Spring is around the corner and it is time to celebrate renewal, growth, motivation and creativity. In the Chinese 5 element system of medicine, Spring is characterized by upward and outward energy and growth. This is a great time to connect to what we want to manifest in the future, a time that encourages us to be supple like a bamboo blowing in the wind as we plan, design and start to execute our goals in all areas of our lives. We know this but it is good to remember that Spring does not last forever. It is best to use its bountiful energy wisely, so that the crops you sow in yourself, in your work, and in your life are those you wish to harvest in the summer.
Starting immediately community acupuncture hours will be changed as follows:
TUESDAY 12-3:30 Princeville Yoga
FRIDAY 12-3:30 Lee Acupuncture, upstairs in the Ching Young Village in Hanalei
The water murmurs
In the old stone well,
And, a rippling mirror,
Gives back the clear blue sky.
The river roars,
Swollen with the late rains of spring.
On the cool, jade-green grass
The golden sunshine
Liu Tzu-Hui Sung Dynasty, A.D. 960-1278
Staying Healthy Through the Spring, According to Chinese Medicine (classics)The Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon), one of the principal medical books of Traditional Chinese Medicine, was written thousands of years ago. In it, the Yellow Emperor of China asks the Daoist master Qi Bo questions about health and disease.
The first question that the Yellow Emperor asks is “I am told the people in ancient times could all survive to more than 100 years old, and they appeared to be quite healthy and strong in actions, but the people at present time are different, they are not so nimble in action when they are only 50, and what is the reason?”Qi Bo responds to the Yellow Emperor, “those who knew the way of keeping good health in ancient times always kept their behaviour in daily life in accordance with nature. Their behaviours in daily life were all kept in regular patterns such as their food and drink were of fixed quantity; their daily activities were all in regular times. They never overworked. In this way, they could maintain both in the body and in the spirit substantiality, and were able to live to the old age of more than 100 years.”
The key element in Qi Bo’s answer seems to be concerned with living in harmony with nature. Of course, this has strong implications for our habits as the seasons change.
Of Spring, Qi Bo says: “In the three months of spring, all things on the earth begin to grow. The natural world is resuscitating and all things are flourishing. People may sleep late in the night and get up early in the morning, taking a walk in the courtyard with hair running free to relax the body and enliven the mind. Such a natural resuscitating process should be activated instead of being depressed, promoted instead of being deprived and encouraged instead of being destroyed. This is what adaptation to chun qi (spring-qi) means and this is the principle for cultivation of health. Any violation of this rule may impair the liver and result in cold diseases in summer due to insufficient supply for growth in summer”.
Spring: Seeds sprout, flowers bloom, and the sun warms the earth. There is a sense of renewal and new life all around. While winter was a time to conserve energy and reduce activity, spring is a time of regeneration, new beginnings, and a renewal of spirit.
The Principle of the Five Elements
The 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 and yang. 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.
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.
Organs: Liver, Gallbladder
Spring corresponds to the "Wood" element, which is related to the liver and gallbladder organs. According to the philosophy of Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flowing of Qi (energy) throughout the body. When the liver functions smoothly, physical and emotional activity throughout the body also runs smoothly. So, for optimum health this spring, move your Qi!
Stretch - The liver controls the tendons. According to Chinese medicine, the liver stores blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons in times of activity, maintaining tendon health and flexibility. Incorporate a morning stretch into your routine. Try yoga, tai qi or qi gong.
Eye Exercises - The liver opens into the eyes. Although all the organs have some connection to the health of the eyes, the liver is connected to proper eye function. Remember to take breaks when looking at a computer monitor for extended periods of time and do eye exercises.
Eat Green - 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.
Taste Sour - Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the liver's qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing. Make kombucha or sauerkraut. I have a few kombucha scobies to give away!
Do more outdoor activities - Outside air helps liver qi flow. If you have been feeling irritable, find an outdoor activity to smooth out that liver qi stagnation.
Enjoy milk thistle tea - Milk 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.
Get Acupuncture treatments- Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help improve the overall health of your liver as well as treat stress, anger and frustration, which are often associated with liver qi disharmony.Seasonal acupuncture treatments just four times a year can serve to tonify the inner organ systems and can correct minor annoyances before they become serious problems.
As always, contact me with any questions.
This is what Efrem Korngold, L.Ac., OMD, one of the leading traditional Chinese medicine teachers and practitioners in America and is the co-author of Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine, has to say about SPRING...http://www.drfranklipman.com/chinese-medicine-on-spring/
Blessings to all.