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The Year of the Rabbit
By: Mao Shing Ni, Ph.D., D.O.M., ABAAHP, L.Ac.

The Year of the Rabbit officially begins on February 3rd, 2011 and the elemental energies are again metal and wood, similar to the Tiger Year we are leaving behind. Therefore some of the unpredictability and conflicts of the Tiger Year will carry over to the New Year.  However, Rabbit Years are usually calm, creative and positive which is a much-desired change from the volatile Tiger.

The Rabbit is a peace-seeking symbol so there will be more efforts at political diplomacy. In fact, we have already begun to witness the change within our own country where President Obama has reached out to the Republican Party since the midterm election to try to get the economy back on  track. However don't expect everything to go smoothly because any accord is always underscored by discord.

The focus of the year will orient towards arts and culture, getting our financial house in order, cultivating intimate relationships and building  family and community. As a result industries that will likely benefit are entertainment, finance, energy–especially alternative energy, commodities like metals and agricultural products, mining, shipping, transportation and hotels. Industries that will continue to lag include forestry, textiles, media–especially newspapers and magazines. Due to the still-weak economic conditions of the West, environmental protection may unfortunately take a backseat to economic priorities. Because of the inward focus on the Rabbit, domestic agendas at home will trump those outside the borders, and the appetite for playing Big Brother internationally will assuredly wane.

On the health front the metal element corresponds to the respiratory and immune systems while the wood element corresponds to the digestive and nervous systems. These organs and systems will be vulnerable for breakdown so be on the lookout for frequent colds and flus that may turn into bronchitis and pneumonia; digestive disorders including acid reflux, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and diverticulitis; liver and gall bladder diseases; and injury and pain related to the neck and spine.

To prevent diseases and counteract imbalances in the above organ systems I suggest staying away from smoking and pollution. Avoid consuming alcohol, caffeine, sugar, dairy products, deep fried, fatty foods, overly spicy foods, gluten grains like wheat, barley, rye and oats, and processed, refined foods. Be sure to exercise regularly to increase lung capacity, strengthen your immune functions and reinforce the core abdominal and back muscles. Practice meditation and other calming body-mind exercises like tai chi and chi gong to reduce stress and tension on the nervous system. Traditional Chinese herbal formulas like Breath Ease, Immunity, Acid Stomach, Colon Clear, Internal Cleanse, and Calmfort may be helpful as part of a health support program. (You can find these and other formulas on www.taostar.com.)

In summary, the Rabbit Year will be considerably calmer than the volatility of the Tiger Year. However you must not be complacent and still need to be on guard like the Rabbit for sudden changes that may throw you off balance. The good news is that peace, love and family are the natural traits of Rabbits. Focus on the arts, culture,  relationships and family, and strengthen your financial foundation. Defend against assaults on your immune and respiratory systems and keep your nervous system calm and your digestion flowing. Finally work on your inner spiritual self so that no matter what challenges occur you shall be connected to your unshakable faith in the positive, constructive and creative energies of the divine universe as expressed through you and manifested in your life.

About the Author:

Dr. Maoshing Ni (Dr. Mao, as he is known by his patients and students) is a 38th-generation doctor of Chinese medicine and an authority in the field of Taoist anti-aging medicine. After receiving two doctorate degrees and completing his Ph.D. dissertation on nutrition, Dr. Mao did his postgraduate work at Shanghai Medical University's affiliated hospitals and began his 20-year study of centenarians of China. Dr. Mao returned to Los Angeles in 1985 and has since focused on Taoist anti-aging therapeutics at his Tao of Wellness Center.