Chinese Medicine Wisdom for Winter Wellness
In traditional Chinese medicine, the natural world is observed as moving through predictable cyclical formations, reflected within all beings and environments. After the autumn harvest is exhausted and the leaves have fallen from the trees, wintertime becomes one of retreat and restoration. Nature returns to her dark depths to replenish her strength, preparing for new growth in the springtime. We could do well to follow nature’s lead, using this time to build vitality through proper rest and reflection in the months of winter.
The Water Element
Winter is the most Yin time of the year and is associated with the Water Element, which rules the Kidney and its partner organ, the Bladder. According to traditional Chinese medicine, all the bodily systems rely on the Kidney. It is known as the Root of Life and the foundation of Yin and Yang in the body. This organ system stores our Essence, or Jing, which determines our health, vitality, and resilience.
Water Element Associations:
Organs: Kidney & Bladder
Winter Wellness Tips
We draw upon the energy reserves of the kidneys just by living, working, and aging. Winter provides an opportunity to replenish these reserves and nourish the Kidney by slowing down, adopting restorative wellness routines, and fortifying your immune system.
While winter is still in full swing, your overall health and well-being can be enhanced with lifestyle tips that are commonly utilized in traditional Chinese medicine.
Calm Your Mind
During winter, we can relish opportunities to get more sleep, take long hot Epsom salt baths, drink tea and spend time in meditation. These practices can ensure that we stay healthy and move into the spring and summer months with increased fortitude and enhanced immunity. To foster this quieter energy, it is best to avoid caffeine if there are issues with insomnia, avoid all news after lunchtime and turn off all devices at least two hours before bed.
Acupuncture sessions are another highly effective treatment for sleep issues and restoring balance to the body. Acupuncture promotes the body’s own natural healing ability, and it can enhance immunity, alleviate stress and pain, and improve overall well-being.
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It is important to stay warm throughout the wintertime. Though the cold has its place and can be invigorating, during winter we are most susceptible to imbalances that excess cold can bring such as muscle pains, arthritis, phlegm, fatigue, colds and the flu, and even constipation and depression.
One way to keep the inner fire stoked is by taking hot baths before bed. Adding Epsom salts and essential oils works wonders to relax a stressed nervous system, loosen tight muscles, and ensure deep sleep.
Exercise in Moderation
Getting daily moderate exercise, with some time spent outside, is important to get much-needed sunshine and fresh air at this time when most of us are indoors. With many people still working remotely, there is no better time to incorporate at home workouts and mind-body movement modalities. Restorative Yoga and Qigong Exercises can help focus the mind, lower stress levels, and increase overall productivity.
Nourish Your Body
This is also an important time to be careful of dietary excesses. Too much sugar, dairy, and simple carbohydrates can produce phlegm, in addition to irritating the sinuses and digestion. Incorporating hot soups and leafy greens with some warming spices such as ginger, cayenne, turmeric, fennel, and black pepper can be helpful for producing warmth and digestive vitality.
Consuming immune-boosting teas is an additional way to ward off sickness and establish inner fortitude. Herbal tonics can be taken throughout the winter as preventative agents, in addition to herbal remedies, adaptogens, and essential oil blends that focus on specific ailments.
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To keep you healthy and happy for the remainder of the winter season, Arogya offers seasonal teas and immune-boosting blends, in addition to acupuncture and wellness consultations. To schedule an appointment for one of our holistic therapies or to establish a treatment plan based on your personal health goals, visit our website or call us at (203) 226-2682.
For natural cold remedies, check out our blog: Cold Remedies and Tips to Recover Quickly
by Gregor Bertram