When one thinks of Chinese medicine or acupuncture the first thing that usually comes to mind is qi. Qi is loosely translated in English as energy and these are the terms I will use here in this blog.
As it is now winter the energy that is dominant in our bodies is kidney energy. The energy of the kidneys is responsible for our bones, teeth, our sexual function, the health of our lower back, drawing air deeply into our lungs and our over all constitution is said to reside in our kidneys. Our kidney energy also governs our bladder, as the bladder is the yang pair to the kidney, which is yin (a discussion of yin & yang will be on another post).
According to Chinese medicine winter is the absolute worst time for strenuous exercise, as the winter is a time for taking care of your body and of conserving energy. It is the time of year that should be used for replenishing our energy levels so that when spring and summer come and the qi is very active we will have the energies we need. That is not to say that we should become couch potatoes or imitate bears and hibernate. Moderate exercise is what is needed as it gets energy moving, circulates blood and warms the body.
It is a good time of year to eat hardy foods such as stews and soups. Use of ginger, cloves, cinnamon and garlic are recommended as they are warming and move the energy. Black kidney beans, black sesame seeds nourish the kidney energy. Mulled wines are also a good energy mover and warmer. Sweet potatoes, yellow winter squashes and root vegetables are good and hardy foods for this time of year.
As wintertime is the cold and flu season, bear in mind that Chinese medicine has excellent herbal formulae to help prevent and deal with these two problems. Acupuncture also plays a tremendous role in cold and flu prevention and cure. But one must come into winter prepared. Getting your energies strong should be part of your game plan in preparation for winter. Soon will be the time to prepare for spring and allergy season so don't delay, as an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.