It is Spring, the season of renewal and rebirth. It embodies the spirit of new beginnings and sweetness of endless possibilities. It is a powerful time of growth, creation, clarity, inspiration and awakening. It is a time to creatively look at our lives and find a new ease in making new plans, commitments and decisions. It is a powerful reminder of what we focus on, grows. In Chinese Medicine, Spring corresponds to the Wood element and when strong, gives you clarity and a sense of purpose and direction, an ability to envision possibilities and weave dreams. It gives a person emotional stability, more decisiveness, and a greater capacity to flow with life while staying focused on your ultimate goals.
The Spring and Wood element governs the liver and gallbladder meridians and we focus on these channels to promote detoxification. Springtime is the most potent season to cleanse and detoxify, where one clears out what is no longer useful, and opens up to new possibilities and ways of relating to ourselves and the world around us.
Being prone to headaches, eye problems, nervousness and irritability, is an indication that you have a Wood (liver/gallbladder) element imbalance and springtime is a good time to address these wood imbalances. You can do that in a few ways with nutrition, cleansing, bodywork and lifestyle.
Food is medicine. In Spring, eat green… and the darker, the better. Green whole foods are vital for energy, focus, well-being, immunity, food cravings and balanced nutrients. Green whole foods contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, active enzymes, bioflavinoids, carotenes, sulforaphane, isothiocyanate and indoles help the liver break down and excrete carcinogens, chlorophyll and other phytonutrients necessary for cellular metabolism, repair and protection.
Foods that nourish the blood and liver, such as dark leafy greens, grains and fish are especially important. In Spring, our diet becomes lighter and there is an opportunity to look at old eating patterns with new awareness. Ideally, we want to eat whole foods that give our bodies the most vital energy. By eating smaller, balanced meals and regular intervals, the liver is well supplied with nutrients and not obstructed. By shopping at the local farmers’ market, we can pick our seasonally grown foods that are alive, fresh and have the greatest benefit to our health.
Greens have been a traditional part of the spring diet as they are highly alkaline, cleansing, and building. The active part of greens is chlorophyll, which is a powerful healing agent. Chlorophyll closely resembles hematin, which forms hemoglobin when combined with protein, and is the largest molecule that carries oxygen in our blood. Chlorophyll also has a magnesium molecule at its core, contain 10-20% protein, and contain calcium, phosphorus, B Vitamins, C, E and A.
Even though you want to emphasize seasonal foods and eating “green” in the spring, you want to balance your foods with other colors and select fresh, ripe produce with the deepest colors. When possible, avoid freezing because that breaks down the cellular wall of the foods which make them less digestible.
The way we eat is also important in the nutrition we receive from food. Relaxing, appreciating and enjoying food as we choose, prepare and eat it makes it more nourishing. If we appreciate the healing properties of the food we eat, breathe deeply, chew well and take time to digest our food more vital nutrients will be assimilated by the body.
As Spring is the Liver season, it is the best time to help your liver detoxify. This will help you create a clearer harmony between your inner and outer life. Cleansing will help release stagnant emotions, including irritability, anger and frustration. It will boost your digestion and leave you feeling lighter, more vibrant, energized and clear. It strengthens our ability to make the changes we deeply want in our lives.
There are a few options for cleansing, and I can work with you to determine a cleanse best suited for you with recipes, a schedule and support.
- 1-3 day fast with nutrient water and juices
- 1-2 week detoxification/elimination diet with brown rice, vegetables and seaweeds or kitcharee
- Liver/Gallbladder flush (24 hour process)
- For Herbal support I recommend using Planetary Herbal’s Bupleurum Liver Cleanse. This includes Bupleurum, a strong Chinese herb for detoxification as well as a powerful blend of other detoxifying herbs including Milk Thistle, Dong Quai, Cyperus Rhizome, Chinese Peony, Dandelion root, etc.
- Heel’s homeopathic “Detox Kit” for 4-6 weeks for lymph, liver, kidney and intestinal cleansing.
Springtime Bodywork ~ Chi Nei Tsang:
Spring is an especially good time to receive bodywork for detoxification, clearing and restructuring the body. While general massage is effective at moving toxins, replenishing your being and calming the nervous system, Chi Nei Tsang (Taoist organ massage) is effective at opening the body’s natural healing abilities as well as stimulating digestion and organ detoxification. It also offers focused support for the Liver and Gallbladder. It increases secretion of bile in the gallbladder which improves digestion. Receiving Chi Nei Tsang during a cleanse improves the liver’s ability to distribute nourishment, form/breakdown blood, and filter toxins from the blood. Some people find this modality complimentary to colonics.
Other Springtime lifestyle support:
o For clients interested in Yin Yoga, there is a specific Wood Element sequence that targets the Liver/Gallbladder meridians and supports detoxification that I offer in the Spring
o Sleep. When you sleep, your body naturally rebuilds the nervous system. 11pm – 3am is Liver/Gallbladder time, which is why Chinese medicine recommends one goes to sleep by 11pm, to ensure maximum restoration and rest.
o Sauna aids in detoxification, elimination and cleanses the blood
o Gardening puts you in touch aliveness and the energy of newness and growth
o Meditation and mental relaxation allows you to cultivate openness and peace of mind while developing your ability to focus and make clear decisions. Reminder that what you focus on grows.
o Exercise will nourish your vital energy and help clear, open and strengthen the body and mind as well as stretching the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Exercise in nature: go for hikes, bike rides, practice QiGong in nature.
o Clean your home and office as this supports the old energy leaving and making room for the new