Traditional Chinese Medicine encourages the idea that people are more healthy if they live in harmony with the natural cycles of their environment.
Winter is categorized as being inactive, cold, and damp. These characteristics should encourage us to rest more, and consolidate our energy through the winter season in preparation for new life and energy in the spring. Winter can be a time of colds and flu. This makes it especially important to reflect on our health, replenish our energy, and conserve our strength during this time of year.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Winter is ruled by the water element. Water is associated with the kidneys, bladder, and adrenal glands. Part of the job of these organs is to store all of the reserve energy (Qi) in a person’s body so that it can be used in times of stress and change, or to heal, prevent illness, and to age gracefully. Kidneys are considered the source of all energy (Qi) within the body.
Good Foods for Winter
Winter is a time when many people tend to reduce their activity. There may be fewer things we do outdoors and more inside activities. Less activity can means it would be a smart move to reduce the amount of food that is eaten in order to avoid gaining weight. But of course that can be easier said than done for most folks. Winter is the season of the “big meal holidays” – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, along with all the holiday parties and social gatherings that happen at this time of year. Moderation – try and eat in moderation during the “big meal holidays”. Just do the best you can.
As a general rule it is a good idea to avoid raw foods as much as possible during the winter. Raw foods tend to cool the body. During winter it is important to stay warm, so a focus on warming foods can be a good idea and can help with your health. Selections may include root vegetables, soups, stews, beans. garlic and ginger to only name a few. Eating warm hearty soups, whole grains, and roasted nuts helps to keep the body’s core warm and to keep us nourished. Plenty of liquids, including warm teas, are also good to add to a diet.
Staying Healthy This Winter
Seasonal weather changes affect the body’s environment. With the wind, rain, and snow comes colds, flu, aches, and pains.
Here are a few tips to staying healthy this winter:
- Wash your hands regularly. You can help protect yourself from getting sick by washing your hands regularly and trying not to touch your face. Several studies have shown that one of the main reasons we catch colds and flu in the winter season is that we are indoors and in closer proximity to others in cold weather.
- Reduce stress. It is important to find a way to relax and release stress on a daily basis. Find an activity that works for you. Some ideas include yoga, meditation, biofeedback, simple relaxation therapy, reading, or whatever else works for you to release the stress and pressures of modern life. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, stress, frustration, and unresolved anger can work together to throw your immune system off, allowing pathogens affect your body.
- Get plenty of sleep. Traditional Chinese Medicine advises for people in winter to go to sleep early and rise late, after the sun’s rays have warmed the atmosphere a bit. This preserves a person’s own yang energy (Qi) for the task of warming when the weather is colder. Of course, depending on a person’s job, this may be difficult, or impossible to do. Maybe it is not possible for you to sleep in late or go to sleep early. Again, just as we suggested with moderation of food, be aware of the need for more rest in the winter and do the best you can.
Build Up Your Protective Energy (Qi)
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can help prevent colds and flu by helping to build up the immune system. Acupuncture treatments that insert just a few needles into key points along the body’s energy pathways goes far to build up the body’s immune system and keep a person healthier.
These points are known for strengthening the circulation of blood and energy and for consolidating the outer defense layers of the skin and muscle (known as wei Qi) so that germs and viruses cannot enter through them.
Seasonal Acupuncture treatments of only as few as four times a year also serve to tonify the inner organ systems and can correct minor annoyances before they become serious problems. Acupuncture’s ultra-thin needles don’t hurt and are inserted just under the skin. A licensed Acupuncturist may twist or “stimulate” them once or twice, and the needles are removed within 10 to 20 minutes.
Treat Colds – the Traditional Chinese Medicine
Have you already caught a cold and been sick? Even if that is the case Acupuncture treatment and herbal medicine can help with the chills, sniffles, sore throat, or fever in a safe, non-toxic way that doesn’t bombard your body with harmful antibiotics. Acupuncture does not interfere with Western medical treatment. Instead Acupuncture provides a complement to Western Medicine, and with the Traditional Chinese Medicine emphasis of treating the whole person, recovery time for illness is often shortened.
Don’t let the winter season get you down. Let Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture help you stay healthy this winter season.