Everyone I am meeting this week seems to be buzzing with springtime energy, with the anticipation of sunshine and greenery to come. It seems that we can all collectively feel the new growth gathering the energy to burst forth and transform this dreary gray into a show of color and life.
Spring is the season of growth, regeneration, increased activity, and new beginnings. The transition from winter to spring can offer us more opportunities to be productive and spend time outdoors. Generally, spring is considered a happy season, especially for those living in colder, darker climates. We all anticipate the warmer weather and longer days of spring. Just as everything around us blossoms in the sun, we too should embrace this time of renewal.
As with any seasonal change, it is important to pay close attention to your body’s needs during this transitional time. Moving from the indoor, sleepy coldness of winter to the warm, active spirit of spring can be tough on your system if not handled with care. For many, spring months also bring allergies, high blood pressure, headaches, sinus pain, congestion, anger, irritability, and joint problems. Many of these problems can be attributed to changes in the environment in the environment. Although we can’t change external weather factors, traditional East Asian Medicine (EAM) can address and diminish how these changes affect our bodies.
Traditional East Asian Medicine emphasizes the importance of living in tune with the seasons. Its theory divides the year into five seasons, each with its own associations and physical qualities that can be observed both in the external or “natural” world and within our bodies. These elements interact daily and either create balance and harmony when in sync or cause chaos within the body when out of balance.
EAM associates the Wood phase and the Liver and Gallbladder organs with spring. This sphere is essential for detoxification, decision-making, and nourishing the tendons and joints of the body. In East Asian Medicine, we talk about the Wood phase as responsible for keeping all of our energies flowing smoothly. During the winter months, we may experience stagnant feelings in areas like relationships, work, and our bodies. If we experience frustration, physical pain, or sadness, it may be a sign that energy is not flowing optimally.
6 Ways to Rebalance Your Wood Element
Regular stretching is an excellent way to start and end your day. Adding yoga or tai chi to your daily routine can provide even greater benefits for your joints, connective tissues, and overall health. These practices not only help with flexibility, but they also promote relaxation and mindfulness, which can reduce stress and increase overall well-being. This season is all about ‘flow’.
Spending more time outdoors is an easy and effective way to support Wood energies during the spring. Moving around outside can increase your heart rate and keep your blood flowing smoothly. Exposing yourself to daylight, especially in the mornings, helps your body stay in sync with the daily cycles of day and night. This balances cortisol and melatonin levels, supporting deep, restful sleep and energetic mornings.
Eat More Greens.
Consuming fresh leafy greens can support the liver’s detoxification function and improve vision due to the vitamins and nutrients found in these vegetables. Fresh, local, and in-season greens, such as micro-greens, ramps, and fiddleheads, are considered the most beneficial for promoting healthy blood flow and boosting energy. Greens with more bitterness, like dandelion greens, are most beneficial for detoxification and digestion. If you struggle to eat your greens regularly, consider adding a greens powder to your daily regimen.
Understand Your Constitution.
When a person is in complete balance, transitioning from one season to another tends to go unnoticed. However, a person with a Wood element in their constitution may experience irritability and frustration during the spring season. In EAM, we understand that the Wood phase is being taxed by this season, which can cause feelings of being stuck, frustrated, or angry. People who tend to feel these emotions easily will benefit from extra attention to gentle movement and having dedicated time for rest.
It is recommended to avoid excessive stimulants during the spring months. While coffee and caffeinated drinks can be helpful during the cold winter months, they are considered expansive and energizing, which can be harmful to the body during the spring when life is abounding. Symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, and anger can manifest as a result of excess energy.
Get A Seasonal Tune-Up.
Keep your springtime flowing smoothly with acupuncture and herbs. Acupuncture can balance the nervous system as it adjusts to changes in weather and activity levels. Regular acupuncture treatments boost immunity to keep spring viruses at bay. Spring can also cause flare-ups associated with seasonal allergies. Acupuncture and herbs can help alleviate symptoms such as inflammation, sneezing, runny nose, chest congestion, and watery eyes. Importantly, acupuncture can also help regulate emotional imbalances that are often common during this transitional period.