Tis the Season: Rebuild, Restore, and Relax
Healthy Living Blog
By Dr. Rachelle, DAOM, L,Ac
Since ancient times, the Chinese knew the importance of living in harmony with all the variety of nature’s cycles which reflect our environmental changes and how they affect our health. By honoring each season and its purpose, we can greatly benefit our overall health. Winter (even in sunny Florida) is a time to conserve our precious resources and to reflect gratefully on our lives. This should be a time to both rest and wind down. However, it may be challenging with the many engagements and event plannings the season provides. Though Florida is known for sunny days basically year round and very hot summers, there is a great need to slow down in these “cooler” months. Perhaps even more so, being our energy is actually utilized at a more consistent pace. Whereas, our northern friends experience darker shorter days on a greater scale, the need to replenish and restore vital energy is still present. This helps conserve our strength for other seasons of more growth.
Wintertime is the season of the water element. This element pertains to the organs of the bladder, kidneys, and adrenal glands. It is at this time of the year that these organs are most active. In Eastern Medicine, the kidneys are considered to hold our body’s reserves of jing qi energy. So, at this time of the year, we need to keep them strong by not overexerting ourselves. Nourish your kidneys energy by providing time to have quiet relaxation. This can be accomplished by simple daily stretching with breathing exercises, nature walks for reflecting and resting the soul, and also by utilizing herbal formulas for strengthen kidney energy, as well as taking part in tai chi practices daily.
Other ways to nourish our winter organs are to place warmth on the back as well as partaking in more warming, nourishing foods. Warm cooked broths and hot teas help soothe the body and also nourish the body as a whole. Now more than ever, the importance of avoiding iced drinks and frozen smoothies is needed. Other cold foods to avoid during the cooler months are regular raw salads and cold cereals. Better choices would be warm grain porridges, soups, stews, and cooked vegetables. To substitute simple sugar cravings, reach for a winter pear or an apple instead of an ooey gooey sugary snack. Good healthy fats like organic coconut milk, ghee, and nuts are all better choices which give lasting energy and have an added moistening effect on the body.
The main food therapy for the kidneys, bladder, and adrenal glands consists of black sesame seeds, black beans, kidney beans, bone marrow broths, chestnuts, cooked dark leafy greens, lamb beef, and chicken. Food therapy herbals which nourish our winter organs include star anise, cinnamon, and cloves. These all supplement our blood, energy and kidney yang during these “cooler” months. Eastern Medicine practitioners regularly prescribe more warming herbal formulas during wintertime. Patients benefit from these nourishing tonics especially if suffering from arthritis or other stagnation of the body which tends to be more prevalent this time of the year. Yang tonics, herbal teas, and more yang food choices help fortify the body and all our pertaining winter organs.
The season’s element is water and the yin organ is kidney, whereas the yang organ pertains more to the urinary bladder. Other organs involved include the ears, hair, and adrenal glands. The emotion tends to be fear and depression but the spirit emotion is willpower (zhi). The climate is cold, the taste pertains to salty, the color to represent the season is black or dark blue and the sense organs are the ears. The bones are the tissues which represent the colder months. The virtues of this season belong to courage, wisdom, and strength.
So a Florida winter does not call for all the preparation as is the way of life for our northern friends. However, it is still vital to allow more rest and restoration in these Florida wintery months. It is a good time to also enjoy the various squashes, stews, and soups. The kidney is our source of energy. As in winter, energy at this time, should be held in reserve and stored. Wintertime is considered to be a time for more deep rest and restoration. Come spring, there is growth, renewal and the use of our precious energy. It is vital to renew all the resources that have been in constant use throughout the year. So, let’s celebrate the joy of restoration and reserve for like the seed buried deep in the ground, our bodies will need the energy to come forth for new growth soon enough. Call today to begin your journey to both health and healing. Call 772—626-6419.