Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring Cleaning for Body, Mind, and Spirit

Are you ready for summer yet? The change of seasons, especially spring, seems to bring about some major adjustments in our bodies - allergic reactions, colds and flus.

In ancient tribal times, people understood that our bodies, minds and spirits needed a little help to transition between seasons. To make the transition, they would celebrate with moving and energizing rituals, dances and ceremonies. These moving celebrations helped to clear the old energies of the past season, and bring in fresh energies of the coming season.

We, being much more sedentary in our daily lives, have fewer moving factors in our lives. To compound the problem, many modern approaches to health actually introduce stagnation rather than movement. Consider the practices of icing injuries and putting casts on broken bones - both of these practices force the body to be still, rather than encouraging movement. Considering that movement is life, this approach only leads to further problems during the change of season.

Stagnation = Illness
In fact, if you consider many of the common illnesses and discomforts in our society today, you'll find that the majority of them are caused by stagnation and lack of movement. These include: headaches or migraines, shortness of breath, heart irregularities, bowel obstruction, depression, allergies and urogenital problems. Given our current lifestyles, we have to introduce factors to move our chi, our blood, our lymph, not to mention our minds and spirits. You can imagine what happens if we fail to clear the old energies season after season - we get the stagnation that causes the discomforts listed above.

Most of us are well aware of certain herbs that purge, cleanse and move specific areas of the body. For instance, psyillium is an herb often used to move and cleanse the bowels. Such a narrow focus, however, doesn't serve us well during the change of season. We need to have a much broader approach that takes into account body, mind and spirit. There are techniques in many hands-on healing modalities (including massage, chiropractic and acupuncture) that have general moving and clearing effects. These approaches range from general to specific, with massage tending to be more general, and acupuncture tending to be more specific.

Don't Wait, Spring Clean Now
So, instead of waiting to get sick or allowing layer after layer of stagnation to build up, plan for your change of season. Plan to get a series of "tune up" massage, acupuncture or other kind of healing treatments. Take a tai-chi or karate class - or even a bellydancing class. Anything that moves you will heal you through the change of season. Healing techniques that move your body will also move your mind and spirit (by the "as above, so below" universal law). Planning a change of season will help you stay on top of your health and prevent future illnesses. You'll get a lot more mileage out of prevention than you will out of curing an illness that has already manifested!

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