Getting Ready For School: Ancient Wisdom for Focus, Immunity, and Stress-Free Studies

As late summer hints at the fresh season ahead, it’s a great time for students to prepare for a productive school year. A fun place to start is your study area, cleaning up your workspace will make it more inviting. Decluttering is feng shui gold! You can also add a plant or crystal to boost the energy. With that in mind, it’s also time to declutter and detox your mind and body, as well as provide some extra support to face the excitement and challenges of the school year with strength, clarity, and calmness.

This is the time to cut back on the indulgences of summer vacation and make sure to shift towards getting a full night’s sleep if you’ve been staying up late. It’s also important to increase hydration as your body will need the fluids to wash out any accumulated toxins. Cut back on ‘damp-forming’ foods like excess dairy, sugar, and gluten which according to Chinese Medicine tax the spleen. The spleen houses the yi, our intellect, and these foods can fog the mind and weigh it down. They can also affect our ability to fight off colds/flus as spleen qi is related to gut health and immunity. 

In addition to allowing the body a chance to cleanse, it’s also time to detox the mind. The absolute best way to accomplish this is through meditation. Finding just 15 min a day to sit quietly without distraction, and allow the mind to settle is essential to generating a focused intellect, to releasing stress and to supporting our resistance to pathogens.  

With some of the mind and body clutter cleared out, we can make room for extra support through diet, herbs, and acupressure. The shen (mind) rests in the heart, but will get restless if there is a lack of blood.  Prepare for study season with blood tonifying foods like dark leafy greens, dark red berries, and beets. To keep immunity strong, flavor dishes with ginger, garlic, and scallions. Walnuts are the perfect study snack, being an easy to grab kidney tonic with positive effects on brain health according to TCM. 

Chinese herbs for colds

Some herbs for keeping the mind serene and sharp, and the body healthy are gingko biloba, reishi mushroom, and turmeric. Gingko biloba has long been recognized for its cognitive health benefits. Reishi is considered the immunity mushroom, credited with the ability to increase the activity of white blood cells.  Turmeric is also great for immunity and brain health but especially important to keep the liver clean and happy. According to Chinese Medicine, if the liver is happy, there is a smooth flow of qi, which translates to a feeling of ease and effortlessness.

Back in acupuncture school, a familiar sight prior to test time would be students with tiny antennas coming out of their heads. 4 points called Si Shen Cong ( meaning 4 Spirit Wisdom) were needled to bring qi and blood to the brain to revive concentration. To stimulate these with acupressure find the highest point of your head. From this central point find 4 points approximately 1 inch up, back and side to side.

Stomach 36

Another common sight in school would be students applying moxibustion (the burning of mugwort) to a point on the leg referred to as STOMACH 36, also known as immunity’s master point. The ancients said if you burned moxa on this point daily you would never get sick. This is another acupressure gem. It’s located in a sensitive depression about 4 fingerwidths down from the base of the kneecap, just to the outside of the shin bone.

liver 3

A final point to massage would be LIVER 3 (Great Surge), located between the big toe and second toe about an inch down. Many acupuncturists think of this as the ‘de-stress’ point as it assists the liver in moving qi through blockages, bringing a ‘great surge’ of calm over the system. With a calm, clear mind and body and these supportive tools, you’ll be ready for success!

Don’t forget to reward yourself for these efforts by scheduling a relaxing acupuncture treatment to further assist in seasonal detox and set yourself up with the support you need to thrive in the year ahead, whether that’s in grade school, college, or just life in general!