The Body in Harmony with Spring





Knowledge of the seasons and how they affect the body and mind are fundamental to the practice of Acupuncture. With Spring upon us it is a wonderful opportunity to examine how we can attune ourselves to the season for our health and vitality. Whilst seasonal changes can be more subtle in our part of the world there are still dramatic differences between the seasons. According to the Inner Classics[1], Spring is a time of renewal to “rise early with the sun” and take “brisk walks”. This reflects that spring is the time where the inward, descending yin energy of winter becomes yang and starts to ascend. Just as the plants starts to grow towards the warmth of the sun we too can rise from our doonas and get our blood moving in the morning!

Spring in Traditional Oriental Medicine is the season of the wood element; the Liver and Gall Bladder, the perfect time for cleansing and renewal. Spring relates to the eyes, the tendons and the ligaments. It is a time to practice patience to overcome anger, it represents birth, the colour green and the sour taste. It is the season that brings abundant growth in nature recolouring our world with vibrant greens. It is believed that this new growth nourishes the soul through the eyes decreasing our appetite for food as well as our desires. Our vision can become clearer and it is a time to see things in a new way.

It is the optimum time for cleansing and detoxifying the liver. Spring is the time we naturally eat less and it is a good time to fast to cleanse the body. The liver and gall bladder are typically the most congested of all organs in our modern lifestyle. Our exposure to chemicals, intoxicants, stress and denatured food all contribute to liver imbalance.

What are the signs of liver imbalance? The body has a myriad of ways of presenting a picture of liver disharmony. Emotionally it can look like mood swings, depression, resentment, anger, frustration, impulsive or an explosive personality. Physically for women it can be a case of menstrual cycle or fertility issues. The liver stores and releases the blood. We can often regulate and eradicate painful periods by treating the liver. Many pain conditions involve the liver qi and how well it moves around the body. Acupuncture creates the free flow of qi which is why it is so effective at eliminating pain.

The most common liver condition we treat in clinical practice is a form of liver excess. It can involve too much heat in the liver or an excess in liver blood because there is not enough qi to move the blood or the qi is stagnant. This results in the binding of the liver qi causing pain in the body and on an emotional level it can lead to depression, frustration or feeling stuck. Conversely many people also present with liver blood deficiency or liver yin deficiency and we focus on building blood and nutritive qi to enhance the function of the liver and the movement of the qi. Receiving regular acupuncture treatment in the spring time is a great way to renew the body and restore the body to a state of equilibrium. If you are planning any dietary or emotional detoxing acupuncture will help support the process. Acupuncture is a wonderful modality in that we can help the physical manifestation of imbalance, the emotional or spiritual sense of self or just provide treatment to stay in balance. Have a wonderful spring casting your eyes on the abundant growth in nature to nourish your soul.

By Marion Woodhead
Traditional Japanese Acupuncturist
B.HSci (Acupuncture), BEd, BA, Cert. Zen Shiatsu, Cert. Oriental & Wholefoods Nutrition

[1] The Inner Classics refer to two books that provide the fundamental theories that underpin Traditional Oriental Medicine.