ALEX WOOD OF THE NATURAL HEALTH SERVICE IN PAGE STREET, JOINS US THIS MONTH. ALEX HAS JUST THE EXERCISE TO HELP US SHAKE OFF OUR WINTER BLUES AND PUT A SPRING IN OUR STEP.
The earliest written text in China dates from around 600BC. It sets the foundation for Chinese medicine in a discussion between a wise sage, the Yellow Emperor and his student, Qibo.
Qibo asks why most people in ancient times lived to be over 100 years and remained active and healthy, but today people become decrepit and failing when they’re only 50. Not entirely true but you get the idea.
He goes on to ask if this is because of changes in the environment or have people neglected to maintain their health?
The wise man explains that the ancients knew how to remain healthy, and lived in harmony with seasons.
It sounds lovely, but how do we do this in the modern world?
In spring, nature is bursting out from hibernation: a dandelion pushes through a crack in the pavement and a flock of migrating birds start the journey of a thousand miles.
Internally our winter slump (often a sense of heaviness or low mood) begins to lift. The Yellow Emperor tells us from his observation of the universe, that the liver and gallbladder are associated with spring, and that internal heat begins to rise to the surface.
However we may feel irritable, have muscle stiffness, even sciatica, trouble getting to sleep, headaches or a flare up of inflammation (e.g. an old skin problem erupts or tummy trouble returns).
These are all signs that our liver and gallbladder meridian are out of balance. (A meridian is a pathway of movement that connects external parts of the body to the internal)
Here is a list of things that will help rebalance your liver and gallbladder meridian and improve your general health.
Increase fluids: room temperature water with a slice of lemon is especially good first thing in the morning. Reduce caffeine levels and alcohol.
Detox and eat more greens, lightly steamed vegetables and fish.
Build up a sweat: good anaerobic exercise will pump more blood through the liver and flush out the bad stuff.
Positive rest: lie horizontal for 15-20 minutes. (letting the mind settle to music or read) this allows the liver to nourish and filter the blood.
Free up frustrations: anger is the emotion associated with the liver (hence the old saying I feel liverish). Areas of tension can build up when we fail to let go or express emotions. These can settle in the more usual spots causing neck/shoulder tension or go deeper into internal organs e.g. pit of the stomach.
Stretching exercises such as yoga are great for helping open and release blocked feelings, as is shaking.
Shake it out! This is an exercise often used in Chi Kung- a type of Chinese Yoga.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold your hands together just below your belly button. Start a gentle shaking motion from the legs, slowly building up momentum. Let your arms fall by your sides. Breathe out in short bursts. Shake into any areas of tightness/discomfort. Speed up, slow down and stop. Come back to the original posture. Allow your breathing to settle to the navel/ soles of the feet. Notice any changes through your system.
Our wise Emperor concludes by saying this is the way to cultivate the vitality of spring. It will make your body able to adapt to the flourishing vitality of the summer.
Sounds great – – enough to put a Spring in your step!
Alex Wood LicAc MBAcC MTI
Traditional Chinese Acupuncture – Acupressure & Deep Tissue Massage
The Natural Health Service, No 2, Page Street, Swansea
Tel: 01792 651717
Mobile: 07812 702 382