Spring into Health – Chinese medicine tips on how to stay well in the Spring
Spring is the season of change and renewal. It’s a great time of year to set goals, make plans and start new projects. As the yang energy of the season rises and expands, we find ourselves waking earlier inspired to get things done.
In Chinese medicine the wood element embodies the energy of spring and manifests in the body as the Liver & Gallbladder. Often in clinic we find there is a rise in liver & gallbladder problems (Chinese Medicine related) at this time of year.
Spring energy tends to be unstable, wind being its climate and although the days are beginning to warm up, the last of winters cold still clings to the wind leaving us vulnerable to wind borne diseases – which brings us to the first of our five Spring health tips.
1. Wear a scarf and protect yourself from the wind! According to the Huang Di Nei Jing, known as the Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor “Wind is the chief [cause] of the one hundred diseases. When it comes to changes and transformations, other diseases result. It has no permanent cardinal point [where it comes from]. However, [whatever] sets in does so because of Wind qi.” In other words – wind penetrates the body, often driving in cold, heat or damp which then leads to disease, most commonly colds, flu, and allergies like hayfever.
The neck is a weak point where wind can find its way into the meridians which run through it, so don’t pack away those scarves just yet.
2. Green is supreme! Spring is the time of year to give your liver some TLC. Consider going on a gentle detox diet to cleanse and recharge the whole system. Green is the colour associated with spring and that is exactly sort of food the Liver loves. Introduce more dark leafy greens into your diet. Celery juice can help decongest the liver and reduce inflammation and lemon juice in warm water upon rising can help stimulate the gallbladder and alkalise the body. Not a fan of green foods? We stock a great super green powder to add to your smoothies that tastes great.
3. Get moving! The liver is the master of movement! If Qi (energy) gets stuck and stops moving you can assume the Liver is involved. When qi gets stuck, we get sick (physically, mentally and emotionally). Getting blood and qi moving after the contracting energy of winter is vital to health and happiness, whether it’s a brisk walk every day or training at the gym, to Yoga or Tai Chi, or even Dance classes or a swim – choose something that you enjoy to keep you motivated. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help address stuck Qi when lifestyle changes aren’t working.
4. Anger – a useful but dangerous emotion. The emotion associated with the liver is anger. Frustration, irritability, resentment, indecisiveness & rage are all indications that Liver/Gallbladder energy is out of balance. When in harmony we are kind, tolerant, patient, compassionate and find decision making a breeze. Anger isn’t always a negative emotion, without it we wouldn’t be able to stand up for ourselves or others, or push through life’s obstacles and challenges. However when repressed and left unexpressed, anger can be toxic & devastating to our health. Whatever it is that makes you angry – do your best to forgive, let it go and move on. Constitutional facial acupuncture is great for releasing blocked emotions and restoring harmony.
5. Be flexible! Liver health manifests in our eyes, tendons, ligaments, fingers & toe nails and also our attitude. Improving your diet, increasing your activity levels and taking prescribed Chinese herbal medicine along with regular acupuncture will help improve the livers function to nourish the body and mind. Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Yoga are great exercise disciplines to take up this time of year to increase flexibility of not only your body but your mind also.
Don’t wait till you get sick! Come in and see us for a spring tune up, your Liver will love you for it!