A Spring in your Step!
As I write this article I am watching the hailstones hammering down onto my patio and confusing all my spring plants. Apart from the beautiful bloom of cherry blossom everywhere to remind us it is Spring, arctic winds, hailstones and temperatures struggling to get beyond 10 degrees Celsius, certainly don’t indicate that the Spring Season is well under way.
I am however ignoring the winter temperatures in my treatment room and honouring the Qi of Spring. In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) the Five Elements Theory helps us to interpret the relationship between the natural environment and us as human beings. In TCM, Spring corresponds to the “Wood” element and the principle organ of the Wood Element is the liver.
It is our liver that is responsible for ensuring the free flow of Qi (or energy). When the Wood element is in harmony, our energy or Qi moves freely; we feel motivated, easygoing and relaxed. In disharmony, our Qi becomes blocked or stagnant resulting in anger, rigidity, tension and frustration.
Finding the balance in our everyday lives lies at the core of TCM and the Five Elements; the balance between work/pleasure, me-time/family-time, exercise/rest, the list goes on…
When we lose the fine balance, we often find ourselves stressed and irritable which then leads to a physical pain in our body such as tight aching muscles and tension headaches.
Spring Is The Season Of Growth
We mustn’t forget that in nature, Spring is the season of growth and expansion and therefore it is vital that we remind ourselves that this should be reflected in our daily life. The Wood element is represented by the morning so try to rest at night and wake early – an early morning run or yoga class is a perfect way to start the day! I know that time is essence in our busy lives but maybe indulge in a mindful walk to work twice a week – keep moving and don’t let things stagnate.
I am forever telling my clients that their painful shoulders, neck and lower back are attributed to a slumped posture in front of a computer screen, all hours of the day.
Green is the colour of the Wood element so the other simple measures we can do to help ourselves and our liver at this time of year is to eat lots of green vegetables and herbs – I ordered a ‘green goddess’ salad the other day purely because I loved the name!
Therapeutically we need to move, release and relax so as an Aromatherapist, the essential oils I would turn to are the fruity oils that harmonise and uplift, the Green/Minty oils that regulate and clarify and the Herbaceous that balance and restore . As I write this piece I am enjoying the delicious and uplifting Spring Aroma of Geranium, Lavender, Bergamot and Mandarin wafting from my atomiser. Why this blend?
My ever trusted companion Lavender is probably one of the best oils for stagnant Qi (ie, muscular tension), Bergamot’s fruity uplifting aroma encourages us to ‘let go’ and relax, an oil that I always turn to when needing to restore balance is Geranium, it’s sweet green aroma relaxes the nerves and is particularly good for those who often find themselves stressed and overworked. And finally Mandarin’s sweet aroma that brings out the inner child in everyone.
The hailstones have now stopped, the sun is trying to break through and as difficult as it is pulling myself away from my indoor spring aroma it’s time to move and embrace the outside world.