Chinese Medicine and Winter

Living in Harmony with the Season

Living in harmony with the seasons comes naturally in Chinese Medicine. In times of cold and dampness, life calls for slowing down, nourishing ourselves, conserving our strength, and reflecting on our health.

Yin, the Energy of Winter

The wisdom of Chinese Medicine calls for respecting the four seasons of nature and adapting to each passing season’s warmth and chill. Yin is the energy of winter. It is a time for introspection, rest, and gathering our Qi together, preparing for all the new life and springtime energy. Winter is ruled by water; this element is closely linked to the bladder, kidneys, and adrenal glands. Chinese Medicine philosophy shares the belief that source Qi (the qi you are born with) is stored in the Kidneys. Your Qi can be called upon in times of change and stress, used to self-heal, prevent illness and help you age with grace. For these reasons, it is vital to take care of and nourish your kidney qi, especially in the winter, when it is most easily depleted. 

 It is most common in winter to slow down our activities, which should be mirrored in our caloric intake. Warming foods are recommended, such as soups, stews, root veggies, garlic, ginger, miso, beans, and seaweed. These are all warming foods and recommended over raw vegetables and other foods considered “cooling” to the body. Whole grains, roasted nuts, and warm hearty soups help warm the body and keep us nourished during the winter months and help us conserve our energy.

Tips for Staying Healthy

  • Wash Your Hands

Regularly washing your hands for 20-30 seconds with warm, soapy water reduces the number of colds and flu that we catch in the winter season. When it is cold, we spend more time inside, close to others. When you are close to others, it is important to keep your hands clean to prevent the spread of germs.

  • Rest Up

As the Chinese Classic, The Nei Ching advises, going to bed early and rising late, after the sun’s rays have warmed the atmosphere is recommended. The theory behind this is to preserve your Qi for other needs and let the sun do the work of warming you when it is cold. Getting plenty of sleep helps keep your immune system strong.

  • Stress-Free Living

Stress, unresolved anger, and frustration can throw your immune system off, allowing pathogens to get the best of your body. Finding a way to stay relaxed and keep your stress at bay will help to preserve your Qi. Qi Gong, Yoga, meditation, relaxation therapy, biofeedback, and simple walks in nature can help reduce stress and help reserve your Qi.

Building your Protective Qi

You can improve your immune system with acupuncture by the insertion of needles in key points along your body’s energy highways. Strengthening your circulation and energy through acupuncture helps build your outer skin layers, further protecting you from viruses and germs. Quarterly acupuncture treatments can help tone your inner organs and correct minor issues before they compound and become big problems. There are certain places a skilled acupuncturist will target, such as Du 14, located near where the collar of your shirt sits on the back of your neck. Du 14 activates blood and Qi circulation while strengthening your outer defense systems, keeping those viruses at bay.

When it comes to cold and flu season, a natural approach is to schedule an acupuncture appointment with Faith. If you would like a consultation and are interested in learning more about how you can use alternative treatments such as acupuncture and Chinese medicine to improve your recovery time when you fall ill, call Faith Foster with Avalon Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at 360-220-0226 to make an appointment today. Faith is highly accomplished and qualified in acupuncture and Chinese Medicine treatments.

Book your appointment with Faith today and enjoy the vast benefits to your health all winter long.