The Promise of Spring and Chinese Medicine

Spring is upon us! In Chinese medicine, springtime corresponds to the wood element.  What makes this season unique and distinct from all the other seasons?

Spring is a time of growth.   Trees begin their life from the sprouting of a seed.  Magically, shoots press upwards through the earth and reach for the sun.  From branches, buds, flowers and leaves, an intricate and beautiful structure emerges.

Similarly, when a baby is born, it is pushed through the birth canal with great force.   This transition from inside the mother’s womb and into the world is also provides us with a symbol of the wood element’s creativity and forcefulness.

Sometimes wood is thwarted.   When a boulder blocks the seedlings growth it will relentlessly push up to reach the sun.  In Five Element theory, the force of spring corresponds to the emotion anger.

In western culture, anger is often considered to be a negative emotion, which we try to avoid at all costs.  Alternatively, anger can be seen as complex;  it can be a force of positive change or a force of destruction.  The  persistence  of the wood element can help us grow and  develop, especially when it is tempered  with beneficence, another aspect of the wood element.


In life, problems occur when we become stuck in a single emotion and that emotion rules us.  Emotions should change like the weather.  That is, ideally, we would experience each emotion, integrate it’s lessons and move on, ready for what comes next.

In Five Element Acupuncture, we are concerned with the health of the body, but also with the health of the mind and spirit.  When the wood element is out of balance, there is often a lack of hope and vision.   In our culture we call this depression.  Depression has many appearances but invariably, a depressed individual has become “frozen” in their life and is unable to move forward.  For example, some people with depression are only able to whisper, afraid to assert themselves, confront others or show aggression.  Others depressed individuals are always shouting and are overly aggressive.  These are both patterns of a wood imbalance and prevent the individual from knowing their life’s purpose and fully enjoying all of life’s riches.

When our wood element is in good balance, we can see life’s many possibilities, make decisions about what we want and need to do, form a plan and develop the structure we need to achieve our goals.    These attributes all belong to the wood element and fall under the jurisdiction of the liver and the gallbladder meridians.  Each meridian functions like a member of a musical ensemble and plays an important role in our overall health and well being.

Five Element Acupuncture supports the body, mind and spirit to come into harmony, with each aspect of ourselves working in concert.  The wood element provides us with hope, vision and some of the tools we need to achieve our life’s purpose.  So yes, we can help you recover from your low back problem, tendonitis or respiratory infection, but we can do much, much more. For help tapping your potential call us at 973.509.8464 • 212.529.1901 or book on line to schedule an appointment.