Medical Astrology

Did you know that Astrology was once popularly used by herbalists and physicians to help understand the manifestation of disease? The Egyptians, Chinese, Ancient Greeks and Native Americans all had very complex systems of relating the stars to our health, and many of these philosophies are still used by modern herbalists.

The ancients created entire medical treatises based on philosophies regarding humanity’s relationship to the cosmos. Plants, animals, minerals and humans were all believed to be entangled with the energies of the stars and planets, which, at that time, had been labeled and interpreted as Gods.

Herbs were interpreted by their shape, smell, color, flavor, among other factors. This system of using an herbs appearance has become popularly known as the Doctrine of Signatures. The image of a plant could be used to associate with a planet. For example, spiky and thorny plants like thistles tended to be associated with Mars. Very moist plants like Aloe Vera are associated with the Moon. The list goes on, and can vary according to the season, the geography, and even the part of the plant can have differing qualities.

The famed herbalist Nicholas Culpeper gifted the world with his fantastic herbal, in which he not only applied the Doctrine of Signatures, but also explained the planetary virtues and influences upon plant life in a concise way that could help contemporary practitioners. Nicholas Culpeper was apart of a long line of astrologer-herbalists that were sensitive to the influences of cosmological and celestial influence on the anatomical, chemical and biological components of earthly life.

In Effigiam Nicholai Culpeper Equitis by Richard Gaywood

According to the astrologer-herbalists, the elemental nuances of the Zodiac are imbued into human beings and plants. At the time of our birth, we emerge in response to seasonal stimuli that are most conducive to our own energies. We are inextricably tethered to the energies of the cosmos. Each Zodiac sign has traditions associations with the anatomy. They are as follows:

ZodiacBody Part
AriesThe Head
TaurusThe Neck
GeminiThe Arms
CancerStomach and Breats
LeoThe Heart and Spine
VirgoSmall Intestine and Lower Abdomen
LibraKidneys and Lumbar Region
ScorpioThe Genitals, Anus
SagittariusThe Thighs and Liver
CapricornThe Knees and Bones
AquariusThe Calves and Ankles
PiscesThe Feet and Lymphatic System

Naturally, there are disagreements about associations and sometimes these associations are mixed and matched according to different traditions. But, as you can see, the general pattern is sequentially arranged to parallel the Zodiac, initiating with the head as Aries and terminating with Pisces at the feet.

In the same way that a particular flower is urged to bloom in a certain season, so too do humans arise with seasons that are quintessentially aligned with the celestial and seasonal influences. Yet, as time moves on, we come into conflict with planetary arrangements that are averse to our own nature. A person with heavy influences from Mars might develop bleeding disorders or anger and madness. A person with distinct attachments to Saturn, is likely to be afflicted with melancholy and various blockages.

It becomes even more complex, as each planet has its own elemental character, and can come into harmony or conflict with the sign it is in. This is how much discord can arise, both in the Earth’s seasons, and our own health. When a Planet enters a sign, it exerts an influence, which can be exacerbated or attenuated based on its harmony with the zodiac phase it is most accordant with.

PlanetsZodiac Rulership(s)Associations
SunLeoFire, Yang, Vitality, Cardiac function, Spine
MoonCancerWater, Yin, Moisture, Rest, Sleep, Dreams
MercuryGemini, VirgoAir, Duality, Respiration, Nervous System, Cognition
VenusTaurus, LibraYin, Sex, Feminity, Beauty, Thyroid
EarthTaurusYin, Earth, Water,
MarsAries, ScorpioFire, Masculinity, Yang, Vascular System, Gallbladder
JupiterSagittarius, PiscesYang, Wind, Sanguine, Liver,
SaturnCapricorn, AquariusYin, Earth, Bones, Spleen,
UranusAquariusYang, Air, Nervous System, Technology, Computation
NeptunePiscesYin, Drugs, Visions, Lymphatic System
PlutoScorpioYang, Genitals, Secrets, Death, Occult

All of this might seem confusing without an illustration. For example, let’s say a person who was born with Mars (Fire/Heat) in Taurus (Throat) is experiencing a sore, inflamed throat with cough after eating spicy food—something they likely have a sensitivity to, with this planetary position. Herbs that counter the influence of Mars can then be used to help heal the inflammation. Peppermint, which is allegedly ruled by Venus, and could be used here to assist the individual. Conversely, if the issue is one of damp, phlegm, as one might see with the Moon or Neptune in Taurus, then herbs of Mars could be quite helpful in drying out the moisture.

The herbalists of ancient China also saw that plants had a deep association with seasonal and planetary cycles. The ancient sages used the system of Wu Xing, alongside Taoist cosmology, to interpret the energies and functions of botanicals. In Wu Xing, the philosophy of the five phases maps out the transformation of elemental energies. Some of the most pertinent associated between seasonality and our anatomy are listed below.

  • Spring : Wood : Liver and Gallbladder
  • Summer : Fire : Heart, Pericardium, Small Intestine and Sanjiao
  • Late-Summer : Earth : Spleen and Stomach
  • Autumn: Metal : Lungs and Large Intestine
  • Winter : Water : Kidneys & Bladder

Some people are more fiery, some more earthy, others more watery or airy. Of course, there are many different mixtures on a constantly fluctuating cosmic continuum of space and time!

The practitioners of medical astrology would use decombitures, typically using the time of birth of the afflicted person, but also utilizing the chart of the hour of the intervention. At the time of one’s birth, the planetary arrangement in the signs can confer health or disease. Planets have signs they favor, and signs that can disrupt their harmony, leading to chronic complications. As time goes on, a person’s “natal energies” will often come into conflict with the planetary aspects of the present.

The nature of an illness would then be associated with certain planets. Herbs which then countered that planet’s nature were then administered to assuage the symptoms and heal the person. Herbs typically have a relationship of sympathy, antipathy, homeopathy. The best herb for each situation is contingent on the elemental profile of the individual and their disease.

Medical astrology is a very curious and nebulous subject. It can be a very interesting way to understand the chronic issues you face in your body. It isn’t a replacement for conventional medical interventions, but might help you live a better life as you deepen your comprehension of your own personal, celestial portrait. If you ever want assistance in decoding your natal chart, please reach out! I am glad to help.

Tuina Techniques

Have you heard about Tuina? Tuina loosely translates to “push grab,” and it is an ancient form of bodywork that is still practiced today in China. Now it is rising in popularity in the United States & Europe. I was introduced to tuina when I began studying at integrative medicine many years ago, at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine. I took courses on Tuina and even completed a thorough internship focused on tuina therapy. When I combine tuina with cupping, guasha and medical Qi gong, the pain experienced by clients seems to melt away. Tuina is a wonderful treatment for people who have a fear of acupuncture. 

Photo by cottonbro on

Tuina has specific techniques such as:

  • Yizhichan Tui – working with one thumb
  • Na – grasping 
  • An – pressing with the finger or palm
  • Mo – rubbing with the palm
  • Rou – kneading 
  • DiAn – acupressure with the knuckles
  • Gun – rolling 
  • Zhen – vibration
  • Cuo – foulage (twisting)
  • Mo – wiping
  • Tina – lifting and grasping
  • AnRou – pressing or kneading
  • Boyun – kneading with the forearm
  • Ji – striking 
  • Pai – patting
  • Dou – shaking
  • Yao – rotating 
  • Ban – pulling/ stretching joints
  • Bashen – pulling and extending for traction

This list of techniques was sourced from Dr. Xiangcai Xu’s book “Chinese Tui Na Massage: The Essential Guide to Treating Injuries, Improving Health and Balancing Qi”. 

Photo by Pixabay on

Tuina has helped me in my own recovery, too. I was experiencing a lot of pain in my hip, lower back and neck since a hip & shoulder injury I endured a few years ago. I’ve received treatments of all sorts, but mostly Tuina & Acupuncture. Combined and with self applied techniques I’ve learned, my body is pain free and more flexible. 

Chinese massage therapy (referred to as tuina) is commonly defined as the ancient healing art of fingers and strength [24]. Tuina has been practiced in China for over 5000 years [25]. It is a well-respected treatment modality known to be helpful and safe for a wide range of conditions. For these reasons, it is rapidly gaining international favor [26]. Tuina involves a wide range of technical manipulations conducted by a practitioner’s finger, hand, elbow, knee, or foot applied to muscle or soft tissue at specific body locations. It incorporates many of the principles of acupuncture including the use of acupoints. For instance, tuina often uses manual techniques such as pushing, rubbing, kneading, or high-intensity, high-frequency patting to clear energy blocks along specific meridians associated with particular conditions —

Check out that research article above to learn more about how research is being conducted on Tuina’s effect on lower back pain. It looks like very promising data will manifest. I’ve seen wonderful transformations of patient’s posture and health. I personally think all you need is a single treatment to become a fan of Tuina. 

If you’re in Austin, Texas, feel free to book an appointment. If you’re far away, we can do a call and I can show you how to treat yourself with acupressure and tuina! I think you’ll really enjoy this amazing technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

What does it mean to be AOBTA-C.P.?

The letters behind my name stand for American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia, and C.P. means Certified Practitioner.

“The American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia is a national not-for-profit professional membership association of the practitioners, instructors, and schools/programs of the various Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT) Forms.

The AOBTA® was formed in 1989 when a number of associations and representatives of the various Asian Bodywork Therapy professions decided to unite into a single organization.” — About AOBTA

To become a Professional member who can acquire certification from this reputable organization, one must complete a 500 hour curriculum of the following :

160 Hours Asian Bodywork Technique and Practice
100 Hours Traditional Chinese Medical Theory
70 Hours Observed Clinical Practice
100 Hours Western Anatomy & Physiology
70 Hours Other: Must include first aid, CPR, business, legal & ethics courses.  May include Tai Chi, Qigong, massage, etc.)

For comparison, expresses that “a common requirement for states with massage licensing criteria is the need for 500 to 600 hours of training.” Take confidence that this AOBTA-C.P. got a graduate level experience to achieve a similarly rigorous certification.

I got my training and education in Tuina from AOMA, Graduate School of Integrative Medicine. The amazing Dr. Fan works there as a Tuina specialist and teacher. I learned from him, and conducted my clinical internship with him. I continue to study alongside many TCM practitioners as an Acupuncturist intern, too. Soon I will also offer that modality, but I urge you to try tuina, guasha, cupping, medical qi gong and tai chi.



CAIN Healing Arts

Hello! My name is Jacob Cain McRae, and CAIN Healing Arts is my attempt to inspire self-healing and rejuvenation in the world. I am currently in graduate school for Integrated Medicine, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. I never imagined pursuing a career in this discipline, as I was an English major who worked primarily administrative jobs. Yet I was called toward healing, because my life was riddled with a lot of trauma, especially from childhood. The older I get, the more distinctly I comprehend how these issues are knotted together, and by working with them holistically, a greater transformation of the body, mind and soul can occur.

I offer bodywork therapies and methods that helped me heal from both physical and spiritual injury, including: Tui na (Chinese Medical Massage), Cupping, Gua Sha (Scraping), Medical Qi Gong, Reiki, and Chakra Flow Yoga. My passion lies with herbs, and I seek to help people understand how to use them safely. Please enjoy my blog!

Stay tuned for more posts about healing, from a perspective that bridges the mystic with the scientific. Also if you’re in the Austin area and you’re looking for a healer, buy some time by visiting my booking site. I’ll gladly do a phone consultation or e-mail, as well, so feel free to contact me!