Or as the popular meme states: Welcome to level 6 of Jumanji! We are, to say the least, truly living in unprecedented times and by the time I return to the new norms of the work I love as an Acupuncturist and Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I will have been home for the duration of the entire spring season. I would have never imagined this to happen and almost daily I still find myself commenting on it as if it were new. I’m sure there is solidarity in that the last few months have brought the topic of change to the forefront of everyone’s minds. Spring is a beautiful time of year full of blossoming trees, flowers, longer days, beautiful sunshine and cleansing rain. If there ever was a representative season to assist our personal change and growth through what was brought upon us just as we rolled into early March, spring is appropriately in alignment.
According to the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, learning to live in and of the season is important for us to thrive. Each season is representative of a waxing or waning of elemental energies and our bodies follow this flow of energy. The spring is a particularly interesting time in terms of energy exchange as it embodies the swift transformation from the slumber of winter into the stirring of growth. What’s important to understand here is that this seasonal swap alone can be a challenging experience at times in terms of physical, mental and emotional energetics, which can greatly impact one’s level of stress. Superimposed with what’s been happening in the world lately, it would be an understatement to say that we have been collectively swept up in a whirlwind.
What does this mean in terms of your health?
Depending on your individual constitution, perhaps you can relate to the feelings of heighted anxiety, restlessness, hyperactivity, jitteriness, irritability or something you can’t quite put your finger on, but it surely feels like spring fever and you just need to get out to nature. Maybe you have experienced a change in sleep patterns, perspiration, emotional reactivity, hypersensitivities with allergies or digestion, headaches, muscle tension or sensitive eyes. This list is not exhaustive, but the takeaway is that no matter what you may be experiencing, remember you are adjusting to the season of birth and growth.
One of the ways you can complement your health journey and get a handle on these jagged energies, as well as to prevent a deeper cascading of symptoms, is with acupuncture. Often regarded as useful mostly for pain, acupuncture offers so much more and the underlying premise of every treatment, no matter which symptom is at hand, is to impact the nervous system in a way that I often describe as helping to flip the switch on stress. In essence, acupuncture treatments offer your body an opportunity to retrain itself to function within the healthier lines of your nervous system, which can be actualized on many tangible levels. When given the opportunity to rest and heal, the body can mobilize resources to where they need to be. When in a state of stress your body is focused on just that, furthermore when this state is chronic, you are constantly depriving vital organs and systems of their necessary resources. What I love most about my work is to see patients begin to recognize the far-reaching effects of a body in balance as their treatments progress. Often this return to balance can help them navigate and further detect when they are starting to push the limit physically, mentally or emotionally and allows them to gain the self-awareness of what their symptoms are actually telling them. Our bodies are brilliant!
While I await to meet you in clinic and assist you on your integrative health journey, here are a few reminders that can help you manage the insanity of spring (on the cusp of summer) energy in terms of utilizing your environment:
- Connect into the elements. Go for a walk/hike/bike ride or do some gardening. Discharge any stagnant energy you may feel by moving your body outdoors.
- Especially important is to remove your shoes and connect with the ground barefoot. Stand in the grass and dip your feet in the flowing water of streams, lakes or rivers. Flowing water is optimal but if all you can do is get your feet into a kiddie pool then do it.
- Meditate daily or take mindful breaks which focus on deep breaths. Sitting by the edge of the river and watching it flow is mesmerizingly therapeutic.
- Get into the sunshine and soak it up, without burning of course.
- Breathe in the fresh air often, deeply and intently.
And a few reminders of the regulars:
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep and target as many of those hours as possible to be before midnight, they are worth the effort of getting to bed.
- Drink plenty of water. Remember to actually pick up and drink that full bottle on your desk or counter.
- Eat on a regular schedule and make it clean, lighter and healthy. Think about nourishing rapid growth, you don’t want to deprive, add undue stress or bog down your digestive system.
Above all, go easy on yourself. Many of us are navigating uncharted waters. Keep your roots planted firmly in the ground so you are able to flex like a swaying tree in the face of the winds of change. A solid foundation of health and a regulated nervous system will do wonders for you, especially when maneuvering the unknown and acupuncture is a wonderful tool for this.
I truly look forward to meeting all of you in person soon. Stay safe and remember to have fun.
Our Registered Acupuncturist and Doctor of TCM Vanessa Pettit has a focus on aligning the physical and emotional well-being of her patients. She has a keen interest in whole body rejuvenation and healthy aging from the inside out. She is a strong advocate for stress reduction and proper nutrients in order to improve immunity, sleep, energy, hormones, fertility and digestive functions. You can read more about Vanessa here.