The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
The element associated with Spring is wood, and the organs to pay special attention during this time are the liver and gall bladder.
Some of the main qualities Chinese Medicine and 5 Element Theory attribute to Spring and the wood element are:
- creative self expression
- flexibility ~ both of mind and body
During this time it is important that we treat and balance these meridians, as the energy of the season can aggravate, and throw them off even more. Below I will outline ways in which you may feel out of sorts or in alignment in relation to the liver and gall bladder, and the element of wood. Below is a chart with a nice summary of some of these symptoms and signs that can help you assess how you are doing as we move into Spring.
The liver helps bind the Shen (translates as Spirit in English) to the physical body and personality so that we can enact our purpose, and coexist in harmony with others. The energy is like a blade of grass pushing upwards through the concrete, the urge for life is so strong here. This can sometimes manifest as forceful anger if over-abundant or depression if we repress our anger or self expression too much over time. Much of this repressed anger may stay held in the throat, diaphram, and pelvic floor. When an individual is truly seen and encouraged to be his self neither excessive anger or depression is a strong issue, and the quality of creativity and harmony can function properly.
Liver stagnation can cause stiffness and pain in the body, as well as mood swings, and for some women, PMS.
If one is liver blood deficient they may feel:
- have dry skin and hair
- inability to sleep
Disharmonies of liver blood and ki are commonly caused by emotional problems. Suppressed anger and resentment are the most common culprits. The good news is shiatsu and acupuncture can help move these into a healthier expression and release. Depression is often a symptom of blood deficiency and ki stagnation which the liver is often responsible for. Sometimes this will manifest as intense headaches, or head pounding and irritability.
If your liver is in balance you are able to make plans, and execute them without drama or over-thinking. You feel pretty confident in your direction and life path. If it is in disharmony there will be lots of talk and over-planning with lack of action or execution. If we are in the double bind of repressing our feelings then all the emotional force of liver will be diverted into some form of distraction, and excessive behavior whether through drugs/food or constant consumption of goods and entertainment. As mentioned earlier, you may experience headaches or heaviness in the head, uneven physical energy, mood swings, heightened emotional reactivity, tactlessness, or not expressing your truth at all.
Here is the meridian and points used to treat liver:
The Gall Bladder
The quote below from The Manual for Zen Shiatsu, succinctly articulates what can happen when gall bladder is obstructed or not functioning properly. It responsible for helping distribute the liver ki, as it is the lieutenant to the general, liver. Gall bladdeer imparts clarity and impartiality to the decision making process and helps to organize in a balanced fashion.
Without discrimination between potential courses of action it is impossible to decide correctly, so that we are either tormented by indecision, or we make the wrong decision. Either way there is a tremendous feeling of threat and pressure and a desire to escape the necessity to decide.
Without impartiality, on the other hand, we make decisions on the basis of our emotions at the time without reference to the wider view of events or the needs of others. Such decisions, although they may solve our short term dilemmas, do not serve our ultimate life purpose and may hurt other people.
Here is the meridian and major points for the gall bladder:
Some helpful hints if you feel like your wood element could be imbalanced, and to help prevent it from becoming imbalanced:
- Make sure you balance work and play, out of balance wood types tend to be workaholics, or extreme partiers…sometimes both!
- Focus on channeling your creativity through whatever medium that is for you…whether it be cooking, music, art, photography, or dance.
- Engage in outdoor pursuits, even mowing the lawn or planting flowers can help.
- Seek out psychotherapy, assertiveness training or couples therapy for emotional stress and limiting drama.
- Enact a gentle cleanse in your diet, and incorporate more sour foods like lemons and greens.
- Receive shiatsu or acupuncture
- Continue to wear some kind of scarf to protect yourself from the wind.
I hope this helps inspire you, and give you pause as we head into this new season.
Have a beautiful Spring!
All the best,