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Living with The Seasons: Spring

5 Element Theory and TCM

Spring – A Time For Renewal

Element: Wood

Organ: Liver

Colour: Green

Emotion: Anger

Opens to: the Eyes

Taste: Sour

Spring is known as a transitional season. During this time, the Yin energy of winter shifts to the Yang energy of summer. Seeds sprout, grass grows, flowers bloom and the sun warms the earth. It is a time for new life and renewal. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is an emphasis on being in harmony with the world around us. This means we must align our daily lives to match the energy of spring.

The organ associated with spring is the Liver and it’s paired organ, the Gall Bladder. This makes spring an ideal time to focus on balancing these organs. Liver Qi needs to flow freely and smoothly around the body. When liver Qi becomes stagnant it can lead to issues with our physical and emotional health.

Spring and liver health
The best way to stay healthy this spring is by nourishing your liver.

Signs your liver is imbalanced:

  • Headaches and Migraines, especially with pressure behind the eyes
  • Red, dry or itchy eyes
  • Poor vision, eye floaters
  • Irritability, short-temper, anger or rage
  • Indecisiveness
  • Dizziness
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Tendonitis
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Brittle nails
  • Pain and tenderness around the ribs

How to Balance your Liver this Spring:

Stretch – The liver controls the tendons. According to Chinese medicine, the liver stores blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons in times of activity, maintaining tendon health and flexibility. Incorporate a morning stretch into your routine. Try yoga or tai qi.

Eye Exercises – The liver opens into the eyes and is connected to proper eye function. Remember to take breaks when looking at a computer monitor for extended periods of time and do eye exercises. Look far off into the distance and look at the colour green to help nourish your eyes.

Eat Green – Green is the color of the liver and of springtime. Eating young plants – fresh, leafy greens and sprouts – can improve the liver’s overall function and aid in the movement of qi.

Taste Sour – Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the liver’s qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing. Garnish your sandwich with a slice of dill pickle.

Do more outdoor activities – Outside air helps liver qi flow. If you have been feeling irritable, find an outdoor activity to smooth out that liver qi stagnation. Try hiking, going for a walk, golfing or playing soccer.

Enjoy milk thistle tea
Milk thistle helps protect liver cells from incoming toxins and encourages the liver to cleanse itself of damaging substances, such as alcohol, medications, pesticides, environmental toxins and even heavy metals such as mercury.

Get Acupuncture!

One of the best ways to balance your Liver energy is to get acupuncture. By doing a thorough Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) assessment, your Acupuncturist can determine if your Liver is in a state of excess or deficiency and come up with a customized treatment plan to help return your Liver to a state of balance.

Treatment will include an acupuncture session as well as recommendations for lifestyle modifications such as: sleep, exercise, nutrition and stress management. For best results, treatments should be done 2x per week initially and then gradually reduce in frequency as the conditions improves.

If you want to learn more about balancing your liver this spring, please give us a call for a free 15 minute phone consultation (647.299.4631). I look forward to hearing from you.

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Posted in Traditional Chinese Medicine

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