Lessons from Chinese Medicine
Most of us experience the spring as a time to renew our outlook on life. With the warmer, longer days we are able to shed some of the lethargy of the winter and refocus on our goals. Life doesn’t seem so heavy. We are able to discern possibilities for new growth, or see how a change in direction will prevent us from feeling so burdened or stuck. For some of us, spring brings a burst of intense creative energy. If this isn’t focused or channeled in a productive way, people can experience us as being pushy, and we can find ourselves growing impatient with a world that doesn’t see things the way that we do.
Your acupuncturist can help you come to a better understanding of how the way in which you “see,” physically and metaphorically, impacts your health.
The Five Element Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine understands that as humans, we reflect and are affected by nature. In particular, the characteristics of the different seasons of the year can teach us important lessons about maintaining a healthy balance in our own lives.
The two channels of energy, or meridians, that Chinese Medicine associates with the season of spring are the Gall Bladder and the Liver Meridians (briefly, meridians are named for the physical organ through which they pass). If we follow the course of these two meridians through our body, we can better understand this association between the season of spring and our literal and metaphorical vision of our world and ourselves.
The Gall Bladder meridian begins with “Orbit Bone,” the acupuncture point located at the outer corner of the each eye. It is here that we begin to “see,” to take in impressions from the world around us. This point is used for redness, tearing, and soreness of the eyes as well as for problems with mental and emotional vision and clarity.
The meridian travels back and forth over our head as we process this visual input, and moves down the side of the body and side of the leg. This is significant because the Gall Bladder meridian is the most lateral meridian in the body – it provides us with the flexibility of looking to the left and to the right to gather input from outside of ourselves.
At the ankle, the channel crosses over to the top of the foot at the “ankle bone,” and ends at the outside edge of the fourth toenail. Those of you who have received acupuncture from me know that the point right below that anklebone is one of my favorites. Translated as “Wilderness Mound,” it evokes the image of someone atop a mountain, able to access a 360-degree view of his or her surroundings. It is a reminder to us to take in all of the information available to us before we make a decision or take action.
The Gall Bladder meridian exits into the Liver Meridian, which begins at the inside edge of the big toenail at the point called “Great Esteem.” As its name suggests, one of the purposes of this point is to reinforce a sense of self and confidence in one’s abilities, especially during times when one may feel stuck or unable to vision the future.
The Liver Channel travels up the top of the foot, the inner leg, and ends at the bottom of the ribcage. The final point on the meridian is “Gate of Hope,” signifying our ability to envision the highest potential for our world and ourselves.
Our ability to reassess our environment, our potential, and the course of our life with ease and flexibility are the gifts of springtime energy. We literally “embody” these gifts through the Gall Bladder and Liver acupuncture meridians.
There are many other ways to explore this correspondence between our vision and the springtime. Your acupuncturist can help you come to a better understanding of how the way in which you “see,” physically and metaphorically, impacts your health.