by Salvador Cefalu, M.S., L.Ac. and Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac.
The transitional period between each seasonal change is a very important time to support the health of the body and mind. In Five Element theory, this period is called Doyo and relates to the Earth energy. The Doyo period is an 18-day period consisting of the 9 days before and 9 days after each Solstice or Equinox.
Since this period relates to the Earth element, the organs of the Spleen, Stomach and Pancreas are most vulnerable to imbalance and disease during this time making it important to protect and support these systems.
People who already have problems in their Earth element need to take extra care as cases such as diabetes, ulcers and gastrointestinal issues in general can all worsen during this time if their lifestyle is not supported.
During the Doyo period in particular it's important to eat meals at regular times and without distractions. Staying away from too much sweet food and other damp inducing foods like dairy and fried foods is also important to keep the Spleen and Stomach energies in a healthy balance.
The Spleen as the largest lymphatic organ in the body indicates this is a good time for acupuncture and massage to support lymphatic circulation. If you only get these treatments a few times a year, it's best to do them during the Doyo periods.
The Spleen is an especially important system as it supports immunity during the seasonal transition. In addition, the Spleen is an organ that assists in the transformation of food into energy and thoughts into purpose, so a healthy Spleen will support you to stay focused on your goals and be able to transform your dreams into reality.
Weakness in the Spleen can result in problems with digestion and elimination and cause the body to accumulate dampness. Dampness is a fungal terrain, often resulting from a diet heavy in carbohydrates, fried foods, dairy and sugar (even in the form of fruits). A fungal terrain can also develop from using various drugs such as antibiotics, sulfa drugs, chemotherapy, birth control pills, corticosteroids, antacids and acid blocking medications.
Dampness is reflected in our lives through the feeling of being stuck or lacking clarity. Dampness is also associated with psychological imbalances such as Obsessive Compulsiveness Disorder and hoarding.
The Earth element organs thrive on a simple diet based on unprocessed foods, a calm mind, and a regular daily rhythm with meals, exercise and rest.
Here are 9 tips to support you to have greater clarity and a healthier lifestyle during the Doyo Period as we move from the most Yin season of Winter to the first Yang season of Spring, which this year occurs from March 13th until March 30th:
- Take time to cook and be present during your meals. Put away your cell phone, turn off the TV and just be - with your meal and people with whom you enjoy spending time.
- Eat meals at regular times and without distractions. Avoid eating under stress and eating on the run or while distracted.
- Integrate more root vegetables into your diet to nourish your Earth. Root veggies such as sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots and rutabaga also help anchor your body's energy and calm your mind.
- Start to integrate more cooked leafy green vegetables to support the Liver and the Wood element, which are associated with the Spring season
- Reduce or avoid coffee, alcohol and refined sugars. All of these substances aggravate the Liver, so this is especially important during the transition to the Liver (Wood) season of Spring.
- Take enzymes daily. Enzymes taken with meals will help break down food and prevent stagnation and heat accumulation in the Stomach. Along with a balanced probiotic supplement, enzymes are essential for your gut health, which is the core of your immune function and brain health. Not sure what to take? Call us at 408-244-8565 or stop in and pick up a bottle of our favorite probiotics and enzymes.
- Exercise to strengthen your Earth. Calming exercises such as Yoga and Qi Gong are especially important to integrate into your routine. Join us for weekly Qi Gong classes Mondays at 11:45am.
- Take more time to meditate or just sit quietly to calm your mind. The imbalanced emotion of Earth is worry, so the more you can quiet your mind the less stress this system will take on.
- Get Acupuncture treatment. This is the ideal time to support your core Earth energy and immunity with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. (If you're in our area, you can schedule yourself online here).