Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understands how seasonal changes affect the mind and body through the 5 elements and yin-yang theory. Each season corresponds to a different element, to its own organs and to various stages of the yin-yang cycle. The movement from yin to yang and vice versa is where life goes. The ancient masters have long believed that humans are intimately linked to nature and therefore the seasons can affect our bodies, sleep and energy. When we let our energy resonate with that of nature, we create health and vitality. On the other hand, living without worrying about the seasonal flow of nature that surrounds us, can lead to the development of discord and imbalances.
Each season has its own quality. For example, winter is a good time to slow down, conserve, think and store. The qualities that resonate with spring are expansion, growth and enthusiasm, just like a bud that comes to life. The element associated with spring is Wood and, like trees and plants that need space to grow, they must be deeply rooted for food and need flexibility to adapt. However, any restriction on this natural freedom of movement will result in frustration and anger.
The wisdom of Chinese medicine has always emphasized the importance of aligning health with the changing seasons. Seasonal transitions are not always easy, even for the healthiest people. Maintaining balance during these transitions is essential to our health and well-being. When proper personal care is ignored during a transition, an imbalance can occur and physical symptoms can appear or worsen.
Acupuncture and traditional Asian medicine can reduce these problems by balancing the meridians and organ systems to better cope with the external and internal stresses of these seasonal changes. The idea is to balance a person’s energy so that he’s in better shape to enter the new season. Acupuncture can help strengthen the immune system in the fall and detoxify the body in the spring to prevent possible symptoms from invading you. People who maintain a healthy lifestyle through acupuncture consult their practitioners for a “tune-up” or “seasonal treatment” to help them get back on track when they start to feel bad or just a little behind. These preventive self-care are part of the Eastern philosophy of medicine.