2013 Year of the Snake

By Yuval Blum, Lic Ac, TCMP

Many Chinese communities all over the world celebrated the Chinese New Year this month and welcomed the year of the snake.

A short brief: According to ancient Chinese philosophy, there are two main cycles in nature representing the order of the universe. The first is a cycle of 10 (“stem”) and the second, a cycle of 12 (“branch”). Each branch can be viewed in 3 different perspectives:
1. 2 hours of the day (24 hours divided by 12 branches).
2. 12 months of the year (lunar months).
3. 12 years great cycle.

Within the great 12 year cycle, every year is represented by a sign that symbolizes the characteristic of that year, much like the famous zodiac known in the west.Each branch, in addition to its correspondence to an animal, has a deep relationship with an organ in the body. It is important to keep in mind that an “organ” in Chinese Medicine is a wider term than it is in Western Medicine: there is the physical organ and physical function, and it also includes its meridian, and its emotional and spiritual functions. The “Organ” belonging to the year of the snake is the Spleen. The main role of the spleen is to control everything that has to do with digestion. On the physical level it is food and fluids but consider also the digestion of data, thoughts, and information. Why snake? The snake represents a very strong digestive system. So strong that it can digest a prey that was swallowed whole. This year, therefore, the spleen is especially active.

It means that it has the potential to be in its full manifestation and strength if we take good care of it. Conversely, it means that it can be easily injured and harmed if we don’t treat it appropriately. So how can we help the spleen this year? As the master of digestion the spleen likes a variety of foods. A diverse and colourful menu, rich with many nutrients will nourish and support the spleen. The one exception are carbohydrates. It is important to monitor the quantity and quality of these to ensure the spleen is “happy” and is not harmed. The spleen is also sensitive to cold foods like dairy products, and uncooked food straight from the fridge. Raw fruits and vegetables should be eaten at room temperature. Ice creams and ice cold drinks should be eliminated!! All of these are truths in every year but more so in a snake/ spleen year. On the mental/ emotional level it is important to keep a relaxed lifestyle as much as possible. The spleen is prone to harm from overthinking and too many worries. Practicing meditation, qi-gong, yoga or any meditative activity on a regular basis will support the spleen. Even things like guilt and avoiding responsibilities can harm the spleen so this year is a great time to take action and ownership in our lives.

Regular Chinese Medicine treatments, Acupuncture and herbal remedies designed to nourish the spleen are also highly recommended. Wonder how your spleen is doing? Signs for injured or deficient spleen include:
• Gastrointestinal symptoms like IBS, diarrhea, constipation, nausea and stomachaches.
• Food allergies and intolerance
• Menstrual disorders
• Tendencies to bruise easily, nosebleeds, bleeding gums
• Hemorrhoids
• Collapsed organ/tissues
• Other conditions like anemia and immunity and autoimmunity diseases

If any of the above conditions are familiar with you and you wish to address them, please contact us by phone or email. Together we will have a great, healthy and successful year of the snake!

Yuval Blum, Lic Ac, TCMP