Your Wood Element Prescription — Spring Sesaon — Time to Cleanse and Detox!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the cycle of Spring begins on 2/5 and ends on 5/16. We enhance our health when we understand the correlation between the Wood element and Spring.
The Wood Element in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
In the springtime, wood bursts forth with the regeneration of new life. As the tree draws energy upward from the earth and the sap begins to reverse it’s direction flow, we also respond to the changes in nature. The Yin (inward energy, shadow side of the mountain), of winter, gives way to the Yang (outward, sunny side of the mountain) of Summer. Our Qi (pronounced “chee”) energy is also changing to the rhythm of nature, and we feel the need for greater activity. Wood governs the intuitive and emotional body, and when our wood element is balanced, we maintain flexibility and strength when needed. When our wood element is out of balance, we tend to become rigid, inflexible, and our emotions are difficult to manage. Anger, rage, edginess, aggression and stress related difficulties can rise to the surface like the sap from a tree.
Liver and Gallbladder
In Traditional Chinese medicine, the organs associated with wood are the liver and gall bladder. In the TCM philosophy, the liver stores the blood and governs the smooth flow of emotions, while the gall bladder stores the bile and governs one’s ability to make decisions. The liver’s main job is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. It also detoxifies chemicals and metabolize drugs. As it does so, the liver secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines. The liver also metabolizes fat and makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions.
With the energy of nature bursting forth, the wood element is frequently either in excess, or deficient. Signs of either a wood element deficiency or excess are:
Wood in Deficiency
- Blurred or weak vision
- Deficient immune response
- Passive behavior
- Scanty menstruation
- Dry Skin
- Termors or numbness
- Low self esteem
- Cold hands and feet
- Incomplete individuation
- Inability to make decision
Your Prescription: Cleanse and Detox
For this reason, it is common in many cultures to start the spring with rituals of fasting in order to cleanse and relieve the liver of congestion. A diet that supports the wood element, whether excess, or deficient, should above all else, be CLEAN. Eliminating excess fats, alcohol, caffeine, processed, and refined foods are a good start. Eating less is also one way to help the liver detoxify itself. Eat plenty nourishing foods such as:
- greens — eat lots of green vegetables
- whole grains
- drink 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, lemon, lime, or grapefruit juice with a tsp. of honey in 8 ounces of water, or squeeze a 1/4 lemon into a glass of warm water in the morning.
will help to decongest the liver and bring our body back into harmony.
Other Ways to detoxify the liver and restore the wood element are:
Acupuncture is another good way to detoxify the liver and to restore balance. I recommend quarterly acupuncture treatments, an acupuncture “tune-up” of sorts to keep one in good health.
- Stretching such as Qi Gong, Tai Chi, or Yoga to keep the tendons flexible and balance energy flow.
- Sauna, either dry, or steam will flush out toxins
- Feng Shui — bring plants into your life
Acupressre point Lv3 to activate,balance the liver and detox the body 2-5x’s daily
Making sure that your wood element is balanced and that your liver is detoxed and recharged, will ensure that you can enjoy the beautiful energy of spring!
The Healing Point Acupuncture Clinic
Xia Xin, L.Ac., CSMA