Spring – Rebirth, Growth & Abundance of New Life
New Life - Spring brings in the vibrancy of new growth, activity and warmth. The seeds are sprouting, flowers bloom and the sun warms the earth. The body is freed from the work of keeping warm against the cold of winter and can now express new beginnings and bring them forth into the world. Spring is the ideal time for cleansing, rejuvenation and increased activity. The body and it’s Qi need to move to be in alignment with the energy of the spring. At higher elevations there is a slower movement into spring so cleansing is best in the late spring, early summer and caution is still necessary against the waves of chilly weather.
Element – Spring is ruled by the wood element which is associated with the liver and gallbladder. According to Chinese Medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body. So, for optimum health this spring, move your Qi. When the Qi stagnates the liver easily brings forth anger and irritability. If there are areas in your life which are stagnating then spring is the time of year when these issues come to the forefront and the vibrancy of the spring energy can provide the momentum to move forward.
Food – You can now start adding more cooling foods like mung beans, celery, seaweeds (kelp is very helpful for liver stagnation), lettuce, cucumber, watercress, tofu, and millet. Green is the color of the liver and of springtime. Eating young plants, fresh leafy greens, sprouts and immature cereal grasses can improve the liver’s function and aid in the movement of Qi. The flavor of the wood element and the liver is sour; ways to get the sour flavor include putting lemon or lime slices in your drinking water, using vinegar and olive oil/flax oil salad dressing and garnishing with dill pickle.
Cleansing – Cleansing is appropriate in the spring & early summer, if you are interested in an individually guided cleanse this year then click the button to the right. It is rare in Chinese medicine to recommend intense “cleanses” as they maybe to depleting for many constitutions. Since the liver processes many toxins, a gentle cleanse can be beneficial. Brown rice and vegetable soup for 2 days can suffice for those with low energy or who get cold easily, while salads with leafy greens including dandelion would be appropriate for those who are always hot. Milk thistle tea helps the liver cleanse itself. It is the time to do more outdoor activities; the outside air invigorates the body and moves the liver Qi, and is a good way to move out of irritability.
Acupuncture & Herbs- One of the primary functions of acupuncture is to move liver Qi, which enhances a person’s feeling of wellbeing and their capacity to move forward into the vibrancy of spring. Many herbs in the Chinese Materia Medica assist liver function, harmonize organ systems and move Qi.