Spring has well and truly sprung in Melbourne (we’ve even had a few summer-like days!) and while it’s a time to rejoice and celebrate the fact that we can put away our winter woollies, Spring can also be a tough time for many people who struggle with severe hayfever and allergies, headaches and/or migraines and even colds and flu. The good news is that a combination of regular Yoga and Shiatsu can help to alleviate these annoying and sometimes debilitating symptoms.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Spring is associated with the Wood element and the correlating Liver and Gall Bladder meridians and organ systems. The Liver is the Yin organ and the Gallbladder is the Yang organ, and their meridian channels run along the sides of the body; the Liver runs in an upwards direction on the inner side of the body and the Gall Bladder runs downwards on the outer side of the body.
In TCM, the Liver is responsible for storing the blood, ensuring the smooth flow of Qi throughout the body and nourishing the sinews (including the tendons, ligaments and skeletal muscles) – all necessary for healthy bodily function. The Liver is also responsible for controlling immune response. So as you can see it plays a very important role!
During Spring, it is common to see the Wood organ systems go out of balance and this disharmony can create both physical and emotional symptoms.
Common physical symptoms include:
- Hayfever, headaches & migraines, muscle tension, sciatica, issues with the eyes, menstrual irregularities and digestive upsets (particularly bloating and IBS).
- Emotional disturbances might manifest as:
- Outbursts of anger, irritability and frustration, lack of vision, purpose & direction, as well as the inability to make decisions, lack of resiliency and resistance to change.
- In Spring we also see a lot of windy days and wind can really disrupt the Qi and allow external pathogens to enter the body, which is why many people tend to get sick during this time.
We can strengthen our immune systems and combat these imbalances by improving the function of the meridians through a combination of dietary changes, regular movement practices and bodywork (such as Shiatsu!). Meditation is also a great support during this time.
Daily movement is essential in order to avoid Liver-Qi stagnation, so Spring is a perfect time to re-commit to your daily yoga practice after the hibernation period of winter. You can incorporate some simple side stretches in to your routine, which will help to open up and support the Liver and Gall Bladder channels.
Shiatsu is a highly therapeutic form of acupressure that moves energy through the meridian channels, encouraging and strengthening the body’s innate healing abilities. Regular Shiatsu massage can help the body to invigorate the flow of Liver-Qi, support the Liver and Gall Bladder meridians and bring the wood element back to harmony.
Caroline has studied Shiatsu & traditional Chinese medicine, yoga & meditation, fitness, nutrition, aromatherapy, energy medicine and emotional clearing. As well as a Diploma of Shiatsu and Oriental Therapies, she also holds a Certificate III & IV in Fitness, and Certifications in Reiki and Wellness Coaching. She is a senior Spiral practitioner, as well as a qualified yoga teacher.