Spring = Wood energy = Liver
In Chinese culture, the world is a harmonious place where all beings live in balance with Nature. Seasons have rhythms, and we are part of this holistic entity, and influenced directly and indirectly by changes in weather and season.
Seasons have rhythms, and each season represents an organ of the body, corresponding to one of the Five Elements. As parts of the body receives energy throughout the year, the organs are nurtured, cleansed and supported to promote wellness and health.
In spring, earth begins anew, and it is a season of birth and growth. Energy builds, as animals rise from hibernation, seeds sprout, and blossoms appear. This is a season of fertility, beginnings and new ideas, growth in relationships and planting seeds for the future.
As we transition to spring, our bodies feel the brighter, longer days, and we want to get moving more. In dark, cool winter, Chi enters deep into the body, and it’s natural to want to sleep longer, decrease activity and do less outdoors.
As the days get milder, it is important to still stay well covered and warm, to prevent getting chilled. We must adapt to changing weather, and we are susceptible to seasonal problems, like allergies, flu and colds. Spring is the windy season, so wind and heat can cause respiratory problems. Changing activity, diet and emotions can help the body and mind to avoid illness. Chinese medicine can help relieve symptoms, balance the immune system and prevent infection. Acupuncture and herbs focus on treating the root cause of disease as well as the symptoms.
More information on Spring in Chinese Medicine here
If we eat seasonal foods similar to the seasons, we are in harmony with the environment, adapting to seasonal changes and staying in synch with nature’s health. Chinese believe we are what we eat, and most diet guidelines follow nature. Winter warming and storing foods are replaced by cleansing and revitalising foods like leafy greens and sprouts to harmonise the body with rejuvenation and growth in the spring.
Yang flows outwards and occupies the body surface in spring and summer so we get depleted of Yang and need replenishing. The principle is “nourish yang in spring and summer, and nourish yin in autumn and winter.”
Go to sleep earlier, to help the liver eliminate toxins and excess. Eat lighter, and add fresh greens and foods with sour taste to rejuvenate the liver. Go outside and breathe deeply to help Chi flow, because when it flows smoothly in your body, the mind relaxes. Flexibility in thought and emotions keeps you from feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with the vibrant energy of spring.
Soothe the liver with pungent, sweet, cool or slightly warm foods. Avoid processed foods (refined flours and sugars), high fat foods (meats, fatty oils, eggs, milk, cheese and nuts) and any heavy foods that can tax the liver. Green is the colour of spring, so eat plenty of fresh leafy greens, seeds, sprouts, and lightly cook foods or steam instead of stewing or frying.
Recommended foods for spring include onions, leeks, mustard greens, Chinese yam, wheat, dates, cilantro, mushrooms, spinach and bamboo shoots. Basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill, and bay leaf are pungent spices good to add to meals. Complex carbohydrates like grains, legumes and seeds are sweet and also good for spring eating.
Here’s some yoga poses that might invigorate your Spring energy – click here