The scenery has changed again. There were colors – multiple shades of yellow, red, brown and green; soon there will be only gray. Yet the sun still comes out and sets at the end of a day; a toddler still tries relentlessly to stand and walk. There is a rhythm and timing in nature and in everything.
Chinese medicine considers the human body a micro cosmism of nature and is influenced by it. Seasons have various climates in nature - dryness, dampness, cold or heat. When the cold and hot confront, there will be thunder, rain or wind. This situation also applies to the human body. Illness which is considered disharmony in Chinese medicine occurs when our internal environment is not balanced. Therefore, it is to our benefit to live our lives according to nature by going along with the change of seasons.
The nature of the winter is stillness without much activity. Yet winter is not completely still. It has activity behind the scenes. Think of a water dam that generates electricity. In order for a dam to generate power, water is gathered and accumulated behind the dam and is released when it reaches a certain amount. It is the action of accumulation that boosts the power! If a dam does not have enough water back-up or water is released in trickles, it would not have the force to generate electricity. It is the same with budding in spring time. In order for a tree to have the energy to burst into flowering, a tree needs to preserve and gather the energy during the winter season. It is also a dormant period that you hardly see any changes on a bare tree before sudden blossoming. For us, it is imperative to have the “resting” period in life to gather momentum by doing less to recuperate and recharge in order to become stronger, walk a longer distance, and accomplish more! Winter is the equivalent of an accumulative period within us. During the winter season, it is ideal to go to bed early at night comparatively with the summer.
One of the ways we rejuvenate our bodies is through the food we eat. Winter is a good time to do so. By knowing how the current season affects our internal environment and taking into account our constitutional needs, we can choose the appropriate foods. For example, since winter is cold, it’s advisable to have food that has a warming property. In Chinese medicine, winter is also associated with the color black and the kidney organ. Therefore black rice, black beans, black-chicken meat (different from dark meat) are all particularly nourishing during the winter time. The kidney organ has a great influence on our over-all energy according to Chinese medicine, and some Chinese herbs are particularly beneficial to kidneys. Therefore, winter is the best season to nourish our over-all health by eating the appropriate food and combining them with Chinese herbs to boost the therapeutic effects.
Just as nature needs the winter season to generate the bursting power in spring time, our bodies need the winter season to recharge in order to feel rejuvenated the next spring.
So treat yourself well and keep warm at heart!
2014 by Tammy Chang