The days are getting longer, and it’s the beginning of the yang cycle, which means more daylight and warmer weather. It’s time to increase activity and exercise, decrease food intake and eat more raw foods, spend more time outdoors, and plant the garden. It’s also a great time to begin a detoxification cleanse to Spring-clean the body.
This is the time of the Wood element, which encompasses movement, growth, expansion, action and creativity. As winter fades away, preparation begins for the warmer months ahead. It is a time of change and possibility, as energy emerges from hibernation. This is a good time to focus on achieving goals.
Spring and the Wood element relate to the liver, which is associated with the emotion of anger. The positive side of this emotion is about creativity and moving forward. Some patients find that they experience impatience, annoyance, and reactive behavior this time of year. Others may feel uplifted from the extra light in their day, or an overall feeling of positivity from being outdoors more often.
This time of year is also about new beginnings and addressing past patterns. Health complaints such as allergies, neck and shoulder pain, and sciatica are common in the Spring due to their association with the liver. Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs can provide relief by soothing the liver, increasing circulation, and calming the spirit. Since the days are growing longer, traditional Chinese health care advises that bedtime can be a bit later, and still advises to rise with the sun. Morning tai chi or chi gong are both excellent ways to start the day, as they work directly on the liver through deep breathing and movement.
The Wood Element and the Liver
The liver helps to filter toxins from the blood, and becomes imbalanced with stress, poor or improper diet, and inactivity. As Spring moves into action, the body requires more activity and less food, lighter foods, and more raw food. It is the perfect time of year to cleanse and lose a few pounds that may have been gained during the winter holidays. Eating salads with freshly chopped herbs and sprouted seeds, legumes and grains is perfect this time of year, balanced with cooked foods to suit digestion.
The Liver circulates and courses qi (life force) throughout the body. It becomes sluggish and bound up if a person is too sedentary or does not follow a decent diet and exercise regimen. This is why it’s important to eat less and move more this time of year, to facilitate the smooth flow of qi, which in turn will improve health. Acupuncture, Herbs, Acupressure Massage, and Vitamin B12 injections are all great ways to keep qi moving and the liver healthy.