Staying Well in Winter
Have you noticed that in winter you tend to slow down, feel more inclined to rest and become tired more easily? This is a natural occurrence with the changing of the seasons in all mammals, some of course, even hibernate. The cold and dark days of winter encourage us to slow down.
In Chinese Medicine, winter is the season associated with the Kidneys. The Kidneys store all the Vital Energy or 'Qi' in our body. They give us our constitutional strength; our 'deposit account' energy as opposed to our 'current account' energy, which comes via the food we eat.
The Kidneys have to work harder to keep the body warm during the winter months and it is a time when they can easily become depleted. We need to take extra care during a cold snap, especially if frail or struggling from illness. You can probably guess that there are higher levels of respiratory infections during the winter months but you may not realise that there are also significantly more strokes and heart attacks as well as higher incidences of other conditions such as thrombosis. Typically, death rates will increase by about 20% in winter (1).
But winter isn't all bad news by any means, with fewer hours of daylight we are encouraged to draw inwardly and recharge our batteries by getting more rest and having cosy evenings at home with loved ones, if we're lucky. Winter is a time for warm and nourishing foods and for keeping well insulated (remember the Ready Break advert with the red glow?) Our immune system needs a stable body temperature and adequate nutrition in order to function at its best. Going suddenly from the warmth of a building to the cold of outside; even if only popping out for a few minutes causes shock to the system if we are not properly wrapped up in warm clothing, and that shock can weaken our defences long enough to allow a pathogen to trigger an illness.
A winter seasonal acupuncture treatment can help to nurture and nourish Kidney Qi, guard against illness , boost energy levels and banish winter blues.
Source (1) : Office for National Statistics on line
Available from: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_337459.pdf