In my Acupuncture practice I like to educate my patients of the importance of the energetic qualities the seasons bring. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) each season is related to a corresponding element and organ system. Spring is the Wood Element, governing Yang Qi Liver energy and gallbladder medians. Imbalance can cause disruption in the body, including sprains, sciatica, hip pain and headaches.
Spring represents the wood element – one of the five Elements in TCM, and it is the one where manifestation begins to form from the deep seeds of potential. Living things begin to grow, and wood energy brings the winds of change. Is this why we humans suddenly have the desire to “spring clean?” If you think of the energetic quality of a flower the pushed through the soil to get to the sun – this is the energy of the Spring season. We get a surge of energy during this time – It can be a great time to start a new project or start a networking group.
Winter’s need to eat voraciously as if we are preparing for lean times ahead subsides. Spring begins the reexamination of our relationship with food in anticipation of bathing suit season. There is an urgent feeling that suddenly wakes in us at this time of year, encouraging an end to stagnation and the need for forward movement. Starting a cardio workout would be good during this time to move out any Liver Qi Stagnation which is stored under the diaphragm. Even a brisk walk to get the heart rate up and deep breathing exercises aid in “wringing out” the stagnation.
This is a magnificently powerful time to re-examine goals, relationships and other areas of life that need a bit of tending to. The liver is an organ that deals with stress, and the place where energy becomes trapped. After a long cold Winter filled with emotional turmoil and bad food choices, the coming of Spring heralds a chance for rebirth and new beginnings.
Changing your diet to a cleansing one is a great way to welcome balance into your life. Less meat, more plant based choices will fill you without heaviness. Complex carbohydrates, including whole grains, seeds and legumes, combined with spices such as caraway seeds and dill for flavor make a fantastic choice for lunch or dinner.
To combat stagnation, I suggest a lightly cooked meal with sharp and pungent tastes. Avoid dairy, meat and baked flour. More dense choices, including lemon, pickles, dandelion, spinach, corn, celery, onion, lettuce, mustard greens, yam, barley, wheat, sesame seeds, dates, peanuts, cilantro, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and quinoa are recommended.
To strengthen liver Qi, a diet rich in sauerkraut, yogurt, plum, umeboshi, liver, leafy greens, watercress, leeks, barley, wheat, or chicken is suggested.
There is a strong tendency to hold negative emotions at this time. Unresolved frustrations can cause uncomfortable and inappropriate reactions toward others or self. Any impatience may come to the surface. Let Spring shift any angry thoughts to see clearly that what we perceive as failures are actually potentially great opportunities. We can choose to welcome in Spring energy, revisiting experiences as positive; embracing and manifesting patience and compassion to love ourselves and others.
Acupuncture is a healthy way to support your Wood Element and bring your body into balance. Release stress and ease into the energetics of a new season. Visit www.16thstreetacupuncture.com to learn more or make an appointment.