Spring Is Here... & So Is Your Spring Clean!
Hailing a big welcome to our favourite season - spring. That perfect balance of not too hot, and not too cold.
After what felt like a much cooler winter than years gone by, we are finally come out from hibernation and basking, once again, in the glorious Sydney sunshine (in our SPF50 no less). After weeks (and months) spent indoors, there is a good chance your skin, much like ours, is feeling a little dry and perhaps a little irritated, your lymphatic system is moving at a snail's pace (yes, colds, headaches and a whole lot of other wonderful ailments have struck) and perhaps, even, your jeans are a little more snug than they were just a little while ago. So with the sun beaming once again, now is the perfect time for a spring clean… of the mind, body and soul kind.
We asked our resident acupuncturist and wellness wunderkind, Yvette Forbes, what we need to consider when it comes to a new season? Her answer was quite simple (but totally an ‘aha’ moment in the same heartbeat)...
“Spring is here and spring is the time of the liver! In Chinese Medicine, spring is a time the liver flourishes and its energies are at its peak. Spring is the best time to support the liver and we can support this organ by eating fresh green foods, exercising, being more mindfully aware of our emotions and by getting regular acupuncture treatments.”
So, let’s talk fuel - yes, what you are putting into your body!
After sipping red wine and eating chocolate by the fire all winter (we hear you), no doubt your body is ready for a cleansing. It’s time to discard the comfort foods, and start stocking up on natural and organic (where possible) produce. Start filling your pantry (and bellies) with delicious, healthy snacks and meals that truly feed you and don’t just tied you over. Come Saturday morning, you will find us at Bondi Beach Farmers Market. Creating fun, habitual ways of acquiring your produce will slowly wean you off all of those naughty (albeit delicious) snacks that seem to have taken up residence in your abode. Look for fruits and vegetables that are in season and gather from growers who use as little pesticides as possible - is there anything better than biting into ripe strawberries in spring?
Yvette explains, “In spring we begin eating less and lighter then we did in winter. It’s a time of renewal and growth and a time we want to cleanse and shed extra fats from our foods and bodies. Spring is a time when we can introduce sprouts, fresh greens and pungent herbs to help support the liver and cleanse the body.”
The liver has one of the most important jobs in the body - it filters the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. Not only that, but the liver detoxifies and metabolises, and in its most charming act, it secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines.
So what does Yvette recommend to support the liver function from a food perspective?
- Mung beans and sprouts
- Dandelion root
Whether you are incorporating these into your meal plan, or eating them on their own, find ways that these can be easily worked into your daily diet without them feeling too big a step away from the days of winter diets!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate - yes, it really is that simple!
Now before we move off the topic of diet, it’s also important to note your hydration. An essential part of your diet all year round, we can’t help but give a shout out to the OG of beverages, H2O come spring time. Essentially, water cleanses the entire system of toxins and where the liver is responsible for flushing out those toxins, water is going to aid in the process. Outside of that - your 2L a day are essential for hydration (obviously), but also for brain function. So start sipping! If you are feeling a bit “meh” about how much water you are now finding yourself taking in, sip on a young coconut with your lunch to mix it up!
It’s time to get moving and stretch those limbs!
With the sun rising a little earlier, setting a little later and the winter frost seemingly lifting, it is the perfect time to get back into an exercise routine that incorporates the great outdoors (not just a gym studio). We would be inclined to argue that the iconic Bondi to Coogee coastal walk is second to none, but are happy to be proven wrong. Wake up with the birds and hit the pavement. While the coastal walk may need to be reserved for weekends - we know it’s hard to fit everything in before 9AM - stick closely with your pilates, yoga, boxing (whatever it may be) class. In another wonderful bid to support your liver function, Yvette explains, “stretch and breath and let the Qi and blood nourish your muscles and tendons”. We’re also taking this to mean that we can in fact indulge in a myofascial massage - lie back and relax, letting the practitioner stretch out and elongate your muscles.
To make the exercise element of your spring clean stick, set yourself a goal of two weeks to begin with (this is often how long it takes for the mind and body to create a “habit”). By making yourself accountable for a mere two weeks, we think you will be surprised at just how easy it becomes to bounce out of bed by week three.
With your body on the right track, what are you doing for the mind come spring clean?
After a long winter, it is time to well and truly kick any winter blues that may be hanging around. Don’t worry, those feelings you have been experiencing are not uncommon… but also don’t need to be ever present. As Yvette explains, “In Chinese Medicine each organ has an emotional component. Anger is the emotion of the liver. Impatience, frustration and anger all affect this organ. We all experience these, however many of us suppress these emotions. Others don’t and, in excess, can be quite disruptive as well. Suppressed emotions block the Qi and leads to imbalance and dis- ease. The liver’s role in Chinese Medicine is making sure the Qi (energy) and blood flow smoothly within the body. Illness or disease is seen as a blockage of this flow. If the liver is functioning normally the Qi will be flowing smoothly, the emotional state will be calm and the body will move freely and effortlessly without pain or restriction.”
Practicing mindfulness during the spring months is a great way to reset and refocus your mind and energies. Taking time out - even if it is on your lunch break - to breathe and to focus more internally (as opposed to what is always going on around you… or, on your phone screen) will assist in calming the mind. If you are really looking for guidance, look to a group led mindfulness session - many have proven to be as effective as cognitive behavioural therapy.
At MO+, we would suggest booking a month long program focused on acupuncture to really support your Qi (or, energy flow). Created along the pathways that, in essence, connect the acupuncture points on the body are also linked to all of our organs. By incorporating acupuncture into your spring clean, the needles create pressure and heat that manipulate the meridian points along the pathway, working to improve, not only our Qi, but the overall health of our body. If you have found yourself experiencing any of the below symptoms, visit us at MO+ and have a chat with our team regarding how acupuncture can be used to target your condition or ailment:
- Frustration, Depression and repressed anger
- Hypochondriac pain
- A feeling of a ‘lump” in the throat
- Women’s health, menstrual issues
- Abdominal distension, belching, nausea, digestive issues
- Contraction and spasm in the muscles and sinews
- Blurred vision and dry sore eyes
- Irritability, dizziness, tinnitus, headaches, outburst of anger
At MO+ we are big believers in living a well-rounded lifestyle that balances out all of the above elements so that what you are doing is sustainable and creates habits with longevity. Within the mix of all the things you can do for yourself - eating right, getting exercise, making sure you are sleeping well (and for long enough) - sometimes our bodies still need a push along in the right direction. At MO+, we offer practices and treatments that are targeted at supporting what you are doing at home. It’s important to us that what we deliver doesn’t have a “bandaid” effect, so that once you leave the clinic, the effects of your treatment have all but disappeared. It is also important to remember that treatments aren’t a one size fits all - they are tailored to your health and wellness journey. To simply make your appointment with one of our practitioners at MO+ is the first step in self care - the act of making the decision to nourish your mind, body and soul will help restore balance after the long winter months.