We are nearing the end of Winter, when the subtle energies of nature will begin to rise and bring new life to the landscape. The animals that hibernate during this time will awaken to a renewed food supply.
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 that relax and calm the mind, such as Tai Chi and meditation are recommended. This is a time to nourish our body to prepare for the heightened energies of spring.
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)
The kidneys hold 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. Rest when tired.
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.