Tuesday December 22 marks the Winter Solstice.  May this day remind us to honor our mind, body and spirit through the changing of seasons.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the winter months are associated with the Water Element and the Kidneys, the source of Essence, primordial Yin and Yang.

So this season, be kind to your physical body by honoring the Kidneys, which help to flush out toxins through the urinary system and help prevent illness by housing the deepest life promoting substances of the body, which in TCM we call our Essence, Yin fluids and Yang fire. This might translate to taking some well needed rest and naps during the busiest holiday season. More sleep at night, naps, gentle restorative exercises, warm and nourishing foods and drinks and breathing practices can really boost your deepest energy stores and help keep you healthy all year long. One such breathing practice could be to close your eyes and visualize light emanating from your Kidneys into the rest of your body while taking deep breaths. To boost your immune system, visualize this light and let it grow until it covers your whole system. Do this for about 5 minutes 2-3 times a day for best results.

Be kind to your emotional body by allowing whatever feelings arise through the months of December and January.  While culturally Winter is often a time of joy and celebration, in TCM, it is also a time for processing our fears, sadness and grief, as we witness and grieve the dying nature around us which prepares our world for the birth of Spring.  The holidays are also a time when we think of people we’ve lost in our lives, so when these feelings of grief arise, pause and reflect on them rather than push them down.  Do not fear sadness – it is a natural part of our lives and one which we should embrace. What we sometimes call the “Winter Blues” may actually be a natural process of grieving and releasing, making room for Spring’s new growth and new hopes and dreams.

Finally, be kind to your spiritual body and use your breath and awareness to connect to your Highest selves.  Ask that part what it needs for healing during this time and honor what you hear, not in your head, but in your heart.  It can be as small as “taking a walk” to something as big as making a career or relationship change. Try to listen to what your spiritual body is asking of you and attempt to give it what it seeks.  The attempt is often enough to appease our highest selves.

As the rainy season begins, do add some nourishment and warmth into your body by eating soups and stews that include root vegetables and warming spices such as Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamom. The Kidneys are the “root organ” of the body according to TCM, so eating roots and tubers during this time is good practice. I recommend a visit to the local Farmers Market to see what’s in season – you can’t go wrong there! For a nice winter vegetable stew, try this one:http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/winter-vegetable-stew.html

I would also be happy to see you for a treatment during this time- seasonal acupuncture and herbal medicine can help our mind, body, and spirit transition better through the changing seasons. For the Winter season specifically, it can help bring vitality into our systems on a deep level, while fending off colds and flus and keeping you warm from within.

Sending good health in body, mind and spirit, and I look forward to seeing you soon!

Sascha, Tree of Qi Acupuncture Clinic