2018: The Year of the Earth Dog

2018: The Year of the Earth Dog

by Wendy S. Goldman, L.Ac.



2018 is the Year of the Earth Dog. As you may know, the energy of each year is different, and most people know the animal of their birth year in the Chinese Zodiac. Each animal represents different energetic implications for the year. With a basic understanding of how the energies of the year interact, we can get some insight into the implications for weather, health, emotions, business, the economy, politics, and more. We can use this information to plan and prepare for the year.

The Western Calendar vs. Lunar New Year

January 1st became the first day of the year in 45 BCE. Julius Caesar set it as an arbitrary date to correct previous errors in the calculation of the calendar, since there are actually 365 days plus a few hours in a year. It has nothing to do with the movements of energy in nature. And it has no relation to the actual start of the new year from an energetic perspective.

January 1st is in the middle of winter, and is only about a week after the winter solstice. The solstice has the shortest amount of daylight, and longest night, and is the most Yin day of the year. Everything is still frozen, and if it’s not actually frozen, in winter, the energy goes down into the ground to rest and recharge for the active growing season that starts at the beginning of spring. The start of spring is the start of new growth. So, when you think about January 1st as being the start of the new year from the energetic perspective, it makes no sense at all.

The Chinese lunar calendar, though, is based on the movements of energy in nature. The start of the year is the start of spring and the cycle of new growth. This year, Chinese New Year is February 16, 2018, and is the year of the Yang Earth Dog.

Each year is either Yin or Yang, and alternates each year. 2017 was a Yin year, so 2018 is a Yang year. Yang represents the heat, fire, function and activity. Yin represents calm, quiet, and rest. Daytime, spring and summer are more Yang in nature, being more light, bright, warmer and active. Nighttime, fall and winter are more Yin in nature, being darker, quieter, colder and naturally less active. Yin time is the time to rest and recharge.

Every year, we have both the energy from Heaven, and the energy from Earth. When we say “Heaven energy” it represents the energy coming from the sky, or the universe, not in any religious sense. The Earth energy is exactly as it sounds, the energy coming from the Earth. Because Heaven and Earth are so much bigger than humans and everything that lives on Earth, we’re all affected by these energies.

The Heaven and Earth energies are often different elements. For example, in 2017 the Heaven energy was Fire, and the Earth energy was Metal. It happens that in 2108, both the Heaven and Earth energy are the same element. The Heaven energy is Earth, and the Earth energy this year is the Earth Dog. Thus, we have 2018 as the Yang Earth Dog. It’s a double Earth year, so the energy of the Earth element is very strong and excess in 2018. All effects of Earth energy will be magnified, and since it’s a Yang year, they’ll be even stronger.

The good news is, that after finishing the last two years of sharp, cutting metal energy, we should get a bit more peace with the Earth energy.

Nature of the Year

Let’s first consider the nature of the animal this year, the Dog. Dogs are loyal, social, pack animals, that work together. They’re devoted to their pack, be it canine or human. This is a year that working together with others should bring good results. Dogs will also fight viciously to guard and protect their own when threatened, so this may be a year we see people band together for protection, and the good of their “pack” or tribe of people. Not necessarily violently, as Earth is more spiritual in nature than material. The violence and passion of the last two years was due to the Metal and Fire energies.

Now let’s think about the character of Earth, which is trust and harmony. We may see people band together to create more trust, care, welfare and harmony of the “pack”. We should also see more truth emerge, as truth and trust are the nature of Earth.

Next, we can get a sense of the weather for the year, by considering the nature of the Earth element. First, the Heaven and Earth energy are in harmony, since they’re the same element, and there’s no conflict between them. Weather temperatures should be a bit more normal, after coming off of two hot Fire years. The fire energy is depleted, so there should be a lot less fires, and any fires should be smaller than the last couple of years.

Ancient Chinese books tell us exactly what to expect: the nature of Earth is dampness, and the actual substance is the earth. Earth is in charge of clouds and rain, and causes movement. Earth transforms and transports. That tells everything. When I saw this one coming, I got a bit concerned, since I live in California. It’s a Yang, double-Earth year, which means the effects will be magnified, and strong, since it’s a Yang year. That’s our California Armageddon: earthquakes (big ones, since it’s a Yang year), lots of rain, and mudslides. I’ve been telling my patients for the last six months to repair their roofs and any leaks they have in their homes. I was a bit reluctant to write this, since Earth corresponds with the Spleen and Stomach, and the emotions of those organs are worry and overthinking. I don’t want to damage anyone’s Spleen! Having the information in advance, though, means that we can take steps to prepare. If you live in an area that tends to have earthquakes, landslides, and/or flooding, 2018 has the potential for all of these to be big problems, so you’re forewarned, and can take precautions and prepare.

Health Implications

Speaking of the corresponding organs, Earth corresponds with the Spleen and Stomach. Think dampness. Earth is in charge of clouds and rain, which are wet. Dampness is mucus, phlegm and fat. Expect lots of dampness this year. Anything that can get damp in 2018, will. It’s a great time to focus on eating right, and avoiding damp foods. Examples of damp foods are dairy products (milk, cheese, etc., but not eggs – eggs are not damp; wheat is also damp).

We’ll see digestive issues with dampness, for example nausea, bloating and stomach flu with lots of diarrhea. If you already have digestive issues, avoid eating the damp foods mentioned above.

Colds that occur in 2018 will be of the damp type, rather than the dry type. So, instead of lingering dry coughs, there will be a lot of mucus with nasal and chest congestion.

Because the Earth and the Spleen correspond with muscles and flesh, we may see more muscle injuries, as well as more lumps, bumps and tumors, as dampness likes to accumulate.

The emotions of the Spleen and Stomach are worry and overthinking, so people that have a tendency to fret are in for a more challenging year.

People with Heart and Small Intestine issues may worsen. Anyone with emotional issues like anxiety may be worse, and worry about it more.


Earth can put out, or weaken the energy of Fire. Think about it this way – you throw soil on a campfire to put it out. So anything corresponding with Fire should be weak this year.

Fire represents the stock market and electrical and computer industries, so they may not fare well in 2018. Interesting that the stock market and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (which are electronic/tech) took a dive at the beginning of February, hmm?

Don’t let your computer or electronics get damp. That will be very bad in 2018!

But the real estate market and earth industries, or anything having to do with earth and soil should be strong, as long as long as they’re not damaged by earthquakes, landslides and flooding.

Earth represents the Spleen and Stomach, which are the main part of the digestive system in Chinese medicine. Based on that, I expect that businesses related to food, eating and restaurants will have a good year.

When we analyze the energetics of the Year of the Earth Dog, and the interactions of the energies, we can get a good idea of what to expect clinically in any given year. This can help us live long lives in harmony with the Heaven and Earth energies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

5 Tips to Stay Healthy through the Holidays

Happy Holidays!

The holidays can be a minefield of exposure to sick people, too much sugar, overdoing it, and crazy weather changes. Here are 5 tips to stay healthy through the holidays:

1. Cover your neck

The acupuncture points on the back of the neck are particularly susceptible to drafts of wind and cold.  This kind of draft can cause colds to start. By simply covering your neck, you can often stay healthy and avoid getting a cold. Wear shirts with collars, and wearing a scarf is an even better idea. I have lots of patients who’ve learned to wear scarves in winter, and get a lot less colds than they used to!

2. Stay healthy around sick people

5 Tips to Stay Healthy through the Holidays

This time of year, it’s easy to be exposed to plenty of sick people, at work, shopping,  parties, and at home, if a family member is sick. Here’s how to deal with it:

Stay out of coughing range. Germs can travel up to 3 feet, so if someone is coughing near you, back away and stay out of range. If you can’t, for example if you’re in an elevator, at least turn your head away to avoid the germs. And if you have a cough, cover your mouth, or cough into your arm. Nobody wants you to share. Really.

Wash your hands frequently. I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, and it’s true. It really does help prevent your exposure and spreading the germs around.

If you live with someone who’s sick, do not drink out of the same glass, take a bite of food from their fork, or kiss on the mouth. Now, I know a lot of people still want to kiss their significant other, even while they’re sick. Their saliva is carrying the germs of their cold or flu. Sharing that saliva is just like drinking a cup of germs. I know that sounds gross, but I can’t tell you how many sick patients I’ve treated over the years because they continued kissing their partner while they were sick. To stay healthy avoid kissing right now, or only kiss them on the cheek, instead of the mouth.

– And really, if they’re sick, it’s a good idea for one of you to sleep in a different room. If you’re asleep in bed at night and they roll over and cough right in your face, well, guess what’s going to happen…

3. Make good food choices

The holidays are notorious for too much sugar, alcohol, carbs and overeating. Think about how much food you put on your plate. If you want to taste a bunch of different dishes, take a small amount of each. Do you really need mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread and three desserts? It’s best to avoid overeating, so pick your favorites, and stick with those.

It’s really easy to just pile food on the plate and eat it while talking with friends and family, without thinking about what you’re doing. Take a few minutes and be mindful of your food choices and quantities. You can choose to have a bit more of the veggies and less of the carbs and desserts and still enjoy your meal.

4. Eat lots of soups & stews

Winter is the time to eat lots of soups, stews and cooked foods, rather than cold, raw foods.  It feels really good to eat soups and stews at this time of year, and it’s one of the best things you can do for your health. And if you’ve had too many sweets and foods you don’t normally eat and your gut’s not too happy with you, you can repair it with soups.

Avoid soups with milk or cream in them, as the dairy makes mucus. Go for soups with clear broth, or are pureed, rather than having the dairy. Chicken soup really is good medicine!

5. Get enough rest

This one’s really important. Winter is the time to rest, rejuvenate and “recharge our batteries”, to prepare for the more active times of the coming spring and summer. Winter is the time to do less, rest more, go to bed early and get more sleep. Unfortunately, during the holidays many people do exactly the opposite, and it can affect your health. You don’t necessarily have to go to every party. Pick a couple that you like best, and just go to those.

Getting run down at this time of year can really deplete your energy and make you more susceptible to getting sick. In order to stay healthy, or if you’re recovering from being sick or another health issue, it’s even more important to get rest in winter.

Share this with someone you care about, and leave a comment to let me know your biggest challenge staying healthy through the holidays. Happy holidays and stay healthy!

Posted in Health | 2 Comments

Learn How to Eat Right Forever & FREE Cheat Sheet!

I’ve got some big news, and bigger news will be coming soon! One of the health areas I get asked about the most, is how to eat healthy. There’s so much information about diet and nutrition out there, it’s confusing, overwhelming, and people don’t know how to sort through it and make good choices.

Even worse, a lot of it is flat out wrong, and people are having health problems due to the “misinformation”. (I really want to call it lies, because that’s what they are. I’m trying to be diplomatic.) You’d be shocked to learn how much of what you’ve been told about nutrition is wrong.

My patients get to ask me about this stuff. I can educate them and teach them what works. I wanted to find a way to help a lot more people, in a bigger way. More and more people are suffering from chronic health problems, and a lot of it is due to diet. This is appalling to me, and so many people are suffering unnecessarily, I wanted to find a way to help more people.

I’ve spent the last seven months (really) working on a big project to help more people learn how to eat right. It’s exactly what I teach my patients, what I follow, and it works.

It’s called Eat Right Forever, and the first phase is ready now. Check out the website at EatRightForever.com. You can get a free cheat sheet with 5 steps to change your diet right now, have more energy, and feel great. Then, I’ll send out a brief email every week with health tips, teaching you what’s true about food and nutrition, and what’s not. I’m going to cut through all of the B.S. and give you the truth.

I’m sharing the best of what I’ve learned over the past 25 years studying nutrition, and hundreds of hours of research and work on this project, from both the modern medicine and Chinese medicine perspectives.

It’s absolutely FREE, and there’s no obligation to do anything. I just want to teach more people to eat healthy, get healthy, and stay healthy. If this sounds good, click here to get your cheat sheet and sign up for the emails.

I want to get this out there to as many people as possible, so please share the website with friends, family, social media, etc. It’s totally free and open to anyone and every one. I want to help as many people as I can.

Once you sign up, I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts about the information, since this is a new project for me. You guys are the very first to hear about it. And if you have questions about nutrition, food, or eating healthy, let me know, and I’ll answer as many as I can.


Posted in Chinese Medicine, Chinese Nutrition, Food, Health, Nutrition | Leave a comment

Dangerous Epidemic: Painkiller Addiction – Are You at Risk?

People in Pain

It’s estimated that about 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Many of them are taking prescription medications to manage the pain, and many of those painkillers are opioids. That means they work a lot like opium: highly addictive, and including the same side effects. Think about that for a minute. These drugs are prescribed like doctors giving out candy, and are as addictive as opium…

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there are now 91 people dying per day of opiate overdoses in the US from these drugs. They’re not junkies on the streets. They’re people like you and me, who are in pain. They’re routinely given these drugs for things like arthritis, low back pain and migraines.

Acupuncture for Pain






Here’s a list of opioid drugs:

  • codeine (only available in generic form)
  • fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora)
  • hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
  • hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
  • meperidine (Demerol)
  • methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • morphine (Astramorph, Avinza, Kadian, MS Contin, Ora-Morph SR)
  • oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxecta, Roxicodone)
  • oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet)
  • oxycodone and naloxone (Targiniq ER)


Some of these are pretty commonly prescribed, and it’s likely that you, or someone you know has a prescription for one of them. Besides being highly addictive, they have other problems. After a while, the body can develop a tolerance, and they’re less effective for relieving the pain, so people end up taking stronger drugs, and more of them. This is where people can get into big-time trouble, by just taking an extra pill, or two… and end up overdosed or dead.

It’s become such a big problem, that state and local governments have been stockpiling the drugs to treat opioid addiction. Oh, yes, there’s a drug to treat the problems created by the drugs. In fact, there are several.

The Multi-Billion Dollar New Opium War

In the late 1800’s there were wars fought over the opium trade. There was so much profit from the trade, that Britain went to war with China over it, not once, but two separate times. We may be about to enter into a different kind of opium war, although the motivation is exactly the same – money. And pharmaceutical companies are the ones profiting in a major way.

Not only are opioid drugs addictive, and have huge potential for overdose, they have other side effects, like constipation, nausea and decreased testosterone production. Guess what, there are drugs to treat overdose, constipation, and all of these side effects of the drugs… This is called a “drug cascade”, where multiple drugs are prescribed to treat the side effects of the other drugs.

It’s estimated that the opioid prescription market alone is worth about $8.6 billion in sales. The market for substance abuse treatment is projected to grow to $12.4 billion by 2024. It’s estimated that the other drugs in the cascade to treat the nausea, constipation, etc., are worth an extra $3 billion, and projected to grow to about $6 billion in the next 5 years. As the demand for these drugs grows with more people on opioids and having more side effects, the drug companies have taken advantage of the situation and raised their prices by 100’s, and in some cases 1,000’s of percent. All the while, they’ve been encouraging doctors to prescribe these drugs and promoting them as not very addictive at all. As you can see, there is a huge amount of money to be made by keeping people addicted.

Now, if you’re a drug company, that’s pretty darned good for business. If you’re a person in pain, that’s not so good for you. In fact, these issues are getting so out of control, that  federal government agencies are getting involved.

New Federal Recommendations

Things have gotten so bad that the CDC itself refers to the painkiller addiction problem as an epidemic. In addition to the CDC, the FDA & Joint Commission that accredits hospitals recently recommended that all doctors & hospitals be informed about, and recommend, non-drug options like acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, and cognitive behavior therapy. Because they work!

Acupuncture and Pain

Of the non-drug treatments, acupuncture has certainly been around the longest. Used consistently for over 2,000 years throughout China and Asia, there are also modern scientific studies that show the effectiveness of acupuncture.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website lists scientific studies showing acupuncture is effective for low back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis/ knee pain, and for headaches.

For many years, the World Health Organization has listed a number of conditions for which acupuncture is effective. They currently list 28  “diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved – through controlled trials—to be an effective treatment”, and another 63 where acupuncture has been shown to have a therapeutic effect. Many of those listed are pain conditions.

Besides its long history of constant use, many scientific studies show the effectiveness of acupuncture, and such esteemed organizations as the ones mentioned above recommend acupuncture as an alternative to drugs for treating pain.

Acupuncture works! In my 17 years of practice, I’ve helped many people reduce and/ or eliminate pain medications, because we reduced or eliminated the pain. No pain = no reason for pain meds. I’ve even seen a number of patients that had failed low back surgeries, meaning they had surgery, and still had the pain. In the majority of those cases, we eliminated, or significantly reduced the pain with acupuncture.

If you or someone you know is in pain, please, please get acupuncture. I recommend you try acupuncture and any of the non-drug therapies first. They don’t have the risk of drugs, and they often work, so you don’t need painkillers. As you see in this article, painkilling drugs are dangerous. Almost 100 people a day are dying from them. Drug companies are never going to cure your pain. There’s no money in it for them. It’s much better for their business to have you addicted to painkillers and all the other drugs that go with them.

Stop suffering! If you have questions, we’ll be happy to answer them. Call (619) 917-6288 or email today to see how we can help you feel better now.

Please share this with friends or family who are in pain, so they can get help. And feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts about this post.

Posted in Acupuncture, Health, Pain | Leave a comment

The Alarming Reasons You Need to Detoxify Your Home and Body

Why you need to detox

We’re all constantly exposed to toxins in our food, water and air. The rate of new toxins entering the environment is alarming. Approximately 2,000 new chemicals are released on the market each year, in addition to the thousands of chemicals that are already on the market. Many are not adequately tested for safety in humans, and even some that are tested and are unsafe are released anyway. If all that’s not bad enough, there are still chemicals like DDT that were banned years ago, but are still in the environment. In the last 50 years, our environment has become a very chemical-laden toxic place, and our bodies can’t deal with the overload. Have you noticed the drastic increase in chronic disease and cancer? Guess what’s causing a lot of it.

IMG_0001Consider just one chemical, dioxin. Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals in existence. It was a component of Agent Orange, which was used to defoliate the jungles in the Vietnam War. Dioxin is still produced today, as a byproduct of paper manufacturing and bleaching, mining and many manufacturing processes. See what the World Health Organization (WHO) says about the effects of dioxins on human health:


“Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that are persistent environmental pollutants. Dioxins are found throughout the world in the environment and they accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals. More than 90% of human exposure is through food, mainly meat and dairy products, fish and shellfish. Many national authorities have programmes in place to monitor the food supply. Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer. Due to the omnipresence of dioxins, all people have background exposure…”

That’s a direct quote from the WHO website. That’s just one chemical that we’re all exposed to. Granted, it’s one of the worst. Unfortunately, there are thousands more. Everyone is exposed. When the body can no longer eliminate enough toxins, they get stored in the body. Further overload of toxins can eventually lead to disease.

Those statistics scare the pants off me, and probably you, too. I think most of us want to stay healthy and do our best to avoid cancer. So I think limiting our toxic exposure as much as we can makes good sense. And we can also help our bodies make sure they’re eliminating toxins properly and staying in good working order.

What to do about it

1. The first step is to reduce your toxic exposure. Evaluate the foods you eat. All corn, wheat, soy and sugar beets, unless they’re organic, are genetically modified (GMO) so they can be sprayed with a very toxic weedkiller. The weedkiller is Monsanto’s Roundup, and the active chemical in Roundup is glyphosate. More and more research is coming out showing strong links between glyphosate and cancer. I recommend avoiding exposure to glyphosate. Don’t use Roundup in your garden. Eat as much organic food as you can, especially corn, wheat and soy. 

2. When you use up your chemical detergents and cleaning products, switch to natural cleaning products. They work just as well, and are safer for you, your family and your pets. You don’t have to spend a fortune at Whole Foods. Even Target and Trader Joe’s now have affordable natural options. And be cautious about the word “natural”. There is no regulated meaning of the word natural, so anybody can claim anything is “natural”. Read the ingredient list on the label to see for yourself. Long chemical names that you can’t pronounce are a bad sign.

3. The next step is to do an internal detox. Normally, we get rid of toxins in the body through the skin, liver, lungs, lymphatic system, bladder and bowels. Wow! That’s a lot of organs involved in getting rid of toxins. It’s important that all of these organs function well to stay healthy. Some people take supplements like milk thistle to detoxify the liver, or get colonics to cleanse the bowels. That’s OK, but very limited, as you see there are a lot more organs involved in detoxifying the body than just those two. Most of the “cleanses” in the health food stores are just as limited. It’s important to make sure that every one of those organs are functioning well. It’s also very important to clean out toxins that are already stored in the body, and milk thistle, colon cleanses and health food store cleanses don’t do that. There are a few detox or cleansing kits available that stimulate the organs of detoxification to work better, AND pull stored toxins out of the body. You generally have to get the ones that work from a natural health care professional.

4. Finally, I only recommend detox in spring, summer, and early fall. It’s important to complete a detox every year to keep our systems clean and functioning well. In Chinese medicine, fall and winter are the times to rest, rejuvenate and store energy for the coming year. Please avoid detoxing, colon cleanses, etc. in winter. It’s too draining to your energy and can cause a lot of problems.

If you have any questions, please let me know. If you’d like my recommendation for an internal detox kit, call or email, and I’ll be happy to share the one I use and recommend.


Posted in Food, Health, Nutrition | Leave a comment

My Shocking Visit to a Western Medical Doctor

My Recent Visit to an MD

I know it’s shocking, but I actually went to a western medical doctor. I haven’t seen an MD in about 25 years. I did see a naturopath and acupuncturists in the interim, but not for a good long while now. Since the government keeps trying to mess with health insurance, I figured while I still have it, I ought to go and get some blood work and a check up. Mind you, I know I’m healthy, because I’ve been monitoring my health every single day for the last 20 years with Chinese diagnostics (mainly tongue and pulse diagnosis), so I know exactly what’s going on in my body.

I live Chinese medicine. I adjust the herbs I take based on my tongue and pulse diagnosis. I follow the eating guidelines of Chinese nutrition. I exercise and practice Qigong regularly. I really do live this stuff on a daily basis. So, I thought, what the heck, let me go get some western diagnostics to see if they match up with how I feel (which is great, by the way).

Pros of my MD visit

The doctor was great. I liked her, and she was totally respectful that I’m a healthcare practitioner in a different system of medicine. She’s willing to work within my boundaries of wanting to do natural medicine first, and that some tests and treatments are unacceptable in my world. She spent 30 -40 minutes with me, which is actually more than I expected, so I was pleased about that, and she actually listened to me.

I expected because I’m over 50 and haven’t seen an MD in so long, they’d rub their hands in glee and order every test under the sun. Fortunately, the doctor said she doesn’t do that, but they look more at risk assessment. That’s cool. That makes sense.

I did tell her I’m healthy and feel great, I just have a tendency to stress and overwork, which is totally self-inflicted.

They weighed me, took blood pressure, looked in ears and mouth. She also did a gyn and breast exam, because I asked.

Cons of my MD visit

The doctor said she routinely does skin exams, but only looked at my back, because I can’t see back there and I asked her to look. What about the rest of my body? There’s a lot more skin on me than my back.

She also ordered a stool test, but never asked a single question about my appetite, digestion, bowel movements, or anything related to GI function, or if I had any problems or concerns. What the heck!?! What kind of risk assessment is that? It doesn’t count unless it shows up on a stool test or blood test?

She did seem particularly interested in how much caffeine I drink per day. I only drink drink pesticide-free tea, which has a lot of health benefits. I never drink coffee, because I hate the taste and smell of it. And I never drink soda. Both the nurse and doctor asked about the caffeine, which was kind of weird. I certainly wasn’t hyper or anything. They never asked one question about diet, but asked twice about caffeine. Huh!?!

The intake paperwork seemed interested in screening for sexually transmitted diseases, and the doctor ordered an HPV test (a sexually transmitted disease). But nobody ever asked if I had any unusual symptoms, was sexually active, or any other kind of risk assessment questions. Huh?

I was not asked about my sleep, energy level, urination, or really much else. I don’t know how much was left out because I’m a healthcare practitioner and they expected me to report anything I thought they needed to know, or if this is standard practice. On talking to a few others, I fear it’s standard western medical practice.

I did tell them I’m healthy, and again, I don’t know how much was out of respect for a colleague. But really? I have patients tell me all the time when I ask questions that something is “normal”, because it’s usual for them, but it’s actually not normal, and a problem. I’m kind of horrified by how much wasn’t asked when there was plenty of time. I can find out a lot of information about someone’s health in 30-40 minutes. And maybe I’m just jaded because I take so much time with my patients and ask so many questions, especially on the first visit.

I guess they rely on blood work and stool tests rather than actually talking to people. This is part of why western medicine sucks at prevention. If a problem shows up on a blood test or stool test, there’s already a problem, that maybe could have been prevented by asking some questions and having a discussion about healthy lifestyle choices.

I really did like the doctor, and I’m not saying anything negative about her. It’s just a function of how much western medicine has come to rely on machines. I really saw it in a glaring way, since in the last 25 years since I’ve seen an MD, they’ve created so many more diagnostic tests and machines. It’s kind of horrifying to me. Whereas I don’t need any machines to diagnose, intelligent doctors are being trained not to ask questions and think, but to be technicians dependent on machines and protocols to tell them what to do. (I am soooo glad I didn’t go to western medical school. I like thinking and the challenge of figuring out how to treat a difficult case.)

Results of my MD visit

How do you think my test results turned out – healthy, or not????

Alright, I’ve kept you waiting long enough. I was stressed out of my mind about going to the clutches of western medicine (I hate going to doctors – they practically have to sedate me at the dentist to get me to set foot in the place). Even so, my blood pressure was 124/68.  Textbook normal is 120/80. My blood pressure was perfect. Hee hee hee. And 124 is high for me, but, as I said, I was really stressed about being there.

All tests and blood work are normal, except for my cholesterol, which was a bit high, but I told them it would be high. My cholesterol was high 20-some years ago when they first tested it. In some people, it’s just genetically high, and not a problem. I’m one of them. And, I don’t eat anything that could make it be high, so in my case it’s not a problem. And get this, my HDL, the so-called “good” cholesterol was way over on the positive side of the “desirable” range. (That’s really good.) And, my score for risk of heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years came out at 2.3%. I’ll take that any day.

The doctor recommended “continued attention to food choices, physical activity, weight management”. I guess this is the canned response for “keep doing what you’re doing”. This is quite shocking to me, because she never asked anything about what I eat, what I do for exercise, and my weight is within normal range for my height.  There is nothing to change in my diet (according to the western guidelines for high cholesterol), because I already do it as part of my normal diet. I exercise about 5 days per week, and I’ve never exercised this consistently in my entire life. Lol.

I’ll take Chinese medicine any day over western medicine for my primary care.  Chinese medicine works! I’m living proof.

Leave a comment and let me know if this fits your experience with western vs. Chinese medicine.

Posted in Chinese Medicine, Health | Leave a comment

The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep

Many people don’t get enough sleep at night because they’re “too busy” doing other things. Getting enough sleep is critically important to maintain good health, and to help you heal if you’ve got health issues. It’s also a major factor in preventing future health issues.

Facts about sleep

More and more scientific research is coming out showing the importance of sleep, and how detrimental lack of sleep is to your health. Recent research has found that people who routinely sleep less than seven hours per night have 21-26% higher chance of dying of any cause, than people who routinely sleep more than eight hours per night.

Every single animal sleeps. There are no animals that do not sleep. Biologically, that means sleep is as important as breathing and eating.

There’s been some fascinating brain research recently that found out more about how the brain works and what it does at night. I was astounded when I read it. When we’re active during the day, working, exercising, and doing our daily activities, we’re heavily using our brain functions. This causes a build up of toxins and chemical byproducts that naturally occur as part of that process. When we sleep at night, the brain actually pumps through a nightly “wash cycle”, like a dishwasher, that washes out those toxins and built up byproducts from the day. Just stop and think about that for a moment. What happens if you don’t wash your dishes thoroughly? Lots of crud builds up. Now think about that happening in your brain. What do you think happens when lots of toxins and crud build up in the brain? Is it going to have an impact on brain function and health? Absolutely. If you don’t get enough sleep at night, the wash cycle doesn’t run properly.

Decades of sleep research show that eight hours of sleep per night is the magic number. Kids and teenagers need a little bit more.

The Chinese Medicine Perspective

In Chinese Medicine, we want to balance yin and yang in the body to restore and maintain health. Yang energy provides the heat, fire, and functional activity in the body. Daytime is yang time. It’s warm, light and the time when we’re busy going about our daily activities. Many of us end up acting “too yang”, that is, go, go, going all the time, without enough “down time” or time to rest and rejuvenate the body (and mind and spirit, for that matter).

Continue reading

Posted in Chinese Medicine, Health | Leave a comment

2017: The Year of the Fire Rooster

2017: The Year of the Fire Rooster

by Wendy S. Goldman, L.Ac.

2017 is the Year of the Fire Rooster. As you may know, the energy of each year is different, and most people know the animal of their birth year in the Chinese Zodiac. Each animal represents different energetic implications for the year. With a basic understanding of how the energies of the year interact, we can get some insight into the implications for weather, health, emotions, business, the economy, politics, and more. We can use this information to plan and prepare for the year.

Let’s look at the energy this year. 2017 is the year of the Yin Fire, or Red, Rooster. Red represents Fire, so you may see the year mentioned as either the Red Rooster or Fire Rooster.

Every year, we have both the energy from Heaven, and the energy from Earth. When we say “Heaven energy” it represents the energy coming from the sky, or the universe, not in any religious sense. The Earth energy is exactly as it sounds, the energy coming from the Earth. Because Heaven and Earth are so much bigger than humans and everything that lives on Earth, we’re all affected by these energies.

Each year is also Yin or Yang. Yang represents the heat, fire, activity and function. Yin represents calm, quiet, and rest. Daytime, spring and summer are more Yang in nature, being more light, bright, warmer and active. Nighttime, fall and winter are more Yin in nature, being darker, quieter, colder and naturally less active. Yin time is the time to rest and recharge.

The Yin/Yang polarity alternates each year. 2016 was a Yang year, so 2017 is a Yin year, and 2018 will be another Yang year. The Heaven and Earth energies both follow the Yin/Yang polarity of the year. This year, the Heaven energy is Yin Fire, and the Earth energy is the Rooster, which corresponds with Yin Metal.

To analyze the energy of the year, we can start by considering the nature of the animal. Roosters are loud in the morning to wake us up at daybreak. They’re very territorial, and protectors and guardians of their flock of chickens. They can also be quite ornery, as you may know if you’ve ever encountered a rooster! Many urban communities that allow the keeping of chickens ban roosters, due to their loud morning noise. So, we can expect this kind of energy and behavior this year, and we’ve seen a preview in American politics. Roosters also tend to have more flamboyant feathers and coloration than the hens. Expect more loud, extravagant crowing for attention this year, from people and events.

Next, we consider the nature of the annual Heaven and Earth energies. The Heaven energy this year is Yin fire. Fire is hot, active, and passionate. Yin fire is more like the flame of a candle than a bonfire, so the weather will continue to be warmer than normal, but shouldn’t be as hot as last year, which was a Yang fire year.

Fire is also passion and joy, so it’s a good year for romance and to have fun, especially with others, as chickens are social creatures that live together in flocks.

The Earth energy this year is Yin metal. The nature of metal is dryness, but again, due to the Yin nature of the metal this year, we’ll have mildly dry conditions. So, in general, we can expect warmer and dryer weather than normal. There is more potential for fires this year, especially in fall, but they shouldn’t be as big as last year, since it’s a Yin year.

We’ll probably also have more humidity. The metal and fire create dryness, but as an ancient Chinese Medicine text says, metal is in charge of fog and dew. (Earth is in charge of clouds and rain.) Thus, more humidity.

Interestingly, metal is also in charge of armored creatures, so we may see more bugs this year, as well as problems from insect bites.

Metal is sharp and cutting. Last year was Yang metal, like an ax or chainsaw. This year the Yin metal is more like a small knife, but it’s still a good time to cut unnecessary excess out of your life, physically, mentally and energetically. Lots of people have been purging their clothes and stuff. It’s a great year to continue, in all areas of your life.

There could be more injuries caused by metal and cuts this year. But watch out for cutting language and behavior this year, too. And because of the fire energy, people will be passionate about it, so thinking before speaking and acting is good practice this year.


We may see problems with the lungs, since they correspond with the metal energy in the body. Combined with the fire energy from Heaven, we’d expect problems of dryness, but because metal also creates more humidity, we could see problems of both dryness and dampness in the lungs and large intestine. So there could be more asthma, allergies, and colds with lots of mucus, but also dry coughing. People could have problems with diarrhea or constipation, depending on their constitution and diet.

Emotionally, be aware that there could be more sadness, depression and anxiety in the fall (metal season).

There may also be skin diseases with redness and dryness, and most likely itching, like psoriasis. This energetic effect started last year, and will continue this year, although it may not be as severe as last year.

Be careful with overwork this year, as it may have more of a burnout effect. People suffering from fatigue, hot flashes, menopausal symptoms, and dry eyes, may have a bit harder time this year. If this is you, you may need some help to manage the symptoms with acupuncture and Chinese herbs, which can both help.

Also watch out for problems and injuries with tendons, ligaments and the nervous system this year.

Anxiety and insomnia may be worse in summer and fall, especially in hot weather. Again, Chinese medicine can help if this affects you.


Businesses related to fire, cooking, computers, electronics and the stock market are all considered to be associated with the fire element, and should be strong this year. We also have to consider the relationship and interactions between the Heaven and Earth energies. Fire melts metal and weakens it, so metal and metal-related industries may suffer this year.

Also businesses related to water, like fishing, plumbing, etc., will most likely be weakened this year. The energy this year may be most difficult, however, for industries related to wood, wood working, publishing, trees, and medicine.

The Dreaded…Politics

Many people keep asking about the political situation, and we can gain some insight into the Year of the Fire Rooster through the same method of analysis. Fire represents passion, and it can go too far and become mania, especially in people who tend toward heat, and in hot weather.

Metal is sharp and cutting, but its nature is also about justice, or right and wrong. Since fire melts metal, justice and right and wrong will most likely suffer this year. There may also be a lack of wisdom. This all started last year, and will continue this year, along with the cutting behavior and language. It’s just the nature of the energy this year. However, next year is a double earth year, and earth represents harmony and trust, so things should be more harmonious next year. In the meantime, people will still be stressed and upset about politics. Manage it by taking breaks from it and getting together with friends and do things that bring you joy, and avoid talking about politics during play time!


If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with family and friends. Please give proper credit and attribution, and a link back to the blog post would be appreciated.

And hey, here’s the disclaimer: This article is for fun and entertainment purposes only. No advice is being given about anything. That means no health, medical, legal, financial, investment or any other advice, is implied or intended. Read at your own risk.

© 2017 Wendy S. Goldman // www.GoldmanWellnessCenter.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

5 Tips from Chinese Medicine to Stay Healthy in Autumn

5 Tips to Stay Healthy in Autumn

Good health is not just physical. It’s emotional, mental, and social, too, and a matter of managing our stress levels. I treat lots of patients out-of-balance due to stress and lifestyle. I hope these 5 tips to stay healthy in autumn help you find balance in your life this fall.

1. Cover Your Neck

Many of you already know this one, because you’ve heard me say it for years. In Chinese Medicine, a draft on the back of the neck, especially if your pores are open from sweating, exercise, the shower, etc., can let drafts enter the pores and create a cold. Covering your neck is a great way to prevent colds. Wear shirts with collars and/ or scarves (or both!) to keep your neck warm and protected.

2. Eat More Cooked, Warm Foods

It’s time to switch over to eating more cooked, warm foods. Especially now that the temperature dropped a lot, there’s less warmth in the air to support the body’s own heating system. Start eating more cooked foods, like soups and stews, and decrease the salads and raw, uncooked foods. It’s time to break out the crock pot. And, sorry people, the time for ice cream this year is over.

3. Decrease Your Activity Levels

Now is the time to wind down from the active times of spring and summer, and prepare for (what should be, but often isn’t) the most quiet and restful time of year, winter. Fall is the transition time, and time to slow down, rest more, and sleep a bit longer. Most likely, the cool gray weather is already helping you with this one. Follow mother nature, slow down, and recharge your batteries.

4. Take time to Reflect

Autumn is the season of Metal in Chinese Medicine, and Metal is clear and reflective. It’s a great time of year to slow down, reflect, reevaluate, and meditate. Sometimes we need reminders to do this, and fall is the perfect time. Reflect on where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you’re going. Realign and rebalance if you need to. This is the time to rebalance your lifestyle from the active of summer, to the more calm and restful in winter. If you’re not meditating, now is a perfect time to start.

5. Enjoy the Harvest

Autumn is harvest season. It’s time to harvest the fruits of your labors for the year. If you’ve been all work and no play, now is a good time to plan a vacation, do things that make you happy, and enjoy fruits of your hard work. Identify the things that cause stress in your life, and cut out the ones that you can.


Seasonal changes this time of year cause lots of colds, and are a great time for a “tune-up”. So if you’re overdue for a treatment, now’s a great time to get balanced and healthy to prepare for winter.

Also make sure you’re stocked up on your Chinese herbal formulas in case a cold does try getting started. We’re stocked up and ready for cold and fu season in the office. Let us know if you need refills.

If you have any questions, call to see how we can help you feel better today.


Posted in Chinese Medicine, Health, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Olympians use Awesome Chinese Cupping for Muscle Pain!

Happy Summer! Are you watching the Olympics? If so, maybe you’ve noticed the swimmers with round bruises on their backs and shoulders. They’re from cupping! People have been asking me about this all day today. Lol.

Cupping is an ancient Chinese technique that helps pull stagnation, or blockages of energy flow out of the body tissues. The swimmers are using cupping to “bring more oxygen” to the muscles. If there’s a blockage of blood and energy flow, it can cause pain and/or decreased function. Cupping is one way to clear the blockage and restore proper flow of energy and blood to the area (which would, of course, also bring more oxygen).

Modern athletes and trainers are just discovering what we’ve known for thousands of years: Chinese Medicine rocks!

Cupping is great for large areas of muscle pain, like the back and shoulders, which is why you tend to see the round bruises on those areas of the swimmers. It’s also great at pulling mucus out of the lungs when people have colds.

And if you’re wondering if it hurts – no! It does leave a bruise, but it generally doesn’t hurt. I describe the feeling as “weird, but good”. So, yes, I do cupping. If you want to try cupping, give us a call to schedule an appointment. You can look like an Olympic swimmer, too. Lol.

Posted in Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Health | Leave a comment