In Sync with the Seasons: Winter Health TCM for Natural Winter Health
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. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recommends living in harmony with nature, therefore people should reduce their activity level during winter.
In TCM, winter is related to the water element and associated with the organs kidney and bladder. The kidneys are the source of the kidney Qi which is composed of the prenatal Qi (stored in the kidneys) and the postnatal Qi (stored in the spleen). The prenatal Qi is given at birth by our parents. It is responsible for the renewal and regeneration of cells and tissue. It is said that it determines the duration of life. The postnatal Qi is acquired by the air that we breathe and the food that we eat. It is first of all responsible for our daily energy. However, if this energy is low and cannot provide the daily demand, the prenatal Qi gets damaged. These two Qi energies together are responsible for the nourishment of organs and the protection against elements that may cause disease.
The postnatal Qi needs special care and nourishment during cold, damp winter weather. Different areas of our life like diet, emotions, exercise, etc. can influence our postnatal 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, soft exercises (especially outside to get some fresh air) are recommended. Meditation and breathing techniques are helpful to manage stress and strong emotions and prepare ourselves for the coming spring.
Food consumption should be limited along with reduced activity. This also prevents unnecessary weight gain in wintertime. We should 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.
Contact us for a consultation about 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 ability to stay healthy.