Winter Nurture Workshop

The weather is turning colder, the nights are drawing in & we are definitely moving towards Winter here in the UK. For me, thoughts turn to the season’s associated Element, Water, & focusing on nurturing & topping up that energy.

It is such an important & potent time in which to focus our energies inwards on ourselves, despite all the impending Christmas craziness. With that in mind, self-love guru & gypsetter Vienda Maria, & I, have put together a very exclusive workshop to explore exactly what that means for you & HOW to nurture yourself this Winter.

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Winter Nurture Workshop

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WINTER NURTURE WORKSHOP
Sunday 8th December, 11am – 4pm

Violet Hill Studios, London, NW8 9EB

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It is a gentle & loving workshop for women wanting to explore new ways of living & nourishing themselves. Learn how to use the Winter months to replenish, recalibrate & consolidate your energy, through self-love, nutrition & holistic health, with a good dose of Chinese Medicine wisdom thrown in for good measure.

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What to expect from me:

+ You will learn about the Five Elements in Chinese Medicine & their seasonal links.

+ You will understand more about why Winter is THE season for self-care & nurture.

+ You will get clear on why it is so important to live in sync with the seasons & be mindful of your energetic health during Winter.

+ You will discover how the food we eat can affect us, our bodies and energy levels.

+ You will gain insights into Chinese Food Energetics so you can make the best choices for you and your body, during the Winter, & for the rest of the year – we are all different!

+ Learn more about Qi, energy & how viewing the world from a Chinese Medicine perspective can bring a whole new way of positive & healthy living.

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Vienda’s promises:

+ You will get crystal clear on where you’re at in your life right now, what’s missing and how fulfil your dreams, to bring more balance, more harmony and more joy into every day.

+ You will explore different ways to make time for yourself, and why it’s important to put yourself first. Always. No matter what.

+ You will write your own letter to the universe. Exactly how to word it, what to say and why it works. And then you’ll get you very own email address to send it to. Because the universe is always listening.

+ You will prepare your own sweet chocolate treats. That are actually really good for you!

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BOOK HERE NOW

Registration for the WINTER NURTURE WORKSHOP is priced at £75 for the day – 5 hours of gentle nurturing energy, Chinese Medicine goodness, self-love celebration, & a whole lot of learning about yourself! Also includes lunch, sweet treats, goodie bag & a special workbook containing the gems taught throughout the day.

There are a very limited number of places, so don’t delay – book your spot here now!

We are VERY much looking forward to meeting you & spending some gorgeously nourishing time with you – it’s going to be wonderful! ❤

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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Awesome Aussies – Fehreen Ali

I’m thrilled to have another “Awesome Aussie” on the blog this week! There has been a gap between my last post with an antipodean beauty, but this written interview is worth the wait! The structure of today’s piece is a little different to the others – more of a Q&A, but it does follow the structure of my other Aussie video blogs.

It is an absolute delight to have Fehreen Ali answering my questions – not only because she specialises in one of my FAVOURITE topics (the good ol’ cuppa!) AND teams that with holistic health, but she also brings all her warm, laughing, bubbling energy with her onto the pages here – it makes my heart smile!

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awesome aussies.

Who is Fehreen?

I live in Queensland, Australia and am of Fiji Indian heritage. I’m an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant and owner of the Tea Coup.

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Don’t you have an unusual job title? What’s the story behind that?

Yes, I am an “Ayurvedic Teaologist”! The title first came about when my 10 year old daughter came home from school with a class project, in which she had to write what her mother did for a living. We came up with the title “Ayurvedic Teaologist” which summed up what I was all about – a life student of Ayurveda, who uses this knowledge to hand blend Ayurvedic inspired organic Teas and tisanes.

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Rhiannon and fehreen.

We met…

We met online via the 90 day transformation project, as run by Connie Chapman. A beautiful bond was created, as we really understood each others passion – Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine have so much in common, Doshas and the Five Elements, and so on, we were speaking from the same page! Then when Rhiannon visited Australia, and was staying on the Sunshine Coast, we met up in central Brisbane, drank tea together, walked around the farmer’s markets in the square, and didn’t stop talking all day!

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market brissie.

You launched a brand new website earlier this year, tell us about it…

Three months ago I launched my new website for Tea Coup. It is where I have show cased my six signature blends – including “Rumi’s Blend” to balance, “Sweet Bohemia” for bliss, and “Zenzai” for a blast of zest! I also want to use this space to educate and make people aware of the benefits and healing properties of all the ingredients I use. I hope to continue promoting the awareness of Ayurveda and the importance of a great cuppa tea.

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tea coup.

How did you get to where you are now? What led you to Ayurveda & tea?

Both my Ayurvedic studies and tea obsession began in my late teens. I suppose I was lucky to have found two big passions. Being a right brain child of the 70’s, I needed my Ayurvedic work to be creative – hence my love of creating lotions, potions and and tea blends.

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What about acupuncture & Chinese medicine, your thoughts or experiences of it?

I do see a Japanese Acupuncturist regularly for general balance and well-being. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda have many similar commonalities, from diagnostic methods, to massage, and the use of herbal remedies. Both traditions also share the common idea that healing is holistic, and that symptoms can not diagnose a person, the WHOLE person must be examined in order to obtain a proper diagnosis. Ayurveda and Chinese medicine (TCM) remain the most ancient, yet living traditions. I believe that we are blessed to be students of traditional medicine, as finally there is increasing global interest in both.

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Best piece of advice, a quote or a recipe you could give to readers?

“A good life is when you assume nothing. Do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot and realize how blessed you are”

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Gosh I love this woman, what a perfect quote to reflect the essence of her! Please do visit her beautiful new website – the photos alone are worth it, so beautiful – you can almost see and feel the Qi coming from the tea! I was lucky enough to be given the most delicious care package of teas (as shown above) from Fehreen, when we had that gorgeous day together in Brisbane – they travelled with me back home, and I have been drinking them ever since. As a loose leaf tea obsessive, I can say, these teas are up there with the BEST I have tasted – the energetics are also second to none, truly healing and full of goodness! ❤

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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Awesome Aussies – Krys Hansen

This is a slightly belated post this week, from a skype filming a fortnight ago with my fabulous and beautiful friend Krystal Hansen. The fourth vlog in my “Awesome Aussies” series introduces this gorgeous creature and discusses how May was her month of compassion, and how her next project focuses on making meditation easy and accessible to everyone, including a very interesting way of funding the project via community!

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awesome aussies

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Who is Krys? She is a modern yogi, an amazing yoga teacher and a holistic health coach. Krystal is another kindred spirit that I connected with first online via Instagram – I am @rg_acupuncture & Krys is @practisewellness – and on my arrival to Australia, she noticed some familiar local places in my photos!

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me & krys.

In Australia we met up: on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. This is where my main base was for my trip in March, as I had flown into Brisbane from the UK. We spent hours chatting in Buderim, having had green smoothies and raw tartlets at the fabulous raw vegan cafe, Ground.

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ground cafe buderim with krys.

In the video below we chat about what compassion means and how it creates a ripple effect of energy outwards to everyone around us; how our gifts / vocations, be it yoga or acupuncture, or whatever our paths are, find us when we are in a dark place, and leads us out into the light, becoming our professions.

Krys explains more about her latest project – The Modern Yogi Meditation Ecourse – and the community funding behind it via Pozible, you can pledge your support there right NOW!

And we also discuss what overlaps there are between the three body types in Ayurveda and the Five Elements in Chinese Medicine – how it is ultimately about understanding the seasons, how that relates to you, understanding what you are, what you might be like when you are in balance, and what you might be like when you’re out of balance! And most importantly how these ancient concepts are SO relevant to modern day life and can help you be healthy in mind, body and spirit!

Be sure to listen to the very end to hear about the strength of the HEART energy – it’s a gem of scientific info that will blow your mind!

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Although the May is now gone and the month of compassion has concluded, I encourage you to look on Krystal’s instagram feed or facebook, and check out what the beautiful prompt is for the day of the month you are on NOW – it will work for the month of June too! And if you are drawn to connect in with the energy of her latest project – the method of funding and/or the actual meditation Ecourse itself – then please do visit her website or the Pozible site for more details… its going to be an EXCITING project, one I am THRILLED to be a part of! ❤

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practise wellness logo.

© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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6 Ways to Activate The Wood Element Now

I was recently asked over on my Facebook page, how we can bring more of the Wood Element into our lives? Well, ask and you shall receive! This time last year I wrote about Spring being the season of the Wood Element, in a post called Woody Springtime, but here is a short post on how we can activate the Wood Element, right now, at it’s most potent time… well, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere that is!

1. Activate the Wood Element Taste

Each of the Five Elements has a “taste” associated with it. Fire is bitter, Water is salty, Earth is sweet, Metal is pungent and Wood is sour. Drink warm lemon water, or apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning. It will go to the Wood Element’s organs of the Liver and Gall Bladder, helping to activate their function of detoxification and movement of the Qi.

2. Move the Qi Physically

Part of the Liver’s (Wood organ) function is to move the Qi (energy) in the body smoothly to all areas of the body. It is when this movement is impaired that we get stagnation and pain – including stress, irritable bowel syndrome, tight shoulders, painful necks, headaches, migraines and so on… To help the Wood Element out, we should MOVE our bodies regularly to help move the Qi, and keep the flow nice and smooth. This could include running and going to the gym, but it doesn’t have to be as energetic as that, walking, dancing to your favourite song, or doing something slower like pilates or yoga ALL move the Qi physically!

3. Put those Plans into Action

The Wood Element is all about organising, planning, making decisions and acting on those plans. You might find that until you start properly coming out of the hibernation and slowing down of Winter (the Water Element), and into the active season of Spring that you feel stuck, stagnant and a bit low or depressed. This might be MORE of the case this year as we have had a LONG and hard Winter this year, and only NOW are things starting to bloom and blossom and move FORWARD. If you have had something in mind, get that Wood energy flowing and actually START putting them into action! You and your Wood Element will feel MUCH better for it!

4. Move the Qi with Food Energetics

As we have seen above, moving the Qi physically is important in helping the Wood Element and Liver function correctly, but we can also do this with food and drink via Chinese Food Energetics. Green tea is a great Qi mover, which makes it a very good stress-busting drink, perfect to have in your desk at work! Choose this over coffee, which only serves to put additional strain on the Liver. Additionally, it is not surprising to find that many seasonal foods such as new carrots being pulled up at this time, also help to move the Qi – nature does tend to provide EXACTLY what is needed at the RIGHT time! Take a look at how to make my green tea & carrot cake, perfect for activating and supporting the Wood Element in it’s season of Spring.

5. Assert Your Boundaries Appropriately

Another great way to activate the Wood energy at any time of the year, and bring more of the Wood Element into our lives is to assert our boundaries. This can be a tricky one for some of us, and this is where the word “appropriately” comes in. If you think about the way a willow bends and sways in the wind, it is TOO flexible, and if we use that anaolgy with our boundaries, that is not helpful for us, nor those around us – if we take on too many projects, we don’t end up doing ANY of them very well. Conversely, an old oak might not bend in the wind at all, until an almighty gust cracks it in half because it is so rigid and brittle. If our boundaries are too rigid, we cannot grow upwards and outwards as a tree ought to, we cannot change and develop. Check in with how flexible or rigid you are with your rules and boundaries, could you bring more BALANCE to your Wood Element right now?

6. Have Acupuncture

We have a couple of ways in which we can help bring more of the Wood Element into a patient’s life during the Spring. We can use what we call the horary points (Wood acupuncture points on the Wood energy channels) during the season, to ACTIVATE all the virtues of the Wood element, and help a patient embrace the energy and move forward with all the planning, organising etc that they may need to do.

We can also needle the Wood points on the channels of the Element that the patient is… this might sound more complicated, but it isn’t. For me, being a Water CF, I tend to have more points needled on the Water channels (Kidney & Bladder channels because they are the Water organs)… so during the Spring, I wouldn’t necessarily have the Wood horary points, I might have the Wood points on my Water Channels done. This then activates the Wood energy within the context of my Water Element; for example, encouraging action on plans made, might help my Water to not have such a BIG fear of the future, because there is movement going forward, my Water is no longer “frozen”.

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Don’t forget each of us has ALL of the Five Elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal & Water – within us, we just tend to have ONE of the Elements that we resonate most with, or is like our default setting… so although this post is PARTICULARLY relevant to those Wood CFs (constitutional factors or constitutional Elements) amongst us, during the Spring we can ALL benefit from activating and connecting in with the Wood Element.

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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Belated Post: Why I’m Going to Australia

I just found the following in my travel journal, and wanted to share – kind of a #latergram for the blog world… have altered ever so slightly from its original version to make is appropriate for this space. Enjoy! R x

UK to Australia

I’m sat in Heathrow Airport waiting for my flight to Singapore, which will eventually lead me to Brisbane, Australia. I got here super early as my Water needed to be at the airport – all risks of missing the flight, getting stuck in traffic, rushing, rising panic, eliminated by arriving early… that’s what Water is about, assessing and eliminating risk. So, with this in mind, you won’t be surprised that I am NOT a good flier… this means ANY flight is super frightening, and even contemplating (let alone booking!) a 24 hour flight to the other side of the world sets off the alarm bells on the “risk assessor”, big time! So this trip is a pretty BIG deal.

Why am I even thinking about it then?! Well, if you had treatment with me in clinic during 2012, chances are you know it was an incredibly challenging time health wise for me – repeated bouts of tonsillitis, then a severe unknown virus that affected my liver and kidneys, leaving me with chronic adrenal fatigue. And although I am TONS better, I still get some relapses of fatigue. The Christmas break had a couple, and heading in to 2013 I saw the potential for more episodes… with all the reflection and taking stock that comes with the arrival of a new year, I wanted 2013 to be about POSITIVE health, and to bring some new INSPIRATION, products, opportunities and services to my practice. I really want 2013 to be DIFFERENT to last year. I didn’t know how to make it different… so I went to the complete OPPOSITE end of the spectrum in terms of my comfort zone. And as Thomas Jefferson said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done”… and I have certainly never done anything as big, SCARY or crazy as this!

Thomas Jefferson

This place [Heathrow] is so busy, the energy is crazy – busy, nervous, jittery, exhausting, tearful – waaay too much for a Water Element who is already scared, nervous and jittery. I am having to remind myself of the STILLNESS that is a virtue of the Water Element – see, we do have a positive flip side to all that scary fear! Sitting in a corner, quietly listening to meditations on my ipod is the only thing keeping my nerves at bay. I see some children. They are tired, scared, overwhelmed, and not being understood by their parents – behind the tears is fear. I empathise hugely. I feel just like them.

I am tired, but hopefully that will (for once in this chronic adrenal fatigue journey) go in my favour as I board a night flight. I am scared about the flight, scared of being trapped onboard, scared of freaking out, scared about vomiting for 24 hours, scared of not being able to sleep, scared of horrendous jet lag, scared the trip will make my chronic fatigue worse, scared I will spend the whole time in Australia in bed, even scared that I will love it so much out there I won’t want to come home – yeah, a whole BIG BUCKET of scared.

Tony Robbins

But I know I HAVE to do this. The importance of this trip is MASSIVE. Things in my life need to CHANGE, and as Tony Robbins says, “By changing nothing, nothing changes…” So yeah, I’m changing it up. Changing it up in the BIGGEST way possible. And I have NO idea what is ahead.

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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Winter Christmas Baking

As I mentioned last week, I LOVE Christmas, and for us in the Northern Hemisphere, the festive period occurs in the depths of Winter – the time of most Yin, and it is associated with the Water Element, and it’s organs of the Kidneys and Bladder. As I say in the video below, it is the darkest and coldest time of the year, where we need to eat warming, nourishing foods that will increase our Yang, increase the blood and Qi circulation in our bodies, sustaining us through the season.  The easiest way to get more Yang in to our diets is through energetically warming or hot spices as outlined in Chinese Food Energetics.

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Recipe for Winter Christmas Cookies:

1/4 cup of coconut oil

1/2 cup of good / local / raw honey

1/4 cup of pure molasses (all the nutrients & minerals are in there!)

2 & 1/2 cups of rice flour

Pinch of baking soda (optional)

2 tsp ground mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon (I LOVE cinnamon!)

Pinch of sea salt (again, optional)

Splash of water if the mixture is too dry to get into a ball to roll out

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Christmas Cookies

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Method:

1. Measure out the coconut oil, molasses & honey, place them in a bowl & mix together.

2. Measure all the dry ingredients into a separate bowl.

3. Then sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl containing the wet mixture.

4. Mix together until a ball can be formed – add a splash of water if necessary.

5. Create a ball of cookie dough with your hands & place on to cling film on the counter.

6. Roll out to around the thickness of a £1 coin, cut out shapes & place on baking sheet.

7. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F), for around 10 mins, but check!

8. Leave to cool on a rack & ENJOY!

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Energetics:

Coconut Oil – warm, sweet, tonifies Qi & Blood

Molasses – warm, sweet, nourishes the Kidneys & Lungs, boosts Qi & Blood

Honey – sweet, supports the Lungs, tonifies Qi & promotes Blood circulation

Rice Flour – warm, sweet, nourishes Qi & Blood

Nutmeg – warm, pungent, boosts Yang, Qi & Blood circulation & counteracts Cold

Cinnamon – Hot, pungent, sweet, supports Kidneys & Lungs, boosts Qi & Yang, & counteracts the Cold & Damp, and promotes Qi & Blood circulation

Coriander Seed – pungent, sour, counteracts the Cold, & helps circulation of Qi

Dill Seed – warm, goes to the Kidneys, tonifies Yang, counteracts the Cold, promotes Qi

Ginger – hot, boosts Yang, circulates Qi & Blood, counteracts Cold, resolves Phlegm.

Cloves – warming, boosts Kidneys & Yang, counteracts the Cold & promotes Qi circulation

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And if you don’t fancy baking or eating something sweet to nourish you over the festive period, then why not check out a blog post from this time last year to see how you can get all of the sweetness but none of the sugar – although I reckon this recipe here comes close to that, why not have your cake & eat it too?!!

Acupuncture can help you through the Winter with the challenges of the season – coughs, colds, chest weakness, asthma, circulation issues, constantly feeling cold, low mood, Seasonal Affective Disorder, digestive issues, and so on – contact me here for more information. Sending you so much goodness and cheer for a VERY MERRY Christmas – keep well, keep warm, and ENJOY! xx

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

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12 Days of Christmas – Fire & Water Balance

So for the last three weeks my life has been in limbo whilst everything else (except treating in clinic of course) has been put on hold for me to revise for my paediatric acupuncture exams. Ideally, I had wanted to merge my 30th birthday celebrations in November, straight into Christmas loveliness, but sadly it was not to be. I have been absolutely itching for my Christmas season to get started, but have had to hit the books in every spare waking moment! But the exams were today (three of them, lasting the entire day!), and now my Christmas can officially begin! Yay!

To celebrate the fact I can now embrace Christmas in all its excess sparkliness and magic, I am partaking in “12 days of Christmas”, where I intend to do one thing each day that is inherently of festive spirit! And as it is me, there might be a couple of healthy holiday activities, a big dose of self-care, but it might be purely because it is good for the spirit, not hugely virtuous – even I like to indulge a little at this time of year! Why not join me and enjoy 12 days of Christmas joy?! Post photos of your Christmassy things each day over on my Facebook page – you’ll find all my photos there too!

And speaking of Christmas spirit, it is THE part of the holidays that I adore the MOST – how it makes me FEEL. This year is a little different in the fact that I have had to “put a cork in it” for the last few weeks, and the bubbles, sparkles, excitement and magic have been building up and building up, so now it is all gushing out in a waterfall of child-like craziness! It is this pure JOY, merriment, warmth, and upward, outward energy that corresponds to the Fire Element. Fire is all about socialising, love, celebration, parties, connections to others and joy! And this is EXACTLY what Christmas is about! Everyone gathering around an open fire, exchanging presents and good wishes, drinking mulled wine, smiling, laughing, loving – that IS Fire. I love how literal Chinese Medicine is sometimes – or most of the time actually, a lot of the theory comes from observing nature around us.

open-fire-in-fireplace

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But for those of you who have read about Water on this blog before, you may be thinking “but Christmas is in Water Winter time, not Fire time” – yes, this is true, unless you are lucky enough to live in the Southern Hemisphere (Hello Aussies and Kiwis!), the Fire time of the year is the Summer, and it is the traditional time for warm, sociable Yang energy – think BBQs, garden parties, days at the beach with family and friends – we do more, socialize more, enjoy time together. Winter is a Water time of the year where we hibernate, stay indoors, do less, go to bed earlier, enjoy a more inward, still Yin energy.

Yin-Yang-Fire-Ice

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And yet our Christmas celebrations seem to be at odds with the seasonal energy at this time of year. But it is all about BALANCE – Fire and Water balance each other out. Without the Water to temper and dampen down the Fire, it can rage and burn out of control – this is like getting sunstroke from too much sun and not enough water to rehydrate you. There are many other conditions I treat in clinic that have an imbalance of Fire and Water at their root – menopausal hot flushes, anxiety, insomnia and heartbreak to name but a few.

Conversely, if we do not have enough warmth from Fire, the Water becomes frozen, the Fire is needed to warm the Water, to make it bubble, sparkle and move. And this is exactly what we get at Christmas – we need the joy, excitement, fun, love and light at the very darkest, coldest part of the year – it’s like the candles, the lights on the tree, tinsel and sequinned decorations that shine and reflect the light and warmth. Just seeing a tree decorated beautifully makes me smile and brings me happiness. Without this, the deepest depths of Watery Winter would be pretty tough to get through.

candles

And that is also what acupuncture is about – bringing balance; balance to the body, mind, spirit and emotions. If you think acupuncture could help you with your balance of Fire and Water, don’t hesitate to contact me! And don’t forget to share your 12 days of Christmas JOY with me on my Facebook page – for my first day, I bought myself some festive flowers, partly for the Christmassy spirit, but also to congratulate myself on getting through all my exams! Go have a look at the photo, they’re BEAUTIFUL! Off to bed now, see you tomorrow for day 2!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

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