Hello! I'd like to introduce to you one my new guest bloggers, Erin Telford. Like me, Erin is an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist. As well, she loves to write… so dig in to her blog on tips for having a healthy Spring 2012!
The birds are chirping, the sun is shining and we’ve had a few gloriously un-puffy coated days lately. Mother Nature gave us a break this year from the last few brutal east coast winters. I have to say though-If a warmer than average winter is wrong, I don’t want to be right. This feels GOOD.
Spring has an energy of sweet anticipation. The Qi of this season rises up and out like a beautiful strong tree. It’s all about growth and renewal and there can be a mild restlessness associated with it’s arrival. Winter encourages us to conserve energy, reduce our physical activity and increase our internal practices. Spring wants us to regenerate, reproduce and renew ourselves. It’s like we’re poised at the starting line waiting for the gun to go off. Ready, set, grow!
The organ system associated with spring is the Liver and Gallbladder. The Liver controls the proper flow of energy in the body. When it is blocked, we can experience irritation, frustration, and impatience. Fittingly, the emotion associated with this organ is anger. Anger in its simplest form says, “I don’t like this. Something needs to be different about this situation.” Anger expressed in a healthy way is a beautiful catalyst for change. We are seeing this in many forms in our world right now!
The transitional time between seasons is a perfect time for a seasonal tune-up treatment. Acupuncture can strengthen your body to help it navigate the extreme weather shifts. Check out my transitional tips below for practical ideas on how you can capitalize on the energy of the first weeks of spring!
1. Move and spend more time outside
This is crucial. It is far too easy to forget that we are animals when we spend so much time indoors attached to our laptops, TV’s and cell phones. Our bodies were made to run, jump, swim, dance, climb, spin, fall, roll, shake, and shimmy. Let them do it. Outside air helps your Qi flow! Allow the staleness of winter to slough off to create a clean slate for spring!
2. Seek alternatives for your allergies
If you suffer from allergies, herbs and acupuncture can help tremendously to sooth congestion, sneezing and itchy eyes. Regular treatments can alleviate or even banish symptoms all together. Allergic reactions are seen by Chinese medicine as an inability to interact smoothly with your environment. “Going with the flow” is the m.o. of the liver. Consider areas in your life where you could let go a little more.
3. Plant a seed
This could be the seed of a beautiful heirloom tomato plant or the seed of a dream you’ve kept on the back burner for far too long. Whether your seeds are literal or metaphorical chose something to nurture right now that will grow and give back to you when the time is ripe.
4. Incorporate sour flavors into your diet
Picture the face you make when you bite into a lemon-your lips pucker up as you feel the tang on your tongue. Your Liver loves this! Sour is its favorite flavor because it provides natural, gentle cleansing. Add lemon slices or a big spoonful of organic apple cider vinegar to a glass of water for an easy, non-abrasive liver cleanse.
5. Detoxify & release pent up emotions
Detoxify your entire system. Begin by limiting your toxin exposure from processed foods, intoxicants, chemical household products, and body care products. This is the ideal time for a gentle dietary cleanse. You may want to go a little deeper and look within to see where and what emotions you may be internalizing. Grief and anger harm our physical bodies the longer they are kept inside. Consider addressing the root of those emotions and get them up and out! Or, as Aimee says: C.T.F.O. It’s time.
6. Eat green!
Young green plants like dandelion or mustard greens, sprouts and immature cereal grasses can stimulate the Liver and move your Qi. Other foods to begin to include in your diet now are radishes, watercress, ginger, mint, cilantro, basil, pear, apple, celery, carrot, leeks, onions, dates, mushrooms, and spinach.
7. Take care of your eyes
The eyes are the sense organ related to the Liver. We are staring at computer or smart phone screens FAR too much and our eyes are tired! Take care of your overworked eyes. Rest your eyes by covering them with the palms of your hands and allow your eyes to relax until you see only all black. When at your computer, look as far as you can away from your monitor every 15 minutes.
The Liver rules the tendons, sinews and ligaments. Any injuries to these areas may be acting up right now. Our body wants to stretch and expand after being cooped up all winter. Notice where your body holds tension and gently ease it out.
9. Grow & Expand!
The energy of the Liver and of springtime is up and out! Picture all of those little saplings bursting through the soil to reach for the sun. Spring brings new life, rebirth, and restores vigor and energy for our hopes and dreams. Make a wish list. Take a look at your New Year’s resolutions and see how you are stacking up. Learn a new skill. Update your resume. Go for it!
10. See your acupuncturist for a seasonal tune-up
Transitional times are not the most comfortable. Poised between the familiar but outgrown (Winter) and the new but unknown (Spring) can cause frustration, allergies, stress, muscle injuries, irregular menstrual cycles, and general imbalance. Seasonal acupuncture treatments are appropriate to keep you in harmony even if you aren’t experiencing any particular health issues.