Springtime Wellness Suggestions

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It is springtime in the US, and in most regions of the country that brings lots of wind. The seasonal change is positive because it brings the renewal of spring, which helps propel us into positive action. In Chinese medicine, wind has special significance. There are whole categories of illnesses and disorders that the Chinese referred to as “wind” conditions.

Traditionally, in the Chinese culture at large, it is recognized that environmental factors such as heat, wind, or severe cold can affect the human body and the Meridian systems. As an acupuncturist, I help prepare the body for seasonal changes and strength to cope with these environmental factors. Some practical advice for dealing with wind: wear a scarf over the wind gates which are located on the back of the neck and on the head. Hoodies are great this time of year! Also pay very close attention to your diet, avoiding sugar, sugar substitutes, artificial flavors, MSG, alcohol and marijuana which are all considered wind aggravators. Air travel, bike riding or motorcycle rides, moving and life transitions are all considered wind aggravators as well. Being extra gentle with yourself during these times can be helpful.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, in the Spring, the Liver (gan) and Gallbladder (dan) channels are of primary importance. The color green (a yellow green like new grass and leaves) is said to soothe and nourish the spirit as the liver meridian is said to “open to” the eyes. In other words, Vision is the sense associated with the Liver. The five element association is wood.

In the spring, the direction that the Chi moves in the body, is up and out. This is the direction of the force that moves sap up a tree trunk through the branches into the buds of a spring blooming tree.

As this energy moves in our body, it can sometimes push or release slower moving energy that may have been settling into the system over a more sedentary winter

In Chinese medicine we invite the movement of the body’s natural seasonal detoxification.

I encourage my patients to:

  • Eat more sour foods: lemon, lime, sorrel, plum, etc.
  • Find a healthy outlet for frustration like exercise, manual labor like gardening, crying, letting it out,
  • Stimulate Acupressure Liver 3 point
  • Try dried dandelion root and Nettle tea (dried nettle leaves) to your diet. Nettles are a natural antihistamine and have a high mineral content. Dandelion is also high in minerals and traditionally associated with the liver. As soon as fresh dandelion greens, safely and abundantly harvested from unsprayed areas, and fresh nettle leaves become available consuming those are very helpful as well.
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