The cold weather has arrived. Winter is the time to reflect on how our lives match up to what we envision for ourselves and for pondering how to close that gap in the coming more active seasons. Here are some tips to help recharge your psyche, spirit and body:
REST: In Chinese Medicine, we try to adjust our body’s rhythm to the season. Just as the trees become dormant to gather energy to prepare for the burst of spring to come, so should we. It is the season to slow down. Of course we are all busy, so perhaps just making it a point to get a good eight hours sleep is the best we can do. This is a good time to try a less strenuous form of exercise like restorative yoga, tai chi or qigong.
DIET: Hot soup warms the core, helps to clear phlegm and moistens the nasal passages. Chicken soup and miso soup with scallions are good for colds. Black beans, bones filled with marrow, ginger and garlic, roasted peanuts and walnuts are all foods that nourish in the winter. Try some new recipes and invite someone to join you in trying them out.
MOXA: In winter, Chinese medical practitioners use a lot of moxa which is an herb that is burned close to the skin in order to warm the channels and promote a smooth flow of blood and qi. Ask your acupuncturist to teach you how to use it. It is especially good to warm the immune points and a specific point between the two kidneys in the small of the back. Always get direction from a licensed professional to show you where and how to use it.
GUA SHA: This ancient technique is great for breaking up congestion in the chest from a cold and wonderful for aches and pains. It involves gently rubbing the affected area with a smooth edge.
WASH YOUR HANDS: One of the easiest ways to stop the spread of colds and flu is by washing your hands. If you don’t have access to soap and water, buy a small bottle of Purell to carry with you.
STRENGTHEN IMMUNITY: If you are prone to allergies in the spring, now is the time to get several acupuncture treatments to help support your immune system to decrease your body’s sensitivity to allergens.
BE GRATEFUL: Gratitude lifts the spirit and is good for the mind and body when we start to “sweat the small stuff”. Try to make it a habit to be in a positive frame of mind. If you find it difficult, begin to count your blessings, be kind to yourself, bundle up, and enjoy the cold!