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Dr. MAO’s WELLNESS CENTRAL: Welcome to the Chinese Year of the Tiger

Every year for almost 20 years, I’ve written forecasts based on the ancient Taoist system of Five Elements Phase Energetics that predicts global trends that affect us personally. By attuning yourself to these forecasts, you can sidestep or minimize negative tendencies, whether in health, relationships or finance, and make the most of positive trends.

In Chinese astrology, the Tiger is a dynamic and powerful sign. Its nature is unpredictable, courageous, and powerful. Therefore, the Year of the Tiger is usually associated with change, making 2010 likely to be a year of transformation globally and personally. Those who understand the nature of the tiger should have the flexibility to adapt to changes and take advantage of the opportunities that arise.

In the Chinese calendar, 2010 is represented by the elements of metal and wood. The elemental interaction is symbolized by an ax cutting down a tree. The imagery is akin to clearing a forest or the undergrowth in a field for planting or removing the wreckage after a storm in a process of rebuilding. Therefore this year is about transforming your life courageously and harnessing the power of the tiger to actualize your dreams.

On the health front, metal represents the lungs, colon, skin, and the immune system. Therefore, you may want to be on the lookout for conditions like sinus allergies, infections, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, constipation, rashes, compromised immunity or autoimmune inflammatory conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and eczema. The Wood element corresponds to the liver, gall bladder, and nervous system, which may lead to increased stress, tension, depression, anxiety, gallstones, hepatitis, and liver disease.

Here are five tips that I would recommend for supporting your immune, respiratory, digestive, and nervous system. By exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, managing your stress effectively, and using herbal and nutritional supplements you will be able to avoid the health pitfalls of the tiger year while riding the tiger towards your optimum health and wellness.

1. Exercise consistently and regularly to strengthen your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Learning and practicing mind-body exercises like tai chi, chi gong, or yoga will induce deep breathing that will not only help make your lungs stronger but also will reduce stress and tension by lowering your stress hormones. Try to do it at least three times a week for 30 minutes each time.

2. Incorporate functional foods into your diet that possess healing properties to help you to avoid illness. This is the foundation of Chinese medicine. Increase your intake of cooking herbs and spices like dill, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, sage, peppermint, turmeric, basil, coriander, fennel, anise, cardamom, and ginger. These contain volatile oils that will help stimulate your immune system and strengthen your lungs naturally.

3. Detoxify to reduce your toxic load on your liver and the nervous system. Toxins can affect your nervous system, increasing the feelings of anxiety, depression, poor focus, forgetfulness and nervousness and resulting in a sense of isolation, stress, and tension. Help your liver function better by eating more leafy green vegetables like collards, kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, cabbage, dandelion greens, parsley, beetroot, and greens, as well as artichoke, carrot, and asparagus. Make sure you eliminate daily, sweat at least three times a week and drink a glasses of water every three waking hours.

4. Use herbal and nutritional supplements proactively to support your health and wellness. An ancient Chinese proverb says: It is too late to start forging weapons after engaging in war. Herbs and nutrients are part of my family’s diet, and for many years we have used them effectively for “reinforcing our fortress.” We take fish oil, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and our own liquid whole food vitamins daily and use herbal formulations like Perpetual Shield to support healthy immune and lung systems; Allergy Tamer for pollution and pollen; Internal Cleanse to assists with liver detoxification; and Exquisite Skin keeps the colon clean and the skin clears. These formulas contain Chinese herbs such as astragalus, magnolia, chrysanthemum, goji berry, and other herbs that have traditionally been used to support healthy functioning of the organ systems. You can find a variety of herbs and supplements in your local health food stores or online.

5. Cultivate patience, kindness, and peace so that your interactions with others can promote harmony and love. Even though the Year of the Tiger is said to bring about more change, perhaps even turmoil, in the world and in your life, by using this as an opportunity to work on your own self, to reshape yourself as if you were using metal such as a chisel to sculpt a beautiful and useful object out of a piece of wood, you can bring more kindness and peace to your life and to those around you. You can change the world positively by changing yourself.

In summary, take walks and spend time in nature to refresh your lungs. Undertake cleansing and detoxification programs at the start and throughout the year to support your liver and other bodily functions. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, and cultivate health and peace in the five areas of your life—body, mind, spirit, finance, and relationships—so that you can ride the tiger triumphantly towards optimum wellness and fulfillment in 2010. (To read more on Year of the Tiger financial and political forecast, go to

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Contact Dr. Mao Shing Ni


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