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 associated with 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 it elasticity, and bones become more brittle as does our hair. Even our minds become less flexible. With traditional Chinese medicine, we have many physical, mental and nutritional tools to help restore and replenish the water we lose.
The kidney’s control and stabilize blood pressure, filter and eliminate fluid waste. Eastern methods also believe kidneys control the teeth, bones and bone marrow. The kidney’s rule our skeletal muscle and function, and help with the function of memory and intellectual reasoning. The kidney’s store our “essence” or “vital energy” that is the motivating factor inside of us. It creates the ignition switch for our body, mind and spirit.
When our kidneys are of balance, water stagnates and your body can fill with toxins which may affect your mind and body with issues like depression and fatigue.
Classic symptoms of imbalance are:
- 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. This is the time to gather strength, repair and replenish your physical and mental being. Try going to bed early and waiting for the sun to come up before rising.
Eat warming foods such as:
- Cooked vegetables such as 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.