Tagged: Traditional Chinese Medicine

Attune to Spring with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Melissa Hawboldt, Dr. TCM

Have you noticed any changes in your health and energy in the last month or so? Spring is in full bloom here in Victoria, BC. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, each season has it’s own unique connection with all aspects of our wellbeing – mental, emotional and physical. Spring is associated with the Wood element, the East, wind, the colour green, and the Liver-Gallbladder system. The Earth’s, and our energy is moving up and out – bringing all sorts of things to the surface, from flower buds to skin rashes and old emotions. 

Emotional & Physical Balance 

Spring is associated with the emotion of anger. When the Qi (pronounced “chee”) or vital energy in our bodies is not moving smoothly, it can stagnate. This leads to feelings of frustration, irritability, and anger. When the Liver -Gallbladder system is out of balance you may also experience vivid dreams, depression, indigestion, sciatica, discomfort and tension around the ribcage and neck and shoulder area. 

To keep the Qi moving in your body, try brisk walks, shaking your arms and legs wildly for a minute or dancing to your favourite song. Acupuncture and cupping are also wonderful ways to get the Qi circulating, calm the mind, and relax body tension. 

The Liver-Gallbladder system is also connected to the eyes, and in turn, our vision for the future and our ability to gain a fresh perspective or outlook. Spring is an opportune time for journaling, goal setting, and creative pursuits. Spring is the season of movement, change, transformation, new beginnings and new ways of looking at the world. 

Eating for the Season 

Do you change your eating habits from season to season? According to TCM food therapy, for optimal health and wellness it is best align your food choices to your individual constitution and pattern first (you can talk to a TCM practitioner about this) and to the season second. 

The season of spring is traditionally a time to cleanse from a heavier winter diet. However, be cautious if you tend to have digestive problems. Raw, frozen, cold temperature and cold natured foods (such as fruit juices, cucumber, avocado and tomato) can weaken ‘digestive fire’ resulting in bloating, abdominal pain and loose stool. Ease into seasonal salads and smoothies if you tend to these symptoms. 

Time to transition from the slow and low cooking methods of winter and begin to use shorter cooking times and higher heat; poaching, blanching, steaming, sautéing and stir-frying are ideal. 

To give your Liver-Gallbladder system some love, avoid greasy, deep-fried foods, alcohol, peanuts, processed foods and limit your intake of dairy and spicy foods.

Foods that support and cleanse the Liver-Gallbladder system include: greens, sprouts, fennel, beets, carrots, onion, garlic, mushrooms, radishes, beans, quinoa, seaweed, blackstrap molasses, lemon, lime, plums, blackberries, raspberries, basil, sage, anise, nettles, turmeric, chamomile, and chrysanthemum herbal teas. 

Seasonal Allergies 

This is the time of year where I start to get my seasonal allergy patients back in clinic. Acupuncture, cupping and food therapy are used to reduce the frequency and severity of allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, headaches, and a foggy head. 

Do you have allergies or are you prone to catching colds in the fall? This is an opportune time to get preventative treatment, as in TCM theory, it is best to treat seasonal issues two seasons before. 

Acupuncture, cupping and food therapy can be extremely helpful during seasonal and life transitions. If you have any questions please connect with the wonderful team of acupuncturists at Pure Body Health. 

In health and happiness, 

Melissa Hawboldt, Dr. TCM