Put a little “Spring” into your step!

rejuvenation, new growth, and cleansing

Get a little “Spring in your Step” by keeping your liver happy and enjoy the transition into a healthy, joyful, Spring time!

As we are approaching Spring, we are entering a time of rejuvenation, new growth, and cleansing. The change in seasons from winter to spring according to Chinese medicine’s principle of Five Elements, draws us into the energy of the wood element. The wood element signifies growth and is represented by the liver and gall bladder organs. The liver organ in Chinese medicine is slightly different than what we know of as the “liver” in Western medicine.

The Chinese Liver has several roles in the body. The liver is responsible for the smooth movement and spreading of qi in the body. In essence, it is responsible for maintaining the harmony of smooth movement and processes in the body. The liver ideally is in a light and balanced state but when its job is disrupted, it can very easily become “stuck.” When the liver gets in the “stuck state” it cannot do its job of moving the qi and blood to where it needs to go, rather it holds onto the qi, resulting in symptoms. Such symptoms are abdominal pain and bloating, vision changes, depression, mood swings, and menstrual irregularities may result.

The liver is also associated with planning and one of its roles is to have a plan for protecting the body from infections. If the liver is not functioning optimally, the person maybe more susceptible to getting a cold or having a lower immune response. The opposite could occur if the liver is over active and pave the way for autoimmune disorders to express or allergies to become worse.

As we embark into spring, what are some ways you can make sure your liver is happy?

  • One way is to breathe. Deep belly breathing, not only helps to move qi and push oxygen to your whole body but it helps you to RELAX! Remember, the liver works best if we are not stressed. Try incorporating belly breathing during periods in your day where you find you are the most stressed. Examples would be before you start your work day, sitting at a traffic light, or before you have to speak at a meeting.
  • Eat Liver-friendly and Qi moving foods. Certain foods have properties seen in Chinese medicine known as “qi movers.” Examples of some of these foods are citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, onions, spices like turmeric and teas like green tea. Consider adding a cup or two of green tea in your day and add some sliced oranges to your salad.
  • Decisions and planning. If we find ourselves struggling to make a decision, feeling depressed or lack of motivation, may give us a clue that our Wood energy is deficient. A way to help restore this energy and help strengthen the liver, is to make goals. Try making a list of the options you are facing or a “To Do” list and organize them with the most important priorities at the top, and as you do them, check them off. Also consider journaling your goals and visions for your future, as this too can help build and strengthen the Wood energy. All leading to a better ability to make decisions, increased motivation, sustained energy, and a happy Liver!
  • Move! Not only does spring signify that the days will be longer and the sun will be shining but it provides the optimal time to go outside and move! The liver functions ideally if we are moving, either walking, running, or even stretching will help keep you healthy and the qi moving! Consider adding yoga into your morning routine, doing basic poses like cat/cow or taking a short lunch break walk.
  • Get Acupuncture. Acupuncture works to improve the overall balance in the body as well as regulating the liver to help reduce stress, boost energy, control emotions, and reduce pain.

Get a little “Spring in your Step” by keeping your liver happy and enjoy the transition into a healthy, joyful, Spring time!

Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, practicing in Bothell and Kenmore, WA, specializes in digestive health, stress management, and has a passion for helping people with food allergies. For more information, visit startingpointacupuncture.com.


Dolowich G. Archetypal Acupuncture: Healing with Five Elements. Jade Mountain Publishing: 2003.

Kaptchuk TJ. The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine. Congdon & Weed: New York (1983).


Call or Schedule Now! (425) 686-4498

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Call or Schedule Now!

(425) 686-4498

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc

  • Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
    Bastyr University
  • Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
    Bastyr University
  • Master’s Degree in Chemistry
    Northern Arizona University
Dr. Heintze Acupuncturist and Naturopathic Doctor

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