Spring and the Liver
Did you know that spring time is the Liver time? In Chinese medicine, one way of looking at the body, and the external world, is through the lenses of the 5 Elements. According to these principles, all change in the universe and in your body occurs in five distinct cyclical stages or elements. Each of these stages is associated with a particular time of year, a specific element in nature, and a pair of organs in the body.
The five elements refer to Wood/Spring, Fire/Summer, Earth/Late Summer, Metal/Autumn, and Water/Winter. We are currently coming out of the Water time, which was about conserving and reducing, and now heading into the Wood time, which is about regeneration, new beginnings, and renewal. You can see this all around you as leaves begin to bud and flowers push up through the ground.
What does this mean for you?
Spring is the ideal time for cleansing and rejuvenation for overall health and well-being. According to the philosophy of Chinese medicine, the Liver is responsible for the smooth movement of Qi Energy throughout the body. When the Liver functions smoothly, physical and emotional activity throughout the body also runs smoothly. If Qi gets stuck, it can lead to Liver Qi stagnation. This may manifest as neck and shoulder tension, chest tightness, digestive symptoms, PMS, migraines, poor sleep, irritability, and impatience or being easily frustrated. Because spring is the time of the Liver, you may start to notice an increase in your symptoms, especially if you are prone to Liver Qi Stagnation. So, spring is the time to take extra care of your Liver.
Here are some tips to keep your Liver Qi flowing smoothly, and to stay happy and healthy throughout spring.
- Move – Ever notice when you are feeling stressed a little exercise makes you feel better. That’s because you are moving you Liver Qi. The best way to stop Liver QI stagnation is to move it. So get out and take a walk during lunch now that the weather is warmer!
- Stretch – The Liver controls the tendons in the body, so keeping them flexible and nourished are key to staying limber and healthy. Incorporate a morning and evening stretch into your routine. Try yoga, tai chi or qi gong.
- Eat Green – Green is the color of the Liver and it relates directly to foods that benefit the Liver. Eating young plants-fresh, leafy greens, and sprouts-can improve the Liver’s overall functions and aid in the movement of qi. Just look around and see what local greens you are avaliable; those are the best and most delicious.
- Eat Sour – Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the Liver’s qi. Start your day with a glass of lemon water, a simple, easy, and great way to benefit your Liver.
- Acupuncture treatments – If you are still finding the transition into spring hard to deal with, come in for some acupuncture. A treatment can help regulate your Liver Qi and make you ready to embrace this new season!
Photo: FreeImages.com/Helmut Gevert