Healing in Winter

Healing in Winter
November 30, 2021 WoW admin

By: Sandra Shim (R.Ac and Aesthetician)

In Chinese Medicine the season of Winter is associated with our Kidneys. Winter teaches us the art of “resting and reflecting.” In nature it is an ideal time for animals to hibernate, for us it is a wonderful time for conserving and rebuilding Energy or Qi (chee). Take this time to dive inward, and reflect on how to replenish the energy you have used this year.

Energy of the Kidneys

Our Kidneys are the vital organ that stores our Energy (Qi), and Essence (Jing). Our body’s Essence (Jing) is a vital substance that is essential for reproduction, development, and growth in all the phases of one’s life. The Kidney Fire energy is our body’s internal heating system, promoting warmth and circulation. Whereas the Kidney Water energy is our body’s internal air conditioning system, cooling and clearing out internal heat or inflammation. These energies work together as a team, to help regulate our body’s natural temperature, making sure that it is optimal for the other hard working organs in the body. Those who have low Kidney energy, may experience these symptoms: lower back pain, weak knees, cold feet or always feeling cold, fatigue, frequent urination, menstrual cycle issues, infertility, or excessive feelings of anxiety, fear or guilt. When the Kidney energies are in harmony and balanced, you will feel energized, strong and motivated to accomplish your goals!

Food as Medicine

To nourish and strengthen our Kidney Energy this Winter, we implement warming foods to help generate internal heat or Yang energy. We are not describing it as “warm” solely based on temperature or physical touch, it is the energetic warmth the food has on our body after consumption.

Warm Cooking Methods: Longer duration at lower temperatures, Slow Cooking, Stewing, Baking, Roasting and Sauté. Smoking and Grilling foods are also Yang generating, however these cooking methods should be used in moderation as they may create excessive Yang energy and cause Dryness – sore throat, dry mouth, or feeling too hot.

General Foods for the Winter Season: walnuts, chestnuts, dark leafy greens, root vegetables, potatoes, squashes, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, and etc. Hearty soups, stews, bone broth, and a moderate amount of seafood or shellfish.

Black Colored Foods: According to the Five Elements, our Kidneys are nourished by food that is naturally “black” in color. Examples: kidney beans, black beans, seaweed, black sesame seeds, wild rice, dark colored berries and or blackberries.

Salty Flavored Foods: The “salty” flavor has a “softening” effect on internal accumulations in the body (example: phlegm, mucus, or nodular masses). It activates and enhances our body’s natural detoxification, promotes fluid elimination and regular bowel movements.

Spices: Ginger, Garlic, or Cardamom.

During this time, It is beneficial to avoid excessive amounts of Cold Foods: raw fish, raw vegetables, too much dairy, and iced beverages.

Lifestyle Advice: Practice self-reflection, meditation, journaling, and light exercise (yoga or tai chi). Dress appropriately for the cold weather, and give yourself more time for rest.

Thank you kindly for reading this blog post! If you have any questions about Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, please e-mail: sandrashimacupuncture@gmail.com.