During the season of winter, the energies of nature are pulled back down into the earth. Trees lose their leaves, flowers, and shrubs cease growing and go dormant. Many animals hibernate to conserve their energy when the abundance of food in nature is reduced.
We are part of nature and it is also important for us to slow down and renew our energies in winter. Rest, warming foods such as bone broths, and activities which relax and calm the mind, such as Tai Chi and meditation are recommended.
Some people love winter sports and are energized by the cold; others are the opposite. If we follow the recommendations for health in winter; we can also enjoy our personal activity preferences.
The Chinese Medicine associations of winter include:
- Kidney and bladder meridians
- The element of water
- Flavors – salty, bitter
- Emotion- fear
- Organs- ears, bones
- Time of greatest activity- kidney (5pm-7pm)
- Time of greatest activity – bladder (3pm-5pm)
Last week I spoke about the kidneys holding the body’s essential energy or essence, the Jing Chi. When we deplete our Jing energy, aging is accelerated. To nourish kidney energies, cook food longer at lower temperatures with less water. Eat foods which grow locally in this season; squashes, potatoes, root vegetables, cabbage, apples, and pears to name a few.
Simple tips to improve kidney health are:
- Massage your ears for several minutes a day. This will stimulate kidney energy.
- Go to bed before midnight, take breaks during your day to de-stress and rest when tired.
- Stomp your feet slowly for about 5 minutes a day. The kidney and bladder meridians have important acupressure points in the sole and heels of the feet.