The weather may still feel like Winter because of the remnants of the Water energy of Winter according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Although the powerful energy of Water is no longer “pro-active,” its momentum continues for a period of time still producing the manifestations of Winter. As of February 5, however, the "pro-active" energetic season is the new energy of Wood and energetic Spring. As that energy is launched, it takes some time before we actually feel its manifestations. Nevertheless, nature begins to receive a new set of information resulting in progressive changes that we will begin to notice more or less rapidly depending on how strong the new Wood energy is. Just prior to February 5, we experienced an eighteen-day transition period of Earth between Water (Winter) and Wood (Spring).
In TCM, the element represented by Spring is Wood.
To live in balance with the 5-Element Theory of TCM and for that matter, to live in balance with nature of which we are an inherent part, we’ll want to embrace the following attributes, characteristics and specific organ activity for the Wood element and Spring season.
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Here's a short list of best practices for Spring and the Wood element...
- The color for the Wood element is green. Freshen up your life by bringing green into it in all sorts of ways. Bring it into your diet and in your home decor.
- Liver and gall bladder are the organs associated with the Wood element. If you have liver or gall bladder issues and/or you have a Wood element imbalance, incorporate more of these tips into your daily life to help support these important internal organs.
- Indications of too much Wood chi which manifests as Wood imbalance include:
- stiff muscles and joints
- liver troubles
- sallow or yellowish skin
- panic attacks, hysteria
- neck pain
- anger, resentment, bitterness
- lack of compassion
- erratic behavior
- low self-esteem
- shouting, complaining, arguing
- violence, abuse, incessant arguing.
- In addition to food, the following Wood element fragrances can be used and enjoyed to uplift and strengthen Wood chi and help create more balance in Wood:
- orange, grapefruit
- Certain green gemstones can also be used to assist the flow of Wood chi:
- green opal
- TCM-advised sound and breathing exercises for each element also help to bring balance where there was imbalance. Since wind is the climactic element condition assigned to the Wood element, become more aware of your ‘wind’ by breathing more consciously.
- Look into the qigong practice called “Marriage of Heaven and Earth” where liver and gall bladder organs receive healing and we become intimate with the primary energy principle known as pulsing. Pulsing teaches how all of creation including us pulses between yin and yang. The principle of pulsing is primarily linked to the Wood element where it is easiest to learn, embody and ground within us.
- For Wood, the healing sound is easy. It’s a long “Shhhh” – as in telling someone to be quiet. On the exhale of a deep breath, this sound will help to release anger and frustration. It can help to soften the person suffering with anger and at the same time assist to quell ailments in the liver and gall bladder.
- The five element healing sounds are actually breathing exercises that are best done every day at least five times a week, taking at least six deep breaths, the deeper the better. It is most beneficial to do the exercises outdoors where chi is fresh, preferably in the morning, with the sun shining on you from the East but they can most definitely be done indoors too.
- You will want to inhale through your nose until your abdomen is full of fresh air and then exhale out through the mouth making the soft healing sound Shhhh. On the inhale, imagine positive chi entering your body and cleansing the negative chi and ailments in your body. On the exhale, imagine pushing out the negative chi and ailments.
- It is important to practice mindfulness and meditation at this Spring time of year to magnetize clarity of vision to ourselves, because the liver governs the health of the eyes and the clarity received applies both literally and figuratively.
- The time is energetic Spring! Rise early with the sun and take brisk walks. Living in harmony with Spring will reawaken us after a long period of introspective, quiet and more slowly moving Winter.
Check out PHYTO5's Wood element skincare line to address imbalance in the skin such as oiliness, blackheads, hyperpigmentation, and issues of vital energy circulation.
Nguyen, Phil N. Feng Shui for the Curious and Serious. New Jersey: Xlibris Corporation, 2008. Print.
Thunderhawk, Denise, L. Ac. The 5-Element Guide to Healing with Whole Foods. N.p.: Lulu, 2016. Print.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published February 27, 2017 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.