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The Wood Element In Us – Spring Time

Home » Chinese Medicine » The Wood Element In Us – Spring Time

The season that correspond to wood is spring, from 21st of March to 21st of June.

From the book Nei Jing: “Planting and begetting are in according with spring…the three month of spring are called the periods of the beginning and development of life. The breath of heaven and earth are prepared to give birth; thus everything is developing and flourishing. Everything is restored at the beginning of spring.

Spring is the time of the beginning of the creation of all living beings; therefore their breath is still flowing softly and weakly, their pulse is slow and slippery, but they keep themselves upright and straight and are in process of growing, and therefore one compares them to the string of the lute.”

The wood element is compared to a tree growing, rising up and out. It is flexible, bending and yielding to the wind, yet strong with the will to grow and present itself to the world. The tree has the longing to touch the sky but needs to be well rooted not to break when the winds get strong. An off balanced wood element, growing up and out without good roots causes symptoms of vertigo, confusion and being disconnected.

A weak wood energy stops growth and movement, which can cause paralyses and arthritis. The trunk of the tree can be seen as an equivalent to the spinal cord, a disharmony in the wood element causes problems in this area.

The organs related to the wood element are Liver and Gallbladder. The liver is considered the planner and the gallbladder the decision maker. How is your ability to plan or your ability to make decisions?

The qualities and emotions of liver and gallbladder are assertiveness, courage and the ability to feel and put out anger. If the wood energy is not flowing freely, these qualities may turn into timidity, frustration, depression.
The orifices of the body corresponding to wood are the eyes. The liver/Gallbladder energy flowers into the tendons, ligaments and nails. A healthy wood element shows in flexible and strong ligaments, tendons and well growing nails.

Red and burning eyes, inflamed tendons and painful muscle tension, easily broken and rippled nails is rooted in an imbalanced or week wood element.

Did you know that 90 percent of migraines and headaches, especially at the sides and temple area, have to do with an imbalanced wood element?

The liver is situated in the right ribcage area. Its meridian connects with the gallbladder with which it is internally externally related. Its main physiological functions are storing the blood, maintaining the free flow of qi, controlling the tendons, manifesting in the nails and opening in the eyes.

Storing Blood

The liver stores the blood and regulates the volume in circulation. The volume of blood changes according to different physiological needs. During vigorous movement and other daytime activities, the blood is released from the liver. During rest and sleep, the volume of blood decreases and part of the blood remains in liver.

Because of this function the liver is closely related to all the activities of the organs. When the liver is diseased, dysfunction of storing the blood will affect the normal activities of the body, and lead to pathological changes. For example deficiency of liver blood may give rise to blurred vision, spasm, convulsion of the tendons and muscle, numbness of the four limbs, infrequent menses or no menses.

Maintaining The Free Flow of Qi

The liver is responsible for the unrestrained, free flow of qi and thus for the function of the organs as well. The normal character of the liver is to flourish and to dislike depression. Stagnation of liver qi due to emotional changes may affect the liver in maintaining the free flow of qi in three ways:

1 – Emotional upsets closely affect the flow of the liver qi:
Only if the liver qi runs smoothly the qi and blood can be harmonious and the mind at ease. Dysfunction of the liver, therefore is often accompanied by emotional changes such as mental depression or excitement.

When liver qi stagnates there may be mental depression, paranoia, or even weeping. When liver qi is hyperactive there may be irascibility, insomnia, dream disturbed sleep, dizziness and vertigo.
Whilst dysfunction of the liver often leads to emotional changes, at the same time prolonged excessive irritation often leads to dysfunction of the liver in maintaining the free flow of qi.

2 – The liver’s function and digestion:
The liver’s function of maintaining the free flow of qi is not only related to the ascending and descending function of spleen and stomach, but also to the secretion of bile. The liver has therefore an important influence on digestion. Dysfunction of the liver may affect the excretion of bile, and the digestive function of the spleen and stomach, resulting in indigestion. When the liver fails to maintain the free flow of qi, symptoms of stagnation like distending pain of chest and ribcage, mental depression or irascibility.

If the descending function of the stomach is affected, there may be belching, nausea and vomiting. If the spleen’s function is affected, there may be abdominal distention or diarrhea.
These incidents are called liver qi attacking stomach or spleen.

3 – The liver’s function of qi and blood:
The blood circulation relies upon the propelling function of qi. Although the heart and lung play the main role in the circulation of qi and blood, the function of the liver in maintaining the free flow of the qi is also needed to prevent stagnation of qi and blood. If the free flow is impaired it may lead to symptoms like stuffiness and pressure in chest, distending pain in ribcage area, painful menses, and even the formation of palpable masses.

Controlling The Tendons and Manifesting in the Nails

The tendons are the main tissues connecting the joints and muscles and dominating the movements of the limbs. Since the liver nourishes the tendons of the whole body, when liver blood is consumed, it may deprive the tendons of nourishment and give rise to weakness and inflammation of the tendons, numbness of the limbs, and dysfunction of the joints in contraction and relaxation.

Manifesting in the nails means that the state of yin and blood of the liver affects not only the movement of the tendons but also the conditions of the nails. When the liver blood is ample the tendons and nails are strong, and when the liver blood is deficient, the tendons will be weak and the nails soft and thin, withered or deformed.

Opening Into the Eyes

The liver is the main organ affecting the eyes and vision. Whether the liver function is normal or not often reflects in the eye. For example deficiency of yin and blood of the liver may lead to dryness of the eyes, blurred vision, or night blindness. Wind heat in the liver meridian may give rise to redness, swelling and pain of the eyes.