By Dr. Sarah Alemi, DAc
While most of us are still recovering from the winter holidays, right now is actually the perfect time to start thinking about how we can adjust our lifestyles for spring to best optimize our health during that time. Adjusting your lifestyle and habits towards the end of winter can have positive effects on your health as you transition into spring.
In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), each season is associated with specific elements, organs, and energetic qualities. TCM emphasizes living in harmony with the changing seasons. Adapting one's lifestyle, diet, and daily routines to align with the characteristics of each season is believed to promote overall health and well-being.
Spring is associated with the Wood element in TCM. This element is linked to the liver and gallbladder organs. The liver and gallbladder are considered the primary organs associated with spring. These organs play a crucial role in the smooth flow of Qi (vital energy) and the processing of emotions.
Spring is characterized by the upward and outward movement of energy. It's a time of expansion and growth, reflecting the emergence of new life in nature. In TCM, emotions are closely tied to organ systems. The liver is associated with the emotion of anger. During spring, there is a focus on balancing emotions and promoting emotional well-being.
The color associated with the spring season is green, symbolizing growth and vitality. Incorporating green foods into the diet is often recommended during this time. The sour taste is associated with the liver. Including foods with a sour flavor, such as vinegar and citrus fruits, is believed to support liver health.
Spring is considered a natural time for detoxification. The liver, as a major detoxification organ, is emphasized during this season. Cleansing practices and dietary adjustments may be recommended to support detoxification. Drinking warm water with a squeeze of lemon is often recommended to help flush out toxins and hydrate the body.
To support liver health, focus on incorporating foods that are gentle on the liver and promote detoxification. Include fresh greens, sprouts, and foods rich in chlorophyll. Again, the sour taste is believed to benefit the liver so incorporate foods with sour flavors. However, moderation is key.
Speaking of food, transition from heavier, warming winter foods to lighter, more refreshing options. Include a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Cook with methods that preserve the natural integrity of the ingredients.
Gentle exercises like Tai Chi and Qigong are often recommended during spring to promote the smooth flow of Qi and enhance flexibility. Outdoor activities that connect with nature are also encouraged.
Finally, Spring is seen as a time of renewal and growth, both in nature and within the body. It's time to release the old and make way for the new. Embrace positive changes in your life, both mentally and emotionally. Set intentions for personal growth and development
By making these adjustments, aligning yourself with the correspondences of spring, you are essentially promoting a holistic approach to health that takes into account physical activity, nutrition, sleep, and mental well-being, all of which can contribute to a healthier and more enjoyable spring season.
Who wouldn’t want less sneezing, more energy and less aches and pains as the weather gets warmer?
Eastern Roots Wellness (C)