Now this one… I dig. Heh. Heh. Get it?

A garden is a more accurate comparison because it captures the essence of “aliveness.” Our bodies are not merely mechanical; they are living, growing organisms made up of interconnected parts.


✔️ We require basic elements to thrive

A garden also teaches us that, just like plants, humans require essential elements to thrive. We need good soil in the form of nourishing food and fuel, the sun’s warmth and light to energize us, water to hydrate and cleanse our systems, and even the beneficial bugs of our microbiome to support our overall well-being. Just as tending to all these components is vital for a flourishing garden, recognizing and nurturing these fundamental aspects within our bodies is key to achieving holistic health and wellness.

A gardener tends to the soil, nurtures the plants, and adjusts care based on the changing needs of the garden. We too must pay attention to our bodies’ ever-changing requirements. By adopting a gardening mindset, we can cultivate a holistic approach to our well-being, ensuring that we provide the necessary care and support for our bodies to flourish and thrive.


✔️ Your body needs tending to in order to thrive

Think about the plants you’ve had in your life. Some thrive while others struggle. When a plant starts to wither or decline, we know that it’s not the plant itself that is the problem but instead it’s due to less-than-ideal conditions—too much or too little water, sunlight, pests, or weather-related factors.

Gardening requires time and attention to grow healthy plants. ‘Growing’ our health isn’t all that different; after all, we can’t always control the outcome or eliminate disease but often the more TLC you provide, the better the outcome will be. 

Gardeners aim for their plants to thrive, just as humans strive for health and happiness. To make this happen, we need the right balance of essential elements: sunlight, nourishment, hydration, beneficial organisms, and harmonious interactions.

When something is off in the garden, we assess and adjust. If there’s too much sun, we need to water more. Extra rain? Water less often. 

Similarly, we pay attention to the signals our bodies give us—pain, energy levels, the color and consistency of bodily functions, quality of sleep—to gauge our well-being in the current environment.

While plants may be slightly less complex than the human body, we operate on similar fundamental principles. We know that quality sleep, regular exercise, and nourishing food are vital for humans to thrive. 

However, many of us struggle with even these. The stressors and demands of our fast-paced modern lifestyles coupled with the convenience of ‘fast’ food (pre-made meals, restaurants, etc), artificial lighting (staying up past the sun, tv, phone, computers), and more sedentary lifestyles (desk jobs) have created an unhealthy environment for us.

✔️ Sometimes you’re just out of alignment with your external environment

One of the key philosophies in Chinese medicine is that we are not separate from nature.

Humans have natural rhythms that instinctively sync with nature: menstrual cycles, moon cycles, sleep + wake cycles, and energy fluctuations throughout the seasons (high energy summer, introspective winters).

Just as we must pay attention to the weather, seasons, and cycles for our plants to thrive and we must do the same with our health. When any of these elements are out-of-balance or are not in harmony with our environment, disease or illness occurs. 

For example, night shift workers and those who travel often for work and have jet lag have an increased risk of disturbed sleep, weight gain, diabetes, and hypertension. This can also be said for those who stay up late at night partying or playing video games.

Other examples of not living in alignment with our environment are: taking birth control to artificially control hormones, taking stimulants to stay up all night to get work done, or even simply the use of artificial lighting which decreases melatonin production and impairs sleep.

Eating raw and cold foods (sushi, salads, ice cream, ice water) during colder weather introduces a cooling energy into the body, which disrupts the balance of internal warmth necessary for optimal digestion and circulation. This can result in symptoms like increased colds/flus, bloating, digestive issues, diarrhea, cold hands and feet, thyroid imbalances, slower metabolism, and brain fog.

Likewise, consuming excessive amounts of spicy foods or stimulants like caffeine, Red Bull, or Adderall during the summer can create an excess of internal heat which can lead to burning up the body fluids, manifesting as symptoms like headaches, fatigue, inflammation, painful joints, irritability, red eyes, and dehydration.

Doesn’t this analogy hit home just a bit more than a machine? Your body IS just like a garden, and we are the gardeners. If you’re feeling like you have a brown thumb and need a little help, hit up your local acupuncturist or holistic health practitioner.

They will work closely with you to strengthen and balance your internal garden. By taking your entire body into account and looking for patterns in all your body’s systems, your practitioner can help identify—and weed out—any imbalances that could be the root of your issues.

Acupuncture or other holistic methods are rarely a “quick fix.” It took you a while to get to this point. It can take time for you to heal and regrow.

Holistic health practitioners can provide you with the tools and knowledge needed to nourish the garden from within—food, lifestyle, movement, mindfulness, and more. Your participation in the process is essential. After all, you wouldn’t simply plant seeds and expect them to bloom unattended. It’s the same with your health.

At each acupuncture appointment, we are planting the seeds, weeding out our imbalances, and fertilizing certain aspects. Your job is to maintain the garden in between the appointments with nourishment, high-quality water, sunshine, movement, and TLC. Working with your acupuncturist and committing to long-term care can create positive changes for your overall health.

As May Sarton said, “A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.” Embrace your role as the gardener of your body and nurture it with love and care.


Wanna learn how to tend your garden yourself? 

Check out Part 2 “ So How Can We Help Your Garden Grow?”