The Element of Spring: Wood

By Jennifer Dubowsky
Jennifer Dubowsky
Jennifer Dubowsky
March 20, 2015 Updated: June 24, 2015

The foundation of Chinese philosophy is the idea that human beings are a part of this universe and integral to the dynamic flow of nature just as animals and plants.

For this reason, living in harmony with the seasons is a key component to health. According to Chinese Medicine, the universe is forever changing and to be at our best we must continually adapt to these changes. In Chinese medicine, the season of Spring is associated with the wood element.



Spring is a time of action, change and rebirth. (Shutterstock)

Staying Flexible

Wood exemplifies the energy of growth, change, and pushing through obstacles. It represents a very active energy that allows for a lot of movement and progress, both internally and externally. When constrained, it is also the energy that contributes to frustration, anger,  and stress.

Like the wood element, anger can make us hard and unbendable—like the tree that snaps in a strong wind instead of swaying.

So what can we learn from the wood element?

The key here is flexibility. Stand tall, plant your roots deeply, and remain flexible rather than rigid so you don’t snap.

Think about the experience of anger—it is often the feeling of snapping that occurs when frustration and obstacles thwart us. Use the new energy of spring to get moving on projects. Spring is a time of action, change and rebirth.

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 “pussy-willow” via Shutterstok

Jennifer Dubowsky
Jennifer Dubowsky