Harmonizing the Transition to Spring - Root + Bones

Harmonizing the Transition to Spring

As the days lengthen and temperatures start to climb, we begin crossing over into the Yang phase of the year, though we are wise to remember that we remain in the domain of the liminal. Temperature changes can be erratic, we might become exposed to new environmental irritants, the pace begins to quicken, and other changes are afoot—all of which can be stressful on the body. TCM equips us with many tools to understand the transitions underway and support ourselves into a vibrant Spring season, as adaptability is one of its fundamental pillars for preventive care and radiant health. 


Spring can be framed as an intermediary season; during Winter we are really setting up our foundations and deepest reserves for the year, specifically focusing on the Kidney organ-meridian system and the cultivation of Jing, our constitutional strength. Spring, which is associated with the Liver, corresponds to bodily processes with likewise crucial implications for our health. The Liver is responsible for the smooth and harmonious flow of Qi throughout the body, and its optimal functioning governs our felt sense of wellness in a multitude of ways. If Winter is associated with replenishment and acquisition, Spring focuses on delivery and utilization, additionally releasing what no longer serves. 


According to TCM, there are certain challenges we face in the transition to Spring that can compromise the body’s optimal balance and smooth progression through the changes of the year. During this time of year, the Liver has an increased susceptibility to Wind, which can agitate our Liver energy and cause flare-ups of health issues. Interestingly, ancient Chinese medical texts theorized that illnesses are carried by “perverse” winds, highlighting the intimate connection between the Liver and immunity. In TCM, the Liver is also considered the organ most susceptible to the effects of stress, which causes Qi stagnation, commonly expressed as anger.


Antidote #1: Schizandra is one of the best tonic herbs for fortifying oneself during seasonal transitions, specifically protecting the body and the skin from external elements and pollution. As an adaptogen, Schizandra can help regulate the body’s nonspecific stress response via the HPA axis and supports graceful adaptability through life’s rhythmic or surprise changes. 


Antidote #2: Practice acupressure to stimulate point Liver 3 with your finger or acupressure wand to move stagnant Qi and help release emotions like anger, resentment, and frustration. Spend 30 seconds to a minute utilizing a clockwork motion on each foot, right in the depression between the big and second toes. If it’s a little tender, that’s a sign your Liver needs some care.


Antidote #3: Incorporate sour, pungent, and bitter flavors. The astringent quality of sour (e.g., lemon) helps to relieve dampness, inflammation, and counteract greasy/fatty foods, especially perfect when reemerging from Winter. Pungent flavors (e.g., ginger, Schizandra) help us retain internal warmth through erratic weather, important for moving Qi. Bitter flavors support digestive health, which can be impacted by stress, seasonal transitions, and compromised immunity. 

Antidote #4: Astragalus is often used as a preventive herb during seasonal transitions as it deeply supports the Wei Qi, or the body’s conceptual “shield,” akin to our first line of defense from external pathogens. It is an adaptogen that specifically supports the body's ability to adapt to environmental changes and promotes robust energy levels, helping to raise Yang Qi. Another true adaptogen, it supports the body’s capacity for healthy stress response and the cultivation of resilience. 


Antidote #5: Reishi is a hepatoprotective (Liver-protective) medicinal mushroom, containing bioactive compounds that support its optimal capacity for detoxification – very important as the Liver is our most important organ of elimination. Reishi’s ability to both harmonize Liver Qi and support emotional balance, as a premier Shen (spirit) tonic, is fundamental to the smooth flow of Qi and Blood—a role of the Liver that can be compromised by emotional stress.


This is an expansive, exciting time of rebirth and renewal—energies we can harness and embody when we are properly attuned and resourced. The more incremental and supported a transition, the better our chances for flowing with the winds of change. Wishing you a blessed Spring season that in turn paves the way for the emergence of your Heart’s highest expression come Summer!