Winter Blues…

We’ve still got a few more weeks of winter. UGH. How are you and your dog holding up? If you and your pal seem a bit more subdued than usual, don’t worry. It’s natural for this time of year to be a bit low key.

We are storing up and hunkering down but soon we will need and want to expend all that energy when we get a whiff of Spring air. Your dog will know when it’s coming and start feeling a little restless wanting to relieve some of that cabin fever.

In the meantime, take advantage of the solitude and quiet time to rest and reflect. That’s what your dog does and how many times do we talk about being more like our dogs when observing their unconditional love they dole out on a daily basis? My dogs remind me of all the blessings I live with everyday.

Traditional Chinese Medicine tells us that this time of year our Kidney’s and Bladder are doing their work of storing up from the Fall harvest in anticipation of the rebirth of the season of Springtime. The Kidney’s, with it’s sister Meridian the Bladder, are known as the ‘Root of Life’ and make up the fundamentals of the Yin/Yang system in all the other organs. Kidney’s store your body’s Essence, your constitutionality. Your dog’s Kidney Essence should be maintained through a healthy lifestyle-good, quality food, plenty of exercise and a clean environment. It is also beneficial for your dog to have the love and companionship of humans and other dogs.

The things that can go wrong when the dog has week Kidneys are developmental and growth issues, week, brittle bones, tooth decay, estrus and fertility issues and low energy. On the emotional side, fear and anxiety can rule the dog’s behavior. Another issue that may develop is a bladder infection. Your dog may not want to go out to potty because it’s cold out there! So he’s reluctant to relieve himself when he should causing him to hold his urine. Try to get your dog outside every few hours to take the necessary potty breaks.

Spring is just around the corner! Hang in there! If your dog needs a pick-me-up, Acupressure can address those Winter Blues by keeping his Chi moving in a harmonious cycle. During this time of year it can help with giving the Kidney and extra boost, strengthening the immune system to keep those environmental influences at bay, and by giving arthritic bones some relief.

Thanks for reading,


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Begin the Fall Transition

Need to take a break from the busy summer activities? Your pets may feel the same way! Think about it…schedules are not the same and your pets like continuity. You’ve had guests over, gone on vacation, lots of day trips, extra activities, pool parties, BBQ’s…

The Fall transition may seem to force us into settling down and ‘in’ for the season. Your pets know it’s here. Yesterday, my dogs were seemingly reluctant to go for their first walk in the onset of the seasonal rain. They drug their feet. It’s as if they don’t want the warm weather to end. Fall marks a season of letting go.  But their bodies are ready to accept a more subdued schedule. I think we humans are too! We may require some rest after all of the physical activity and our dogs are listening to their little aches and pains of the strenuous hikes they accompanied you on.

The Fall Transition is one marked by a deep gratifying sigh of an abundant growth and maturity stage and the contented relief of an upcoming set schedule. Dogs and Cats are preparing for the cold, damp winter ahead. They have ‘harvested’ their energies during the summer to store them for winter reserves. It is interesting to note that the Fall season follows the Late Summer season of Maturity…as if to say the summer escapades have allowed us to grow and now we are ready to move forward having learned from those experiences.

During this period of winding down and settling in, the abrupt change in climate can irritate skin and bring on some respiritory issues. Also you may notice some joint restriction as the weather turns cooler. These ailments involve an imbalance in the Lung (Yin) and Large (Yang) Intestine Meridians. The pure, fresh external Chi, a life-giving energy and fluid, brought in by the Lungs to replace the exhausted Chi energy eliminated by the Large Intestines may be stuck somewhere along either Meridian.

Acupressure can help put these Meridians back in harmony and create a balance within your dog’s body. By using a select set of Acupoints along these pathways that carry Chi, energy can be released to allow an unimpeded flow to circulate throughout the body. With my fingertips, I stimulate or sedate certain acupoints along the Meridian to keep Chi moving so the body can return to a more balanced state. It is safe and painless for the animal. Dogs and Cats are excellent recipients of this alternative method of treatment because they are so in-tune with their bodies. They know what they need!

Have a wonderful Fall Season!


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Spring Transition

Winters can be a bit long in the Pacific Northwest. This one is no exception! I know it says Spring on the calendar, but it feels like Winter-especially lately. Still, when you look around, nature knows it’s Spring!

Green is everywhere! According to Traditional Chinese Medicine we are in the Spring transition phase that makes up One of the Five Phases of Transformation. The Liver/Gallbladder organ systems are associated with Spring Phase. Also, the Wood element and the color Green are connected with this season of REGENERATION.

Did you think your Hydrangea was dead? Look again and you will notice the tiny green leaves sprouting out. Or what about your sage bush? It was grey a few days ago, now it’s turing back to green! The Tulips and Hyacinth still want to push up through the earth-out of hibernation and before you know it, your roses will have buds on them. The Wood element creates the fuel for Life’s fire as well as controls the Earth element (think of a tree’s roots). The cycle of life still goes on in spite of the colder-than-normal weather. But we can’t stay in the Winter Phase forever. Life needs to regenerate itself.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Five Phases, which include Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood, make up Creation and Control Cycles-In other words, it helps to explain the process of life’s changes and how Chi, our life-force energy interacts with the world and how we are sustained and supported by it-or, Created and Controlled by it.

Our bodies know it’s time and our 4-legged companions knew it several weeks ago! My 10 year old dog, Mary, has a little more Spring (pun intended) in her step the past several days. Her new undercoat is pushing through, shedding the outer, more protective layer she naturally cultivated over Fall and Winter. She’s more playful with her younger K9 companion, Rudi, by instigating a game of chase on the sunny days in the backyard. Her tendons and ligaments are the part of her body that is being governed during this transition and are literally ‘itching’ to get out and move after having a long season of germination. Because she feels renewed and resurrected after her long rest, she wants to burst out of the ground or cave and play again. This is also why we Spring clean our homes-a fresh start. It’s the same with our bodies-cleaning out the junk that has accumulated during winter.


Acupressure can help promote your pet’s smooth flow of Chi. By using acupoints along the Meridians, the practitioner can clear the way, releasing any blockages, or dams, so the river runs smooth again and that vital energy can deliver life-giving essences. Think of the Winter months when debris accumulates, water stops flowing and life comes to a standstill. Then the mountain snow starts melting, sending more water rushing down the streams and rivers. Acupressure can help clear the debris, or stiffness, in our bodies facilitating movement again! Remember it can be thought of as another expression of the Yin and Yang of Life.

The Wood element and it’s transition of Birth, is in anticipation for the transition to Growth that comes in the form of the Fire element in the Summer!

Happy Tails!

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Winter Season

We, as well as our pets, tend to be less active in the winter months. With the colder temperatures, shorter days and general ‘let down’ after the holidays, we would rather stay inside and be home bodies! I think it’s very natural. And….we probably need the rest.

Our pets accept this cycle much better than we do. Sure they still want to go for their walks, but are seemingly more patient about getting out to do their business! They are more in tune with their environment and surroundings and therefore better able to ‘go with the flow’. We can learn a lot from our pets.

One reason they hesitate going outside to do their business….It’s COLD out there!!! Winter is the season that is associated with the Water element in the 5 phases of transformation according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The other 4 elements are Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. Each element has a transition phase linked to a season. Fall transitions into Winter and Winter transitions into Spring….

The Kidney and Bladder are the organ systems that correspond to the Winter months and relate to the idea of ‘storing up’ the bodies resources, and Water, to combat the harsh, cold season that is Winter. Dogs and other animals might seem a bit lethargic, or slower moving. Consider the bear that hibernates during the winter. After our Holiday feasts, we’ve put on a layer of fat to keep us protected from the cold, dry and windy weather that comes from the North.

Our animals are contemplative during this time. They are coming to an end of a cycle and in a sense, are in decay mode. Dogs and Cats are getting ready to transition into a growing period. They need those resources, just as plants do in the springtime, to rebuild and blossom again. It is no coincidence that Spring’s element is Wood. We need Water to grow Wood.

Not only do the Kidneys store the water and essential fluids, they also hold the animals Original or Source Chi that it was born with. This is the vital substance that gives the animal the power to grow, develop and reproduce. It’s that ‘constitution’, ‘will’ or ‘fire’ that we are all born with. This fire continues to burn throughout our lives. It cannot be replenished. It fades as we get older. However, since it is the source of strength, we need to give it extra support especially during the Winter.

How do we strengthen our pets Kidney and Bladder systems? As always, good nutrition and abundant, fresh water. If you are buying your pets food from the grocery store, most likely, it’s got way too much sodium in it. Dogs like this, but too much of it can cause Kidneys to be overworked. Consider going to your local pet food store. Ask the clerks-usually they are very knowledgeable about good nutrition. You can also read the ingredients to make sure there aren’t any fillers.

As I mentioned above, your dog may hold his urine longer because it’s cold outside. This could lead to a Bladder infection because the Bladder lining can get irritated holding onto all that urine. You might want to get your dog out of bed and let him stay outside for several minutes a few times a day.

Make sure your pet gets enough exercise-even in the winter! Aside from keeping the body’s water and electrolytes balanced, the Kidneys produce a hormone that involves regulating the blood pressure. Regular exercise without a doubt helps the Kidneys function properly. Also, the Kidneys are the creator of Bone and Marrow according to TCM. Daily exercise maintains strength in the bones and nourishes the spinal column. During the Winter, if your pet is limited by arthritis, he may exhibit more discomfort. Some gentle exercise can help alleviate stiffness and get Original Chi flowing.

Acupressure can help boost the function of these organ systems by initiating the free flow of Chi, Blood and vital fluids like Water, so that they may reach the organs and keep them nourished and keep the Kidneys moist-thereby keeping the skeletal system lubricated. Acupressure relieves any blockage in the body when the proper Meridians are worked with a gentle, healing touch. We try to restore or maintain the Yin/Yang balance in the body through this method to promote the much needed circulation of Chi.

A few more things about the Water element associated with the Kidneys in the Winter season:

The parts of the body that is managed by the Kidneys and Bladder are bones, teeth, marrow and the spinal column. And as I mentioned before, grow issues are related to the Water element.

The emotion related to the Water element is Fear. Think about the being so scared, you peed your pants! Or scared so much that your skeleton is trembling!

The color is Blue or Black-no mystery there….Winter Blues…..

The sense organ is the Ear. Fluid in the ear can cause dizziness. When loss of hearing is an issue, a cat or dog can become fearful of loud noises and hide under the bed. Or an animal with Kidney problems can be extra sensitive to noise in general.

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