Spring March 20–June 20, The Cycle.
Annee de Mamiel is one of the UK’s leading authorities on acupuncture, specialising in facial techniques. Annee’s philosophy is centred on the single Chinese medicinal principle that life is entwined in a series of seasons and cycles. Women age in seven year cycles, whilst for men it is eight years. Without realizing it, our bodies reflect the ebb and flow of energy of the seasons throughout the year. The vibrant fullness of summer contrasts with the need to slowdown in the winter urged on by the cold and dark. Spring allows us to emerge and grow and in the autumn we harvest the fruits and prepare for a new beginning.
During each season and each cycle, a particular element becomes more dominant and impacts our vitality. Achieving balance between these elements enables us to be healthy and vibrant, creating an emotional sense of wellbeing. Here, Annee writes about the emergence of spring.
Spring March 20–June 20 (Wood Element)
In Spring our energies move to a more Yang time, our energy is expansive, it is moving outward and emerging into small buds. This has been reflected by the daffodils which started to bloom as Spring began. New energy enables us to move onwards with vision and determination. We begin the ‘doing’ phase of our seasonal cycle by taking the contemplation and stillness of winter and giving those thoughts, goals and aspirations new soil and resolution to prepare to bloom in the summer.
Internally governed by the Liver and Gall Bladder, the Wood element subsequently governs the muscles, the tendons, the eyes and the fingernails and plays a key role in the functioning of the reproductive system. In the body as a whole, it is responsible for the smooth flow of mental and physical energy and assists all the other organ systems in functioning properly thus impacting our sleep and digestion.
Liver qi allows for the appropriate movement of emotions, if it is stagnated and out of balance we may lack vision and focus or the decisiveness and firmness of purpose to achieve our vision. We may be thrown off by changes and obstacles, either becoming rigid or angry when things do not go according to plan, or feeling so hopeless and frustrated that we give up on our goals. As the Liver qi starts to flow more easily in the spring, problems that bothered us in the winter often start to feel better, and we find we have more energy and vigour.
With a change in season the skin’s needs also change, so the skincare routine will need adjusting accordingly. We need to be kind to our skin in the spring as it has come from a place of dryness and sudden bursts of activity can cause irritation, acne and oily skin. As we make the transition between seasons, we really need to look at what we are putting onto our skin. We should look at moving to products which are a little lighter but are still packed with active ingredients products which can maintain moisture levels in the skin, according to what’s needed.
We need to encourage regeneration and movement of the stagnation that winter has left us with, exfoliation and body brushing is brilliant to get rid of the old and encourage the new. Whilst good ingredients are essential, so is how you apply them. I always recommend giving yourself a short facial massage each day/evening, it really makes a difference in helping to reduce fine lines, decreasing puffiness and creating a radiant glow.
Suggestions To Get The Most For Spring
Get outside: Find some time for an outdoor activity that suits you.
Express yourself and envision possibility: Take this season as an opportunity to examine what you would like to change in your life. Make a plan and start putting the steps in action and walk steadily towards your north star. Any form of creative expression helps nourish and channel Wood energy in a healthy way.
Eat Green: Not surprisingly, green is the colour that goes with spring, wood, and the liver. Green, leafy foods are especially helpful to the liver qi.
Taste Sour: Sour foods also help soothe and smooth the liver qi, and can ease the transition into spring. Add lemon to your water, pickles to your sandwich, vinegar and olive oil dressings to your salad.
If you have allergies, take care of them: Allergy symptoms can make an otherwise lovely time of year quite unpleasant. Acupuncture is great for helping with this.
Stretch: According to Chinese medicine, the Liver stores blood during rest and releases it to the tendons and muscles in times of activity. Taking a few minutes to stretch or do yoga in the morning can help you move more fluidly through the day.
Be Gentle: The Wood element in Chinese Medicine has a tendency towards frustration and impatience, so acknowledge yourself for your efforts and kindly give yourself some time and space to get to where you are going.
Annee de Mamiel grew up on a farm in New South Wales, Australia, later moving to Sydney to live and work in finance. Whilst in Sydney Annee felt like a new challenge and signed up to the BT Global Challenge, having never sailed. She learnt and set sail in Autumn 2000 from Southampton.
Due to a health crisis, Annee then moved to the UK, where she was treated. The illness and the treatment meant that Annee’s skin became super sensitive, and she could not find a natural, healing product that worked. This re-ignited a passion for mixing and blending (first appeared with her Barbie perfume maker, aged 7!), which led to her creating her own blends to use.
Throughout Annee’s treatment she combined western medicine with holistic therapies and, in 2004, having experienced the benefits of acupuncture herself, she began studying. Annee holds a BSc Honours Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) from the London College of Traditional Acupuncture in the UK, combined with a BSc in Anatomy Physiology from the University of Sydney, Australia. She completed her internship at the Hangzhou Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China, working alongside doctors in the outpatients clinic. Annee has also studied in New York & LA, under Ping Zhang and Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, respectively.
In 2008 Annee studied to gain a Diploma in Aromatherapy from the Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy where she specialised in Oriental Aromatherapy. Combining this qualification with her wealth of knowledge on acupuncture, and facial techniques to create a healthy, vibrant appearance and an inner sense of well-being, Annee has launched a range of seasonal facial oils. The oil is focused around the principles of Chinese medicine that each season represents an element, which becomes more dominant in particular paths of our lives – achieving balance between these elements creates skin that is healthy and vibrant and an emotional sense of well-being. De Mamiel acupuncture addresses the imbalances in our body by freeing energy to flow to the face, improving our appearance and general state of health.