It feels like Spring or at least that it's just around the corner. One day it's bright, sunny and warmish and the next there's frost on the plants and we are expecting snow. It's the time of year when Winter and Spring are playing a game of tag.
Westerners think of the Spring Equinox (this year the 20th March) as the start of the new season but according to the Chinese solar calendar Spring started on the 3rd February which is midway between the the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.
So what you might ask, we still need the central heating on and we still have to scrape the car before setting out. But if you carefully watch the plants, birds and animals in your garden or parks you see the unstoppable pushing, expanding energy and vitality of Spring growth. In the Nei Jing Spring is called 'the period of the beginning and development of life when the breaths of Heaven and Earth are preparing to give birth' and even in the centre of the city of Birmingham the plants, birds and animals know it.
But we as people know that it's never a smooth trajectory from one season to another and at the moment it does feel that the season is unpredictable. The stop start feeling of our UK Spring can cause all sorts of issues in the smooth flow of a person’s energy and Five Element and Toyohari acupuncturist all around the country are treating their patients with this in mind.
None of our patients come in to our clinics and tell us that they are having a difficult transition from Winter to Spring. What they do tell us is that their aches and pains have intensified, that their chronic conditions such as arthritis or migraines have got worse, that their partners/kids/colleagues are out of sorts, they are getting road raged more or they themselves are lacking their usual patience. They tell us that they can't seem to decide how to move forward, that they feel depressed, blocked, confused and feel unaccountably angry or frustrated and irritable.
All these and many more issues are signs that the inevitable change that comes with the cycle of the year is being blocked and the expanding Spring energy is having difficulty getting going. This isn't just happening in in nature around us but also in us, the urban living humans who make up our cities, neighbourhoods and workplaces.
So what can you do to make the transition from Winter to Spring smoother for yourself and those around you?
Well you can take regular gentle exercise such as walking, dancing, yoga, tai chi and qi gong. You can keep your body nice and warm by eating simple nourishing, unprocessed foods and not taking off your winter jumper and scarf too soon. And of course you can have good acupuncture from a qualified acupuncturist to help your body and mind transition smoothly.
We all love the lighter evenings and in this way you can make the most of the longer days and snatches of bright sunshine without leaving yourself vulnerable to the chills, winds, pains and frustrations of early Spring.
I’ve just spent a lovely few days with friends in West Cork and as usual overindulged in the fabulous food and drink available there. Time to get back to more moderate eating. But that doesn’t mean boring.
This morning’s smoothie is a bit more fruity than usual as I wanted to use up the fruit left over from last week so added a ripe pear and wrinkly little apple to my usual blueberries and raspberries. Here’s the recipe
A few raspberries and blueberries
A small apple
A small pear
1 desertspoon or chia seeds
2 desertspoons of oats
1 teaspoon of cocoa powder
1 desertspoon of supper sprout mix
Topped up with coconut water
Whizz up and drink slowly. Yum. Sweet but nutritious as it’s of magnesium, protein, slow release carbohydrates and vitamins.
Acupuncture can help keep a woman healthy but good organic home made food fuels the system too.
Gaynor Hollis is a Classical Five Element Acupuncturist with a thriving practice in Birmingham. She is interested in all things healthy and life style related not just Chinese and Japanese acupuncture.