Living in Accordance with the Seasons:
One of the most basic tenants of Chinese Medicine is that nature is governed by yin/yang & the Five Elements. The Five Elements (also known and translated as The Five Phases) represent the fundamental qualities of all matter in the universe. As a Chinese Medicine practitioner, we learn to utilize the Five Element Theory as a model for understanding the inter dynamics within. The theory is applied on both a macro and micro level. Each Element (phase) has its own particular quality of qi and energetic emphasis. Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, & Water are the Five Elements we reference. We move through the five phases daily, weekly, seasonally, and also as life phases. Our body operates in two hour peak cycles with each of the twelve meridians within us. To tie it all together in the neatest package possible: each meridian is connected to an element, each element is connected with a season, each element has varying levels of yin and yang, and it is ideal to live in alignment with nature.
“The cyclical changes that take place with the seasons are also the same that take place with in the human being. There is a never-ending cycle of growth, flowering, harvest, decline, and storage. The quality of qi resonant with the Wood Element in Heaven manifests as the season of spring, the climatic qi of wind and in a person as the emotion of anger.” (Hicks, p. 6)
- Wood (Liver & Gallbladder) is associated with Spring & is a generative energetic; New Life/Infancy
- Fire (Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium, & San Jiao) is associated with Summer; Youth
- Earth (Stomach & Spleen) is associated with Late Summer; Adulthood
- Metal (Large Intestine & Lung) is associated with Fall: Old Age
- Water (Bladder & Kidney) is associated with Winter; Death
The Wood phase is associated with birth, new growth, and expansion. New life bursts forth in nature evident with the budding of new plants, trees, flowers, etcetera. The impulse to move into action best describes the energy of Spring. During this phase, human beings should be at their most creative state and producing new life in their work, hobbies, etcetera.
For the Winter Season, we encourage rest, contemplation, nourishment, for rejuvenation of the body, mind, and spirit. When Spring arises, the energetic is expansive. Growth bursts forth from the stillness of winter. The Liver is the Yin Organ associated with Spring and the Wood element. If obstacles get in the way of this growth, stagnation, frustration, and anger may ensue. We encourage activities such as yoga, qigong, and meditation to keep the Liver at ease and to reduce the arrival of stagnant energy.
Some helpful tips for this season include:
- Resume exercise and outdoor activity. Making sure to continue to get adequate rest in the evening to be able to rise with the Sun.
- Try eating in accordance with the Season. For Spring eat sprouting and leafy foods. Cook and eat lighter meals. Incorporate the sour flavor (astringent & contracting) to help balance the Wood energy. Examples include: vinegar, lemon, pickled foods, cheese, yogurt (not the kind with lots of sugar), chicken, and some wines.
- Be sure not to eat when distressed as this disrupts digestion. Do a few minutes of conscious breathing to calm the nervous system to insure proper digestion.
- Seek acupuncture for a Spring Season Tune- up. When Spring arises, a person may experience a variety of symptoms, related to Wood-Liver Imbalance. With the help of Chinese Herbs, Lifestyle changes, and acupuncture we can harmonize these imbalances.
- Foggy thinking or forgetfulness
- Tendon issues: pain, tightness
- Eye issues: blurry, red, or dry eyes
- Skin Issues: dry, itchy, or rash
- Side pain along the ribs (especially after eating while emotional)
- Digestive issues: abdomen distention, diarrhea, or constipation
- Emotionally: outbursts of anger or increased frustration
Getting in tune with Spring will help you feel energized, creative, and open to the possibilities life has to offer. Call Erica at 904-607-6661 to book your Spring Season Tune up today.
Hicks, Angela, Hicks, John, Mole, Peter. Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture. Elsevier Ltd. 2004
Beinfield, Harriet, Korngold, Efrem. Between Heaven & Earth. Bellantine Books. 1991