Acupuncture & Seasonal Transitions

Here our acupuncturist Richard explains why different seasons make you feel different! Traditionally in Chinese Medicine, it’s identified that as seasons change and make a transition from one to another, different organs come to the ascendency.

In essence, the environmental conditions present within each season stimulate different internal organs. 

This explains why we have a different volition, different sense of creative impulse at different times of the year. For example, Summer stimulates more of your Heart & Small Intestine (Fire Element) which draws you out to connect with people and be nourished, feel fulfilled by relating, having fun and letting go. Whereas Winter stimulates your Kidney and Bladder (Water Element) which naturally draws you inside to rest and reflect, germinate deep seeds for the growth of the next year. 

This also explains for example why we have the notion of a ‘Summer of Love’, but never really a ‘Winter of Love’! Or why we don’t feel like retreating and hiding away during the summer. (there are exceptions of course, but this is the general nature of things!

So basically, if you saw me about 3 months ago, you are now operating with a different pair of organs in the ascendency with a different creative ’task’ for them to achieve, and we can often struggle with this transition. So while 3 months ago I might have been taking your pulse every week and being able to fine tune your organs for the optimal balance at that time, now you might need fine tuning again as sometimes we get stuck in a similar mode from the previous season and don’t allow the flow to the current one.

(And unfortunately, but probably not surprisingly, the ‘come down’ Summer to late summer where we experience the beginning of the contraction and ‘inward movement’ of self as the weather calls is one of the most difficult!)

For interest, here are the organs (and the element they are part of) that are in ascendancy during each month and what their ‘task’ is for that season. 


Liver & Gall Bladder (Wood Element) Create structure, growth and vision for the year ahead, cement plans and decisions to meet your highest potential.


Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium & Triple Heater (Fire Element) Connect you with people, your passions – take your attention outside into the world, drawn out by the heat and drop the layers of protection the colder seasons engender.

Late Summer:

Spleen & Stomach (Earth Element) Reap the benefit of what you have sown, feel a sense of contentment and prepare your resources (like Harvest time) for the period of time that is coming where you head more inwards.


Lung & Large Intestine (Metal Element) To start to eliminate old layers of growth – dropping away thoughts and feelings that you no longer need to create space for fresh inspiration – think of the trees shedding layers. 


Kidney & Bladder (Water Element) Take you deep inside to rest, rejuvenate and reflect so that when the light (and heat) starts to come back you can hit the next year with renewed vigour, vitality and wisdom, and create something even better the following year! 

The Scientific Perspective

Well, we all like a bit of science, particularly when the findings begin to back up what the empirical and natural observation! A recent study from Arizona State University also found that acupuncture can decrease feelings of stress for up to 3 months too! Apparently, it may be to do with the body’s HPA axis, a system that controls our reactions to stress, and influence on hormones known to drive the body’s fight or flight response! 

The Maintenance Perspective

If neither of the above rationale entice you to come for treatment then you can always just consider that when it comes to health maintenance, that sometimes we can tend to be sadly lacking!

When something goes ‘wrong’, and we feel off colour, we can tend to reach out rapid fashion, but we often don’t give so much attention to make sure we stay in top form and avoid falling into precipices. We all like walking at the top of the valley, lets make sure you stay there!

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