The Winter Solstice is less than 2 weeks away, and the subtle energies which transform fall into winter can be felt in the changing weather.
Chinese medicine is based on the belief that living in harmony with the seasons of nature can prevent disease and promote health. Winter is the most yin season when the flow of energy is cold, damp, slow and inward. The days are shorter, and darkness comes early.
The organs associated with winter are the kidneys and bladder. Today, I want to discuss the kidneys. The kidneys hold our body’s fundamental energy, the Jing chi or essence. To strengthen kidney energy, it is important to get adequate rest and spend time in self-reflection and meditation. Practices such as Tai Chi and yoga help to relax body, mind, and spirit, and connect us to our inner selves.
The kidney energy is also associated with our ears and bones. Our hearing ability is connected to the health of the kidneys. We can hear more clearly in the stillness of winter than in the activity of the spring and summer.
Bone broths are a good way to tonify kidney energy and nourish the bones which produce Jing chi. Other foods which support the kidneys include: rye, oats, miso, quinoa, seaweeds, salt, warm, hearty soups, roasted nuts, black beans, black rice.
Prolonged extreme stress harms the kidneys. It is also recommended to avoid excess salt, and anything in excess.