Spring is a happy time. Flowers emerge in long forgotten corners of your garden. The birds return and sing so loudly they wake you in the morning.
This does not seem like a time to be angry.
But according to the Five Element Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), being angry is exactly what you can expect if you don’t balance your wood element.
In TCM, Spring is represented by the wood element. Wood represents birth and newness like the plants rising from the earth. It is the time for fresh ideas and new starts. Not surprisingly, its color is green like the fresh growth of Spring itself.
Wood governs your spine, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. A wood imbalance can lead to spinal problems, poor flexibility or arthritis. Wood also governs your eyes and vision.
But, perhaps the most important thing for you to know is how your liver and the wood element govern your moods. Your liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) and smooth flowing Qi means health and vitality. This flow of Qi is not only related to your physical body, but also to the flow of your thoughts and emotions. Stress happens when the circulation of this mental/emotional energy is restricted. Your stressful thoughts become repetitive and your emotional energy feels stuck. The emotion associated with your liver is anger. Emotions closely associated with anger include annoyance, irritation, frustration, resentment, hatred and violence. If your liver is imbalanced your Qi will be disrupted and you may suffer any of these emotions. But there are steps that you can take to promote the smooth flow of your liver energy.
These healthy (and happy) spring acupuncture practices mean balancing your wood element and caring for your liver.
Healthy Spring Acupuncture Practices
Try these Spring acupuncture recommendations, to keep your wood element balanced and your liver healthy.
- Cleanse. Cleaning your colon releases accumulated toxins, undigested food, parasites and fungi. Yuck! With a clean colon your digestion is more efficient and your body is healthier. Yay!
- Detox your liver. Reduce or eliminate alcohol or drugs that are toxic to your liver. Consider a detox that specifically targets your liver.
- Stretch. Start or recommit to a healthy stretching routine. Try yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong (energy promoting exercises), or other exercises that move, loosen and flex your joints. Interested in Qi Gong? With close to forty years of practice, I can help in that department.
- Exercise your eyes. Massage your face, especially around your eyes (but not your eyes). Roll your eyes and move them in figure 8s. Practice focusing on distant objects and then focusing on close objects in quick succession. These exercises strengthen your eyes and can improve your eyesight. Put time limits on your computer sessions and get up and move around frequently to promote the circulation of blood and Qi throughout your entire body. Go ahead – make your liver happy. I’ll still be here when you get back.
- Control your anger. Create a healthy anger/stress management plan. Call me to get recommendations. Believe me, I’ve been there. “Anger” used to be my middle name. I can teach you the difference between stress relief and stress reduction and teach you how to do both. In the meantime, do your best to put limits on stressful situations. Find activities that refocus your anger in healthy ways. Learn to smile more often.
Healthy Spring Acupuncture Diet
Follow these tips for a healthy Spring diet that supports your liver.
- Eat light. Overeating taxes your liver. Also, reduce unhealthy fatty foods.
- Eat greens. Sprouts, wheatgrass, spinach, kale and dandelions are particularly good foods in the Spring.
- Drink milk thistle tea. Milk thistle detoxes your liver.
- Season your food. Pungent spices like basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill and bay leaf are excellent for Spring cooking—and they taste good.
Keeping your wood element balanced and your liver healthy, can help increase your happiness quotient. You’ll feel more vital, flexible and clear. If you have questions about healthy Spring acupuncture practices or about acupuncture in general, please feel free to call me for recommendations.
Thanks for reading and have a happy and healthy Spring!