March 20 2014 16:57 GMT - This is exactly when the Spring Equinox is this year. Are you prepared for it? Do you know how to prepare for it? I don’t mean any strange cultic rituals.
The spring or vernal equinox is one of the 2 times of the year, (the other being the autumn equinox) where our bodies go into a natural detox. If we harness this time to properly detox then the 6 months ahead through to the autumn will help us towards having roaring good health.
The name equinox comes from the latin terms aequus and nox meaning equal and night. On March 20th night and day will be of equal length. The earth’s axial tilt also changes so that the northern hemisphere tips towards the sun. There is a quality of energy to plant, to grow and renew. Energy is emerging from the ground where it has been dormant in the earth since the winter solstice; like the plants and animals we are coming out of hibernation. Just like the changes in nature, our energy starts to change from an introspective state and become more open and expansive.
This is such a great time for us to take advantage of this increased time of energy and prepare to shift old patterns, be they from the Winter months or going back longer. There is a renewed feel to the air and a great time for new beginnings in all areas of our lives
The transition into Spring is a big opportunity for us to clear out old toxicity. Having an illness around this time is very common and not necessarily a bad thing. Think of it as the house cleaners coming in to clear up debris, just as we spring clean our homes. The only time we are likely to get into trouble is if we suppress any illness or emotions through the use of pharmaceuticals and stop nature doing its work. Many people will have an acute illness. Acute illnesses are those that will eventually resolve without any medical supervision, like a cold. Whereas chronic illnesses are more serious illnesses that require medical supervision like Cancer, and have formed over a long period of time. If a recurrent acute illness is suppressed 3 times then it will be pushed deeper and will become chronic. It is therefore wise to let nature take its course and resolve any acute illnesses without suppression.
Provided there is energy in the body (for those with conditions like M.E. this can be a tough time), and the routes of elimination out of the body are working well, then the change of season can be a smooth transition. For those that are already struggling with their health then extra support may be needed moving from a low to high-energy season.
I work using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in my diagnosis of a client’s health. TCM looks at the body and the time of year in relation to the 5 elements; wood, fire, earth, metal and water. As we move into spring we also move into the time of the wood element and the organs associated with it are the liver and the gallbladder. The shift in season is more difficult for those with a very strong wood element imbalance.
The liver has many important functions one of which is detoxification of the body and the gallbladder helps with the digestion of fats. In Eastern medicine these organs are also associated with emotions, not just their function. In TCM the elements show us connections between the physical, the mental and the emotional and the Wood Element is associated with morning, action, and the ability to plan, control and how we assert ourselves. Wood gives us vision for the future and the energy, determination and motivation to move forward, it ensures the ‘free flow’ of chi-energy around our bodies which in turn promotes movement and adaptability. These people are happy and relaxed and emotions will be freely expressed. If this sounds like you then the next few weeks should be a breeze.
The liver likes to flow during the day, which means that any obstruction or stagnation in creativity or action will be experienced as something frustrating and cause tension within the body. If you find you are more prone to anger, tension, frustration, bitterness, agitation, nervous tension, resentment, over-stubbornness and inflexibility then there is most likely to be an imbalance in the Wood Element. These emotions and symptoms indicate chi stagnation in the body. This can also manifest itself with rigidity of movement, muscular aches and pains, headaches, or digestive problems and in more severe forms it can lead to chronic stiffness. Other outward signs are problems with the eyes, these are the sense organ of the wood element, a liking for sour foods as this is the flavour associated with the wood element, and the need to shout with a tendency toward controlling and anger.
When there is an excess or blockage, this person will be easily upset, feel frustrated, and perhaps unable to restrain feelings or shift to the other extreme of not being able to express emotions at all. Violence or erratic and impulsive behaviour may also be extreme symptoms. When the wood element personality becomes weak due to exposure to or overuse of, for example, toxins, drugs, alcohol or inability to express anger, the results show as depression, indecision, mood swings, poor judgment, impulsiveness and impaired ability to plan and organize.
While the blood is in the liver, it is purified and changed. It plays a major role in the detoxification process. Therefore, it is very important to support the liver to facilitate the detoxification process at times when the body may have accumulated toxins. The liver nourishes the tendons and ligaments, so losing ones flexibility is often a sign of stagnation of the liver. If we look at the body like a tree then we need a certain amount of flexibility without being too stiff.
When the liver stagnates, you may experience symptoms like pain underneath the ribs, painfully swollen breasts and genitals, or pain in the lower abdomen. Bloating and congestion in the digestive tract are other typical symptoms, as are muscular tension, allergies, headache, and menstrual problems, including PMS.
The gallbladder helps digest fats, which are essential to healthy skin, nerves and glands. It also serves as an avenue for eliminating certain types of toxins. When the liver is stressed and overworked, a person will tend to feel irritable and cranky. They may be restless and unable to get to sleep at night, but feel groggy and "hung over" in the morning. This results in an inability to move forward in a constructive manner and possibly with a feeling of discouragement and depression. Physically, this chronic weakness of the liver and gallbladder energy would result in fatigue.
People with vital livers are calm; they also have unerring judgment and can be naturally effective as leaders and decision-makers. When obstructed, stagnant or overheated, the energy flow in the liver and throughout the body is hampered resulting in myriad physical and emotional problems as outlined above.
We have to assist our bodies and minds in spreading energy during the day and helping them to rest during the night. Exercise is a great way to begin to express suppressed anger. Regular exercise will leave you feeling calm and at ease – exactly the feeling we are looking for when we feel frustrated and tense. Exercise will help clear your mind whenever you feel bogged down by too much work.
In addition, rest is extremely important. You need at least eight hours of sleep per night, and adequate time to wind down after stressful days. The reason for this is that the liver stores blood at night, so you want to make its job easier by letting yourself recover, your entire body starts to recuperate when you are at rest. Acceptance is important. So is having a creative hobby, if your work does not allow you to express your creativity freely.
This is nature’s birthing season – the time of creation, development and a new start. Like nature, we have the potential to flourish in this season - it is the time for new growth in our lives, relationships and work. You may noticed already that areas of your life are changing.
On a practical level start choosing foods that are faster growing, generally those that grow above the ground rather than the root vegetables of the darker months that give a different kind of energy to the body. The Spring diet should be the lightest of the year. Salads and greens are great choices along with introducing more raw food and juicing to help cleanse the intestines. Eating a lot of raw food and even a juice fast will give your digestive system a much needed break, allowing it to clear out waste that has built up over time. When food is cooked it is best cooked for a shorter time but at higher temperatures - sautéing, stir-frying, light steaming and minimal simmering is ideal. Eating seasonally is always a great choice as it gives the body what it needs at different times of the year.
It is also a good time to look at your water intake to help with cleansing. Around 2 litres of good quality drinking water a day, (not tap water) is ideal. Try to eliminate other drink stimulants, processed food, colourings, flavourings, preservatives, sweeteners, table salt and sugar. Eating organic will also reduce your pesticide load. The immune system will be under much less stress by simplifying your food, and decreasing your toxic load will make it better able to cope.
Dry skin brushing and hot and cold showering are great ways to wake the body up and help stimulate lymph and blood. At cellular level there will be a large sodium shift into the lymph so we don’t want to be stuck with a sore throat, swollen glands or congested breast tissue. Other naturopathic techniques can be used to help the liver and bowels with guidance.
Start moving around; take up a sport, Start slowly; do not try to do too much, too quickly. It is important to get the energy moving in your body again. Exercising releases endorphins (natural pain killers) into the blood stream, lifts your spirits and eases aches and pains.
If you are sitting at a desk all day, make sure you get up every 20 minutes and stretch a little, go and pick up a file from the filing cabinet or make a photocopy. Sitting all day causes Chi stagnation and muscular aches and pains.
If you feel you may benefit from some extra help or guidance on moving into the next season, rebalancing your liver and gallbladder or you want to clear a chronic load build up, then you can book me for a free 20 minute Skype consultation to discuss what may work for you. Here is a link to the form where you can contact me:
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