In the West, spring begins on March 21st on the spring equinox. The Chinese feel that, energetically, spring begins with the Chinese New Year in February. The days become longer and organic sleepers under the chilled earth begin to spring to life again. In both systems the basic idea is the same: spring brings growth, new beginnings and a fresh start.
As the earth is growing and forging life through it's crevasses and cracks, we too are energetically growing and changing with the season as well. This can bring discomfort in many ways to us. Most people feel that in the spring they suffer from more irritability, anger, insomnia, migraines, anxiety, depression, tendon pain, vision issues, and digestive issues. Whew! That's a lot of change.
This season relies heavily on how upward and outward energy is flowing in our bodies, just like the plants bursting from the ground. When energy is heading this direction, we get emotions rushing to the head such as irritability and anger. We also get migraines. We get nausea, indigestion, bloating and heartburn when our digestive energy is weak and energy travels upwards. We get too in our heads and can't calm the mind to fall asleep. We get vision issues such as blurry vision, dry eyes, itchy eyes or floaters. There's too much energy flowing up!
So how do we stay balanced and grounded during this time of year to avoid this upward and outward natural energy from becoming too much for our bodies to handle? When we are in balance, we have nothing to worry about and no uncomfortable symptoms occur.
The liver is the organ associated with the springtime according to Chinese Medicine, and when the liver gets stagnant or too energetic in the body we can feel it! The easiest way to soothe an imbalanced liver is through movement. Practicing activities such as yoga can go a long way during this time of year, as well as stretching or jogging.
If you're a person that's prone to migraines in the spring, it can be helpful to place a drop of lavender essential oil on the temples and give yourself a foot rub or foot soak to help pull the energy back down and out. If you end up with heartburn or digestive upset, try mixing one teaspoon of baking soda in 8 oz of water and drinking that to calm the stomach. If stress and anxiety cause loose stools, try adding a charcoal pill into your supplement regimen as needed. If you feel that your arthritis or tendon pain gets worse this time of year, try taking regular epsom salt baths to calm the irritation and inflammation that is occurring. If you feel that your carpal tunnel pain gets worse, make sure you are keeping your arms and wrists at 90 degree angles while typing at work.
And if all else fails, practice whatever self care you need to keep yourself feeling like yourself. Whether that be through massage, naps, spending time with your kids or pets, acupuncture, eating a balanced diet, walks around the neighborhood, or just quiet meditation time--make time this spring!
Love cupping is like normal cupping in that it has all of the benefits of regular cupping, with a heart-shaped twist.
So, what is food therapy?
In Chinese medicine, food has been used for thousands of years as a way to heal the body. All foods have different properties, such as warming, cooling, bitter, pungent, sour, spicy, etc. You can use these properties to your advantage based on your own individual constitution and the time of year! For example, everyone should incorporate these foods into their diets this summer because they help cool the body: