Integrative Health Blog

Chinese Medicine and the Spring Tune Up

Posted by admin on Mon, Mar 04, 2013

Nicholas Buscemi MSOM, LAc


Changing with the Seasons

Classical Chinese Medicine is unique in that practitioners of the Classical way take into account the seasonal shifts in our treatment strategies.   For example, we are moving out of the time of hibernation, quiet and storage (winter) into a time of egress, growth and change (spring).  Our external environment goes from grey, cold and dead to green, temperate and nurturing. Treatment strategies should facilitate mirroring climactic changes with the functions of the body.  The process of the seasons changing can be tough on our bodies as we have collectively forgotten how to live within the seasonal mandate and sometimes we need a bit of help to adjust.

Humans React to the Weather Too

The shift to spring comes with many challenges this year.  As many will notice, our weather patterns haven’t really fit into the conventional mold of winter as of late.  We have snow days followed by 60 degree sunny days followed by windy freezing days.  This presents a challenge to our bodies that are attempting to acclimatize.  Look at the poor confused trees in nature that are beginning to bud only to expend too much energy and perhaps have a very difficult spring and summer.  We also see the early emergence of insects and rodents that would normally be hibernating until the last frost passes.  Believe it or not, our bodies react much the same way and will show us how stressed they are in a number of ways.

Classical Chinese medicine texts predict increased illness when there is no continuity in temperature and climate.  Our bodies react to the warm and sunny days by “opening” in preparation for spring, only to be “shut” quickly and unexpectedly when the cold creeps back.  This can create a “cry wolf” scenario where the body will get confused when the actual seasonal shift occurs and continue to be “shut”.  Symptoms of this can include depression, lassitude, slow digestion, poor circulation, failure to thrive, joint stiffness, pain in the lower back or upper right quadrant of the abdomen.   On the other side, our bodies can get stuck too far “open” and dizziness, excessive anger and irritability, red, itchy eyes, frequent colds, insomnia, mania can all result.

In essence, if our bodies fail to acclimatize to any season it sends a ripple of ill-health throughout the year to come. 

A Chinese Medicine treatment includes Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Dietary guidance, and Lifestyle advice in order to actualize your potential to be as healthy as possible.   Come in and tune up your body for Spring and see why so many people are drawn to this ancient medicine.


Nicholas Buscemi, MSOM, LAc is a practitioner of Classical Chinese Medicine at National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA, an integrative medical and dental center in Washington DC metro area.

Topics: chinese medicine, acupuncture