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Spring is here and it’s time for the warm air, longer days, abundance of flowers, flowering trees   and unfortunately, pollen. For some, especially in the Carolina’s, spring time is the most beautiful time of year.  For others, it is a time of watery itchy eyes, sinus issues and lungs that seem to wheeze with every breath we take, especially when exercising.

With acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), spring is associated with the element of wood.  As acupuncturists, we like to balance our patients with specific points each time a season or element changes.  With every season, there are two meridians attached to that element, one Yin and one Yang. Balance is the key to life and with TCM we think of balance between with the body, mind, breath, emotions and environment. With theories of acupuncture, we are seen as a part of the environment and the world that surrounds us. As we are moving from winter to spring, it is essential we keep our bodies in balance.

During spring and the wood element, the two meridian involved are the Liver and Gall bladder. In Chinese medicine each meridian is named after an organ it feeds. According to TCM, the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of energy (Qi) throughout the body. The liver and gallbladder work hand in hand to achieve this. Spring is the time for cleaning, harmony, rejuvenation.  If energy is not moving properly, things like stress both physical and emotional and even the way you hold your posture can get disturbed, creating all kinds of health issues.

Signs that you may be out of balance this spring can be as follows: Muscle stiffness, decreased ability to stretch, aches and pains and headaches; you may feel more irritable than usual; the emotion attached to the liver is anger; menstrual cramping may be worse than normal; fatigue in the eyes, dry or watery eyes; digestive issues. Most of these maladies are considered stagnation of energy (Qi) in Chinese medicine.

Things you can do for stagnation of Qi this spring are as follows:

Exercise,there is not a better way I know of to move your energy or qi than to simply move, walk, run, bike, hike. Get outside!

Eat greens.  Green is associated with the liver meridian. Eat green leafy vegetables.

Eat things that are sour.  Sour is the taste associated with spring/wood element. Add lemon to your water, use olive oil in your cooking.

Detox your liver, Milk thistle herb is very good or milk thistle tea. Try adding dandelions to your salads.

Exercise your eyes. Take a break from computers and phones.