Winter and Chinese Medicine

Haiki 1

The voice of winter

Reverberates in the trees

Remnant leaves whisper

~Diana Richardson

Winter is the end of all seasons, the time of year to hibernate, withdraw, remove. Our bodies thicken and slow, as we protect ourselves from the cold. To unify with winter, we emphasis the yin principle of becoming more receptive, introspective, and storage oriented. Cold and darkness drive us to seek inner warmth with the idea to rest, to meditate, to refine the spiritual essence and to store physical energy.

The Kidney and Bladder are the organ systems associated with Winter, as is the element of Water.

Water represents the concept of flowing, free, yet it's emotional association is fear- which contracts the body. Like the kidneys, fear is deeply rooted, and we are often not consciously aware of even major areas of fear and insecurity. A healthy amount of fear protects us, but in excess, it injures the kidneys, depleting our energy and fostering insecurities about life. Winter can bring our attention to this emotional quality, and as in all seasons, nurturing our emotional states can soothe their imbalances allowing us to find balance in the contradiction of free flow and contraction.

Black/dark clothing and black/dark foods nourish the kidneys, dark foods with salty flavours bring life to the body through the winter months- black sesames seeds, black beans, chestnuts, walnuts, unrefined sea salt, almond milk and clarified butter, bone broths and animal products help restore our reserves and warm us. Slow cooked foods, roasted or on a stove deepen their warmth and are recommended through the winter months..