Friday, April 23, 2010
Spring and Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine each season has a corresponding organ of the body. Spring is the season of the Liver. As such, Spring is the best time of year to cleanse the liver. There are a number of ways to accomplish that and not surprisingly, they are things we're naturally drawn to at this time of year.
Don't you just love God and His infinite wisdom?
I should stop and let you know right now that I believe in the Bible as God's Word and fully support following it in every way. But I see some of God's truth reflected in the belief and practices of other religions. I have no problem believing that the Chinese may understand something about the human body or herbs that we in the West do not. Nor do I have a problem incorporating a practice as long as I refuse to violate Scripture. All truth is God's truth, for He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I simply ask myself if it is in line with God's character as revealed in the Bible.
As far as Chinese medicine, I see it as another method of diagnosis and health care, always careful to separate that aspect of it from the Daoist philosophy, which would often contradict Biblical understanding of life.
Here's my quick description of TCM: Traditional Chinese Medicine is a science of diagnosing and treating symptoms as is Western Medicine. However, the two approach it from a different perspective. Chinese medicine sees the organs as the basis for all health and/or sickness. These organs are connected to all other tissue by means of channels and blood vessels. Therefore, outward symptoms point to internal problems, similar to western medicine. In my simplistic understanding, Chinese Medicine seeks to adjust or balance the flow of energy between organs or between organs and tissue to produce change and thus healing.
So how can Chinese Medicine be helpful in this time of new beginning and new life, which we call Spring?
It's a time to lighten up. Over the Winter, we crave comfort food, mashed potatoes with butter, meat, soups and stews, for example. But as warmer weather arrives, a longing grows in us to eat light and move more. Light, leafy greens tempts us, but without sin. Go ahead indulge! Take a big bowl of baby spinach, dandelion greens, scallions and sprouts. Eat them with celery, daikon radish and fish, if you like. These kinds of foods cleanse the body of toxins and tones the liver naturally.
Here are some more ideas:
- Light exercise such as stretching. Activity causes the liver to release blood to the tendons providing tendon health and flexibility.
- As mentioned above, eat green. (And to my boys, "No, I don't mean green jello").
- Eat sour foods, they stimulate energy flow. Try some lemon squeezed into your water.
- Outdoor activities provide fresh air, which also stimulates the flow of energy, and it gives us an excuse to exercise.
- Try a tea of Milk Thistle. It's cleansing and helps protect liver cells.
Yes, our Creator, the Lord God Almighty, is perfect in wisdom. He created in us right desires (if they haven't been tainted) and provided, through His creation, exactly what we'd need to fulfill those desires. And He made them to feed us the perfect nutrients needed for the season.
We praise and magnify Your name, Emmanuel, forever and ever!
Spirit of Renewal: Spring and TCM
Guide to Seasonal Eating: Spring
TCM Information Page