I know the first day of spring was last week, but let’s be honest… It felt nothing like spring! Actually, I remember wearing a long down filled coat and feeling like my face was burning due to the intensity of the cold wind. However, as I walked my dogs under a shining sun yesterday afternoon, I started to believe that spring is actually here. It amazes me how a change in temperature and a bright sky can truly lift your spirits, make you feel appreciative and accepting about each and every aspect of your life yet fill you with the desire for transformation.
These feelings all make sense if we think about what happens in nature as we transition to spring. First of all, we experience increased rainfall so the grass, plants, flowers, etc. have enough moisture to grow. After the rain, the buds reach toward the sun (another essential factor in their growth) as flowers bloom and vegetation develops. This reminds me of a quote, “Don’t confuse your path with your destination. Just because it’s stormy now doesn’t mean that you aren’t headed for sunshine.” The rain may appear as a setback, but in actuality it is only shaping us into stronger people. The rain has power to transform us from something small and simple to something larger and more beautiful just like the the green stems and leaves develop into colorful daffodils, carrots and kiwis. During the springtime, the water, that was once frozen, melts and begins to flow in. So, while the winter served as a season to spend more time indoors, fueling up and resting like bears, the spring encourages flexibility and movement.
In Chinese medicine, spring is associated with the wood element as well as the liver and gallbladder organs. As wood grows, its roots plunge into the earth to from a stable base upon which it can reach up and out the towards the sun.To grow, the wood must be supple without being bogged down in water. To me, this serves as a reminder to focus on who we truly are and what is most important in life, without being weighed down in the tiny details. Only then can we evolve and create passionate lives. Embodying the wood element entails asserting yourself and dealing with information: both the planning of the information and the structure. In the life cycle, wood/spring correlates with birth and the time leading up to the teenage years. Don’t we always say children grow up so quickly? Within the body, the liver ensures the smooth flow of qi & blood. It nourishes the sinews and distributes nourishment to the eyes. As a result, a healthy liver is important for having a vision and setting goals. If there is a problem with the plan created, the liver can foresee the issues. While the liver has the plan, it needs its partner, the gallbladder, to execute the plan. In addition to helping the liver by providing organization, structure and time management, the gallbladder implements action and “cuts the fat,” similarly to its physiology of storing and releasing bile. This enables spring to be a season of fast growth and transformation. Stay strong in who you are and what you want. Develop a plan, and stick to it.
To relate this change in season to our bodies, if you are someone who suffers from headaches and/or insomnia, spring can potentially worsen these symptoms due to the season’s desire to expand and receive more light. Additionally, with a lot of new growth, spring tends to be a more problematic season for allergy sufferers. Since East Asian Medicine works with the physical, spiritual and emotional body, spring serves as the perfect time to help you grow as a person. The combination of acupuncture and herbs can also help bring to balance any issues surrounding anger/irritability, constipation, depression, headaches, eye dryness, menstrual irregularities and more.
As far as what you can do to help keep your body healthy, be sure to get out and move, which also helps you get adequate amounts of vitamin D. As for food, you want to eat lighter and include more foods that have a cooling and ascending quality such as light, leafy vegetables, flowers and shoots. Food preparation ought to be simpler: cook at higher temperatures for a shorter amount of time. Include more raw foods, especially as the temperatures increase. However, make sure not to over do it. Our bodies need warm foods to function optimally. Ideal cooking herbs include basil, fennel, rosemary dill and bay leaf. The farmers’ markets will open soon, and it is always beneficial, regardless of the season, to eat in season and eat locally. Lastly, early spring tends to be really windy, a time when many people get sick. Since acupuncturists view wind, especially at the back of the neck, as the start to many diseases, it is recommended to wear a scarf that covers this area. Personally, I’d go for color. 🙂
For more information on me and the medicine, please visit www.happyheartholistichealth.com.