Most of us just drift through the seasons, only really thinking about our necessary wardrobe adjustments. Chinese Medicine however places a lot more attention on how the changing seasons affect us. In fact in China, it is very normal practice to go for acupuncture specifically to assist our smooth transition between the seasons.
I have just finished a little ‘video story’ on my instagram account highlighting how the shift from Winter into Spring may affect us and what we can do about it, so I thought I would share a little more in depth on it here too.
Chinese medicine associates each season with an organ, and the liver is the organ related to Spring energy. The liver is responsible for the flow of emotions as well as Qi and blood and if unbalanced, this can result in feelings of frustration, anxiousness, anger and the feeling of needing to move, expand and grow.
Physically the imbalance can quite often result in headaches, teeth grinding, eye issues and feeling hot all the time. I know I’ve certainly been experiencing a sense of agitation and impatience and I bet that’s the seasonal imbalance in my liver showing up.
So if you recognise these feelings, please give yourself a break. It’s hard enough on our bodies to adapt to the changing season and with the added stress of the last year of madness. It’s no wonder a lot of us are somewhat out of sync and feeling things a lot more intensely than usual.
But what can we do to ease these feelings and return our sense of balance to our daily lives?
Firstly… think about movement.
If you are feeling any of the above emotions, it could well be that your liver energy isn’t moving optimally and requires a little attention to get it back on track.
Acupuncture is great for getting straight to the point, stimulating the right channel and releasing the blockage, but you can also help to get it moving yourself.
Think lovely, gentle, flowing movements. Tai-chi and qi-gong are amazing exercises to keep every part of you balanced. Yoga, Pilates and dance are great too, and a good workout will definitely get that energy moving once again. The worst thing you can do is keep still.
Nutrition is important too, as it always is in Chinese Medicine. We need a healthy digestive system to promote healthy movement throughout the body, not just the gut.
Though you’re probably bored hearing this from me, it is important, and bears repeating: do not regularly drink cold water and drinks or an abundance of raw smoothies. The coldness of these drinks dampens everything down which in turn hinders the flow within our bodies.
We want things to move freely and as optimally as possible for good, free flowing, healthy systems.
Food wise, the liver loves dark green, leafy veg, think kale, cabbage, leek, lettuce etc. Sprouts and mushrooms are also great options for the liver.
Try to incorporate a sour taste into your diet 3-4 times a week. This sour flavour helps release stagnation in the liver and can be as simple as a squeeze of fresh lemon in your warm water or a drizzle over some vegetables, or even a sharp granny smith apple. Interestingly, the more you dislike that sour taste, suggests the more your body needs it.
Emotionally, try practicing patience and forgiveness.
Have compassion and try to let go of resentment. The liver is hurt by our holding of negative feelings, so strive to be free of these emotions in whatever way this works best for you.
Finally, get outdoors! Nothing beats big deep breaths in nature to clear the cobwebs. As I write this I’m just craving to fill my lungs with salty, sea air, there’s nothing like it!
Hopefully if we can all ease our liver energy a bit now and we’ll feel better able to bounce into Spring and soak up all the joy and energy it brings.