The Five Elements Theory is an important diagnostic and treatment tool in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is based on the observation of natural cycles and interrelations in the environment and in ourselves.
There are five environmental elements: fire, earth, metal, water and wood. Each element corresponds to an organ of the body (heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys, liver, intestines, stomach, bladder, gallbladder). Each element is associated with a period of the year, or season: fire in summer, earth at the end of the summer (Indian summer), metal in fall, water in winter. and wood in spring.
The five elements interact with each other (they depend on each other). For example, the liver, belonging to the Wood element, directly affects the spleen, which belongs to the Earth element. Traditional Chinese Medicine tries to maintain a balance between the organs of the body.
Spring is associated with the Wood element. It is the energy that gives rise to new growth, that pushes the new grass through the snow, the new branches on the old wood, produces new leaves. It’s the energy that nature draws to thrive.
As in nature, the Wood energy is part of the overall energy of our body. It governs the liver and gall bladder meridians. Each meridian has a role in the complex system of the body. That of the gallbladder is “The Right Officer Who Excels in Judgment” and the liver is “The One Responsible for Planning”.
These Wood meridians bring us energy to :
have new ideas,
change who we are,
have a vision,
have hope for our future.
Strong winds are typical in spring. The breath of the wind in spring can however strengthen the Liver too much, which can in turn affect the Spleen. In this case, disharmony of the liver and spleen occurs. TCM practitioners can detect this imbalance by observing symptoms such as upset stomach, acid regurgitation, stomach distension and diarrhea.
In Spring: detox
Allergy problems are common in the spring. If the liver is not healthy, it can affect the spleen and lungs. Symptoms of this organ disharmony are: chest congestion, sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and other symptoms associated with allergy problems.
It is very important, especially in the spring, to detoxify the body, to cleanse the liver and lungs, and to bring a balance between them and other organs of the body. Acupressure, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help achieve this balance.
It’s a time for Renewal
Spring is the beginning of the seasons cycle, a period of birth and new beginnings. It goes forward, it is a direct assertive energy that does not bother to remove obstacles.
Spring is also the time of hope; this season is bursting with optimism, offering change after the calm of winter.
Each seed and each young plant follows its own partition in the great plan of nature. Think of the wood of a tree: it gives structure and form to nature, but nothing stops it from growing.
Without this type of change, all things would wither and die.
Live it fully!
A few tips…
… to put you in sync with the energy of spring and feel better:
- Go out, hang out
- Eat fresh spring food. It is advisable to reduce the consumption of sour-tasting foods and increase the consumption of sweet and pungent flavors, as this allows the liver to regulate qi (vital energy) throughout the body. Examples of foods recommended for spring: onion, leek, mustard, Chinese yam, wheat, date, coriander, mushrooms, spinach, bamboo shoots. Fresh and green vegetables should also be included in meals; seed germs are also ideal in spring. In addition, uncooked, frozen and fried foods should only be consumed in moderation, as they are harmful to the spleen and stomach if eaten in large quantities.
- Drink artichoke, milk thistle, sage, etc.
- Do a great spring cleaning and declutter your living and working spaces. Sort, give, sell.
- Surround yourself with plants.
- Try to stop or decrease your smoking and alcohol use.