Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Spring Up to the New Season!

Spring is here! 

Wait. It's only February. What do you mean "Spring is here"? 

Welcome to the Asian Medical Calendar. In Asian medicine, the seasons fall according to the "energy" of a season, so typically you're getting the first hint of a season when the season changes (as opposed to the Roman calendar where you're generally at the zenith of a season before we consider it officially here). 

So it's spring now, when the first plants are waking up and pushing out of the ground. And when we humans first start to feel the itch to do stuff, especially outside stuff. One of the best ways to know it's spring is when the home improvement stores are full of people buying gardening supplies.

In other words: now.

In Asian medicine, spring is a time for action. It is associated with the Wood element in the Five Element system, and also includes things pertaining to muscles, tendons, things that happen on a schedule in the body (sleep, hunger, menstrual cycles, and other functions, often strongly associated with the endocrine system). It is considered influential in our ability to take action, to plan, to be creative, and to defend ourselves and feel angry when our boundaries are violated.

Now is the time to act on your hopes dreams and aspirations. If by chance, you missed my video and blog on resolutions, and haven't made quiet time to really reflect on what you want, you can make some time to evaluate your resolutions from January and make sure they are really what YOU want, not something you have been fed by the people and culture around you. Once you're sure of whay you want, this is the season to move towards those goals.

If you would like help with a health issue that's become more complicated in spring, or would like to find more clarity in using the energy of spring as you move through your life and goals, I am happy to help. I offer acupuncture, herbal therapy, as well as health and life coaching. I would be honored to help you on your journey.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Winter Stillness - Asian Medicine's View

Winter Scene by Teresa Y Green

It is winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. Where I live in Virginia, one snow has come and gone, another one is melting, and there's a possibility of more in a few days. It's also January around the world, and for many people, that means NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS. So we gather up all our dreams and goals, tell ourselves we're "really gonna get serious this year" and dutifully start diets, new exercise programs, new coaching systems, meditation programs, and money management systems.

My entire career is rooted in the belief that growth is important for each individual. Helping people find their path to better health, more joy, improved life and just a more pleasant existence is literally my life's work. But, as I say in the video below, I believe the New Year is not the time to make specific resolutions. 


That's not how winter works in Asian medicine. 

In Asian medicine, each season has its own strengths as far as what activities, body systems, and areas of growth work best. They are organized as part of the Five Element System, which we will be going through as the year progresses. The Five Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, which correspond to Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, respectively. The Water element, which corresponds to Winter, also relates to the health of the Kidneys/Bladder/Adrenals/Bones/Subconscious. 

It works with "the boys in the basement" as Stephen King described the creative forces of the subconscious. It works with the unknown, and the fear of it. It works with contemplation, potential, and ideas that are in the early stages of formation and still have a fuzziness to them.

Doesn't sound like what in coaching we call a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and with a Time Frame). Because it isn't a goal, it's a part of the process of developing a goal. It's also a really important part of life that we often miss in our do-more-faster-to-check-more-off-a-to-do-list world.

What I recommend instead is taking time to dream about what you want. Not how to get it, yet. What are your dreams--not a list of shoulds that make you look good.

The Water element will help you clarify your goals through time for stillness. The next element, Wood, is driven by the same energy that pushes daffodils up in springtime, which is its dominant season. It is associated with the Liver/Gallbladder/Drive/Reproduction/Schedule/Muscles/Tendons. It takes the intentions and desires from the Water element and works to make them real. So if you don't spend your Water time deciding what you want, your Wood element will work from whatever list you have. That's why a lot of New Year's Resolutions look like "Lose Weight," "Get in Shape," "and Make More Money," which we're fed as desires every day in commercials, sales pitches, and media, and less like "Care for Myself with Compassion," "Help My Body Work Its Best," and "Find Meaningful Work and Expect to Be Paid for It." 

If you deal with anxiety, fatigue, feeling burnt out, scattered, overwhelmed, as if your life spark is not burning brightly, your Water element needs recharging. Stillness, dreaming, play, rest, along with some herbs, acupuncture, and some other lifestyle choices to nourish the Water element can help. Giving you Water element the nourishment it needs, especially in this season where it is the star, will help you move towards the accomplishments and goals you actually want as the year unfolds.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Autumn Cleaning

A lovely autumn assortment of trees.

Autumn is here! The cooler days, lovely colors, and pumpkin spice are upon us. 

In Asian medicine, each season has special qualities related to Five Element Theory (learn more about each of them in coming blog posts). Autumn is considered part of the Metal element, and is associated with the Lung and Large Intestine, the color white or gray, the emotions of grief, or nostalgia, and the actions of sorting and discarding what no longer works for you. 

Autumn is therefore a great time to clean. I've always thought of "spring cleaning" as a time to air out the house, and clean parts of the house that don't always get a lot of attention (washing curtains, moving everything out of cabinets and wiping down the shelves, etc.--and no, I don't often do all of those things the way my mother used to several times a year)--basically the very Five Element idea of clearing everything for a fresh start to the new year. But autumn is different. It's a time to sort through what you've accumulated over the past year and let go of what doesn't work for you, just as in your body you take in fresh air in your lungs, and let out waste through your large intestine. 

This kind of cleaning often has emotional overtones. Today I cleaned out some old boxes that had been taking up space for years. I had never gotten around to the before, and now I wanted the space, and realized I would need to let go of some things before I could create what I wanted in my life. When I went through the box, I found old letters, pictures, old journals--plenty of fuel for nostalgia. And the time was right. I was able to throw out or give away some of the things I had not felt ready to discard in previous cleanouts, and plan places to put what remained so it would be on display or otherwise useful to me.

Hanging on to things that don't serve you, whether it's old letters or old ways of doing things, or old ideas that hold you back, can keep you from what you really want. Autumn is the perfect season to sort through things in your life. You may not end up with a perfectly clean space or life--my clean out is ongoing, and today I just release a little and moved around a lot as I continue to declutter. But I felt a lift of spirits just for making the attempt. If you sort through some messy stuff in your life, you may feel your spirits lift, too--but maybe only after a good cry and saying goodbye to things, relationships, jobs, or ideas that are no longer what you need or want. In Slow Paths coaching vernacular, this kind of sorting falls under "Create Space."

I hope you autumn has been going well, and continues to do so. If you would like to explore having more balance in your body and emotional life, I am here to help with whatever combination of acupuncture, clinical herbal therapy, or health and mindfulness coaching can help. Please check out my YouTube Channel for mindfulness videos and other content to help you live a more peaceful and healthy life.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Create Space, Relish Change, Celebrate Authenticity--Three Branches of Slow Paths Philosophy

The motto here at Slow Paths Wellness is "Create Space * Relish Change * Celebrate Authenticity." What does that have to do with acupuncture?

The short answer is, everything. Acupuncture, when administered by someone trained in Asian medicine, is used in accordance with principles designed to bring balance to every system in your body, and extends to physical, mental, and emotional function. 

The longer answer involves much more than acupuncture. Slow Paths Wellness serves patients using all aspects of Asian medicine, as well as principles from interpersonal neurobiology. After nearly two decades of practice, I learned that patients are much better served with encouragement in owning their own healthy life than "doing" something to them. Acupuncture, herbal therapy, and other aspects of Chinese medicine definitely serve people, but in ancient times the best doctor was someone who could treat people with interaction and only needed the more interventionist tools like herbs and acupuncture for emergencies or when a treatment based on relationship did not help a person enough.

Today, we tend to wait until problems become big before we look for help, so it makes sense to do more treatment than would once have been ideal. Slow Paths Wellness is my approach to give treatment within the context of healthy practitioner-patient relationship, which lets you be the one driving the changes in your life. I am here to help you on your path, not create a path for you.

Here's how the three branches of the Slow Path build health and wellness.

  • Create Space means to step back from the hustle in your life to make time for you--your goals, your dreams, your health, your relationships. Creating space has several facets, including taking breaks to be mindful of your life and your needs, shifting down to make extra time in your day for planning; preparing, and being there for yourself and others; and committing the time and energy to self-care before emptying your cup for work, family, or even recreation. I can help you make this healing space for yourself with coaching in developing healthy boundaries, realistic goals that take you where you want to go, and plans for self-care that feels ridiculously indulgent, but actually frees you to be your best self and feel great while doing it.

  •  Relish Change is a mindset that allows things to happen with a sense of equanimity. Change is happening constantly inside and outside of us. Our body chemistry constantly changes based on temperature, diet, stress levels, sleep (or its lack), how we perceive the events in our lives or the actions of other people, exercise states--basically everything about our environment creates changes in our system. Each of those changes creates its own changes. For many people, especially those who have had a traumatic history, change, especially change that comes with uncomfortable feelings, is something to be avoided.  Even positive things in our lives, like quitting smoking or working towards a more fulfilling job, can create uncomfortable feelings and that might cause a person to avoid making the change. Learning to relish change as a constant of life makes choosing the changes we want much easier.
  • Celebrate Authenticity is my phrase that covers a lot of ground. Authenticity is what is real, so celebrating it means being in favor of reality--whether that's generic truth as opposed to falsehood, or the reality that you prefer the color pink to yellow, or that you do better with 8 hours of sleep. Celebrating the things that are real help your mind look for those things. Plenty of brain science confirms that what you choose to focus on creates pathways in the brain that can be healthier (or not). Celebrating your reality, and looking for the parts that build you up and accepting your ability to change many things that you don't want is a great way to have everything in your life improve--health, sleep, relationships, and just your overall sense of wll-being from one minute to the next.
I use a ton of different tools, exercises, herbs, acupuncture, acupressure, and just getting to know you in my practice. Having a life that is focused on a sense of love and well-being for yourself and others makes life a lot more fun, and making time to really know and express your authentic self makes your interactions with others more fulfilling for everyone involved. Please contact me if you'd like to learn more about how you can open your life to Create Space, Relish Change, and Celebrate Authenticity.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Slow Paths Video


Here’s a quick video describing Slow Paths Wellness. Please feel free to call, text, or email any questions you might have, or if you would like to connect.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Now Accepting New Patients

A Slow Path
Photo Credit: Teresa Y Green

Slow Paths Wellness (formerly Green AcuClinic) is now accepting new patients! If you are interested in living a calmer, happier, less drama-filled life while dealing with your health issues head-on, this is the place to be. I help people dealing with anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic health conditions, and those wanting to live in a way that makes them less likely to ever get sick. 

I call my approach the Slow Path, and it includes learning to Create Space in life, Relish Change as a path to growth and health improvement, and to Embrace Authenticity for not only its mental and emotional health benefits, but also for its ability to improve physical health. Within these three headings, I work with people to develop a self-care lifestyle, nurture a joyful curiosity to each day, and to learn to set boundaries for yourself and what you allow for others in your life. We focus on gradual changes that yield good results over a lifetime rather than quick fixes or "bootcamps" that often leave you with little lasting change.

My health practice background is in Asian medicine, including acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy, mindfulness practice, and acupressure. Since then, I've added more skills to retrain brains to be less reactive and more happy, as well a years of study in the factors that prevent illness. Earlier this year I completed a certification in health coaching to further expand the toolbox available to patients wanting a more complete approach to wellness. Each aspect of my health training has a place in helping people along the Slow Path to Wellness.

If this post interests you, and Slow Paths Wellness sound like a good fit, please feel free to contact me at, or call the clinic at (804) 683-2979.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Slow Paths Through the Storm

 My last blog post was made as a "grand opening" to my developing view of practice. Slow Paths is my name for learning to live life your way, which requires time to learn who you are (as opposed to who you think you're "supposed to be") and to learn how to properly care for yourself.

Just after I published the previous  blog post, some chronic pain I've had for a long time worsened. And worsened some more. After various false starts at diagnosis, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer, had a hysterectomy, and just finished my first round of chemotherapy last week.

Finding out you have the Big C gives anyone, even someone who had gotten a little pleased with their mindfulness skills, a need to pause. So I did. I took time to learn what was going on, as much as possible. I took time to process--that's ongoing. And I took time to decide what I want for the rest of my life, however long that ends up being.

Some of my conclusions were joyful. I want to be with my darling husband as much as possible. I want to continue my work. I want to live each day with even more gratitude. Some conclusions require resolution. I want to speak honestly and forthrightly, even when I feel like the little person in the hospital gown while the big people with medical garb tell me what my life will be. I also want to be better at being the person in the medical garb in my practice. I've had wonderful doctors, nurses, and staff at the offices I've visited. I want to take their clear communication, positive way of speaking, and careful stating my rights as a patient into my own practice more clearly than I have in the past. In spite of everyone's best intentions, I have felt small, vulnerable, and like a piece of meat frequently in the past few weeks. While I don't think anyone can completely eliminate that feeling, I can be aware of it, and do everything I can to give my patients the certainty that I understand their freedom to be in charge of their health and their life.

The Slow Paths outlook has helped me. I've been Team Me as much as I know how to be. I've worked really hard to Feel My Feelings (and learned I shut down in extreme stress in ways I didn't recognize before). I've Loved my Limits in energy, time, and what I allow to happen to me in appointments. I've Committed to being Curious in a kind-hearted way to what my body and mind are trying to tell me as I navigate this health crisis, and learned more about myself and how I don't always recognize how wonderful my friends are. And I've reminded myself I don't need to hurry. Not to get this blog post out, not to learn everything I can about what may be happening to me, not to try to figure out the future for me, my practice, and my family. Have I been perfect? No more than anyone else would be. But I've been walking the Slow Path I've come to believe in. And it feels a lot better than the anxious darting to and fro I've done in the past when a crisis hit.

I will need your patience for at least the next year as the limits I try to love affect my ability to be as present for my work as I would wish. I continue to be committed to practicing a gentle, natural medicine that is flexible and honors each person’s need for time and space to grow and change and heal.