Spring is in the air! Actually while I'm writing this, it's down right hot outside. In February! This is not usually a good sign. Spring is supposed to be a time of renewal and growth, and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we believe the flow of qi is closely connected to the changing seasons. So when there are late freezes or early heat waves, it disrupts the normal flow of qi and affects our health and well-being. Let's explore how the flow of qi in spring is affected by early and late freezes.
In TCM, the flow of qi is believed to rise and expand in the spring, as the weather becomes warmer and the days grow longer. This expansion of qi helps to promote growth and renewal, which can be reflected not only in ourselves, but in the environment around us. The budding of trees, the explosion of growth around, showing us that expansion of qi as we begin the outward growth associated with spring. When there is then either a late freeze, or if the temperatures just drop back to normal, this stunts the outward expansion of qi. This creates confusion in the body, and in nature. Look around at the trees right now. Half of them are budding new leaves, the other half are still shedding theirs. Climate disruptions create chaos and confusion. You can most certainly feel this in your body. Below I am going to go into the different symptoms you may have during each extreme. We are having a heat wave right now, but northerners are having very late freezes too.
Interesting side note, in the Lunar Calendar the beginning of the year is with the first new moon - and this corresponds to the beginning of spring. In western traditions we always think of spring as being the Vernal Equinox around March 21st. But that is closer to the middle of spring, especially the further south you go. So for us in warmer climates this makes a lot more sense. But I digress, back to climate change and how that impacts our bodies...
When there is an early heat wave, it can cause the qi to expand too quickly, before the body is ready. This can lead to symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, dryness, and thirst.
When there are late freezes in the spring, it can also disrupt the normal flow of qi, causing it to contract or become stagnant rather than expanding and rising. This can lead to a buildup of cold and dampness in the body, which can cause symptoms such as muscle stiffness, joint pain, digestive issues, and mood changes.
To help restore balance to the body during an early warm spell or late cold spell in spring, here are a few things you can do:
Seasonal changes are the most vulnerable times of the year for our health. It is important to note that TCM is a holistic approach to health and wellness, and practitioners consider each person's unique constitution and symptoms when making treatment recommendations. If you are experiencing symptoms related to a late freeze, you should consult with a licensed acupuncturist who can create an individualized treatment plan for your specific needs.
Climate change is going to continue to have a dramatic impact on our planet and our bodies. If you'd like to learn more I recommend the following book:
The book does a great job of introducing the concept of yin and yang in Chinese medicine and how it can be applied to climate change. It then delves into how the five elements of Chinese medicine - wood, fire, earth, metal, and water - relate to different aspects of climate change and how they can be used to bring balance to ourselves and the environment.
The author discusses the psychological impacts of climate change and how they can manifest in feelings of despair, anxiety, and disconnection. He suggests that Chinese medicine practices such as meditation, acupuncture, and herbal medicine can help individuals cope with these emotions and reconnect with themselves and the natural world.
The book also explores how Chinese medicine can provide insights into the cultural and societal aspects of climate change. It discusses the concept of qi or life force energy and how it can be seen as a reflection of the interconnectedness of all things, including the environment and society. He argues very compellingly that by understanding and working with this concept, we can create more sustainable and harmonious societies.
I think this is a very provocative book that is becoming more and more relevant everyday. Check it out and let me know what you think. And remember,
Stay Healthy, Friends!
Bret Kyle Rogers, L.Ac.
Texas based acupuncturist, qigong teacher, and herbalist demystifying Chinese medicine. The author frequently links to Amazon.com for specific products. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases and appreciate your business!