- Rejuvenating Acupuncture818 East Main St.
Riverhead, N.Y. 11901631-591-1980
Available by Appointment
Five Acupuncture Points for Spring
Spring is the season of growth, regeneration, increased activity and new beginnings. During the season of spring, people experience many changes. Allergies, high blood pressure, headaches, sinus pain and congestion, anger, irritation and tendon problems are just some of the issues common to the spring months. Many of these problems can be attributed to increased wind in the environment. And while there is nothing that can be done about external wind, internal wind can be addressed and diminished using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the many modalities it incorporates.
In TCM, there are lots of correspondences and associations. Spring is the season of wood, the liver and the gallbladder. The liver is in charge of detoxification and keeping the energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) flowing smoothly. The gallbladder governs decision making and controls the sinews of the body.
When the liver and gallbladder are not functioning properly, the Qi becomes blocked and disease can occur. Both the liver and gallbladder also help with digestion. But it frequently happens that repressed anger and excessive stress can lead to the development of gallstones.
To keep the liver and gallbladder working smoothly, things like acupuncture, herbal formulas, nutritional counseling, tai chi and qi gong are all recommended. Acupuncture utilizes over 300 different pressure points on the body to help keep it in alignment and free from disease. And there are specific points that can be used to help balance the body during the season of spring. Let’s look at a few of them.
- Liver 3 – This point is located bilaterally on the top of the foot, in the depression about one thumb-breadth from the edge of the webbing between the first and second toes. This point can be used to decrease headaches, nasal congestion and depression.
- Large Intestine 20 – Found bilaterally on either side of the nose, in the nasolabial groove, level with the lower border of the nostril. This point is very effective for decreasing nasal pain and obstruction, as well as helping decrease rhinorrhea, also known as a runny nose. These symptoms are quite common with allergies that occur during spring.
- Gallbladder 34 – This point is located bilaterally on the outer side of the lower leg, in the depression behind the head of the fibula. Gallbladder 34 is the influential point of the tendons and is used specifically for pain in the lower extremities. The tendons can freeze up during spring after they have been somewhat dormant during the winter months.
- Liver 14 – Located bilaterally on abdomen, directly below the nipple, four thumb-breadths from the midline, in the sixth intercostal space. Liver 14 promotes the smooth flow of liver Qi and benefits the digestive tract.
- Urinary Bladder 18 – This point is located bilaterally on either side of the spine, at the lower border of the ninth thoracic vertebra, about one and a half thumb-breadths from the spine. This point benefits both the liver and the gallbladder, smooths liver Qi and decreases anger and irritability.
Any of these points can be used alone or in conjunction with others. They can be manually stimulated using pressure from a finger or dull, rounded tool. But for best effects, it is recommended acupuncture be applied.
Eating According to TCM: Five Foods for Spring
Spring is a time of renewal, regeneration, growth and energy. The plants and animals awaken from the slumber of the cold winter months. The vital nutrients that have been stored in the roots of the plants and the bodies of the animals, comes to the surface and life becomes more vibrant and fluid. Human beings are no different. Humans tend to stay indoors more during the winter months and sometimes pack on a little extra weight in the process. As the weather warms, humans become more gregarious and spend more time outside enjoying nature. This is just a natural process.
Therefore, it makes sense that what was observed by the ancient Chinese should still hold true today. Humans are supposed to take their cues from nature. As a species, humans should be more active during the warmer spring months. And to do this, we need proper nourishment. Qi (pronounced “chee”) is sometimes translated into energy. This Qi is the vital substance that keeps our bodies functioning until the day we die. To keep the Qi plentiful, we need to eat the proper foods at the proper times.
During the spring, we should be eating foods that have upward energies, such as green, sprouting vegetables. But we also need foods that will provide the extra nourishment needed for the increased amounts of activity that accompany the season of spring. This is where sweeter foods play a vital role. But be careful not to overdo it. Too much sweet can overload the body and make it sluggish.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, spring is the season of the liver and the gallbladder. These organs regulate a smooth flow of energy throughout the whole body. However, they are prone to stagnation because we do not take proper care of ourselves. This can manifest as anger, irritability, depression, insomnia and even pain. Stagnation can occur when people eat too many foods of poor quality that may be full of chemicals.
Here are some foods recommended to eat throughout the season of spring.
- Green Foods: During spring, it is recommended to eat foods green in color and rich in chlorophyll that help accelerate rejuvenation of the liver. This includes things like spirulina, chlorella, parsley, wheat grass, kale, Swiss chard and collard greens.
- Radishes: Pungent in flavor, radishes are perfect for the spring time. They help move liver Qi and open up the liver meridian.
- Sour Citrus Fruits: Foods like lemons, limes and grapefruit are all good choices that help cut fats that may have been stored up in the body during the winter months, while also keeping the liver Qi moving smoothly.
- Bitter Leafy Greens: Spring is the appropriate time for liver cleansing, which is what the bitter flavor does. So adding things like dandelion greens, arugula, radicchio, mustard greens and spinach will help tremendously.
- Chicken: Ever heard the term “spring chicken”? Well this is the appropriate time of year to enjoy pasture-raised, locally grown chicken. And pairing chicken with some of the aforementioned foods can make for a very healthy and liver happy meal.
Contact us if you are curious about how to eat according to the seasons. We can guide you along your healing journey through the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine and nutritional counseling.