Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that humans should live in harmony with the seasons. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are five seasons – winter, spring, summer, late summer and fall.
Each season has many associations that help us change our habits allowing for a more balanced mind and body. When these systems were developed, people were living in harmony with nature. People rose with the sun, ate what was available during the different seasons and they were in harmony with, and much more aware of their natural environment. What to wear, when to wake up, when to go to sleep and what activities to engage in were all dependent on the season and the environment. Because of this, people were capable of staying healthy throughout the year and their immune and organ systems were strong enough to ward off disease. Here are six ways to incorporate that harmony into your life this spring.
Within this system, the season of spring is the time of expansive growth and movement. Spring is a time of creativity and planning. Spring is associated with the wood element. The wood element governs the liver and the gallbladder and their energetic pathways in TCM. The five seasons and their corresponding elements interact with one another daily, creating balance and harmony or complete chaos within the body. The liver and gallbladder are associated with the tendons and are responsible for the smooth flow of energy and blood throughout the body. Our daily activities should reflect this. Stretch more and breathe deeply into your abdomen. Becoming more active and spending more time outside, in nature, can be great ways to strengthen the liver and gallbladder energies during the months of spring.
Our bodies need water to remain flexible. When we don’t get enough water, our muscles, tendons and ligaments become brittle and stiff. Water is also very important for the cells in our body, which are constantly replicating and replacing themselves, literally creating new life within our bodies on a daily basis.
As the weather warms up, many people become more active. And as any good athlete knows, you don’t just jump up and start running or training without first warming up. This is why daily stretching is vital. It keeps the body limber and free of excess stagnation.
Most people don’t get enough of the vitamin-rich greens that can provide immense wellness. The color associated with spring is green, and when a person eats according to the seasons, it is obvious that greens should be more frequently consumed during the spring months. Foods like onions, basil, dill, fennel and rosemary will help unblock stuck energy from the long winter months and allow more growth.
Things like qigong can help to clear out the lungs and open up the sinuses that can sometimes become stagnant throughout the winter months.
Acupuncture is a great way to “detox” the liver and gallbladder organs and open up the meridian pathways. Tiny acupuncture needles can help release stagnation, improve circulation, balance and harmonize your springtime energies.
When you align yourself with the natural processes of the seasons, your body and mind will adjust and perform at its best.