How Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you rock in 2016

In my article on Winter in Chinese Medicine, I talked about how this time of the year is when we plant seeds that will sprout in the Spring. It’s the time for figuring out our goals that we want to achieve over the next year. Goals can be seeds too. Kirsten Cowan from Angelica & Peony and I will be talking about this in our next TCM Talk today at 4pm. 

She’s written a great article about how plants and herbs can support you in your goals for the new year.

I prefer to talk about goals instead of resolutions because inevitably people break resolutions and feel bad about themselves. We want to feel good about ourselves, right? Here’s how can you make positive goals for 2016 and how can acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine help you achieve them.

Positive attitude, positive goals

Think in terms of things to add to your life, not punishing yourself by taking things out. That’s not to say that quitting smoking (or alcohol or refined sugar) isn’t a good goal but why are you quitting them? Maybe quitting smoking is part of the goal of getting healthier. Instead of going outside for cigarette breaks, add a goal of going for short walks a few times a day.

Acupuncture points on the wrist and ears can help you combat addiction to drugs and alcohol, and even food cravings. Sometimes people have addictions to certain things because they are depressed or anxious. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can also help by balancing your moods, which may be part of the addiction. This is a great guide to mental health resolutions for the year.

Get motivated. If you have a goal of getting to the gym or Pilates or yoga class regularly but can’t seem to find the motivation or don’t have the energy, tell your acupuncturist and they can help. Acupressure on Liver 3 link on the top of your foot can help with motivation – think of it as the point to get your feet out the door.

Liver 3 is in the webbing between the big toe and the second toe, close to where the toes meet the foot. This point is called Tai Chong, which has been translated to mean “Happy Calm” and “Supreme Rushing”. This point “can help support growth to occur more freely in a way less burdened by anger and resentment”¹  By doing so, it helps to empower benevolence. The elemental association of this point is Earth. So here, we have the power of the Earth element within the Wood element (Earth within Wood).

Get healthy. If your goal is to improve your immune system so you don’t get sick so often, your acupuncturist can help with acupuncture and herbs. For example, regular moxa on acupuncture point Stomach 36 is something you can do for yourself at home to keep your immune system strong. In my post on Late Summer and Chinese Medicine, you can read more about Stomach 36, its location and benefits.

Get pregnant. If your goal is to get pregnant or have a healthy and easeful pregnancy, ask your acupuncturist how Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you.

Get ready. If you have a goal of doing a half marathon, marathon, bike ride, or 1,000 medieval fights in a week (My husband did that once. It was a dumb idea.), acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help you gain strength and recover quickly while training.

Other Great support options

As an acupuncturist, I believe in referring patients to other resources because you are a whole person – mind, body, and spirit – not just parts. 

Empowering and healing

Dr. Ricky Fishman is a great chiropractor in San Francisco who really empowers his patients. His goal is to help you get better so you won’t have to keep coming back for adjustments.

Kaitlyn Rhoades is a Pilates instructor and Personal Trainer in San Francisco who is also really focused on empowering you to get happy and healthy and “On Pointe”. (She really makes the time fly by during a Pilates session!)

Stay body-positive

Writer and coach Lasara Firefox-Allen has led some amazing body-positive coaching groups. She says: “make health “goals” that are about right NOW. Eat the things that make you feel good. Exercise in ways that feel good. Be in your process, not in some imagined result.” You can follow Lasara and get more pearls of widsom by signing up for her newsletter. She will also be producing body love workbooks this year.

This is a great article that talks about body-positive goals for the year. Don’t start your year by saying how much you hate your body. You only have one beautiful body to take you through this life. Think about what’s actually behind wanting to lose weight and talk to your acupuncturist about how acupuncture can help.

Share your goals

It’s easier to see how you are advancing towards your goals if you say them out loud, write them down, or share them with a friend. Cara Cordoni from Flashlight Coaching introduced me to affirmations. Kirsten Cowan and I have been doing daily affirmations with each other since the beginning of 2015!

Vision boards also give you clarity on what you want to achieve for the year. Think of it as a goal collage. You take magazines, cut out things you envision coming into your life that year, and glue them to a board. Then place the board somewhere you can see every day, so those things will be in your mind. I did one last year in a group using the Chinese Feng shui map (called a Ba Gua) as a guide. Looking back at it at the end of the year, I was pretty amazed at how many things I put on that board came true.

Another way of sharing your goals is doing group challenge. s like a 21-day yoga challenge, or insert-your-favorite-exercise-here challenge. Sometimes it’s easier to achieve a goal with a buddy.

Whatever your goals are this year, Traditional Chinese Medicine can be part of your toolbox to make them to reality. Get motivated, get healthy, get ready. Get acupuncture. Now go rock your 2016!


1. Jarrett, Lonny S., The Clinical Practice of Chinese Medicine, p. 555.

Denise Cicuto