The Wood Element : Work with the Energy of Spring for a Rebirth

Spring is associated with the Wood element, which is the energy of growth and youth. Think of the flower buds forming and blossoming, the young shoots growing, the ducklings and cubs.

The Wood element is one of five elements, part of what is commonly known as the Five Element Theory. In Chinese the term we translate Five Elements from is wu xing means five (wu) and move (xing). The elements are processes, relationships, active phases.

This article is based primarily on eastern philosophy (Chinese Medicine), with additional information from Jin Shin Jyutsu, and Nutripuncture.

wood element spring
Element Wood
Season Spring
Organs Liver (Yin) Gall Bladder (Yang)
Colour Green
Direction East
Climate Windy
Emotion Anger
Sound Shouting
Taste Sound
Keywords morning, infancy, childhood, new growth, decision making, sight, eyes, eyebrows, sex organs, ligaments, bile, tears

Liver

The liver is associated with the Wood element. When we speak of the liver, we are doing so in the context of its physical function as well as its energetic, emotional, mental, and spiritual layers.

Liver is a yin organ whose function is to “produce, transform, regulate, and store the fundamental textures – Qi, Blood, Essence, Spirit, and Fluids.”1

The Liver is commonly explained as the General or the strategic planner to direct a life in harmony with nature.

The spirit/guide in the Liver is called Hun, which overseas our dreams, our vision.

The Liver manages the toxicity that comes from waste, soothes internal actions, ensures the smooth flow of Qi, and stores Blood and any substances that the body cannot dispose of.

Keeping the Liver healthy keeps the body healthy and the blood clean. We can do this by not burdening it through diet, lifestyle, emotional balance, and attitudes,

⥤ Find out more about The Organ Clock and what time the Liver and Gall Bladder are active.

Signs of Liver Imbalance

When the Liver is out of balance, a person experiences frustration, anger, and jealously. Other signs include restlessness, spasms, poor digestion, difficulty in urination, menses challenges, eye problems, and indecision. Some people wake up between 1am to 3am when the Liver is active.

In Nutripuncture, the Liver is an energy reservoir and vitality declines if this meridian is disrupted, which can lead to exhaustion and aggression.

Supporting the Liver

You can activate Liver 1 “Great Esteem”, located at the inner corner of the big toe nail bed. This is the first point of the Liver Meridian and supports the energy of springtime – growth, surging forward, creating new.2 If you are waking up at 1am, this is the perfect time to massage Liver 1, with benefits that are magnified now as this is the Wood Point on the Wood Meridian at the Wood Hour in the Wood season!

Find healthy ways to express and release anger, rest the eyes (the liver comes out of the eyes), calm the nervous system, quiet the mind, schedule in downtime, and daydream. Enjoy lemon water to detoxify.

In Jin Shin Jyutsu, we work with five attitudes – worry, fear, anger, sadness, and trying to. To harmonize the attitude of anger, you can hold your middle finger. Wrap the fingers of one hand around the other hand’s middle finger. You can explore holding different parts of the finger. Perhaps a specific area feels more in need. How does your body feel, your breath feel, when you hold your finger?

You can also take this Nutripuncture sequence using nutris, which are synergistic combinations of trace minerals that activate each meridian.

30 11 33 37 09 (women)
30 11 33 38 09 (men)

Gall Bladder

The Wood element also corresponds with the Gall Bladder.

The Gall Bladder is a yang organ, which is to “receive, break down, and absorb that part of the food that will be transformed into fundamental textures, and transport and excrete the unused portion.”1 It stores and excretes bile, governs decision making, and is responsible for our assertiveness as well as our flexibility through the ligaments, tendons, and sinews.

Signs of Gall Bladder Imbalance

Physical, physiological, mental, and emotional inflexibility or over accommodating. In Jin Jyutsu, a Gall Bladder imbalance may be seen as arthritis, droopy eyelids or puffiness, sciatica, internalized or repressed anger (liver is more explosive anger), resentment, ankle weakness, headaches, and easily bruised.

Supporting the Gall Bladder

Gall Bladder 24 “Sun and Moon” helps us see the light of both the Sun and the Moon so that we do not become attached to a particular position. When we are out of balance, we tend to see polarity, rather than unity.2

Gall Bladder 34 “Yang Mound Spring” helps with tendons, sinews, and ligaments, bringing smooth movement to them. This can bring relief to spasms and sciatica. Gall Bladder 34 also helps “right-size” someone’s Gall Bladder, allowing that person not to be timid or overly bold, and be decisive and confident.3

Find this acupressure point on the outside of the leg, below the knee. GB34 lies in a dip or depression below and in front of the head of the fibula.

Dietary support for the Gall Bladder includes minimizing fatty, rich, and spicy food and stimulants such as coffee. This is helpful, especially during the Spring and the hours from 11pm to 1am, when the Gall Bladder meridian is most active. Rest during these hours is recommended. Because of where the Gall Bladder meridians are located, movement that stimulates the sides of the body, such as Tai Chi and side stretches, can help move the Qi.

People with the Sun sign in Aquarius may be prone to Gall Bladder imbalance. (Pisces to Liver imbalance) You can hold the left side of the middle of you neck with your left hand and place your right hand on the area above your right eyebrow.

To anchor the energy of Spring, we can support the Liver and Gall Bladder organ functions using energetic practices that activate these meridians. We can also eat more lightly and more greens (leafy vegetables), create, plant seeds, get out in the sun, be in the warmth of the sun and of people (we grow from relationships).

Wood Element Personalities

People who are strong in the wood element are inner and outer world travellers and explorers. They enjoy challenge and action, and may move quickly from task to task. They can be frustrated by idleness. If this energy is not released in a healthy way, they can become indecisive and blocked with anger which may manifest as headaches, indigestion, a feeling of spaciness, and excessive phlegm.

 

The Wood energy of spring is an expression of life at its strongest. If we have followed nature’s way and taken a winter rest, we too emerge into spring “raring to go,” with clear vision and a sense of purpose.2

 

The Wood Element governs our sense of vision (Liver)1 and this may necessitate letting go of habitual and learned behaviours. Oftentimes this feels like we are asked to let go of part of who we are, part of our identity. This is true not only for the Wood element personalities.

When we are unable to make these changes, we make compromises to appease both sides. Perhaps we are indecisive or lack the courage (imbalanced Gall Bladder). We then often make compromises to appease other people. This leaves us stuck, rather than moving forward in life, a condition that increasingly disconnects us from being present and from our vision for ourselves.

When this happens, an underlying state of anger informs a person’s perspective, speech, decisions. This anger is because they feel blocked.  They are unable to have that rebirth and growth of inner springtime that is natural. If this anger is not harmonized, resentment and bitterness will grow.

Spring’s energy is potent and a grand opportunity for us to shed our old skin, our Winter’s coat and plant the seeds for the summer’s harvest. It is the season for the new, to be creative, to grow.

 

With this element, we trust in how our lives are unfolding and see that our different experiences are part of a larger, more coherent whole. When in balance, this element is associated with clarity of purpose and a capacity to handle whatever life brings our way. When out of balance, we may experience feelings of being lost or unclear about where we are headed, or prone to react in anger easily.

Diana, The Elemental Practice

 

Photo by Tanja Heffner

The Sense of Touch

In Nutripuncture, the sense of touch relates to the meridian family of 11 (Liver) and 30 (Gall Bladder), along with 35/36 (Master of Heart) and 37/38 (Triple Warmer). The secondary meridians are 19 (Skin) and 03 (Hair) which govern the sense of touch. This establishes boundary, limits, and contacts.

Touch, according to Nutripuncture, is “revelatory, magnetic, sensitive, tactful, feeling comfortable in one’s own skin.”4

Most people are stronger or more dependent on one or two senses. This reliance puts a burden on the meridians associated with that sense, as well as isolating them from the support of other meridians. Over time, vitality is weakened as cellular communication is less efficient and our sensory perception of the world diminishes.

 

Over the years, we drift further from knowledge of our own bodies by gradually anesthetizing our sensory finesse, which becomes increasingly crushed beneath the mind and abstract thoughts. We have trouble tuning into our sensations; our gestures become mechanical and deliberate. Though they are efficient, they no longer have any meaning or humanity. We calculate, we measure, we seek to master everything, whereas the goal of the game is to learn through and from our experiences and sensations, to integrate them in order to gain self-knowledge, to row and realize ourselves without forgetting “the senses” of life offered by our body.4

 

To improve our sense of touch, we can vitalize the meridians using nutris, in particular 19 (Skin) and 03 (Hair). We can take the nutris Cellular Regulator (Nutri Yin and Nutri Yang), 19, and 03. We can also add in nutris to activate the Liver, Gall Bladder, Master of Heart, and Triple Warmer. There are other sequences for touch and skin that are best recommended by a practitioner who can also work with you to go deeper.

Activating the sense of touch is not only for Wood element personalities. It is for everyone and definitely for those who use touch in a professional capacity such as a massage therapist. Information is passed through touch and a person who is imbalanced can imbalance another person through touch. While our conscious intentions are loving, the message sent through touch may be “off”.

The Spring is time for the new, for rebirth. By working with the Wood element, we can revitalize the Liver and Gall Bladder organ functions and meridians. We develop and enhance our ability to shed the old, to grow, and to play on the edge, being comfortable in our own skin and being conscious and conscientious of our boundaries and limits. Wishing you an inner spring!


1 The Web That Has No Weaver Ted Kaptchuk (kindle)
2 Wood 5 Elements.com
3 How Flexible Are You? 5 Element Acupressure
4 Nutripuncture : Stimulating the Energy Pathways of the Body Without Needles by Patrick Veret MD et al. p150 (Scribd version)

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