Today marks the Spring Equinox - equal hours of day and night as we begin moving towards the long days of summer. In East Asian Medicine, this brings us the vibrant energy of the Liver and Gallbladder. Some of you have already felt those effects as the slow, slumbering energy of Winter has been giving way to spring. In an area like ours with seasonal changes, that may mean more energy, but it can also mean a seasonal increase in blood pressure. That natural trend is going to be amplified by the stresses we are all experiencing in the face of this global pandemic of COVID-19. So what does this mean? We need to be mindful of our blood pressure, take extra steps to wean ourselves off of stimulants like caffeine and nicotine. This is a great time to start increasing your activity levels with gentle movement and weight-bearing exercises. Like the world around us, this can also be a time to begin to bring to life our creative vision for the year.
We can also begin to incorporate more fresh foods into our diet - late winter citrus, early spring greens and cool weather crops like radishes. Now is the time to nourish our bodies with fresh foods, plenty of fluids, and gently cooked grains. The Liver and Gallbladder are associated with the flavor of sour. A nice mung bean soup with onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms, leek with cilantro and lemon served as a garnish would be a great dish to add to your menu. Or consider takeout from your favorite pho restaurant. And yes, you can still get mung beans at your local Asian market. Liver is also a great food to nourish your own Liver.
The Liver and Gallbladder are associated with the health of our tendons and muscles, and as in many concepts in East Asian Medicine, exercise using these parts of our bodies is beneficial for these organs as well. The Liver is often referred to as “The General” in East Asian Medicine, directing the actions of the body and the flow of Qi & Blood. If the Liver is unbalanced, anger may become too dominant, if the Gallbladder is weak, it is hard to make decisions. So in this critical time of stress and uncertainty, we must strive to focus on the opportunity, to manage our stress and nourish our bodies, and preserve our strength and decision-making.
In addition to meditation for at least 30 minutes per day, I recommend incorporating some Qi Gong and Tai Chi into your daily routine. Stay tuned for upcoming free videos you can follow on our YouTube Channel.