Winter governs the water element. It is the dormant season.
Most animals in the animal kingdom take breaks, sleep through the winter, and rest deeply.
When all life burrows deep in the bosom of the earth, we should do the same. It is a gestational time to replenish the wellspring of life to prepare for spring. The energy gathered then can burst forth with new growth.
Winter is the time to look inward and rest. Nature knows exactly what she needs to ensure a long life. She instinctively turns inward during the winter season to nourish her roots. Your body is a reflection of Nature and craves this internal rest as well.
The organ systems associated with Water are the Kidneys and Urinary Bladder. They rule water metabolism and maintain homeostasis and a cycle of rebalancing.
As we get older, we lose water. We slowly dry out; our bones and hair become more brittle, and our skin loses its elasticity. We may be more used to doing things a certain way, less flexible in others.
As time goes on, we need to accept the different seasons of our lives. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) gives us numerous mental, physical, and nutritional tools to help slow the progression of time. TCM offers ways to augment the water reserves within us.
This can be done through acupuncture, herbal medicine, Qi Gong, nutrition appropriate with the season, and lifestyle.
Kidney energy is the root of life. Urinary Bladder is where the water of the body is converged and eliminated as waste.
The emotion associated with the Water element is fear. When water is out of balance, fear becomes an obstacle to movement. Excess anxiety and fear can also injure the Kidney energy while dysfunction in the Kidney and Urinary Bladder energy, in turn, increases our worries.
Symptoms associated with Water Element imbalances are:
– Low back pain, knee pain, and weakness
– Urinary retention
– Tiredness and shortness of breath
– Sexual dysfunction
– Anxiety, excessive fear
– Resistance to change
– Stay warm, nourish with warm foods and drinks. Eat warming foods such as root vegetables, whole grains, and small amounts of meat or fish protein. If you are a vegetarian, eat more beans, nuts, and tempeh.
– Enjoy nature during winter while dressing appropriately. The neck and shoulder areas contain ‘wind’ points through which pathogens can enter, so keep these areas protected. Cover with a scarf and keep your neck covered.
– Sleep longer and recharge. Sleep is a time of receiving, not doing. As winter is a time to go within, your inner being come closer to the surface in winter. Keep a journal and record your feelings, thoughts, and dreams. Allow any images to unfold and look at them again later and see if the images convey an inner message to you.
– Spend time meditate. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 15 minutes or longer. Observe your thought patterns without judging them. Being an observer helps us to liberate ourselves from any fear of the future or concerns of the past.