by Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac.
The three months of the Spring season bring rebirth and renewal. Spring is a time of change as we transition from Winter, the most Yin or quiet season, to the first Yang or active season of the year. This is the time for new beginnings both in nature and within our personal lives.
While we may have set our intentions for this year after the holidays, Spring is really the ideal time to make the effort to manifest these intentions into reality.
The fertility, abundance and growth in nature reflects the potential that we each have during this season.
To maximize your ability to utilize the energy of springtime, it's essential to balance the Wood element and the Liver and Gallbladder systems that are associated with this season.
According to Chinese Medicine, the Wood element relates to growth, decisiveness and action.
When in balance, Wood provides the energy to be brave, focused, driven and decisive. Excess in the Wood energy on the other hand can cause one to become controlling, angry, and combative. On the other hand, if you feel that you have no spring in your step this time of year this can reflect a Wood deficiency possibly arising from a lack of rest to nourish the Kidneys during Winter months.
The Liver is the primary organ associated with springtime. It stores blood and is in charge of smoothing the flow of Qi or energy throughout the whole body. Because the Liver also smoothes the emotions, if it is imbalanced the Qi stagnation that results can manifest as feelings of stress, irritability and anger.
As Spring arises, the Liver energy becomes more active. This activity can however cause the Liver to generate heat and Wind, which develop into typical allergy symptoms such as itchy, red eyes, sneezing, and sore throat.
Since the Liver is in charge of detoxification, during springtime it's especially important to be cautious of taking in substances that burden the Liver’s function, such as over the counter medications, alcohol and drugs.
As the Wood element and the associated Liver and Gallbladder systems become active both within us and in nature, it's important to balance their energy so we can flourish throughout the season. Here are 5 ways to cultivate this balance:
- Eat a Wood balancing diet replete with leafy green vegetables, asparagus, artichokes, olives, and berries.
- Reduce or avoid coffee, alcohol and spicy foods as they can aggravate the Liver thus worsening allergies and the overall irritability and restlessness that most of us experience during this seasonal transition.
- Drink herbal teas such as Chrysanthemum, Chamomile, Dandelion and Nettle Leaf to cool the Liver, especially if you tend to experience allergies at this time of year.
- Be more active - exercise daily to keep the Liver Qi moving smoothly. Yoga, Qi Gong and Tai Ji are especially helpful as the connection to breathing with these types of exercises helps strengthen the Lungs and open the diaphragm to further help prevent Liver Qi stagnation.
- Get Acupuncture treatment to help cool the Liver and move the stagnation that can stir up allergies, irritability and anger.
With its vital energy and beauty, this abundant, creative season supports us to blossom by starting new projects and sharing our unique gifts and talents.