It is the start of Spring as I sit and write this and looking out onto a beautiful blue sky and a garden that is coming alive. It feels long overdue after the wet cold, dark months of winter. Just as the plants are coming out so do we, as we venture outside more and become more sociable. We are in tune with nature as we become more active, this is in line with what was observed by the ancient Chinese that we are part of nature and not separate from it. This separation has occurred over the last 200 years since the Industrial Revolution when many people were working in factories and lost touch with the rhythms of the natural world.It is only relatively recently that we have started to realise that we need the balance which is offered by nature.
To become more active, just like the plants and animals around us we need proper nourishment to help our bodies produce the Qi (Energy) to keep us functioning to our optimum. Spring in TCM is the season for the Wood element associated with the Liver and Gall Bladder. These organs regulate and smooth the flow of Qi within our bodies. If we are under stress and/or eating poor quality foods, this energy can stagnate and cause depression, irritability, repressed anger and pain. So what can we do to help support our Liver at this time of year? Unsurprisingly green is the colour associated with the Liver and so it makes sense to increase the amount of green foods in our diet, such as broccoli, beans, peas, kale etc.
Try this beautiful Spring minestrone soup from Jamie Oliver, packed full of green goodness to give your Liver a real boost.
Try also to incorporate some sour foods into your diet, a simple glass of fresh lemon juice in hot water will help stimulate your Liver with sourness being associated with it.
Movement also plays an important role in looking after our Liver, encouraging the flow of Qi around the body and stoppping it from stagnating. This does not have to be vigorous exercise, walks, gentle yoga and of course the traditional exercise routines incorporated in Tai Chi or Qi Gong are excellent to get the Qi flowing.
It is also an excellent time of year to reflect on personal growth and changes you can make to help you achieve this.
If you are still struggling with the symptoms of Liver Qi Stagnation -eg. migrane, hayfever, depression, PMS book in for an acupuncture treatment which is excellent for moving “stuck” Qi which causes these problems.