Staying Healthy with Chinese Medicine This Winter
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), winter is a time for reflection, rest and conservation. Winter is ruled by the water element and is associated with the kidneys, bladder, and adrenal glands. In traditional Chinese medicine it is believed that the kidneys are the source of all energy (or Qi, pronounced chi) in the body. Since the kidneys store the Qi, they act as a reservoir. This reserve can be accessed during times of stress and change, to help prevent illness and promote healing, as well as aid in protective and graceful aging.
During the winter months, it is important to avoid eating raw foods, as they are considered cooler in nature. Foods that are warmer in nature and more easily digested to better serve our winter metabolisms, include soups and stews, root vegetables, cooked beans, miso and seaweed, and garlic, as well as warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. Eating warming foods, whole grains, and roasted nuts help to keep the core warmed and nourished.
To build up the “Wei Qi”, or protective energy of the body (think of it as your immune system), rest early, stay warm, and do not over expend your energy. According to TCM stress, unresolved anger, and frustration can hinder the immune response to allow pathogens to enter, so reduce stress as much as possible. Many people come for acupuncture as a seasonal boost to their system. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help prevent colds and flu by building up the Wei Qi with just a few needles inserted into specific points along the body's energy pathways. Chinese herbal formulas may be also be prescribed to boost the immune system and help prevent illness this cold and flu season.
Aside from rest, frequent hand washing, proper diet, and stress moderation, traditional Chinese medicine can help keep you healthy through the winter season. Whether you come in for a seasonal tune-up, a series of immune-boosting treatments, or an herbal consult to stock your cold and flu medicine cabinet more naturally, Chinese medicine can help you maintain better health this winter season. Recipe Recommendations – “Clean Food” By Terry Walters Book Recommendations - Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen - Recipes From the East for Health, Healing, and Long Life By: Rebecca Sobin, DAOM, L.Ac.