Celestial Reasoning

Experts believe there is a connection between the astrological bodies and our own bodies. Here’s how to use your sign to find the wellness path that’s right for you.
By Diane Mehta

Admit it: You still flip to the horoscope pages of your local newspaper and guilty-pleasure magazine—just like you did in junior high—for advice, insight, or simply to be amused. But here’s a surprise: Your horoscope may also give you clues about your health, says Stephanie Gailing, a Seattle-based astrologer and author of Planetary Apothecary (Crossing Press, 2009).

“Your astrological sign can help you assess your body’s strengths and weaknesses, find the remedies and therapies that’ll work best for you, and figure out underlying emotional patterns that may stand in your way of healing,” she says.

Here, Gailing offers her take on the best wellness strategies for each sign.

ARIES
March 21 to April 19
You're competitive, extroverted, and, dare we say, willful? As the ram, you like taking charge of your health and you’re determined to do what it takes to stay healthy and fit. The sign of Aries rules the head, making you vulnerable to headaches; it also rules the adrenal glands, the major players in the fight-or-flight response, which is often depleted because you’re frequently “on.”
Eat Right: Watch for potential food sensitivities that could trigger headaches, particularly chocolate and aged cheeses. When pain does strike, magnesium-rich foods such as Swiss chard, spinach, and pumpkinseeds can help. Cooling foods, such as fresh veggies and fruits, soothe stressed adrenals and keep your fiery nature in check—as long as you limit caffeine and sugar.
Stay Fit: Given your lack of patience, you want a wellness regimen that’s interesting and action oriented so you won’t get bored. Good bets? Martial arts like judo and aikido.
Stress Less: Meditation or restorative yoga may not be your cup of tea, so choose a nonpassive relaxation practice that honors your active nature, such as walking meditation.

TAURUS
April 20 to May 20
As a bull, you’re stubborn, strong, and grounded, which means everyone depends on you to get things done. Your creativity has an earthy, practical side to it, and you’re all about structure. Taurus rules the throat, thyroid gland, ears, and neck. Sure, this means sore throats, earaches, and stiff necks—but it also means you excel at listening and communicating.
Eat Right: An immune-supportive diet that’s rich in vitamin C, zinc, and antioxidants can help you ward off sore throats during cold season. If one does strike, make a palliative concoction of slippery elm, marshmallow root, honey, lemon, and hot water, and sip it throughout the day.
Stay Fit: With your perseverance, you have no trouble mapping out a regimen and sticking with it. On the other hand, your stubborn attachment to routine can prevent you from mixing things up. Commit to trying a new exercise class or activity once a week. If you’re in a no-exercise rut, try a few yoga poses at home to ease back into a fitness routine. Cow pose is perfect for your slow, steady rhythm. (For step-by-step instructions for all the yoga poses in this article, visit naturalsolutionsmag.com/go/webexclusives.)
Stress Less: Keep yourself grounded (figuratively and literally) by gardening or working with pottery—both activities are creative and sensual. You may also enjoy sonopuncture, a therapy that stimulates your energy meridians through sound waves.

GEMINI
May 21 to June 21
The Gemini mind is a thing to behold. Your naturally curious intellect allows you to think quickly and multitask like a champ. Although you’re always eager to find health remedies that best serve you, you don’t always follow through and implement them. As a Gemini, your lungs, shoulders, arms, and nervous system are your biggest health challenges.
Eat Right: Often in a rush, it’s not unusual for you to skip meals or do grab-and-go, choosing not-so-healthy options. Fight that urge and shoot for smaller and more frequent meals to keep up your energy. Geminis may also be vulnerable to asthma, bronchitis, and other upper-respiratory concerns. If this is true for you, stock up on foods rich in carotenoids (think orange-colored fruits and veggies such as mango and squash).
Stay Fit: Since you’re likely to carry tension in your shoulders, try upper-body–opening yoga poses, such as Dolphin pose. Breathwork-oriented yoga, known as pranayama, also exercises your lungs and reduces your tendency for shallow breathing.
Stress Less: Games and puzzles are a great way to unwind, as they engage your powerful mind while also being meditative.

CANCER
June 22 to July 22
You may have a hard shell, but you’re soft on the inside, with a nurturing and sensitive soul that keeps you in tune with your body and the world around you. You often intuit health problems before they manifest, but your emotions sometimes bring on physical troubles like indigestion or heartburn. Cancer governs not only the stomach and esophagus, but the breasts as well. Given that your planetary ruler is the moon, your mood, energy level, and even the amount of water you retain may vary throughout the month.
Eat Right: Since you have a tendency to retain fluids, cut back on salt and load up on potassium-rich foods like bananas, leafy greens, and citrus fruits. Bitter herbs like gentian help alleviate indigestion, and when heartburn strikes, DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) supplements may provide some relief. Go easy on the caffeine and stay away from red meat as much as possible if you tend toward breast tenderness or fibroids.
Stay Fit: Cancers love routines and gravitate toward what feels comforting. Gentle, water-based activities like swimming and water aerobics can soothe your nerves and even out your moods while building physical endurance.
Stress Less: The key for you is to pamper yourself as much as possible. Indulging in water massages or Vichy shower treatments at a spa—or even just taking a bath at home—can help you unwind. Inversion yoga poses, such as the restorative Legs-up-the-Wall pose, let you relax while improving circulation in your reproductive organs and belly.


LEO
July 23 to August 22
Governed by the heart and ruled by the sun, you are expressive and passionate and radiate a sense of wellness and vivacity that pulls others toward you. Your spirited nature may lead you to celebrate a little too much, though, which can prove disastrous to your diet and energy level. Because your health challenges involve the heart, monitor your blood pressure and make sure you give yourself as much love and affection as you give others.
Eat Right: Colorful crudités and juice-filled “mocktails” can marry a heart-healthy diet with your partying ways. Your ideal diet is one that limits saturated fats and loads up on heart-healthy omega-3 sources like salmon, flaxseeds, walnuts, and hempseeds.
Stay Fit: Since Leo also rules the spine, address any back issues you have before starting a new fitness plan. Yoga will add flexibility with spine-lengthening poses, and pilates can protect your back by strengthening your core.
Stress Less: For Leos, a beach chair, a book, and the sun’s warming rays mean instant calm. Just be sure to slather on your nontoxic sunscreen.

VIRGO
August 23 to September 22
As a Virgo, you certainly don’t miss much. Detail oriented and analytical, you want answers to all your health questions. Of all the zodiac signs, you are the most keyed in to your physical health. Being a perfectionist, however, means you get stressed when things don’t go according to plan. The result? Digestive issues, which is no surprise considering Virgo rules the small intestine, pancreas, and gall bladder.
Eat Right: As an earth sign, you have a deeper appreciation than most for natural and organic foods. Bitter greens such as sorrel and endive (along with a good digestive enzyme) can enhance digestive health. Eat plenty of cold-water fish (high in omega-3s), fresh fruits and veggies, and grains (for the gall bladder), and pop a probiotic each day to keep your gut flora healthy.
Stay Fit: Given your attachment to nature, getting outside as often as you can—digging in the garden, walking on the beach, or hiking in the mountains—is how you’ll find the most joy.
Stress Less: Practicing mindful meditation—and old-fashioned kindness—will help you become less judgmental about yourself and others. You’ll also benefit from the detoxifying effects of herbal wraps and purifying steam baths.

LIBRA
September 23 to October 22
As a Libra, you crave equanimity—you just want everyone to get along—and you blossom when your life feels balanced. Although you want control over your health, you prefer having a team in place to help you make informed decisions. However, you often spend so much time weighing pros and cons that you become indecisive, which agitates you to no end. The resulting stress manifests in your lower back, kidneys, and even your skin, all parts of the body ruled by Libra.
Eat Right: Paying attention to your blood-sugar levels is critical to maintaining the balance that helps you thrive. So eat five small meals instead of three squares each day and focus on foods that are low on the glycemic index, such as whole grains, berries, and beans.
Stay Fit: You’re much better at staying motivated when exercise is social, so grab a friend and get in shape together. T’ai chi and yoga (especially balancing poses) work great for you since they combine poise, agility, and balance.
Stress Less: Since Venus, the goddess of beauty, rules your sign, you’ll find facials, body scrubs, and other pampering spa treatments most relaxing.

SCORPIO
October 23 to November 21
As a Scorpio, you’ve got a forceful, committed, and sometimes overzealous nature. Your sign rules the genitals and large intestine, which allows you to experience your sexuality and enjoy good digestive health—when your system is healthy. But when out of balance, you may be plagued by menopausal symptoms, urinary tract infections, and constipation.
Eat Right: Along with fiber-filled meals, fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut are good for your intestinal health. High-quality yogurts with live, active bacterial cultures repopulate health-giving intestinal flora, the “good” bacteria essential for optimal digestion.
Stay Fit: Being in charge is important to a Scorpio, which means high-energy, boot camp–style workouts are likely to resonate with you. Kundalini yoga, which centers on the spine and focuses on postures and breathing patterns that tap into your energy flow, is also a great choice.
Stress Less: Sex can be a very powerful way for Scorpios to unwind; if you’re suffering from libidinal lethargy, add a drop or two of ylang-ylang oil to your favorite unscented moisturizer. It’s one of the most well-known aphrodisiac scents.


SAGITTARIUS
November 22 to December 21
With a zest for life and a capacity to visualize—and get—what you’re after, you embody the archer that stands for Sagittarius. But with all that gusto, it can be hard for you to know your limits. Given that your sign rules the thighs, hips, and liver, exercises that lengthen and stretch, as well as detoxifying diets, will optimize your health.
Eat Right: Foods that maintain liver health include those rich in sulfur, such as onions, garlic, and brassica vegetables like broccoli. For optimal health, stick to organic foods and limit caffeine, alcohol, and sugar—all which can be tough for the liver to process.
Stay Fit: Engaging in an exercise program that inspires you to reach a goal—training for a 5K run-walk or lowering your golf handicap—fits your destination-oriented drive. Yoga, pilates, and Gyrotonics are also good bets since they carefully target muscles and joints and help build stability and flexibility.
Stress Less: Thai massage—where you rest fully clothed on a padded floor mat while a practitioner moves you into various yoga-like postures in order to stretch your muscles and mobilize your joints—is well suited to your spirited temperament and appreciation for the wisdom of other cultures.


CAPRICORN
December 22 to January 20
The Capricorn mountain goat is an apt metaphor for your rational, hard-working, and persistent style. You love setting wellness goals—but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t achieve every last one. Make bones and joints your health focus; while they start off as your weak spot, you can transform them into your biggest asset.
Eat Right: To maximize joint and bone health, load up on low-acidic fruits and veggies, as well as calcium- and vitamin D–rich dark leafy greens, sardines, and almonds. Add a healthy dose of ginger and turmeric (anti-inflammatories) to your food or take them as supplements.
Stay Fit: Strength training and resistance exercises are important for building bone health; a weight-training routine can also help you maintain a healthy weight, especially important since excess pounds can put stress on your joints.
Stress Less: Walk a labyrinth. It’s a moving meditation with a destination, and weaving your way through the mazelike structure can help calm your mind and relax your body.


AQUARIUS
January 21 to February 18
You have a generous, giving nature and an independent-minded temperament—but as an air sign, you’re notoriously not rooted in your body and live more in your highly perceptive mind instead. A rebel at heart, you’d rather see an acupuncturist or naturopath for your wellness needs, rather than a conventional medical doctor.
Eat Right: Aquarius is associated with the lower legs and the circulatory system that supplies the limbs with blood, so choose foods that benefit circulation, including vitamin C–rich strawberries, papaya, and kiwi, as well as vitamin E–packed sunflower seeds, almonds, mustard greens, and olives.
Stay Fit: Any kind of cardiovascular exercise will do wonders for your circulation, but be sure to add a stretching regime to the end of your workout to keep your leg muscles loose.
Stress Less: Your main challenge is to get out of your head and unplug from the day-to-day. Alternative forms of energy therapies like reiki (hands-on healing) and qigong (meditative movement) will reduce stress and open you up to the flow of energy around you.


PISCES
February 19 to March 20
A pair of fish bound together yet swimming in opposite directions perfectly depicts how conflicted you can be about your own health issues. You may vacillate between ignoring symptoms for weeks and obsessing about the slightest twinge. Focus on strengthening your most vulnerable areas—your feet and immune system. This can help to both ground you and bring out your Piscean impulse to experience the world in a poetic way.
Eat Right: With your penchant for daydreaming, you must pay attention to how you eat. Slow down and eat consciously. Instead of using caffeine, sugar, and alcohol to boost energy, load up on energy-sustaining foods such as sweet potatoes and fish. The selenium and zinc in fish will also bolster your immune system.
Stay Fit: Swimming is among the best exercises for your temperament. Walking can also improve your cardiovascular health in a gentle but stimulating way.
Stress Less: To get back to your center, try meditation. Also, consider Watsu, an aquatic bodywork during which you float while a practitioner stretches your body.

Diane Mehta is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, New York