In Chicago we have been waiting eagerly for Spring and it has finally arrived. In Chinese Medicine, every season has an element attached to it. Spring brings us the Wood element.
Wood exemplifies the active energy of Spring.
Every day, just walking down the street, I see more trees beginning to bloom, hyacinths giving way to tulips, and birds chasing material for nests. It is a time for growth, change and progress.
The negative side of the Wood element, and something to be aware of in the months ahead, is that when constrained or frustrated, Wood energy can cause anger, stress and anxiety.
Anger hardens us; it makes us unbendable – like a tree that snaps in a large gust of wind instead of swaying.
Keep an eye on these emotions; try to bend, or better, let go of the problems in life over which you have no control. Concentrate on those people, actions and beliefs where you feel creative, can be expansive and take action.
The wood element also reminds us to maintain strong roots; to make change wisely in keeping with our beliefs. When we are unfocused, indecisive and lack vision, just like a badly rooted tree, there is little possibility for growth and forward movement.
Spring is the time to start something new. While you make your plans for Spring, remain flexible while rooted in your knowledge and beliefs; be assertive without falling into anger; and be decisive but not stubborn. It is a creative time.
One basic tenet of Chinese Medicine is that we all have a connection to the environment around us and to the larger universe.
It follows that good health means living in harmony with the seasons. The universe is forever changing so it makes sense that we will be physically and mentally healthier if we adapt to the idea of continual change rather than stubbornly resist it.
As well as a season, each element has numerous associations, Some of the characteristics of the wood element are listed in the infographic below.
Let me know what plans you have for Spring. I have lots of exciting things going on and will be writing about them soon, so be sure to check back in the days ahead!
Jennifer Dubowsky, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois, since 2002. Dubowsky earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Illinois in Chicago and her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. During her studies, she completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Dubowsky has researched and written articles on Chinese medicine and has given talks on the topic. She maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese medicine at Acupuncture Blog Chicago. Adventures in Chinese Medicine is her first book. You can find her at www.tcm007.com.