Spring, the Wood Element
Welcome to the newsletter for Liz Greenhill Acupuncture.
Each month I will send you snippets of information about Chinese medicine, including seasonal tips and insights, and some creative imagery for meditation.
Spring has sprung!
In Chinese Medicine, Spring is the season of the Liver and the Wood element. During Spring, we are prone to see more diseases of the Liver, but this time of year is also the optimal time for treating the Liver, as it is primed for renewal.
To envision the Wood element, imagine a time-lapse life cycle of a plant: the seed germinating in the dark soil, the tiny shoot of a sprout, the upward growth into sapling, the rippling expansion into a sturdy trunk, the reaching of long branches and unfurling of leaves, blossoming flowers, buds, and finally, an emergence of fruits, windfall, seed spatter, and back to the seed germinating in the soil. Every cycle begins again. The Spring brings a surge of yang in a flurry of activity and growth.
The Liver thrives with movement, and when it gets stuck, we get muscle tension, and are likely to feel moody and negative. In Chinese medicine, Liver disorders include: headaches and migraines, insomnia, high blood pressure, indigestion, dry eyes or floaters, hormonal imbalances, depression and anxiety, vertigo, tremors, and tinnitus.
Not to worry, Chinese medicine has identified these patterns, because we are adept at treating them. A little acupuncture goes a long way to balance the Liver. There are also things you can do at home to tend to your Wood element.
To eat for your Liver you can enjoy the sour flavor, eat green, add yang foods, and make soothing herb teas for the Liver. You’ll do best to eat light in the Springtime, try not to overeat heavy foods, such as meat, dairy, oily foods and breads. Here are some examples of what the Liver loves. SOUR: vinegars, kombucha, lemon. YANG: seeds, sprouts, wheatgrass, radishes. GREEN: kale, arugula, basil, cilantro, lettuces, celery. SOOTHING TEAS: chamomile, chrysanthemum, rose petals, white peony, goji berries, raw honey.
When the Liver is running smoothly, we feel optimistic and eager, have plenty of energy, and a clear vision of life as it is and where we are heading.
To treat your Liver right, keep it moving. Get daily exercise, soak in some nature, do some spring cleaning, and take time for creative expression.
Here is a short visualization to help clear stagnation from the Liver:
Close your eyes and imagine that just above your navel is a seed. Imagine watching the seed grow into a thick vine that sends out lots of viney branches that climb and crawl through the slats of your ribs. Imagine the whole trunk of your body as a thick jungle of vines and greenery. You can smell the bright leafy scent and feel the pristine and fresh air of this jungle inside you. Take some time to feel your lungs exchanging air with these vibrant leaves, while you watch the shades of green glint in the sunlight and sway with the wind of your breath. These vines, with all their flexibility and vitality, wrapping through your ribs, are a part of your body. Their vibrant growth is within you, slowly and consistently growing and reaching and infusing your body with this beautiful bounty of green.