It’s spring again! All things in nature take on a new aspect as the new year starts.

As the saying goes, “A year’s plan starts with spring”, this too applies to our health preservation plan for the year ahead. The way to go about it is hinted at by another adage, “Conforming with the qi of spring is the right path to health preservation.”

In early spring, the weather changes frequently with a great diurnal temperature variation. It may suddenly turn cold again after a spell of warm weather that lasts a couple of days. Those who are physically weak are susceptible to getting sick. As the weather turns warmer, some people react too hastily to the temperature rise by putting away winter clothes and donning summer clothes. Actually there is no scientific backing for this nor is it a health-conscious thing to do.

Bundled up in thick clothes throughout the winter months, the body naturally gets acclimatised to the warm environment. If one removes winter clothes unduly early, the body may not be able to adjust promptly to the abrupt temperature drop. If a person with a weak constitution does this, he/she will increase the likelihood of being attacked by cold pathogens. That’s why staying bundled up is the most important health tip for early spring. Learn from the wise Chinese sayings on health preservation: “Keep bundled up in early spring and never overdress during early autumn” and “Never rush to take off clothes in spring”.

Another health tip for spring is to take dietary precautions and prevent illness from finding a way in via the mouth. All living things thrive in spring and germs are no exception. Viruses and germs multiply speedily in a warm and humid environment, contaminating food easily. In view of this, we must take extra care over what we eat.

Besides, we should eat more sweet foods but fewer sour foods. From the Chinese medicine perspective, sour foods support the liver while sweet foods benefit the spleen. Excessive intake of sour foods in spring, a season when liver qi ascends, is unwise as overabundant liver qi will invade the spleen and affect the functioning of both the stomach and the spleen, causing symptoms like abdominal distension and poor appetite as well as belching and gastroesophageal acid reflux. For this reason, we should avoid sour and acrid foods but eat more sweet and warm foods.

Regarding emotional health, we should regulate our emotions in spring so as to keep the liver healthy. When spring comes, those with exuberant liver qi are prone to headache, dizziness, insomnia and fretfulness. That’s why we should make an effort to manage our emotions and control anger in spring as liver qi tends to ascend.

Spring is also a good time to start exercising. After being muffled up throughout the winter months, the human body is ready to be reactivated with yangqi, and the flow of blood and qi gradually revives. We should take advantage of such favourable conditions in this wonderful season to do exercises, starting with gentle ones like tai chi, jogging and strolling. After some time, when the body is used to these, we can proceed to high-intensity exercises to facilitate the progressive revival of yangqi and the flow of blood and qi. On beautiful days, we can go hiking in the countryside to enjoy the thriving atmosphere of spring, which has the beneficial effect of refreshing and nurturing our body, mind and spirit.

As spring is a time when nature blooms, pollen grains are suspended in the air. People with nasal allergies will suffer bouts of sneezing and frequently have a runny nose from breathing in such powdery substances. Apart from taking care not to breath in irritating substances, they can indeed seek help from Chinese Medicine practitioners. Through medicinal food therapy, point massage or moxibustion on acupuncture points such as Yingxiang, Zusanli and Yanglingquan, the immune system can be strengthened and symptoms can be relieved.

Take advantage of this season to begin your health preservation plan!

(Source of photo: Wikimedia Commons)