Fall is the Season of Letting Go

In Chinese Medicine, fall is associated with the metal element, as well as grief and the lungs. These may seem a strange combination of concepts, but they all relate. Think of the lungs, they take in fresh air to be transformed into something essential and life sustaining, then also expel compounds which would be toxic … Continue reading Fall is the Season of Letting Go

Fasting with a Buddy

There's been a lot of research in the past decade or so on the health benefits of periodic fasting. The science shows it's about much more than simple weight loss. It can help with cellular rejuvenation, prevention of diabetes, reduction of systemic inflammation, and much more. I've always been a fad dieter, so when my … Continue reading Fasting with a Buddy

Mocktails! Tonics for Liver Health and More

There's a movement called sober curious which is for people who maybe aren't clinically alcoholics, but would like to break out of just the default of a glass or two of wine after work. Before that, there was dry January. And of course, there are 12 step programs and those who have maybe always abstained … Continue reading Mocktails! Tonics for Liver Health and More

Sleep from a Chinese Medicine Perspective

As a sleep coach, I have been increasingly building insights from Chinese Medicine into my practice. Before we delve too much into sleep, it is important to note that in Chinese Medicine, there are 5 elements which correspond to many things, including personality. You can take a quiz here which should give you a fairly … Continue reading Sleep from a Chinese Medicine Perspective

Cupping for Pain, Sports & Sleep

In his 2016 Olympics appearance, Michael Phelps introduced much of the world to an ancient practice of cupping. Many people were puzzled by the strange, bruise-like marks visible on his skin. These days, cupping has become somewhat mainstream and is now found in many sports medicine, physical therapy, and massage practice. But it's roots go … Continue reading Cupping for Pain, Sports & Sleep

Summer is Meant to be the Season of Joy. Can it Still Be?

Joy. What a strange, borderline inappropriate topic to wax philosophical about during a pandemic. But the world still spins on its axis. Literally. And that axial tilt brings in the changing on the seasons without regard to public health, economic collapse, or personal suffering. In Chinese medicine, there are 5 seasons corresponding to 5 elements … Continue reading Summer is Meant to be the Season of Joy. Can it Still Be?

De-Stress with Ear Seeds

Close up with adhesive ear seeds on the spleen and shen men points As Chinese medicine practices become more mainstream, both Good Morning America and the New York Times have highlighted growing interest in using a treatment known as ear seeds for health. I remember when a friend showed up to a hangout with what … Continue reading De-Stress with Ear Seeds

Taking a Stab at Veganism

A month or so ago, I wrote about learning I have allergies to dairy and eggs. As a celiac, this was adding insult to injury. I tried a few weeks of avoiding those foods and after a time, I thought - hell, I'm barely eating any meat anyway these days, maybe I should try going … Continue reading Taking a Stab at Veganism

Prone Breathing: It’s not just for COVID!

You may have heard about how hospital are experimenting with putting critically ill COVID-19 patients on their stomach, in some cases even while intubated. This is quite a novel idea for most medical practitioners in the West. As a rule, patients are generally on their backs (supine) or side (lateral). But our physicians have been … Continue reading Prone Breathing: It’s not just for COVID!

The Chinese Organ Clock

In Chinese Medical theory, there are peak times for activities of the various organs. This concept is useful because when we are out of balance with disease or other issues, sometimes we can find clues based on the time of the symptoms. The above graphic shows us not only when each organ (as conceived in … Continue reading The Chinese Organ Clock

Moxibustion: Feel the Burn!

OMG, the grey hairs! The self-cut bangs! Today, we cover a rather obscure topic. Most people are familiar with acupuncture and herbs as key components of Chinese medicine. But there's another commonly used treatment which hasn't gone as mainstream in the West - moxibustion. This involves burning a plant called mugwort near various parts of … Continue reading Moxibustion: Feel the Burn!

Front Row Seat to a Panic Attack

In the US, a poll just came out showing nearly half of Americans are already reporting mental health impacts from Coronavirus, with around 20% reporting severe impacts. I was lucky (?) enough to have already had a year or so under my belt of living with anxiety, so I went into these COVID times pretty … Continue reading Front Row Seat to a Panic Attack

Maintaining Your Immune System

We all know to wash our hands and maintain social distancing. These go without saying now. But how else can we bolster our immune system? How can we maintain our health whether we are healthcare workers rushing into the front lines of battle, or those stuck at home and suffering from isolation and likely facing … Continue reading Maintaining Your Immune System

Preparing to Grieve

This blog is written for healthcare workers specifically, though we are all likely to lose loved ones in the days ahead. Charcoal Drawing- Jess Schmidt I "graduated" from regular visits with my psychologist a few months ago, but decided I should check in this week, because I knew the days and weeks ahead may be … Continue reading Preparing to Grieve

Integrative Medicine and Coronavirus

Caution: This posting is meant to share interesting science coming out related to COVID-19. It is not meant to suggest that you look to herbs or any other form of alternative medicine in lieu of recommended guidelines. Stay home and wash your hands! I mean, really. How can you write about anything else this week? … Continue reading Integrative Medicine and Coronavirus

Qi Gong- Meditation in Motion

Confession: Yoga just isn't my jam. I know it's life for a lot of people and it's clearly beneficial for health and well-being. I just don't follow directions well, and I'm not particularly spacial or graceful. Form is so important, and I feel inept and like I never can translate the pose of the instructor … Continue reading Qi Gong- Meditation in Motion

Tap into the Energy of Spring!

It is now officially meteorological spring! In Chinese Medicine theory, there are five seasons corresponding to the five elements/phases. In this blog, we’ll be talking about each season in the context of this framework as each season approaches. First, a little bit about each of the elements, which feed into one another as part of … Continue reading Tap into the Energy of Spring!

What is Integrative Medicine?

We at Integrative Alchemists are students and practitioners of integrative medicine, but what does that mean?  There are a lot of terms out there that can cause confusion about approaches beyond traditional (Western) medicine.  Below are some basic definitions. Some of these approaches can overlap in places. Once we’ve defined them, we can talk about … Continue reading What is Integrative Medicine?

The Pineal Gland- Located at the Intersection of Science and Spirituality

The pineal gland is small but mighty and the title of "master gland" is well deserved. This gland is capable of receiving environmental stimuli and converting it to action potential (Most, 2020). It literally can transform the light/dark into a totally different form of energy. Wisneski and Anderson explain that the pineal gland is the "root … Continue reading The Pineal Gland- Located at the Intersection of Science and Spirituality

What is Qi? A brief introduction…

Qi, pronounced like the “chee” in cheese, is the vital life force energy that animates all life. In the human body, it flows through channels, but cannot be seen or measured. Qi governs the flow of blood, the function of organs, and even our emotional states. In a normal state of health, qi flows smoothly … Continue reading What is Qi? A brief introduction…