Spring according to TCM and Shiatsu

flower at the base of a tree

Spring and the Wood Element

Spring belongs to the wood element in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and in Shiatsu. The wood element symbolises change and new beginning. It is a very dynamic element. People that are in harmony with their wood element like to be in movement, are sporty, creative and like change in their lives. Some imbalances might be that you have stiff joints or get frequent allergies in the spring. Wind is the climate attribution to the wood element and thus comprises "wind" pathologies like a flu or a cold.


Characteristics of the wood element:


Yang Organ: Gallbladder

Yin Organ: Liver

Direction: East

Taste: Sour

Color: Green

Direction of Movement: Upwards and forwards


The emotion that corresponds to the wood element in shiatsu is anger and irritability. If this emotion is frequently expressed and felt, it could have an impact on the liver. On the other hand, if a person's liver is in bad condition or is frequently put to the test, the person might be often expressing anger.


Detoxification during the spring season is a good way to help your liver and give it a break. There are many different ways to detoxify. One way is to do a period of fasting. In Japan and in China this is not seen as a good practice since it could weaken your spleen. Instead, you could do a week of healthy brown rice and vegetables. This helps to clean the system as well. 


Foods that help the wood element and the liver are most sour foods. Listed below are some foods that belong to this element:


- bulgur

- spelt

- couscous

- wheat

- tomato

- sour apple

- pineapple

- tangerine

- orange

- lemon

- kiwi


I wish you a wonderful and balanced start into the spring!