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Improve Your Digestion in Springtime

It’s Spring ... a great time to focus on improving your digestion; and a healthy digestive system can improve your overall health.


Spring is the season of ‘Wood’ energy. The Wood Element according to the Five Element Theory of Oriental Medicine is what powers your Liver and Gallbladder.

When the energy or Chi of an organ becomes imbalanced it’s normal to experience health issues, ranging from minor to significant, depending on your general health. In Spring these symptoms or discomforts tend to be associated with the Liver and Gallbladder.

 

Digestive Problems in Spring

A major complaint during the Spring involves problems with digestion.

The Liver and Gallbladder affect the strength and health of your digestive system throughout the year, but because Spring is the time when these organs are most active energetically, it’s also the time when people who have chronic digestive issues tend to have more complaints.

Spring is also the time when people who don’t normally have digestive issues start to experience digestive discomforts.

Illustration of the Human Digestive System
Your Digestive System
(Click for larger image)

So what kind of digestive issues are most common in Spring?

These would include discomforts in the upper digestive system like:

  • Stomach ailments.
  • Heart burn.
  • Indigestion.
  • Pain in the Gallbladder area of the abdomen.

Liver and Gallbladder imbalances can also affect the intestines.

Common discomforts affecting the intestines include: diarrhea and constipation.

Relieving Liver and Gallbladder Discomfort

There are some simple things you can do to get relief from poor digestion, while strengthening your digestive system at the same time.

Adjust Your Diet
There are a few simple and tasty things you can do with food to boost the health of your Liver and Gallbladder.

  • Eat grapefruit raw or in whatever ways you prefer.
  • Lemon and lime also help the function of the Liver and Gallbladder.
  • Use slices of organic lemon in hot water in a drink with honey and other flavorings. (Don’t steep non-organic rinds or you’ll be drinking pesticide residue.)
  • Cook dishes that call for adding lemon and lime juice or slices as ingredients.
  • Lemon oil is a bile stimulant, so it can be very useful for energizing the Liver and Gallbladder.
  • Shitake mushrooms are also very useful for decongesting and unclogging the Liver. (They’re often used in cases of chronic hepatitis.)
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    Manage Your Stress


    Be aware that stress affects the Liver and Gallbladder foremost. They’re the organs that capture the initial brunt of stress in your body. Then the stress can go on to affect other parts of the body, but the Liver and Gallbladder are where stress hits first.


    Things I suggest to manage stress include:

    • Deep breathing.
    • Chi Kung.
    • Acupuncture.
    • Chinese medicinal herbs.
    • Meditation.

    (There are other ways to reduce and manage stress, but this is what I do and suggest to others.)

    Get Some Rest
    
It’s very important to find time to rest in Spring to not feel burned out. This can be a challenge because—like the trees and plants around us that are budding and blooming—we also want to express ourselves now that Winter has passed.

    Try to make sure your sleep is as uninterrupted and restful as possible.

    If you suffer from insomnia, another symptom associated with an out-of-balance Liver and Gallbladder, acupuncture treatments and Chinese medicinal herbs can help.

    Try to take a few minutes each day to settle down and turn your attention away from your work day activities and take a few, slow deep breaths.

    Some people find it beneficial to set an hourly ‘alert’ on their computer calendar to remind them each hour to stop and take a few slow, deep breaths.

    The important thing is to break up the momentum of the day to avoid the build up of stress that you can’t see, taste, or smell as it’s building up in your body. We only tend to recognize stress once it’s done its damage.

    The solution to so much of the stress we experience is right there beneath your nose. All you have to do is breathe consciously and the stress automatically begins to dissipate.

    Enjoy Spring
    So use these ideas and suggestions as ways to balance the Liver and Gallbladder energies. By keeping the Liver and Gallbladder balanced you’ll feel calmer and be in a position—mentally and physically—to enjoy the wonderful life experience we call Spring.

     

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    IMPORTANT: All information on this Web site is provided for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of a local Oriental Medicine practitioner, biomedical doctor, experienced coach, or martial arts instructor.