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Springtime Stress Relief


Spring has sprung and here in Washington most of our State Parks opened again this month. It is the time of year when new growth bursts up from the ground, tree buds unfurl, and living things just cannot contain themselves. They Simply. Must. Grow. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), both green and spring are conceptually associated with the Liver, as is the element wood, and pent up stressors causing irritability.

In TCM there are twelve regular meridians or channels, each associated with a major organ system. One of these is the Liver. This channel begins at the corner of your big toenail. It traverses the top your foot and travels up the inside of your leg, around your groin, to its organ namesake, with some offshoots that lead all the way to the top of your head. Thus, similar to the flowering bulbs and seeds pushing through layers of soil towards the sun in springtime, liver energy pushes up towards your head. This is a good direction for energy to flow – we want energy throughout our whole body. However, if unbalanced by other energy flowing downward, the excess, upward-moving Liver energy can contribute to headaches, hypertension, vision issues, and irritability.

As a result, this is an exceptionally good time of year to get outdoors and spend some time among trees, moving as you can – walking, rolling, biking – to help balance your Liver energy and address tension headaches and stress-induced irritability. The latter of which there is no shortage in our current pandemic-afflicted world (why can all my other groceries be delivered but I must actually go to the store for TP?). Spending time in nature has been repeatedly documented to relieve stress, both perceived and as physiologically measured. So, get out and spend some time in the green of a park.



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