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How to Stay Healthy This Winter with TCM

TCM Focus: Maintain a healthy lifestyle and discover a delicious 5 Element warming recipe!

In wintertime the traditional Chinese Yin-Yang cycle reaches its Yin peak. It is the season of rest and passivity, during which nature reduces its activities.

In TCM, winter is related to the water element and associated with the kidney and bladder. Our essential energy, Qi, needs special care and nourishment during cold, damp winter weather. Different areas of our life like diet, emotions, exercise, etc. can influence our Qi and, therefore, our wellbeing.

Winter Health Tips

Winter is the time to rest and to reflect on our health, conserve strength and store energy. It is best to align sleep and wake times more with the sunset and sunrise, going to bed and waking early. The body needs to rest and stay warm.

Extreme exercise and activity is contraindicated during winter. However, it’s important to keep the body healthy with gentle exercise (especially outdoor activities, when you can get some fresh air and sunlight). Meditation and breathing techniques help manage stress and mood. This helps us prepare for the coming spring, when Yang will be rising and might create emotional turmoil.

Food consumption should be limited along with reduced activity. This also prevents unnecessary weight gain in wintertime. It is best to avoid eating raw food and focus on warming meals like soups/stews, root veggies, bean and lentils, whole grains and nuts. Protect the kidneys with sufficient amounts of warm water and herbal teas.

To keep warm during winter, try this tasty Five Elements TCM polenta stew:

Ingredients (for 4 people):


4 carrots

1 knob of celeriac

2 parsley roots

8 tablespoons polenta

2 beef sausages or tofu with herbs (200g)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pinches saffron


2 pieces of leeks

2 onions Ginger Pepper





Lemon juice




Peel carrots, knob of celeriac, parsley roots; cut in small pieces. Form small balls of the sausage (or tofu). Cut leeks, onions, and ginger in small pieces. Wash and chop parsley.

Heat olive oil in large skillet. Braise carrots, celery and parsley roots lightly. Stir in onions, ginger and leeks. Add a little bit salt and lemon juice and fill the skillet with 1.5 liters of water. Mix polenta in and add some pepper. Add the meat balls and cook the stew for 20 minutes. Season with lemon juice, parsley, curcuma, saffron and pepper. Enjoy your meal!

Contact us to schedule a consultation if you have winter health concerns. TCM herbal remedies and acupuncture are very effective in addressing some common winter ailments, such as colds and coughs, and boosting your body’s immune system.

Doris Rathgeber
Doris Rathgeber
TCM Doctor & Founder of Body & Soul – Medical Clinics

With more than 20 years of experience as a TCM Doctor and internal medicine specialist, Doris treats a vast array of acute and chronic diseases by expertly combining Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western Medicine. She also hast extensive experience addressing women’s issues as well as infertility problems.