Information about the celebration of spring in relationship to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the Elements ...
Celebrate Spring and Traditional Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we have a healing methodology called
the 5 Phases (Elements). In the Spring the weather is starting to
warm up by the change in the sun's position. The botanical world is
making its renewal known through growth and upheaval. The energy of
the season is rising upward and outward and expressing itself with
the freshness of a new start. This new growth is what is represented
by the element of Wood.
The Spring is the time when the climate is represented by Wind. Wind
Cold imbalances are those in which wind and cold play a role in
disease. The Liver and Gall Bladder systems are the most vulnerable
at this time. These imbalances are often expressed as hepatitis and
cases of pink eye which, in TCM stems back to imbalances in the Liver
and Gallbladder systems. The Liver governs the workings of the sinews
and muscles and imbalances are more apparent at this time of year.
The sound associated with Spring is shouting, while the emotion most
prevalent tends to be anger. By being prepared with this knowledge,
it allows us to be in tune with our own body systems and shows how
our health can be influenced by nature.
Strengthening the immune system should be a part of any seasonal
ritual! Any tonic formula that regulates Qi, nourishes the eyes and
tendons and tonifies the liver is appropriate. Remember, the best
form of medicine, is preventative. Consider Andrew's great Spring
Learn how to heal with the seasons and how Traditional Chinese
Medicine will help you find remedies and bring your body back into
The Liver and Gallbladder
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, The liver and gallbladder are
associated with Spring. They belong to the element of Wood. The
Liver "system" is the "farmer who cultivates". It stores blood,
governs and regulates the blood, organizes the "free flow" of Qi
energy to promote circulation which cultivates our emotions, soothes
digestion, regulates menstruation and bile secretion. The liver
changes harmful toxins into substances, which can be eliminated
safely by the colon or kidneys. The liver is our master cleansing
organ and the gall bladder is its mate. Enjoy a tall glass of water
with a 1/2 lemon squeezed into it.
The Gallbladder system in Chinese Medicine is associated stores and
excretes bile (as in Western medicine). The Gallbladder governs
decision making and gives the courage and capacity to make decisions.
Like the Liver, the Gallbladder controls the sinews by encouraging
the Qi to the fascia. The Gallbladder also has an effect on our
dreams. It is said that the Gallbladder effects the quality and
length of sleep, if it is deficient, a person will wake very early
and not be able to return to sleep. The Gallbladder's close
relationship to the Liver is not only anatomical but they both play
an essential role in the smooth flow of Qi throughout the body. In
order to plan a good life (which is a function of the Liver), one
needs good decision making skills (which is a function of the
The Liver is the major organ treated in Chinese Medicine. It is the
organ that rules the free flow of Qi. The primary symptoms of Liver
Qi Stagnation include frequent sighing; inpatients, anger and temper
outbreaks, a sensation of fullness or congestion in the chest,
intercostal, or subcostal regions. Secondary symptoms include
obstructed bowel movements; dry and distended eyes; feeling of
something being stuck in the throat; self-doubts and crying; pain
(especially intercostal and abdominal) that is characterized by
moving, pulling, or penetrating sensations; in females; premenstrual
breast distention; menstrual cramping and irregular menstruation.
The Wood Element
The element, Wood is associated with the Spring season and with wind.
The element is associated with the liver and the gallbladder, which
regulates the smooth flow of Qi energy throughout the body and has a
strong relationship with the reproductive organ system and the
ability to nourish the body with blood.
Emotionally, wood allows you to be adaptable to life. It is the
creativeness of the wood element that gets expressed when we are at
our most artistic. Spring is the new life energy of growth, renewal
and the life force sprouting upward and outward. Wood allows you to
make a plan and stay true to that plan. It also allows you to be
flexible, like a willow and adapt to the circumstances that intercept
your plans and expectations.
Psychologically, wood is the element that represents our growth. Too
much wood in the environment can produce excess growth, as in when a
relationship moves too quickly or a business starts growing too fast
without a strong foundation. Not enough wood in the environment and
the results is expressed as stagnation or barrenness. Wood represents
our creative urge to achieve, which can turn to anger, when
frustrated. The wood element represents all the activities of the
body that are self regulating and/or function without conscious
thought such as heart beat, digestion, respiration and metabolism.
The Solar Plexus Chakra is third in the Chakra system and
represents our power, will and autonomy, as well as our
metabolism. When healthy, this Chakra brings us energy,
effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power. It is your
center of will. This Chakra deals with the human ego, emotions and
self-love. Intuition is believed to begin in the area of our Solar
Plexus Chakra. Although, the Third Eye Chakra is most associated with
intuition, the "spark" is what is felt in the area of our solar
Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.