Self Care Tips

Healthy Habits for Winter

Winter is coming.. are you ready? Whether it's dealing with seasonal affective disorder, preventing colds and flu, or facing holiday stresses, make sure you are ready for the winter season with a few simple habits. Take daily vitamin D. The benefits of vitamin D are substantial, but as many as 1

Fall TCM Recommendations for Health

Fall is a transition time from summer to winter, when crops reach maturity and nature begins to draw inward in preparation for winter. Much in the way that nature is changing, so should we begin to make changes to our own habits. Synchronizing our habits and our lifestyle with seasonal changes

TCM Thermal Properties of Foods

Chinese Medicine says that we should first try to resolve a health problem with diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes before looking towards therapies like acupuncture, herbs, medications, or surgery. For this reason, diet is considered a first line of defense in health matters. One of the ways that we can

Zu San Li

“Why did you use that point?” 
It’s one of the most common questions acupuncturists are asked during an acupuncture treatment.  The answers give insight into the fascinating theory of Chinese medicine and how acupuncture works. 
Zu San Li: A Key Acupuncture Point
Zu San Li (zoo san lee)  is located about three inches below the knee on the outside of the shin bone. Most people who’ve had acupuncture are familiar with this point because it is used to treat so many different conditions. In fact, it is considered one of the most vital acupuncture points because of its wide range of effects on the body.
Zu San Li can help:
  • strengthen the spleen and stomach to treat a wide range of digestive disorders
  • resolve dampness that can cause both digestive problems and mental disorders
  • support and build qi to encourage health and vitality
  • clear fire and calm the spirit to balance emotions, and treat anxiety and mood disorders
  • activate the channels and alleviate pain by encouraging circulation when there are blockages
  • treat digestive problems, emotional disorders, pain and injuries, as well as dizziness, tinnitus, heart palpitations, headaches, and high blood pressure
Why is Zu San Li considered so important?
One reason is its location on the stomach meridian, the meridian with the most qi and blood. Points on the stomach meridian, particularly Zu San Li, can influence the entire body and bolster the effectiveness of a treatment. 
Our ability to process food plays a foundational role in our health and the strength of our digestive system can determine how quickly we recover from an illness or ailment. Indeed this meridian can sustain life. The stomach meridian travels up the chest and through the center of the breast and is the channel that provides nutrients and sustenance during breastfeeding. 
Zu San Li is among the most important acupuncture points because of its ability to support the body’s qi and maintain our health and vitality as we age.  Many classical textbooks of Chinese medicine recommend stimulating this point regularly for health and vitality, particularly after the age of 30. Its profound strengthening effect can help build the body’s qi energy as it declines naturally with age.
Putting Zu San Li to Work for You
You can tap into the benefits of Zu San Li by stimulating the point using daily acupressure. To find it, measure three inches down from the dimple below your kneecap and one finger’s width away from your shin bone to the outside of the leg. Apply firm pressure for one to two minutes. Stimulating this point daily can help to maintain the body's overall health and balance.
Interested in learning more about Chinese medicine and acupuncture? Visit Okanagan Acupuncture Centre at our downtown Kelowna location, or contact us for more info!

Ti Guan Yin: A Green Tea Super Power

Green tea is becoming increasingly popular not only as an alternative to coffee but also as a healthy addition to our daily diet. Green tea has an incredible list of health benefits, confirmed by thousands of research studies and it is a great source of antioxidants.

A particular favourite of ours here at Okanagan Acupuncture Centre is a type of oolong tea called Ti Guan Yin. Oolong teas are green teas that are specially processed to bring out unique flavours and properties. This process involves withering the green tea leaves under the strong sun and then tossing and drying the leaves to promote partial fermentation and oxidation. Finally, the leaves are hand-rolled and twisted into long, curly leaves or small beads.  Ti Guan Yin is a premium oolong tea and one of the most prized varieties in China, fetching some of the top prices. It has a bright green color, a strong natural aroma, and an unforgettable sweetness that is appealing even to those who do not normally prefer green tea.

This combination of delicate flavour and incredible health benefits makes Ti Guan Yin an excellent choice of green tea. As a premium tea, its high quality ensures that you are getting the best health benefits that oolong tea has to offer.  And those health benefits are numerous:

Cardiovascular health: Studies have shown that green tea may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lowers blood pressure, and reduces cholesterol. Pretty amazing!

Fat burner: Green tea boosts our bodies’ fat oxidation ability. One study showed a 17% increase in fat oxidation! Green tea may also improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, making it useful for people dealing with diabetes or prediabetes.

Immune booster: Studies indicate that green tea can boost the immune system and suppress autoimmune disorders. Green tea also has an anti-bacterial effect that promotes fresh breath, healthy teeth, and prevents cavities. Furthermore, green tea's immune boosting abilities may have a wide range of benefit for everything from parasites to HIV.

Cancer Prevention: Various studies suggest that green tea may reduce the risk of certain cancers and block tumour growth. Green tea is also a powerful antioxidant, important in cancer and disease prevention and anti-aging.

Mental booster: Consuming green tea can help improve cognitive function and may help repair damaged neurons and prevent neurons from dying. Studies are exploring how these benefits may help those suffering from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

The list of health benefits is being added to all the time as research continues to validate green tea’s abilities to improve health and wellbeing. From glaucoma, allergies, and arthritis to stress, depression, skin conditions and radiation recovery, green tea’s benefits have far-reaching implications for our health!

James Kaufman is a Registered Acupuncturist at Okanagan Acupuncture Centre, 1625 Ellis St, downtown Kelowna. He may be reached at

Spring TCM Recommendations

Spring is the time of birth, when the earth’s energies begin to awaken and we see the signs of new growth around us. Yang influences are being reborn in nature and in the body and as a result our energy becomes more active and begins to ascend.

Develop Balance and Express Emotions

Spring is the best time of year to develop balance. Emotionally, spring awakens desire, which should be open and unsuppressed. Because the yang qi of the liver is pushing upward and outward, it is common to feel and express anger in spring.  

Increase Exercise and Time Outdoors

In exercise and activity, it is a good idea to take brisk walks and hikes to loosen the tendons and use the yang energy that is rising. We should begin to increase our exercise, with more stretching.  Begin to rise earlier and retire early, and spend time outside to get fresh air. Wear loose clothing.

Springtime Diet

Food in spring should emphasize the sweet and pungent flavours, for their rising and expansive qualities. Avoid excess salt, ts strong descending nature is opposite to the energies of spring. The diet should be light in amount and concentration, emphasizing young plants like greens and sprouts, as these foods cleanse the body of the effects of the heavier foods of winter.  Springtime diet should be the lightest of the year.

Stay in Tune with the Seasons

By eating fresh, light foods and emphasizing vegetables in our spring diet (vegetables are natural detoxifiers) and by getting brisk exercise and fresh air, we can ensure our habits are in harmony with the seasons. Chinese medicine emphasizes harmony with the seasons as a way to promote health and longevity, boost the immune system, and to prevent or minimize seasonal ailments.

Okanagan Acupuncture Centre specializes in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Contact us at our downtown Kelowna location to find out more.


TCM Dietary Recommendations

Chinese medicine (TCM) involves many aspects, not only acupuncture and herbal medicine. In fact, TCM considers diet the first line of defense and treatment in health matters, and acupuncture and herbal medicine are only considered if diet alone cannot resolve a condition.

A proper diet can improve the results of acupuncture treatment and medicinal herbs.  Here are some basic guidelines for a health-promoting diet from a TCM perspective.

Foods to Avoid:

Dairy products: (milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt) Dairy products are considered very damp, heavy, cold foods that slow and weaken digestion when eaten excessively. Dairy products have very concentrated properties, so a little bit goes a long way in their effect on the body. This is why Chinese medicine recommends they be eaten in small quantities. For people with damp or phlegm conditions such as allergies, asthma, and sinusitis, dairy foods are usually best avoided entirely.

Cold foods and liquids:  Cold foods are very hard on the stomach and they weaken the stomach’s ability to warm and cook the food to begin the process of digestion. Foods should be eaten warm or at room temperature, never cold straight out of the fridge.  Water, juices, and teas should be consumed warm or at room temperature, never cold. Think of the stomach as a hot pot cooking on the stove- dousing it with cold foods or liquids can put out the flame.

Greasy, oily, fatty, or deep-fried foods:  Excessively oily foods are very heavy and slow to digest, which can weaken digestion. Again, these are heavy foods that are very concentrated in their properties and effects on the body and a little bit can have a big effect on our health and digestion. Not only that, but a large quantity is just too difficult to digest at once.

Overly rich foods:  These foods tend to be too heavy and slow to digest properly.  Examples are creamy cheese pastas or butter sauces. Like fatty foods, large quantities are just too difficult for our digestive system to process.

Coffee:  Coffee can be very hard on the stomach as well as the liver.  It is also a stimulant and can throw off the body’s natural ability to regulate energy and metabolism.  Black or green tea is an appropriate substitute.

Dietary Guidelines:

A healthy diet is one that includes a variety of wholesome foods.  Variety is very important, as eating too much of one flavour or one food can lead to imbalances in the body.  Try to incorporate as much variety as possible in your choice of flavours, grains, vegetables, fruits, etc.

Incorporating a balance of all flavours into the diet is also important.  Food should be mainly quite neutral or bland in flavour with some spices and flavourings to add interest.  Avoid overly flavouring foods with condiments, salt, and spices.  Moderation is key! Anything in excess can be unhealthy.

Be sure to include plenty of fruits vegetables in your daily diet.  Fruits and vegetables have their own healing abilities, are rich in antioxidants, and help the body to detoxify.  Some amount of raw vegetables should be eaten daily, except when recovering from illness (including colds and flu) or if you have a weak or frail constitution.  In these cases, cooked foods and vegetables (soups, stews) help nourish the body back to health.

The body handles meat protein best in small quantities.  Begin to think of meat as an accent, not the centerpiece in any meal.

Eat seasonal.  Our bodies are attuned to seasonal changes and eating the foods that are naturally in season help us to transition with the changing seasons.  Salads and raw foods can be increased in the summer; in the winter, cooked foods and heartier stews and soups are appropriate.

Drink water! Water helps our body to function properly and to flush out toxins when healing. Our body can't perform or heal properly if we aren't properly hydrated.

Make Okanagan Acupuncture Centre a part of your health team! Call or visit our downtown Kelowna location for more information. Contact us.