The Spirit of Renewal: Spring and TCM
While winter was a time to hibernate and conserve energy, spring is a time of regeneration, new beginnings, and a renewal of spirit. During the change of season, some people start exhibiting signs of allergies and bursts of negative emotions.
This seasonal change happens officially on March 21st in the western calendar, when people celebrate the beginning of the spring season. The Chinese however believe that spring begins with the Chinese New Year, which is celebrated in February.
The Chinese are the founders of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This medicine relies on the principle that all changes in our body and in the universe occur in five distinct stages. Each of these stages is associated with a particular time of year, a specific element in nature and the corresponding organs in the body. This principle is integral to TCM. It provides practitioners with a framework to understand, diagnose and treat health problems, which are due to either deficiencies or excesses in the organs associated with the season.
According to this principle, Spring is associated with the wood element. This element governs the liver and the gallbladder and is associated with the emotion of anger.
The Wood Element & Anger
The wood element is persistent and filled with creative potential. It has been at rest, concentrating its energy, waiting for its rebirth. This element is the energy of a new beginning, a new vision and a new cycle. If you have been resting during winter, you emerge into spring ready to live life to its fullest, with new ideas, new decisions and a new vision.
The wood element within us rules our sense of vision and the emotion of anger. If the wood element is unbalanced, our vision and capacity to make decisions is blocked. This results in anger, lack of self-confidence, and an increase of aggression and confrontation. If the wood element is healthy, we are capable of handling this lack of vision with more calm and balance.
Liver (Yin) & Gallbladder (Yang)
In Chinese philosophy, yin yang describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected and interdependent in the natural world. Examples of these dualities include light and dark, fire and water.
In TCM, organs are categorized as either yin or yang. Yin organs are defined as ones that produce, transform, regulate and store fundamental substances such as blood and fluids. The yang organs are mainly responsible for digestion and nutrient absorption.
The liver is a yin organ and, just like spring, it has an amazing capacity for regeneration. It is also the body’s largest organ and has hundreds of essential functions.
One very important function is that it is responsible for filtering the blood and helping to eliminate toxins. It keeps everything flowing and all organs working efficiently.
In TCM, it is believed that the liver is similar to a laboratory; in which nourishment for the entire body is stored and distributed. The liver is responsible for keeping the free and easy flow of blood, energy and emotions throughout the body, mind and spirit.
Similarly to the wood element, the liver is associated with energy and flow. The same applies to the gallbladder, a yang organ.
The gallbladder is responsible for storing and intensifying the bile that was created in the liver by pumping it into the body. In TCM, the gallbladder is responsible for decision-making. It bases these decisions on the liver’s vision.
If you are constantly feeling anxious and angry, having trouble in seeing things clearly, or in taking a decision, it is important that you notice these warning signals and take action before they turn into organ blockages and dis-eases.
With acupuncture, licensed practitioners stimulate specific points in your body by inserting thin needles into the skin to help improve one’s health, treat specific organs as well as balancing the body’s overall system. In addition to acupuncture, it is necessary to follow a spring cleanse inside out to help the body clear out the accumulated toxins from the related organs.