The Transition from Winter to Spring in Chinese Medicine
Dr. Lawren Chan | Minute Read
WINTER TO SPRING
In Traditional Chinese Medicine the five elements theory is founded on the essential substances: water, wood, fire, metal and earth. The elements are arranged in a circular and continuous generating sequence, with each element attributed to different qualities, movements, seasons and organs.
Winter is associated with water and is thought of as a time of storage, while spring corresponds to wood and signifies birth. These connections align well with the Western perspective of seasons as a long-awaited transition from winter to spring culminates in sprouting seeds, budding blossoms and if we’re lucky, some sun and warmth. The water element of winter is seen in the colour blue and linked to the kidney and bladder organs. The colour green and the liver and gallbladder organs represent the wood element of spring.
Chinese medicine views the kidneys as the body’s store of “essence”–a deep form of energy responsible for mental and physical development, vitality and the ability to reproduce, while the liver is the organ that houses the “ethereal soul” or the spiritual, non-rational side of human nature in charge of finding direction in life. Surviving the winter blues requires energy and essence preservation, but brings about the rewards of spring in the form of new beginnings, regeneration, and a revival of spirit.
This painting depicts the endurance of winter and the speed at which the season changes to something new, something which we have earned, but must not take for granted as the passing of time is both a blessing and an inevitability in the cycle of the seasons.
Allow yourself the space to shift from hibernation to revitalization by reflecting on the past, checking in with yourself at the present, and setting goals for the future to make the most of this season.