Winter and Oriental Medicine

Winter and Oriental Medicine

The ancient Orientals believed that human beings should live in harmony with the natural cycles of their environment.


The cold and darkness of winter urges us to SLOW DOWN.

This is the time of year to REFLECT on our health…

REPLENISH our energy, and…

CONSERVE our strength.


Winter is Yin in nature; it is inactive, cold, and damp.  Remain introspective, restful, and consolidate your Qi (energy) through the season and prepare for the outburst of new life and energy in the spring.


Element:  Water

Nature:  Yin

Organs:  Kidney, Urinary Bladder, Adrenal Glands, Ears, and Hair

Taste:  Salty

Emotion:  Fear and Depression


Winter is ruled by the water element, which is associated with the kidneys, bladder, and adrenal glands.

According to the philosophy of Oriental Medicine, the kidneys are considered the source of all energy (Qi) within the body.

They store all of the reserve Qi in the body so that it can be used in times of stress and change, or to heal, prevent illness, and age gracefully.

During the winter months it is important to nurture and nourish our kidney Qi.  It is the time where this energy can be most easily depleted.  Our bodies are instinctively expressing the fundamental principles of winter — rest, reflection, conservation, and storage.


Foods for Winter

Winter is a time when many people tend to reduce their activity.  If that’s true for you, it’s wise to reduce the amount of food you eat, too, to avoid gaining weight unnecessarily.  Avoid raw foods during the winter as much as possible, as these tend to cool the body.  During winter you should emphasize warming foods:

  • Soups and stews
  • Root vegetables
  • Beans
  • Miso and seaweed
  • Garlic and ginger

Eating warm hearty soups, whole grains, and roasted nuts help to warm the body’s core and to keep us nourished.  Sleep early, rest well, stay warm, and expend a minimum quantity of energy.


Staying Healthy This Winter

Seasonal changes affect the body’s environment.  With the wind, rain, and snow comes the colds, flu, aches, and pains.

Here are a few tips to staying healthy this winter:

  • Exercise. Winter is also a good time to get the Qi moving with light physical exercise such as walking, jogging or biking to prevent stagnation.  However, on stormy or windy days, it is important to rug up properly or to stay indoors where possible.  The cold that surrounds us at this time of year can easily seep into our bodies and lower our immunity.  Exercise until you are warm but stop before you sweat too much.  Practice of qi gong or yoga is especially valuable in winter.
  • Get plenty of sleep. The Nei Ching, an ancient Chinese classic, advised people to go to sleep early and rise late, after the sun’s rays have warmed the atmosphere a bit.  This preserves your own yang Qi for the task of warming in the face of cold.
  • Reduce stress. Find a way to relax and release stress on a daily basis.  Such methods may include yoga, meditation, biofeedback, simple relaxation therapy, or whatever method you use to release the stress and pressures of modern life.

According to TCM, stress, frustration, and unresolved anger can work together to throw your immune system off, allowing pathogens to affect your body.


Build Up Your Protective Qi

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can prevent colds and flu by building up the immune system with just a few needles inserted into key points along the body’s energy pathways.

These points are known for strengthening the circulation of blood and energy and for consolidating the outer defense layers of the skin and muscle (wei Qi) so that germs and viruses cannot enter through them.

Regular acupuncture treatments also serve to tonify the inner organ systems and can correct minor annoyances before they become serious problems.


Treat Those Colds — the Oriental Medicine Way!

If you’ve already happened to catch that cold, acupuncture and herbal medicine can also help with the chills, sniffles, sore throat, or fever in a safe, non-toxic way that doesn’t bombard your body with harmful antibiotics.  Acupuncture does not interfere with Western medical treatment.  On the contrary, it provides a welcome complement to it in most cases, and with its emphasis on treating the whole person, recovery time for illness is often shortened.



Remember…. the best approach to a HEALTHY BODY and MIND…. is a PREVENTATIVE ONE.



If you are experiencing any health concerns and interested in how Oriental Medicine may be able to help you, please contact Kim on 0416 219973 or to discuss a treatment plan.