A solar term is a period of about two weeks, based on the sun’s position in the zodiac. Solar terms form the traditional Chinese calendar system. The calendar follows the ancient Chinese belief that living in accordance with nature will enable one to live a harmonious life. This article series explores each solar term, offering guidance on how to best navigate the season.
In ancient China, Winter Solstice (Dec. 22 to Jan. 5) was considered to be most important solar term among the 24 terms in the year.
Not only does this fourth solar term of winter bring in the New Year, but it was also the very first solar term identified in history, during the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 B.C.).
There are two significant natural phenomena on the day of Winter Solstice (Dec. 21). One can observe the shortest daylight hours of the entire year, and also that the shadow of the sun at midday is the shortest.
Impact on People
During Winter Solstice, the yin energy inside our bodies reaches its peak, while the yang energy starts to strengthen. This time when the yin and yang are changing over is the best time to push diseases out of our bodies and to strengthen and balance the body’s five internal elements.
From the traditional Chinese medicine perspective, if you supply nutrients correctly to your body, you will get maximum results with minimum effort.
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), there are five important steps to supplement nutrients correctly in the body. They are: remove blockages, detox, balance, supplement, and nurture.
Here are the ideas, symptoms, and purposes for these five steps.
1. Remove Blockages
When our digestive system and the assimilation of nutrients is blocked, the areas that need support cannot get what they need, even if we are taking in plenty of nutrients.
This applies to all veins, energy channels, digestive channels, etc.
In TCM treatments, removal of blockages is often used as the first step in a treatment plan. The congested areas need to be opened up before any further remedies can be given.
The symptoms of congestion are poor appetite, poor digestion, not going to the toilet regularly or normally, hardly sweating, low energy, obvious fatigue between 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., and difficulty falling asleep.
Helpful essential oils: eucalyptus, basil, lemongrass, oregano, and lemon
If the energy channels have been blocked for a long time, toxins would have accumulated inside the body.
These substances are not all bad originally, such as water, but like water in the natural world, if it stands in a still pond for too long, bacteria starts to grow and cause deterioration, infections, etc.
The symptoms of toxic buildup in your body include skin irritations, such as rashes, joint pain, a poor immune system, tendency to get seasonal illnesses such as a cold or the flu, etc.
Helpful essential oils: juniper berry, cypress, thyme, pine, niaouli, lavender, and German chamomile
After we remove the bad stuff, we need to work on why this happened. What went wrong in our organs or system to trigger the problems?
According to TCM, in most of the cases it is because our bodies were out of balance, such as the yin and yang, blood and energy, functions between the organs and bodily systems, etc.
Once we restore our balance, our health should return to normal.
Helpful essential oils: sandalwood, cedarwood, rosewood, licorice, and marjoram
Due to our natural genetics, diet, and our environment, some essential elements or nutrients could be missing from our bodies.
The way to rectify this is simple. Add them to your diet to complement the deficiency so that your body can function in its best possible state by using a complete supply of all the substances it needs.
Helpful essential oils: myrrh, frankincense, rose, ginger, angelica, and hyssop
Our health is very much the result of our diet and personalities. Our temper, bad habits, and poor routines play the main role in our wellness.
To nurture not only refers to nurturing our physical bodies, but also very much to nurturing our souls and improving our inner selves. This is to maintain our health and improve from the root of the problems.
Things you can do to nurture yourself include listening to music with positive energy, gardening, reading quality books, or practicing a meditation like Falun Dafa or taichi. All brilliant means to bring yourself to a peaceful and better state.
Helpful essential oils: sandalwood, spearmint, neroli, and bergamot
Even if you haven’t tried traditional Chinese medicinal herbs or acupuncture, you can still take the essence from the above wellness tips and apply them to your self-care rituals.
Ancient Chinese people believed if we take good care of ourselves and eat well during this time, our health will be in good shape for the following year.
4 Ways to Maximize Wellness During ‘Winter Solstice’
- Drink plenty of green tea for mild cleansing. For those who have skin irritation or poor circulation, add licorice root.
- Add cinnamon powder to desserts, or drinks like coffee, to repel the winter chill.
- Massage your feet, inner calves, and the outer part of the legs to help with circulation when feeling cold.
- Rotate ankles to the maximum after lying down in bed. This is particularly helpful for those who have trouble sleeping, as this helps to unblock the energy channels, relax tense muscles, and enhance sleep quality.
Wild fish is great for those who have a weaker heart and blood problems. Foods that are black in color can help to restore and strengthen energy, such as black mushrooms (shiitakes), mulberries, olives, and dark chocolate.
Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a descendant of four generations of traditional Chinese medicine doctors. She is also a certified aromatherapist and the founder of Ausganica, a manufacturer of salon-quality, certified organic cosmetics. Visit Ausganica.com