Even though the official vernal equinox was a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been holding off on writing this Spring blog entry until the snow completely melted.  I didn’t want to get too excited about the amazing Spring energy until the last remnants of our snowy winter were gone.  I find each seasonal shift to be a welcomed change, but the shift to Spring always brings me a huge sense of relief.  We made it through the “hibernation” mode of Winter and can embrace the re-awakening that is happening all around us.  As usual, I remind you to take your cue from what is going on in the natural world surrounding you.  We’re gaining daylight hours, birds are chirping, trees are budding, and crocuses are peaking through the ground.  Spring is all about transforming the Yin energy we’ve conserved all Winter into the Yang energy of re-awakening, re-birth, and regeneration.  It’s about upward and outward movement and activity.  I’m no longer giving you permission to sit back and relax...it’s time break out and get moving!

     Now, as soon as I utter the words “get moving”, the meridian that comes to my mind is the Liver.  In Chinese Medicine, the Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body, and the smoothing of our emotions.  Anger, irritability, and frustration are all signs that our Qi is not flowing smoothly.  This is referred to as Liver Qi Stagnation and it is one of the most common imbalances treated in the United States.  Another main function of the Liver is detoxifying, nourishing, replenishing, and storing the blood.  As you can imagine ,the health of the Liver underlies the overall health of all your organ systems and entire body.  If your Liver is stagnant and toxic you can bet you’re going to start to have symptoms that pop up wherever your weakness lies.  That may mean digestive issues for one person, respiratory issues for another, and reproductive issues for yet another.  You get the point...wherever your “weak link” is, problems will crop up.  The Liver, and it’s paired meridian the Gall Bladder, correspond to the Spring season, so this is the time to be kind to your Liver!   Here are some basic Springtime tips for revving up that Liver meridian:

     1.      Eat Green -  Green is the color of the Liver and of Springtime.  Eating young plants --- fresh, leafy greens, sprouts, and immature cereal grasses --- can improve the liver’s function and aid in the movement of Qi.  Think about all the fresh Spring veggies we will have available in the next few weeks that are locally grown in New England.  Take advantage....this is the time of year I encourage eating lots of salads!

     2.     Try a Detox program or Cleanse - Detox time is upon us.  Spring is the optimal time to clean and clear out the body of all the “not-so-good-stuff” we eat, drink and are exposed to in our environment.  Choose a program and time frame that will work for you...that may mean 3 days or 3 weeks.  It can be as simple as cutting out dairy and refined sugars, or maybe you’re looking for something more intense.  If you are thinking about doing a cleanse feel free to contact me.  I may be able to give you some helpful information on how to approach the process.

     3.     Get Moving - It bears repeating, so I’m saying it again...and again...and again.  This is the time of the year to get an exercise regimen started.  I always thought all those New Year’s resolutions were misplaced.  Spring is the time to start new routines to improve your health.  The Spring “renewal” energy is here to support us, not to mention added daylight and warmth!  So figure out what kind of activity you can incorporate into a REGULAR routine....breathing, stretching, yoga, Qi Gong, light weightlifting, jogging, walking, cycling, etc., etc., etc.  Not only will it help to shed the extra winter pounds, your mood and energy level will improve as well.

     4.     Get Outside - Alright, alright....I say this in every season because I think it is vital that we all get out in nature to breathe in the fresh air and UNPLUG --- throughout the year!  Even if it’s only 10 minutes, get outside, feel the sunshine on your face and take a couple of deep breaths.  It will move that Liver Qi!

     5.     Enjoy Milk Thistle Tea - Milk thistle helps protect liver cells from incoming toxins and encourages the Liver to cleanse itself of damaging substances such as alcohol, medications, pesticides, and environmental toxins.

Five simple suggestions for the Spring.  I know you can do it...and your Liver will thank you for it!