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Breathe Easier with Chinese Wisdom

Nourishing our Metal and Water Elements During Intense Smoke and Heat:

As I was walking my kids to school yesterday morning, convinced that a walk would help the depressing fog in my head that kept me up half the night, I finally felt the intensity of the lingering smoke here in Ashland. Overwhelming feelings of fear, confusion, and the pain of not being able to take a deep breath, clouded over my senses and made the once enchanting realm of Ashlandia appear as a war zone: people everywhere with masks, moving to their cars or homes as fast as they can, and no wildlife to be seen except a solo ominous raven.

I moved to this forested wonderland in late May from Santa Cruz, CA, a beach town which has fresh ocean air that I’m missing dearly…except for the fact that immense traffic pollution, crime and inhumane costs of living are on the rise, a sacrifice for residing in one of the most profoundly gorgeous coastal areas in the nation, one I could only bear so long while raising 2 kids. The obvious truth is, a wide array of weather, climate, pollution, and human-related problems are happening all around the nation, and no matter where we live, we must find ways to help ourselves and our community heal and deal with the constantly changing realities we face.

Later on in the morning, I got called in to treat a patient who has been seeking relief from the smoke. As soon as I changed my outfit and my mindset, I entered the sacred healing space I have been so blessed to work in and immediately, my perspective changed as well. We are all in these challenges together and we all have individual tools and resources to help each other feel supported through these challenging times. Being able to provide my skills and focus on the health of another being, I felt so much lighter, and though it still hurt to breathe deeply, it didn’t feel like such a burden.

Sadness is the emotion related to the lung organ in Chinese medicine, so if you’re also feeling depressed and moving slowly lately, it’s a good time to get in touch with this emotion and understand how it’s simply our body’s reaction to the burden our lungs face. The emotion that can overcome the feeling of grief is joy through live connectivity, so it’s a great time to be with family and friends or at any social places.

Being able to offer ancient Chinese medical treatments and wisdom fills my life with a new sense of abundance, one that comes deep within a sacred well of limitless energy. Our world’s energy seems to be burning off and creating more and more heat, a concept in Chinese philosophy that requires the still wisdom and yin energy of the water element to control. What are we doing as a culture to cultivate this yin energy to balance out the excessive heat in our lives? Are we burning our metaphorical candles at both ends to just have the energy to get through our busy schedules?

Luckily, Ashland is a generally health-conscious and laid-back place compared to the majority of tourist destination towns in the country. However, we could all use help learning how to preserve our essence – the water element deep within ourselves that provides the base energy for the rest of our elements to thrive. One serious concern that Chinese medical practitioners have is the amount of coffee that is drank so regularly that it’s become as habitual as drinking water for many people. Coffee creates energy by basically burning our essence, stimulating our adrenal glands to keep our metabolism rapidly moving so we can feel alert. Chinese herbology books hardly even mentioned coffee throughout the ages because Chinese herbal masters saw very little practical use for the substance when compared to the other herbs that were available. The fact that coffee is addicting, creates withdrawals when stopped, builds up heat within and dries out the body, depletes our essence, and is massively produced in sensitive areas around the world once covered in ancient-growth rain forests (which are considered to be “the lungs of the Earth” because of the ability for the bio-diverse plants, trees, and soil to hold in carbon dioxide), it is a beverage that needs serious scrutiny and sustainable replacements. One of these replacements is dandelion root, which has a similar taste to coffee and detoxifies while soothing the energy of our livers (which are under a lot of stress).

There are many simple things we can address in our lifestyle and diet that can help detoxify our body and strengthen our lung energy. I’ll list them off so they are easier to read and get the gist of:

  • Fish oils and other omega 3 sources (like Algae for vegans/vegetarians) have been shown to improve lung function.

  • Regular bowel movements are crucial for detoxification to occur. According to Chinese medicine, the large intestine is the metal element organ related to the lung, so any heat in the lung is transferred here which can cause stagnation. Magnesium can support this. My favorite way to take magnesium is as a powder stirred into water. Magnesium citrate moves bowels most effectively. Use magnesium glycate if loose stools/diarrhea are an issue.

  • PEARS! We’re lucky here in the Rogue Valley as pears are in season now! I just went to the farmer’s market on Tuesday and the Asian pears are delightful! Pears moisten the lungs and relieve dryness. I love cutting them in half, adding honey and cinnamon (raw organic honey also is great at moistening the throat and lungs and has immune boosting properties), and cooking them in the oven until golden brown. This makes them even easier to digest (especially with those who are weak, fatigued, or have loose stools).

  • Tylenol: Teens who regularly take acetaminophen (Tylenol) in an international study were twice as likely to have asthma (currently) as those who did not. There are so many holistic approaches to fevers and pain in children: please reach out and ask a natural health care provider (including me!) for alternative options if needed.

  • Acupuncture, tuina, cupping, and guasha: Regular Chinese medical treatments during this smoky time is highly recommended, especially to those with chronic ailments. Acupuncture boosts our immune system into gear so it can eliminate the toxins we are breathing in. Tuina (massage), cupping, and guasha (scraping) rapidly moves those toxins out of stagnated areas so we can physically feel relief and loosened up after the treatment.

It’s an honor to have the opportunity to help all who I can out here in beautiful Ashland, Oregon. I offer free 15-minute consultations to all new patients, so please feel free to reach out and see how I can help you on your individual path, and we will find ways to breathe smoothly and more easily together.

~Eleyah Knight L.Ac., Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine

To schedule an acupuncture treatment with me in a community atmosphere for only $25, call 541-301-7040.

Or, you can schedule online by clicking here.

To schedule a free, 15-minute consultation, please email me at:

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