Spring has (finally) sprung. As we transition into this new season, it is important to understand how our health relates to the seasons - this idea is central to acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
The foundation of Chinese medical philosophy is the concept that we as humans are a part of this universe and integral to the dynamic flow of nature, the same as are plants and animals. For this reason, living in harmony with the seasons is a key component to health. According to TCM theory, the universe is forever changing; to be at our best we must continually adapt to these changes. In Chinese Medicine, the season of spring is associated with the wood element.
Wood exemplifies the energy of growth, change, and perservering through obstacles. It represents a very active energy that allows for a lot of movement and progress, both internally and externally. When constrained, it is also the energy that contributes to frustration, anger, and stress.
Like the wood element, anger can make us hard and unbendable - like a tree that snaps in a strong wind instead of swaying.
So what can we learn from the wood element?
The key is flexibility. Think of our tree analogy: stand tall, plant your roots deeply, and remain flexible rather than rigid so you don’t snap.
You can also consider the emotion of anger - it is often the feeling of "snapping" that occurs when frustration and obstacles thwart us. Use the new energy of spring to get moving on projects, because spring is a time of action, change and rebirth.
Stay tuned for our next blog post, which will explain the ins and outs of the liver meridian, the internal organ system that is associated with the wood element and the spring season.
Michael A. Sassack is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist serving the northwest suburbs of Chicago.