Springtime is abundant with new energy and life... we see it all around us with the flowers blooming (finally!) and the birds chirping. People are coming out of their houses more and becoming more active, too. There are all kinds of changes going on, and our bodies feel the springtime season change as well... and I'm not just talking about allergies.
Often times I will have patients coming in to me this time of year reporting of a feeling of increased frustration and irritability... or their sleep is off the last couple weeks... or maybe their digestion is "off" for no particular reason. All of these things can be explained by the hightened energy of the liver in the spring.
I hear you say, "There's something wrong with my liver??" Well, yes and no. There is most likely nothing wrong with your actual liver. But in Chinese Medicine, each of the bodies organs have their own energy that circulates throughout our bodies, and and each organ has a season associated with it when that energy is at its highest. That season now is the liver, and if there is an imbalance with the liver's energy, that can manifest in the symptoms I listed above. When there is too much liver, and not enough spleen energy, there may be problems with digestion. When the liver irritates the heart energy, it can affect sleep.
So how do you quell that angry liver energy? Well, the best way is through acupuncture and herbal medicine from your favorite acupuncturist (i.e. ME!). Other ways include going for a walk or doing some yoga first thing in the morning to get that energy moving. Side bend pose is particularly helpful for working the side of the body where the liver resides. Certain foods can help, too; a squeeze of lemon or lime in your drinking water, or mint teas throughout the day. Consider adding more cabbage, celery, broccoli, goji berries, pomegranates and plums to your diet.
Things to avoid include heavy, fatty foods and red meat, and an excess of alcohol. Also, if you're feeling irritable, make sure to recognize it, take a deep breath, and let it out.
Seasonal changes can affect us all, but with a little regular self care, we can avoid some of the discomfort associated with it and just enjoy the warmer temperatures. Happy spring!