Article Thumbnail

Living With the Seasons: Spring and the Wood Element

Each of the 5 elements in Traditional Chinese Medicine has an associated season, organ, color, flavor and even emotion. You can live in greater harmony with the natural world by learning a little about each season, and it becomes easier to notice the connections between what you’re feeling and what’s going on in nature.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Wood element is associated with the Liver and Gallbladder organs and springtime.

Wood possesses qualities of movement and growth, new ideas, creativity and inspiration.

Signs your Wood Element is balanced:

– You are feeling creative, inspired and excited to start new projects and do a little planning for the future
– Your muscles feel relaxed and you’re feeling loose and flexible.¬†Emotionally, you’re also relaxed and flexible, and the little things aren’t irritating you
– You feel energized to get up and move your body- whether it’s dancing, going for more walks or bike rides or even spring cleaning
– Your vision feels clear and your eyes aren’t feeling strained

Signs your Wood Element is out of balance: (in springtime these signs might be even stronger than the rest of the year)

– You’re feeling stuck but can’t seem to get ideas for how to get unstuck. You may find yourself procrastinating or having difficulty focusing
– You’re often irritable and tense or even angry and cynical
– You have a ton of tension in places like your jaw, neck, shoulders, ribs or hips. In general you feel tense and tight in your body. Your vision may also be blurry or your eyes are tight and tired
– If you menstruate, you have severe PMS symptoms (both physical and emotional)

Tips To Harmonize Your Wood Element/Liver/Gallbladder:

1) Stretch and move your body, daily. The Liver organ governs the sinews and tendons, and when it’s well-nourished, these activities start to really loosen things up, mentally and physically.
2) Reduce screentime (see this post for some great tips). The liver also connects to the health of your eyes, hence why a sign of disharmony is blurry vision or tired, strained eyes
3) As the weather starts to warm up, keep the focus on cooked foods that are easy to digest but begin to add in small amounts of in-season raw foods such as chives or green onions that have a bit of a “spicy” warming quality to them
4) Find a method of self-expression and creativity. Speak your mind, journal, take photos, draw, dance or cook. Figure out how to create something in the world- this will indulge the season’s natural tendency for growth and activity
5) Get a seasonal acupuncture treatment! It’s fantastic for getting things moving when you feel stuck and I can teach you acupressure points to stimulate at home to keep up the progress. Herbal formulas can also help you to feel better