Spring, the wood element and acupuncture – Ric Malkinson

The bamboo that bends is stronger than-2The easiest way to introduce the Wood Element is to just dive straight in: after all, Wood represents activity, upward movement, getting things done. Not surprisingly, its corresponding season is Spring, the season of action, growth, and regeneration; so it is that the clenched fist, a symbol typical of the source and power of Wood energy, is mirrored by the symbol of the clenched energy held tightly within a bud at the beginning of Spring.

 

In Chinese Medicine, each Element and corresponding season is linked with an organ in the body – for the Wood element and Spring, this organ is the Liver. One of the main responsibities of the Liver is to maintain the smooth flow of blood and energy throughout the body – and with so much emphasis on growth, change and forward movement, it becomes clear just how important this smooth flow is to a healthy and strong Wood element.

When the Liver isn’t functioning optimally and things aren’t flowing smoothly, we start to experience what acupuncturists think of as stagnation-type symptoms. These symptoms can take on a great number of forms – for example, digestive disturbances, tension headaches, menstrual cramps, arthritis or increased stiffness and tightness in your muscles and joints.

Stagnation affects us on a mental and emotional level too; there’s an emotional ‘stuckness’ that can take hold in Spring. Without that free-flow of blood and energy throughout our bodies we may feel tense, irritable, angry, more easily annoyed. We may feel more stressed and more ‘rigid’, and lacking focus.

Our world is forever changing and, to be at our best, we must continually adapt to these changes and “go with the flow”. By working primarily on improving Liver function, an acupuncturist may be able to help us feel the movement, strength and vision of a healthy Wood element. If we don’t bend, we snap – and with free-flow of blood and energy, rigidity is replaced by flexibility.

Whatever changes we feel we need to make in our lives, Spring is the best time to take action!

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