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5 Seasons Integrative Health: Staying in a Good Heart and Mind Space

Welcome to your first integrative health newsletter!  You might ask yourself what does the 5 Seasons Diet have in common with integrative health?  With 15 years of mental health and marriage & family counseling, and training as an active Five Element Acupuncturist, I will offer weekly insights on how you can stay in a good heart and mind space.  We both know that you can eat the right things and exercise the body but if you're thinking negative thoughts or drowning in a pool of pessimism, life ain't so grand!  Tristan, our holistic nutritionist, and our farm-inspired chefs have you covered with nutrition and food.  I am here to lasso your mind and spirit to make sure all of you is focused on your well-being!

From the Chinese Medicine perspective each season brings us gifts and challenges which affect our moods, what we focus on, and how we interact with others. Understanding the energetic shifts in nature will help you gain more insight into you, how you are feeling, and how best to stay in a positive mental attitude.

Today I'll be sharing with you my thoughts on Spring from a 5 Element Acupuncture perspective. To get a basic understanding of 5 Element Acupuncture, please visit the Integrative Health tab on our website,

Spring brings us the Wood element.  The best way to understand each element is to visualize the season that it belongs to. 

5 Seasons Integrative Health

Actually close your eyes and feel the Spring season.  What does it sound like, feel like, look like, smell like? 

For me I hear the birds.  After the quietness of Winter, Spring can bea cacophony of sounds.  It seems like every single bird has something to say from the time of sunrise to sunset.  Some even start before the sun comes up!

The feeling of Spring...I imagine those cool mornings with a touch of warmth from the sun as it rises to heat the day.  I can actually feel the warmth now as the earth shifts into this season.  Suddenly I am full of energy!  The days are longer and my energy stretches to accommodate.  I feel energized and ready for whatever comes my way. I also get the itch to garden!  I can't wait to get out and work in the dirt, helping little plants push thru the soil and blossom. 

I see all the different shades of green, especially that vibrant almost neon green of new growth. Slowly the landscape turns from brown to green, starting in the meadows and hills and working itself up to the top of our mountains.  I see the tulips, crocuses, and daffodils pushing up thru the soil, reaching for the light.  Everything is growing, expanding, and moving up.

The smell is crisp as the mornings are still cold.  The smell of soil un-thawing and then warming.  The air is fresh, new and invigorating.

Are you there?  How do you feel right now?

The Wood element brings us the feelings of birth and regeneration.  Everything is new again.  It's time to grow up...literally.  The energy of Wood moves up and out, just like a tree.  After the stillness of Winter, Spring can feel extremely energizing.  There's no other force like it in the elements.

The gift of the Wood element is growth, hope, and a plan of action.  Just like a seed in the ground instinctively grows into itself, the Wood element inspires hope in us to grow in the direction of our soul's purpose.  When you plant a maple tree seed, a maple tree grows.  It doesn't decide half-way thru that it wants to be an oak.  The same principle applies to us.  We each have a purpose on this earth and the Wood element can help guide us to fulfill it.  When in balance we also gain flexibility.  It is important as we grow to be flexible as many unexpected things can come our way.  To be able to take what comes, move fluidly with challenges and continue our growth is the optimum way; very much like a vine grows twisting and curling around obstacles but never stopping it's march toward the sunlight.

5 Season Diet Staying Healthy

When our Wood energy is out of balance we tip towards frustration, anger, hopelessness, and an inability to make decisions and execute plans.  We can feel stuck and unable to move; boxed in and unable to find the sun.  The initial anger that rises up can lead to a giving up; a place where we forget about our soul's purpose and feel completely lost on how to get back on track. Some of us stay in this hopeless place while others will vent anger at everyone and everything that crosses their path.  This anger and frustration comes from the intense desire to move & grow which is not being allowed by either the person themselves or situations around them.

Spring came a bit early this year in the Adirondacks so by March I was seeing clients daily manifesting Wood symptoms.  People were frustrated with situations at their work and in their lives, tearful for no reason, feeling out of sorts, and depressed.  Once I explained the energy of the Wood element and the Spring transition time, we were able to quickly move these symptoms into the gifts of the element.  People left feeling hopeful, calm, and feeling more able to adapt to their stressors. Thinking back to early Spring, you may remember feeling some of this energy as well.  Once we understand the seasonal elements and the energy they bring to us, the better we can maneuver through them!

Need help moving from the challenges to the gifts of the Wood element?  Here's two quick exercises you can do at home!

  • Take a deep inhale while moving your arms up from your sides so they meet above your head and then exhale completely while bringing your arms back to your side.  Feel the breath moving thruyour diaphragm up into your lungs, filling and exhaling completely.
  • The Wood element loves movement!  So move!  Take a brisk 20 minute walk outside, filling your lungs with Spring air, feeling the sun on your face, and your circulation beginning to really move.  Imagine as you walk that everything that has caused anger and frustration simply lifts off of you.  Begin to focus on what your plans are for the Spring season and how you will bring them into reality.  Allow yourself to really see and feel these positive changes, imagining that they have already happened and your goals have been reached.  Soak in this energy during your walk and return feeling refreshed and vibrant.
  • Remember every day that you get to chose the outcome of your day and how you react to what life brings your way.  

I look forward to joining you again next week!

In Gratitude,