In the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) view, internal organs are much more than physical structures; they are systems involving mind, body, spirit, and emotions. Each organ corresponds and is uniquely related to a body tissue, emotion, climate, taste, and sensory organ just to name a few. These associations make up the Five Element Theory. This ancient system is fundamental and essential, and provides a foundation for diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Spring corresponds to the wood element, the Liver organ channel. It’s externally paired organ is the Gallbladder. Both Liver and Gallbladder take precedence during this season. Spring is the time to fortify and nurture the yang energy. Our bodies shift from trying to store and conserve more energy during the colder months to a time of new growth and birth. Energy is moving upwards and outwards, similar to the branches of a tree or when flowers bloom. Hence the association with the wood element. It is important to supplement the health of your liver during spring as its energy is essential for overall health.
Smooth Qi Flow
The Liver organ channel ensures the smooth flowing of Qi. When Qi flows smoothly, all is well. When Qi is stagnant, the circulation of Qi and blood is impeded. Over time, this can lead to blood stasis, tumor, or mass formation. For this reason, it is imperative that Liver Qi flows smoothly. Unfortunately, with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Liver Qi is prone to stagnation which effects one’s health and emotions. We all experience a multitude of emotions on a daily basis. When we get angry or frustrated, this can impact our liver health. Vice versa, if Liver Qi is stagnated, it may be difficult to “let things go.”
Balanced liver function ensures the flow of blood back to the liver during sleep. The function of storing blood helps your body recover. The liver also removes impurities from the blood. This is why getting enough rest and sleep is imperative to our health. During the day, the liver oversees that the blood flows to the muscles and tissues, providing nourishment and oxygenated blood for supple limbs and movement.
Controlling Sequence – Wood and Earth
The liver has a close relationship with the spleen and stomach, your digestive system. Liver is the wood element and the spleen/stomach is the earth element. This relationship is a controlling sequence. Think of a tree (wood) digging its roots into the soil (earth). Smooth flowing Liver Qi allows the stomach to digest all the food we ingest. A healthy liver function allows the spleen to transform food into Qi and make blood. This nourishment is then transported to the entire body. A lack of appetite, lethargy, indigestion, diarrhea, etc. are all possible signs of liver and spleen disharmony.
The eyes, tendons, and nails are all extensions of the Liver organ channel. The health of these tissues is dependent on liver health. For example, if a person has dry, brittle or cracked nails, these are signs of liver blood deficiency. If a person has stiffness of sinews, rigidity or pain; these may be signs of liver blood stasis.
The TCM perspective is an intricate framework of organ systems that facilitate and maintain our bill of health. Mother nature and its elements provide an illustration of how TCM theory works within and without.
Spring Into Health
Spring is the perfect time to step outside and explore nature's abundance. It is the season of rebirth and growth. Go for long walks in nature or enjoy an outdoor sports activity. This will revitalize your tendons and sinews. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables to help your liver flush out toxins. Practice forgiveness and learn to let go. Anger and resentment will only further constrain your Liver Qi. And lastly, love yourself! Trust your inner self to guide you as you continue to learn, grow, and evolve.
Spring gives us a sense of renewal and the energy that is needed to bring our vision and goals to fruition. Let the whispers of hope, faith, and renewal awaken us.