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Tag Archives: spring
Three thousand years ago, when Chinese medicine was first being practiced, there was no light or electricity. No way to mask the darkness of winter. No way, either, to ignore the longer, warmer days of springtime. Because it is such an ancient practice, a lot of the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine comes from a time when people spent much more time outside, paying attention to the natural world around them.
For most people, the change of seasons from winter to spring is something to look forward to. But it also means a time when people tend to get sick or seasonal allergies start to flare up. This can make things miserable for a lot of people. As the weather fluctuates between freezing cold and warmer, sunnier days, it also wreaks havoc on our immune system and our sleep. Frequently, our bodies can’t keep up with the constant changes and we get physically run down. But there are some things everybody can do to help during the time of transition from one season to the next.
In traditional Chinese medical theory, one of the best ways to stay healthy is to live in balance with the seasons. Balance, in this context, means mindfully crafting your diet and certain aspects of your lifestyle based on what season it is.
An easy way to think about this is with fruits and vegetables: we are lucky these days to have grocery stores stocked year round with fruits and vegetables from every corner of the globe at all times of year. That makes it possible to enjoy asparagus into the winter months in northern climates where asparagus would never naturally grow at that time of year if at all. Chinese medical thought prescribes realigning our diets with what would be available to us in the region where we live and at each time of year.
Traditional Chinese medicine says aligning your diet with the seasons is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Mother Nature provides exactly what we need to be healthy. Paying attention to the fruits, vegetables and herbs that grow during different seasons in the region where you live is a great way to incorporate the philosophies of traditional Chinese medicine into your own life and access greater healing.
Allergies, seasonal or otherwise, is one of the biggest health issues people deal with in the United States. And the numbers are rising every year. Part of this is because our agricultural practices have changed drastically in the past 40 years and our bodies are not accustomed to dealing with genetically modified foods or the excessive amounts of pesticides now being put in and on our food. We are also being over-medicated with antibiotics used in livestock we eat and that we are prescribed by our own doctors. This has created superbugs like MRSA that no longer responding to antibiotics. Our immune systems just can’t keep up. So every year, the number of people experiencing allergies is increasing.
Spring is a time of renewal, regeneration, growth and energy. The plants and animals awaken from the slumber of the cold winter months. The vital nutrients that have been stored in the roots of the plants and the bodies of the animals, comes to the surface and life becomes more vibrant and fluid. Human beings are no different. Humans tend to stay indoors more during the winter months and sometimes pack on a little extra weight in the process. As the weather warms, humans become more gregarious and spend more time outside enjoying nature. This is just a natural process.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season is ruled by a particular organ system and spring is connected to the liver. What does this mean? Well, you probably notice changes in the way you feel, both physically and mentally, as the seasons change. I know I tend to feel a bit more contemplative and introspective during the winter months. Once spring hits, I’m ready to recharge and get things done. The liver energy is strong and assertive, the type of energy you need to create plans and then propel them into motion. However, if your liver is a little out of balance, you might notice you are more irritable or on edge than usual. Here are a few signs that your liver is in need of an acupuncture tune-up:
Summer finally arrives.
The sun comes out. The flowers bloom.
Most people grab their sunscreen and head outside. But what do you do?
You close the windows, grab your antihistamines and hide in the house.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could enjoy being outdoors?
Allergies are widespread. According to WebMD, 20% of the population suffers from allergies or asthma, and 55% of the population tests positive for one or more allergens. Allergies are the 5th leading chronic disease in the US and cost the US health care system $7.9 billion annually.
If you can’t live with your runny nose, congestion or watery eyes, but you don’t want to take antihistamines or get allergy shots, what can you do to relieve your symptoms?
Spring is a happy time. Bunnies hop about. Flowers emerge in long forgotten corners of your garden. The birds return and sing so loudly they wake you in the morning.
This is not a time to be angry.
But according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, being angry is exactly what you can expect if you don’t balance your wood element.
In TCM, spring is represented by the element wood. Wood represents birth and newness, the time for fresh ideas and new starts. Unsurprisingly, its color is green like the fresh growth of spring.
Wood governs your spine, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. A wood imbalance can lead to spinal problems, poor flexibility or arthritis. Wood also governs your eyes.
But most important for your mood, wood governs your liver.