Living in Harmony with Winter
By Kumiko Yamamoto DAOM. L.Ac. Dilp.O.M.
After a long and intense summer this year, we are finally welcoming the winter. Winter gives us a wonderful opportunity to embrace quietness and self-reflection and to rebuild our vitality of mind and body before the rebirth of spring. The seasons have a profound effect on our health. By living in harmony with the seasons, we can stay healthy, help our healing process, and cultivate gracefully for a long and happy life.
Winter in Chinese medicine is associated with the kidney system. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the kidney system holds our body's most fundamental vitality. In fact, the kidneys in Western physiology perform several critical bodily functions from waste removal to regulation of blood pressure and the stress response. A healthy kidney system is also crucial for a healthy heart and brain function, metabolism, fertility, sexual function, and the health of your low back and bones.
How can we strengthen our kidney system?
Rest and get plenty of sleep - Rest is important for revitalizing the kidneys as well as strengthening immunity for the winter. Lower stress and avoid overworking. If you suffer from insomnia, this is a good time to heal your sleep. Acupuncture and herbs like jujube seeds can help.
Winter is a good time to connect deeper within ourselves and tend to our heart. Fear is associated with the kidney. By getting in touch with fear and working through it, we can find truth in our heart and strengthen our spirit. Meditation, qi gong, and tai chi practices are all wonderful to nourish our spirit.