December 3, 2023

By Paul Gaucher

The natural world is once again renewed and alive. Seeds that have been dormant for months start to burst forth from the soil, and trees start to develop fresh buds. Flowers are emerging and people are starting to prepare for gardening.

From the Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, we are emerging from the season of the water element, winter, which is a time of rest and restoration. We are now entering the season of the wood element, spring, a time of vitality and renewal.

The organ most active at this time of year is the liver. Every person’s health and well-being is dependent on how their body removes and purges toxins from the body. Over winter, our bodies accumulate cellular waste from a heavy and more fortified diet. In spring, the body moves into a cycle of rebuilding and cleansing of the accumulated toxins from our bodies and minds. The liver is one of the hardest working organs in the body. It works tirelessly to detoxify our blood, produce the bile needed to digest fat, break down hormones, and store essential vitamins, minerals, and iron.

Emotional symptoms related to this seasonal change includes feelings of frustration, anger, impatience, or depression. In its positive expression, it is the emotion required to initiate change. It’s the unconstrained expression of the growing edge of self, as it manifests its own possibilities. Anger and the range of emotions associated with the imbalance of the wood element may arise when the free and easy movement of growth is impeded or unsupported by other people, by environmental conditions, by an insufficiency of internal or external resources, or by our limiting beliefs that create emotional blocks. Healthy wood energy gets us moving, enables us to take risks and to uphold necessary boundaries.

This is an important time to assist our bodies in making this shift. Here are some ways to support your body during this seasonal transition:


• Limit alcohol, tobacco, refined sugar, coffee, and junk food.

• Drink lemon juice in warm water, first thing in the morning. Simply add 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice to a cup of warm water. Drink it on an empty stomach. This is alkalizing to your body, and will help cell detoxification and will gently stimulate your liver and gall bladder.

• Eat fruit and vegetables, especially fresh sprouts, leafy greens, carrots and sweet potatoes. Also aim for organic or free range animal protein.

• Go for walks in nature. Listen to the birds chirping or running water, breathe fresh air, and enjoy the wonder of new life developing.


• Listen to your intuition to see what you need. Do you need simple exercise like yoga or walking, or do you need more intense activity such as running, hiking, dancing, or working out? Liver qi wants to move.


Explore these questions in a personal journal:

• Where do I feel stuck energy in my body or my life right now and how can I move it?

• How’s my energy level and do I feel rested and restored?

• How am I feeling and am I dissociating from uncomfortable emotions?

• Do I express anger or frustration in healthy ways?

Acupuncture and herbal medicine can provide excellent sup- port for your liver and the spring energy dynamic, and set the stage for a healthy and energizing start to your year. In addition, you can benefit from additional dietary and lifestyle recommendations that are unique to your constitution. While supporting healthy liver function, you may experience more energy, improved digestion, better sleep, less joint pain, clearer complexion, and weight loss.

Paul Gaucher and Dove Sprout co-own Creston Acupuncture & Natural Health Centre, located at 219 10 Ave. N. For more information or to book an appointment, please call the clinic at 250-428-0488. For further questions about how acupuncture and herbal medicine can help, you can email Paul at acupunctu[email protected] or check out

ColumnCreston Valley


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