It’s mid may and it sure is looking and feeling like spring. The trees and flowers are budding (all on their own time), the weather goes from 40 degrees and rainy to 70 degrees and sunny (that’s a big change for our bodies to handle!), and we have more daylight hours! Such a wonderful transition from the winter. As mentioned in Oh What A Spring about living with the season of spring, while winter was a time of yin, spring begins the shift to yang.
The properties of the Yin Yang Theory are:
- While they oppose each other, they also support one another.
- Neither can exist without the other.
- They are infinitely divisible in each other.
- They are dynamic.
These principles are visible in our every day world: in nature, in our own bodies, and even in the emotions, feelings, and experiences of life. This is nicely explained in chapter four of Between Heaven and Earth by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold… (which I plan to blog about in the near future :)).
Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch
Specific Examples of Yin & Yang:
Yin: cold, dark, female, hard, heavy, hidden, midnight, moon, still, water (element), winter
Yang: hot, light, male, soft, light (mass), revealed, midday, sun, movement, fire (element), summer
With it being in full swing of spring, we need to ensure we are living with the season, and not in opposition to it. We are moving from yin within yin (winter) to yin within yang (spring).
Something I truly appreciate about Traditional Chinese Medicine is the theory… behind everything. Really, you look outside, and there are the elements and principles which one may find the patterns of your own health and wellbeing. While it takes years of studying to master, the medicine itself is intuitive once you know it.
Spring= Wood= Wind=Liver/ Gallbladder= Green= Anger= Eyes= Tendons
So, friend, spring is the perfect time to help support your Liver health.
The Liver is in charge of free flow of Qi (chee) throughout your body. As explained in Between Heaven and Earth, “The Liver Network is to monitor flow, maintaining evenness of emotions and clarity of judgment, giving grace and flexibility to the physical and mental body.” As you could imagine, if your Liver Qi is imbalanced, all sorts of issues may occur. That being said, living in modern America, it’s very common to have an imbalance of Liver Qi due to our busy, hectic, constantly moving lifestyles.
Some ways to help smooth your Liver Qi:
- Honestly, everything could be improved upon with breathing!
- When you do slow, deep, belly out, inhalations you are allowing your lungs to expand fully since you’re helping your diaphragm move the way it’s intended.
- The Liver can easily get tight and tense. And the Liver Qi, as is all Qi in the body, is impacted by the breath. The breath fuels our lungs with the oxygen it needs to keep us alive. When our body has the oxygen it needs, it will be less tense and more relaxed.
- Drink your water!
- Oh water. Something that is so healing and nourishing, yet so many people seem to forget all the amazing benefits of simply drinking water.
- Basically we’re about 70% water, so we need water to survive and thrive.
- The Liver will benefit from ample water intake due to having enough hydration in the body to ensure proper flow of fluids, lubrication of joints, flushing of the system, and plump organs.
- Dry Skin Brushing
- This is a wonderful method to help the lymphatic system of the body.* When you help the lymphatic system, you also assist the Qi in moving more smoothly throughout the body. When you help the overall Qi of the body move smoothly, you help the Liver.
- You can purchase a Dry Skin Brush at most local health stores or online for $10-20.
- You want to dry skin brush only on completely dry, closed skin.* Before you bathe is usually most ideal. It’s also recommended to dry skin brush in the tub, to catch any dead skin that may flake off.. I know I know… sounds lovely, but it feels wonderful!
- Be sure to start at the hands and feet and work towards the heart.
- For your stomach, back, and armpits brush in a circular clockwise motion.
- You can do anywhere from 5-15 passes on each section.
- Use enough pressure to feel it, but don’t rub your skin raw… that’s NOT the goal. It should feel almost like a good itch. Be sure to go gentler on more sensitive areas.
- Continue with your shower and moisturize appropriately.
- Repeat every few days to every day, depending on your need.
- Even if you only remember once a week… do it! Once a week is better than not doing it at all.
- *People with open or inflamed should avoid dry skin brushing. Never dry skin brush over burns, rashes, infections, open wounds, etc. Always consult with your health care practitioner before adding this into your routine.
- Lemons have amazing benefits for overall health and wellbeing.
- Lemons can help your body with it’s natural detoxing abilities. And when you think of detoxing, you think of the function of the liver.
- You can use the food (a slice), the juice (~1tsp), or the essential oil (1 drop)* per glass of room temperature water.
- When you move your body, you help the Qi move.
- Passive movements of your body (as in when someone else is doing the moving for your body) provide wonderful benefits to unblocking stagnation within the body and helping to open up the channels.
- Plus it feels amazing!
- Mindset/ Prayers/ Reflection/ Appreciation
- Yes, mindset/ prayers/ reflections/ having appreciation can help your Liver Qi!
- The thoughts you think create your feelings and emotions.
- When the Liver is imbalanced, the emotion you may be feeling more of is anger, irritability, rage, and/ or depression.
- When you can take stock of your thoughts, you can observe what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling. From there you can shift your thought to more accurate thinking or more positive thinking- whichever is better suited for you.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine realizes that emotional issues can cause physical issues and physical issues can cause emotional issues.
- So when you take your thoughts and emotions into account, you can change your physical health, and improve your Liver Qi.
- Move & Stretch
- The Liver governs the tendons, so the health of your tendons are a reflection of your Liver Qi.
- When you move and stretch, you strengthen, lengthen, and nourish the tendons. This will help balance the Liver Qi.
- Moving/ exercising/ having an active lifestyle will help ensure your Liver Qi is flowing smoothly.
- When you are stationary, your Liver Qi can easily get stagnant.
- Human beings were made to move.
- Move your body = move your Liver Qi!
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
- When you insert needles into the body, it creates a micro-trauma. This micro-trauma signals to the brain to increase it’s healing mechanisms.
- Acupuncture helps the body heal itself.
- When utilizing needles/ laser/ pressure, a licensed acupuncturist can help direct the flow of Qi in the body.
- If your Liver Qi is imbalanced, your practitioner can help detect this and perform the proper treatment.
- Taking herbs is like having a daily treatment specifically to your needs and patterns.
- Herbal formulas are wonderfully balanced in their ability to help regulate the energy of the body and bring the body back to homeostasis.
- Herbal formulas should only be prescribed by a qualified herbalist.
- Check out FeelGoodClinics.com to schedule.
- Check out my blog post to find a licensed acupuncturist near you!
Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch
Those are my top suggestions to help balance your Liver Qi. I suggest adding one thing at a time to see how it works for you and to establish more of a routine, but feel free to do what you need.
I hope this offers some support to your health during the season of spring!
With faith, hope, and love,
*The suggested uses in the above post apply only to the use of therapeutic grade, Young Living Essential Oils. Not all essential oils are the same! Be sure to consult with the product label or healthcare practitioner for correct usage of essential oils.