We are beginning to see nature’s signs that Spring is right around the corner. Trees are beginning to bud, tulips and crocuses are pushing there way up and out of the ground, the sun is setting a little later, and the wind is really picking up around the Front Range in sunny Colorado.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), one way to support health is to harmonize ones’ life with the energy of the seasons. Just as nature suddenly awakens and life vigorously flourishes in the Springtime, it does so in us as well. Therefore, since Spring is a time of birth and renewal, it is a good opportunity to put in action the plans laid in the Winter. A time to start new projects as well as renew our efforts in existing ones.
During Spring our internal energy (Qi) flows more strongly. In balance, we feel a quickening within us and are inspired in our lives. If we aren’t entirely living a balanced life than certain conditions can arise that obstruct or misdirect our energy. For instance, as our Qi begins to circulate more strongly it might encounter a little resistance in the form of stagnation due to excesses from the Winter. This leads to issues such as muscle or joint pain, PMS, fatigue, lack of motivation. Or if there are deficiencies in the body caused by working too much, we might experience stress as the Qi becomes a little too frenetic. This might cause insomnia, high blood pressure, anxiety, or irritability. These symptoms are often made worse by life’s challenges such as economic worries, job issues, or relationship problems.
So how exactly maintain balance by harmonizing with the Seasons? A good place to start would be to focus on the basics – diet, exercise, and good lifestyle habits.
Diet – Eat a organic, wholesome diet emphasizing fresh and raw produce – bitter greens, sprouts, daikon radishes, & winter pears are especially cleansing. Include more vegetable juices such as carrot and wheat grass. Drink plenty of filtered water. Avoid heavy, rich foods that have saturated fats, highly processed flours and sugars, artificial sweeteners and flavorings, and food dyes. Sharply limit alcohol, red meat, or dairy.
Exercise – The correct balance of therapuetic movements is key to helping the Qi flow smoothly in the meridians. Vigorous cardio based exercise 3-5 times a week combined with daily Yoga, Qigong, or Tai Chi Chuan would be ideal. The idea is to move regularly, but not to overdue it. If just starting a new exercise regimen, go slowly in order to avoid injuries.
Lifestyle – Stress coping techniques, meditation, avoidance of bad habits (i.e. smoking and drinking), strong community ties, giving and receiving love, satisfying work, and good family relationships all contribute to smooth Qi flow. Although all are important, each person has to determine the correct combination that best works for them.
Lastly, schedule and appointment with your local acupuncturist for a health assessment and seasonal tune-up. Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, massage therapy, and Qigong/Tai Chi Chuan are fantastic tools to help our bodies prepare for the seasonal shift. They gently help us harmonize with the dramatic changes of the Spring. Feel free to check out my website at www.hughsacupuncture.com for more info on acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Have a harmonious and healthy Spring!!