The Season of Spring in Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine emphasis is placed on living in tune with the seasons of the year in order to experience health, wellbeing and to prevent disease. Each season is related to one of the main organ networks or meridians and has its own unique associations that can be seen both in the externally in natural world and also within our bodies.
Spring has always been one of my favorite seasons. A sense of excitement and expansions seems to permeate the air as trees and plants that have been dormant during the winter months begin to bloom with new growth and life. In Chinese Medicine the season of Spring is associated with the Liver network. The Liver encapsulates the energizing and expanding energy of spring within our bodies. When the Liver is functioning properly there is a smooth functionality within our bodies on both an emotional and physical level and we experience an internal sense of freedom and expansiveness.
Symptoms of Liver imbalance
These are some of the most common symptoms that indicate an imbalance in the Liver network.
- Anger or Irritation
- Digestive disorder (IBS and indigestion)
- Menstrual disorders (PMS, irregular or painful menses)
- Shoulder and Neck tension
- Headaches and Dizziness
During spring there is a tendency to experience an increase in the above Liver pathologies. But, by shifting our awareness and taking simple steps we can harmonize our Liver with the expanding energy of spring and experience getter wellbeing.
Simple lifestyle changes make a big difference
1. Wake early. While it is still beneficial to go to bed by 10 pm, the morning is the spring of the day and therefore in spring it is a good idea to begin to rise earlier. Wake by 7 am and see if you feel more energized throughout the day.
2. Exercise. While exercise is important year-round, the connections between spring, the Liver, and anger and depression makes this time of year especially important to have a good exercise routine. Feeling more irritable, depressed or stress? Sooth your Liver by walking in nature for 20-30 minutes 3-4x/ week.
3. Eat your Greens. The Liver is associated with the color green. Take advantage of the new spring growth and increase your consumption of kale, sprouts, arugula, watercress, and other green vegetables.
4. Add sour to your diet. The flavor related to the Liver is sour. Add a slice of fresh lemon or a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water every morning. This aids both digestive and emotional health.
5. Relax and de-stress. While the tendency in the spring is to get even busier, remember to schedule in downtime in order to let your energy gradually build as we move out of winter.
Just as overloading plants with too much sun and fertilizer makes them bolt, exerting too much energy in spring will leave you feeling depleted come fall and winter. Allow yourself time for leisure and resting.
6. Acupuncture (of course!) Acupuncture works directly to bring you back into balance by harmonizing your Liver and attuning you to spring. Experience relief in your symptoms and set the stage for long-term health for the rest of the year with a spring acupuncture tune-up. For the most effective and long-term results it is important to complete a series of acupuncture treatments, with most patients benefiting from weekly treatments for 4-6 weeks followed by monthly or bi-monthly maintenance treatments.