Spring Forward with Acupuncture

The seasons are changing from Winter to Spring and with that comes the changing of the clocks.  Ok,  so we changed the clocks. We have gone around our homes, cars, jewelry and changed as many of them as we can.  And we will probably miss a few and feel totally out of sync.  Are you feeling it?  That sleepy, groggy, I can’t get it together feeling? So, what’s going on here??

Since December, when we awake it’s been dark outside.  Well, now sunrise will greet us each and every morning when we rise from our slumber. Don’t get me wrong, we get that extra hour added on at the end of the day, (which is great for all those outdoor activities) but for your inner clock, that’s no help. It is early morning light that we rely on to keep in sync with our natural world. The easiest explanation is that the time shift confuses the circadian clock in our brain. Your inner clock relies on timed exposure to light, especially natural light, to keep itself in synchronization with the daily cycle of 24 hours.

So when you’ve lost an hour of sleep and your daily rhythm is thrown off, it can also throw off your inner clock and sleeping patterns. Most of us need a week or more to adjust, and some researchers suggest that our clocks never fully adjust to Daylight Savings Time.  Due to these changes, many people also suffer from headaches, drowsiness, and additional stress. In fact, sometimes the stress can overwhelm the body.

Stress no more! Acupuncture is a wonderful ally for the body to help it adjust to Daylight Savings Time. One way to make this transition is to use the energy of the meridians that we all have, they are rivers of energy that flow through our bodies. The meridians have many points on them. Acupuncture stimulates the body to adjust and heal itself. When we gently contact these meridians it balances our daily time clock. When the energy flows free of obstructions we experience a sense of ease.

Each season is linked with an organ system in the body. Spring is the Liver and Gall bladder organ and meridian. Spring is when the liver should thrive. According to TCM, the liver is responsible for smooth flowing Qi (chi) or energy through the body. The liver and gall bladder meridians govern the muscles, tendons, and nerves in the body. The liver also controls the eyes. However, during times of transition like early spring, the liver can become out of harmony and vulnerable. Acupuncture improves the function of the liver meridian and can restore balance to the organs.

The five elements of TCM suggest seasons and change of season correspond to the flow of energy and the balance of Yin and Yang. Spring and the liver/gall bladder meridian go hand in hand. This is an ideal time for cleaning, harmony and rejuvenation.

Here are some signs that your liver/gall bladder meridian may be out of balance this time of year.

  1. You feel extra tense. The liver meridian controls the flow of energy. If the energy is not moving, things like emotional stress and the posture of your body can get disturbed.
  2. Muscle stiffness, aches and pains, headaches. The liver/gall bladder nourishes the tendons, ligaments and connective tissue. You may notice increased stiffness and tension now or in the coming weeks. Menstrual cramps may be worse than usual. This is known as stagnation in TCM.
  3. You feel Irritable and frustrated. Each organ has an emotion attached to it, and the liver emotion is anger.
  4. Dry or fatigued eyes are a sign of liver imbalance.
  5. Digestive problems. Digestion is dependent on smooth flow of qi or energy.

Things to do for Liver/Gall bladder Qi Stagnation

  1. Move your Qi. Get outside and move. Exercise, walk, run, bike, etc.
  2. Eat greens. Green is the color associated with the liver meridian. Eat fresh, leafy green vegetables.
  3. Taste associated with the liver is sour. Sour strengthens the liver qi. Add lemon to your water, use olive oils in your cooking and salad dressings.
  4. Stretch. Try some yoga, tai chi, or chi gong or any movement patterns.
  5. Eye exercise. Take breaks from the T.V. and computer.
  6. Detox the liver. Many herbs can help, including milk thistle tea.
  7. GET ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT.

I recommend 1-2 acupuncture treatments to balance your meridians at the change of seasons.Each season change has specific points as well as your own specific constitutional points to use for balance. Acupuncture treatment in spring can help your muscles, tendons, fascia and connective tissue. Acupuncture and spring specific treatment can also help your emotional wellbeing by balancing your stress, anger, frustrations and insomnia. Seasonal acupuncture treatments can help tonify your meridians and organs and balance minor issues before they become serious problems.

One of our focuses this month is sleep, and getting a good and healthy amount of it.  Acupuncture will calm and balance the body as well as help it to sleep. Acupuncture works extremely well for re-adjusting our bodies internal rhythms during these seasonal transitions.