Most of us feel a mixture of relief and happiness when the first signs of spring appear. We get a bounce in our step and sometimes a surge in vitality too. In Chinese Medicine, spring is a time when yang (the warm and active part of our energy) rises.
One would think that the end of winter would herald the end of pale, pasty and snotty children. And it often does. However, over the last couple of weeks I have had a lot of children come through the doors of the Panda Clinic with “spring diseases”. In Chinese Medicine terms, when spring arrives pathogens that have been lurking in our bodies throughout the winter, are often brought to the surface. Just as, in nature, bulbs flower and blossom appears on the trees, the extra heat brings things to the surface of the body. Yang is rising, but in children it sometimes rises a bit too much and a bit too quickly!
This manifests in different ways in different children. There is an increased incidence of febrile diseases, such as chicken pox, at this time of year. The pock marks are literally a manifestation of heat that has been lurking in the body coming to the surface. Children with skin diseases such as eczema may have a temporary flare up.
I have heard a lot of parents recently saying they “don’t know what has got in to” their child. They aren’t sleeping so well, are more ratty, cross and irritable. Springtime is related to the Liver organ in Chinese medicine. The Liver Qi (energy) has to work quite hard to adapt to the change in the external conditions that come in spring. What’s more, as if often the case in the UK, there is often a period of a few weeks when it’s warm one day, and cold again the next. This constant fluctuation in temperature puts the Liver Qi under more strain. These emotional changes that parents notice are a reflection of the Liver Qi trying, but struggling, to adapt. In Chinese Medicine theory, we say that “the Liver hates change.”
In a few week time, however, both the weather and our children should be more settled. The heat that is coming to the surface needs to be expelled and it is the sign of a robust child that their body is trying to do this. The Yang will have risen, the Liver energy settled back down and calm will once more reign!!