Spring – the Rise of Yang Qi

We can feel the difference.  There is no need for internal self-motivation to get out for a run on a nice, sunny, warming Monday morning!  Active energy, Yang Qi, is stirring.

Like the dawn of a new day, winter equinox is “Yin within Yin” or “ultimate Yin” heralding in itself the beginning of Yin’s transformation into Yang.  Spring equinox (Yang within Yin) is the time where Yang becomes equal to Yin as it continues to grow relatively to Yin to its peak at the summer equinox duly dubbed “Yang within Yang”.

According to the Five Elements Theory of Traditional Chinese medicine, the season of Spring is dominated by the climate of Wind, the culprit responsible for the contraction of various viruses, bacteria, colds and flues.  In the springtime, we also see an increase of other conditions triggered by Wind invasion such as hay fever and asthma.

Nowadays we are able to understand more precisely what exactly these ‘Wind pathogens’ look like.  We can test for allergies to specific substances to find out if we are allergic to grass pollens, cherry blossoms, cat dander, red alder or any host of others.

External pathogenic Wind is said to invade the body through the pores and specifically through the area of the nape of the neck.  When our Wei Qi (Defensive Energy – aka. Immune system) is robust, the pores close in a brisk wind, disallowing the passage of harmful Wind.  When it becomes weakened, or if it is a particularly strong Wind pathogen, the pores are left open and susceptible to the invasion of Wind.  This is why we contract a cold, begin to wheeze, or get sinus congestion.

Traditional Chinese medicine treatment of a cold includes acupuncture and herbal remedies said to activate the Yang Qi to open the pores, pushing out this Wind pathogen.  For this reason, it is always recommended that one consume these particular herbal formulae at as hot a temperature as possible, careful of course not to scald the mouth!  The goal is to create a slight sweat, indicating that the pores have opened and the pathogen has been released.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with the following concept.  All of the ideas fostered over the winter are beginning to germinate.  Spring is the time to turn inspiration into action, a time to harness the expanding, active Yang energy and, with it, nourish the soil of your goals and dreams.

-Authored by Dr. Peter Wood