Creativity. Growth. Flexibility. Vision.
According to classical Chinese medicine, these are qualities associated with the energy of springtime, which in turn is associated with the Wood element. The colour, not surprisingly is blue-green, its climatic force is wind, and it is all about creativity, growth, and change.
The emotion of the Spring is anger, which is not necessarily a negative thing. If we understand anger as the impulse to create change, then we see that it can be a very positive and dynamic force when it is channelled in a healthy way. Looking inward at our bodies, the Liver and the Gallbladder are the internal organs associated with the spring energy. In the context of Chinese medicine, these organs are in charge of smooth flow throughout the body and they have particular influence over the eyes, the joints, tendons and ligaments, the reproductive system, the blood, and some aspects of digestion.
It is time for things that have been resting and replenishing, germinating and gestating, hidden and gathering power through the cold and quiet winter, to emerge and burst forth, take form and assert themselves. So it goes with our plans and aspirations – this is the time when the unformed idea begins to take on shape and detail. A time to do, we define our vision, focus our energy, make decisions and take action. When the inevitable obstacles arise, we stay rooted while remaining flexible and seeking a new path. If our own, internal springtime energy is strong, then creative flow and adapting to change will come easily to us. However, if our springtime energy is out of balance, we may lack vision and focus or we may lack the decisiveness and firmness of purpose to achieve our vision. We may be thrown off by changes and obstacles, either becoming rigid, and angry when things do not go according to plan or feeling so hopeless and frustrated that we give up on our goals.
Spring Feel Good Activities
- Get outside. Outdoor air helps the chi flow, as does exercise. If you find yourself feeling irritable, lethargic, or stuck, find some time for an outdoor activity. Hiking, gardening, golf, bicycling – whatever suits you!
- Express yourself and Envision Possibility! Dancing, cooking, writing, making art or music… See your life growing beyond present obstacles. Write your goals and dreams, take one step at a time, take this season as an opportunity to examine what you would like to change in your life. Make a plan and start putting the steps in action and walk steadily towards your north star. Any form of creative expression helps nourish and channel Wood energy in a healthy way.
- Eat Green. Not surprisingly, green is the colour that goes with spring, wood, and the liver. Green, leafy foods are especially helpful to the liver chi. If you can find in-season baby greens, that’s the best! , spinach, fiddle ferns, wild leeks, watercress, etc., sprouts – all can improve the liver’s overall functions and aid in the movement of chi.
- Taste Sour. Sour foods also help soothe and smooth the liver chi, and can ease the transition into spring. Add lemon to your water, pickles to your sandwich, vinegar and olive oil dressings to your salad.
- Stretch. Taking a few minutes to stretch, do yoga or Tai Chi in the morning can help you move more fluidly through the day.
- Be Gentle. The Wood element in Chinese Medicine has a tendency towards frustration and impatience, so acknowledge yourself for your efforts, and kindly give yourself some time and space to get to where you’re going.
Adapted from deMamiel blog
I am attending seminars on Yoga & Mind in London next week and will be updating this blog with news.
Heart & Mind Connection
Our emotional health and wellbeing requires harmonizing the interplay between the heart and the brain and I advocate focused relaxation – an hour or so away from the daily stressful life – among my clients.
Alleviating Stress and Anxiety
By changing breathing patterns, we can alter the messages from the body to the brain. Through these pathways, we can see how specific breathing techniques can alleviate anxiety, insomnia, intrusive memories, over-reactions, distorted body perceptions, disconnectedness and loss of meaning. This research attracts worldwide attention and reflects a new development that crosses psychology, psychotherapy and physiology.
“By doing yoga, we are rooted in the body when the mind focuses and settles.”
Open Hearts – positive emotions induced by loving kindness meditation - help us to be healthier.
I would like to highlight the benefits of facial massage to broader audience.
The Science Of Facial Massage – Benefits Beyond Beauty
It might be a cliche that facial massage leads to relaxation. But how does it work? I have looked into all that is known about the physical and psychological benefits brought about by a structured, deep and long facial massage.
We are getting older and feel the need to stay looking young with the best anti-ageing skincare products and therapies. Touch, as a human need, is vital for our emotional and physical health and the face is the most accessible part of the human body. Regular facial massage is a health affirming, anti-ageing therapy with significant benefits for both skin and our psyche. It is an alternative to Botox, which has been shown to impact negatively on our social communication by changing our emotional experience. By evoking in-the-moment positive emotions, facial massage contributes to our well-being and it is its psychological effect which provides the rationale for the physiological basis underlying mechanical stimulation.
In order to be effective, clinically proven anti-ageing treatments have to stimulate the production of new, non-fragmented and well-organised collagen and/or papillary reconstruction in order to improve the appearance of aged skin. It is well-known that body massage impacts on vital body signs by inducing a state of relaxation and has a positive effect on neurosis, stress, pain, anxiety and depression. Stress has been shown to play a role in the onset of skin ageing and deterioration by compromising the epidermal barrier function and impairing the inflammatory response.
Facial massage is a form of psychological intervention; a relaxation technique with music and focused attention to the massaged area of the face. Research confirms that stress management techniques lead to reduction of skin disease symptoms.
Having done massage treatments on a day-to-day basis, I am able to compare published research to my client’s experiences. For more information about my treatments, please go to www.faceworkshops.com
Facial Massage & Relaxation At Home
- It is a nice feeling to indulge in a relaxing afternoon with a scented candle or calming eye pads but making time for relaxation in our demanding day to day life is essential for our health. Goal setting and stressful, aggressive work environment changes our hormones (adrenaline, testosterone levels are higher) and this can have a negative impact on our skin. As 80 – 90 % of illnesses are stress related, relaxation should be an important part of our life.
- The main benefits of a facial massage are calming effect, increased blood and lymph flow, muscle relaxation and increase in endorphins that make us feel good.
- Start with massaging decollete, shoulders and neck with flat hands. Sweep upwards and outwards in a slow motion, use organic plant oil and remove it with a hot flannel. Invest time into massaging the areas prone to sagging (use your thumbs and index fingers) to increase blood flow and slow down the ageing process.
Choose the Right Oil
- Use light oil with sensual, smooth feel (not a sticky base) and pleasant aroma that transports you to a far away place.
- Dim your lights, wrap in warm towels, light a scented candle – breathe deeply and listen to relaxing music.
Inspired by Pure Beauty (October 2011).
- Mindfulness Research Update: 2008 by Jeffrey M. Greeson, Ph.D., M.S.
- Mindfulness and pain management
- Daily Meditations
Stress and anxiety make our skin prone to premature ageing, our facial expressions – transient at first – but repeated time and again become ingrained in our face as deep lines and wrinkles. Be it the frown lines that show the strain of a high management role or the exaggerated crows’ feet apparent in people who care for their relatives at home 24/7.
In a search for new ways of helping my clients to relax, I went to the School of Life in London, to listen to Mark Williams, a professor from Oxford University and a leading expert in mindfulness meditation. I always appreciate techniques that combine science with ancient tradition – and mindfulness meditation does just that. It has been proven to calm the mind and improve wellbeing (as well as well as dealing with more serious issues such as depression and anxiety).
Having experienced the relaxing benefit of touch and meditation first hand, I believe these techniques will come to the forefront of anti-ageing healthcare in future.
An interesting link to brain science
Mavis Goodwin, 58, was nominated for the competition to reward a deserving Mum with a series of relaxing and anti-ageing facial massages by her daughter, Jayne Bell, who wanted to give her mum some valuable ‘me time’ from her role as a full time carer to Jayne’s father.
Organised by FaceWorkshops in conjunction with Mark Kensett photography, the competition attracted many deserving entries but we were so moved by Jayne’s nomination that we awarded the £600 prize of a three month course of anti-ageing facial massages plus a photo shoot package to Mavis without hesitation. As Mavis reached the end of the course of facial massages that have helped to energise and tone her skin; she said; “Not only is my skin glowing, but I have benefited in other ways, too. It has helped to take away stress, and forced me to make time for me and to relax. It’s been lovely and Mark’s photos are a great reminder of my experience.”
Mavis’s daughter Jayne accompanied her mum to some of the treatments. “My dad had an accident three years ago that left him brain damaged, unable to speak and totally reliant on Mum, so the last three years have been a real drain on her both emotionally and physically. After each treatment, it was as if a weight had been lifted from mum’s shoulders and a light was shining within her. I said in my nomination that if I could I would give her the world. I am very proud of her and the way she has looked after my Dad relentlessly and with such patience. Although winning the competition was not quite ‘the world’, the way that Katerina and Mark made us both feel special is something that we will never forget. Thank you for making a difference to both of us.”
As I diagnosed and treated Mavis’s face, it became apparent that she is a very strong person with great coping abilities. I have encouraged her to take time to relax, meditate and pamper herself, whenever she can.