Summertime in the Pacific Northwest

I love hearing about the adventures my patients have planned for summer—rafting the Grande Ronde, gardening, backpacking in the Bitterroots, bike rides with grandkids. With the longer days of sunshine comes the itch to get active and to experience the great outdoors!

In terms of Chinese medicine we are in the time of the wood element. Like the sway of branches, this element is about free flowing movement, springing forth, reaching out to connect with the outside world and our communities. Here in the Pacific Northwest we are blessed with so many opportunities to do just that. Here are just a couple of ideas:

Moscow’s Farmers Market

carrotsGet out, meet your neighbors, dance to live music, and support your local growers. While you’re there, be sure to pick up plenty of delicious fresh veggies and produce. Bitter greens correspond to the liver channel and are particularly good for us this time of year.

Get rolling!

bicycle wheelGrab a friend, your bike helmet and wheels and check out the numerous options in our own back yard. Mountain bike on Moscow Mountain, check out the scenic Hiawatha Trail, the Trail of the Coeur d’alenes, or take a leisurely evening ride on the Paradise Creek Trail.

Take a hike!

wildflowersStop to smell the wildflowers at Kamiak Butte, pick huckleberries on the Palouse Divide or go bird watching on the trails along the St. Joe River.

Are you sunscreen savvy?

child applying sunscreenMore and more research is being done on the harmful effects of chemicals that are common in many sunscreens. The Environmental Working Group just brought out their 2014 guide to sunscreens. Here are recommendations based on their findings:

Avoid chemical sunscreens (!!)

Most conventional products on the market fall into this category and contain ingredients such as oxybenzone and oxtinocate. These toxic chemicals have been shown to absorb into our bloodstream and wreak havoc on our hormones. They have been associated with altered sperm, endometriosis, changes in thyroid function, low birth weight, and are transmitted in mother’s milk.

Use a mineral sunscreen

These products create a mechanical barrier (vs. a chemical barrier) to protect against harmful rays. Look for ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These are considered safest, do not absorb into the bloodstream and do not disrupt hormones.

Products that fit this bill include Kiss My Face Natural Mineral Sunscreen, MyChelle products with SPF, and Alba Botanica Mineral Sunscreen. For a complete list of safer sunscreens, go to the EWG’s 2014 Sunscreen Guide.

Webpage Rollout

Yay!! Root Health finally has its very own website! Check us out online to learn about all the great services Root Health has to offer, the latest research on acupuncture, and Kameron’s answer to the question, “How the heck did you get into acupuncture?”

Root Health Closed in July

I, too, will be getting outside to enjoy the bounty of summer. The office will be closed from June 30th through July 31st. We will re-open the first week of August and are currently accepting appointments for the fall. Be sure to get in for any acute or maintenance care before then and to plan ahead on your herbs. I look forward to seeing each of you on the flipside!

Best wishes for a glorious summer!

In health,