Rising UP to SPRING! Discover the WOOD Element’s Calling

The energies of SPRING in Shiatsu and Chinese Medicine are the awakening and movement of the WOOD element. WOOD is all about GROWTH and boy can I feel it all around us. WOOD includes the liver (Yin- deep internal) and gallbladder (Yang- external) organs and dictate how the energies want to move in your body AND in your life. After the deep rest of winter, where the energies lie dormant within the kidneys, blood and bones; RISING ENERGY sweeps into action causing restlessness and the desire to move, change, and grow.

The energy of wood moves upward, just like in a tree. Our energies tend to move upward during this time too, so it is helpful to make way for, and to cleanse the wood channel. While the liver energy rises (beginning at the second toe and ending at the ribcage), the gallbladder energy moves down (beginning beside the eyes and ending at the end of the 4th toe). So the simple act of taking a walk really completes the energy movement of both channels and helps them balance and work more in harmony. People are always asking me how to cleanse the liver and gallbladder.

Often this time of year, and I have noticed lately, people come in with lots of liver and gallbladder energy stagnation in their bodies. WE can certainly help move this energy during a shiatsu session BUT: AND- OH! There is so much that you can do on your own to get the wood meridians moving. 


HERE are some WAYS CAN YOU MOVE YOUR Liver/Gallbladder (Wood) ENERGY:


First, the wood meridians LOVE movement.


In fact, they rule movement, or what we like to call the “smooth flow of QI in the body.” When this Qi gets stopped up, or “stagnant” certain unwelcome symptoms may appear, including: frustration, irritability, anger, rage, mood swings, workaholic tendencies, difficulty digesting fats, cramps and difficulties around menstruation, insomnia due to pent up physical energy, and hip-leg-and low back pain. So your first plan for spring is to MOVE! Get out in the garden, get out and take a walk everyday, run, hike, workout, dance , sing, and PLAY.

Second, start eating the foods that are RISING during this time.


After the dormant winter, nature’s wood energy starts producing the early spring plants like dandelion, lettuces, green herbs, artichoke, asparagus, peas, and chicory. All the young spring greens have a cleansing effect on the WOOD organs, but in particular, DANDELION is wonderful liver detox and nurturing medicine, and ARTICHOKE has a cleansing and moving effect on the gallbladder. Add some butter or olive oil with LEMON (also cleansing to the liver) and you have WONDERFUL DETOX FOOD. Adding PARSLEY (kidney tonic) or CILANTRO ( heavy metal cleanser) to your salads is a delicious and detoxifying way to enjoy your food and cleanse your body. You can also keep making your spleen and stomach (organs of digestion) happy by continuing to eat your root vegetables, especially beets and sweet potatoes. These foods truly are nature’s best detoxers. Don’t get fooled into thinking that you need expensive products to detox your body and mind. Nature has all of this under control. Just be more in tune with your body and the earth’s rhythms and you will be able to cleanse and follow all of your body’s needs.


LAST, to really cleanse the liver and gallbladder you need to SWEAT!


This can be accomplished during step one which is movement. However, a full-proof Portland way to do this is to get your self to a DRY or STEAM sauna and SWEAT IT OUT! Sauna-ing helps your body purge toxins as well as gets the lymph and liver moving so that your body is more able to eliminate toxins just by doing it’s everyday thing, (that’s right- even when you are ahem, JUST HANGING out!) So remember, your body, mind, and spirit are lightening up at the moment, your energy is rising and calling for gentle movement to balance all of that out! GET OUT in your neighborhood and look at all the blooms, get in the garden and plant some plants, and get in the kitchen and start eating those salads; because nature is calling you to get in touch with you! Tis the season- I’ll see you in the ‘hood.


In health,