‘Chinese Medicine views the body as a garden. As gardens cycle with the seasons, our bodies do as well. Spring is the time of growth and renewal. It’s a perfect time to cleanse and rejuvenate health and wellness.’
Spring Is In The Air!
Spring is a favorite season of mine! During springtime the air has a certain vibrance, clarity, and newness. When we think of spring, we think of flowers blooming again, nature regrowth, and clear expansive skies. This also applies to Chinese Medicine philosophy. Springtime represents outward moving energy, rebirth, cleansing, and a time of restoration.
The organ system that is predominant during the spring is the liver. The liver is responsible for the smooth flow and movement of qi or energy in the body. When the liver energy is flowing smoothly, physical and emotional energy flow smoothly as well.
Suggestions For Optimal Health in Spring~
Move Your Qi (Energy) By Moving Your Body!
It can be something as simple as taking the dog for a walk, going for a bike ride, yoga, gardening, or any activity that you love. Stretching can awaken the expansive energy within your body!
Some opt to do a cleanse during this time, however I do not necessarily recommend this for everyone. Making conscious food choices are important by eating whole foods (things that grow). The Liver loves green and sour foods. Drinking lemon water, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or eating leafy greens, artichoke, dandelion, and milk thistle tea will improve the liver’s overall function and make it very happy.
It is a perfect time for a treatment if you are feeling irritable, depressed, stressed, allergies flaring up, have itchy eye symptoms, are experiencing pms, dizziness, or feeling sluggish. Your liver may need some help getting unstuck. Acupuncture is wonderful for this, as well as for prevention of disease, and for overall health and well being. Other complimentary modalities can be used as well!
Summer is the season filled with abundant, creative, outward energy. It's the most Yang time of year.
According to Chinese Medicine and Taoist philosophy, the element of summer is fire, the color is red, the sound is laughter, and the emotion is joy. The organs associated with the season are the heart, small intestine, pericardium (heart protector), and the san jiao (in energetic terms represents the upper, middle, and lower parts of the body: breathing, digesting, and eliminating). It is said that the ‘heart houses the mind or ‘shen’ which is also known as the spirit.’
It is important for the organs to remain in balance for health and well being. When the fire element is in balance, one may feel relaxed and energized. If there is an imbalance one may experience depression, mania, heartburn, agitation, blood pressure issues, joint pain, or insomnia.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help with any imbalance or unease that you are experiencing, support your immune system, and give you energy. Other suggestions to remain in harmony with the summer season:
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of room temperature water.
- Awaken earlier in the morning and go to sleep earlier.
- Eat foods that are cooler in nature with higher water content such as cucumber, watermelon, oranges, radishes, and coconut water.
- If you feel hot or sweat often, drink warm tea slowly rather than cold drinks because this can create dampness in the body. Chrysanthemum or mint teas are cooling options.
- Add pungent flavors to your diet.
- Avoid sleeping with a fan or air blowing directly on you, as this can create muscle stiffness.
- Move your body, take a walk in nature.
- Take time for yourself and breathe.
|"If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change." ~Buddha
Moving The Body
The organ related to spring is the liver which controls the smooth flow of Qi (energy) in our bodies. In Chinese Medicine, when the flow of Qi is smooth, there is health, when the flow of Qi is blocked, there is pain and illness. It is the time to come out of our winter hibernation, stretch our muscles and start to do more outdoor activity. Through movement we can supplement the liver and move our Qi, which can help lead to better health.
The element of the liver is wood and just as in nature, we need to use this time to grow. If we deprive our bodies of this natural progression, we may become stressed, angry, or depressed. These emotions can also negatively affect the health of the liver. Spring is the perfect time to start a meditation or deep breathing practice. It can help to move the Qi and prevent stagnation.
Cleansing With Food
In Western medicine we know that the liver works to detoxify the body. This is why many people will do a cleanse in the spring. It is a good time to rid the body of the toxins that accumulated during the winter months. Instead of doing a radical fast or cleanse, try adding foods to your diet that can naturally help to detoxify your body.
The flavor associated with the liver is sour. Lemons have a wonderful detoxifying effect on the body. Adding lemon to your water or tea can be help stimulate digestion and aid the liver in cleansing. Lemons are also filled with vitamins and antioxidants which help to flush toxins from the body.
The color of the liver is green. Leafy green vegetables are especially important for the health of the liver. Incorporating vegetables like spinach, kale, chard, and collard greens can aid the liver, support immune function, and can also act as a diuretic to rid the body of toxins. Lightly steaming these foods will preserve their nutrients and make them easier to digest. You can add lemon, garlic, and herbs to make a tasty springtime dish! Also, try boiling dandelion greens, strain, and drink the tea for its healing properties!
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can also help improve the overall health of your liver, balance the body, and soothe emotions, stress, and pain.
Consistent treatments get the best long term results!