Preparing for Spring with the Help of Asian Medicine
In preparing for spring it is important to begin with an understanding of how each season affects every other. Our sense of balance, as we go into the spring, is intricately connected to whether or not we took the time to rest in the winter (restore, be still, and go inward). Spring is associated with new growth and expansion–the time when the seeds begin to sprout and push upward to the sun with force. Likewise, there may be escalated agitation in individuals as the springtime inspires the urge to move forward and grow after the encapsulation of winter. New growth is dependent upon the rejuvenation of our deeper sources that occurred in the winter. Spring is associated with the liver in Chinese Medicine and with the emotion anger. The liver energy, when balanced, smooths our emotional energy. The autumn is the time of letting go. If a person was not able to let go of outmoded beliefs or emotions in the fall it can show up in the springs as congestion. This may be expressed as emotional outbursts, increased agitation, or emotional stagnation. The growth that occurs in the spring effects summer and late summer in the same way that a plant grows and produces fruits, flowers and seed. Likewise, a person is able to bring the budding energies that arise in the spring to their full potential by living in harmony with the seasons.
The energy of spring is expansive and outward moving. It is time to start exercising and sweating more. Begin cooking and eating lighter meals. In wintertime we would tend to bake our food to more deeply warm our bodies. In the spring steaming and stir-frying is more appropriate. It is beneficial to eat more leafy greens (kale, dandelion, collards, mint). The sour flavor incorporated into the diet will help to balance the liver energy. Try to be conscious to include good oils into your meals (flax oil, sesame oil, olive oil). It is best to add these oils to already cooked food to preserve the quality. Eat what is locally grown and in season, as much as possible. It is important to be emotionally calm when eating, as well as to breathe deeply and thoroughly chewing our food. Drink lots of fluids (lemon can be added to water). The spring is a great time of year to receive bodywork or acupuncture, in order to to facilitate the body in opening and relaxing.
Do your best to avoid toxicity in your foods and environment. Some things to avoid are: chemicals, drugs and alcohol; as well as refined sugars, processed foods, caffeine, large portions of meat, greasy and rich foods. Avoid stress! All of these are toxicities that can impact and congest the liver.
…To be continued in Part 2:
Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM
1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521
- Pitchford, Paul, “Healing with Whole Foods,” North Atlanta Books (Pub), 2002
- Haas, Elson M., “Staying Healthy with the Seasons,” Celestial Arts (Pub), 2003
- Five Branches University education