healing & nature

at tsiimade, we are huge fans of exploring & enjoying nature. a lot of tsiimade goods are inspired by organic forms & we use raw organic materials whenever possible. nature is an inexhaustible source of rejuvenation & inspiration. 

knowing how great a day hike or a dip in a lake can feel, I asked acupuncturist michele brielmaier a few questions about what these nature explorations do for our health. michele has over 15 years of clinical experience in traditional chinese medicine, focusing the 3,500 year old system on modern life and health.

fresh air, sunshine, and salty crashing waves all positively alter us at a cellular level. nature restores our vital energy.
— michele brielmaier

G: acupuncture is a holistic form of medicine. how does it interact with things like the outdoors, exercise, diet, and other aspects of our lives? 

M: traditional chinese medicine (TCM) views the body as a microcosm of nature, and natural balance as the key to health.  TCM uses natural imagery to describe health conditions — fire as fever, a frozen river as poor circulation. These connections point to lifestyle adjustments. I love how this natural simplicity is nested within the complex system of TCM. 

G: what are some of the benefits of unplugging & getting out into nature?

M: I've always connected with the holistic agrarian life, and the good balance of harmony and self-reliance it instills. constant digital connection and urban life can be exciting, but stressful and draining in excess. stress is especially damaging to our immune system, and nature is the perfect remedy.  studies confirm what people have always instinctively known — that fresh air, sunshine, and crashing waves all positively alter us at a cellular level. nature restores our vital energy. in TCM we call this energy Qi, and it's considered one of the most important foundations of good health. 

let life flow with the natural change of seasons, like our ancestors did until the very recent modern era.
— michele brielmaier

G: how do the seasons affect us from a TCM perspective? how can we best enjoy each season?

M: TCM gets very specific about the seasons and health. simply stated, it's important to keep a balance. when it's hot, take siestas and eat cooling, salty foods to replace minerals lost through sweat. eat more raw sprouted greens in the spring to energize. enjoy hearty soups to nourish in fall. warmly hibernate on long winter nights, so you're ready to become more active when spring and summer roll around again. let life flow with the change of seasons, like our ancestors did until the modern age. small changes can impact health and happiness in a big way. 

enjoy nature any time or place you can, and you will see positive changes in your health and mood.
— michele brielmaier

G: do you have any tips for being our most healthful in the great outdoors?

M: enjoy nature wherever you can, and you will see positive changes in your health and mood. seek nature in urban environments. explore parks and trails. we owe thanks to john muir, the grandfather of the national park system, who preserved these natural spaces for us. protect the natural world we've been blessed with, like gaylord nelson, founder of earth day and the modern environmental movement. when you can't get outside, bring the outside in and open your windows for a few minutes each day - especially in winter. let sunlight shine on your skin for at least a few minutes every morning and it will help you sleep at night. 

G: what are your favorite ways to spend time in nature?

M: I love living near and visiting lakes, oceans, and beaches. I've always liked climbing, hiking, and wide open spaces. camping in our family VW van is always fun. I enjoy exploring new places by bike. nordic skiing through the woods in winter is wonderful. I'm always heading to farmers markets — anything that combines food & nature is perfection to me! acupuncture always resets and restores my natural relaxed state — it's like a mini-vacation. 

thanks for reading — now get outside! :)