Seasonal Living: Autumn


Seasonal Tips for Autumn:

The appearance of summer was slow this year but there is still a seasonal shift occurring.  Whenever the season shifts, our immune systems shift as well. 

The Autumn and Winter is a time for Yin or the turning inwards of energy.  We are in conservation mode as the weather cools.  Cold contracts and slows down our energy.  In most parts of the Northern world the air loses moisture.  On the west coast, however, we have more moisture in the form of rainfall.  Whether autumn is dry or wet it is a season that affects the lungs and by extension the skin.  The lungs regulate our immune systems by controlling the opening and closing of our pores.  Our skin is our first line of defense against air borne viruses and bacteria.  The lungs or respiratory system are the first to be affected by a pathogenic attack. The following are some simple points to follow to protect your immune system:

1. Protect your immune systems (aka Lungs) by getting adequate rest when you feel run-down, eat a diet of seasonal fruits and vegetables such as; apples, pears, and root vegetables.  In the colder months when you feel a cold settling in gently sweat it out with a warm ginger tea before bed and bundle up.

2. Your lungs and immune system also need oxygen: exercise 3-4 times per week. Cover up after any strenuous exercise as sweating in the cold air can leave your immune system vulnerable.

3. Use the colder months for quiet, contemplative activities that make the most out of the Yin nature of the season.  Consider adding some meditative exercise in the form of yoga, qi gong or tai chi. These exercises blend movement with regulated deep breathing.

4. Watch how the dampness can seep into our bodies or our homes.  Are your feet and hands always damp and cold? Do you feel lethargic and heavy?  Is there mold in your house? You can dry the dampness by wearing layers in the colder months.  Merino wool or silk is light weight and easy to wear under our clothes.  Avoid cotton socks or bare feet.  Drink warm and spicy teas such as loose leaf chai and add more ginger and cinnamon to your diet. 

These are just some of the practical steps that you can take to ensure a healthier autumn and winter season. Pass this along to friends and family.

Unit 216-9764 5th Street Sidney, BC V8L 2X2
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In good health,


How Raising Our Children Will Improve Our Health

How raising our children can improve our health and well-being


I came upon an article recently that really helped me to deal with my unruly child. I had been feeling down lately because power struggles were leaving me very frustrated and not behaving at my best.  Needless to say, my son saw my “angry face” more often than not.  I remember thinking, “Is this struggle really worth it?”

The article was about being mindful with your emotions.  Something that I knew about but had forgot to apply to my interactions with my children.  The main aspect of the article is addressing your fears.  Fear is what underlies most feelings of anger.  If our child is defiant we become angry that they are not respecting our rules or requests.

Why does it make us angry when our child does not comply?  Are we afraid that this will reflect on our parenting skills? Or are we worried that our child will lack the skills necessary to survive in this world?  It is important to reflect on these thoughts or feelings.  When you feel angry stop for a moment and notice what it does to your body.  Where do you feel the anger?

It may not be possible to do this reflection in the middle of a conflict but try to reflect on a past conflict; how did you feel and why do you think that you reacted in that way? Underlying the anger is usually a fear and fear pushes us to control the situation.  We become fixated on ensuring that the situation results in our wishes and become just as stubborn as our child.  When Johnny doesn’t want to cut his long and dirty finger nails you can’t stand the thought of him going out of the house unkempt.  What would the neighbours say?

When you reflect on these feelings they may be uncomfortable. Some of these fears may be about how you feel about yourself or your own insecurities.  Voice your fears to yourself or to others.  Let yourself feel these emotions and admit that there are limitations to the control that you can exert on your children.  

By being honest with yourself you are being honest with your child and setting a more positive example.  I have noticed that my child conflicts with me on matters that really are just trivial power struggles.  I want him to keep his bed made and he wants to make a fort out of the duvet and sheets I painstakingly put back on the bed after the last fort!

Sometimes these power struggles are not trivial; when your child refuses to eat their dinner but wants ice-cream instead.   This annoying situation does not require anger but persistence and giving them choices.  Sometimes the choice is simply to wait until they are ready to make the right decision on their own. The right choice comes about because you have spent some time explaining why salmon and vegetables are healthier than ice-cream.  They “get-it” but may hold out long enough until it looks like it is their choice. They are listening with one ear.

What is the theme in this parenting approach? : Mindfulness.  Whenever we are able to stop and think or feel an emotion before it is expressed we are enabling ourselves to live healthier lives.  We push and push because we want a particular outcome.  Our emotions escalate when those outcomes are not carried out exactly as we wish.  Our bodies tense up and we get angry or upset. I can feel the tension in my body long after the fight has ended. 

Constantly feeling frustration and anger can take its toll on our health.  According to Chinese medicine anger causes energy within our bodies to become stuck or stagnate.  Stagnate energy cannot move and circulate.  The fluid or blood in our bodies slows down as our breathing becomes shallower and we take in less air. Without air our cells lack oxygen which can increase levels of inflammation or pain. Headaches can start or our back aches. Our digestion slows down and blood pressure rises.

The trick in this healthful parenting approach is to wait and to feel.  Is this a battle worth fighting for?  If so, is there another approach that may be more useful?  Why does it anger me so much?

The other aspect of this parenting approach is respect. We also need to believe in our children.  They can sense when we don’t trust them to make the right decision.  They will push for ice-cream to test us knowing all along that is not appropriate for dinner. 

Mostly, we need to believe in ourselves.  Trust that you have set a good example as a parent and as a person and little Johnny will follow suit.  What we really should be fearful of is not whether or not little Suzy instantly responds to our demands but that we have taught her to live life without meaning and purpose.

We cannot always be perfect and ever mindful but we can try.  Living with thought and purpose and respecting ourselves and others is true peace.  True peace is where health originates.

Mikiala Christie BA, R.TCM.P (Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese herbalist)

Unit 216-9764 5th St Sidney, BC (250) 656-2067.



Allergies and What You Can Do for Yourself Naturally

Yes, spring is around the corner and what often accompanies the arrival of springtime? Cute bunnies and chocolate eggs?  Flowers and merriment?  While the coming of spring is an exciting time for most people, allergy sufferers who are allergic to spring time pollens and dust would beg to differ.  The never ending sneezing, stuffiness, and lethargy prevents those with allergies from frolicking in the fields of daisies and singing like Julie Andrews.Continue reading

Children and Colds and Flu

My son started preschool and a week and half later our entire house was hit with a nasty cold.  We first became aware of it when my oldest son awoke from his sleep screaming in pain from a severe, raw throat.  My baby then took a turn next and we soon followed. My version of the cold came with a nasty headache.  Between the cries and discomfort of our children and the raging pain in my head we didn’t get much sleep and generally felt lousy. 

What did I do wrong? As a natural health practitioner I should know better.  I felt like I let our family down.  When I spoke to his preschool teacher she just brushed it off with a, “Yes, every September and January kids get a cold”  “It’s all the new germs they get introduced to”.  Well that may be so but my husband and I both missed work and my son missed a day of preschool.  Stopping our lives to heal a nasty infection is not very productive or useful when we run our own business. I was determined to avoid this problem again!

I put on my thinking cap and resolved to ensure that this winter we would not succumb to a cold again! I made the following list:

A) Wash hands:  I am now becoming paranoid of “germs” and feel strongly that my son should wash his hands before he leaves preschool and when we get home. A simple yet effective step.

B) Healthy food:  I make it a rule to minimize my son’s exposure to refined sugar and packaged foods.  Why? Because bacteria and viruses love to proliferate in a weakened environment and refined sugars and packaged foods do not provide the necessary nutrients a child needs to fight these infections.  I would extend that restriction to juice as well.  Juice is just sugar.  If your child needs fruit cut up slices of real fruit.

Part of healthy eating is also about eating together (even though they like to run around while they eat no matter how hard you try to stop them!).  Teaching your child to sit quietly at the table with his or her family is another great way to not only ensure tight family bonds but to also allow his or her digestive system to properly absorb the nutrients from the healthy food that you are giving to them.

C) Reduce overstimulation: TV and video games over stimulate our children’s nervous systems. Children need to play in a quiet environment without outside noise and constant entertainment.  Allow a ½ hour a day of either tv or video games but try to limit it to that. According to Chinese medicine, this overstimulation can create “heat” in their bodies which drains their adrenals glands.  Children then become restless and agitated and their immune systems become compromised. 

Another form of stress is over booking extra curricular activities.  Think about all of the after school activities that your child is engaged in.  Do they need to be doing all of them? Do you feel like you are running around from one activity to the next without time for other, more relaxed family time?

D) Exercise:  While it is important to monitor how much stimulation your child is exposed to it is also important to encourage your child to be active in a balanced way.  Organized sports are great but so are activities that you can all do together.  I once met a family that all took martial arts classes together. By doing some of their sporting activities together you are not only bonding but also teaching them the importance of exercise by example.  Exercise is a great way to keep the immune system strong.  The problems come when a child is attending sporting events with a bad cold which can only prolong the cold further.  I have seen some nasty chest infections turn into pneumonia when children continue activities through an illness.

Of course, these steps are great to prevent illness but sometimes life gets in the way and we need help.  I find that the following Chinese herbs help me and my family to fight infections both at the early-“mommy I have a sore throat” stage to the late stage of congestion and your basic misery. Honey suckle flower, forsythia fruit and woad root all detoxify “fire poison” or bacterial/viral infections and help “cool” the body by acting as a natural anti-inflammatory. If my little ones have a bad cough then mulberry leaf, chrysanthemum and mint can stop the spasms and heal the infection from the chest.

Lastly and perhaps the most important element is; take it slow and rest the body.

Mikiala Christie is a Registered Acupuncturist (RAc)and Registered Chinese herbalist (R.TCM.P) and may be reached at: 250-656-2067 or her website: