here in the Northwest. There is often a rapid change from the mild and dry months preceding to the current cold and damp conditions.  

During Shuang Jiang it is important to bundle up because the light and heat of the sun are in full retreat.  The daylight hours decrease by about three minutes with each passing day.  For some the rain and the cold are a welcomed change from the progressively longer and warmer summers we are experiencing here in the Pacific Northwest. For many, however, there is a sense of dread for the darker, colder, wetter days. 

Best practices for staying healthy during the coldest months

The principles of Shaung Jiang tell us that it is possible to thrive physically and emotionally during these days. The earlier you prepare and adjust your lifestyle according to the season, the better you will weather the next few months and Jie Qi.  

In Classical Chinese Medicine, the energetics of Shuang Jiang or “Frost’s Descent” dictate that the most important thing to do is keep the body heat protected.  Protecting the lower back, knees and feet from cold is especially important for maintaining good health at this time of year. This is also essential to prevent long-term complications from exposure to cold.  As the days become shorter and nights longer, sleeping habits should adjust accordingly. 

 Early to bed and late to rise, following the visual queue of the sunlight, is what is best for the body during the winter months.  This may be difficult to adhere to literally especially given the norms of work and school schedules, but the lesson here is that even a little more sleep (30 minutes to an hour) will be beneficial with the advent of Shuang Jiang.  

Shuang Jiang is related in Chinese Medicine to the Kidneys. This is the organ most susceptible to cold,  over activity, and to “burning the candle from both ends.”  Too many late nights and early mornings draw upon the vital energy, or Qi, of the Kidneys, which the Ancient Chinese knew was a finite resource.  

This is the energy that fuels the body’s metabolic processes, controls mood, the ability to relieve stress, contributes to cardiovascular health and plays an important role in immune system modulation.  The Qi of the Kidneys, once over-taxed, takes longer to recover the older we get and places stresses on the body that can have lasting effects.  The advanced aging of muscles, skin, the senses, bones and even some key body systems (cardiovascular, respiratory, digestion, cognitive, etc) often have their roots in overindulgences and over-taxation of the Kidneys.

Shaung Jiang and your body’s heatlh account

A good way to think about this is how your body reacts to late night “partying” (whatever that means to you) the older you get.  At some point you reach an age where it takes your body significantly longer to recover than it did when you were younger.  The Kidney Qi is at its most abundant at an early age.  It acts as a savings account and whenever your body spends more than it produces (through your daily intake of healthy food, rest, and self-care) it draws upon this savings. 

This account becomes less abundant and therefore sometimes doesn’t have enough to repair and recover from damage.  The damage comes in the form of too little rest, too much activity, and not eating appropriately for the season.  This savings account is much more susceptible to being overdrawn during the colder months than at any other time of year.

Why is it harder in the wintertime for the Kidneys to supply what the body needs?  Why can’t the body just supply at the same rate all year round?  Two key ingredients are at a premium, especially in the temperate zones during the winter, sunlight and heat.  It takes more energy to maintaining equilibrium during the colder months.  Keeping the body at a temperature that is conducive to all of the metabolic processes necessary for the body to function means less resources are available for other systems to draw from.  

Exercise & Rest during Shaung Jiang

For example, we can consider the musculoskeletal system.  We all know that exercising is a vital part of staying healthy.  Adhering to the Jie Qi, however, you must detail how, where and when to exercise to best support the body.  Exercising outside, no matter how bundled in 30 to 40 degree weather versus 60 to 80 degrees in the summer taxes the body.  This deficit is worse in those areas where the temperatures are much colder in the winter.

During Shuang Jiang Chinese Medicine encourages less intense and extreme sweat inducing exercises and more stretching, and core workout exercises like yoga, taiji and qi gong.  Why? Sweat is the body’s technique to cool the body down.  

Diet, Nutrition & Temperature at this time of year

In addition to getting enough rest, appropriate exercise in appropriate places, and reducing your late night early morning activities, diet plays a critical role in nurturing your body during Shuang Jiang.  Apples, walnuts, and lamb are good examples of foods that nourish the Kidney Qi and help to reduce the loss of resources from our metabolic savings account.  A dietary staple in many East Asian countries is congee.  

Congee, a warm rice porridge fortified with various other ingredients, is often a mainstay breakfast food and sometimes used in other meals too.  It is a great way to start the day with a warm very nourishing meal that is light and easy to digest.  While it is the best choice, other options for breakfast are slow cooked warm breakfast porridges.  Slow cooked because the longer the porridge is cooked the more the grains are broken down and easily digested.

Other healthy foods this time of year are dates, pumpkin, squashes, black beans, peanuts, sweet potatoes and yams, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, chestnuts, and figs. All of these are familiar to many of us as seasonal holiday food favorites. That is another guideline that we should use when selecting food as medicine.  If it is local and has been traditionally a seasonal food then it is, in general, a good food for that time of year.  

Lamb is a favored food for this time of year because according to Classical Chinese Medicine it is a very warm/hot and nourishing meat.  Very little is needed to nourish and warm the body and it is best served in a stew or soup to get the most benefit. As with any dietary advice these foods are not appropriate for everyone and a carefully planned and personalized dietary plan should be formulated for any specific health condition you may have.  But in general, these foods are considered very beneficial for most relatively healthy people this time of year.

Another important lifestyle choice to support the body during Shuang Jiang is avoiding cold food and beverages.  For reasons mentioned above we want to keep the body from having to work hard to keep its core temperature.  Cold, raw vegetables, refrigerated fruits, juices and iced teas, waters and sodas should be kept to a minimum.  Warm, cooked, and room temperature foods and beverages are best.  

Foods with cinnamon are a great choice and chai is one beverage that is beneficial during this time of year, in moderate amounts.  Again, this is assuming you are a relatively healthy individual.  If you are seeing a nutritionist, doctor, or East Asian Medical Practitioner (Acupuncturist) for a specific condition check with them with regards to some of the food suggestions.

Shuang Jiang summarized

Shuang Jiang has arrived and for the next fifteen days one should expect to see the cold begin to present itself, manifested in frosted windshields and visible breath in the mornings. These are good reminders that we are now in the cold days of late Autumn and should adjust accordingly.  

Shuang Jiang is a great time to retrain ourselves on how to stay healthy in the colder months and transition ourselves away from summertime habits.  Stay dry, stay warm, and get plenty of rest.  Also remember to modify your activities to support the body in maintaining equilibrium of its core temperature. Be mindful of how the body functions best with the natural progression of the Jie Qi n everything you do. This is the best strategy to staying healthy.  

Make an appointment now for health’s sake

Feel free to call or make an appointment online to see us at White Center Wellness Clinic if you have questions about any of this advice or if you are already feeling adverse effects of the colder days and longer nights.  We are happy to answer any questions and to help get you moving toward better health and wellness!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is acupuncture?


Acupuncture is a medical practice that aids the body in reaching and maintaining homeostasis.  To accomplish this, it uses access points and channels throughout the body, needles, bodywork, external and internal herbal applications, scraping, cupping and moxibustion. To help the practitioner determine which points and techniques to use, a differential diagnosis is made which informs the practitioner’s treatment plan.  Although the use of needles is one of the primary techniques used to help the body, it is by no means the only mode of treatment.


Does acupuncture hurt?


Acupuncture needles are very thin, as thin as a hair, are not hollow, and are unlike hypodermic needles in every way.  They are carefully inserted into the body at points that are skillfully chosen by the practitioner.  The insertion of the needle is relatively pain-free and any sensation that is felt goes away as quickly as it came.  Often the practitioner will advance the needle further to stimulate the point. While it isn’t painful, it can illicit sensations that are unusual for most people in the United States. These sensations are called “De Qi” in Chinese, and can be described as a “warm releasing” or “spreading” sensation running away from the point, a slight zing that comes and goes, a “heaviness” that dissipates, a “strong releasing” sensation, or a “dull aching” feeling.  These are quite normal and considered beneficial for the patient and helpful for the success of the treatment. 


How does it work?


There are many explanations as to how acupuncture stimulates the body to heal itself.  It has been the source of much research for decades, but with recent advances in technology scientists are able to view in real time the changes taking place within the body.  Stimulation of acupuncture points helps the body reach homeostasis by causing vasodilation, mediating immune system response, modulating the neuro-endocrine system, stimulating new tissue growth, and enhancing nervous system conduction while helping to modulate the signal. Acupuncture treatment also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the most beneficial state for encouraging healing. This is especially true for moderating systemic or local inflammation and generating new tissue. 


How often should I get treated?


This is a complex question to answer because the presentation is different for every patient. Acute cases generally take fewer treatments. The longer the patient has experienced the condition, the longer the treatment plan will be.  Similarly, the prescribed frequency of treatments will depend on whether the condition is chronic or acute in nature.

This can also be moderated by treatments such as taking or applying Chinese herbs, bodywork, guasha, cupping, or moxibustion.  What is consistent for everyone in our clinic is that we will make a treatment plan, share that plan with you up front, and work with you to develop a timeline that includes the frequency of visits necessary.


Why do you needle my hand/arm/leg/foot vs where it hurts…?


The acupuncturist accesses channels that run throughout the body, for example, from the head to the ends of our four limbs. These channels, or meridians, are areas that transport important resources and signals to all parts of the body. That being the case, it is not necessary and often less beneficial to needle directly into the painful area. We thus use both local and distal points to influence the body into homeostasis. The goal, no matter where the needle is inserted, is to encourage relief from your symptoms. 


How long does it take to work?


Acupuncture is a very personalized medicine.  Two people coming in for the same Western diagnosed condition will not always be treated for the same pattern in any acupuncture office.  Their bodies may not respond to a treatment in the same way either.  Typically, it takes a few consistent and frequent treatments to determine the length of time it will take to treat your condition.  We recommend 4 to 6 visits initially.

Once we have finished the initial treatment phase we determine how fast your body is responding and moving towards homeostasis.  Two people being treated for similar conditions may have completely different treatment schedules depending how quickly their bodies respond.  The response time typically runs on a bell curve.  A few people respond rapidly and require very little time to be treated after the initial introductory treatment phase.  Most, require regular treatments for a set number of weeks to reach their health goals. Some patients will not respond strongly or at all to the treatments.  That is why an initial treatment phase is so important in determining how many will be necessary for you.


How long will the results last?


This depends on the goals of the patient and the condition being treated. For most acute conditions, a patient is treated over a relatively short period of time and with careful and consistent lifestyle changes their health goals are met and sustained with few to no recurring symptoms.

For chronic pain and systemic inflammation, the goal of the practitioner is to eliminate the condition, however this is not always a practical goal.  Sometimes for systemic pain and inflammation the goal must be to reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration during “flared” up or active phases.  The additional goal is to reduce the amount of time the patient feels any symptoms. 


Is acupuncture right for me?


Acupuncture is right for most people.  There is a small percentage of patients who might not respond to this type of treatment and that is what the initial phase treatments (4 to 6 treatments) help to determine. For most, acupuncture is right for them because they respond well to it and notice either rapid or gradual changes.  Our goal at White Center Wellness Clinic is to help you to feel better as soon as possible.

We treat patients with pain, injuries, upper respiratory conditions (cough, asthma, bronchitis, etc), colds, flus, infertility, digestive problems (constipation, diarrhea), menstrual irregularity (painful period, cramping, heavy bleeding, light or no period, cysts, heavy clotting, pms, menopause, etc), urological conditions (frequent, painful, infrequent, difficult starting, incomplete urination, etc).

We also treat patients who are diagnosed with and being treated for cancer, auto-immune conditions, neurological conditions, endocrine system difficulties, or immune system conditions.

Feel free to ask us if you are curious about a particular condition and whether or not acupuncture would be a good treatment option. Let’s work together to make you feel better!

Jie Qi  of Xia Zhi

Happy Summer Solstice everyone!  I don’t know about you but the summer equinox always posed a problem while growing up.  On the one hand it was the official start of summer and always a welcome one as school had usually only barely gotten out.  On the other hand it also meant that the long slow progression of lighter days was now going to begin to reverse itself.  The official start of summer is a double signal, one to promise the hottest days have yet to come and secondly, long days become shorter from this point forward.

Of course it is all part of nature, and the further north (or even south of the Equator) one lives the more dramatic the changes in the seasons.  As we have learned in earlier blog posts East Asian Medicine follows the Jie Qi of the year. You may remember this important relationship to our own life and health cycles and that the twenty-fourJie Qi (in a year) correspond and reflect not only to what is going on in the natural world but in our own bodies as Ancient Chinese qi “scientists” observed these processes not only reflected in an annual cycle but in the lifecycle of every living thing.  (To review the concept of Jie Qi please follow this link: Well-being in the New Year)

Xia Zhi (Summer Equinox) is the dominant Jie Qi right now.  For the next 15 days the natural reflection of the energetics of nature and life are unfolding before us.  This is not meant to be a mystical observation or even a religious belief but merely an observation by the qi “scientists” of Ancient China observing what was going on around them and within themselves.  Xia Zhi is the time of year where light is penultimate.

So what does it mean for our bodies and health when the Sun is at its zenith and summer gets it’s beginning?  Heat in non-desert climates (like ours) has a tendency to be more damp and therefore oppressive in a different nature than the dryer desert-like climates.  They are not without their own health challenges, but injecting warmth into a damp zone no matter which part of the US you live in adds a level of health challenges that are unique to each climate zone. 

Xia Zhi signals the start of the heavy and hot season with mixed heat and damp which can make you in turn feel heavy, lose your appetite and ultimately feel less able to digest large heavy meals.  Emotions, patience and tempers can all be tested and the sensibility and susceptibility to the mishandling of food adds to the already increased irritability of the GI tract leading to some rather inconvenient symptoms.  


What you can do to help your body be more in balance with Xia Zhi

Eat light meals more often in order to avoid feeling too full.  This gives your digestion time to break down and absorb the food. Also, limit the frequency and amount of hot foods in your diet.  This will help your body, already beginning to feel the stress of the warmer days, self regulate more easily.  Remember there is less dense caloric need in the summer as your body no longer needs help keeping your internal body temperature warm to make up the deficit from loss to colder weather.  But there is usually more activity and so ready access to energy is best.  But above all fluid loss is the greater culprit to causing stress on the body so remember to drink plenty of fluids.  

To make up for dietary challenges eating more bitter foods like dark leafy greens or spring mixes will help support digestion.  There is also a need to reduce sour foods this time of year.  In general, foods that are easier to digest should be the larger portion on your plate and those harder to digest or are heavier on the stomach should be the smallest amount or even removed.  From a Chinese medicine perspective adding foods like lotus leaves, light green or white teas and bitter melon are beneficial this time of year.  Steeped citrus (peels or fruit) can aid digestion.  

A nice alternative that is not a Chinese dietary medical tradition is Orange Blossom Water, a Middle-eastern refreshment enjoyed after a meal, aids in digestion and is a nice light and refreshing treat.  Lotus soup and toasted barely tea are beneficial especially during wetter than usual summers.  As with all things, individual conditions may require the above advice be adjusted for your own specific health need but your acupuncturist, especially those here at White Center Wellness Clinic, can help you find the right balance for your specific health needs.

Other cautions in summer are drinking too many iced drinks.  Sure they are refreshing and make some things taste better but Chinese medicine tends to prefer that we avoid too much iced beverages, preferring patients to drink them closer to room temperature.  This is for a few reasons, one it helps the body maintain key internal body temperatures that aid in metabolic processes, digestion, circulation and healthy active immune systems.  

For women it can be especially important as combined damp climates with cold drinks, long-term, can cause a lot of reproductive tract conditions or exacerbate those that are already present.  

The same can be said for cold raw foods, we are often more likely to counsel patients who enjoy raw food like vegetables, to let them sit out for a short while, to let them warm up to at least to room temperature and then eat them, rather than right out of the refrigerator cold for the same reasons listed above.

Lastly, finding a good herbal or tea shop in your local area to buy white chrysanthemum tea is a great self-care and personal indulgence you can easily include in your daily routine.  Add a little honey to set it to your preferred taste and sip on it throughout the day.  It is both cooling for the body and relaxing for the mind.  


Exercise, dress, and rest

Summertime is a great time to exercise because we can get out of the home or local group gym and be outside to do our favorite activities.  The combination of fresh air and sun can do wonders for our immune system and metabolism but it doesn’t come without it’s challenges.  The best times to exercise is in the morning or evening, when temperatures are comfortably moderate and don’t cause excess sweating.  The best thing one can do is avoid showering right away. Let the body cool itself down, by letting the sweat evaporate and the pores to close back up. Waiting to take that shower lets your body cool itself and the immune system to reset itself prevents you from making yourself susceptible to the elements.  

In Chinese medicine as well as Western natural medicine traditions, not keeping oneself protected from sudden temperature changes, or wind or cold drafts can make you susceptible to succumbing to certain opportunistic conditionsEvery year at this time, as people get used to learning how to layer and dress while temperatures vacillate, summer flus or colds increase in frequency as people fail to protect themselves from the elements.  Staying out of the direct path of fans and AC output will also help keep you healthy.  

Naps are beneficial too. There is a reason siestas are common in tropical countries.  It is easier for the body to stay cooler when metabolic processes are slowed down from a lack of activity and also gives the body time to catch up on the constant draw on the body’s resources.  


Happiness and health

More Western science studies are corroborating what Eastern medicines have been saying for thousands of years, a happy heart (and mind) means a healthy body.  Doing what you enjoy reduces stress, ameliorates the effects of our busy lifestyle and allows the body to take a rest from the constant “fight or flight” stimulation of our modern lives.  

Hobbies, time-off, rest, meditation, being in nature all help to contribute to a healthier you. These same studies are proving over and over again that it is integral to our longterm health.  In our medicine, Joy is the emotion governed by the Heart.  It is believed, and sadly shown everyday in the clinic, to be critical for a healthy body and mind. The single most important piece of advice we can give someone who lives a stressful lifestyle, is to take more time for themselves.  Balance in our lives is key.  Doing something we enjoy is restorative.  We see more and more Western doctors paying attention to what the research is saying and so are also counseling their patients in the same way. It leads patients down a path of heart, mind, intra and interpersonal health.  


How can White Center Wellness Clinic help you during the Jie Qi of Xia Zhi?

Sometimes self-care can be a little late in coming or the summer months exacerbate a condition already present.  We at White Center Wellness Clinic can help with a host of health issues whether they be aches and pains, summer time colds or flus, internal medicine conditions like GI discomfort, irregular women’s cycles or annoying seasonal allergies. We use acupuncture, herbal medicine, bodywork, Guasha, cupping and other techniques to help bring your body back into balance.  Don’t put up with the discomfort any more, feel better today and let us work with you to help you reach your healthiest self yet.  


Book your appointment todayfollow this link!

White Center Wellness at the Walk to Cure Arthritis!

As acupuncturists, we're always excited to participate in community health events and connect with people while advocating for health and wellness.

That's why we were thrilled to be invited to participate in the Arthritis Foundation fundraising event in Renton on May 20th! It was a glorious day and we enjoyed meeting supporters of the Arthritis Foundation, practitioners in the treatment field, and many folks affected by arthritis along with thier families and friends. It was gratifying to connect with them one on one, hear their stories and learn more about their experiences with arthritis. We were glad to share information about acupuncture, moxibustion and Chinese herbal medicine and how these methods help patients find relief from the daily discomfort of arthritis. 

At White Center Wellness Clinic our treatments work to help manage the pain and reduce the inflammation caused by arthritis. For those with Rheumatoid or Psoriatic arthritis, regular treatments can help reduce the intensity and length of the active inflammatory phase, while increasing the length of time of the non-active phase.

Thanks again to the Arthritis Foundation for including us!


Ellaina Lewis and Lee Mahoney

Licensed Acupuncturists and Owners of White Center Wellness Clinic LLP

Proud SIOM Alumni, Class of 2016

Contact us at to find out how we can help you! We offer online booking at and for those unable to visit the clinic, in-home care is available.

Call us at (206) 693-2499 to scheudule an acupuncture appointment in the comfort of your own home for yourself or a loved one.

In-Home Care

A part of our practice at White Center Wellness Clinic is the offering of in-home care. We bring everything needed for a personalized acupuncture treatment, including a mobile treatment table. If you prefer, you may receive your treatment on your favorite reclining chair or sofa. The choice is yours!

We have treated patients recovering from surgeries, recuperating after giving birth, suffering from chronic illness, and seniors unable to arrange transportation to the clinic. This service is provided with the notion that these are often the times when patients are most in need of treatment. Whatever your reason, our in-home care is available to you.

The cost of treatment is $80 plus travel fee based on location. If you are interested in booking an in-­home care appointment or would like additional information please call us at (206) 693­ 2499. All in­-home care appointments must be made over the phone to confirm availability with a practitioner.


Along with adjusting the clocks and noticing the gradual lengthening of daylight hours, comes the start of another very significant change in the seasonal cycle. The fourth Jie Qi * of the year, Chun Fen, which is translated as “Spring Equinox”, begins on Monday, March 20th and lasts for fifteen days. The beginning of Chun Fen is significant because day and night are of equal duration (for the Northern climates).  This is an important indicator for us because it means that light as well as warmth are becoming a more dominant aspect of the day. From Chun Fen on, daylight hours will increase until the Summer Equinox arrives on June 21st, when daylight will be at its zenith.  

How Does This Affect Your Health?

The nature of Chun Fen is dynamic like the wind itself, and as such there can be rapid weather shifts from one hour to the next. It is important to pay attention to weather forecasts and to dress in layers, making appropriate adjustments throughout the day.  Attempt to stay dry and out of the wind as much as possible to help guard against catching a springtime cold. Because of the stresses imposed by this natural phenomenon, our bodies are at greater risk for catching colds, fatigue, allergies, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.  


Self-care During Chun Fen

Chun Fen and Exercise

The Jie Qi of Chun Fen can be a time of unpredictable storms and shifts in the barometer and it welcomes back the migratory songbirds, arriving in waves. Chinese medicine, closely linked to natural rhythms, says that this indicates a need for increased movement for us as well.  It is important, for our own health that we become more physically active and spend time outdoors, dressed to protect from the elements, as much as possible. In addition, we prescribe gentle stretching as an ideal way to keep the muscles and tendons healthy. These tissues function best with our support and attention as they experience the transition from morning cold to afternoon warmth each day.  

Chun Fen and Diet

In Chinese medicine Springtime is the time of the Liver.  This regulating organ is responsible for the smooth movement of just about every system in the body.  Therefore, we advise minimizing fried foods or those high in fat, as well as spicy foods during Chun Fen especially. Enjoy light nutritious meals including whole grains, beans, and squash. Jasmine is a warming floral herb that can be taken as a tea. Focusing on a diet appropriate to the season helps you to stay healthy and staves off allergies, injuries, digestive issues, fatigue, and depression.

Chun Fen and Lifestyle

Indulge in activities that give you joy, especially those that promote laughter. This will not only help to boost your emotional state, but it will increase the immune function.  As the Liver is the associated organ of Chun Fen, so the eyes are the sensory organs related to the Liver. During Chun Fen, to avoid over taxation of the Liver, the Chinese doctors recommend reducing activities that stress the eyes, such as screen time and reading in low light. Waking up and going to bed early are important for good health during Chun Fen. Prepare to be asleep by 11 PM, which, in addition to proper diet and exercise, will further support the Liver system.  


White Center Wellness Can Help

During Chun Fen, which is a season of equilibrium, it is important to keep the muscles and tendons supple and warmed through gentle movement. It is also vital to keep oneself protected from the constantly changing elements.  If you notice that you are already suffering from the ailments that can be pervasive during Chun Fen such as digestive distress, depression, seasonal allergies, and anxiety, schedule an appointment today.  We at White Center Wellness Clinic can help return your body to a state of health through acupuncture, medicinal herbs and bodywork. We can help to restore equilibrium to your system, allowing you to meet the demands of this very dynamic season. The brightening hours and music of the birds invigorate and inspire, leaving you eager for the day ahead.  Consider us your partners in restoring and maintaining a healthy balance.  Book an appointment today!

*To learn more about Jie Qi click here!*