A solar term is a period of approximately two weeks based on the sun’s position in the zodiac. There are 24 solar terms in a year, which make up the traditional Chinese calendar system used to guide farming and everyday life. The calendar contributes to the ancient Chinese philosophy that living in accordance with nature will enable a harmonious life. This article series delves into each solar term and offers guidance on how to navigate the changes of season in order to live happier and healthier.
Solar Term: Spring Equinox (chun fen)
2017 Dates: March 20 to April 3
Characteristics and Meaning: On the first day of the solar term “Spring Equinox,” the lengths of daytime and nighttime are equal. At this time, yin and yang energies achieve a balance on earth and inside our bodies. After the first day, yang (the light energy) begins to build in the body and suppress yin (the dark energy).
In the Chinese solar terms, Spring Equinox is the peak of spring. Before this time, spring is intangible but gradually moving toward its peak. Yet in the Western calendar, spring is just beginning at this time. This contrast is a perfect example of the difference between Eastern and Western approaches: Chinese culture values intangible phenomena and philosophical concepts, and treats them as being just as important as the tangible; Western culture tends to value the material world, or what can be seen directly.
Another example of the Chinese approach is seen in the work of renowned Tang dynasty medical doctor Sun Si Miao (581–682), who classified disease into three stages:
- Prior to the arrival of disease.
- Disease just setting in.
- Having the disease.
Sun Si Miao said, “Ancient people were good at being medical doctors. [At that time,] the best doctors worked on preventing disease, mediocre doctors worked on disease just setting in, and the lowest level doctors worked on diseases that already existed.”
This theory emphasizes the importance of preventative medicine, or more fundamentally, the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally.
Impact on People: The main concern is that preexisting health problems and diseases may appear, much like grass popping up, in spring. This may be seen particularly in the areas of sleep quality, mental and emotional health, menopause, circulation-related problems, and other issues related to the eyes, blood, and heart.
This happens because when the yang energy is revolving inside one’s body and overtaking the yin energy, the blockages built up from a heavy diet and lack of movement in the winter come to the fore. When the energy circulation hits the places where we are already weak or sick, we feel discomfort.
Living in Harmony With the Season: We can detox in early spring with fresh seasonal vegetables and beans, preparing our bodies to let yang energy flow through and strengthening our overall health. Barefoot walks on grass, in forests and in fields, can help our body wake up and absorb the yang energy from nature.
Foods to Eat: Spinach, spirulina, leeks, chives, dark green vegetables, black beans, green beans, black sesame, soy products
Herbs to Use: Roman chamomile, German chamomile, geranium, frankincense, cedarwood, Douglas pine
Pressure Points: Massage and press around both sides of the fingertips and on the fingertip pads. These are the entry points of all of our body’s energy channels and meridians. Also, touch and press gently on the edges of the facial bone below both eyes. This helps reduce pressure on the eyes, enhances eye and face health, and can serve to beautify the skin.
Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a certified aromatherapist; former dean of the New Directions Institute of Natural Therapies in Sydney, Australia; group vice president of New Directions Australia; and founder of Ausganica, one of Australia’s leading makers of certified organic skincare and cosmetics. Visit Ausganica.com