It is the long-awaited change from winter to 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 look inward and be indoors more, spring is a time of regeneration, beginnings, and a revival of spirit. In the Chinese belief system, the color green and the element of wood represent spring. Bamboo wood is an Asian favorite because it c
an bend without breaking.This spring, maybe try to be more like bamboo, strong yet flexible and firmly rooted.
Seasonal advice Spring is the ideal time for cleansing and rejuvenation for overall health and well-being. The liver and gallbladder are the wood organs in Chinese medicine so they are usually the primary targets for springtime cleansing. A simple liver cleanse is supplementing with milk thistle, which 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.
When the liver functions smoothly, physical and emotional activity throughout the body also runs smoothly. For optimum health this spring, move your qi. A great way to move your liver qi is with acupuncture. It helps to improve the overall health of your liver as well as treat stress, anger, pain, and frustration, which are often associated with liver qi disharmony.
Eating leafy greens and sprouts can improve the liver's functions and aid in the movement of qi. The flavor sour helps move the liver’s qi. You can get sour foods in your diet by putting lemon slices in your drinking water, and eating pickled, sour fermented foods with vinegar.The leafy green recipe below is so easy. It calls for toy sum, if you can find it, get it. It’s a staple in China Town or Asian markets, but I don’t see it much in standard grocery stores. It is delicious. You can substitute any leafy green you wish. If you don’t love the taste of greens, you can add more oil, garlic, and lemon to mask the greens a bit more. The lemon’s sour tastes blend lovely with the garlic and coconut oil.
Recipe Sautéed Greens in Coconut Oil
Makes 2 Servings 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil 3 Tsp Crushed Garlic Half of Lemon 10 Oz of Choy Sum or Kale or Spinach
Add oil and garlic to a heated skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the greens and sauté until they are soft. Squeeze lemon juice of the top and serve.
Acu Point Liver 3 太沖 Tai Chong, Great Surge Location: On the dorsum of the foot in a depression distal to the junctions of the 1st and 2nd metatarsal bones. Action: Resolves stagnation and strengthens the yin, balancing for all liver problems, especially headaches, dizziness, and canker sores. Treats eye issues, blurred vision, red, swollen, painful eyes. Addresses menstrual issues from deficient blood, yin, qi and liver qi stagnation like dysmennorrhea, amenorrhea, PMS, breast tenderness. Smooths stagnation in the gut, subcostal tension, chest/flank pain, swellings in the axillary region. Helps digestive issues from liver upsetting digestion, for example nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea with undigested food. Calming point for anger, irritability, insomnia, and anxiety.
Exercise 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. Do more outdoor activities. Fresh air helps liver qi flow. If you have been feeling irritable, find an outdoor activity to smooth out the liver qi stagnation. Try hiking or yoga in the park.
The liver opens into the eyes and 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.
Meditation This meditation was made popular by Pema Chödrön. First, come into the present. Flash on what’s happening with you right now. Be fully aware of your body. Be aware of your thoughts and emotions. Next, feel your heart, literally placing your hand on your chest if you find that helpful. This is a way of accepting yourself just as you are in that moment, a way of saying, "This is my experience right now, and it’s okay.” Then go into the next moment without any agenda.
Happy Spring everyone. I hope it’s bright, green, and smooth for you all. Dr. Heather Bird