Traditional Chinese Medicine for a Healthy Autumn Season

Traditional Chinese Medicine for a Healthy Autumn Season

 In the traditional Chinese medicine five element theory, autumn is associated with the metal element. On an energetic level, the metal element represents organization, boundary setting, and communication. It is a good time of year to decide what you want to prioritize in your life and what you want to let go of. As the trees shed their leaves to make room for new buds in the springtime, our bodies also go through similar changes. It’s the transitional period into the most yin time of year as we go more inward.

The lungs and the large intestine are the organs associated with the metal element and they assist in the elimination and cleansing of the body. Autumn is the time for nourishing and strengthening these organs on a physical and energetic level to help us let go of that which no longer serves us.

The lungs are called the “tender organ” because they are susceptible to the wind and cold. During the change to cooler temperatures, it’s important to dress properly and wear scarves and sweaters to cover the neck and throat. Fall weather tends to be very dry, and this dryness can damage the lungs. It’s especially important to stay
hydrated throughout autumn to help the lungs stay healthy. Drink hot teas with ginger and honey to keep the throat moistened.

This time of year has an abundance of wholesome fruits and vegetables. Try to incorporate seasonal foods into your diet such as squash, artichokes, arugula, spinach, beets, cabbage, and leeks. Chinese medicine recommends eating lots of soups and stews. Transition away from the cold, raw, crisp foods of summer and begin to eat warm, cooked foods. Switch out cold cereal with hot oatmeal, iced tea with warm tea, and raw salads with oven-roasted root veggies. Add in pungent foods to your cooking that benefits the lungs, such as onions, ginger, garlic, or mustard. If you want something sweet, stew seasonal fruits like apples, pears, figs, and persimmons.

Ginger Poached Pears

1 cup sweet dessert wine

One 1″ piece fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup of maple syrup or honey

4-6 ripe pears, peeled

1/3 cup slivered almonds

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup raisins


In a saute pan over medium heat, add 2 cups water, dessert wine, fresh ginger, cinnamon stick, maple
syrup, or honey. Bring to a simmer and stir to combine.

Add the pears, turning occasionally to cook evenly. Allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the pears are tender through. Then remove the pears to a serving plate. Continue to cook the liquid for another 15 minutes, or until it has thickened to a sauce-like consistency and reduced to half. Top the pears with the sweet poaching sauce and,
if you’d like, top with nuts and raisins.

Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher.
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Home Remedies for Pregnancy-Related Nausea

Home Remedies for Pregnancy-Related Nausea

An estimated 3 in 4 expecting moms suffer from pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting and it’s often the first sign of pregnancy. The natural increase in hormones, especially human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, and estrogen are said to trigger pregnancy-related nausea.

As awful as pregnancy-related nausea can make women feel, it is a positive indicator that the placenta is developing well since hCG comes from a placenta that is healthy and growing normally. Women with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy may have a lower rate of miscarriage.

Here are some helpful remedies to help reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy:

Freshly grate 1 tsp. ginger and add to 1 cup of boiling water. Let simmer for 10 minutes and then drink it as tea.

Cardamom seeds improve appetite and relieve nausea and vomiting. Chew on 3 to 4 cardamom seeds, or mix ¼ tsp ground cardamom into warm water.

Many women successfully reduce their nausea and vomiting by eating small meals several times throughout the day. Try eating a small amount of protein or fat every 2 hours.

Remember to eat foods rich in nutrients such as bananas, berries, and yogurt (preferably very low in sugar).

Chinese medicine recommends including more pumpkin, squash, oatmeal, and whole grains to help with digestive Qi.

Avoid foods high in sugar, processed foods, fried foods, caffeine, and soda.

Eat good quality fat such as coconut oil and avocados.

Get adequate protein in soups and stews with slow-cooked proteins (meat, fish, beans, legumes) and veggies.

Incorporate vitamin B6 in sublingual form.

Stay hydrated

Use peppermint oil in a diffuser.

Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher.
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information, visit

Morning Yoga to Welcome the Day

Morning Yoga to Welcome the Day

Before we get into a simple yoga routine that can help us greet the new day and meet our challenges with grace, it’s important to remember to practice safely and with care. Back out of a stretch if it’s too intense and modify as necessary. 

Focused breathing is key to being able to relax in yoga poses. A gentle and calming technique is called Ujjayi or ocean breath.

Inhale for 5 seconds through the nose.

With your mouth closed, exhale through your nose for 5 seconds while constricting the back of your throat, as if you’re
 saying “ha”.

The inhalation and exhalation should sound like the tides of the ocean.

Hold each posture for 3 to 5 cycles of breath. 

Mountain Pose

This is the foundation for all of the standing poses and improves posture and stability.

Stand up tall and bring your feet parallel. 

Bring focus to your core and engage your abdominal muscles. 

Feel a gentle lift through the thigh muscles. 

Feel grounded through your feet.

Relax your shoulders. 

Side Stretch 

With an inhale, gently lift your arms overhead.

Grab your right wrist with your left hand.

Side bend to the left, giving your right wrist a gentle pull.

Come back through the center and do the opposite side. 

Forward Fold

This is a very good pose to open the hamstrings, stretch the back muscles, and make the spine supple by allowing decompression of the vertebrae.

Fold forward over your thighs, hinging from the hips.

Keep a small bend in the knees.

Bring the hands to the floor, shins, or grab opposite elbows if the hamstrings are tight.

Relax the neck and shoulders. 

Downward Dog 

This pose stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and allows traction of the spine.

From a forward-fold, plant your hands firmly into the ground.

Step your feet back one foot at a time so that they are hips distance apart.

Lift your hips and engage your thighs while putting your weight into the heels.

Keep a small bend in your knees.

Peddle out your knees to open the calves and hamstrings.


From a downward dog position, push forward into a high push-up.

Keep your shoulders in a straight line with your wrists.

Engage your abdomen and thigh muscles.

Push your heels back for a calf stretch. 

Keep a slight lift in your tailbone to protect your low back.

Relax your neck. 

Cobra Pose

As a heart-opening pose, the cobra pose stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders, and abdomen. It also strengthens the spine, and promotes flexibility.

From a plank position, lower down to the floor onto your belly.

Place your palms beneath your shoulders.

Elbows tuck toward your sides.

Press your pubic bone into the floor.

For a mild backbend press into hands, leaving elbows slightly bent as you lift your head and chest away from the floor.

For a deeper backbend, push all the way up with a full extension of arms.

Puppy Pose

This pose stretches the spine, shoulder, and arms. It is a deeply relaxing stretch for the back, which also helps calm the nervous system.

From a tabletop position, walk your hands forward and sink the hips back toward the heels.

Lower the forehead to the mat and relax the neck.

Actively stretch arms forward while pulling hips toward heels.

Tiger Pose and Cross Arch Stretch

This pose is a balance and back strengthening pose. It also stretches the psoas and quadriceps muscles.

From a tabletop position, extend the right hand out in front of you.

Extend the left leg out behind you. 

Engage your core.

When stable, lift the left leg off the ground.

Then draw the left knee to the right elbow and hold in an abdominal crunch position.

Release the crunch position and once again, extend the right hand out in front and left leg back behind you.

Bend the left knee while reaching around with the right hand to grab the left foot.

Repeat the sequence on the other side. 

Cat-Cow Stretch 

This pose releases tension in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. It also improves digestion, circulation, and relaxes the mind.

Start in a tabletop position with knees under hips and wrists under shoulders.

For cat pose, press into the hands, tuck tailbone, and round back.

For cow pose, arch the back and lift the chin and tailbone to the sky.

Low Lunge and Hamstring Stretch  

This stretch improves focus, balance, and stability. It stretches your arms, legs, shoulders, neck, belly, groin, and ankles while energizing the entire body.  

From a tabletop position, bring your left foot forward between your hands.

Keep the left knee at a 90-degree angle so that the knee is in line with the ankle. 

Slide the right knee back on the mat until there is a comfortable stretch in the right thigh and groin.

Reach arms overhead and create
a mild back arch.

Then plant your hands on either side of the mat and sit back toward your right heel for a hamstring stretch.

Repeat to the other side. 

Wide Leg Standing Forward
Fold with Clasped Hands

This stretches the hamstrings, inner thighs, deltoids, and biceps.

From a wide-legged stance, with feet parallel, bring hands to hips.

Fold forward, hinging from the hips.

Clasp hands behind you and raise them away from the sacrum.

Seated Spinal Twist

This helps stretch the spine, shoulders, and hips. It massages the internal organs, improves digestion, relieves sciatica, as well as low back and neck pain.

Sit with legs stretched out in front of you.

Pull one knee towards your body and sit up tall.

Twist slowly toward your bent knee, wrapping the opposite elbow to the outside of the bent knee. 

Repeat on the opposite side.

Seated Side Stretch 

Sit comfortably with one leg in front of the other or cross-legged.

Place your right hand down on the ground for support.

Extend your left arm up to the sky as you reach and bend laterally to your right.

For a deeper stretch, place your right hand on your left knee and extend your left arm up as you bend laterally to the right. 

Repeat on the opposite side. 

Bridge Pose

Lay down onto your back.

Feet are planted hips distance apart.

Bend knees so they are pointing upward.

Fingertips should be able to graze the backs of the heels.

Press through the feet and squeeze thighs slightly inward as you lift hips and sternum off the mat.

Clasp hands together for a deeper stretch.

Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher.
For more
information, visit


The Season strong of the Fire

The Season strong of the Fire

Consciously engaging with the environment’s seasonal transitions is an insightful way to align our physical bodies with the natural world. Chinese Medicine believes that incorporating proper seasonal nutrition and lifestyle practices into our daily lives can help us regulate disharmony in our bodies.

Chinese Medicine recognizes five distinct seasons: winter, spring, summer, late summer, and autumn. Summer belongs to the element of fire. It is the most yang time of year because it is the season that is overflowing with abundant energy, sunshine, hot weather, longer days, and shorter nights. It is said that the heart, mind, and spirit are ruled by the fire element and joy is its emotional expression. It is the time to engage with life and embody the yang attributes of the self. Summer is about expansion, growth, activity, and creativity. It is a time of year that reminds us to live our lives to the fullest.

Lifestyle practices that help us cultivate our inner fire element include dancing, creative movement, singing, and other forms of outward self-expression. Allow yourself to stay out a little later, socialize with people who bring you joy, make time to go on an adventure, and cultivate creativity.

During summer, wake up earlier in the morning to take advantage of the full yang energy of daytime and go to bed later in the evening. There is plenty of time to rest in the winter with its darker and shorter days. Take an afternoon siesta during the warmest parts of the day to help rejuvenate you from the heat.

Eating more yin-type foods will cool down the body in the hot weather. Yin foods include lettuce, cucumbers, watercress, endives, spinach, tomato, yogurt, mint, dill, cilantro, apple, kiwi, lemon, watermelon, and pineapple. Try to avoid excessively spicy foods because they add too much heat to the body.

Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated. Some nourishing drinks aside from water include watermelon juice and lemon or cucumber-infused water. Other beverages that cool the body down include green, mint, and Chrysanthemum teas.

Chrysanthemum flowers have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to treat respiratory problems, high blood pressure, and hyperthyroidism. To add more of a “cooling” effect on the body, an adaptogen- American ginseng, can be used in this tea blend to maximize health benefits.

Cooling Golden Flower Summer Tea Recipe

2 cups of dried chrysanthemum flowers

2 tablespoons of American Ginseng powder

1/4 cup dried Goji Berries

10 cups of water

Honey or sugar to sweeten as needed


Bring chrysanthemum flowers and water to a boil in a pot. Reduce heat and simmer for less than a minute. Take out the chrysanthemum using a strainer. Add ginseng and simmer for another 5 minutes. Take out ginseng using a strainer. Add honey or sugar to taste.  Fill the pitcher with ice and pour the tea into the pitcher.

Watermelon Mint Salad

6 cups cubed seedless watermelon

2 tablespoons minced fresh mint

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil


Add all ingredients to a large bowl and gently toss.

Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher.
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information, visit

Managing Our Emotions

Managing Our Emotions

Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems. – Epictetus

Consciousness is an unending tide of emotions. Every moment that we are awake (and often asleep) we are inundated with both remarkable and unremarkable emotions. All emotions are a natural part of our reaction to stimulus. Positive feelings such as joy and accomplishment can enhance and enrich our life experience, while emotions of fear and caution can help us navigate danger. The broad spectrum of emotions can be an intoxicating experience and allow us to fully engage and connect with the gift of life.

As emotions increase in intensity, we become more conscious of them and they can quickly become pathological. In Chinese Medicine, too many heightened emotions can become pathological and hurtful to the health of the body and mind in the same way a poor diet can make us sick. Too much joy can become manic and make us anxious. Too much bliss can make us gluttonous and greedy. Too much worry can become an obsession. Too much anger can turn into rage.

While it’s important to engage in each emotion so that we have a full life experience, it’s equally as important to learn to process and release them so that they don’t create illness. For example, in my acupuncture practice, I have found that people with chronic tension headaches or teeth grinding often have stored up anger and resentment. This is because energy flows throughout the body and negative emotions disrupt the smooth flow of our energy. Intense emotions act like a traffic jam in the body. Learning techniques to help us process our emotions is an important tool to avoid making ourselves sick.

One of the most important tools to help us move through our emotions is breathwork. There is nothing more powerful than this. Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing technique is very helpful for reducing anxiety and controlling or reducing anger responses.

To use the 4-7-8 technique, focus on the following breathing pattern:

empty the lungs of air

breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds

hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds

exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds

repeat the cycle up to 4 times

Movement is our best friend when it comes to getting our emotions “unstuck. If I find myself having trouble releasing nagging feelings, I will often do a quick cardio routine that allows me to move the energy through my body both fast and efficiently. The quick routine includes these exercises and can be done as often as needed:

30 seconds of jumping jacks

30 seconds of jogging in place

30 seconds of holding a plank

30 seconds bicycle crunches

Other important tactics to help us process our emotions include the following:

mental health counseling


yoga and Qi Gong

creative expression through things like art and dance

bodywork such as acupuncture and massage

Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher. For more information, visit

Natural Care for Skin and Hair

Natural Care for Skin and Hair

The beauty industry is quick to point out what’s new, innovative, and “guaranteed” to make us more gorgeous. But before there were modern-day emulsifiers, preservatives, thickeners, artificial colors, and fragrances, there were ancient practices used by indigenous people from all around the globe that utilized nature in its simplest form to enhance their beauty and self-care rituals. Passed from generation to generation, these practices have withstood the test of time, and involve simple, healthy ingredients that can be found in your kitchen cupboard or your garden.

Here are some of my favorite beauty rituals from around the world, and the best part is, they don’t break the bank and they’re free of chemicals.

Facial Treatments

Ayurveda is an ancient lifestyle medicine from India and its mantra is that “beauty comes from within.” These 5,000-year-old self-care practices are designed to support the healthy functioning of your body. When you honor yourself and your body in this way, it is said that vitality will illuminate through you like Lakshmi herself, the goddess of beauty.

Some common facial treatments in Ayurvedic medicine include the following:

Rosewater comes from rose petals that have been steeped in distilled water, and when used as a facial toner, it has strong anti-inflammatory and hydrating benefits. You can spray rosewater on your face throughout the day to keep it refreshed. The scent of rose also elevates the mind and spirit.

Neem oil can be used as a spot treatment for acne or discoloration. Use a cotton swab to apply it directly to pimples or spots of minor inflammation and leave it overnight.

Aloe Vera isn’t just for sunburns. It makes the skin smooth, supple, and toned. It can be applied topically, like a toner or serum, underneath a moisturizer.

Dry Brushing for Body Care

Dry Brushing is another Ayurvedic practice that uses a natural bristle dry brush on your body. The mechanical action of dry brushing is excellent for exfoliating dry winter skin. It also helps detoxify your skin by increasing blood circulation and promoting lymph drainage. It has the additional benefit of stimulating your nervous system, which has an invigorating effect.

Starting with your feet, brush in gentle, upward, circular motions toward the heart. Make your way to your legs, torso, and arms. Then rinse off in the shower. Dry off and do some self-massage with your favorite oil, such as olive, avocado, coconut, almond, or sesame oil. Do not use dry brushing directly on skin that’s broken, which includes cuts, scrapes, lesions, sores, eczema, psoriasis, or burned skin. Stop the practice if the skin becomes irritated or inflamed.

Hair Oiling

The history of hair oiling can be traced back to many parts of the world. Research on mummies shows that ancient Egyptians used plant and animal fats on their hair, and in ancient Greece, women relied on olive oil to condition their luscious locks.

The Berber women of Morocco have been using Argan oil in their beauty rituals for thousands of years by applying it to their hair, as well as their face, nails, and entire body. Not only does Argan oil have a wonderful scent, but it is also loaded with rich antioxidants, vitamin E, and fatty acids. It can help make the hair shine, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, treat scars, acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Ayurvedic medicine has a ritual known as Murdha Taila, which translates to “anointing the scalp with oil.” Indian women take great pride in their crowning glory, and for thousands of years, they have kept their tresses lovely with nourishing scalp oils made from coconuts, herbs, flowers, and spices. Some common ingredients include tulsi (Indian holy basil), hibiscus flowers, curry leaves, and fenugreek seeds.

Hair oiling and scalp massage promote thick, lustrous, healthy hair. Beyond the hair-fortifying aspect of it, this calming and relaxing practice is very grounding due to the many nerve endings on your scalp. Massaging the scalp can improve circulation and slough off dead skin cells, which is said to help hair growth.

Apply coconut or sesame oil to the crown of your head, working downward and outward with your fingertips. Massage your scalp using a pinching motion, bringing the fingertips and thumbs together, then releasing. Move hands forward and back, then side to side, covering the entire head. After the massage, comb the oil through your hair and leave it on for 30 minutes as you relax. For deeper conditioning, cover with a shower cap and leave it overnight. Gently rinse with a sulfite-free shampoo and finish with your typical hair care routine.

Soak it Away

It is said that Cleopatra’s most sacred beauty ritual was taking a bath with dead sea salt, aromatic flowers, olive oil, and milk. Bath soaks have been soothing muscle aches, destressing the mind, softening the skin, and lightening the mood for millennia. I have adopted my own Cleopatra bath ritual and no bath is complete without olive, almond, sesame, lavender, ylang-ylang, or eucalyptus oils, as well as Epsom or Himalayan salts. I still haven’t been courageous enough to pour milk in the tub, as Cleopatra did, but maybe one day.

Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher.
For more
information, visit