Welcome spring!

March 2023:

Fun fact!

I moved to NYC after graduating my doctorate program in 2016. I wanted to pursue my dream of training at my favorite dance company in the Bronx. It just so happened to be that I found a postdoctoral residency which specialized in eastern medicine, specifically Traditional Chinese Medicine. I spent 3 years immersed in the theory and complemented it with regular practice of qigong.

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My perspective of health and wellness started to shift after learning these new concepts and given the changes I started noticing in my own body. My appetite, energy, and overall mood and well-being was steadily improving so I couldn’t help but listen to what my body was responding to.

One aspect that stood out to me the most is how our bodies respond to the transition between seasons. After all, we are mammals living in nature and I began to realize how little we pay attention to how we are in tuned with it. We have become so inundated with everyday work life that we have become disconnected from the very nature we are born of.

Each season has its own characteristic transition.

Some being more abrupt than others. The spring and fall are particularly aggressive given the amount of energy it takes to transition from its respective previous season.

Spring is by far the most challenging. The amount of energy necessary to awaken all aspects of nature back to full bloom is greater than any other seasonal transition throughout the year. When I started to then find correlations between mental health and these eastern theories I started to consider it being more than a coincidence.

Bipolar symptoms (mania) tend to be on the rise around this time of year. I also took note of heightened symptoms of anxiety, hyperactivity and impulsivity amongst my patients in the spring. When integrating the TCM theory it would make perfect sense that the surge of energy necessary to “wake everything up” could be triggering the aforementioned conditions as well as other mental health symptoms.

I encourage you to begin to bring attention to messages your body might be trying to communicate to you on a daily basis. Particularly between seasons.

Don’t be surprised if you, or those around you, may be experiencing the following symptoms characteristic of spring:

  • Itchy, dry or watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Dry itchy throat
  • Nausea
  • Hot flashes
  • Dizzy spells
  • Headaches

Sound familiar? Kind of like seasonal allergies!

While western approaches to medicine may focus on seasonal allergies as a main culprit for these and other symptoms, taking both western and eastern theories into account could prove to be beneficial in understanding what’s going on in your body.

TCM theory states that the upward, emerging flow of energy (as flowers do when pushing through the earth) can appear to us as sneezing, itchy, watery symptoms that are coming up through our bodies and out of our eyes, nose and throats. Nausea, headaches and neck tension can also be a sign of symptoms of emerging “heat”. Furthermore the heat can also show up as angry, irritable and fluctuating moods. All very common telltale signs of spring creeping around the corner.

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There is nothing wrong with experiencing any or all of these symptoms. Just as it is natural for the trees to sprout new leaves, we are also part of nature. We adjust along with the environmental changes we just might not notice it!

Ways to cope with the discomfort of spring changes begins with what you consume.

Alcohol is one thing I stay away from completely as we get closer to the first day of spring. Every season has a corresponding organ in TCM and for spring it is the liver. If there is not enough energy to support your liver because it is overwhelmed with processing of alcohol, symptoms may feel worse. Other foods that take a lot of energy to digest are raw foods and veggies, overly processed foods and sugar in excess.

Some great ways to support your liver inclide:

  • eating cooked green veggies.
  • staying away from frozen beverages.
  • eating cooling foods such as watermelon, cucumber and peppermint tea to calm any symptoms of heat.
  • support the stomach (cousin of the liver) with probiotic foods such as kefir.

If you’ve made it this far in the reading, know that you have invested the time to take your health to a new level by doing the necessary research. Continue to read, investigate, ask questions and most importantly LISTEN! Our bodies are designed for survival and communicate to us on a daily basis. But it is up to us to turn up the volume and follow through with action in order to work actively toward a healthier, happier version of you. Yes it is possible!

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Dr. Cristina Dominguez provides compassionate, professional care with no judgment. Elite coaching sessions can help with career advancement, successful relationships, burnout, and more. Reach out today to schedule your free consultation.