Let Acupuncture and Chinese Nutrition Support Your Digestion This Fall

Let Acupuncture and Chinese Nutrition Support Your Digestion This Fall

Digestion can be confusing. Many of us instinctively recognize imbalances as they creep up. We shift our lifestyle and are able to feel well again. It’s beautiful to experience this flow! Other times we struggle to recognize our bodies’ cues and discern what they mean. 

Research into the gut-brain axis is young but has much to say about the complex relationship between diet, digestive strength, immune systems, and mental-emotional health (1). A healthy diet and outlook helps keep our digestion and immunity strong. Likewise, a collapse of one leg causes the breakdown of another or all. Genetics, environmental factors, privilege, etc, can all tip the scales far beyond what we can self-correct. 

Chinese medicine offers deep insight into these relationships. Given the holistic nature of our practice, my acupuncture treatment addresses the whole system and bolsters the body’s “digestive resources”. Further, the medical theory guides how I diagnose an imbalance and recommend changes. Chinese nutrition offers a wealth of health and healing. I consider the timing of meals, the nature and temperature of the foods we eat, how we feel about certain foods, how our emotions move and where they collect, where the body feels pain, and so on. 

In my experience in treating digestive complaints, diet and nutrition are indispensable. Sometimes this is more about awareness than change. Simple shifts can have profound effects. A favorite book, Healing with Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford, offers an introduction to theory of Chinese Nutrition. Check it out if you’re curious.

Before coming in for treatment, starting a cleanse, or dropping foods from your diet, consider if you’re regularly doing either of the following: 

  1. Rushing through meals, eating on the go, keeping engaged with work while eating,
  2. Drinking cold beverage immediately before, during, and immediately after meals.

If either are true it’s not reasonable to expect your body to assimilate food seamlessly. It’s clear that detaching from stress, chewing food, and giving yourself time to process what you’ve taken in are paramount to healthy digestion (and immunity, mood, and so on!) Perhaps less obvious, drinking liquids before, during, and after meals dilutes the enzymes essential for absorption and assimilation. Cold water further “cools” our “digestive fire”, slows our efficiency.

It can be difficult to make changes but we’re here to support you in clearing away the obstacles. If you have questions about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine may help you, feel free to email gordon@jaderiverpdx.com. Appointments can be made online or by calling the clinic at (503) 297-3825.

Wishing you all well as we ease into fall. Enjoy the tea recipe below, pulled from another favorite book of Chinese recipes, Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen, by Yuan Wang, Warren Shier, and Mika Ono (3).

~~~Betsy Gordon, L.Ac.


Heart-Healthy Tea (helps lower cholesterol while supporting digestion!)


2 1/4 cups water

1 teaspoons green tea leaves

2 tablespoons chrysanthemum flowers 

1 rounded tablespoon hawthorn berries

(optional to sweeten with honey)


  1. In a small pot, boil the water.
  2. Combine tea, chrysanthemum flowers, hawthorn berries, and boil water in a saucepan or teapot.
  3. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes, until the desired strength, then strain.
  4. Add honey to your cup, if desired.
  5. Keep filling the pot or teapot with hot water throughout the day, making new cups of tea to drink to quench your thirst.

Note: large doses of hawthorn berries should be avoided during pregnancy.



1) Mayer E, Knight R, Mazmanian S, Cryan J, Tillisch K. Gut Microbes and the Brain: Paradigm Shift in Neuroscience. The Journal of Neuroscience. 2014;34(46):14590-15496.

2) Pitchford P. Healing With Whole Foods, Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, 3rd Ed. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books; 2002. 

3) Wang, Y, Shier W, Ono M. Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen, Recipes from the East for Health, Healing, and Long Life. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press; 2010.