Motivation of the Wood Element

Spring is a time of birth, change and rapid expansion. The Chinese medicine element or energetic phase for spring is Wood. Just as spring is the time for plants to quickly pierce the ground and for trees to flower, it also represents birth and the quick growth of children and infants. Therefore, the Wood element is concerned with movement, with motivation, and with the harmonious flow in our lives.

A healthy Wood element person is sure of oneself and can speak up for one’s needs, but also knows when to relax the urge for control and go with the flow. Many great visionaries such as Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi have strong Wood elements. An example in nature is bamboo: the main stalk is very straight and firm but can also easily curve and bend with the wind.


The principal organs of the Wood element are the Liver and Gallbladder. The energy of the Liver ensures the smooth flow of Qi/Energy in the body and prevents such Liver Qi stagnation problems such as:

* spasms

* tight muscles

* painful menstruation

* continuous sneezing, itchy eyes from hay fever

* Its encumbered emotions: nervous tension, anger, frustration, passive agressiveness, constant sighing, rage

* premenstrual symptoms

* constant hiccups, belching, or gas

* pounding headache

* feeling of restlessness with lethargy   How can we balance our Wood element if we experience any of the above symptoms or feel a lack of motivation or vision? Here are some suggestions:

* Increase intake of vegetables, particularly green vegetables. If your digestion is sensitive or you have a hard time digesting certain foods, eat more lightly cooked vegetables, rather than raw.

* Look at the green in nature whenever you have spent several hours reading or at a desk. Green helps children focus and relax. Rub your bare feet over green grass. Place plants inside your house (ie bamboo is very easy to maintain in water and moderate light).

* Include a moderate daily amount of sour foods such as lemons, seasonal berries, limes, pickles, berries, organic yogurt, apple cider vinegar, locally made sauerkraut

* Exercise, stretch, play. Movement keeps the Liver Qi from stagnating.

* Get enough sleep and rest because Liver Blood replenishes at night; insufficient Liver Blood leads to energetic stagnation and the encumbered emotions can have more tendency to rise.  This is particularly useful for women with pre-menstrual difficulties as there is a relative Liver Blood deficiency before and during the menstrual cycle.

* On a psycho-emotional level, Wood energy is about unfulfilled desires, but rather than figuring out “what am I supposed to be doing with my life?!”, in other words, big life questions, focus on a present moment frustration that arises.  For example, if you are not a morning person and you are easily stressed in the morning, take a moment next time you find yourself frustrated, just a few seconds, to ask yourself, “What is happening at this very moment that I am frustrated?  What is the unfulfilled desire at this very moment?”  See what arises.  You do this enough times, you will find that answers will come easily, and your Liver Qi will flow more freely, allowing for more awareness to tackle deeper issues.


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