It means new life, longer hours of daylight and depending on where one lives, warmer weather. This transition allows for the ability to get more done and spend more time outdoors, possibly shedding those extra pounds gained over the holidays and reconnecting with nature. But as with any seasonal change, there are organ systems that need specific attention. This is where Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) excels in helping make a smooth transition.
As we transition from winter to spring, it’s important to understand that in TCM, the season of winter is associated with the element of water and it corresponds to the kidneys. The kidneys house our life force or jing and therefore, they must be constantly fed and replenished, as jing dissipates over time. Winter is the perfect time to do this and is done by sleeping more, eating hearty, warming seasonal foods, and avoiding excessive sweating or exercising.
The season of spring is associated with the element of wood and it corresponds to the liver. As everything around us blossoms in the spring, so too should we embrace this time. But the liver tends to be a bit of a bully for many people and it must be kept in check. Often the winter months leave some stagnant feelings, which can manifest in different areas like relationships, work, or even our bodies. If there is frustration, physical pain, or sadness, it may be a sign that energy is not flowing properly or optimally.
Eating according to the seasons is very important in TCM. As the weather gets warmer, most people gravitate towards healthier food options in an effort to lose some of the winter weight. But according to TCM, eating lighter, more natural foods actually gives the liver a chance to repair itself and that alone can help us feel more energetic and improve our clarity of thought. The immune system also functions better when excess sugar and dairy are removed.
Acupuncture is one of the tools in the TCM toolbox that can help make the transition from winter to spring easier. Acupuncture can balance the body as it reacts to the changes in the weather and activity levels. Regular acupuncture treatments have also been shown to boost immunity. Spring can cause flare ups associated with seasonal allergies and acupuncture treatments can help with the inflammation, sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes that accompany the allergic reactions. But most of all, acupuncture can help regulate those emotional imbalances that are often common during this transitional period.
Feng Shui is another way to make the transition from winter to spring easier. You might have heard of Feng Shui referred to in the Western world as similar to interior design. However, in Chinese culture, feng shui is understood as a far more complex system. It is a practice intended to create harmony in our interior space and relates to our personal energy, the natural world, and our environment.
The ultimate goal of feng shui is to create energized and balanced spaces by drawing in positive energies. It draws on a system of interactions and laws about how humans perceive our physical environment. The art of feng shui governs spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”). Tossing out old clothing, magazines or just going through that one junk drawer we all have, will create an empty space that will then allow for growth
throughout the spring season.
By incorporating some simple TCM techniques into your life you may just have a more enjoyable metamorphosis from winter into spring.