Today is the spring equinox which marks the end of winter and the astronomical start of the new season. The spring and autumn equinox’s mark the points of equal day and night in the year whereas the winter and summer solstices mark the longest night the longest day respectively.
The date of Easter moves each year because it too is based on the astronomical calendar and must always fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.
Echoing the story of Christ’s death and resurrection, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) also views the spring as a time of new life and renewal of spirit. As we emerge from our winter hibernation with our kidney energy recharged we can begin again with vigour, reflecting the energy of nature all around us as the blossom and leaves on the trees burst into life we can put of all our plans into action.
Spring corresponds to the wood element in TCM, which is linked to the liver and gallbladder organs. According to the philosophy of Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of qi (energy) throughout the whole body. If the liver functions smoothly our physical and emotional activity runs smoothly too. The emotion linked to the liver is anger and if its smooth flow around the body is obstructed in any way, it stagnates and causes feelings of frustration, irritability and in extreme cases anger.
Fresh air and physical movement help to mobilise our liver qi and as the weather improves and daylight hours increase in the spring it is the perfect time to get out for a walk in nature. Yoga and stretching exercises are also beneficial as the liver maintains tendon health and flexibility by storing the blood at rest and releasing it to nourish the tendons during activity.
As liver energy is at its height in spring this is the natural time to detox and use acupuncture treatments to help support the work of this organ. Alongside physical movement a simple practice is to begin the day with hot water and lemon which helps to assist the liver as it flushes out toxins accumulated overnight.
The taste associated with the liver is bitter/sour which is reflected in many of the herbs that are used to support it such as dandelion, burdock and milk thistle which help to protect and encourage the liver to clean itself of damaging substances such as alcohol, medications, pesticides, environmental toxins and heavy metals.
The colour associated with the liver is green so eat plenty of spring greens.
The smooth flow of your liver is the smooth of your life so everyday begin again and spring into spring!