Monday, January 22, 2018

Chinese New Year 2018 – Year of the Yang Earth Dog - Dr. Lia Andrews

It is Oben’s favorite year in the 12 year cycle of Chinese Astrology; the year of the dog.

General predictions……

Is this a good year for you?

Yes, as long as you position yourself well. Most astrologists would say 1/3 of people are doomed, 1/3 are cautiously lucky, and the rest just get more of the same, but I believe my answer is more Daoist. There is always a way to benefit. It all comes down to the 5 Elements and Yin/Yang.

First, what about the Dog? The 12 animals are a mnemonic (memory) device to remember 5 element/Yin/Yang pairings.

Dog = Yang Earth

it is also a Yang Earth year.

This means a lot of Earth and a lot of Yang energy coming in.

The Good = groundedness, things coming to fruition, loyalty, networking, nurturing

The Bad = stuck, stubborn

Find your 4 Pillar chart or Get a Reading

I am a Water day element – this means I need to be careful with Earth overacting on my water – health take care of my Kidneys. Be careful not to get stuck in my creativity.

Wood controls Earth and also fuels Fire

Metal drains Earth and Fuels Water

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Glossary of Terms - Dr. Lia Andrews

This is a glossary of common terms in Traditional Chinese Medicine excerpted from the book, 7 Times a Woman. If you do not see a term you want defined, please see Appendix B in the book.

Acupuncture (针砭, zhēnbiān, or 针刺, zhēncì) – Refers to inserting tiny needles into specific points in the body called acupuncture points. Acupuncture points (also used for acupressure) are places where energy pools along energy pathways. The greater concentrations of Qi (energy) located at acupuncture points make them more powerful locations to move Qi through the entire channel.

Blood (血, xuè) – In Traditional Chinese Medicine contains the Qi and houses the Spirit. Blood is the physical manifestation of Qi and is inseparable from it. Qi gives life to the Blood, while Blood gives Qi physical form. Blood is moistening and lubricates the sinews and tendons and nourishes the skin and hair.

Jing (Essence) (精, jīng) – The product of what is inherited from the parents and what is taken in from the environment (through eating and breathing). It is stored in the Kidneys but also circulates throughout the body. It is influenced by diet, lifestyle, and herbs. It relates to the individual’s constitution which is possible, yet difficult to alter. Kidney Jing guides our maturation, development, and reproduction. It is the slow, fluid movement of the Kidney Jing that is described in the 7 year cycles women experience.

Meridians (经线, jīngxiàn) – The pathways or circuits of energy flow through the body, also called Channels.

Moxibustion (moxa) (艾炷灸, àizhùjiŭ) – A central therapy in Traditional Chinese Medicine, often used with acupuncture during treatment. The leaves of Ai Ye (mugwort) are dried then formed into cones, sticks, or left loose, after which it is called “moxa.” Moxa can be burned directly or indirectly on acupuncture points to warm the meridians and stimulate the flow of Qi.

Qi (气, qì) – Literally translates as “life force energy” or “vital energy.” It is insubstantial. Qi can be felt (and seen by some), but it does not have form. It is what enlivens the body; like electricity that lights up a house. Qi has six functions within the body: transforming, transporting, holding, raising, protecting, and warming.

Shen (神, shén) – The spirit of the Heart and can also be translated as “consciousness.” In TCM, the Heart houses the Mind. It also refers to the overarching spirit of the person. The Heart Shen is the part of a person that is conscious of being and integrates the other spirits of the four other spirits: the Hun, Po, Yi, and Zhi. Imbalance in the Heart causes the Shen to scatter, leading to mental and emotional disturbances.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) (中医, zhōngyī) – Often used to describe the standardized traditional medicine of China created by post-revolutionary China. It is also used to describe the broader traditional medicine that evolved in China and Taiwan. Some propose using a broader term such as Traditional Asian Medicine to include Japanese, Korean, and other evolutions of the medicine. TCM relies on acupuncture, moxibustion, qigong, herbal medicine, cupping, gua sha, and massage. In Asian countries it also includes bonesetting and chiropractic adjustments.

Yang (阳, yáng) – Relates to the insubstantial, Qi, the sun, heat, movement, excess, rising, morning, back side of the body. Exists only in relation to Yin.

Yin (阴, yīn)– Relates to substantial, Blood and body fluids, the moon, cold, stillness, deficiency, sinking, evening, front side of the body. Exists only in relation to Yang.

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The Basics of Postpartum Recovery - Dr. Lia Andrews

Postpartum Recovery is a set of practices and nutritional guidelines for the first month after giving birth. It is based on the ancient Chinese practice of Zuo Yue Zi (or “sitting the month”) in which postpartum women and newborns were recovered for 30-40 days after birth with the love and support of extended family. Zuo Yue Zi turned a potentially draining experience into a ritual of rejuvenation. Postpartum traditions such as Zuo Yue Zi existed cross-culturally to protect the health of mother and child. Times have changed and most modern mothers do not have the network of support our ancestors had. Postpartum Recovery is the modern evolution of this tradition, modified to support women now.

What Postpartum Recovery Promises

  • Full Recovery of the Body. Postpartum Recovery brings the waist down to pre-pregnancy shape, prevents organ prolapse (which can cause urinary incontinence), and restores the breasts.
  • Hormonal Balance. By nourishing Qi and Blood and providing adequate rest, a woman’s body is able to fully recover a normal menstrual cycle and healthy hormone production.
  • Boost Health of the Baby. Proper diet and herbs promote top quality breast milk as well as a relaxed, restored mother (two things that will make any baby thrive).
  • Minimal Postpartum Symptoms. Avoid or quickly treat postpartum depression, uterine prolapse, joint pain, mastitis, inadequate milk production, fatigue, and low libido.
  • Increased Fertility. Women are increasingly not recovering hormonal balance after giving birth, reducing their chances to have more children. Postpartum Recovery brings your body back to a pre-pregnancy state, or better.
  • Vitality and Youthfulness. Postpartum Recovery will leave you strong, revitalized, and with plump, glowing skin (no more dark spots).

What Postpartum Recovery Includes

Each woman will want to adapt Postpartum Recovery to meet her needs, however all women need the following for 30-40 days after giving birth:

  • Rest.
  • Nutrition and herbs to properly cleanse and repair the body and promote optimum breast milk production.
  • Connection and support.
  • Abdominal binding.
  • Keeping warm.
  • Avoiding excessive stimulation, stress, or change.

The Stages of Postpartum Recovery

Postpartum Recovery is divided up into three stages.

The first week is Stage 1. During this phase the new mother’s body is at its weakest and most toxic and congested. She has just suffered loss of Qi from delivery as well as Blood and fluid loss. Her body is also trying to expel the lochia (a combination of blood, mucous, and placental tissue discharged through the vagina for 2-4 weeks after birth). Additionally, if she has had a hospital birth, or especially a C-section, her body will also need to clear out medications and anesthesia. Thus Stage 1 has the strictest prohibitions, the greatest rest requirements, and food and herbs that are both nourishing and gently detoxifying.

The second week is Stage 2. The focus shifts to tonifying the Kidneys and contracting the uterus and waist back to pre-pregnancy size. Moving and detoxifying herbs and foods are still used.

The third, fourth, and sometimes fifth week comprise Stage 3. The new mother’s body is cleared enough and strong enough to absorb more intense tonification. She can also enjoy more leniency in her restrictions. This is the time to really build up the vitality of the new mother, and thus her newborn.


For specific Postpartum Recovery practices please see 7 Times a Woman, and the Postpartum Recovery Manual, coming out Summer 2014. The books are based on my own clinical application on what I learned from the works of Dr. Shuqi Zhuang (庄淑旗) and Dr. Fuqing Zhu, and mentorship from Dr. Shaoting Jing and Dr. Jiang Zheng.

Andrews, Lia. “Partial Translation of ‘Postpartum Recovery Program; a Manual of Rules and Recipes for the Postpartum Woman.’” (DAOM capstone, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, 2013).

Andrews, Lia. “The ‘Three Golden Opportunities’: Key Times Women Can Improve or Damage their Health.” (The Journal of Chinese Medicine, October 2013, Number 103).

Andrews, Lia. “7 Times a Woman; Ancient Wisdom on Health & Beauty for Every Stage of Your Life.” (Alcyone Press: San Diego, 2013).

Those who can read traditional Chinese characters may want to check out a foundational source of my information. Zhuang, Shuqi. “Postpartum Recovery Program; a Manual of Rules and Recipes for the Postpartum Woman.” (Taiwan: Guang He Chu Ban She, 2005). ISBN 9578807015. Note: you will need to modify this traditional Taiwanese plan for a Western audience.

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Understand Your Period and Period Care - Dr. Lia Andrews

Menstrual Cycle Overview

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) excels at diagnosing hormonal irregularities and balancing them. Acupuncture and herbs are used to resolve menstrual problems (cramps, PMS, irregularity), infertility, IVF support, and menopausal symptoms. The period cycle itself offers an excellent opportunity to diagnose and address hormonal imbalances.

This basic Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Chart shows an idealized cycle. BBT charts can also be read in TCM terms to assess the health of your cycles. You can make your own BBT chart on paper, using an app like Woman Log, or on a website like Fertility Friend.

It is important for women to be intune with their cycle and modify their lifestyle accordingly. If you are healthy it will help keep you that way. If you have an issue, it will help balance it.


Just before the period, your body temperature drops, indicating the beginning of the Yin phase of your cycle. Menstruation is a time for physical and emotional housecleaning. Old thoughts and hurts are sloughed off with the blood. This is a time to rest and stay warm. Avoid swimming in cold water, cold foods, and exposure to cold drafts. Avoid strenuous exercise or work. This is a time for introspection. Clinically this is the time to move Qi and Blood. Problems during the beginning of this phase indicate Qi and Blood stagnation, while problems at the end of the period indicate Qi and Blood deficiency.


This is Yin and Blood building period where the new tissue grows in preparation for a potential baby. Activity increases. Make sure to get plenty of nutrients. Clinically this is the time to Nourish Blood and Yin. Symptoms aggravated during this phase often indicate Blood and/or Yin deficiency.


Your body temperature spikes and the body moves into Yang phase. This tends to be the time when you are physically at your strongest. Clinically this is the time to move Qi and Blood and warm the Yang. Problems with ovulation can have numerous causes.


This is the Qi and Yang building period. Clinically this is the time to boost Qi and Yang. Problems during this time can indicate either Qi and/or Yang deficiency, or Liver Qi stagnation.

Menstrual Renewal is a set of practices and nutritional guidelines performed during menses and the days after bleeding has ceased. Practicing Menstrual Renewal will:

  • regulate your menstrual cycle
  • plump up your skin, increase moisture, generate an inner glow, and other signs of high female hormone levels
  • eliminate common PMS symptoms such as cramps, bloating, fatigue, migraines, and moodiness.
  • increase fertility (if desired).
  • reduce chances of gynecological diseases.
  • increase work and athletic performance.
  • regulate weight.
  • keep you looking and feeling young longer.

Every menstruating woman should practice Menstrual Renewal. For details on this practice please see the book 7 Times a Woman.

Andrews, Lia. “The ‘Three Golden Opportunities’: Key Times Women Can Improve or Damage their Health.” (The Journal of Chinese Medicine, October 2013, Number 103).

Andrews, Lia. “7 Times a Woman; Ancient Wisdom on Health & Beauty for Every Stage of Your Life.” (Alcyone Press: San Diego, 2013).

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