In Traditional Chinese Medicine the ancients tried to live in harmony with nature. They felt that this was the best way to maintain health and mental vitality. As the seasonal transformation is upon us let’s look at what changes could enhance our well being.
According to Chinese Medicine there are five seasons; spring, summer, late summer, fall and winter. The winter months correlate with the element of water. Think of a deep pool of water and it evokes images of coolness, stillness, deepness and quietude. We can also think about the depths at which water goes. Water is versatile. It can be solid as earth in the form of ice or light as air as it evaporates into steam. The organs associated with the water element are the kidneys, the bladder, and the reproductive organs. Since these organs are associated with the winter it is the perfect time to tonify and regenerate their energies. By revamping the kidney energy you can increase your energy levels and also fire up your metabolism. It is one of the organs acupuncture physicians treat to assist in weight loss. By tonifying in the winter, you can lose more weight in the spring.
The best way to stimulate these organs is through acupuncture, diet, herbs, tai chi, qi gong, and rest. There are many different foods that can be added to your diet to help rejuvenate the kidneys, bladder, and reproductive organs. Any black, salty or deep blue foods have the ability to energize these organs. Examples include black sesame seeds, walnuts, and black beans. It is also suggested that you eat foods that warm your insides to help combat the external cold. In Florida we aren’t battling too much cold but it will still benefit to eat foods such as hearty soups and roasted nuts. Think about the foods our ancestors ate during the winter; cinnamon, cloves, garlic, chestnuts, kidney beans, rice, salty foods, and grains. These are all of benefit to the water element organs.
For people that have kidney disturbances, winter is the best time to try and correct these problems. A trip to a qualified acupuncture physician can prove to be of great benefit. Classic kidney patterns in Chinese medicine can include lower back pain, knee problems, edema or water retention, inability to lose weight, hair loss, graying of hair, low libido, lack of will power, deafness, night sweats, urinary problems, bed wetting, asthma, headaches in the back of the head, dizziness, tinnitus and poor memory. A combination of acupuncture and classic Chinese herbal therapy can be quite therapeutic. Even for those without medical problems relating to the water organs, seasonal treatments can help prevent those illnesses which are common during the winter months.
As we all know, winter means shorter days. The ancients believed that in the winter months you should sleep more. You should go to bed a little earlier and wake later. They thought that if you woke later, the sun had a chance to warm the atmosphere a little and you wouldn’t have to expend as much of your own internal warmth to stay comfortable.
Winter is a time to rest and reflect. When we honor the cycles of nature we honor the cycles of our own bodies. With the hustle and bustle of our hectic, fast paced, techno lifestyles winter is the perfect time to slow down and honor the traditions of the past.