Spring has arrived early this year. For most of us, in this area at least, we have had no real winter. The cherry trees are blooming, my forsythia is sporting lots of yellow flowers and everywhere I look there are daffodils.  The weather guy keeps telling me how we are at least 30 degrees above average for this time of year.  What is going on Mother Nature?

I don’t know what Mother Nature is thinking, but I do know that the spring energy brings with it a need for us to rise from our winter sleep.

I remember when I was a child watching my mom engaging in her yearly “spring cleaning”. I would watch her flurry of activity as she washed curtains, table clothes, and transferred the winter clothes to storage and got out the summer wear. It was a yearly ritual.  When she was done, she could sit back and smile because she knew her home was free of the stuffiness of winter and refreshed for the new season.

Wouldn’t it be nice to do the same for your mind/body/spirit?

I have observed that the spring energy is the strongest of all of the seasons. In Chinese medicine it comes from the liver.  Liver energy can be greatly affected by our emotions which play a major role in our lives and affect all of our interactions with other people.  This is especially true if those emotions stem from unresolved issues.

Emotions are normal and functional most of the time; but they are meant to come and go and be released.  Unfortunately, we sometimes hold on to them, consciously or unconsciously, to our own detriment.  As it turns out, spring is a great time to clean and refresh our emotional houses – the same way my mom used to take care of our home.

What happens we hang on to our unresolved emotions?  The liver energy is affected, becoming out of balance. We can feel frustrated, angry and irritable; we can also have physical symptoms: headaches, muscle tension, irritable bowel symptoms.  Many times we wonder where these symptoms have come from.  During the spring, just like the grass pushing through the crack in the concrete, these old pent up emotions can push to get out.

Our drive on the beltway can take on a whole new – and darker – outlook, when someone cuts in front of us.  Even waiting in line at the supermarket can make us more tense and irritable.
Negative emotions can build up to near toxic levels, so it is no surprise to learn that getting rid of pent up anger and frustration can lift a weight off your shoulders, clear your mind and even perhaps boost your health.

The questions is how to do it?

There are many ways to accomplish this “spring cleaning” of the body, mind, and spirit.  One of the best ways I know is through acupuncture. If you have regular acupuncture treatments you will find that the transitions between seasons are much easier.

If you haven’t seen your acupuncturist in a while, a seasonal tune up might just what is needed now; especially after our unusual winter. Acupuncture isn’t just for pain, it keeps us balanced in other way. It can free us of old pent up emotions, leaving space for new more positive feelings to emerge.

Happy Spring!

Stephanie Judge

Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist