Spring has Sprung


Spring has sprung. According to the Chinese calendar, spring officially began this year on January 28th. As the sun warms the earth, the flowers bloom and the seeds sprout, we are reinvigorated with a sense of renewal.

Spring is represented by the wood element which is related to the liver and gallbladder organs. According to Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body. When the liver functions smoothly, energy- both physical and emotional also flows smoothly. This is why it is so important to move your body during this time.

Stretching is an excellent form of movement because the liver controls the tendons. According to Chinese medicine, the liver stores blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons during activity. This maintains tendon heath and flexibility. Try incorporating a morning stretch into your routine or practicing yoga or Tai Chi.

Go outside and move your body. The simple act of being outside helps liver Qi flow. If you find yourself irritable, simply go outside for fresh air and a walk. This will move and smooth out your stagnant liver Qi.

Eat your greens. Green is the color of the liver and of springtime. Include fresh, leafy greens and sprouts in your meals to support your liver.

Enjoy sour foods. Add lemon slices to your drinking water or vinegar to your salad dressing. Foods with sour tastes stimulate the flow of liver Qi.

Drink milk thistle tea. Milk thistle helps protect liver cells from toxins and promotes the cleansing of substances such as alcohol, medications, heavy metals, pesticides and other environmental toxins from the liver.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help improve the health of your liver and treat symptoms such as stress, frustration and anger that are associated with liver Qi stagnation.

We at the Traditional Chinese Medical Clinic wish you a healthy and happy spring!

TCM Clinic Health Tips for the Fall Season


According to the Chinese calendar, fall begins at the beginning of August (around the 7th). At first glance, that may seem a bit early. If you pay close attention though, you will see slight changes beginning at that time…the nights begin to cool off, trees start to change and the days become noticeably shorter.

In Chinese Medicine, fall corresponds to the metal element which represents order and organization. It is therefore the perfect time to finish summer projects and to organize and prepare for the winter.

The emotions associated with metal are grief and sadness. Thus, it is important to “let go” of any negative emotions and clear your mind for the peacefulness and quietude of winter. Fall also corresponds to the Lungs (and skin) and Large Intestine. These organs are responsible for respiration, digestion and elimination. During this time, one is more susceptible to respiratory problems such as asthma, colds and sinus infections, as well as constipation and skin problems. It is therefore essential to take very good care of yourself...avoid getting chilled even when it “seems” warm outside, stay hydrated, get sufficient rest and choose warm, cooked foods such as soups and steamed vegetables over cold, uncooked foods such as salads.

Here are some nourishing foods to incorporate into your fall cooking: apples, beets, bok choy, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cinnamon, figs, garlic, ginger, leeks, pears, persimmons, pomegranates, rosemary, sage, thyme, whole grains, wild rice, winter squash and yams.

Enjoy the beauty of the fall and the abundant harvest it offers. 

Promoting Fertility by Improving Reproductive Health


Today, many couples are waiting until later in life to have children. Women and men over thirty may be working against years of poor diet, stressful work or living conditions, and other health- altering conditions that can adversely affect the reproductive cycle.

Fortunately, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and lifestyle changes can rejuvenate your cycle. Most often, it takes at least three cycles of treatment to regulate a woman’s cycle; longer if there is a history of gynecological issues such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.  It takes men up to 72 days to generate new sperm. If there is a history of urological complications, it may take longer to regenerate the reproductive capacity.

Acupuncture corrects hormonal imbalances and assists internal energies to restore the endocrine system. It also influences the reproductive organs and affects the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis which is responsible for ovulation and sperm production.

Moreover, if you are working with a Fertility Clinic and choose to use fertility drugs and/or medically assisted fertilization techniques, acupuncture can increase the chances of conception. Recent medical research has proven that acupuncture can improve the outcome of Assisted Reproductive Techniques by improving both ovarian response and uterine receptivity.

Chinese herbs contain natural energetic substances which correct underlying deficiencies or remove obstructions. Practitioners determine your individual imbalances and create herbal formulas to correct these imbalances. Each formula contains different herbs for various segments of the cycle. Some women may need to switch herbal preparations 2-4 times throughout the month to correct specific imbalances in her cycle. The herbs act to strengthen the reproductive system and improve reproductive function.

Lifestyle changes are essential in supporting your reproductive cycle. Such changes include: eliminating caffeine, drugs and alcohol; eating nourishing and organic foods; taking a natural, high potency multivitamin that contains a mineral complex with iron, folic acid and B vitamins; exercising moderately; and becoming more aware of your fertility by understanding your cycle and specific signs that arise throughout your cycle.

Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and lifestyle changes work together to rejuvenate the reproductive cycle and subsequently create a healthier environment for a harmonious pregnancy. Our practitioners look forward to working with you and supporting you on your journey to achieve your goal of parenthood.

By Korin Owens



Chinese Medicine and Menopause

Almost weekly we read about new findings that report links between cancer and estrogen, or studies questioning the validity of hormone therapy.  This is not at all surprising to doctors of Oriental medicine, who view menopause as normal a part of a woman’s life as is the beginning of menstruation.  It does not have to be a time of pain and discomfort.


Menopause is not a disease, but a natural occurrence.  It is the permanent cessation of menstrual activity that happens to every woman at approximately 45 to 55 years of age.  Drugs or surgery can also bring it on prematurely.  It is estimated that in the United States about one in three women over the age of 50 is currently being treated with hormone replacement therapy, even some with a history of tumors, cysts or cancer – all of which are clear contraindications as estrogen also acts as a growth hormone and as such can cause or exacerbate these conditions.    Recently the use of estrogen (such as Premarin – made from pregnant mare’s urine) has drawn a lot of attention.  These hormones have long been prescribed to treat symptoms that have been associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, general weakness, dryness, depression, atrophy or shrinking of the breasts and genitalia, signs of aging and increased risk of osteoporosis.  But new research is showing that there are real dangers to taking hormones, mainly increased cancer risks, and that the benefits may be questionable or less than they were thought to be.


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views this naturally occurring change as the beginning of the “time of wisdom” in a woman’s life, as nourishment of the uterus during child-bearing years shifts to the mind    In the Orient, women who have gone through menopause are not considered “over the hill”, but are revered, honored and have a valuable place in society.  The transitory symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats can be eased and balanced with herbs and acupuncture, the idea is to make the change as comfortable as possible, not to fool the body into continuing as if it never happened.  Hormones only put off the experience and a woman who has been on replacement therapy will go through the entire process once she goes off hormones, even at age 90.  The problems of osteoporosis, dryness, depression, etc., are issues of proper nutrition, exercise and balanced organ function are also addressed by TCM.  Each woman’s individual needs are carefully reviewed and worked with to provide her with the maximum possible benefit, without increased risks of heart disease, cancer or negative side effects in order to ease her into her time of wisdom.


The Su Wen  (an ancient Chinese text on Chinese medicine) states in chapter 2:

“The three months of Spring
are called spring forth and display.
Heaven and Earth together produce life,
and the 10,000 things are invigorated.

At night one goes to bed, at dawn one gets up.
One paces the courtyard with great strides,
hair loose, body relaxed, exerting the will for life,
to give life and not to kill, to give and not to take,
to reward and not to punish.

This is the way that is proper to Spring,
which thus corresponds
to the maintaining of the production of life.

To go against this current would injure the Liver,
causing illnesses in the Summer due to cold,
through an insufficient contribution to growth.”


This is the season where the weather is often unpredictable in the early stages and wind is prevalent.  It is the time of germination and planting, when the sap stirs and begins to rise and nature comes back to life from its winter sleep.  Efforts spent in spring to prepare the soil and plant with care and awareness will insure reaping a bountiful crop in the late summer as well as avoiding undue work in the summer.  This is true both literally and as a metaphor for all aspects of our lives.  In Chinese medicine, spring and the wood element relate to the Liver and Gall Bladder and are largely responsible for the regulation of the body.  Anger and strong emotions are associated with the wood element, thus it is especially important to remain calm and relaxed.  Liver and Gall Bladder problems commonly flair up during this time of year.  Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine are very effective in promoting good health and treating these issues when they arise.

History of 700 West Mountain Avenue

The Building now occupied by the Traditional Chinese Medical Clinic was built in 1903 as a corner grocery store.  The cost of construction was $2,040.00.  Elihu Ellis and his father, J.A. Ellis, bought the building and started the Westside Grocery on October 1st, 1908 and ran the business for over 44 years.  Rolland Ellis, Elihu’s brother, joined the business in June of 1919.  Elihu hired a clerk named Clifford Cable in 1917 who ran the store and made deliveries.  Clifford Cable was Janna Pijoan’s grandfather.  He remained working at the grocery when Elihu retired and passed the store on to his son-in-law Charles L. Bishop and Raymond Kamm, Mr. Bishop’s brother in law, on February 1st, 1953.

Clifford Cable often made deliveries in a horse drawn wagon and, once at the customer’s house, would take the groceries in and put them away.  The old grocery had gas lights and during the time Clifford worked there the floor was replaced three times due to being worn through.

After the Westside Grocery finally was closed, the building went through several hands and was occupied by various businesses.  It was a real estate office, republican headquarters, candy store, massage school, rape crisis center, doctor’s office, etc.  The Food Coop occupied the building in the 1970’s before moving to its present location on East Mountain Ave.  Janna and Olivario Pijoan rented the building in 1999 when they moved their business, The Traditional Chinese Medical Clinic, Inc. from New Mexico to Fort Collins.  Several years later they purchased the property and ran the clinic until April 2015.  Today, Dayna and Monique Larson continue to run the the Traditional Chinese Medical clinic, Inc. in the same historic building.