Replenish Your Qi with Congee

by Sarah Zagorce and Emily Andrews

Having low energy, feeling unmotivated, and doing your best to ward off sickness is quite the norm for this time of year. Less sunlight and colder temperatures can leave you vulnerable to infection, depression, and Qi depletion. As we all know, proper nutrition and hydration are essential to help combat these unfavorable conditions. Lucky for you, this simple Traditional Chinese Medicine staple will help make your food preparation easy, while also providing ample nutrients to keep you healthy and energized.

So what exactly is congee? Congee is a popular dish found throughout many Asian countries. In most, it is a household staple. Known to the western world as porridge or gruel, congee simply involves cooking a grain with extra water or broth for a long period of time until the point of being soupy. Although congee is usually eaten for breakfast to enhance energy circulation, it may also be eaten as other meals. This is especially beneficial for those who are weak, chronically ill, or recovering from surgery. Depending on the therapeutic needs of the individual, congee may be sweet or savory. Although it is traditionally cooked with rice, it may also be made with other grains or by combining them.

What are its benefits? In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Spleen is the organ that governs metabolism and turns food into Qi. Through the use of slow cooked grains and root vegetables, congee helps warm the digestive system and nourish the Spleen, making it easier for the body to properly absorb nutrients and supplement energy. Due to this high digestibility factor, congee is strongly recommended for people with weak digestion, fatigue, or poor appetite. Being that congee is warm, it also helps warm the body, aiding in detoxification by promoting the body to sweat. This is very helpful at the onset of illness. When bone broth is used as the liquid, the kidneys benefit. Since the kidneys regulate bone in TCM, joint health is enhanced. Bone broth also assists in building blood and improves hydration by providing electrolytes.

Given the bioavailability of various vitamins and minerals, congee improves health, wards off sickness, and helps restore energy. It is easy to make and easy to modify. If you need help combatting the blues this winter, try a bowl of congee or two. Your Qi will surely thank you!

Savory Congee Recipe


  • 1 cup of brown/basmati rice

  • 6-10 cups of water or bone broth

  • 1 clove of minced garlic

  • 1 small piece of minced ginger


Add all ingredients together in a crockpot and cook on low for 6-9 hours.


Add other veggies such as onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, and/or mushrooms before cooking or mix in frozen organic corn and spinach after cooking.

Add raw sausage, chicken, or other meat before cooking and break up or shred, then mix before serving. (Always choose whole or minimally processed ingredients.)

Garnish with green onions

Cupping Craze!


Cupping Therapy is the method of using glass, plastic, bamboo, or suction cups to create localized pressure by a vacuum. Chinese medicine practitioners have been using this healing modality for thousands of years. In ancient times they utilized this technique by using heat inside glass or bamboo cups.

Acupuncturists and Chinese Medicine practitioners/doctors of today also use plastic “suction” cupping sets, which also uses a suction to create vacuum type of feel. The "vacuum" made inside the cups causes the blood to form in the area and help the healing in that area. (This "vacuum" technique is utilized by all cupping instruments mentioned above)

Cupping therapy has been found in ancient records dating back 3500 years and it is still used today by many Acupuncturists & Chinese Medicine practitioners/doctors.
New advancement in technology and materials have been integrated with cupping therapies and its uses now range for many different treatments and applications.

In Acupuncture & Chinese medicine we utilize several methods of usage with "cupping", depending upon the patients needs. Only Acupuncturist Physicians and Doctors of Chinese medicine have enough knowledge, clinical experience, & expertise to differentiate the appropriate diagnostic and treatment method for each individual patient.

Acupuncture & Chinese medicine practitioners/doctors use cupping for several different purposes. Here are a few:

1. The body contains Meridians. These meridians are energetic pathways in the body which the energy of life called Qi ("chi") flows through. It flows through every body part, tissue. and organs. Like acupuncture, cupping follows the lines of the meridians. There are many meridian pathways within the body which these suction cups can be placed. Using these meridian (energetic) pathways, cupping can help to align and relax qi, as well as target more specific maladies. By targeting the meridian (energetic) pathways, cupping strives to 'open' these channels - the paths through which life energy flows freely throughout the body, through all tissues and organs, thus providing a smoother and more free-flowing qi (life force). Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. It is thought to affect tissues up to four inches deep from the external skin. 
Toxins can be released, blockages can be cleared, and veins and arteries can be refreshed within these four inches of affected materials. 
Even hands, wrists, legs, and ankles can be 'cupped,' thus applying the healing to specific organs that correlate with these points.

This treatment is also valuable for the lungs, and can clear congestion from a common cold or help to control a person's asthma. In fact, respiratory conditions are one of the most common maladies that cupping is used to relieve. Three thousand years ago, in the earliest Chinese documentation of cupping, it was recommended for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. 

Cupping is also used for facial rejuvenation. 

2. Lympathic toxins released - the healing aspect of cupping therapy is through the release of toxins in your body. The suction from the cups can penetrate deep into your tissues causing the tissues to release harmful toxins. The cupping draws fresh blood and lymph into the tissue to accelerate the healing response. 
It triggers the lymphatic system, clears the blood vessels, and stretches and activates the skin.

3. Myo-fascial, trigger point, musculotendon, Musculoskeletal cupping, is used when there is injury, either chronic or traumatic, the fascia is also affected, not just the muscles, ligaments and tendons. 
If the network of fascial planes is disrupted due to scar tissue adhesions (sometimes referred to as knots), restrictions in function and mobility will result. Decreasing mechanical connective tissue changes following inflammation or trauma,
Decrease trigger Points (presence of hypersensitive, tender tissue within themuscle belly)
Decrease myofascial dysfunction, scar adhesions, scar tissue
Decrease myofascial syndromes; i.e. faulty patterning due to hypertonic muscles

***** NOTE: As there are several cautions and contraindications with any treatments modalities and a necessity of a thorough and correct diagnosis of each individual patient is required.

No other practitioner who utilizes this treatment modality has the expertise needed to maintain long term success in health and well being. Only highly trained and knowledgeable practitioners such as Acupuncturist & Chinese Medicine Practitioners/Doctors should be performing such treatments."

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