Springtime has arrived in the Bay Area! The flowers are blooming and the spring winds bring change and renewal to our lives. For many, spring is a time to clean out the old and welcome the new. “Spring cleaning” is an old tradition that is shared by many cultures.
In Chinese medicine, the concept of “spring cleaning” is applied to our health. Much like we clean our houses, spring is a season to cleanse and rejuvenate the body and mind. It is a time for new beginnings and represents the end of “yin” winter: a cold season of rest, introversion, and quiet contemplation. Spring, therefore, represents “yang” emerging from “yin”, and with it comes “yang” behavior such as increased activity and outward expression. Spring is associated with the liver organ, and the liver is connected to the emotion of anger. When an organ is experiencing imbalance, the corresponding emotion often reveals itself. Thus spring can bring forth feelings of anger and irritability when the liver is imbalanced. In Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth and even flow of “qi” or energy in the body. In Western medicine, the liver is responsible for detoxifying the body, aiding digestion, and synthesizing vital substances. Both systems of medicine recognize the liver’s central role in the smooth functioning of the body. In Chinese medicine, the liver also rules the tendons and sinews. Common ailments which occur in springtime are allergies and joint problems, both related to liver dysfunction.
5 Tips for a Healthy Spring:
To keep your pets healthy, move their “qi!” Take them outside for a nice walk or hike. Activity increases circulation in the body and aids the smooth flow of liver qi.
Just like people, pets need a strong liver to detoxify their bodies. Spring is a time to reduce toxins in the environment. You might consider “spring cleaning” your pets area with natural cleaning products that reduce environmental toxins. Lemon, lavender, peppermint, and other essential oils have natural antiseptic properties and make wonderful household cleansers.
Healthy eating supports the liver in its difficult task of filtering out harmful substances from the body. You can assist in this process by feeding your pet holistic foods that have natural ingredients. Foods that contain preservatives, artificial colors, and added flavors can be an extra burden on the liver.
Spring is a time for shedding the old. That includes fur! You probably have noticed your cat or dog is shedding more than usual. It’s a great time for grooming. Brushing your pet helps to maintain a healthy coat and skin. Your animal will be happy and your house will be less hairy!
Consider acupuncture for your dog or cat at the start of every new season to help with imbalances in the corresponding organ system. If your animal is experiencing behavioral issues this spring season, it may be due to liver disharmony. Acupuncture and herbs can help relieve irritability and pent-up frustration.
For additional tips on how to protect your pets from occasional ailments make sure to checkout our article on Allergies in Pets: How They Manifest and How to Treat Them