Sacredness of Cycles & Nature

by Li-Lan Hsiang Weiss L.Ac.

Past blog posts have focused on the Chinese Five Phases, self care tools, integrative approach to pain…and the underlying message of all of these resources is the capacity, complexity, and creativity of the human experience.   The healing process must be a creative process if it’s meant to address the nuances of each person.  I came to this realization several years ago as I reflected on my personal journey of self care and self learning through Chinese and Maya medicine and my connection to the sacred. I tell folks, it’s a beautiful AND intense process.

I also saw these cycles in clients over the years, those who delved deeper into their own self, those who managed bit by bit due to circumstances of life and age, those who constantly came upon personal blockages that felt like set backs but really weren’t in the larger scheme, those who just weren’t interested in personal growth and were happy to have us give them some respite from their pain, and at some point later came back wanting to focus on healing another layer of their soul.  Everything is a cycle along a spiral web…

Soul work and personal growth requires patience, diligence, love, humility, and humor.  My husband, who is a musician, likes to say “Health through creativity, Creativity for Health”.

So through creativity, I have woven several aspects of my learning, embodiment, and Heart connection process into writing poetry that just started to flow through me as of the New Moon in April.  Here is the first one I’m making public, which I feel ties into how the material of Tones for your Bones, the Chinese Five Element embodiment workshop, the understanding of cycles, honoring our emotions, and reverence to Nature can become a natural part of the healing process.  It is part poetry, part prose.  Other poems added below.

To the River Goddess (written on the 4th week of my moon cycle, the Enchantress week)

At the rock where the River Goddess speaks,

by the tulip poplar that grows between stone and water,

with the setting sun and aloeswood incense,

my salty tears mingle with your sweet flow.


Of what I cry I do not yet know,

It is not sadness, nor anger, nor longing.

Maybe it is the sacredness of place 

and You.


My hands and feet meet Your coolness and yin, 

And the clearing begins as I listen,

“You will be allright,” the rapids speak, 

“I have greater things in store for you.  

You have entered the turbulence of My rapids the past two days,

but look at Me before and after,

I am gentle and quiet.  

Learn what I have to teach you, flow over these rocks.”


Tears of understanding trickle down to meet You.

My heart begins to lighten when I didn’t know it felt heavy.

I remember how You have taught me to merge with you,

Seeing You deeply in your ever changing flow,

Hearing Your music drown out my thoughts of worry,

Feeling my arms and hands be as fluid as You are.

I merge with you Goddess so You can teach me more.


A stronger wave of emotion arises as I allow the spontaneous to surface,

as I consciously let go of self imposed resistance,

as that is the path to the True Heart.

As the tears flow, I understand it’s the mind that clings, out of fear.


I continue to have You wash me,

and polish the protective armouring of my Pericardium,

So that my True Heart doesn’t have to “bear the unbearable”.

“I will be allright”


You lighten me River Goddess by bringing three white men in their donut tubes holding beer and water.  I chuckle at the look of nervousness of the first as he anticipates your rapids and you swirl him around and down.  The second one is not as anxious as he sees you didn’t capsize his friend.  The third one totally relaxes as you gently carry him over the rocks.

I know You brought this lightness at this moment to lift the clouds over my heart.  In gratitude, I wash my face, sipping your sweetness and chuckle as I continuously blow my nose to expel the congested emotions that “mist the mind”.  I giggle as I imagine you carrying my snot down river to catch up with the three men gently caressing you.

In one last ceremony of connection, I smile with joy as I splash You over me nine times, in gratitude to Rosita Arvigo who taught me Maya medicine, the medicine of the land that raised me.  Your rainbow droplets extinguish my aloeswood incense, perfect!


I stand to greet the setting Fire in the Sky,

To honor Earth, Metal, and Water at my feet,

To embrace Wood & Wind that surrounds me in the vibrancy of early summer.

I honor Self with Tree Receives Buddha Light 

As I lift strong arms and bring down the energy of the Sun;

and I bow in gratitude to the unmeasurable support that Nature provides. 


7/21/21  (written in five minutes after a morning of being submerged in the river current, on the week of Arthur “Link” Freeman’s Elemental Playshop Water week, on full moon in Aquarius week, with a friend doing her own mikvah immersion before her wedding).  Another blog post on what True Yin means is forthcoming…but the teachings are still being integrated…

True Yin 

The River Goddess Speaks:

“Harness the power of the ever constant current

Allow it to pummel and cleanse deeply

every cell of your wounded heart.

Set free


Let go.”


A twist of longing and loneliness creeps in

It’s the longing to share the beauty of Nature with another.

It’s the longing of sharing this deep intimacy of merging with the River with another.

But a louder voice speaks up,

“You are not alone”

“Who are you?” I ask.

“The Goddess, the true Yin.

You are not alone because I am with you,

I am in you, I am you.

The True Yin is self-sustaining,


remember this whether you are born male or female.

The True Yin is always self-sustaining.”

Li-Lan’s Covid-19 vaccine self-care

I was grateful for having received my first dose of the Covid-19 moderna vaccine on Tuesday February 9, 2021 in Durham, NC; though I was anxious with being around so many people in close quarters, Alex on the other hand had a great time at the vaccine clinic and even got on the evening news playing Latin songs on his recorder while he waited outside for me to receive my surprise 1st dose.  For the second dose I was much more apprehensive, but let me start from the beginning.

February was a time where there was a shortage of vaccines for certain clinics and populations and I was on a vaccine wait list at a local hospital with no known date of being able to receive it.  We heard of a pop up Latinx clinic February 7 from Armonia Health’s connections to grassroot organizations and NGOs to which my husband qualified and I went with him in case he needed translation (which I didn’t think he would), but it felt right to accompany him, I mean, it was kinda like a date, we hadn’t been anywhere in public together since March 2020 so might as well go to a Covid-19 vaccine clinic together!  lol!

We arrived to a full Cooperativa Latina credit union parking lot and there was a socially distanced line of to-be-vaccinated people going around the building.  This was more people than I had been around in public and it kinda made me nervous.  It was amusing hearing an elderly woman ask the volunteers if the shot hurt and being told it wasn’t a big deal.  There was an elegant Black woman in her 90s dressed up like going to church, accompanied by a middle aged woman; it was real sweet to see them all dressed up to get their vaccine. I saw a long time Mexican client friend who was working for the NGO that was checking us in and it was such a joy to open our arms in excitement as if to give a distance hug, I hadn’t seen her in about six years.  This was the most social I had been in public, even though I have been seeing 15-20 clients per week at Armonia Health since last August and I go on walks but just with one other person.

I hung around outside waiting for my husband while he went in for his vaccine after having his temperature checked, his hands sanitized, and answered negative to 1) any viral signs and symptoms 2) exposure to covid 3) having received another vaccine.  I was told by my friend that there might be left over vaccines that would need to be thrown away if the people registered didn’t show up and for me to get on the wait list.  Thanks to her insistence, I got my vaccine and have lived to tell about it =)

That same week there was another pop up vaccine clinic for health care providers and our same contact asked if Armonia’s practitioners wanted to get vaccinated, two of them did that Thursday.  We all felt lucky we got our vaccines despite not being in the age bracket to receive and not being affiliated with any qualifying organization since we are all self-employed.

My reaction to this first shot was a rash on my clavicle that got more itchy most nights (I later learned that all vaccines can create a histamine reaction) and a little “out of it”, tired the day after, a right temporal headache that was better with lying down, but by the third day I felt fairly non-influenced. It was similar for my husband and the other practitioners.  Our injection muscle hurt more than we expected though, for three nights I couldn’t lie on my right side. I had heard from clients who had already received their second vaccine dose that the effects were stronger.  So I prepared a month ahead by taking two days away from seeing clients after my vaccine and started making note of what helped me.  With a choice, I would’ve taken the day after my first dose away from seeing clients, but none of us practitioners knew we were getting our vaccine that same week.  I noticed that a chrysanthemum/lemon balm tea felt refreshing to drink the day after my first dose, and doing the Qi Gong I call Rooted to Earth, Swinging with Heaven or Children at the Bus Stop felt really good to move my Qi and lymph on Day 3 and I made a facebook live video of that.  You will find that Youtube link as well as what I did before and after the second dose below.

Like I mentioned, I was apprehensive about the second dose, the anxiety was obvious enough getting closer to the date that I knew that what was arising was more than just about the vaccine itself as this has happened to me before; medical procedures that most people consider no big deal to me can be a trigger, like needing my wisdom tooth pulled in my mid-30s when I thought they weren’t going to come out anymore. It reminds me of Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron’s saying “Practice mindfulness and awareness when things are well, so that when situations are not well, you’ll be able to more easily access the tools you practiced”.  So I dove into what was arising.

Over the two weeks before the second dose I noticed that though my mind felt getting the vaccine was the right thing do to for reasons such as helping decrease the spread of this virus that have killed many, including my father in law, my heart was not excited about it.  I had deliberately not received a flu vaccine in 20 years and if my circumstances were different, I would be less inclined to get this vaccine. I was apprehensive that my histamine response would be worse, and my previous history of skin itching and hives that I worked through for several years still elicits that wired-anxious-my-system-is-moving-too-fast feeling that gets me into shallow breathing when I remember the feeling.  I was resisting this second dose, thinking early on I could postpone the shot to 42 days instead of the 30 days in between to give my system more time.  I realized that though I have accepted and allowed my body to possibly live with this virus in our environment and being ok with the risk of possibly being exposed to it in miniscule amounts and maybe very slowly build resistance that way, I wasn’t ready to let myself be injected by a man-made creation related to this virus.  As I walked with a neighbor and we were talking about our resistance to receiving this vaccine, I vocalized that I felt I was letting myself be injected with a poison.  And after all I’ve done the past 20 years of cleaning my body and mind (well, that’s an ego trip!). There! That was it! I said it and came to terms with why I strongly felt anxious about this second dose!

Still, I was going to move along with it and take the risk of whatever comes.  In meditation closer to the second dose, I also realized that the only way I was going to move through this anxiety was step into whatever was going to arise afterwards, I knew I wasn’t going to die, but it is curious that one waits 15 minutes post injection to make sure one doesn’t have an anaphylactic shock, that’s pretty risky, don’t you think?  But then again, we live with risks every day that our system has to get used to.

The private acupuncturist forums discussing the effects post covid vaccine conclude that the Covid-19 vaccine presents the same as a Chinese medicine diagnosis of a viral infection (wind heat/wind cold), with additional ones that fall under the category of Liver wind and Yin deficient heat.
From reading this forum’s responses:

Common signs and symptoms after second covid vaccine, usually Day2-3: fatigue, fever & chills, headache, malaise, body ache

Less common signs and symptoms:  skin itchiness/mild rash, appetite changes coupled with diarrhea, brain fog, malaise that lasts longer than 3 days, frequent urination, dizziness/vertigo
Everyone’s response is different, it seems age may decrease effects felt post vaccine but it’s variable, just like Covid-19 signs and symptoms are very varied too.   It seems like the general consensus with the acupuncturists is not to treat a mild fever as it produces more antibodies to the vaccine when one has a mild fever but can treat all other effects with natural remedies.  The medical profession suggests taking tylenol, ibuprofen, or benadryl/antihistamine for post vaccine malaise and lots of rest and fluids.
So this is what I prepared for myself before the second dose and for our practitioners who were interested in herbs:
1) A formula that is a combo of Gan Mao Ling, Yin Qiao and modern antiviral herbs.  Gan Mao Ling, Yin Qiao San, or Zhong Gan Ling are also options.  Take a dose right after vaccine and 2-3 doses before fever kicks in (12-18 hours after injection).  Let fever run if it’s not too high, a fever results in more antibodies to Covid-19.  It seems people who have fever it’s only for 1 day, mine was for about 2 hours and it was less than 99F, Alex didn’t feel a fever.
2) Chrysanthemum/lemon balm tea – can drink 3-4 cups per day, clear heat benefits the head and lymph.  Add grated ginger and steep when feel the chills post vaccine.
3) Essential oils for diffuser, sinus steam, for lymph massage, alleviate headache and for local injection site to diminish soreness and for emotional balance:  options are frankincense, helichrysum, respiratory/lungs oils, antimicrobe oils.  Pain patch for the injection site, massage before and after.
4) acupressure points to massage when not feeling well
Large Intestine 4- immune system, headache
Taiyang – Lateral to eyes, temple, for headache
Lung 1 – facilitates breathing
Kidney 27 – lateral to thymus, tap to stimulate white blood cell release
Kidney 9 – moves external pathogens
San Jiao/Triple Burner 5 and 6 for fever and chills
Spleen 9 and Stomach 36 for lethargy and digestive symptoms, moxa would be great if have diarrhea
Neck massage
5) Qi Gong when feel well enough to move:  Rooted in Earth, Swinging with Heaven/ Children at the Bus stop:
6) Dry skin brushing
7) Have fruit, soups, broths, miso, rice congee with vegetables available.   Onion and ginger broth and soups are good for chills (cover up after drinking to sweat anything out through the pores), smoothies are better for heat signs
8) vitamin C and vitamin D
The week before the second dose I made sure to eat plenty of vegetables, soups, tried to get enough sleep and modulated how hyped up I might get with what I had to get done.
And this is what I ended up doing for self care from my second dose:
  • 8:30 pm night of shot 7:30 pm- took Chinese antiviral formula
  • 9 pm rubbed helicyrsum and frankincense EO on injection site (any muscle rub will also work), rubbed them on Lung 1, Kidney 27, and thymus.  Massaged left trapezius as it was noticeable tense (Gallblader 21), so pressed hard.  Started to sweat a bit and trapezius released, that felt good. Tapped thymus to stimulate white blood cells.
  • Went to bed with loving blessing for my body.  Did not sleep well.  We seemed to wake up every two hours.  Had sudden chills twice that woke me up.  Each time I brought loving kindness to my heart and thymus, grateful I’ll be resting the next day.  Bodily response was not too intense but the chills were interesting.
  • Woke up about 7 am, did light acupressure on Lung 1 and Kidney 27 in bed
  • Had miso soup with vegetables and poached egg for breakfast.  Made Chrysanthemum and lemon balm tea with honey, drank 1 cup.
  • Rubbed EO on injection site and behind ears.  Didn’t feel bad, but didn’t want to do anything physical either.
  • 9 am felt good enough to do promotion work on computer for Tones for your Bones
  • 10:15 am, felt onset of fatigue and more achy.  Sent one email and checked texts, Have to rest.   Took Chinese antiviral formula, self muscle-testing confirmed that taking this formula does not decrease antibodies at this time (make note of later in the afternoon)
  • 10:30 am massaged juniper and ginger EO on soles of feet Kidney 1 because I felt chilled.  Massaged Kidney 9 on my right calf very sore (this point expels external pathogens, maybe sore because my shot was on my right glute?).  Dabbed pinon pine (one of my favorite Liver/Lung EO) on Lung 9 and held in lovingkindness for my breathing.  Massage Large Intestine 4, is sore.  Light lymph massage on thighs, which were sore, lymph massage on groin caused immediate temporal headache (women have more lymph glands here).  Rubbed temples to ease headache.
  • Rested for 20 minutes
  • 11 am drank another cup of Ju Hua Chrysanthemum/Lemon balm tea with a bit of steeped ginger (feeling more chilled).  Snack of 1/2 apple, dates, raw pumpkin seeds
  • Joined Tibetan Buddhist meditation on zoom: 20th Tara of infectious diseases and social justice felt particularly appropriate and good.  Followed by meditation on Prajnapamarita on the Ocean of Awareness, Vastness of Potentiality, Mother/Yin.  Sent the merits of this practice to the Armonia practitioners receiving the vaccine later that week, Alex and the other Armonia practitioners.  Had to stop there, couldn’t send to more people.
  • 12:30 Had lunch: lentil soup, black bean enchiladas, a bit of guacamole.
  • Read for 45 minutes, had another cup of Ju Hua/Lemon balm tea
  • 2 pm felt more achy and tired, lay down, mild fever for about an hour, napped a bit, Did acupressure on Large INtestine 4, Lung 10, San Jiao/triple burner 6 (excellent for the fever/chills)  amazing how acupressure works as I felt better immediately with the acupressure massage!
  • Muscle tested Chinese antiviral formula upon getting up, still have mild fever, said NO, do not take, let fever run, hmm, interesting.
  • Alex slept for two long hours that afternoon, a longer nap than usual for him.
  • 4:00 pm went for a slow 20 minute walk outside, came back with temporal headache, didn’t feel like doing Qi Gong
  • Lay down for 30 minutes, massaged temples again.
  • 6:20 pm Hungry again.  Had minestrone soup with white rice that made me sweat out the rest of the fever, yay!
  • slept soooo much better second night
  • woke up feeling fairly refreshed
  • muscle texted Chinese antiviral formula: not necessary to take this morning
  • Had fruit smoothie, ate a heartier breakfast: potatoe asparagus omelet with feta cheese
  • We both had enough energy that Alex started drumming to African music first thing and I decided to record an improptu fb live to talk of us drumming together and about post vaccine and the upcoming immune class in Spanish, we also had enough energy to bicker at the end of the video haha!
  • Felt a little heavy body and missed the retreat like pace from yesterday, but what can I expect from dancing to African music first thing in the morning!
  • My menses came first thing this morning (surprise to me, though I was expecting it this week) so it’s still time to keep my pace toned down.
  • Did computer work at home
  • Came in to Armonia Health to see clients the next day, felt just mildly tired, but manageable.

Observations from Day 4 onward:

  • Had two nights of night sweats Day 4 and 5, this indicated the tail end of a viral infection and is the Chinese medicine diagnosis of temporary yin deficiency, which translates to fluid deficiency/dehydration
  • Experienced mild pollen allergies subsequent week, which for me only happens when I’m tired and my immune system is taxed.  I usually don’t have hay fever.
  • Continued to experience mild hydrations imbalances:  increased thirst, dry skin, tight muscles, calf cramping at night
  • Noticed shifts in hormones: emotional PMS in the wrong time of the month; knowing my patterns, this happens to me when my system is taxed, my Blood is deficienct (Chinese medicine terms), and I feel “stretched thin”.  I have been following menstrual cycle patterns for women post vaccine, and there does seem to show some non-usual changes to the cycle over the few weeks post second dose of vaccine.

So that’s been my experience of the vaccine, like I mentioned, everyone is different.  I followed with three other practitioners by text with their vaccine experience later that week and all were different.  I didn’t feel terrible so I took the dose of the antiviral formula appropriate for my level of discomfort but in retrospect, they could’ve taken more of the Chinese antiviral herbs than I because they seemed to feel the effect more than was communicated accurately by text, they took my dose only, thus I like have a phone conversation and look at the morning tongue when doing an official herbal consultation. They also took tylenol or ibuprofen on Day 2 to ease the discomforts.  I don’t have experience with either of those OTC medications for myself.

Glad this is over!  The above strategy is also similar to treating a viral infection with Chinese herbs and natural remedies, though there are more Chinese herbal formulas than I have written about since the formulas are meant to be paired as accurately to the person’s presentations as possible.  Consult Li-Lan for a private herbal phone consult or to purchase the herbs, they are available from Golden Needle Online or directly from Armonia Health.

This is the article that was co-written by practitioners at Armonia Health several years ago if you are interested in knowing more options:  What our practitioners do for themselves to protect from & treat common viral respiratory conditions

Skin Consultations & Alywillow Products now available!

Written by Channa Pickett LMBT

As a massage therapist, I wash my hands A LOT and even more nowadays with COVID. Going into fall and winter, my skin gets so dry. Fortunately, I’ve found great skin care products at Alywillow, a local, woman-owned small business. Many clients I see could benefit from Alywillow’s regenerative and therapeutic products. Our skin is the first line of defense against germs and viruses. Our bodies absorb whatever we put on our skin, so we need to look carefully at the ingredients in our skin care products. Alywillow products have vitamins A through E, so every time you wash or moisturize, you are getting vital nutrients.

If you are looking for help with a skin care issue or want to lessen the amount of synthetic chemicals in your personal care products, check out Alywillow. I’m offering free skin care consultations until January 30, 2021 to help you find the right products. You can sample many of the products at Armonia Health LLC.

Here are the top reasons I love Alywillow products:

  1. They are affordable and last a long time – compared to similar products, Alywillow is very affordable. The products are concentrated, so a little goes a long way. For example, their most expensive product is a regenerative eye cream. It costs $59 but will last you at least one year. That’s only $5 a month! 
  2. They are 100% natural – Alywillow products are made without any synthetic chemicals, synthetic fragrances, or synthetic colors. There are no sulfates, no parabens, no phthalates, no paraffin, no gluten, no propylene glycol, no alcohol, no mineral oil, no DEA, no DEET, no animal testing, and no other artificial ingredients. The products are made with top quality plants in small batches at the time of ordering.
  3. They work and smell amazing – read the online reviews or come by Armonia Health to sample the products yourself. I’ve used the products within my family to help with fungal skin/nail issues, dry/oily skin, acne, dandruff, and more. 
  4. Alywillow is a local, woman-owned small business – The owner makes conscientious decisions about product packaging to reduce environmental impact. Alywillow extensively trains the Independent Specialists and employees before entrusting them to sell the products. I spent about 20 hours studying to become an Alywillow Independent Specialist, and I continue to receive support from Alywillow.


I’m excited to share the wonderful world of Alywillow products! I would love to help you with your skin care needs – eczema, cystic acne, dry skin, itchy skin, scars, fine lines, etc.. Give me a call, text, or email to set up a time for a free consultation – or ask me at your next massage or coaching session.  My contact info is on the Armonia Health LLC website.

Oh! And Alywillow is releasing a new product for PSORIASIS in January – taking pre-orders now. 


Five Elements and Chinese Astrology Ba Zi Charts

Written by Arthur “Link” Freeman and Li-Lan Hsiang Weiss

Arthur “Link” will be teaching an interactive virtual workshop on Sunday January 17, 2021 from 3:33-6:33 pm EST on Your Chinese Astrology for 2021 – Align to the Year of the Yin Ox with your Ba Zi Chart!  Register HERE through our Mindbody scheduler.

You will need to read over this blog post to familiarize yourself with the language of your Ba Zi Chart.  Don’t worry!  It will make more sense when you attend the class!

Five Elements Theory is a Chinese philosophy used to describe interactions and relationships between things. The Five Elements — Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water — are representations in nature that have been observed over time to help humans explain and understand the interactions of phenomenons, situations, and human interactions.

  • Chinese: 五行 Wǔ Xing /woo sshing/ ‘Five Actions’

The History of Five Elements Theory

Five Elements Theory first appeared during the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC). It became widespread: mostly used in Chinese medicine, philosophy, feng-shui, life consultations, and martial arts.

Associations of the Five Elements

Each element has its own characteristics and associations with different aspects of nature, such as direction, season, color, shape, and so on.  Our website has blog posts on various aspects of the Five Elements and how to apply them in every day life; you will find the links at the bottom of this post.

Interactions Between the Five Elements

Five Element Theory asserts that the world changes according to the five elements’ generating or overcoming relationships. Generating and overcoming are the complementary processes — the yin and yang — of Five Element Theory.

Generating processes promote development, while overcoming processes control development. By promoting and restraining, systems are harmonized and balance is maintained.

Generating Interactions

The generating interactions of the five elements are like the conception, gestation, birth, and nurture relationship between a mother and a baby. Such element pairs are deeply attached, and together imply success and luck.

The five generating interactions are fueling, forming, containing, carrying, and feeding:

  • Wood fuels fire.
  • Fire forms earth (volcanoes, ash, etc.).
  • Earth contains metal.
  • Metal carries water (buckets, pipes, etc.).
  • Water feeds wood (trees, plants, etc.).

Overcoming Interactions

The overcoming interactions of the five elements are like the acts of hostility between two sides in a war.

The five overcoming interactions are melting, penetrating, separating, absorbing, and quenching:

  • Fire melts metal
  • Metal penetrates wood (chopping, sawing, drilling, nailing, screwing).
  • Wood separates earth (tree roots breaking up soil/rock).
  • Earth absorbs water.
  • Water quenches fire.



Is a unique system that can help uncover your Life Potential by analyzing the blueprint of your personal birth data. … The 4 Pillars are composed of the year of birth, month, day, and hour. Each “pillar” holds two words, hence the 8 Characters (Ba).  A common misconception is that Chinese Astrology is all about the “Animal Year Sign” when this gives even less information than a Sun Sign in Western Astrology. Each Animal is paired with a different Element which can be further divided into either Yang or Yin. 

You can print out your personal BaZi birth chart by going to the following site:

Day Master

If you’ve looked up your BaZi chart online, you’ll notice it has a LOT of information. Let’s focus on the important aspect which is at the hub of Bazi theory: Your Daymaster.

This is a sample chart from Joey Yap’s free online calculator. Notice there is a top row, and a bottom row, along with 4 “pillars.” This gives us a total of 8 squares of information (ignore the bottom third row for now), which is why Ba Zi translates as Ba (Eight) Zi (Characters).

It’s easy to remember that the Top Row characters are called the Heavenly Stems, as Top is closer to Heaven. The Bottom Row characters are called the Earthly Branches. The Earthly Branches are where you find the Animal signs you may be familiar with.

The Day Master however is the Heavenly Stem of your Day Pillar. The Four pillars are organized by Hour, Day, Month, Year. The Day Pillar is highlighted gold in this chart, and as you can see the top character is called “Geng” or Yang Metal.

The Day Master is You! In Bazi theory this is actually the character that represents us, not our Animal Year (or Earthly branch of Year pillar), and there are 10 types of Day Masters. The 5 Elements: Fire, Wood, Water, Metal. Earth x2 for Yin and Yang.

5 Element Interactions

So review the interactions of the 5 elements again. Draw a clockwise circle through the colors (Red is Fire, Yellow-Earth, Grey-Metal, Blue-Water, Green-Wood) to understand how the Elements Produce or transform into one another. The imagery commonly used is that Water grows Wood, Wood is used to create Fire, Fire turns to Ash (Earth), Earth condenses to Metal, and Metal filters Water.

The star in the middle showcases how the elements ‘control’ or Influence each other. I prefer the term control to Destructive, because in BaZi and in Chinese Medicine this interaction is balancing in a different type of way-one of limiting or preventing excess. Imagery here is that Water Extinguishes Fire, Fire Melts Metal, Metal Chops Wood, Wood breaks through Earth, Earth Dams Water.

Be familiar with this theory, as reading your Bazi chart comes down to understanding how the other elements relate to YOU-your Day Master. So for Instance, or Geng (Yang Metal) chart above has an Influencing effect on Wood Element, and is Influenced by Fire. Earth is what Generates this sample person’s energy, and is this a resource.

Reference Guide for the Elements

Using the theory above you can figure out why each Element is named what it is. Look a the Metal Row- we see that our Metal Day master has Fire as its “Influence Element”, and the element which it controls is Wood which is called the “Wealth Element.” The Element that shares its type is called the “Companion Element” (think birds of a feather), and the Element which it produces is called it’s “Output Element.” Finally the Element which Generates Metal (Earth) is called its “Resource Element.”

I’ll go over all these elements in the class, since there are actually 10 (Two kinds of Wealth, Influence, Friends, etc.). Having this chart pulled up will help you get familiar with how you personally interact with each of the elements, which gives you a rough guide to understanding how other people (their Day Masters) impact your life.

These maybe are useful to know when understanding Chinese Astrology and your personal Ba Zi chart:

Astrology Associations

Characteristic Wood Fire Earth Metal Water
Planets Venus Jupiter Mercury Mars Saturn
Heavenly Creatures Azure Dragon(青龙) Vermilion Bird (朱雀) Yellow Dragon (黄龙) White Tiger (白虎) Black Tortoise (玄武)
Heavenly Stems 1st (Jia 甲), 2nd (Yi 乙) 3rd (Bing 丙), 4th (Ding丁) 5th (Wu 戊), 6th (Ji 己) 7th (Geng 庚), 8th (Xin 辛) 9th (Ren 壬), 10th (Gui 癸)
Virtue Benevolence Propriety Fidelity/ Honesty Righteousness Wisdom
Represents Creativity, luxuriance, blooming, and flourishing Enthusiasm and passion Nurturing, stability, and security Ambition, determination, progress, and persistence Aptitude, brightness, agile mind, and mental strength

For more introductory information on the the Chinese Five Elements and how they can be applied to self, check out our posts Chinese Five Element Personality TypesChinese Five Element & our SensesIntro to the Chinese Five Elements & its associations

Our blog posts are categorized on the right side widget under various categories, check out the Chinese Five Elements and Self Care for ways to use each particular Element in your life.  For experiencing the Five Elements through music, Qi Gong, acupressure, and meditations, check out Tones for your Bones workshops.

Embodying Chinese Five Elements: Creativity of Fire coming together with Earth

Here is a recent creative approach, shortly before the Nov 3 presidential elections, amidst the uncertainty and turmoil leading up to the final days and post election week.  It embodies the joy of creating attributed to the Fire Element in Chinese medicine and the coming together of the Earth element through cooking and eating.  These two elements are right next to each other, in a generative cycle.

Alex and Li-Lan took this picture one morning of their breakfast of two fried eggs, potatoes with onions and bell peppers, and independently (at least on the linear plane) decided to create a story from the photo.  We agreed we wouldn’t tell each other the story, we even posted it on facebook without reading each other’s story, and THEN read it after it was posted.  It was a fun endeavor and speaks to the Yin and Yang of opposite interconnectedness.  Enjoy!

One Breakfast, Two Stories
Two Eggs in a Pod by Li-Lan: There was once 2 eggs from different places and different parents who came together by fate into the same egg carton. They had their own yolk but were of different colored shells. One morning, crack, open & sizzle, they found themselves cooking together and their whites blended into one another, not knowing that when they ended up on a plate, it would form a heart. United, Unique, the Same.
Divining Breakfast by Alex
I used to go to my Turkish friends house when I was a teenager. His mother would make me coffee and then turn my empty cup upside down and read my fortune through the coffee grounds. When we were in Ollantaytambo, Peru I encountered a coca leaf reader from the Q’ero tribe who did a divination for me reading the leaves. Gypsies use a crystal ball and the ancient I Ching used yarrow sticks to form hexagrams and read and bring understanding.
Here at the peaceful piedmont retreat we look at our breakfast and ask, what’s going to happen?
My breakfast looks back at me and begins – the two yolks are going to come apart and be scrambled in the courts, there will be mixed vegetables taking to the streets in protest, and confusion will reign! But, high in Himalayas there is a king who rules his country with a priority on “Gross national Happiness” all is tranquil in Bhutan
If you’d like to know more about the Chinese Five Elements, we have a series of blog post on this site Chinese Five Elements and Self Care that is categorized on the right side widget.
If you’d like to know more about Tones for your Bones: Embodying Chinese Five Elements through live acoustic music, Qi Gong, acupressure, meditations, and reflections, check out Workshops with Li-Lan, Tones for your Bones YouTube channel for meditations, Qi Gong, music by Alex and Li-Lan, and Five Element music playlists of contemporary music.  Tones for your Bones is also on Facebook with fun, practical, and beautiful ways of remembering and learning the elements.
Contact Li-Lan for individual Chinese Five Element coaching for physical, emotional, and mental health as well as to understand a model that can be applied to business and creative projects.


Synergy & Embodiment of Yin and Yang

written by Li-Lan Hsiang Weiss, Licensed Acupuncturist

You’ve all seen the Yin Yang Symbol: ancient circular symbol of duality, interdependence, and change.  It is a symbol that is meant to be a way of creating/understanding order and also about moving out of duality, the second part of this sentence is where I am cultivating currently and I find myself speaking in ways that are still ingrained in gender duality and I am holding myself accountable for this as I interact with others.

On an energetic level when I’m with a client, I don’t make those distinctions. When I feel the belly, sense emotion in certain areas, connect to messages that come, feel the pulse, I am in the “breathe, sense, feel” mode, fully present.  It’s a very comfortable environment that I move in (thanks to these 15 years of being in professional practice and personal cultivation) as it’s very different from my mind chatter when I am solving administrative issues, coordinating between practitioners, responding to emails, and teaching through information.

As I find great joy in teaching and bringing a group together, Tones for your Bones virtually has been an outlet the past few months of sharing the wisdom of Chinese philosophy AND for me to stay practicing Qi Gong and mindfulness.  The last six week series I geared towards empaths, sensitives, and energy workers without a clear intention of why other than I am one myself and wanted to use the Five Element framework to delve into the pleasure of our senses.  More reasons became clear as the series progressed and the group came together…

From an earlier blog post Chinese Five Element Senses, I expressed that this sudden change worldwide way of doing things in 2020 shifted me into a state of slowing down, listening, and being in mystery, thus Tones for your Bones moved from a information-based virtual class earlier this year into being more in the present moment to allow me to be more fluid in what acupressure points, meditations, and intentions to use during the practice while still keeping to the framework.  This way of working has allowed Alex to find more flexibility in the music that he brings forth in Tones for your Bones as we continue to collaborate.  So this way of teaching mimics the Yang of excess (fast pace, information heavy, doing, action) moving into Yin (slower, intuitive, senses, being, waiting) and eventually…nonduality.

These two youtube TED talk videos I watched back to back this autumn equinox week and provide inspiration as they embody this Yin Yang play.  I see both aspects of what they speak of that I bring into Tones for your Bones and would like to continue to bring it into my practice more clearly.  I also see and intend Armonia Health LLC opening to assist, through its practitioners and services, to a wider scope of this Yin Yang play we call Life.

Master Shi Heng Yi on Being on the Journey of Life and Cultivation & 5 Hindrances to Self Mastery

Camille Litalien on being a Dancer and Embodied Learning

A new series facilitated by Li-Lan using Tones for your Bones Live practices will start on Monday October 19, stay tuned for more details!

Chinese Five Element Senses

Written by Li-Lan Hsiang Weiss L.Ac. September 15, 2020

Graphic by Paget Fink of Paget Fink Designs


“Deep relaxation and listening for the Water element, guided visualization for the Wood element, taste and connection to the Heart for the Fire element, voice and food connection to Earth element, smell and touch for the Metal element”

As an ongoing blog series on the Chinese Five Elements, the current third edition of Tones for your Bones virtual series is geared towards Empaths, Sensitives, and Energy Workers and uses the Five Senses woven into Qi Gong, acupressure, and meditation practices set to live acoustic music.  This is the most channeled series as of yet.  What does that mean?  I guess I’m moving into another realm with teaching and my practice.

Tones for your Bones is a work in progress between Alex and I.  Creating art together is like life:  one is constantly learning from each other, communicating, practicing, discussing, impatience at times, exasperation at others times (mainly on my part), letting go, being in the moment, having fun, discipline, diligence.  Thus, maybe with this pandemic and different way of doing things, our co-creation and what we worked on thus far seems to have catapulted me into another realm of teaching and sharing.

I am listening to the universal message of slowing down, listening more acutely, holding my heart to react less while allowing it to be open, allowing the mystery to inform me, allowing the Divine to guide me as there is much not in my control, being with starting over but with more experience, more support, and hopefully some more wisdom.  I feel like I am flowing rather than fighting the current, thus this channeled series has a sense of ease.

After teaching two 5 week virtual series of Tones for your Bones this past spring and summer, I felt like I had the technology and set up down:  I had my weekly teaching material templates organized, I got a lot better at using zoom, we got our sound quality as good as it can be for now, we were finally able to buy a new webcam (they were out of stock a lot and choosing one was overwhelming), we set up our music room quickly with Chinese screens to create a less wild backdrop (we have a lot of color in our house). So towards the end of the second virtual series, I realized that as I have always resonated with working with clients who are sensitive and empaths as I am one myself, the way I teach a class is probably best appreciated by those who are similar in that way.

Why?  People who are sensitive and empaths tend to FEEL the body and the emotions, sometimes too acutely and that can be overwhelming.  So the beauty of Qi Gong, acupressure, and creating order thru the Five Elements and focusing on a particular sense in it’s various relationships brings the nervous system to a state of calm and clarity.  I find that empaths and energy workers benefit from movement, but a little of everything goes a long way.  So a flow of body movement, breath awareness, guided meditation, creativity, and acupressure; generally going from yin activity to yang and then back to yin, leaves one feeling the embodiment of the element and complete.  Tones for your Bones is not a high impact Zumba or Kickboxing session, the empaths in tune with themselves need more than just Yang type activities, the practice is about moving inwards deeper into ourselves to embrace the diamond within.

It’s felt great to channel ideas, see where they lead, and create.  Everything I do continues to influence all aspects of my life, including what is unfolding in Armonia Health LLC with our services…to be continued.

For more on the Chinese Five Elements, check out these other two blogs Intro to the Chinese Five Elements and Chinese Five Element Personality Types

For more on Judith Orloff MD extensive writing on Empaths, start at her website:

Beneficios del Cepillado de la Piel y Como Hacerlo

Compilacion de Li-Lan Hsiang Weiss Licencia en Acupuntura

Beneficios del cepillado de piel seca
Más que un tratamiento de belleza

  • Estimula el flujo sanguíneo y linfático. El sistema linfático es una parte importante de su
    limpieza y sistema inmunológico. Los glóbulos blancos llamados linfocitos transportan
    nutrientes a las células y eliminan los desechos. La linfa fluye fuera del sistema circulatorio para
    bañarse, limpiar y restaurar todas nuestras células, pero debe ser devuelta a los vasos
    sanguíneos para volcar sus residuos. Lo hace a través de pequeños vasos linfáticos con
    válvulas unidireccionales hacia el corazón. Si no movemos la linfa lo suficientemente rápido
    terminamos con tejidos hinchados, particularmente en los tobillos. Ejercicio, masaje y cepillado
    de la piel ayudan a acelerar el proceso y limpiar el sistema linfático.
  • Elimina las células muertas de la piel. La piel seca es un signo de desintoxicación. Es
    importante eliminar las células muertas para evitar obstruir el sistema. Esto también mejorará la
    textura de la piel y renovará las células de la piel.
  • Estimula la hormona y las glándulas sebáceas. Con el cepillado diario y el baño, la piel
    puede producir el aceite necesario para mantenerse saludable. La sudoración es una parte
    importante de la desintoxicación, pero cuando su sistema está obstruido, puede experimentar
    olor corporal fuerte y el trabajo extra se pasa a la vejiga, los riñones y el hígado. Con el
    ejercicio regular y la limpieza de la piel, notará que su sudor ya no huele. Sin embargo, con el
    aumento de la desintoxicación en todo su cuerpo al hacer una limpiarza corporal, usted puede encontrar que se agrava el olor corporal junto con otros procesos de eliminacion del cuerpo antes de que se estabilice.
  • Reduce las marcas de celulitis, estrías y “estancamiento de la sangre” (termino de medicina china):  Requiere cepillado diario durante varios meses para comenzar a ver los resultados. Cuando usted masaje y estimula la piel comienza a romper los depósitos tóxicos de los tejidos grasos almacenados en la piel. El masaje del tejido conectivo y la liberación de emociones
    almacenadas son también buenos tratamientos para la celulitis.
  • Fortalece el sistema inmunológico. El cepillado de la piel seca puede reducir la duración
    de las infecciones y las enfermedades al mover las toxinas más rápidamente a través del
    sistema y estimular la linfa para mover la materia de desecho.
  • Estimula el sistema nervioso, tonifica los músculos, aprieta la piel. Al estimular las
    terminaciones nerviosas en la piel, esta técnica rejuvenecerá los nervios y activará las fibras
    musculares individuales, dando como resultado los músculos del tóner. El aumento del flujo
    sanguíneo a la piel, y la eliminación de las células muertas, estimula la creación de nuevas
    células de la piel que aprieta y regenera la salud general de la piel.
  • Nutre su cuerpo. Tal vez uno de los beneficios más importantes de esta práctica es
    puramente el placer de nutrir su cuerpo. ¡Realmente se siente genial! ¡Relajante y energizante
    al mismo tiempo! Aprender a amar a su cuerpo es esencial para la pérdida de peso y la
    curación de cualquier “enfermedad” corporales, mental y emocional. Pasar este tiempo, 5-15 minutos por día, dando a su cuerpo la atención que anhela y se merece. Trabaja duro para apoyarte. ¡Dale el apoyo que te mereces!

Seleccionando un cepillo para piel seca

Elija un cepillo para piel seca que tiene cerdas naturales de fibra y una manija larga
para alcanzar toda su espalda. Algunos tienen una manija desprendible y la correa para
utilizar el cepillo sin la manija. Las cerdas pueden sentirse demasiado firmes al
principio, pero su piel se aclimatará a esto con el tiempo. Si usted tiene piel muy
sensible, es posible que desee comenzar con un cepillo más suave o usar una toalla
seca en el principio.  Tambien se puede usar un estropajo o toallita de algodon si no tienes un cepillo para la piel.

Cómo usar su cepillo para piel seca

1. Cepíllese el cuerpo seco antes de ducharse o bañarse.
2. Comience a sus pies y siempre cepille hacia su corazón. Utilice movimientos
circulares rápidos o largos, incluso golpes.
3. Cepille toda trajectoria de las piernas, luego sobre el abdomen, los glúteos y la
espalda. Si usted tiene celulitis en sus caderas y muslos, concentre alli un poco más.
Para la disolución completa de la celulitis, cepille durante 10 minutos diarios durante
varios meses.
4. Cepille ligeramente en áreas sensibles como pechos y más firmemente en áreas
como las plantas de los pies.
5. Cuando llegue a los brazos, comience por los dedos y cepille los brazos hacia el
corazón. Cepille los hombros y el pecho hacia su corazón.  Cepille la espalda hacia arriba a los hombros y hacia enfrente al corazon.
6. Evite cepillarse donde la piel esté rota o donde tenga una erupción, infección, corte o
7. Acabar tomando una ducha (no hay necesidad de jabón!) Y si lo desea, el uso de
terapia fría / caliente para estimular aún más el sistema linfático y mejorar la
circulación.  Seque su piel ligeramente y mientras humedo aplique un humectante natural a base de aceite vegetal.

Limpieza de su cepillo de piel seca

Dependiendo de la frecuencia con la que use su cepillo, limpie su cepillo una vez por
semana o una vez al mes. Remoje y lave las cerdas en una dilución de agua tibia, unas
gotas de jabón líquido y bicarbonato de sodio. Cuelgue para secar al aire.

Cinco Estrategias para Adoptar un Nuevo Habito

Este es un articulo traducido del ingles, el articulo original se encuentra aqui

Aquí hay cinco estrategias que Kris Kresser, del instituto de coaching Adapt180 y el Kresser Institute, usa personalmente y que también puedes usar para desarrollar un nuevo hábito, ya sea comenzar una práctica de meditación, adoptar una nueva rutina de ejercicios o acostarse más temprano.

# 1: Sepa Su Por Qué

Para tener éxito al adoptar un nuevo hábito, debes conectarte emocionalmente con las razones por las que quieres adoptarlo. “Debería hacer más ejercicio porque mi médico me dijo que lo hiciera” no va a ser suficiente. Hágase preguntas como “¿Cómo me sentiría si tuviera éxito con este nuevo hábito?”, “¿En quién podría convertirme si adoptara este comportamiento?”, “¿Cómo me ayudará esto a lograr otras metas importantes en mi vida?” Considere escribir las respuestas a estas preguntas y luego revíselas a diario a medida que crea el hábito.

# 2: Hacer cambios chiquitos y realistas

Tenemos una tendencia a establecer metas grandes e inalcanzables y luego renunciar cuando no podemos alcanzarlas. No estoy seguro de por qué, pero esto parece ser la naturaleza humana. Reducir el cambio que desea realizar en pequeños incrementos puede aumentar drásticamente sus posibilidades de éxito. Por ejemplo, si finalmente desea meditar todos los días durante 30 minutos, comience con solo dos minutos al día. A medida que tenga éxito, obtendrá la confianza y la motivación que necesita para aumentar gradualmente hasta alcanzar su objetivo completo.

# 3: Agregue su nuevo hábito en uno existente

La acumulación de hábitos es una estrategia probada para cambiar el comportamiento con éxito. Así es como funciona. Mide el nuevo hábito que quieres desarrollar justo antes o justo después de un hábito ya establecido. Por ejemplo, decidí meditar todos los días justo después de terminar mi café matutino y escribir, y justo antes de mi programa de entrenamiento de fuerza en casa.

# 4: Programe su hábito en su calendario

Es importante darle a su nuevo hábito el mismo peso visual y logístico que otras cosas importantes que hace cada semana. Para mí, eso significa programar hábitos directamente en mi calendario y configurar una alarma para que no me olvide de hacerlos. Si vieras mi calendario, verías 30 minutos bloqueados en la mañana para meditar, luego otros 30-45 minutos bloqueados para entrenamiento de fuerza, luego tiempo para un paseo en bicicleta de montaña más tarde en el día, etc.

# 5: Busque apoyo o alguien que te ayude tomar responsabilidad de tus metas

Un principio psicológico llamado efecto Hawthorne sostiene que nos desempeñamos mejor cuando sabemos que estamos bajo la observación de otros. Es por eso que la responsabilidad es tan poderosa cuando se trata de construir nuevos hábitos. Hay muchas formas de hacerlo. Escriba un contrato de compromiso (indicando a qué se compromete) y luego compártalo con su pareja, un amigo, una comunidad en línea relacionada con su hábito, sus seguidores en las redes sociales, un mentor o su asesor de salud.

Intro to the Chinese Five Elements

The Chinese Daoist Five Elements are based on thousands of years of observations of nature, its relationships, and the human body and spirit.  They form one of the foundations of Chinese medicine, which include acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas, Qi Gong / Tai Chi, diet, meditation, bodywork.  One will also find the uses of these Five Elements in Feng Shui  (the art of placement) and the I-Ching (the Book of Changes).

An acupuncturist will use the Five Elements and their meridian and organ associations when listening to a patient’s symptoms, and start to develop a Chinese medicine diagnosis based on observing signs from the person’s voice, facial complexion, gait, tongue, and pulse.


Here is one way of looking at the associations of the Five Elements:

Once you have an idea of the associations, the fun part is to learn how they interact: how one element leads to another (called the Generative Cycle) and how one Element’s association can “backfire” and antagonize another.

To know a bit more about the Five Element personality types, check out this blog Chinese Five Element Personality Types

To delve into the Chinese Five Element senses:  Chinese Five Element Senses

To experience the Five Elements and learn to embody them, Tones for your Bones is a workshop and practice that includes live music, Qi gong, acupressure, meditations, and self-reflections to use this system to help physical, mental, and emotional health.  If you have a spiritual practice, the use of the Five Element can work together to deepen your practice.   Tones for your Bones is a creation of Li-Lan with her multi-instrumentalist storyteller husband Alex Weiss, more info on this workshop is on the page Workshops with Li-Lan 

This is a series of blog posts by Li-Lan Hsiang Weiss on the Chinese Daoist Five Elements and Tones for your Bones.  More self-care and Five Element blog posts are available on our side widget of blog categories titled Chinese Five Element & Self-care.  All blog posts by Armonia Health LLC practitioners are on our BLOG page