Spring Detox:  Move Your Qi


Tender greens push through the Earth’s soil as rain and

warm sun creates new growth.


In Chinese Medicine Spring, the element of Wood, is the season of new growth, creativity and planning.  As we move out of winter, sluggishly and wearily, we find a renewed energy of growing and greening.   Spring is an ideal time to rejuvenate and cleanse our bodies. 


Spring’s element of Wood is related to the liver and gallbladder organs, which are responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body. When the liver functions smoothly, physical and emotional activity throughout the body also runs smoothly.  Equally important is the liver’s ability to detox the blood in the body.  For this reason, cleansing the body is an important task this season if full health is desired.


Put Some Spring into Your Step


There are several ways to promote movement of liver qi and to aid in detoxification. It’s always important to ease into activity as too rigorous a plan can leave you feeling more exhausted and wiped out.  The goal is to move your body gently, eat the right foods and ensure plenty of rest.


Rise early

A sluggish liver will make a slow morning riser.  Train your body to rise with the sun to give yourself a jump-start to the day and get things moving early on.


Get outside

Outside air helps liver qi flow. If you have been feeling irritable, find an outdoor activity to smooth out that liver qi stagnation. Try hiking or a brisk walk.



The liver controls the tendons. According to Chinese medicine, the liver stores blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons in times of activity, maintaining tendon health and flexibility. Incorporate a morning stretch into your routine. Try yoga or Tai qi.

Eat Green

Green is the color of the liver and of springtime. Eating young plants such as fresh, leafy greens, sprouts, and immature cereal grasses can improve the liver’s overall function and aid in the movement of qi.  Specific foods to help with detox include:

Beet and dandelion greens, watercress, arugula, asparagus, artichoke hearts

Sprouts of mug beans, peas, alfalfa or lentils

Seaweed, spiraling, chlorella



Taste Sour

Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the liver's qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing. Garnish your sandwich with a slice of dill pickle.  Try other pickled foods or sauerkraut.


Enjoy tea
Milk thistle helps protect liver cells from incoming toxins and encourages the liver to cleanse itself of damaging substances, such as alcohol, medications, pesticides, environmental toxins, and even heavy metals such as mercury.


Try castor oil packs or warming socks

Both castor oils packs and warming socks draw out toxins from the body, promoting lymphatic flow.  Both are a very simple and natural way to keep the liver energy from becoming stagnant.


Stay grounded

The energy of spring is that of upward and outward.  Balancing that with more grounding activities can prevent us from becoming easily irritable, dizzy or overwhelmed.  Gardening is a great way to keep our hands and feet to the ground, even if we begin indoors before the weather turns consistent.

Get Acupuncture treatments

Acupuncture and herbal medicine can help improve the overall health of your liver as well as treat stress, anger and frustration, which are often associated with liver qi disharmony.  Relaxing tension in your body and/or taking a break during the day can smooth out the flow of energy and leave you feeling focused and more refreshed.



Sign up today for a Spring Detox package offered at the Raby Institute.  The package costs $375 ($400 value) and will include:

  • 4 Acupuncture sessions
  • Chinese herbal consultation
  • Nutrition to support detoxification
  • Essential oil usage
  • Other modalities to promote cleansing

To make an appointment with Michelle Goebel-Angel call the Raby Institute at 312-276-1212.

"I love visiting the Raby Institute. Dr. Raby knows how to help me feel comfortable and at ease. I feel like she really hears me and cares about my health."
- Raby Institute patient