I try to embrace each season for what it is, each one being so different.
I love the arrival of winter for the opportunity to rest, light candles, sit by the fire and watch a good film.
I also enjoy a winter walk, getting out into nature, wrapped up warm!
Winter can be enjoyed by everyone if we live, eat and exercise according to the season.
Living according to the seasons will ultimately lead to a long, healthy life.
Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches us that we should live in harmony with the seasons.
We are currently moving from Autumn, represented by the metal element, into the season of winter, represented by the water element.
The season of winter according to Traditional Chinese Medicine is the most "Yin" time of year.
It is the time of year to slow down, a time to repair and rejuvenate the body.
Yin, by nature, moves inwards, causing everything to contract.
Trees and plants shed their leaves, as their life-force becomes dormant until spring.
Animals move inwards, to hibernate for the winter, so as to conserve energy.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the organ associated with winter is the kidney.
The kidneys are the storehouse for our vital energy. They are the source of our constitutional strength.
The body part associated with the kidneys are the bones. The kidneys also influence reproduction, the brain, and emotions such as will-power and courage are governed by the kidneys.
Therefore, winter is an opportunity to nurture the health of our kidneys.
It is the time of year that bone broths, soups and stews are recommended as a nutritional therapy, as they are warming and nourishing, and especially good for the bones.
Foods that share the quality of water should be eaten, that is foods that are dark in colour and salty by nature. Anything that tastes naturally salty or lives in saltwater is believed to strengthen the kidney energy.
This includes: prawns, mussels, clams, lobster, sardines, salmon, trout, seaweed and miso.
Recommended meats include: chicken, ham, venison and lamb.
Fruit and vegetables to be eaten are: dark coloured berries, coconut, apricot, mandarin, mango, peach, raspberry, onion, leek, scallion, garlic, ginger. chive, pumpkin. squash, sweet potato, fennel, celery, turnip, chestnuts and mushrooms.
Grains, nuts and seeds that are recommended include: black beans, kidney beans, oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa, rye, lentils, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts and black sesame seeds.
Use warming spices such as: black pepper, cardamon, cinnamon, chilli, clove, cumin, coriander, fennel seed, nutmeg, rosemary and turmeric.
Warming drinks should include: Earl Grey tea, Pu'er tea, Chai, ginger/turmeric/cinnamon teas.
Always ensure you eat foods that are "in season".
It is important not to overindulge in adding salt to food, as an excess would damage the kidneys, however a small amount of unrefined, good quality sea salt should be ok!
Limit or avoid cold/raw foods such as salads, sushi and cold/iced drinks as they are energetically cold, and in turn, will weaken the kidney.
If we are not in balance in winter, the kidney will be burdened and will become deficient.
Symptoms of kidney deficiency include: lower back pain, weak knees, frequent urination, menstrual issues, infertility, adrenal and chronic fatigue, low motivation, anxiety and fear.
Some of the oldest teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine advise us to "retire early and get up with the sunrise ".
Spend time in nature, wrapped up well, always ensuring that the ears, lower back and feet are kept particularly warm.
Place a hot water bottle on your lower back and feet before bed-time.
Practice deep-breathing daily for at least 5 minutes.
Winter is the time for planting seeds or ideas that will sprout in the spring. It is the ideal time, when at the end of the year, people reflect on their lives and figure out what they want to accomplish in the new year. It is a great time to plant the seed of your intentions.
Don't let the winter season get you down!
Let acupuncture help you stay healthy this season.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture can help prevent colds and flus by helping to strengthen the immune system.
Seasonal acupuncture treatments (meaning you have a few acupuncture treatments with each season change), can help the body adapt to each season, and will allow you to fully embrace winter!