Spring is the season of the Wood element in Traditional Chinese
Medicine. One of my acupressure professors
poetically described the Wood element as the energy and enthusiasm it takes for
seeds to burst from their seed casings into new growth. It’s associated with exuberance, creativity,
and excitement – all the things that a beautiful spring day can bring.
The Wood element is comprised of the Yin and Yang meridians
Liver and Gall Bladder respectively. The
Liver meridian is associated with planning, creativity, and vision (both
physically and metaphorically), while the Gall Bladder meridian is associated
with the implementation aspects like decision making, judgment, and action.
I’ve noticed that this particular spring has been a
tumultuous one bringing with it a lot of change which, by the way, can happen
during any seasonal transition, but this spring brought extreme weather
changes, relationship changes, job changes, and general life changes to many. During a time of change and particularly
extreme change, any element can get out of balance. When the Wood element becomes unbalanced it
shows up emotionally as anger or frustration, controlling or judgmental behaviors,
mental indecision, and depression, while physically it shows up as tendon and
muscle problems, eye and allergy problems, and headache, neck, and shoulder
problems to name a few. For me, spring
has meant allergies and headache.
Should you be experiencing any of these problems (and who
hasn’t), let me suggest a couple of acupressure points you can try on yourself
to ease your pain and enjoy spring more.
When you use these points, you can use a single finger (the
middle finger is easiest – it’s the longest and makes contact first, but index
or thumb work fine too), or you can use your index, middle, and ring fingers
together. You don’t need to dig into the
point (be careful because some points can be extremely tender). You just need moderate pressure to make
contact with the point and that will unblock points that are sore or hard, as
well as energize points that are sunken or cold. Hold each point 1 - 2 minutes.
We discussed the 7 Emotions of Chinese Medicine this week. Here they are for reference (listed in the
order of generating cycle starting with Spring):
- Fright (meaning to be startled)
- Worry (Obsessive Thinking)
- Sorrow (Grief)
A couple of things
stood out for me from our lecture.
First, my professor said that in past years, he'd ask students to list
the emotions in order of how prevalent they were in current society. While Anger, and Worry typically showed up at
the top, Fear usually showed up at the bottom.
My prof thought that was because students interpreted Fear only as an
extreme emotion, the way it's played out in horror movies.
He said if you don't think Fear is prevalent in today's
society, spend some time in any Silicon Valley tech company. He described a client who came to him for
facial rejuvenation because while she was by no means old (just out of her 20s),
she was afraid she would be replaced by someone younger who commanded a lower
wage and was willing to work any hours requested.
Before I get to the second point, let me share that each
emotion affects both the way Qi moves in the body (Qi enables the movement of
blood and body fluids), and each emotion also affects an organ system. Below are the correlations for each
emotion. Note that Traditional Chinese
Medicine (TCM) organ systems are not a 1:1 correlation with Western Medicine
Fright (meaning to be startled)
Qi moves chaotically
Moderates or Slackens Qi
Worry (Obsessive Thinking)
In TCM, the Kidney is the organ which holds Essence. Essence is both a person's constitutional substance
which governs growth, development, reproduction, and aging (this aspect of
Essence is often likened to the endocrine system in Western Medicine), and it
is the acquired substance we get from the food we eat and air we breathe. So, when the emotion of Fear or anxiety is over
stimulated, it weakens the Kidney and people show up with signs like chronic
low back pain, knee problems, ringing in the ears, or hearing problems, feeling
cold all the time, fatigue, general edema, and impotence or reproductive
The second thing that stood out from his lecture was his
comment about Joy. He said, while Joy
can have its excessive form usually called mania, Joy in its appropriate form can
resolve any and all emotional problems. In
TCM, the heart experiences ALL emotions and Joy can resolve any and all
I wish you much Joy in your life.
The 7 Emotions in Chinese Medicine