Spring is officially here and that glimpse we’ve had of it so far has been glorious. It's amazing what sunshine can do, even when evening comes along people are still sun-cheery (yes that's a new word).
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) spring is the season of growth, movement and the re-emergence of yang after a season of hibernation. With warmer weather approaching, qi and blood flows smoothly and freely in the body and towards the surface of the skin.
The difficulty here is straddling the unpredictable weather and not abandoning the scarves and jackets at the first sign of sunshine. As in autumn, wind is quite prevalent during this time, so wear a scarf or cover your neck to protect yourself. Discomfort or illness can come along like a gust of wind with quick onset. You may experience a cold or sore throat overnight accompanied with headaches, eye aches or aches and chills. The best way to deal with this is to try and just have a full day’s rest or an early night and you may find that the recovery period is quite smooth and quick.
The UK spring means we may experience sun, rain, wind, cold all in a very short space of time. Layer well and if you’ve been caught out in chilly and damp conditions, warm up with a nice hot shower and a cup of chai tea.
To balance the beginning before the warmth fully sets in, incorporate spring onions and ginger into your cooking. Focus on mildly warming food that support the body and help promote movement of qi such as fennel and rice. Now is the time to reintroduce a little more raw foods, salads and sprouts as you move away from stews and casseroles. Remember, raw foods don’t mean cold foods – you can try juicing and tuck in to all the lovely green vegetables that will be in season now.
Spring is a much better time to put forward any changes now that the cobwebs of winter are being dusted off. Stopping smoking or changing your eating habits are much easier to do now than in January. Try something new or refocus your energy on a goal that you may have let slip to the side. Re-engage with the outdoors by having a stroll in the park or just walking to the shops rather than driving.
Just as you would spring clean your home now is also a good time to dream and plan for what you want in your life. Think about things you want to rid (physically or mentally) and do it! Organising during this time of year gives it a great sense of adventure – it’s no coincidence that many high school teachers prepare their students for university decisions during these months. Have a moment and think about what you would like to change.
Take care of yourself. Some people have a tendency to give it their all when spring comes around and then overtax themselves. Just remind yourself (because you do know yourself best) that you don’t have to take on the new hobby and marathon training and start that new class just because it’s the season of birth and growth. In the same token if you feel like you do have a little more to give then definitely go for it.
Have a maintenance acupuncture tune-up. Even if you only have acupuncture a few times a year, a new season is a great reminder to have one to help rebalance little niggles, address existing issues or adjust your body with the outside environment.
Embrace the world of growth all around. Turn your face to the sun, smile and laugh out loud. Notice the plants and flowers everywhere, the buds bursting into leaves and let yourself go.
If you enjoyed this, then be sure to visit the blog The Happy Acupuncturist to read more articles, tips and health news.
Whether you suffer from hayfever or allergic rhinitis, this 3-part series from my blog will give you an insight on how we view them with Chinese medicine. Part 1 describes the relationship between Chinese medicine and allergic rhinitis; part 2 explains how acupuncture fits in and part 3 shows how acupressure can help relieve symptoms.
Spring brings sunshine and sneezes
Green smoothies and juicing are all the rage, and I get asked my opinion of them almost every week. It sometimes comes as a surprise to my clients that I don’t quite recommend them, especially with all the nutritional benefits of consuming raw food. This great article, first brought to my attention by fellow acupuncturist, Sandra Bird, speaks from an Ayurvedic point of view but explains the concept of food energetics in a similar way to Chinese medicine.
3 reasons to avoid green smoothies
I particularly like this:
"Foods cooked together in a single pot have time to get to know each other, to combine their qualities and be transformed from several individual ingredients to a single meal with a particular character. In contrast, smoothies contain a multitude of ingredients with very different qualities combined raw in a blender. Raw food prepared in this way may be delicious, but it doesn’t allow for this subtle marrying of qualities. As a result, the meal remains very complex which is difficult for the body to digest."
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If you have been kind enough to refer someone to me – I want to say a big THANK YOU. That is the highest compliment and it’s warmly appreciated every time.
There will be no appointments available from Saturday 19th to Tuesday 22nd April, with limited availability on Friday 18th.
Other news: Holiday notice 19 - 22 April 2014
Normal clinic hours resume from Wednesday, 23 April 2014.
Please call The Hale Clinic 020 7631 0156 or Neal’s Yard Remedies, King’s Road 020 7225 2050 to book your appointment. Alternatively, get in touch with me directly via email.
Here's a great tip from my client for those of you with busy days who need just a little inspiration away from the ready meals and pasta dinners.
In the morning before work spend some quiet time flipping through a food magazine and choose what you'll have for dinner that evening. Then shop for those ingredients at lunch so you can make that delicious meal once you get home and not worry about having to go grocery shopping after work.
Wake up a little earlier in the morning to save a lot of time in the evening and eat healthily with minimum fuss – what a great idea. Thanks for sharing, Sonia!
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That's all for this month...
Have a lovely spring break!
Coming Next Month
How do you feel today?
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