Falling into Fall 2017

We are (finally!) falling into Fall.  The cool, crisp mornings and bright blue autumnal skies and brilliant hues of yellow, orange, and red leaves make us just want to, “aaahhh.”

Breathing in the new freshness and exhaling the old is what our Lungs do all the time.  And this season of Autumn is when the Lung Qi really shines! This is the season of Metal, Lungs and Large Intestine, the color white, the emotion grief, and the spicy flavor.  The Metal energy is about letting go of what’s no longer serving us.  Equally paramount to the letting go process is receiving inspiration  and fostering a spiritual connection, bringing richness to our existence.


Have you ever smelled a moonflower?

The heavenly white moonflower blossom offers tremendous inspiration with its enchanting fragrance and night blooming delicate petals!  Its name alone invokes the heavens, the abode of the moon.  The celestial realm is the domain of Metal.  The skies of stars, planets, and the Milky Way reflect brilliance and invite wonder as we contemplate infinite space, and therefore infinite possibilities.

In keeping with tradition, I’ve composed a haiku intending to portray the sentiment of the season and possibly bring a bit of inspiration….


clouds of nostalgia

part to release stars shining

on a chest of hope


It is with love that I wish for you a lovely, rich Autumn.  I hope it is a time of letting go and deeply nourishing yourself, most specifically your Spirit as the elemental energies are aligned to naturally encourage the release of grief and loss.  The more we can surrender to this movement of emotion, the more open we can be to inspiration and devotion.


Sunflower Seed Spiral! and these nutritious seeds nourish Lung Qi!

With love and inspiration,

Sally Robinson, L.Ac.

White Pine Acupuncture



Falling into Autumn, 2016

Fall has arrived here in our mountains.  This the time of harvest, acorns and apples ripening and falling to the Earth.  Abundance and gratitude are ours to embrace as we feel the seasonal shift guiding us towards the quiet, still time of Winter.

img_0543In Chinese Medicine, the fall is associated with the Metal element, Lungs and Large Intestine, the color white, the spicy taste, and emotionally grief and letting go.  We see the great oaks letting go of their acorns, the fruit trees’ branches getting heavy with fruits before they drop, and the deciduous trees loosening their grip on their  leaves.  We can draw inspiration from the natural world to also in turn stand firm and exhale, letting go of the old to make room for the new.


Making apple cider!


Poetry and interview to share:

Usually I share some of my own poetry,  but I have recently been very inspired by the works of Pablo Neruda.  I have selected a couple of small pieces and quotes here that exude the sentiment of Autumn, specifically nostalgia:

“You know how this is: if I look at the crystal moon, at the red branch of the slow autumn at my window, if I touch near the fire the implalpable ash or the wrinkled body of the log, everything carries me to you, as if everything that exists, aromas, light, metals, were little boats that sail toward those isles of yours that wait for me.”


” Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south? Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.”


As you are aware, I am a big supporter of integration of Eastern and Western medicines.  I met with a colleague of mine recently, Dr. Grace Evins.  She wrote an article about our discussion, and I have posted the link here below.  Check it out!

Improve Your Health With Local Herbs

Enjoy the autumnal beauty.


Sally Robinson, L.Ac.




The Heart of Summer 2016

Hello, Summer!

Chinese Medicine correlates Summer with the Heart, joyousness, abundant light, the color red, and the bitter flavor.  So, shall we align our hearts and intentions with the ease and openness that Summer so readily supports? I say, yes! As the long hours of light infuse the days and evenings with vitality, we can invite that light to saturate our beings, encouraging our hearts to feel open and expansive.


With all the extra light and increased temperatures, we also experience more heat.  Summer is the most Yang time of year, as demonstrated by the extended daylight.  We are naturally encouraged and supported to do more and be more active.  As Yin and Yang perpetually balance one another, we also must make a bit of an effort to bring in some cooling Yin energy, essentially clearing some Heat.  Through diet, we can bring in the cool, bitter energetics with WATERMELON!!! It’s pretty great when the medicinal foods taste AMAZING! Watermelon clears heat and toxins, hydrates us, and the red color aligns with the Heart…..clearing heat, so that the Heart and therefore the mind can feel happy and calm.


To cultivate some stillness (Yin) among all the activity (Yang), I have a meditation technique to share.  It is from Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and poet.  This meditation involves a flower, which is particularly relevant to the heart opening energy of Summer.  From Thich Nhat Hanh:

A flower represents our freshness.  We all have the ability to look at things with fresh eyes and see them as if seeing them for the first time.  If we have lost our freshness, all we have to do is practice breathing in and out to restore it.  You too are a flower. You have your flowerness.  We become light and joyous every time we restore our flowerness.

Flower meditation:


Breathing in, I see myself as a flower.

Breathing out, I feel fresh.

Flower, fresh.


We hope you are beginning a wonderful Summer, honoring your very own Heart of Summer.

What’s qi?

by Mary Beth Huwe, L.Ac.

Qi (“chee”) is a way of understanding the body’s interconnectedness. Like electricity, qi is not a substance but rather a dynamic exchange between positive and negative states called yin and yang. It is essential to anything that lives and grows. It is the force that means we are alive. All living things have qi – birds, dogs, plants, fish.

Because humans are conscious, we have a more complex expression of qi than, say, marigolds, and this is not always to our advantage. This more complex expression gets tripped up and pathological in more ways and in more places. When this happens, an acupuncture needle can restore the proper flow of qi in the body and move out obstructions.


This essay first appeared on The Lantern Project. It appears here with permission.

“Coincident” explored

by Mary Beth Huwe

A phenomenon that we regularly see in the acupuncture clinic occurs when a person receives treatment, feels better, and then wonders if this was merely coincidence. “I mean,” they might say, “would I have felt better anyway?”

Let’s take the example of a patient who injured her knee. This was not her first knee injury, and each time the healing pattern was slow and laborious. She came in while the injury was still acute, and saw increased mobility, decreased pain, and a healing time of about 2 days – compared to her usual 2 weeks. And she asked, “Would this have happened anyway?”

It’s good to examine whatever treatment we decide to undertake to make sure that it makes sense for us. And in that examination, the above is a good question to ask, in general. But I’m most interested in what it reveals about us and our beliefs. In this case, it seems likely that we ask that specific question because we’re separated from ourselves, and we don’t really understand how natural medicine works.

Most people will agree that acupuncture and herbal medicine are natural medicines, and that somehow that’s not the same as “Western” medicine. But often the same people expect the two medicines to behave alike, even though they acknowledge that these medicines differ conceptually.

One way to look at the difference is to examine the language the medicine uses to describe its methodology. It is not uncommon in biomedicine to talk in combative terms. We are accustomed to “fighting” a disease, “killing” cancer cells, or “going under the knife.” Generally, a substance or a surgery is introduced to overcome that which is occurring in the body. Often, the patient views the sickness as something separate from himself, like a rebelling force that needs to be squelched.

In acupuncture and herbal medicine, we have a different kind of language. We talk about “releasing” pathogens, “clearing” heat, and “building” fluids. In other words, we are interested in reminding the body of what it already knows how to do. Sometimes a light reminder will do. Other times we remind a little more loudly.

This truth calls for an adjustment of our expectations. I’m not saying we should expect natural medicine not to work. It should work. We just shouldn’t expect it to behave and feel like biomedicine, because it doesn’t and it won’t.

So how does it behave and feel?

The answers are as varied as the people who experience the sensations. My personal experience was a certain type of physical and mental awakening. The specific symptoms for which I first sought acupuncture diminished, yes, but even more exciting was the development of an ability to connect more deeply to my body. With monthly treatments and my active participation, I felt my perceptions shift. It was as if I received a bonus sense, one that combined with and brought a glow to all of my usual senses. This is not exactly measurable, but it is very real.

Many people report a similar experience. They notice improvements in their senses; they feel sturdier; gross processed food suddenly tastes gross and processed. (It’s a good thing when what’s bad for the stomach tastes nasty to the tongue.)

In short, acupuncture and herbs help the body begin to be an assimilated whole. Physiological processes that were before jerky or pathological can again become smooth. Such a feeling is so right, so human, and so natural that it can be easy to forget to trace it back to the treatment.

This essay first appeared on The Lantern Project. It appears here with permission.