Living in harmony with the seasons is an ancient Chinese belief. Winter urges us to slow down. This is a natural time of year to replenish energy and conserve strength. In Chinese Medicine, each season is associated with a specific organ in the body and winter’s organ is the kidneys. We need to consider our kidney qi because, in winter, our body’s energy is depleted. We get down to our reserves. Think of kidney qi like gas in our car’s tank. We all know that when our gas tank gets close to empty, it is more likely to freeze.
What To Do In Winter
1. Go to bed earlier. Winter is a time to conserve your strength, think like the bears and do a little hibernating.
2. Stay warm. We all know this, but in Chinese Medicine it is considered especially important to keep your back, neck, and upper chest covered when you go outside.
3. Keep your feet warm at home. Cold comes up through the floor and into your body. This last tip is especially important for women who suffer from PMS or who are trying to conceive.
4. Watch your diet. Stay away from too many raw foods because they can cool the body. Eat warm hearty soups, whole grains, roasted nuts (like walnuts and chestnuts which are both especially effective for nourishing Kidney Qi), squashes, root vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, kidney beans, and black beans.
5. Winter’s body organ, kidneys, are associated with the Water element so drink plenty of water, at room temperature instead of cold, throughout the day
Jennifer Dubowsky, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois, since 2002. Dubowsky earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Illinois in Chicago and her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. During her studies, she completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Dubowsky has researched and written articles on Chinese medicine and has given talks on the topic. She maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese medicine at Acupuncture Blog Chicago. Adventures in Chinese Medicine is her first book. You can find her at www.tcm007.com.
*Image of “wollen socks” via Shutterstock