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Chinese Medicine

The Art of Allowing - How to Let Go


The Art of Allowing - How to Let Go

by Lance Isakov, L.Ac.

In 5 Element Acupuncture theory, Autumn, represented by the element Metal, is chance to shed what is no longer absolutely essential. The energy (Qi) of our brothers and sisters of the plant world, turns inward and descends down deep into their roots. The trees let go and their leaves fall to the ground creating space for new growth. This letting go also creates rich fertilizer for the future generations. The descent of Qi allows for rest and rejuvenation during the Winter months. This space and stillness gestates energy that is explosively released with the birth of Springtime. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

What is so cool (and often forgotten) is that we ARE nature. What happens outside is mirrored inside. It's not uncommon to feel connected to loss and stripping away while a growing appreciation of beauty comes to the forefront. In Five Element Medicine we understand these things as the movement of the Metal Element. This part of the cycle creates our ability to let go of what no longer serves so that we too can make room for rest, rejuvenation and eventually the re-birth of own new power and possibilities. 

Now letting go is easier said than done, right? Our idea of letting go often means severing or separating thoughts, ideas, things, or even people that we no longer have or want in our lives. But, as you may have experienced, this can be a tricky process. Often, the moment we try to change something it fights back and holds on even harder.

So how do we Let it Go? Well the first step is substituting the idea of letting it go with the concept of letting it be. When we let things be, what we are actually letting go of is our expectation of the issue, rather than severing or separating the issue itself. 

This is what the Buddha mean when he taught about letting go of attachment. So the object or issue is still present however our relationship to it has changed. 

An example: If I am holding a pencil in a tight fist, how do I let it go, what do I do? I open my hand. I let go of how I am relating to the pencil, while allowing the pencil to be exactly as it is.

Here's a contemplation practice you can use to apply this perspective to your own life. 

The Art of Allowing: 

  1.  Sit comfortably and easily
  2. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes
  3. Ask yourself the question: "What does it feel like, right now, to allow everything to be exactly as it already is?
  4. Pay attention to what arises and continue to allow everything to be as it is.
  5. When the timer goes off, take a breath, notice how you feel, and then arise. 

Paying attention to your thoughts can be just like watching the leaves dropping from the trees. It provides us with immediate access to space in our experience. Eventually this space will give rise to future possibilities and new growth in our lives. But first things first — let go.


Your tongue speaks! (and it tells all)


Your tongue speaks! (and it tells all)

Your tongue speaks! (and it tells all)
By Lance Isakov, M.Ac., Licensed Acupuncturist

Here is the third in a series of articles to help explain particular aspects of Chinese Medicine to my patients! As those of you who have come in for acupuncture know, I spend quite a lot of time with diagnostics including reading your pulses and looking at your tongue. This helps me find the root cause of your upset and gives me information to treat you effectively and safely.

Last time we talked about pulses, today we will talk about your TONGUE.

If you've had an acupuncture treatment, then you've been asked to stick out your tongue.  I like to call the tongue the “Chinese X-Rays” (fun fact alert!) as it’s the only internal organ we can see from the outside. 

By observing the color, shape, texture, coat and thickness of the tongue we can see how our whole body is functioning. These observations allow us to detect imbalances in different systems in our body. The tongue changes as the state of your health changes. Unlike reading your pulse which changes very quickly, the changes to the tongue appear more slowly. Therefore the tongue diagnosis is a wonderful, visible, marker of your improvements over the course of your acupuncture sessions. 

So this is the perfect time to grab a mirror or a buddy! Go on, I’ll wait…okay!

A normal tongue is pink in color, medium thickness, has no cracks, ulcers, or teeth marks and has a light white coat on it.  However, just like a snowflake, rarely are two tongues alike. You can monitor your own health level by taking a look in the mirror and tracking changes that occur.

Here’s a common example I see everyday in the treatment room: a red tongue tip! A red tongue indicates heat in general, a red tip indicates heat specifically in the heart.  Heat in the heart typically rises from chronic emotional upset, and can be experienced as anxiety, depression or even excess anger or frustration. Once diagnoses appropriately, acupuncture is a powerful tool to help with these upsets, and, as you feel better, your tongue will change!

Here are some other common examples:
A deep crack down the middle of the tongue: Digestive Issues (Stomach/Spleen Deficiency)
Swollen with teethmarks on the edges: fatigue, poor appetite, shortness of breath, worry (Spleen Qi Deficiency)
Pale Tongue: Dizziness, fatigue, palpitations, memory issues, insomnia (Blood Deficiency)
Quivering Tongue: pain that moves around in the body, cold/flu, rashes, spasms (Wind)
Greasy white coating: feeling of fullness, bloating, lethargy, feeling heavy (Dampness)

So what do you think? Pretty amazing right?! Our bodies have so much to share with us, and sometimes it's all on the tip of your tongue!! 

If you are wondering about your tongue or have questions about your health in general, come on in for a diagnostic session, we can chat, check out your tongue, help you feel better, and maybe even help you THRIVE!! Go ahead and book online =)

P.S. if you write the word tongue a lot, the word starts to look really funny =)

P.P.S. Thank you to Sam, my tongue model, who revealed her health to the world <3