Deep in winter’s embrace, the promise of spring calls to us. Each day brings a little more light. Look at the ground to see new growth, sometimes capped with snow. Look inside to feel a subtle but perceptible shift in energy. This period marks a transition from the water element of winter to the wood element of spring. The shift from deep introspection to creative possibilities can have significant impacts on our health and wellbeing.
During winter, governed by the water element and associated with the kidneys, we look within, feel profound emotions, including sadness, anxiety, and fear. We might be cold, fatigued, have achy joints, or experience difficulty with reproduction. In spring, the wood element and liver are in focus. There can be irritability, digestive trouble, menstrual irregularities, headaches, and allergies. Transitioning between the two can create internal tension. Inward energies are now attempting to move outward and could use help and guidance.
Acupuncture: Moving qi and blood is acupuncture’s superpower. Stimulating points on the body, acupuncture communicates with the brain to deeply relax and rejuvenate the nervous system, regulate emotions, and stimulate the outward movement of spring energies. Special attention is given to the kidney and liver meridians, creating harmony as dominance shifts from one to the other.
Chinese Herbal Medicine: Herbal therapy addresses deeper physiological needs and can effectively alleviate symptoms of this seasonal change. A major formula in the vast pharmacopeia, Xiao Yao San, also known as Free & Easy Wanderer, coaxes out and regulates the wood element and the tensions this transition may activate. Natural botanicals such as Bupleurum, Angelica Root, White Peony, Peppermint, Poria Mushroom, White Atractylodes, and Honey-Fried Licorice work together to soothe qi stagnation, stimulate blood formation and movement, improve mood, and enhance overall vitality.
Food Therapy: It’s time to embrace fresher, lighter foods that embody spring’s energy. Incorporate young, green vegetables, sprouts, and herbs. Sour flavors, like lemon and vinegar, are particularly beneficial in stimulating liver function, resonating with the wood element of spring.
Exercise: Gentle stretching exercises like yoga or Tai Chi can greatly benefit the smooth flow of qi. If you’ve been indoors, it’s time to get outside. Consider walking, light jogging, or practicing Qi Gong in natural settings. Breathing exercises are also beneficial, helping to draw out winter’s deep energies and safely transition into spring.
Last but not least, the Lunar New Year begins February 10. In this Year of the Wood Dragon, we’re encouraged to embrace change, pursue ambitious goals, and build resilience. Dragons symbolize charisma and ambition, and the wood element imbues them with creativity and a growth-oriented energy. Embrace the dynamic energy of spring and seize opportunities for growth and creativity. At Jade Mountain Medicine, we’re happy to help you harmonize with the season, build strength, and flourish in this new year!