In Between Winter and Spring: TCM and the 5-elements

March 2/17: Today as I'm writing, I can hear the robins outside singing their "Spring Song", while 2 days ago there was snow on the ground. This brings me to a truth that occurs during the "in-between" time of Winter transitioning to Spring.
All going well, the sap of the trees begins to rise, and plants begin to sprout, coming out of dormancy. We humans, parallel this behaviour. We spend the Winter in storage mode, in front of our fires (or TVs) enjoying what we have harvested in the fall. We don't tend to take on new projects and are happy with the status-quo.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine we call "Winter" the element, or more correctly, the phase of "Water". Following Winter is "Spring", or the phase of "Wood". During this transition of these 2 phases, we start to naturally feel the pull of Spring. Our energy starts to rise like that of the sap in the trees, and we start to more energetically plan our gardens, looking more seriously at our seed catalogues, or plan to get more projects done at work or around the house.
This is all well and good, right? When we follow nature's call, or follow the 5-phases (elements) seen in Traditional Chinese Medicine, we tend to stay happier and healthier.
Clinically, this time of year, I see two main imbalances start to occur.
The first? There are quite a few people who get stuck in Winter-mode and just don't have the energy to do anything when Spring finally arrives. They are sluggish, tired, and aren't planning on doing anything. What I do in this case, is to help them overcome the blockage with acupuncture, often classically, moving Qi from Water to Wood phase; allowing the energy to flow in accordance with the 5-phases, imparts more vitality.
The second? People come into my office feeling overly cranky and suffering from migraine headaches. These people have jumped rather quickly out of Water into Wood, and their "sap" has overly risen to their heads, which manifests initially as frustration then as migraines. With these patients I help them anchor the Qi, or "sap" so it doesn't rise so quickly and get out of control. Acupuncture in this case helps to balance the rising up, yet allowing the call of Wood to occur in a more balanced manner.
This could be why February is such a frustrating month for so many Canadians, especially on the West Coast where Winter and Spring are co-existing. We feel the pull of Wood, and are held back by the chill of Water. Have faith. Soon the nettles will be up. Spring is coming.