Adaptation, Spring, and the Wood Element in Chinese Medicine

April 21, 2014 Updated: June 24, 2015

Living in harmony with the seasons is one key component to health in Chinese Medicine. Our world is forever changing and, to be at our best, we must continually adapt to these changes and “go with the flow”. Therefore, as the seasons change, we must change as well. In Chicago, we have survived Chiberia and are almost free of the brutal cold. Spring is struggling to make an appearance and I’m more than willing to adapt to green trees, mild weather, sun shine and flowers. In Chinese Medicine, there are more complex¬† associations with Spring.

In Chinese Medicine, each season has a corresponding element. The season of Spring is associated with the Wood element. What does this mean for us? It’s time to take action! Take the first step, that’s what the wood element is all about.

Wood exemplifies the energy of growth and change that comes with Spring. It represents a very active energy that allows for progress, both internally and externally. In Chicago, we have been hibernating for months. The time has come to get out – both literally and figuratively. This is the perfect moment to push through obstacles, get moving on projects, and do the things you’ve been putting off (Like getting an acupuncture treatment ūüėČ.¬†

There is another side to Wood’s energy. When thwarted or constrained, the element Wood is the energy that contributes to frustration, anger and stress. Therefore, the key to a healthy, happy Spring is flexibility. Like the trees in the nature, we can use our energy for moving forward and growing without holding ourselves too rigidly. If we don’t bend, we will snap. If we are too loose, like a badly rooted tree, there is no anchor so we have less potential to use our strength for growth.

Carpe Diem – Seize The Day!

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

* Image of “spring landscape” via Shutterstock