The daffodils are blooming, which means it's time for my yearly PSA on supporting the Wood element through spring. I like to highlight this each year, because spring is a season that can be especially challenging for folks. There is a lot of upward and outward energy. This can feel great after the quiet of winter, but also pretty intense. For me, focusing on harnessing and moving my Wood energy helps me to enjoy the beauty of the season.
What is the Wood element?
According to Chinese Medicine, springtime is associated with the Wood element and the Liver and Gallbladder organ systems. The Liver organ system is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi in the body and connected to the sinews and tendons, the menstrual cycle, and digestion. The balanced emotions associated with it are generosity and kindness. The unbalanced emotions are frustration and anger. The Liver also plays a big role in creativity, developing new ideas, and planning. The Gallbladder organ system stores and secretes bile and controls the sinews. It is key in decision making, moving the creative energy of the Liver into fruition and affects the dreams.
Why are the Liver and Gallbladder organ systems so important?
Disharmony in the Liver and Gallbladder organ systems are very common in our culture and tend to become more pronounced in the spring. One of the most common Liver disharmonies is Liver Qi stagnation. This means that the Qi (energy) of the Liver organ system is stuck and not moving smoothly. If the Liver Qi is not moving smoothly the Qi of the whole body is affected along with other major functions in the body like digestion and menstruation.
Stress, anxiety, and feelings of not living out your life's purpose can all play a role in the Qi of the Liver becoming stagnant over time. Symptoms of Liver Qi stagnation include neck and shoulder pain, eye problems (floaters, bloodshot eyes, blurry vision), headaches, feelings of anger, frustration and irritability, fullness in the upper abdomen, pain along the ribs, depressions, signing, PMS, breast distention and tenderness, and other menstrual irregularities. If you are prone to these symptoms it would be beneficial to focus on keeping your Liver Qi energy flowing smoothly throughout the whole year, but especially during the spring.
What are my favorite ways to support the Wood element and the Liver and Gallbadder organ systems?
I hope these ideas help you feel more supported this spring.
Amy Daws is a trained Therapeutic Massage, Shiatsu, and Chi Nei Tsang therapist. She is interested in the way that these modalities can bring healing and joy to people's lives.