Natural Sweet Tea for Immunity

Natural Sweet Tea for Immunity


For the month of March our Chi Gong practice will be focusing on the Increasing Energy and Reducing Pain – especially important if you are suffering from Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue or even symptoms following Covid.

So how can we reduce inflammation, reduce pain and increase energy?  Chinese Medicine may have some answers for you.
In Chi Flow with Jo we practice Qi Gong, which gently opens and releases the fascia so that trapped virus’s can be released.  This can help stop an autoimmune response which exhausts the body, and can be the cause of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
The Qi gong uses breath and movement plus we also use Qi Food Medicine and Acupressure to support the body further.  So that you can step into spring and shake of the hibernation of winter.

Constant inflammation, as an immune response, is exhausting mentally and physically  so let’s look at the Immune system from a Chinese Medicine perspective to see how we can support the body from the inside out finishing with a nourishing tea made with a traditional ingredient give at Chinese New Year.

The Lung, which draws in the Chi of Heaven through our breath. and the Spleen which draws energy from food, control and support the Wei Chi. (simplified to Immune System)

The Wei Chi, like a Ready Brek glow or energy protection field, guards the surface of the body and the mucous membranes from external pathogens entering the body.

It controls the opening and closing of pores, moistens the skin and hair, regulates body temperature, and warms up the inner organs.

It is considered the prime minister of the body, in control of the protective energy field but not solely responsible for creating it; this is where the Spleen supports……. Food (Chi of Earth) is received by the stomach and then passed to the Spleen.

The Spleen in Chinese medicine uses that power from food to make blood. Part of the Spleens energy,  together with your constitutional energy stored in your kidneys, is sent back to the lung for Wei Chi to be sent around your body to protect it.

As we sleep the Wei Chi is not needed as strongly, so the energy re-enters the body and nourishes the organs so that we feel refreshed upon waking, ready for the day.

This picture Chinese Medicine paints of the Immune system, might be new to you and it’s a very different way at looking at the body. There are similarities to Western medicine as the spleen creates white blood cells which are the fighter of infection and viruses.

But when we talk of the Spleen here we talk of it’s whole energetic system – physical, emotional and even spiritual.

Way before modern medicine, 1000’s of years ago Chinese Medicine understood lung and spleen strength in fighting viruses and staying healthy.

This system of preventing sickness is very ancient – the Nei Jing – The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine was thought to be written around 2600BC.  – and here is a quote from the Nei Jing (chapter 36)

“the heart is the sovereign…the lung is the prime minister, the liver is in charge of planning, the spleen is in charge of defending (wei), the kidney is in charge of supporting.” 

To receive the benefits of the 5-element dietary system that links the organs to flavours and seasons or to practice powerful yet gentle chi gong movements, it’s not essential to know or believe all this, you can simply enjoy the advantages.

I like to share this knowledge so that if you like, you can have a different language with which to communicate and understand your body.

This fantastic tea recipe supports both the lung with its pungent spiciness and the spleen with its soft sweetness.

Red dates have long been used in Chinese Medicine for strengthening the spleen energy. Specifically, they help build strength and energy following chronic illness, exhaution, anemia or post partum recovery.

Red dates specifically nourish the blood and balance the Qi energy in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They are not as sweet as palm dates but they are packed full of antioxidants and vitamin C which strengthen the immune system.

Traditionally they are given at Chinese New Year as a symbol of health and longevity. 

Red is a lucky color in China, meaning booming and prosperous. Dates (枣 zǎo) have the same pronunciation as “early” (早 zǎo), meaning a head start.

If you don’t have any Red Dates, don’t worry, (as that is the emotion that weakens the spleen) – use 1 tablespoon of Goji Berries instead.

Red Date Tea 

  • • 1 inch Ginger
  • • 6-8 Red Dates (1 tbsp Goji berries also work if you don’t have red dates)
  • • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • • 4 medium Pears
  • • 2 litres of Water


Bring ingredients to boil and simmer for 10 mins, the pears will probably fall apart which is great as you can eat them together with the red dates.

 Pears are wonderfully soothing for the lungs and don’t forget if you would like more recipes with pears, red dates, goji berries and much more besides you can find them in the Cookbooks.


CLICK HERE for another Tea recipe for Immunity

Qi gong to increase energy for fibromyalia and chronic fatigue


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Qi gong to increase energy for fibromyalia and chronic fatigue

Red is a lucky color in China, meaning booming and prosperous. Dates (枣 zǎo) have the same pronunciation as “early” (早 zǎo), meaning a head start.

If you don’t have any Red Dates, don’t worry, (as that is the emotion that weakens the spleen) – use 1 tablespoon of Goji Berries instead.

 Joanne Faulkner is a Qi Gong teacher – Chi Flow with Jo – teaching live daily online Qi Gong classes to hundreds of people; a Shiatsu practitioner specializing in the energy of food in Traditional Chinese Medicine and a published Author. Her residential and day Wellness Retreats focus on Chi Gong, self-Shiatsu & Conscious Cooking Demonstrations, and are extremely popular.

Joanne is currently the Irish representative to the European Shiatsu Federation and until recently was the Chairperson of the Shiatsu Society Ireland.

 “Good Food: Better Sex” and “Shiatsu & the Art of Conscious Cooking” , both written and published by Joanne, are modern cookbooks full of delicious recipes, Traditional Chinese Medicine plus acupressure points for health and wellbeing.



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How to stop catching colds

How to stop catching colds

Have you ever wondered why some people catch more colds than others? or why you tend to catch colds more in the autumn? or most importantly, how you can protect yourself against those colds and flu’s?

Well, I share some of my Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to show you why and how.

Just like western medicine which talks about our Immune system – Chinese Medicine has talked about Wei Chi for thousands of years. It’s the energy that forms a powerful boundary around your body, defending you against invading virus’s and pathogens. Chinese medicine likes to describe the body as a kingdom where each of the organs have particular roles: The Heart is the Emperor, the Lung is the Chancellor in charge of regulation, the Liver as the General for planning and executing orders and so on…… the Wei Chi is the wall that fortifies and protects the kingdom within.

If your defensive system is robust and the pathogen weak, you don’t get sick. But if the pathogen is strong, and your boundaries are weak, the higher the chance the invading virus makes it into your body and you “catch a cold.”

There are a few strategies to improve your defences such as good sleep plus being in-tune with your environment and dressing appropriately but most importantly, within the kingdom of your organs there must be balance.

What I do as a Shiatsu practitioner is to listen to your body and diagnose which of your organs is out of balance; what is too Yin and needs support or what is too Yang and needs calming, thereby creating harmony in your internal environment.

Without specialised training, you can do this by simply paying attention to your symptoms and following the 5 element system of Traditional Chinese Medicine, laid out clearly in my book, showing you what needs Yang warming and moving and what needs Yin cooling and nourishing.

As we move into Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, we can experience extreme external changes of cold winds, warming sunshine and drenching downpours, all in one day, so it is important to keep the internal system in balance.

Following the 5 element system of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the pungent flavour moves and warms the internal body. It moistens the Lung & Large Intestine, the organs associated with this season and largely responsible, together with the Spleen, for the strength of Wei Chi Immunity. They stimulate blood circulation and prevent the accumulation of internal dampness which can be pernicious in Autumn.

These pungent foods include onions, scallions, radishes, ginger, wasabi mustard, garlic and horseradish. Here I share one of my favourite Autumn recipes from my first, smaller 5 element cookbook – Vegetarian French Onion Soup, which strengthens the Lungs, warms the Large intestine and fortifies your Wei Chi.

All through the month of October in Chi Flow with Jo every morning we are practicing Qi Gong exercises, recipes and acupressure points to benefit breathing. In November we will move specifically to focus on the Immune system. Doors are closed to join Chi Flow with Jo until Sunday 24th October but you can join the wait list and receive free classes at the end of the month.  (see form below)
If you can’t wait that long you can always buy my books which lay out clearly what foods to eat for which organ and time of year or why not book an online consultation or in person Shiatsu if you’d like a personal diagnosis.

In the meantime try this wonderfully warming, pungent soup and fortify your inner kingdom

Vegetarian French Onion Soup

25 g butter
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1.5 kg onions
Large sprig of fresh thyme
4 crushed Bay leaves
Good splash of toasted
sesame oil
2 pints miso stock (to taste)

Melt the butter together with the oil, add the onions and fry for a minute or so on a high heat. Give them a shuffle and a stir, making sure the butter doesn’t burn and the onions don’t stick.

Throw in the herbs, bay leaves, a splash of sesame oil and turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting leaving the lid on. The onions need to cook for at least 20 minutes until they are a toffee colour and sticky consistency. Pour in the miso stock and simmer for at least another 20-30 minutes.
The longer the better. A slow soup in the making but worth the wait.

As you are cooking the miso, you retain the delicious flavour, but will kill most of the probiotic contained within the paste. So just before cooking use a mug to remove some of the soup, dissolve a further tablespoon of miso into the mug of removed liquor, turn off the heat and stir back into the soup. Remove the twiggy stalks of thyme and serve with delicious spelt bread which is the following recipe in Shiatsu & the Art of Conscious Cooking.


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