As Spring approaches, there is a lot we can do to prepare our minds and bodies for an easy transition between seasons. Spring is when a spark of yang slowly grows within the cold, dark yin of winter. The wood element governs spring, and similar to how spring is a time of transformation, growth, and change, wood is the element of rebirth, new energy, drive, and hope. It is a great time of year to start new projects and work on releasing stuck and stagnant energy patterns in our lives, and harvest our creativity and imagination. It is also a time of growth in the natural world and within ourselves!
There are many ways we can harvest this wood energy in our lives. The wood element relates to the yin-yang organ pair of the Liver and Gallbladder. Often referred to as the architect in our bodies, the liver governs and manages the smooth flow of qi throughout our whole body. When the liver is properly balanced, it helps us plan our goals. The Gallbladder is the decision maker, giving us the courage and drive to implement these plans. Since spring is when these organs are most active, this is the right time to set our goals and intentions and start working toward them!
Here are a few tips to make the most of the season change and prepare for spring:
Movement: A great way to help balance and support the liver and gallbladder is with movement! Moving your body assists in the liver’s function to ensure qi flows smoothly throughout your body. When our qi moves smoothly, we will feel our best and have a clear mind. Get your body moving in whatever way feels right for you. Go for a walk in the park, take a yoga class, or hit the gym!
Cleaning and organizing: A clean and organized external environment will help increase productivity and allow us to focus on setting goals and starting new projects. Research shows that people who live in cluttered environments have higher stress and higher levels of cortisol in their bodies. Clean your space for a clear mind!
Sleep: Ensuring we get enough sleep, especially between 1-3 am when the liver works on its restorative processes, is crucial in maintaining our health and immune system and feeling our best through the season change.
Acupuncture and herbs: A great way to balance the liver and gallbladder and help support our bodies and immune systems is with acupuncture and herbal medicine- including acupressure which you can do on your own! A popular treatment for stagnant liver energy, which often manifests as stress, anger, and feeling stuck, is known as the “four gates.” Those points include Liver 3 and Large Intestine 4. Liver 3, located on the top of the foot, between the big and the second toe, is usually tender when you apply pressure. Large Intestine 4 is on the backside of the hands, at the high point between the thumb and index fingers. Massaging these points for at least 30 seconds each can help regulate the liver and assist the smooth flow of qi in your body.
Using food as medicine: The sour flavor and color green are associated with the wood element. Eating for the season is always a good rule of thumb, with fresh and local veggies and greens incorporated into our diet at this time. A squeeze of fresh lemon over our meals is a refreshing and delicious way to support the liver with the sour taste. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, sourdough bread, or kimchi are valuable additions to our diet. Anyone concerned with lung function–getting sick or suffering from seasonal allergies–can benefit from seasoning their foods with ginger, pepper, and garlic.
Aromatherapy: Essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, frankincense, lemon, and grapefruit. Try them in an oil dispenser to brighten up your space and embrace the essence of spring!
Acu-facial Rejuvenation: Is your skin feeling dry and dull from the winter months? Treat yourself to a hydrating and rejuvenating acupuncture facial and start the season refreshed and glowing.
Get outdoors and enjoy the new growth and colors all around us! Be kind to yourself and your body, and Happy Spring!