What to Eat in Fall and Winter

According to Chinese-medical theory, people should live in harmony with nature. The colder months are perfect for slowing down, resting, and becoming introspective. The food we eat also plays a key role in the conservation and rebuilding of energy this time of year.

When you think of fall and winter, think warm food. Soups, roasted veggies, and slow-cooker meals are some of the mainstays necessary for building energy and a healthy immune system. In addition to warming your food through preparation, all foods contain certain energetic properties, so eating foods that are warm in quality is just as important as how they are prepared.

The Important of Spleen

In acupuncture, the Spleen is responsible for receiving and extracting nutrients from the food we eat. When foods are warm in their energetic property, as well as prepared in a warm slow-cooked fashion, the Spleen can effectively take the nutrients it receives from the food and produce blood and qi (energy) for the body.

One way to conceptualize this concept is to imagine a bucket of ice water being dumped onto a roaring fire. The fire fizzles out, leaving nothing but warm embers. If the fire represents the Spleen and the ice water signifies cold food, it’s easy to see how eating cold foods can weaken the function of the organ. Cold foods essentially snuff out the Spleen.

The Spleen in Chinese medicine is the control hub for the digestive system. We know from modern medicine that nearly 80 percent of the immune system exists in the gut, so digestive health is critical to strong immunity.

So dust off your Crock-pot and fire up your oven! By eating Spleen-supportive foods, you’ll make it through the cold months with a strong immune system, a warm belly, and a growing reserve of energy for spring.

Is your digestive system functioning as well as it could? Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are extremely effective at treating a wide array of digestive disorders. Call today 973-595-8899 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

7 Ways to Kick It Acupuncture-Style This Summer

Summer is fast approaching. You may be noticing yourself having more energy, feeling more social, or experiencing all-around better moods. This is normal for this time of year, when, from an acupuncture perspective, the Yang—extroverted, lively, enthusiastic, active—aspects of a person are at their peak.

In acupuncture theory, humans are viewed as microcosms of the natural world that surrounds them. Each season is linked with a natural element, organ and emotion. The element, organ and emotion of summer are, respectively, Fire, Heart and joy.

How we feel during summer is largely determined by our constitutional expression of the Fire element. Here are some acupuncture-inspired pointers for maintaining a balanced Fire element, and staying happy and healthy, all summer long.

7 tips for staying healthy this summer

Be active

By remaining active during summer, you work in accordance with the extra Yang energy that’s available to us this time of year. Also, since the Fire element is associated with the Heart system (which includes but is not limited to cardiac function as we think of it in biomedicine), summer is a good time to pay attention to heart health. Exercise keeps blood and oxygen circulating so that proper nutrients can make their way to the rest of your body. Fire types should be cautious about overdoing it with exercise, especially on very hot days or at signs of excessive sweating or face flushing.

Hang out with friends

Characteristics of the Fire element include connection, intimacy, communication and joy. What better way to tap into these qualities than spending time with friends? So have that BBQ, hit that pool party, organize a day at the beach. Nurturing connections during summer not only makes the season more fun but it also helps ease the transition into fall and winter, when we tend to pull inward and spend more time alone.

Talk to strangers

Friends are fun but so are strangers! During the summer months, you may find yourself more inclined to smile at someone in the grocery aisle or spend a few extra minutes chatting up the postman. Again, connection is important this time of year, so if you have the urge to strike up conversation with someone you don’t know, go for it. It’s just your natural Fire coming out to play.


Every element has an associated emotion and expression of that emotion. Fire’s is joy and laughter. When you’re hanging with friends or strangers this summer, crack jokes, appreciate theirs, tell funny stories, then tell them again. Keeping the laughter flowing will keep your Fire burning bright.

Enjoy ‘cool’ foods

In general, acupuncture favors warm foods—that is, foods with warm properties, not necessarily warm from a temperature standpoint. They are thought to ease the digestive process by causing your system to relax and more easily break down food. Cold foods, in contrast, cause contraction and stagnation, which means your body has to work a lot harder to digest. Summer, however, is the one time of year when it’s okay to cool things down diet-wise. It’s not license to chug ice water all day and eat raw salad at every meal, but cooler fare such as watermelon, cucumber and tofu is better tolerated in summer.

Spend time near water

All of acupuncture’s natural elements keep each other in balance but perhaps none have a more complementary relationship than Fire and Water. Maintaining balance between the Heart (Fire) and Kidney (Water) systems is especially crucial because they represent opposite ends of the continumm in terms of how we perceive reality—Heart/Fire is responsible for the way we interface with the external world while Kidney/Water is about our inner life and ancestral/genetic identity. Since in summer there is a natural exaggerated expression of Fire/Heart qualities, being physically near water can be a grounding experience that reminds us of the interconnectedness within and around us.

Get enough sleep

With school out, sun shining into the evenings, and social events revving up, sometimes sleep is the last thing on our minds in summer. It’s natural to sleep fewer hours when daylight is so abundant, but rest should still be a priority, especially since many of us move and sweat more than usual this time of year. Also, sleep in acupuncture is a function of the Heart, the organ of summer. Keeping a regular sleep schedule helps prevent disruption in this aspect of the Heart system, which is prone to imbalance during summer.

The driving principles behind all of these tips are awareness and balance. Know that summer is a time to allow your Fire element to flourish while remaining mindful that the flames, for some, may need to be tamed. With that, happy summer!

Gung Hay Fat Choy! 2017- January 28

Cock-a-doodle-doo! Chinese New Year begins on January 28 with the Year of the Rooster. This is an energetically powerful time to make room for the new-a new life, new hope, and new beginnings.

This is the Year of Fire Rooster-an exciting, eccentric, yet loyal, hardworking, and proud bird.  The Rooster is a symbol of energy.  Why does it wake up in the early hours, right before dawn? Why does it sing and dance when the Sun rises? It intuitively knows when energy shifts and changes in the Earth, and as a fearless leader, it has no qualms about letting the rest of us know.  Are YOU ready to “wake up” and harmonize with the Rooster? If so, this might just be your year to dance with the Rooster.

Happy Lunar New Year





Years of the Monkey: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028. Monkey ranks ninth position in the Chinese Zodiac. They are cheerful and energetic by nature and usually represent flexibility. People under the sign of the Monkey are wise, intelligent, confident, charismatic, loyal, inventive and have leadership. The weaknesses of the Monkeys are being egotistical, arrogant, crafty, restless and snobbish.

The new year is a perfect opportunity to reflect and use that knowledge as a catalyst for change. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help achieve the change you seek as it assists in illness prevention, stress relief, minimizes aches and pains, improves energy, and you find yourself in better balance. This calm and clarity strengthens your resolve as you start the new year with new goals.

Seasonal acupuncture treatments serve to nurture and nourish your kidney Qi, which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress and aid in healing, preventing illness, and increasing vitality.

Call for your appointment 973-595-8899 today and let us help you prepare for the year ahead!

Honoring Our Master

The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) community is saddened by the death of a distinguished scholar, healer, and researcher, Dr Richard Teh-Fu Tan, who passed away in late 2015.

Dr. Tan touched the lives of countless people in immeasurable ways. He was beloved by thousands of people across the globe for his wisdom, inspiration, humor and compassion. He tirelessly shared his teachings with innumerable practitioners for three decades.

Dr. Tan’s wish is that the Balance Method lives on well beyond his death. It was his passion to spread his knowledge of Chinese Medicine to as many practitioners as possible. he asks all practitioners to apply his valuable teachings each day while practicing the art of acupuncture in clinical practice. In this way, we will keep his spirit alive with each patient that we treat.