Get my FREE training on How Stop Overwhelm and Exhaustion Value $150


Click to Schedule an Appointment




Best Naturopath in San Diego
Top Naturopaths in San Diego, CA
Dr. Emily Chan ND has been awarded as a top Naturopathy practice with some of San Diego's best Naturopaths. Verified by


Greetings from Laguna Beach California. This is Table Rock Beach, a quiet little cove off the pacific coast highway. Thank you for your wonderful notes and kind wishes for my move. Everything went very well.

I'd like to invite you to log in to this complementary webinar workshop on Sunday where I'll share with you how to calm your racing mind. I will also share with you my story behind this cross country move, and my personal transformational process. 

Watch this video!

I love teaching and sharing and would like to offer my time to help you with your stress and worry. There is a limited number of people the software can allow to attend. So be proactive and save your seat now.
Click Here to Register for this live complementary online workshop Sunday April 6th at 8:00pm EST. I will be giving you some life changing tips to help you get rid of those recurring thoughts so that your mind can be free to sleep better, have peace and happiness. You need to click on the link to register in order to get access to log in to this class on Sunday. 

I'm looking forward to having you!


How to Decrease Sugar Cravings

It's the holidays and we all want be healthy and keep the weight down. At the same time with all the holiday festivities, there's more sugar at parties and then candies/desserts brought home. So you want to stay away, but it seems very difficult to. Watch the video I made you! These are 3 strategies you can easily use that can help curb that sweet tooth.

There are two kinds of hunger: 1.Physiological hunger 2.Cravings. How does physiologic hunger work? The brain and stomach communicate via the vagus nerve (the nerve is like the wire of a tin can phone system, connecting the two phones). When you are truly hungry (low blood sugar, low nutrients), the hormone ghrelin is secreted and tells the hypothalamus in the brain to secrete an appetite inducing hormone. Then when you are full, leptin is secreted, telling your brain that you are satiated.

Cravings are much more complicated. But research shows that cravings are increased when serotonin levels are lower in the brain. Often times, serotonin levels drop with decrease in vitamin D levels. Natural vitamin D is obtained by sunlight, so in the winter, people feel more sugar cravings, low mood etc when it is typically darker. Serotonin is the brain chemical responsible for feeling happy, and some forms of depression are associated with low serotonin. Sugar, carbohydrates, and wheat can act as opiates and give temporary feelings of euphoria. This may be why people crave sugar more in the winter when they need a "pick me up".

Given this information, you can increase outdoor activity to get some vitamin D. You can also exercise to increase endorphins (which is a natural opiate produced by the body and beneficial). Use the sunlight and exercise to feel happy rather than sugar. Sugar tends to contribute to mood swings, weight gain and lowered immunity. So enjoy your holidays and you will be surprised at how much you enjoy them more when you commit to healthy habits.


7 Good Things For Your Body During The Fall Season

I’m always curious if the different seasons play a role in how the body works, because I’ve often felt changes in my body during the changes of the seasons. At the change of seasons I’ve sometimes noticed an increased susceptible to catching a cold. And during the brighter months, I’ve noticed that I need 1 hour less sleep than the winter. The ancient Chinese texts shed some interesting light to topic. 

As the earth cycles through different seasons, our bodies cycle with it. There are organs systems that are more involved during various seasons, and the Lung phase corresponds with autumn. According to the 5 elements system of Chinese medicine, there are 5 elements that form a cycle. Fire (heart), Earth (spleen), Metal (lung), Water (kidney), Wood (liver). Photo Credit:

As you can see from the illustration, the earth element (spleen) precedes the lungs. In Chinese medicine, the energy from one element flows into the next. The spleen in Chinese medicine corresponds to the digestive tract, in the western anatomy. Therefore if the digestive system is weak there will be more dampness in the lungs during the fall time, which can mean an increase in allergies, asthma and colds. Besides the respiratory system, the lungs function to distribute qi (energy) to the skin, hair, and muscles. The skin layer in Chinese medicine is related to the wei qi or protective qi which helps prevent us from getting “invaded” by pathogens and getting sick. 

There are certain emotions related to each organ. When we talk about emotions, we consider the way it is expressed, repressed, the inability to experience the emotion and experiencing it inappropriately. The emotion of grief is associated with the lungs. If the lung qi is deficient, there is a tendency to remain in grief, which is associated with depression. On a side note, if the liver gallbladder system is imbalanced and there is suppressed anger and frustration especially towards self, this can also lead to depression. When grief is suppressed, it gets boggled inwards and causes the lungs to contract sometimes manifesting in physical symptoms of asthma or other respiratory infections. 

Professor Margaret Kemeny of UCLA did a study on method actors. The study showed that actors who expressed happiness had increased natural killer cells, but to her surprise, those who expressed momentary sadness also had an increase in beneficial immune system function. This means that when we allow ourselves to be and experience our emotions as they come, it is actually healthy. When emotions of even sadness come and get processed, they will flow through. And will be much less likely to go into unhealthy depression (which is suppressed anger, frustration and grief).

So What is Good for the Body during the Autumn?

 1.     Breathe and exercise. This helps to strengthen and move the lung qi so you do not feel stuck, but feel a healthy flow of energy and vitality.

2.     Decrease Dairy Products: Dairy products are very damp and can contribute to phlegm production, weight gain, and a sensation of sluggishness.

3.     Sunflower Seeds: Contains healthy oils that support the skin and wei qi to keep the wind out. Sunflower seeds contain the highest amount of vitamin E than any other seed or nut. In general you want to eat more oils in the fall to support the lungs system and also provide the calories for hibernation in the winter. You know your lungs are strong when your skin looks soft and lustrous.

4.     Cinnamon: Is in the category of a pungent food, and helps to help clear lungs. Cinnamon also helps to keep the blood sugar stable and can help decrease cravings.

5.     Pumpkin: Clears phlegm and removes dampness and nourishes the blood. Contains lots of beta-carotene, which is great for the eyes and lungs

6.     Seaweed: Builds the yin. Weak lung yin makes a person mores susceptible to chronic infections. Seaweed also helps remove phlegm. Is a great source of iodine which is good for the thyroid.

7.     Lemon: Sour foods are astringent, which benefits the liver. Lemon also prevents the skin from drying, detoxifies, alkalizes and is a great source of vitamin C.

The fall is a time for the body to start storing up nutrients and qi to prepare for the cold winter. If you are feeling run down, you are probably deficient in qi and it would be wise to build up your body to prepare for the winter. This way, you will be less likely to get sick, feel tired, or seasonally affected during this time. An ounce of prevention goes a long way. Come stop by our office and get a tune up.

Schedule an Appointment Now



Your Doctor is Human Too! What to do if your To Do List is Overwhelming.

After a full week of work, I had planned to get a few things done this weekend, mostly big projects. One of them was smaller. I wanted to write an article for you all. As I started thinking of all the things I needed to do, more and more etched on my mental to do list. I started to feel less and less motivated to do any of these things on the list, and ended up going to the gym, washing my car, cleaning the house and giving myself a French pedicure. When I looked at the clock on Saturday evening, it was already 7pm. The whole day was almost gone and I hadn’t done a thing on my to do list. I became more and more overwhelmed, but later decided to give myself permission to take the night off and relax. I listened to music, connected with God and did some reading.

So this is what I read from The Bond by Lynne McTaggart. I discovered that my to do list was so large; it was incomprehensible by my brain. Dr Rizzolatti a neurologist was studying movement and cognitive function at Italy’s University of Parma. He hooked monkeys up to devices that measured their brain waves. His team had the monkeys copy the human actions. To his surprise, the part of the brain that should light up when the monkey itself performs the action lit up prematurely when the researcher was performing the action, and the monkey was watching. “The very same neuron in the monkey’s brain that fired when it intended to grasp the object was also firing when the monkey observed the researcher grasping it”. That part of the brain is the ventral premotor cortex, the portion of the brain responsible for formulating and carrying out intentions.

When it comes to intentions, the brain’s copycats were pretty specific. If the monkey was able to comprehend what the researcher was doing, such as placing a banana in his mouth, the neurons would fire. But if the monkey observed an action that it didn’t recognize or could not relate to, the neurons would not fire.

To apply this principle to life, if what I visualize in my head is incomprehensible, then it would be more difficult to carry out the action. I realized some of the intentions on my to do list were large projects that were vague, with steps within the project that I did not have down. There were many of those on Saturday that just clogged my brain into a freeze.

I made things more familiar and comprehensible for myself the next day, Sunday. I decided to take my laptop to a café by the beach and write this blog article. This was one thing to do in one location and I promised myself I would not leave the café until this one thing was completed. And I can tell you I felt really good after writing this. One step at a time is what it all takes!

A tip for you is to break down tasks into small steps. For example, if you are planning your child’s summer camp, this task can seem overwhelming. But if you break down the list with separate items consisting of: web searching different camps, blocking off family vacation times, choosing available dates, calling your baby sitter for availability for pick up on the days you are unavailable, narrowing down to 2 choices, discussing with your child and giving them a choice between the 2 camps etc, all these steps can be done in one day, or a few days, and you are still checking off, one at a time, 6 separate things you need to get to the end goal of having summer camp arranged. And you will feel much happier doing it. This way of braking things down will be less stressful because this makes tasks more comprehensible by your brain. Whether you are copying someone else like the monkey, or formulating intensions in your head, the best way to get something done is to be sure you can relate and comprehend it, and that it gives you a sense of connection. Stay tuned, I’ll write about human connection next time.

I also want to mention that sometimes feeling unproductive can also be due to: physical fatigue, lack of nutrients for focus in the brain, anxiety, depression, unhealthy beliefs or in-congruency between your real wants and your projects. Schedule your appointment now to discuss this further with Dr. Chan.


Dance of the Brain

The least understood yet containing the most complex choreography of the entire body is the brain. Yet this system does not contain one thing that the rest of the body has, pain receptors. When our peripheral body gets hurt, injured, infected or inflamed, we feel pain. But what happens when the brain is inflamed? How does it let us know? You do not get a headache. Headaches are usually due to inflammation in the vasculature in the head, but not inflammation in the brain. The brain does not feel physical pain. The way the brain gets our attention when enough inflammation has caused a disruption in it's seamless dance is manifested as anxiety, depression, foggy brain, memory loss, ADHD to name a few.


This is not to say that inflammation is the only cause of the maladies above. However, I've seen improvement in many of the conditions above when we give the brain nutrients needed to decrease oxidative damage to the neurological system. Did you know that certain nutrients such as folate, taurine, B12, tryptophan, DHA, N-acetyl Cystein, Magnesium are part of the members of the cast necessary to get the show produced?

For example tryptophan, an amino acid, (many amino acids chained together make up proteins) is needed to produce serotonin, the molecule supposedly deficient in depression. Certain patients are so nutritionally deficient in their diets that they do not have the cast members to run the happiness show in their brains. This often happens in those whos diets consists mostly of carbohydrates and sugars. I've seen many patients moods improve when they  increase their protein intake.

My friend's daughter has been having some behavioral issues that were worse when she ate foods she was sensitive to. Her mother, who was a physician, could tell every time her daughter "cheated" on her diet at a friend’s house, because she behaved differently when she ate certain foods. Probably the foods she ate which she was sensitive to caused enough inflammation to affect her brain. Her mother, who was a motivated doctor decided to supplement her with 5-methyl-tetro-hydro-folate, a more bioavailable form of folic acid and anti-oxidant. Given the extra anti-oxidant support, her daughter no longer reacted with detectable behavioral changes even if she "cheated" a bit on her food sensitivities. Therefore, correcting certain nutrient deficiencies can often increase functionality of the brain even in the presence of triggers.

Since the brain is so complex, we may want to dissect the problem to get more specifics, like running a football game on slow replay. The body is more complicated than what we see with our eyes at times, so a serotonin deficiency is not always the cause to depression. When we run a neurotransmitter test, we may find that low dopamine, or excessive glutamate, cortisol, epinephrine may also play a role in depression. Consequently how we address the problem differs from person to person and is more specific than giving an SSRI for every depressed patient.

Last but not least and closest to my heart is the mind body connection. The mind and body are constantly interfaced by signals connecting the two, sharing incoming and outgoing signals, that then affects what happens on stage. We can imagine the tangible as the stage, such as how our mood or body feels. The backstage is the brain. What happens backstage can affect the performances on stage, but also what happens on stage can affect the dynamics backstage later, that can then again affect what happens on stage during the next act.

I've personally witnessed blowing the cranial bones out of alignment so profoundly from emotions, that the chiropractor asked, "are you sure you did not hit your head?". It sounds so absurd that emotional states can change structure. But then in turn, structure that is not aligned makes it much more difficult for the body or brain to maintain balanced functions. So is it the chicken or the egg?

I've been offering craniosacral therapy to patients, and many have found profound physical benefits as well as leaps in personal growth. I look at craniosacral therapy as a bridge between mental knowledge, such as what can be found with psychotherapy, and physical health, such as what can be adjusted with nutritional supplements. Craniosacral therapy integrates the two, making both therapies more synergistic. It also balances the nervous system connected to survival and instincts that may make it more easy for us to do what we know is a beneficial choice, through breaking unnecessary survival instincts from the past that are no longer needed in the present. I am excited to embark on this journey with you, so you can dance more freely in your body and mind.