The beautiful weather of spring is here and along with it feelings of growth and change. By now most people are starting to shake off the sleepy, rebuilding and rejuvenating time of winter and are getting ready to burst forward with energy and activity. In nature spring is a time of birth, growth and movement. Similarly in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), spring is associated with the wood element (Liver and Gallbladder) whose energy is of growth, change, movement and flow.
Spring can be a wonderful time to start anew. Whether that means starting new routines or habits that will nuture your body and mind, or moving jobs or home. Embracing the energy of the wood element will help with being able to flow smoothly through these periods of growth and change. Conversely if we fight the wood energy we can become stuck and stagnant. This can be reflected in our physical body, with symptoms such as spasm, pain and stiffness; including headaches, migraine, PMS and digestive problems. We may also experience this emotionally, where feelings of anger, irritability, frustration and nervous tension can arise. This can lead to sleep disturbances, insomnia and moodiness.
Spring is a to embrace change and freedom. The freedom to just be ourselves. Let go of any feelings associated with needing to do or be anything but your authentic self. This means letting go of what we think others expect of us and just be. And allow the same for others.
To help you accept and work with the energy of the spring time movement is important. Try walking to get your body moving and Qi flowing. Activities that stretch your body, like yoga and tai chi, are great as physically the wood element is associated with tendons and ligaments. Kinesiology, acupressure and acupuncture will also help if you feel you need assistance in keeping your Qi energy flowing smoothly or if you need help with decisions and change.
As spring is associated with the liver and gallbladder (Wood element), it is a great time to cleanse and detoxify. Try reducing the burden on these organs by eliminating, or at least limiting, highly refined processed foods, sugars (including alcohol), and saturated fats. Increase your intake of fresh foods, especially green vegetables, and try eating more raw or very lightly cooked foods.
The taste associated with spring is sour. Starting your day with some freshly squeezed lemon juice in water is a great way to cleanse and support your liver. Also apple cider vinegar in water will have a wonderful positive effect on your liver and whole digestive system. Other sour taste foods to include in your diet are plums, kiwi fruit, limes and grapefruit. But as always keep your diet balanced. An excess of anything is not ideal and at all times of the year it is still important to include all tastes (sour, bitter, sweet, salty, pungent and neutral) daily.