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ACUPUNCTURE AND WINTER: THE SEASON OF STILLNESS: THE ELEMENT OF WATER

Thrive Carolinas / Acupuncture  / ACUPUNCTURE AND WINTER: THE SEASON OF STILLNESS: THE ELEMENT OF WATER

ACUPUNCTURE AND WINTER: THE SEASON OF STILLNESS: THE ELEMENT OF WATER

ACUPUNCTURE AND WINTER: THE SEASON OF STILLNESS: THE ELEMENT OF WATER

DR. SCOTT GREENAPPLE

In winter, nature seems to be at rest.

In traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the element associated with winter is water and the two meridians and organs related to the water element are the kidneys and the bladder.  The kidneys and the bladder control water metabolism and maintain homeostasis.  Earth is made up of 75% water, and approximately 60% of our body weight is water.

With aging, we tend to lose water.

Our bodies become less flexible. Our skin loses its elasticity, and bones become more brittle as does our hair, even our minds become less flexible.  With TCM, we have many physical, mental and nutritional tools to help restore and replenish the water we lose.

The emotion that is attached to the winter or water element is fear. 

Fear can actually have some benefits as an emotion.  It can lead us to the direction of taking action and having the courage to overcome things we may be afraid of facing. Of course, fear can have some negative impacts if the emotion is not balanced.  Fear leads to an increase in adrenaline, an increase in heart rate and can tighten our muscles.

In western medicine the kidney’s control and stabilize blood pressure, filter and eliminate fluid waste.

In Eastern medicine, the kidneys control the teeth, bones and bone marrow. In Chinese medicine, it is thought the brain, and spinal cord are extensions of the bone marrow.  The kidney’s rule the skeletal muscle and function, and help with the purpose of memory and intellectual reasoning.  The kidney’s store our “Jing,” think of Jing as the “essence or vital energy” that is inside of us.  It creates the ignition switch for our body, mind, and spirit.   

When out of balance, water stagnates.

Your body can fill with toxins that can affect your mind and body. With things like depression, fatigue and you may experience difficulty adapting to new experiences or environments.  Classic symptoms of imbalance can present as:

  • Low back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Urinary retention
  • Sexual problems – Vaginal dryness and premature ejaculation
  • Anxiety or fear
  • High blood pressure
  • Occipital Headaches
  • Resistance to change

Winter is the time for internal work. 

The time to gather strength, repair and replenish your physical and mental being.  Go to bed early and wait for the sun to come up before rising.

Eat warming foods. Soups, cooked vegetables, squash, peas, beans, root vegetables such as potatoes, garlic, and carrots. Surround yourself with warming colors, candles and curl up next to the fire.

Acupuncture, chiropractic care, diet, and exercise can help you achieve balance during the winter and water element. Think of the kidneys and bladder as lubricating your body and add movements and exercise such as Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and Yoga. Mindful meditation and Qi Gong can help with quieting the mind and creating balance with your emotions and mental status.

 

Stephen Fogg

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