Five Traditional Chinese Medicine Tips for Spring
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are six factors that contribute to disharmony or, in other words, six things that factor in imbalances in our health and well-being. Two factors we can control are EPF’s and IPF’s. External pathogenic factors or EPFs are natural or climate related and are usually associated with a season. For example, heat in the summer, cold in the winter. In the Spring, Wind is the dominant EPF. Internal Pathogenic factors or IPF’s are emotions. There are seven in TCM, and anger is one of the them. Anger is a Spring emotion tied to the Liver and Gallbladder.
Whether you are familiar with these principles or not, you can use TCM strategies to help yourself stay balanced. In Spring, we look to balance wind and anger. Let’s look at five ways to do it!
Using a scarf or other neck covering in the Spring is supposed to help cover many of the points on the body that are usually affected by Wind. Wearing a scarf or hoodie, especially when it’s breezy or after you’ve had acupuncture can help. Common symptoms of wind imbalance are colds, headache, nasal congestion, itchy skin, allergies and rashes.
In TCM, it’s thought that holding on to anger congests the Liver and disrupts its natural harmony. Use the new life and energy of Spring to inspire you to release old grudges or resentment if you can. Consider journaling, writing, or meditating to support you in releasing what no longer serves you. The support of therapy or talking with a trusted friend may also help as you work to come into balance with the season.
According to Stephen Chang in the Tao of Sexology, “Sexual activity should be at its peak during the springtime, when everything in nature is germinating and Yang is growing.” Now, this does not mean go out and be promiscuous or have sex if you don’t want to, but nature has a rhythm and Spring is the season of new life and new growth. After a season of rooting, building and nourishing, it makes sense that the body would be more aligned with vibrant sexual energy in the Spring. You do not need a partner to explore sexual energy. Do it on your own. Moving, sweating, dancing, doing yoga; all exercises that increase circulation, allow you to move your hips and express yourself are exercises and activities that can help you move sexual Qi.
Love Your Liver
Liver Qi Stagnation symptoms include Irritability, frustration, inappropriate anger, depression, sighing and a feeling of “a lump in the throat. Digestive issues and menstrual irregularities are also tied to the Liver in TCM. Use seasonal foods and greens to help support your liver health. Bitter greens like dandelion, arugula and watercress, watery roots like burdock and daikon and Spring vegetables like green onion and asparagus can help support the liver.
Acupuncture stimulates points along the energy meridians that TCM has mapped out all over the body. It can clear out stagnation and balance the flow of qi (your vital energy).
Liver qi stagnation (irritability, anger, PMS, etc.) responds well to acupuncture.
Acupuncture is done by a licensed professional and the treatments are tailored to the individual. Your practitioner will work with you and assess what areas you need supported so you can leverage the ancient principals of TCM, seasonal movement of qi and help harmonize your body.
Fiona is a Naturopath working online and in person at Dynamic Health Kensington Park.
She is a specialist in Detox and restoring gut health.
 Chang, Stephen T. The Tao of Sexology: The Book of Infinite Wisdom (San Francisco: Tao Publishing, 1986), 84–85.