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Stepping into Spring Health

Shift through the seasons with ease...

Spring-Health-Blog-Red-Bridge-Family-Acupuncture-Healesville

Can you feel the change in the air? For many weeks now the subtle signs of the change of spring have been slowly emerging. A tinge of warmth when the sun breaks through. A lone blossom on a wooden branch. The glimmer of gold through the green bush view as the wattle begins to flower. The promise of lighter and warmer days to come.


As the season shifts the energy around and within us moves. Like the plants awakening from winter and beginning to blossom we can experience an urge for movement and change. The promise of Springs arrival prompts us to focus on our health, our emotional and physical well being, our lifestyles. A personal Spring clean of sorts.


And this is good. Spring is a wonderful time to harness that moving energy, to feel invigorated to refresh yourself, cleanse and emerge into a new cycle of life. As the patterns of the seasonal changes are experienced in natures seasons Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter they can also be witnessed in our lives with periods of new life, development, decline and hibernation.


Now we are shifting from the period of winter’s deep dark Yin. The winter months have been a period of gentle hibernation and slowness. Inspired to move inwards we have spent months in rest and restoration. The upcoming time is a transition into rebirth. Spring is a period of Yang movement, change, growth and emergence. Seasonal shifts must always be undertaken mindfully and in a way that nurtures our body. Ease into your new daily patterns in a slow and considered manner.


“A little impatience will spoil great plans” Chinese Proverb.


Traditional Chinese Medicine Spring Health Tips

Yes, the sun is out, and the days are lengthening but don’t prep the salads and pack the winter clothes away in the spare suitcase just yet! The first buds of blossom and sense of warmth of sun is invigorating. It tempts us to launch ourselves full throttle into Spring.


The reality is the upcoming initial weeks as the weather shifts will typically be a time of unstable weather patterns. Prepare for cool winds and chilly mornings. Combine the cool with the plentiful blooms of wattle and other blossoms we have the perfect recipe for seasonal colds, immunity issues and the emergence of allergies.


Keep warm, use layers, protect your neck with light scarves and nourish your body with warm easily digested foods.

 

Exploring Traditional Chinese Medicine theory and Spring Health...


Five-Elements-Acupuncture-Chinese-Medicine

The Spring Element - Wood


In Traditional Chinese Medicine Spring is associated with the element of Wood. Spring demonstrates rebirth and new growth. It is a period of vitality and life at its strongest and most dynamic. It is an exciting time of new life and prompts us to draw our focus to new beginnings. The elements of nature are also seen within us, reflected in the energies of our body.


The element of Wood carries with it a strong dynamic energy. When well balanced it can represent strength, growth, progress and leadership. It expresses vision for the future, vitality and energy. A healthy Wood element motivates us and draws us to focus on new beginnings. An imbalance or excess of the Wood element like it's namesake can present as ridged, and inflexible. A deficiency may become apparent in behaviours such as indecisiveness, lack of vision, low self worth and despondency.


The Organs of Spring - The Liver and Gallbladder


Spring and the Wood element are connected to the acupuncture meridians of the Yin organ of the Liver and the Yang organ of the Gallbladder. Considering the Liver is the primary target of any spring detox we undergo this information probably will not come as a surprise!

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory our Liver governs the smooth flow of our blood and Qi throughout our body maintaining optimal running of our physical and emotional energy.

Angry Face
One of the first signs of Liver Qi imbalance are mood changes such as anger and frustration

Instability of Liver Qi is often experienced emotionally as anger, irritability and frustration (more on that shortly) and physically Liver stagnation is often the culprit of a multitude of pain conditions.


The Liver system controls the movement of essential Qi to the sinew and fascia, this allows our tendons and joints to move smoothly and freely. As such deficiency or decline of Liver Qi can result in undernourishment of these areas presenting as abnormal and jerky movements and increased instances of injury.


Traditional Chinese Medicine views the Liver as of particular significance in Women's Health due to it's very close relationship with the blood. Many gynecological conditions are linked to a Liver Qi imbalance and you can read about these in depth in our Women's Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine.


The Gallbladder's primary function is to store and secrete bile that is produced by the Liver. It then works side by side with the Liver to move the blood to the small intestine to assist with digestion of food. Their combined actions also support our Wei Qi, or front line defense by promoting Spleen and Lung health.


The Gallbladder also is considered crucial in supporting our 'zest for life'. It drives our passion, inspiration and our decision making ability. Imbalance of the Gallbladder system will leave us feeling lackluster, uninspired and unmotivated.


The Eye and Spring

Spring is the season of the Eye. Connected to the Liver channel, Eye health is of great importance during the coming season. In Traditional Chinese Medicine our eye health is considered a direct result of the strength (or lack there of) of the organ system of the Liver. When there is imbalances of the Liver Qi such as Liver Heat, Deficiency or Wind we would expect to find that reflected within physical symptoms experienced in the eye.

Eye Health in Spring

Common eye health symptoms include:

  • dry eyes

  • allergies targeting the eyes

  • fatigue of the eye

  • dark spots / floaters

  • vision blurring

  • decreased night vision

  • yellowing of the eye

The Flavour of Spring - Sour


You know what your Liver loves? All things sour! So in Spring we want to get that zest for life into our food as well. Treating our body to a little more sour flavour in our food keeps promotes our Liver Qi to move and our Spring Organ system to function at its best.


Why sour? The flavour of sour wakes up our saliva glands, preps the body for good digestion and kick starts bile function all making easier work for a happy Liver and Gallbladder.


Whenever we think Spring detox the old lemon water is a go to, and its an excellent start but what other sour foods can you throw in the mix this season?

  • tart fruits, citrus obviously but also berries, plums, cherries

  • fermented foods like pickled veggies, kimchi, yogurt, kefir

  • tomato

  • apple cider vinegar

  • greens like sprouts and cress

The Emotion of Spring - Anger


There is a saying "Feeling Liverish" that makes the most sense this time of year! Anger is the emotion of Spring and goes hand in hand with unsettled or stagnant Liver Qi.

Grumpy woman
Feeling moody? No spring in your step? Bit grumpy? Maybe your Liver and Gallbladder is out of whack!

Because the Liver is the controller of the healthy flow of blood an excess of Liver Qi or pattern of Liver fire rising can result in a person who is prone to anger. Suppressed anger, frustration and resentment can also cause the Liver Qi to become stagnant and when this happens irritability is often a diagnostic clue. Long term stagnation of Liver Qi can also result in chronic mood disorders such as depression.


The Gallbladder, as we have already discussed shares the Liver's tendency towards a connection with anger when it is out of balance. In the case of the Gallbladder this is more likely to present as inability to make decisions and generally feeling lack luster and uninspired.


The colour of Spring - Green

Green is the colour of Spring Health

Once again it's all about keeping that Liver Qi happy and moving. Green foods are where it is at for Spring health. They help clear Liver heat because they are cooling in nature. Think about including lots of fresh leafy greens, spinach, green vegetables and super foods such as Chlorella and Spirulina.


Absorbing the colour green by way of Shinrin Yoku, which is a Japanese practice of 'Forest Bathing' by embracing the longer day light hours and increased sunshine is a great way to incorporate green colour therapy into your life. Spending time in nature is always a plus for your health.


Gallbladder and Liver time - 11pm until 3am


Traditional Chinese Medicine observes that our Qi cycles through our body with it being strongest in a different organ system every 2 hours. The Horary Clock tells us that the Qi is strongest in the Gallbladder from 11pm - 1am and the Liver from 1am - 3am. To allow these organs the optimal time to recharge you should try to be at rest during these times.


Often where we see nocturnal waking or insomnia during these hours it can signify an imbalance of those specific organ systems.

Insomnia and Liver Health

 

Our Spring advice...


As we are transitioning into Spring our best advice is to take things slowly and gently. The inclination to be outdoors and moving is wonderful and very supportive for our Liver Qi. Don’t sign up to high intensity cardio on the 1st of September though! Ease out of hibernation and into action by introducing slow deliberate movement. Start with walking, yoga, tai chi or qi gong.


The first signs that you are experiencing a seasonal imbalance may be those of the emotions related to the Liver and Gallbladder flaring. This may manifest as instability of mood, frustration, the inability to make decisions or impaired judgement.


In contrast, experiencing balance as we transition into Spring will bring a sense of positivity, harmony, foresight and hope for growth.


Quick Reminders -


MOVE THAT QI – The Liver controls Qi flow and nourishes the tendons. Enjoy the change of brighter clearer days by embracing the outdoors. Incorporate stretching to support the tendons and keep exercise gentle as you build from our time of rest to activity. This is also going to do wonders if you are experiencing any irritability and frustration from stagnant or stuck liver qi. Find local Yoga and Pilates in our 'Local Loves' directory.


GO GREEN – As if we need more reasons to eat the green stuff! Yep its always beneficial but with the colour of Spring and Liver being green now is the best time to really focus on adding in plentiful amounts of fresh leafy greens. Don’t forget we are NOT in salad season yet, keep your foods warm and easy to digest.

Eat-Lemons-in-spring
The flavour of Spring is sour.

LOVE LEMONS - The flavor of Spring is SOUR. Traditional Chinese Medicine consider sour foods to stimulate the Liver’s Qi. The easiest way to add this into your day is lemon water. Make sure water is warm or room temp, taken first thing in the morning is excellent for stimulating the Liver and moving bile.


FOCUS ON EYE HEALTH – The Liver is connected to proper eye function, be mindful of your eyes during this seasonal shift. Considering the rise of screens in our everyday lives it’s important we factor in eye rest and breaks from long periods in front of a computer or smart phone screen.

GET TO BED – Traditional Chinese Medicine observes that our Qi cycles through our body with it being at its strongest in a different organ every 2 hours. The Chinese Meridian Clock tells us the time Qi is at its strongest in the Gallbladder is 11pm – 1am and that the Liver time is 1am – 3am. To allow the Liver and Gallbladder the best opportunity to recharge and regenerate make sure you are in bed and resting during these times. Learn about 'Supporting your Circadian Rhythm'


HAVE A TREATMENT – Be a step ahead of seasonal allergies and emotional imbalances with an Acupuncture tune up. Contact us today.

 

Get in touch with us at Red Bridge Acupuncture and experience balance this Spring.


Book on (03)59061494



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