Spring is the first of a seasonal cycle and a time of birth and of new beginnings. As days become warmer and longer, energy which has been resting and storing up energy during winter bursts forth with the energy of youth and growth.

Illustration by Parnassus


In Wu Xing (五行) known as the Five Element theory, wood is the representation for this beginning phase. Wu Xing theory permeates many areas of Chinese culture including traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), geomancy (feng shui), astrology, music, and martial arts and is used to help describe interactions and relationships between any phenomena.

In TCM, the Five Elements or Phases are aspects of energy or qi. These are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Health is a harmonious balance of all the elements. The qi of the elements increases and decreases in daily and seasonal cycles. Each one of us is a unique and characteristic blend of the influences of all the five elements.

Spring is said to have the energy of "wood". Spring is an expression of life at its peak strength. Spring's increasing warmth encourages us to stay outdoors for longer periods of time. It challenges us to grow and to start new projects and plant the seeds of change.

In TCM the liver and gall bladder meridians represent the wood element and the eyes are the associated sense organs. Green is the color associated with wood and Spring.

Wood governs our sense of vision and ability to adapt to changes and adjust to obstacles. If this energy is blocked it can lead to frustration and anger. An acupuncturist can stimulate points on wood meridians like GB24 or L1 to help unblock stagnant energy (qi). And there are many other ways to stimulate the points without acupuncture needles, using essential oils, acupressure, massage, Reiki, etc. Anyone can support the flow of the qi in the meridians by stretching, doing yoga, qigong or taiji.

A person with weak wood energy can be indecisive, without clear goals. They may have digestion problems. Congested or stagnant Liver Qi can cause a person to be controlling, arrogant, and easily express anger. Using the Wu Xing chart, we see that water generates and nourishes the energy of wood and metal helps tonify or control it.

©Reprinted from our Spring 2018 journal