In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), spring is considered to be a time of rejuvenation, growth and new beginnings.
It is associated with the wood element, growth, expansion and regeneration. Similar to the way plants energetically expand and grow during this time, so does the human body. The energy of spring is associated with the liver and gallbladder meridians, which play vital roles in the smooth flow of Qi throughout the body.
According to TCM theory, the liver is responsible for storing and regulating the free flow of Qi, blood and emotions. When the liver Qi is unobstructed, we experience a sense of harmony, adaptability and creativity. However, if the liver Qi becomes stagnant or imbalanced, it can manifest as irritability, mood swings, headaches or menstrual irregularities.
During this season, ways of supporting the liver’s natural detoxification process include eating fresh, leafy greens, sprouts and dandelion greens which can assist with cleansing and nourishing the liver. Fresh, seasonal foods such as asparagus, peas, green onions, alfalfa, broccoli, seaweed and artichokes will support the body’s transition from winter to spring.
Gentle movement and exercise such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong or yoga allow for the smooth flow of Qi and assist in releasing any stagnant energy. Similarly, mindfulness exercises, meditation, deep breathing or spending time in nature will allow for optimal flow of Qi.
Spring also brings longer daylight hours. Harmonising our sleep cycles and patterns is important during this time for overall well-being.
Avoid overeating foods with a sour taste or that are cold in nature such as lemon, pomegranate, grapefruit, unripe tomatoes, unripe orange and tangerine fruit, watermelon, bamboo sprout and pear. Eating too many astringent flavours may impair the liver’s function, resulting in stagnation.
Embracing Spring With Naturopathy: A Holistic Approach to Allergies
by Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Jade Ouk
A patient reminded me the other day about the significance of finding joy in everyday life, as well as in the future. I was inspired by the way those few words turned around her perspective from one overridden by worry and fear due to a health diagnosis, into one that is driven to truly live life to the fullest.
But when we're unwell and grappling with physical problems, it's tough to find joy. In TCM, happiness is connected to the "fire" element, which helps our body digest food. However stress, what we eat, medicines we consume, and the way we live, can upset and weaken our digestion. When this happens, it's important to boost the "fire" element. One way to do this is by supporting the "wood" element, which makes "fire" stronger.
This "wood" element matches with the spring season – therefore now is the foundational time to build “wood”! Acupuncture, certain herbs and eating dark green vegetables will help to support this goal. The energy of spring helps us connect with others, follow our dreams and find happiness. So, let's embrace spring as a time to grow strong, be flexible and find joy.
Naturopathic Herbs For Winter
by Naturopath Tam Philippe
As the vibrant colours of spring begin to paint the world around us, many of us eagerly anticipate the warmer weather and blossoming landscapes. However, for a significant portion of the population, spring also marks the onset of seasonal allergies. The sneezing, runny noses and itchy eyes can put a damper on the joyous spirit of the season. This year, consider embracing the beauty of spring while harnessing the power of naturopathy to alleviate allergy symptoms and promote overall well-being.
Naturopathy, a holistic approach to health and wellness, emphasises the body's innate ability to heal itself. By addressing the root causes of allergies, rather than just the symptoms, naturopathic practices aim to provide long-lasting relief. Here are a few ways to incorporate naturopathy into your spring allergy management:
1. Diet and Nutrition: Opt for an anti-inflammatory, low histamine diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids. These foods can help reduce allergic reactions and support immune system health. Local honey, known for its potential to desensitise the body to pollen, can also be included in your diet. Vitamin A, B and C are also necessary for boosting immune health.
2. Herbal Remedies: Herbal supplements that modulate the immune system, relieve congestion and support the lymphatic system have shown promise in alleviating allergy symptoms. Consult a qualified naturopathic practitioner before incorporating these supplements into your routine.
3. Hydration and Detoxification: Drinking plenty of water helps flush out toxins and keeps mucous membranes hydrated. Consider herbal teas that have natural anti-inflammatory properties to soothe irritated airways.
4. Stress Management: Stress can exacerbate allergy symptoms. Engage in relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, using a salt room and yoga to keep your stress levels in check (ask our practitioners for a free 10 day pass to trial the salt room at Core 24 gym).
5. Probiotics: A healthy gut plays a vital role in maintaining a strong immune system. Incorporate probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi into your diet. Studies have shown that consuming a good quality yoghurt with a variety of probiotics can help alleviate hay fever symptoms.
6. Acupuncture: Involves the insertion of hair like needles into prescribed acu-points proven to be effective in treating a broad range of health conditions.
7. Environmental Modifications: Keep windows closed during high pollen seasons and use air purifiers to reduce indoor allergen exposure. Regularly clean your living spaces to minimise dust, mould and animal dander. Keep pet fur to a minimum and groom regularly, also be mindful that pets bring pollen inside. Mow lawns early in the day before flowers appear (not too early to annoy neighbours) as grasses pollinate around midday. It may also help to wear a dust mask while mowing or doing yard work.
By embracing these naturopathic practices, you can navigate the beauty of spring with greater ease and comfort. Remember, consulting a qualified naturopathic practitioner is essential to tailor a personalised plan that suits your individual needs. This spring, let nature as well as naturopathy work hand in hand to help you fully enjoy the season and overcome allergy challenges.
SPRING ECZEMA AND TCM
by Doctor of Chinese Medicine Ella Zhang
As the vibrant blooms of spring surround us, is you eczema flaring up for no reason? The association between spring and the wood element in TCM, symbolises growth and renewal. Wood is also an element that is dry and easily attracts fire into the body. For this reason, at times even with a clean diet, eczema symptoms can be hot and itchy. Tips to help: Acupuncture: balances internal Yin Yang to reduce fire and settle the nervous system, restores a clam mind and bringing nourishment from within. Herbal Tea: chrysanthemum, mint and dandelion tea all have cooling properties. A moderate amount of these can bring temperate relief for itchiness. Bathing: herbs HuangBai, HanQin and HuangLian are added to baths in order to treat our largest organ - the skin. The three herbs together reduce inflammation, relieve itchiness and calm redness. Remember, spring is an opportunity for renewal and growth, both externally and internally. By embracing the holistic wisdom of TCM, we can create a harmonious relationship with the changing seasons as well as our well-being.