Winter has arrived. The weeks of rain, wind, and colder temperatures have notified us that the season is here. Staying indoors and sleeping are more appealing as our bodies try to keep warm, and cravings for certain foods may also be at the forefront of our minds.
In Traditional Chinese medicine, each season has an organ that belongs to it. Winter is the season of th Kidneys, which holds the essence of our being and the root of our energy. Winter is also the season that has the most "Yin" aspect of Chinese medicine (think of the black side of the Taiji or YinYang symbol).
Yin is dark, movement is slow, and it represents cooler temperatures (in contrast to the Yang summer season, which is light, with more activity and warmth).
If you have an acupuncture treatment in the winter, the practitioner may use moxibustion to warm your cold extremities, low back, or abdomen. Moxibustion is a wonderful way to warm the body slowly, with lasting effects. Your acupuncturist may also recommend herbs to fight off colds, or to help with overeating that often occurs with the holidays.
A book that I often recommmend to patients is "Staying Healthy with the Seasons," by Elson Hass, MD. This book discusses how to eat and exercise with each season and the changes that occur in nature and within our own bodies. In winter, it's best to eat warm foods such as nourishing soups (my favorite is Chinese chicken herbal soup) and hearty stews help our bodies be still and keep warm.
It's also important to keep up with some form of exercise routine, such as yoga, pilates, or your usual gym workouts. Even though we may not be sweating as much, out bodies still need water in this season. After all, it is the season of the Water element...