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Self-Care for the Spring Season

From a Chinese Medicine Perspective, with Wake Massage Therapist & Acupuncturist Katherine

Spring is here! Well, almost. If you live in or around Asheville, it has already feigned it’s arrival at least once or twice, only to disappear back underground once again. But it is almost here, and that means warmer weather, more sunshine, and hopefully more time outside!

Because the view of health in Chinese Medicine is intimately connected to the natural world, and our relationship to it, seasonal changes are highlighted and paid attention to. Each season brings with it certain temperatures, foods, levels of activity, etc. According to this understanding, if we focus on cultivating certain aspects of our health in certain seasons, there is great opportunity to find more balance within ourselves as well as with our external environment.

In Chinese Medicine, spring’s arrival is a significant seasonal transition. It is the time when life and warmth reemerge into the world – flowers bud and open, the green of leaves and plant life re-enter the landscape, and our bodies unfurl from the dormancy of winter and are ready for more movement. It is the time of new life, growth and new beginnings! It marks the end of a cycle, and the beginning of another. The importance of self-care in spring is given special emphasis.

In Chinese Medicine, springtime corresponds to the liver and gallbladder, which are understood to control the smooth flow of Qi (the body’s vitality). Spring is a great time to lighten the load on our liver and give it some extra TLC. There is also a special correspondence between the liver and the tendons, and because spring is a time of renewed movement after the cold of winter, it is helpful to pay some extra attention to our tendons during spring.

According to Chinese Medicine, here are some helpful activities to focus on during the springtime:

  • Doing some mild stretching, Qigong, Yoga or Tai Chi on a regular basis, especially in the morning; going for walks; or engaging in any movement activities you prefer. Just remember: the more strenuous, the more important to stretch as well.
  • Providing healthy support for your liver through diet and teas: Greens are a great place to start. Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and collard greens, beets and beet greens, and bitter greens such as dandelion greens, nettle and arugula all have antioxidant properties and can support liver health. Milk thistle and dandelion root are herbs that are taken to improve liver function. Teas that have nettle, dandelion root and/or milk thistle can readily be found in natural food stores.
  • Eating lighter meals and eliminating or minimizing alcohol, refined sugars, and heavy, greasy foods.
  • Engaging in self-care that feels nourishing to you: going for a walk in nature, reading a book, going dancing, playing or listening to music, meditating, getting a massage or acupuncture treatment, etc. Whatever those activities are that help you feel good and relax your nervous system, make time for that!

Katherine is a NC licensed acupuncture practitioner. Her acupuncture practice, Tranquil Spirit Acupuncture, is located in Black Mountain and specializes in digestive health, sleep issues, acute and chronic pain relief, mental health, and hospice & palliative care.

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