3 Tips for a Springtime Cleanse

Spring time cleanse

To cleanse or not to cleanse seems to be the question come spring time in my clinic.

We know that some detoxing or cleansing methods can be great after a weekend away with the girls or when you have started to feel a little stagnated and backed up. Most often, cleansing programs highlight the benefits on the liver and flushing out toxins that have accumulate over time.

In Chinese medicine, the season of spring brings us into the wood element and connect with the Liver organ and meridian system.


Can you see the connection here? Considering clearing out lingering toxins in the body involves the liver, then spring would be the best time to incorporate some daily cleansing rituals.

Now juice cleanses or fasting may not be appropriate for everyone but there are a few things you can try at home.

Drink warm water with lemon first thing in the morning.

Warm water is more absorbable and easy to digest, especially first thing in the morning when you have been warm and cozy all night. (Please avoid cold smoothies and cereal first thing in the morning, no matter what season!) The lemon flavor is sour which connects with the liver and acts as a mild diuretic to flush out toxins from the day and night before.

Eat an artichoke!

Consuming artichokes can help clear liver heat. The plant also contains a compound called cynarin, which promotes bile production and urination.

Pick some weeds!

You likely know dandelion as a pesky little weed that pokes up through cracks in the sidewalk. Did you also know that we can use all parts of the plant medicinally as well? Considered the ideal liver remedy because it is completely non-toxic and gently restores liver function. It enhances the flow of bile and supports the kidneys during cleansing and detoxification of the liver and bowels. I like to send my clients to the farmers market to pick up some organic dandelion greens to toss into a salad or stir-fry.

Happy cleansing!

Herbal Medicine During Cold & Flu Season

herbal tea for cold season

Back to school season has arrived, and likely along with it, the influx of cold and flu germs

Herbal medicine is an extremely effective way to help boost your body’s immune system and also help rid the body of pathogenic illness, if and when it does arrive.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of boosting or building up our immune systems.

Have you ever fallen ill and then been advised to load up on Vitamin C, Echinacea, ginseng etc.?

You can understand that those herbs, in theory, would be helping to build up the immune system, so that you get better faster and start to feel better… right?

Let me explain the theory from a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) perspective:

Your body’s immune system is on and in action 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

That’s its purpose, to protect you from bacteria and viruses, otherwise known as external invasions. If, for whatever reason, your immune system is compromised or weak, cold or flu viruses are able to invade into the body and cause illness.

The first step to getting better, would be to rid the body of that outside factor.

Imagine for a moment, a small village, swarmed by villains suddenly. Would you want to get those villains out of the village as soon as possible, or would you want to build up a surrounding wall to lock in the villains with the village people?

This is essentially what is happening when you take immune boosting herbs when you are sick with the cold and flu. You may, in fact, building up and tonifying the illness instead of your immune system, causing you to be sick for potentially worse and longer than you would have been otherwise.

What we want to do, is, first, get the illness out of the body and then, work on restoring our health.

For that same reason, it is always better to be supporting your health and your immune system pre-emptively and pro-actively so that your defense systems in place can the best job they can to protect you.

Herbal medicine offers effective, safe, and side effect free treatment of common ailments like cold, flu, strep throat, sinus infection, cough, and more.

One of my favorite herbal formulas coming into cold and flu season is Immune Defense by Dao Labs. This offers 2 immune boosting herbs, paired with a single herb that helps dispel any pathogens that do try and invade your body’s immune system.

*Herbs to be taken during illness should always be prescribed by a licensed herbalist.

Am I the right acupuncturist for you?

We are so glad you are here! By landing on this page you have taken the first steps on your wellness journey and we are honor to be a part of it.

When you are looking for the ‘right’ acupuncturist, there are many things to take into consideration:

Is this practitioner qualified & licensed to perform this modality?

You should always be seeking out a practitioner who has completed the required training and licensing in their modality, someone who is in good standing with their regulatory body.  All licensed acupuncturists in BC should be in good standing with the CTCMA .

Acupuncturists, herbalists and Dr’s of TCM have all completed thousands of hours of training, ranging from 3-5 years of school followed by rigorous national board exams. That is a lot of years and hours (over 3500) to be jammed into a weekend course for other non-licensed healthcare practitioners.  So, to be safe, it is always best to go with the best qualified practitioner in the field, and if you want someone using acupuncture needles on you, then the most qualified is a Licensed Acupuncturist

Is this practitioner qualified for the services you require?

Acupuncture is becoming more popular and more mainstream. As this ancient medicine becomes a household name, with it, more and more practitioners are using this modality in their other practices. Chiro’s, Physical Therapists (physios), Naturopaths and Medical Doctors can take elective courses to add ‘needling’ to their list of offerings.

This usually takes course over a weekend program lasting only a few hours. In comparison to the strict training in acupuncture school, this is very limited. It is always best to ask what training has been done to find out if it is best suited for your individual situation. It is our opinion that needling (acupuncture) should be done by a registered acupuncturist.

Does this practitioner have a specialty?

Legally in British Columbia, acupuncturists are not allowed to state that they specialize in anything. However, many will have a practice focused on a specific demographic. It is through advanced training and continuing education that practitioners narrow their focus of treatment.

That being said, if you are in pain, seeking out a practitioner that has trained more specifically in sport rehabilitation would be a good option. We have a special focus on digestive health, women’s health, reproductive health (including but not limited to painful periods, PCOS, endometriosis, fertility, pregnancy support)

Do you like this practitioner?

Often clients seek alternative modalities after not receiving the care they wish they had from their primary care provider. Past experiences with other healthcare practitioners have left them hopeless and frustrated. It is important that you feel safe and heard with your acupuncturist. It is also important that you feel comfortable talking with your acupuncturist and feeling free to ask questions Your acupuncturist is working with you to help you get the results you want. This is a joint partnership, and yes, that means you need to participate.

At Ritual Medicine Acupuncture healing is the ultimate priority, it takes both you, the client, and the practitioner to get the best results. That means, it is your responsibility to take your own health into your hands.

Are you ready?

If you nod your head yes to the majority of these statements, then you’ve found the right Acupuncturist in Victoria…

  • Your health is one of your top 3 priorities.
  • You are seeking a private, quiet, welcoming retreat to decompress and recharge with each acupuncture session.
  • You are eager to learn and implement new ways to help support your health.
  • You are willing and able to invest a minimum of 60 minutes per week to acupuncture therapy.
  • You are open to dietary and lifestyle modifications and herbal therapy.
  • You believe that stress, modern-day living, or past or present trauma could be related to your current state of health.
  • You are seeking long-term holistic wellness for mental, emotional, and physical health rather than looking for a quick fix or magic bullet.
  • You feel stuck, stagnant, or paralyzed in your life, and are searching for a means to move forward, gain momentum, and reignite your creative spark.
  • You believe that treating symptoms is only a “band aid” approach and is ineffective at attaining wellness.
  • You are open to address past and current emotional situations or trauma which could be impacting your health.
  • You are willing to address possible addictions (self-medicating, overeating, overworking, alcohol, etc.) that could be affecting your health.
  • You are seeking an Acupuncturist who focused on digestive health and women’s health. Your available times for treatment are compatible with Ritual Medicine Acupunctures office hours.

Does Ritual Medicine Acupuncture sound like a good fit for you?  If so, schedule today, and I look forward to joining you on your journey towards better health and happiness.

Chinese New Year

As many of you know Chinese New Year is right around the corner, we are transitioning out of the year of the rooster in the year of the dog. Unlike our western New Year, which always falls on December 31st – Jan 1st, Chinese New Year is a movable celebration, with festivities that can span up to two weeks.

Chinese New Year takes place on a different date each year because it is based on the lunar calendar, generally falling between January 21-Febraury 20, with this years beginning on February 16, 2018.

2018 will be the Year of the Dog.

A dogs most defining characteristic is its loyalty, to friends and family.  They are stubborn in their pursuit of ideas or goals and once they decide on something, no one can persuade them otherwise (for dog owners out there, this may sound familiar with food or treats!).

According to Chinese astrology, your year of birth – and the animal this represents – determines a lot about your personality traits.

Although each of the 12 animals gets an outing every dozen years, there are different varieties – and 2018 will be the first year of the earth dog since 1958.

Anyone born in an earth dog year will be communicative, serious, and responsible in the workplace.

Curious which animal you are?

  • Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
  • Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
  • Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
  • Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
  • Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
  • Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
  • Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
  • Goat: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
  • Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
  • Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
  • Dog: 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958
  • Pig: 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959

The Dog is the eleventh of all zodiac animals.

According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. Monkey, Rooster and Dog were in another country, helping a god defeat evil spirits. After, they set off to the party together. Because they arrived at the same time, the Jade Emperor went by the order they met the god in the other country. Thus, Dog became eleventh.

Want to know about your specific animal and its horoscope during 2018, the year of the dog?

Learn more here : https://www.karmaweather.com/dog-2018-chinese-horoscope/

Planting seeds – your wellness journey

Think for a moment of a tomato plant.

A healthy plant can have over a hundred tomatoes on it. In order to get this tomato plant with all these tomatoes on it, we need to start with a small dried seed.

The seed doesn’t look like a tomato plant. It sure doesn’t taste like a tomato plant. If you didn’t know for sure, you would not even believe it was a tomato plant.

However, let’s say you plant this seed in fertile soil, and you water it and let the sun shine on it.

When the first little tiny shoot comes up, you don’t stomp on it and say, “That’s not a tomato plant.” Rather, you look at it and say “Oh, boy! Here is comes,” and you watch it grow with delight. In time, if you continue to water it and give it lots of sunshine and pull away any weeds, you might have a tomato plant with more than a hundre luscious tomatoes. It all began with that one tiny seed.

It is the same with creating a new experience for yourself. The soil you plant in is your subconscious mind. The seed is the new affirmation.

The whole new experience is in this tiny seed.

You water it with affirmations. You let the sunshine of positive thoughts beam on it. You weed the garden by pulling out the negative thoughts that come up.

And when you first see the tiniest little evidence, you don’t stomp on it and say, “That’t not enough!”. Instead, you look at this first breakthrough and exclaim with glee, “Oh boy! Here it comes! It’s working!”

Then you watch it grow and become your desire in manifestation.

-exert from You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hays

Why cupping?

Cupping falls under the medical umbrella that is TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), cupping  is a therapy in which a cup (glass or plastic) is attached to the skin surface to cause local congestion through the negative pressure created by introducing heat (with glass only) in the form of an ignited material.

In the ancient time in China, cupping method was called “horn method”. This name was due to the use of animal horns, which we have now replaced with glass and plastic.

Cupping therapy is warming and promotes the free flow of qi and blood in the meridians.

A.K.A promotes movement and healing in the body.

We have a saying in TCM that when there is blockage there is pain and when there is free flow there is no pain. We will also rarely, if ever use the application of ice. If you have every sprained your ankle you have likely applied ice immediately to stop swelling.

So, imagine that ice, or cold, is restricting and stops movement (swelling). Which is ideal when there is an acute stress response to an injury like inflammation. However, when you are trying to promote movement, repair, and healing, heat is usually better.

Heat can be applied directly with a heat pad, a warming muscle patch, a hot water bottle, or indirectly with a heat lamp or sauna. The warming cupping method can also be used.

In my clinic, cupping is mostly used for aches and pains, usually in the back, neck and hips.

Cupping is also beneficial for digestive complaints, allergies, asthma, cold & flu symptoms.

Cold & flu – TCM meridian theory shows us the most susceptible area of the body to be invade by external pathogens (toxins) is the back of the neck and upper back. Because of this, if someone presents with initial stages of cold or flu, I will apply cupping to the upper back and neck area. Here, I am pulling the toxins out of the body before they can penetrate further and create a full blown sickness.

Allergies & Asthma – based on the meridian pathways and anatomical positioning of the lungs, cupping for these symptoms will also be done in the same area. Cupping over the back of the lungs can help loosen up phlegm congestion and release any heat from the body. This can manifest as a productive/phlegmy cough, wheezing, dry cough and throat, and itchy and congested nasal passage.

Digestive complaints – for digestive issues, I will cup over specific acupuncture points on the back side of the body that connect with the organs and meridians of the digestive system. Occasionally, I will also cup over the abdomen in cases of inflammation and constipation.

Curious if cupping is right for you? Lets chat!

Call +1 (778) 717-2001 and book and initial consultation.


The 12 Meridians - Cupping

Handcrafted Sore Muscle Salve

Handcrafted Sore Muscle Salve

I have been working more and more with herbal medicine these days, working on ways to incorporate it more into my practice with my clients while making it affordable and accessible.

I have just finished making a skin and muscle salve.

A salve is a medical ointment for healing.

This sore muscle salve is great for bruising and muscle tension – perfect for after a cupping treatment!

I used the solar infusion process, which means I soaked my chosen herbs in olive oil for one month, where it was heated slowly by the sun for 30 days. I chose to use arnica, calendula, safflower and angelica for their wonderfully beneficial properties.

Arnica – great for treatment of bruising, swelling, arthritic pain, soft tissue injury and sore muscles

Calendula – anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, calms muscle spasms, helps speed up recovery of skin wounds

Safflower (hong hua) – control muscle spasms, soothes menstrual cramps, promotes blood flow and movement which creates healing

Angelica (dang gui) – improves blood circulation to areas of trauma or stagnation, reduces swelling and inflammation

As with any herb use for medicinal purposes, frequency with use is important. Small and frequent application works best. For an acute ailment, topical application 3-6 times per day is recommended. For general massage apply as desired 🙂

$10 per jar.

Are you getting enough Magnesium?

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body.

Typically, if eating a healthy diet, you should be consuming your daily intake of magnesium. Occasionally due to poor absorption through the digestive tract or over use of other supplements your body will have lowered levels of this mineral. It is estimated that 70-80% of adults (more often women) have a magnesium deficiency.

What are some of the signs you may be deficient in magnesium?

  • hypertension and cardiovascular disease
  • kidney and liver damage
  • migraine headaches
  • restless leg syndrome
  • worsened PMS symptoms
  • behavioral disorders and mood swings
  • insomnia and trouble sleeping
  • osteoporosis
  • tooth cavities
  • muscle weakness and cramps

There are many different forms of magnesium supplements.

The absorption rate and bioavailability depends on the form and dosage you take. Occasionally magnesium consumed in a large quantity can loosen the stools. To find one that is suitable for you, check in with your health care provider.

You can also find magnesium in foods such as whole grains, leafy greens (spinach and chard are great), almonds, cashews, and avocados to name a few! Unfortunately due to modern farming practices levels of magnesium in food is becoming less and less. It is best to stick to organic is possible as practices such as using pesticides or not rotating crops diminish the nutrients in the soil.

What can magnesium help you with?

  • Calming the nerves
  • Helps increase energy
  • Treats insomnia and improves sleep quality
  • Relieves constipation by relaxing the digestive muscles
  • Relaxes tense and sore muscles

Curious if magnesium can help you?

Call +1 (778) 717-2001 now to book your initial consultation with me.