Wellness Practice in Spring Focuses on Protecting and Nourishing Liver

       Spring season begins with the Start of Spring, followed by Raining, Awakening of Insects, Vernal Equinox, Tomb-sweeping Day and Grain Rain, the six solar terms, ending on the eve of Start of Summer. In the spring, Yang qi rises, the Earth returns to new growth, vientiane renewal, full of new life, It’s the best season of the year.

       However, spring is not only the high season for flu, meningitis and other infectious diseases, but also high incidence of coronary heart disease, gallstones, hepatitis, mental diseases, which are often easy to relapse in spring.

       As the old saying goes, “A year’s plan begins in the spring.” Therefore, we must do a good job in the spring wellness practice, so as to lay the foundation for a year of health.

       Spring is the first of the four seasons, the beginning or renewal of everything. As “Yellow Emperor Internal Classic” said: “Spring in three months, the heaven and earth are born, all things start with glory. We should sleep at night and get up early, wide step walks in the court, be slow in movement, so as to make the will grow, born but not kill, give but not take, appreciate but not punishing. This spring should keep the way for wellness and alive. Against the way will hurt the liver, turn summer into cold change, less into the elderly.” (《黄帝内经》里所说:“春三月,此谓发陈,天地俱生,万物以荣,夜卧早起,广步于庭,被发缓形,以使志生,生而勿杀,予而勿夺,赏而勿罚,此春气之应,养生之道也。逆之则伤肝,夏为寒变,奉长者少”。)

       This implies that when Spring returns to the earth, the snow and ice have melted, the sun begins to rise in nature, everything revives, willows turn green, and everything in the world appears to be thriving. “Human and the earth correspond”, at this time the Yang qi of the human body also conforms to nature, grow up and out.

       In short, spring wellness practice, one is for wellness, two is for Yang growth, three is for liver protection.

       In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is believed that the liver stores blood and mainly dredges and elevates. The circulation of blood, the transport of spleen, the regulation of emotion and the reveal of kidney essence all depend on the elevation and drainage of liver. The rise of Yang qi also depends on the rise of liver. Modern medicine believes that the liver is the main detoxification organ of the human body.

       How do we protect the liver? TCM expert points out, the spring wellness must master the key characteristics of the spring qi rising and growing comfortably, and pay attention to the protection of Yang qi within, so to defend the body, make the yang qi constantly, gradually vigorous.  Those who had over-consumed the Yang qi and hinder the Yang in the situation should be avoided, the principle of wellness practice and keeping good health should be concrete in the spring through diet, exercise, daily life routine, disease prevention, spiritual cultivation and so on various aspects.

Nourishing liver is to abstain from anger and nourish Yang

       As the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic said, “All diseases are born with qi.” Accordingly, to maintain the function of liver the most important is the happy mood.  At the same time, wellness or health also requires emotional stability, not too high or low mood.

       If you do not pay attention to emotional adjustment, liver qi depression will give birth to many diseases. For example, if too impulsive, liver qi is too flourishing and the blood quantity that divides to cerebrate increases abruptly and easy burst cerebral hemorrhage, apoplexy; Or too much of sadness will make liver qi very low, the blood volume that divides to the brain decreases suddenly lead to faint or collapse. If the mood or emotion is blocked, the liver Yang is hyperactive, leading to high blood pressure, cardio-cerebrovascular disease and stroke. People with schizophrenia, or with depression tend to relapse in the spring.

       Therefore, spring should comply with the natural law of rising Yang qi, make liver qi smooth. TCM believes that the liver is wood, and spring rising Yang qi echoes. Therefore, emotional nourishing liver is the primary way of health preservation in spring. Keep the mood happy, seven emotional appeal up to, contribute to liver catharsis.

       Spring is the first of the four, the beginning of the renewal of everything. “Yellow Emperor neijing” has a saying that people should adapt to the changes in nature, sleep late and get up early, go out for a walk, stretch their limbs leisurely and complacently, and make their spiritual activities full of hope in nature.

Get up early and sleep with certain routine

       The ancients called “sleep” the “sleeping food.” A famous saying call it “the way of health, great sleep food.” William Shakespeare called sleep the “tonic” of life’s feast. The World Health Organization has identified “sound sleep” as one of the important objective signs of health.

       Studies have shown that during quality sleep, the body’s “four self” functions occur spontaneously: self-construction, self-transformation, self-improvement, and self-repair. Especially in spring, the liver is affected by the effect of Yang qi, easy to irascibility, the liver is the officer of the general, the main catharsis for detoxification. Therefore, quality sleep in spring is very important.

       The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic said, “Blood returns to the liver when lying down.” Modern medical studies confirm that blood flow to the liver during sleep is seven times greater than when standing. The increase of blood flow through the liver is beneficial to enhance the function of liver cells, improve the ability of detoxification, and accelerate the metabolism of nutrients such as protein, amino acid, sugar, fat and vitamin, so as to maintain the stability of the environment inside the organism and resist the invasion of a variety of infectious diseases in spring.

       Therefore, scientific sleep is very important for our health. Go to bed around 21:00—23:00 in the evening, the most conducive to blood return to the liver. And in addition to ensuring sleep time, there are several points to pay attention to: First, before going to bed should insist on sucking feet with hot water; Secondly, don’t eat too full dinner, and don’t drink strong tea or coffee before going to bed. In addition, pay attention to sleeping posture, sleep should be “lying like a bow”, lying on the right side, and sleep direction to the head east and foot west is more appropriate. Finally, the indoor environment is quiet, the air is fresh, the temperature and humidity are appropriate, the bed is comfortable, all conducive to enter the sweet dream.

       Sleep is guaranteed, but spring sleepiness comes with it. In spring, it seems that you don’t get enough sleep, and you often feel drowsy and lethargic during the day. In order not to let “spring sleepiness” affect our normal work and life, we should still try to overcome “spring sleepiness”.

       The specific methods for overcoming spring sleepiness are: first, to form a regular daily routine, one should go to bed early and get up early every day, to ensure a certain amount of sleep time, but also pay attention to the fresh circulation of the room air; Second, to strengthen exercise every day, after getting up go to the park, do some early exercise, perseverance can be full of energy, refreshed; Third, one should balance diet, eat more food rich in high quality protein, in order to meet the increase in protein demand due to exuberant metabolism of human body in spring. Eating more fresh vegetables and fruits can also help prevent spring sleepiness. This is because “spring sleepiness” and the body in acidic environment and vitamin intake is not enough, and eat more fresh vegetables and fruits, both can neutralize acidic products in the body, but also can supplement vitamins.

Add sweet and reduce acid in diet

       In terms of diet spring nourishing-liver should follow the principle by “Yellow Emperor Internal Classic” the “spring and summer nourishing Yang”, appropriately eat more warm Yang food (cold, fever and other flu characterization is not applicable).

       Purposefully choose some herbs and foods that can nourish and soothe the liver and regulate Yang qi. Herbs, such as medlar, turmeric, salvia miltiorrhiza, yuanhu, etc. can be used. Other food can choose hot divergence of jujube, black beans, onions, coriander, peanuts, E-jiao flexible formula selection. Sun Simiao, a doctor in the Tang Dynasty, said: “In spring, it is advisable to save acid and increase sweetness to keep temper.”

       Spring is best time for eating jujube, yam, soybean sprouts, mung bean sprouts, coriander, spring shoots, lettuce, spinach, toona, shepherd’s shepherd’s mustard, celery, rape, dandelion, willow buds and so on. Shanyao (Chinese yam) sweet and flat, good for spleen nourishing liver, lung nourishing qi, kidney nourishing essence and other effects, can be used. Jujube, yam, donkey-hide gelatin and rice, millet, cowpea porridge can strengthen the spleen nourishing liver, nourishing stomach, nourishing Yin moistening dryness. Vegetables and wild vegetables can not only supplement a variety of vitamins, inorganic salts and trace elements, but also clear heat and moisten dryness, conducive to the distribution of heat accumulation in the body. Avoid eating greasy, raw and cold, sticky food, so as not to hurt the liver and spleen.

Spring congee for nourishing liver

       Spring is the season of recovery. In Traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is similar to vegetation, which germinates and grows in spring. The liver is also more active in the spring. Therefore, keeping in good health in spring takes nourishing liver and protecting liver as the priority. Introduce a few kinds of congee for nourishing liver below, you might as well give it a try.

  1. Celery porridge

       Celery 150 grams with 100 grams of japonica rice, celery with root wash clear, add water boil, take juice to japonica rice boil into congee to serve. Spring liver Yang is easy to move, often make the person has a headache, vertigo eye red, the patient of this disease.  The elderly often eat some celery porridge, to recuperate liver, reduce blood pressure, reduce irritability with certain advantage.

2. The plum flower porridge

       Take white plum flower 5 grams, japonica rice 80 grams, cook japonica rice congee first, join white plum blossom last, boil two or three minutes. Take a bowl of congee every meal, can eat continuously for 3 days. Plum flower is flat in feature, can channel liver qi, stimulate appetite. The effect is very good for those who lose their appetite, and the energy is increased for those who are healthy.

3. Mulberry porridge

       Mulberry 30 grams (fresh mulberry 60 grams), glutinous rice 60 grams, rock sugar small amount. Wash mulberry and cook with glutinous rice. Add rock sugar after it is cooked. The porridge can nourish liver Yin, nourish blood and clear eyes. It is suitable for dizziness caused by liver and kidney deficiency, insomnia and dreams, tinnitus and waist acid, early white hair and so on.

4. Cassia seed porridge

       Cassia seed 10 grams, rice 60 grams, a small amount of rock sugar. First cassia seeds with water to cook juice. Then use the juice and rice boiled together, into porridge, then adding rock sugar. The porridge clears the liver, brightens the eyes and purges the bowels. It is suitable for eyes red and swollen, photophobia and more tears, hypertension, high blood fat, habitual constipation, etc.

Nourishing liver by Massaging Liver Acupoints

Adapt to the changes of the day, the daily diet and living and mental health of their own adjustment, “before disease prevention, disease prevention” to strengthen the health care of the liver is timely. The liver of this detoxification factory construction, management, talent will not go to the disease, here especially recommend three feet of liver classics big medicine: big, between the line and tai Chong.

1, Da-Dun point LR1

See the source imageDa-dun point is the first point of the liver meridian, which is beside the toenail seam on the inside of the big toe. “Dun” means thick, and “da Dun” means extra thick. Dadun point is also a well point, “well” means the source,the origin. In the foot toe toe-nail margin most rely on the second toe outside the “big” point. “Big Dun point” can be massage, also can be moxa sunburn, can achieve the effect of clear liver and clear eyes, can make your mind clear, refreshed.

2, Xing-jian Point (LR2)

The “Xing-jian point” is sewn over the big toe and second toe. It is a fire hole, the liver is wood, wood generates fire; if your liver fire too much, you need let out the fire. And “Xing-jian point” is a acupoint to relieve heart fire. In Spring liver-fire is filled, can bring about toothache, cheek swollen, oral cavity ulcer, nose bleeds, tip of tongue long bubble wait for disease, this makes clear fire has entered heart classics from liver, rub more “Xing-jian point” can come loose heart fire out from here.

3, Tai-chong point (LR3)

       “Tai-chong point” in the big toe seam to the instep of 4 cm, can be called the first key point to the human body. Some people consider “Tai-chong point” as the air vent of human body, because it is the original point and the acupoint of the liver meridian.  It is the fire point of the liver meridian, which can dissipate the liver qi and irascience. So by rubbing the “Tai-chong point”, you can maximize driving the body stagnated qi out.

       “Tai-chong point” is very easy to find, in the instep of the big toe and second toes combined with the direction of the ankle neck direct push, push to the end of the two bone connection is Tai-chong point, accordingly the method is carefully find the most painful point, and then from “Tai-chong point” rubbing toward the “xing-jian point”.

Nourishing-liver Qigong

       In spring, there are many ways to nourish liver and protect liver, among which the best effect is the nourishing-liver qigong. Historically many experts of wellness often practice “nourishing liver gong” in spring, not only have the role of exhalation, qi and blood circulation, smooth meridians, stimulate liver function, and but can treat the liver fire caused by lack of appetite, indigestion, dry eyes, dizziness and other diseases. Here are some basic instruction:

1, Standing relaxing by facing east, feet naturally separate shoulder width, knees slightly bent, head-neck straight, slightly abstract abdomen, straight waist back. Two arms naturally droop, two axils void, elbow slightly flexion, two palms lightly on the outer thigh. Relax, eyes open, look straight ahead. Those who are old or unable to stand due to illness may change to seat position.

2, Use of abdominal breathing, exhale to relax abdomen, raise anus, the center of gravity slightly moved back, focus on heal slightly; Inhale lips together, tongue touching upper palate, belly bulge. Breathe naturally and evenly, inhaling through nose and exhaling through mouth.

3,  Stand relaxed, after calming breathing down, gently lift hands (palms face up), passing the waist, shoulder, above your head; then hands overlap, right hand over left palm, palm faces inward, lightly pressure the head pillow; turn head slowly to the right, and lift up at the upper right, upper body turn slightly to the right, then inhale slowly, in the process of rotation to be transferred to the right, head thrown back, two eyes bulging; Exhale and pronounce “Xu” at the same time.

4,  After “Xu” sound, the head slowly turned to the left, slightly lift up, the upper body then slightly turned to the left, slowly inhale in the process of rotation, turned to the left, the head back, two eyes open with anger, forced exhale with “Xu” sound. So repeated around three times, a total of six “Xu”. After that, move both hands to the sides, slowly put down, natural stand with two palms lightly on the outside of the thigh.

5,  More liver-nourishing qigong movements will be taught during our weekly online Qigong for health on every Sunday morning (8:30—10:00am EST) in April. Please click the following link to register and then join us on Zoom platform: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dr-chens-weekly-online-qigong-for-health-a-zoom-based-event-tickets-101852467472

6,  Breathing adjustment after “Xu” sound, switch to normal breathing, but still should adhere to the nose and mouth spit. Calm the mood, rest and meditate, eyes closed, lips closed, tongue against the palate, upper and lower teeth gently tap 36 times. In the percussion process, the mouth generates saliva, swallow it with the intention sending to abdomen Dan tian. The purpose of regulating breath after Xu sound is to supplement the consumption so as to nourish the body and promote Qi growth.

Nourishing-liver Qigong is appropriate every morning and evening during spring 3 months. Practice with relaxing clothes and optimistic spirit, the whole body should be relaxed, the movement should be soft and slow. The tone should be soft, thin and long, and let out the liver Qi. To do angry eyebrows, so that the liver qi channel out, liver evil leak. the breath adjustment after Xu sound should be changed to close your eyes.

Precaution in Spring Wellness Practice

  • Avoid taking off clothes too soon in spring
  • Anyway, don’t wear your light shoes too early
  • Exercise should not be done on foggy days
  • Avoid getting irritated (up-fire) without measures
  • Spring causes spread and growth, which is characterized by dryness and irritation, with many people suffering from “tension” symptoms such as dry mouth and dry stools. TCM divides “upper fire” into solid fire and valid fire, according to the difference in “fire” to put out the fire.
  • Avoid eating too much fun, either sour or spicy
  • Avoid locking doors and windows (keep fresh air inside)

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