Is Spring here yet?

Is Spring here yet?


  • Favourites in East and West language – Scarves!
  • Detox or not?!?
  • Clinic news

Happy Spring! Or is it? While the warming trending has started, here in Vancouver, it is still quite cold for us and what we are used for for spring warmth. We are definitely looking forward to the burst of warmth to come.   

We continue on our series focusing on My Favourite Things and Why from the East and West perspective.  This month, I’d like to tell you about how much I love scarves! Yes, fashion can serve for our health also!

The perfect accessory, not just in fall, but year round.  Let me tell you why from East and West health perspectives.  In Chinese medicine, pathogens such as viruses and bacteria that are airborne or environmental are called “External Wind”. They are ever moving, changing, and in the air we breath and environment we touch. Our immune system has many layers in TCM, and the outermost layer is regulated by the Lung System. Our skin and pores are considered and extension of this, and part of our outermost immune system called “Defensive Qi”. Hence in TCM, pathogens are considered to enter the body not just through our Lung system, but also our pores. The stronger the “Defensive Qi”, the stronger our outer immune system. What makes this Defensive layer strong? Lots of factors of course however one is the warmth of our Immunity Qi – so the warmer it is (not too warm though), the better able it is to fight.

Next are the Acupuncture channels and points that help rid of us the External Pathogens and also strengthen our immune system. The outermost Acupuncture meridian layer helps fight off pathogens, and runs from head to toe, most notable on the back and back of the neck. This meridian, called the Taiyang meridian, has many points as well to eliminate external “Wind” pathogens.

So where does the scarf come in? By wrapping a scarf around our neck, even our upper back and base of the skull, we are not only warming up our “Yang Qi” and hence “Defensive Qi” to be stronger and better able to fight, but we are also then helping to protect our body by warming and protecting the meridians, and the acupoints of pathogenic entry and exit. We call this: Protecting our Wind points.

Looking at this from the West perspective, there are actually close comparisons to supporting the immune system and in protecting ourselves. The scarf can be used to keep our body warm, thus helping our energy and vigor. More importantly, it can be used as a barrier like in Chinese medicine. Next time our are on the bus and the person next to you is cough, pull your scarf up to your nose and use it like a face mask to prevent inhaling airborne pathogens. Airborne pathogens have a life of a distance of 2 meters. So wear a scarf!


As mentioned in our last newsletter, I am pleased to introduce to you our newest addition to our team, Dr. Katherine Chung, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine! Katherine is currently completing her residency and is schedule to begin at Red Tree Wellness approximately May 2017. Read more about her here. In the meantime, we’ve asked her to be a guest writer and share with her thoughts on a popular ‘activity’ in the Spring – Detoxing!

3 ways you’re detoxing wrong and 3 ways to do it right

By: Dr. Katherine Chung, ND

Detoxification has many health benefits, the biggest is weight loss and eliminating built up toxins in the body.  Just like everyone has their own reasons for detoxing their body, there is just as many different approaches to detox as well. There are juice cleanses, water fasting, brown rice fasts…this list goes on. Although there are various ways in which we can detox our bodies, once the toxins move into the bloodstream they all have the potential to cause the same side effects – fatigue, headache, sore muscles, and malaise. To minimize the chance of getting these unpleasant side effects, we need to address the 3 most common detoxing mistakes!

1. Starting and stopping your detox too fast

A common mistake is quickly starting and stopping a detox. When starting a detox, transitioning into it is just as important as the detox itself. Detox is just like a new workout regimen – you can’t just go from never going to the gym to bench-pressing 250 lbs on day one – you have to work up to it and detox is the same way. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a juice cleanse or a water fast, we cannot shock our bodies.


Plan, plan, plan. This is key to having a successful detox with minimal side effects. Make sure you have a meal plan for the first two days of detox that will slowly decrease the intake of your regular diet and increasing the foods/drinks that are part of your detox diet. Once your detox is coming to an end, do not binge and go straight back to your regular diet. Slowly introduce food back into your diet and make sure you maintain a whole foods diet to reap the long-term benefits of your detox.

2. Ignoring Detoxification pathways (it’s not all about diet)

Detoxification is not just about diet; it’s about the whole elimination pathway. Changing the diet will help move the toxins out into the bloodstream, but you have to help it move out of your system completely! There are 5 organs in the body that are considered emunctories, which is just a fancy word for waste/toxin eliminators and they are: Lungs, Skin, Liver, Kidneys, and Large Intestine. It is these organs that are ignored during the detoxification pathway and without supporting them, then the toxins will not be completely eliminated and the whole cleanse would be of no value to you.


Utilizing saunas/sweating (but don’t start any new, excessive exercise regimens), dry body brushing, encouraging regular bowel movements (without use of laxatives), and keeping hydrated supports the body to expel toxins.

The body detoxifies in two phases: the first phase uses liver enzymes to break down toxin into intermediates. Phase two will take these intermediates and make them water soluble to be eliminated by the body. This is why hydration, sweating, and regular bowel movements is just as important as the detox diet itself.

3. Timing of detox

Detoxing is incredibly challenging, not only for the body but for the mind as well. The meal planning, sugar cravings, and the potential side effects can bring on a certain level of stress, so detoxing your body during a stressful time of the year or during a season when your body’s natural response is to hibernate is counterproductive. Just like we need to plan out what we will do DURING our detox, we must also plan out WHEN we will do our detox.


If you’re ever in doubt, get your inspiration from nature. When does an apple tree or a bear flourish and grow? When do they conserve their energy and hibernate? That’s right, Spring/least stressful times are when they flourish and grow; Winter/stressful times are when they hibernate. Hence, the best time to detox your body is during a time when it has extra energy/resources to handle the toxins being liberated (i.e. not during Winter or stressful times).

Dr. Katherine Chung, ND

Did you know…

  • As a current/returning patient, you can utilize our community Acupuncture times on Thursday afternoons and every other Saturday.  Look for “Acupuncture Happy Hour” on the booking calendar.  Get in sooner, or save a little cash. Feel better sooner!
  • We are open Saturdays!

Lastly, we are working towards offering Direct Billing this year. Our aim is to begin late Spring/early Summer. Stay tuned for updates or inquire next time you are in!

We hope you have a happy Spring!

Yours in good health and happiness,

Dr. Sonia Tan & the Red Tree Wellness team