Spring in Shanghai: Seasonal Changes and Your Body
TCM’s View of Seasonal Changes
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the world is a harmonious and holistic entity where all living beings are viewed in relation to the surrounding environment. People are considered a part of this holistic entity, and are influenced directly and indirectly by changes in weather. Physiological and pathological responses occur related to these changes. In ancient times, the Chinese developed Yin and Yang and Five Elements theories, which continue to be useful in understanding the human body and other phenomena in relation to the environment.
During winter, the body stores a lot of energy. When spring comes, the preserved energy (Qi) will flow outside. Spring is the season of the rising Yang (active) energy. It is the season of rebirth, growth, blooming flowers and return of the sun. For the human body, this means adapting to the new environment and getting out of winter’s passivity to a more active state.
In springtime, weather changes can produce pathogens such as wind. Wind causes diseases like the flu, pneumonia, or a relapse of chronic diseases. Therefore, patients who tend to suffer from chronic diseases should remain vigilant. Some of the illnesses that were dormant in winter are likely to come out in spring. For example, skin and respiratory tract conditions may reappear.
Adjusting to Spring in Shanghai
Enough sleep and sufficient physical activity will help the body to adapt to the new season. In nature, spring is time for movement, spending time outdoors and breathing fresh air (check the Shanghai pollution index first!). Nourishing the body with sunlight and exercise is the best way to avoid stagnating Qi and thus prevent any dysfunction in your body and soul.
Make sure not to get rid of extra layers of clothing too quickly as wind can invade the body and leave you vulnerable. Remember that during spring, Shanghai weather varies greatly so try to dress in layers and protect yourself.
If you suffer from chronic illness, plan a visit with your TCM practitioner as the season changes. Herbal medicine and other treatments, as well as healthy diet and lifestyle, can help you minimize your risks. If you develop symptoms, we can help with natural remedies to reduce the length of the illness and keep you healthy. Happy spring!