into the Season!
Spirit of Renewal: Spring and Traditional Chinese
Spring: It is the long-awaited change of winter
to spring. Seeds sprout, flowers bloom, and the sun warms the earth.
There is a sense of renewal and new life all around.
winter was a time to conserve energy and reduce activity, spring is
a time of regeneration, new beginnings, and a renewal of
The Principle of the Five Elements
five elements refer to wood, fire, earth, metal, and water in
Eastern philosophy. The Principle of the Five Elements (known as the
Wu Hsing in Chinese) describes the flow of Qi and the balance of yin
According to the principle, all change — in the
universe and in your body — occurs in five distinct stages. 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. Change
links together the seasons of the year, aspects of nature, and your
body’s organs and bodily processes. A practitioner of traditional
Chinese medicine uses this principle to diagnose and treat health
problems, linking specific foods, herbs, and acupuncture points to
the restoration of yin-yang and Qi.
In the five element
system, spring is associated with the wood element, the color green,
the Liver and Gallbladder, and the emotion of anger.
Spring is the ideal time for cleansing and rejuvenation for
overall health and well-being. As spring is represented by the wood
element and includes the liver and its complementary organ, the
gallbladder, these two organs are usually the primary targets for
springtime cleansing and health regimens.
Green is the color of the liver and of springtime.
Eating young plants — fresh, leafy greens, sprouts, and immature
cereal grasses — can improve the liver’s overall functions and aid
in the movement of Qi.
breathing exercises, stretching, qi gong, tai chi, yoga, light
weightlifting, walking, meditation, or light cardio into your daily
routine. Not only will you find it easier to lose those extra winter
pounds, exercise can also improve your mood and increase
Do more outdoor activities
helps liver Qi flow. If you have been feeling irritable, find an
outdoor activity to smooth out that liver Qi stagnation. Try hiking
or take up golf.
Enjoy milk thistle tea
thistle helps protect liver cells from incoming toxins and
encourages the liver to cleanse itself of damaging substances, such
as alcohol, medications, pesticides, environmental toxins, and even
heavy metals such as mercury.
The Liver and Liver Qi Stagnation
Spring is ruled
by the wood element, which is associated with the liver, an organ
with an incredible capacity for regeneration.
for the underlying cause of disease, practitioners of Chinese
medicine often look first to the liver. The health of your liver
reflects your overall health and well-being.
filters over a liter of blood every minute. It is responsible for
detoxifying, nourishing, replenishing, and storing blood. It also
acts to energize the blood by releasing stored sugar, and it
recombines amino acids to create the protein our bodies need to grow
and repair tissue.
According to the philosophy of Chinese
medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi
(energy) throughout the body and smoothing our emotions. Anger,
irritability, and frustration are all signs that our Qi is not
flowing smoothly. This is referred to as Liver Qi Stagnation, one of
the most common imbalances treated by Eastern medicine practitioners
in the United States.
into the Season!
Points: The Four Gates
Signs and Symptoms
The Four Gates
Points for Moving Qi
A popular treatment for the stress,
anger, and frustration associated with Liver Qi Stagnation is known
as the “four gates.” The four gates are the right and left side
acupuncture points Lv 3–Liver 3 (Taichong) and Large LI 4–Large
Intestine 4 (Hegu).
Together these four acupuncture points
are thought to enhance the circulation of Qi and blood throughout
the body and have a calming and analgesic effect. They are also used
to alleviate pain.Large Intestine 4
is located on the
padded area of your hand between the thumb and index finger, between
the first and second metacarpal bones. Massage this point with your
thumb on both hands for approximately 30 seconds.Liver 3
is located in a hollow on the top of your foot below the gap
between your big toe and the next toe, between the 1st and 2nd
metatarsal bones. To stimulate this point, place your right heel in
the juncture between the bones that attach to the large and second
toes and gently knead the point for approximately thirty seconds.
Then switch sides to stimulate Lv 3 on your other foot.
Liver Qi stagnation
Here are some of the symptoms
commonly associated with Liver Qi stagnation:
* Pain or
discomfort anywhere along the sides of the body
* Sensation of a lump in throat
* Bitter taste in mouth
* Abdominal pain and discomfort
that improves after massage
* Stomachache that worsens with
* PMS with irritability or swollen breasts
or painful periods
* Poor appetite
* Churning sensation in