TCM values the liver as one of the most important organs in the body. The main job of the liver is to spread and regulate QI (energy flow) throughout the rest of the body. This is why the liver is one of the organs emphasized for spring. The liver absorbs everything our body takes in and ingests, being the holder and detoxifier of blood that is circulated throughout the body.
Symptoms of an imbalance in the liver can include anger, depression, irritability, nausea, stiff muscles and bruising. Acupuncture and TCM can aid to restore the liver and body back into balance.
Spring is the perfect time to bring more self-awareness to your body and the toxins that are ingested on a daily basis. Paying closer attention to your diet and getting rid of processed foods and chemicals can help to detox your liver and diminish acute problems that may have formed.
Dietary suggestions for spring include eliminating alcohol, saturated fats, coffee, and chemical additives. On the other hand, natural and whole foods such as spinach, sesame seeds, strawberries and quinoa are encouraged and beneficial for the liver. These unrefined foods can improve the quality of our blood, therefore improving and strengthening the liver.
The liver is believed to be closely connected to the mind. Because of this, when your mind is at peace, your liver is able to function properly. Getting enough sleep on a regular basis and taking time to rest your mind can help your liver function at its best.
Spring Body Cleaning Tips
1) Seek Acupuncture
We can’t talk about ways to cleanse the body this spring without mentioning acupuncture. From relieving seasonal allergies to reducing pain and inflammation, the benefits of this Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are endless.
2) Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey
You can make a powerful, all-natural detoxifying beverage by mixing together one tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with the ‘Mother’), one tablespoon of honey, and 12 ounces of water. The vinegar works to stabilize your body’s internal pH level, while the honey works to regulate your blood sugar levels. When combined together, it offers a superb cleansing and detoxifying beverage that’s perfect for the spring season. Even the Greek philosopher Socrates prescribed apple cider vinegar to his patients.
3) Take Care of Your Eyes
Did you know that your eyes are connected to every organ in your body in some manner? With that said, the liver has the strongest connection to the eyes. When your eye health begins to decline, so does your liver. Take care of your eyes by limiting your time in front of electronic displays (e.g. computers and television) and have an eye exam performed by a licensed optometrist at least once every two years.
Consuming chlorophyll – the pigment responsible for giving all green plants their color – will strengthen your liver. Chlorophyll is known to exhibit antioxidant properties, fighting harmful chemicals within the body known as free radicals. Some excellent sources of chlorophyll include spinach, parsley, garden cress, green beans, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, green peas, asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers, green apples, melon, honeydew and kiwi.
5) Get Outdoors
The blooming plant life and warming temperatures offers the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and exercise. Exercise and fresh outdoor air stimulate the body’s energy (Qi), keeping it moving and flowing throughout the body. When Qi becomes stagnant, it increases the risk of disease and illness. Something as simple as a 30-minute walk outside can make a world of difference in your health.
Sources: “Staying Healthy with The Seasons”, by Elson M. Haas, M.D., “Body Wisdom: Chinese and Natural Medicine for Self-Healing”, by Jennifer Harper