Liver Season

Within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Spring is the season to support the Liver and Gallbladder.

You might think that we are a little early for talk about Spring in early February, however although it may feel very wintery still, and there may be snow on the ground or snow still yet to come, new life is already rising up from the ground with the sight of new shoots and buds, and the arrival of crocus and snowdrops.

The colour associated with the Liver is Green, and the element is Wood. If we consider what Wood is, we can see that it is both being and becoming; it is consistent yet it is always growing steadily, gently, persistently. As the tree moves into Spring we visualise it flowing and spreading its branches ready for new growth and the warmer seasons ahead.

So with Spring we feel a new surge of energy rising up, we can feel a creative impulse. We can feel on the edge of new beginnings. Yet we are only in February! So be aware that this can create a sense of irritability and impatience.

The Liver is responsible for maintaining the smooth flow of Qi and blood. This isn’t just in a physical form, but also emotionally, helping our emotions to flow smoothly. Mood swings, bad moods and anger can come from unbalanced Liver Qi. Insomnia can also be another indicator of imbalanced Liver Qi, as it’s most active time is between 1am and 3am, a period where we should be experiencing deep sleep. Other symptoms might include:

  • Headaches
  • Tendon problems
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Eye issues
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating
  • PMS

There are many things you can do to support your Liver energy at this time. But if you choose to do any of these things, do them gently! Remember the steady way the tree grows. We want to support ourselves in a kind and nurturing way, so make small changes over a period of time, and choose changes that resonate with you and where you are in your life at this moment:

  • Move. If you don’t already exercise then start doing something gentle now.
  • Tidy up your diet. Cut down on fried and fatty foods and replace them with healthy fats and oils, reduce sugar and processed foods, manage portion sizes and snacking, enjoy fresh foods, eat slowly.
  • Hydrate with plenty of water and perhaps a squeeze of lemon or some apple cider vinegar, which nourish the Liver.
  • Recreate order out of chaos: declutter emotionally/mentally as well as physically. Let go of old resentments and practice forgiveness. Make a start on your inner self.
  • Sew your seeds! Try something new, and be a little daring.
  • Book in for some acupuncture.
  • Buy yourself a new scarf!

We have talked about Liver season and it’s element of Wood and it’s colour Green, but one final aspect to point out is it’s climate: Wind. So although we feel that Spring is just around the corner, make sure you continue to wrap up warm particularly around the neck, shoulders and ears. This is known as your “Wind Gate” area and will be vulnerable to Wind invasion as we go through periods of temperamental weather, adjusting from Winter through to the warmer part of the year.

Have a great Spring!

Lung Season

As summer draws to a close we start to move away from the relaxed and carefree attitudes of the warmer and longer days, and move into more serious and introspective energies of autumn. This is the season of the Lung.

Create Space

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the season of the Lung is all about organisation, setting limits and protecting boundaries. It’s element is metal (air); clean, pure and purposeful. It is a great time to have a clear out, get organised and tidy up, creating space. It is important to be letting go of any strong attachments you have to people, objects and experiences: attachment can hinder opportunities to learn and for growth.

Breathe in, Breathe out

The Lung is all about breathing in the new, and letting go of the old or the waste. It is no surprise then to find that the Lung (yin) is paired with the Large Intestine (yang). Yin is fluid and yang is flow. We must have fluid in order to flow. If the fluid becomes depleted, or stagnated, or in excess, then this will consequently effect the flow. Traditional Chinese Medicine understands that life is all about balance: if the body and mind are out of balance then this is where dis-ease can occur.

Grief

The emotion of the Lung is sadness (grief). If we spend a lot of time re-living the past in our minds, or having strong attachments, this can deplete our Lung energy and create deficiency. Of course it is only natural and healthy to experience sadness and loss, but it must be resolved and not prolonged. It must be experienced and learned from, not perpetually endured. Grief cleanses us of what is not needed in our lives. Chronic deficiencies in Lung energy lead to depletion and consequently to depression and other issues.

Things we can do

The Lung is the only yin organ with direct contact to the exterior, and therefore we must take care of this delicate organ by protecting our wind gates and wrapping up warm with collars and scarves as the colder weather prevails.

The climate of Lung season is dryness. We can eat warm and foods that are cooked for longer; nourishing and moisturising, supporting the body and the immune system.

If we live in balance with nature, Autumn is about contracting and slowing down, looking inwards, getting ready to rest (for the winter).

Spend time deep breathing and visualising letting go of everything that no longer serves you.

These are just some simple things we can pay attention to during the season of the Lung. The element of metal gives us our sense of self worth, our own self-value. We must look inside ourselves for that.

Next up: winter – season of the Kidneys.

 

Jackie Marsden is a Reflexologist, Acupuncturist and Foot Reading Practitioner, based at Elder Cottage Clinic, Warton, Preston.

Image courtesy of Graphics Mouse at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

[Book Review #1] Everything You Need You Have

I recently discovered this little gem of a book while browsing the local library.

Gerad Kite’s Everything You Need You Have: How to be at home in your self is such an easy read, yet so powerful in places with little nuggets to take away and use on a daily basis. It’s simplicity is what makes it so special.

There is also an alignment with the Five Element Theory which also interested me after studying and qualifying in Clinical Acupuncture last year. The natural movements of life according to the tangible elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water (see summary below).

So, I invite you to join me “At Home” and you will be at home in your self. Because, what we’re looking for simply isn’t out there – it is within. We believe that we have to be busy, doing stuff, achieving things, in order to be successful. But really there is no such thing as success – these are just events playing out, finding their way, following natural law.

We have ended up living almost exclusively “in the head”. Standing in the place of “I think” limits us in time and space and for many people great suffering and pain. We have forgotten how to retreat from our thinking minds and take pleasure in the bliss of simply being alive – to “be”; and to know that one’s existence is so much more than mere sequence of events that plays out before us, confirming that we’re “somebody” with a “life”. I find this so humbling and so profound, and also very useful.

It is useful because, when one gets caught up in life’s day to day stresses, or worries, or emotional burdens, it is liberating to retreat back to “Home” (although we never really left) and observe what we are thinking, feeling, experiencing. This is the true essence of life. It is the awareness that what we are going through is simply not real: it is transient and changeable. The quality of Home is peaceful and permanent.

As a reflexologist, offering clients the opportunity to simply relax and enjoy the power of touch is where a lot of healing can take place. And surely this is offering or opening up a path towards “Home”? Switching off the mind and focusing on “the now”. For the past and the future are there by virtue of memory and fantasy – courtesy of the mind – and neither are real in “the now”.

Gerad gives the reader insights, exercises, tools of  how to re-discover Home within your self, and also examples of clients he has helped throughout his career.

Enlightenment is beyond mundane tasks, but it is found within them.

Short Summary of The Law of Five Elements

Gerad states “The unique balance of the five elements that create and maintain you are the gift of your life. This is the foundation and reality of who you are. You are  both a unique form and an integral part of Univeral intelligence, flow and evolution.”

Wood (Liver and Gall Bladder)

  • Get up and grow
  • Renewal
  • Timidity to belligerence
  • Perspective

Fire (Heart)

  • Joy of “Being”
  • Be open to things and experience them from Love
  • Joy emerges from the compassion of Home
  • Easy forgiveness
  • Healthy boundaries (and knowing these)

Earth (Spleen and Stomach)

  • Satisfaction
  • Natural motion “give and take”
  • Identify our needs
  • Integrity
  • Reciprocity, sharing and caring, giving and receiving

Metal (Lung and Large Intestine)

  • Gives the whole cycle of life its value
  • Importance of letting go of all attachments
  • Understand the impermanence of our outer life
  • Root in the quality of the present moment
  • Self value and worth

Water (Kidney and Bladder)

  • This is the base element: death, regeneration and survival
  • The closest we can get to Home
  • The origin of all life
  • Simplicity of Being
  • Stores our essential nature
  • Primitive and True
  • Who are you?