In Chinese Medicine, Spring is the time for renewal and regeneration. Its a time of new life, beginnings, and activity. Its time of yang, action and movement – time to get up and go, to do things and to clear out the old and redundant in your life, be that physical or emotional, energetic or literal.
Just as you see seeds budding and new shoots forming, so spring has an affinity for wood, new growth and transitions in the human body also. Rapid growth, sudden expansion, and dramatic shifts can occur, due to the residual building energy and momentum of a coming metamorphosis: spring is the surge of vital newness after the quiet solitude of winter.
The five elements in Chinese Medicine are regarded as the universal principles of change, and have distinct phases related to the environment within and without, in the body and in our surroundings. Humans are a part of this natural cycle and the universal laws subject to it.
Each of these is related to a specific time of year, organ partnerships (these are a pair of both yin and yang aspects), activities, flavours, and aspects. Being in rhythm with what is most appropriate during a particular season is the best way of being sure to preserve your health rather than expand it. Living against the order of the seasons is one of causes of dis-ease and ill health.
Spring has an affinity with the Liver and Gall Bladder, which in Chinese Medicine is related to free and easy transitions and movement. As wood elements, they have a relationship with growth and activity so one of the best ways to shake off the stagnation of winter is to get moving! Getting outside in nature,walking, stretching and releasing tendons and sinews is especially important now. If you’ve been meaning to start a yoga or tai chi practice this is the time for it. The energy of spring may also assist those who are attempting to shift some extra weight: metabolic and energetic shifts are occurring in Spring to make this an easier time for it.
The energy building in springtime has an unpredictable nature, where wind and cold appear rapidly and the season may appear to shift from one moment to the next. Keeping warm and protecting yourself against these rapid changes, by keeping a shawl and/ or jacket close, is best to avoid susceptibility to illness – cold and flu season isn’t done yet! In the same way new shoots need the protection of a greenhouse, the body also needs the protection of warmth, in order to acclimatise and build internal energy to prepare for these changes.
Its a time when old allergies, hay fever, and immunity can resurge again and people with eye problems may find they have more issues around now. The liver and spring have an association with wind which often results in rapid, unpredictable (and sometimes acute) issues with the upper body headaches, tremors, dizziness, pain that moves about, and itching skin conditions.
Emotionally, this also means there is the potential of emotional turmoil and acute and dramatic shifts. Manic depression and feelings of restlessness and nervousness are common in this transient and unpredictable time. For those with an unhealthy Liver energy, this can be an emotional rollercoaster.
Spring offers the opportunity to blossom and bud, to surge our energy towards new projects which we have considered but not yet begun, to initiate action and to direct our willpower as a constructive and positive force. Creativity is at a peak, expansive and volatile – its a great time to get in touch with your youthful, lighter and playful self.
Clear out old things you are no longer using or hanging onto for no good reason. Do a home ‘detox’.
Start waking a little earlier as the days become longer
Rest, have fun, and keep warm – find balance with rest and engagement in new activities
Foods to nourish your energy and clear stagnation:
Green, fresh and leafy foods, such as kale, spinach, sprouts, and shallots. Sprouting, above ground vegetables. Beans, peas and snow peas.
Ginger, mint, licorice,chamomile, hawthorn berry and honey are great as herbal tea’s
Lighter meats such as seafood, pork and chicken are the preference over red meat, which is hotter and heavier to digest. Horse radish and Pickles
The flavour for spring is sour, or astringing. Lemon juice in warm water in the morning (or apple cider vinegar) , grapefruit and limes
Mildly sweet foods such as oats, millet, brown rice, rye, legumes and tofu build the spleen and digestive energy.
Emotions to be aware of:
Anger, frustration and irritability. Volatile mood shifts and emotional turmoil.
This is also a time for clearing out generally: letting go of old or stagnant emotions.