If you feel tired and drained, you are not alone. “Lack of energy” is one of the top five complaints that doctors hear in their offices. According to Oriental medicine, the cold months of winter are the perfect time to recharge your battery and generate vital energy – Qi – in order to live, look, and feel your best.
The ancient Chinese believed that human beings should live in harmony with the natural cycles of their environment. The cold and darkness of winter urges us to slow down. This is the time of year to reflect on health, replenish energy and conserve strength.
Winter is ruled by the Water element, which is associated with the Kidneys, Bladder and Adrenal Glands. The Kidneys are considered the source of all energy or “Qi” within the body. They store all of the reserve Qi in the body so that it can be used in times of stress and change, or to heal, prevent illness, and age gracefully.
During the winter months it is important to nurture and nourish our Kidney Qi. It is the time where this energy can be most easily depleted. Our bodies are instinctively expressing the fundamental principles of winter – rest, reflection, conservation and storage.
The Nei Ching, an ancient Chinese classic, advises people to go to sleep early and rise late, after the sun’s rays have warmed the atmosphere a bit. This preserves your own Yang Qi for the task of warming in the face of cold.
Eating warm hearty soups, whole grains, and roasted nuts help to warm the body’s core and to keep us nourished. Sleep early, rest well, stay warm, and expend a minimum quantity of energy.
Seasonal acupuncture treatments in winter serve to nurture and nourish kidney Qi which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress, aid in healing, prevent illness and increase vitality. Call now for more information or to schedule your seasonal tune-up
Here are some dietary suggestions that can lead to an increase in vitality and radiant health.
Water – The Kidneys are associated with the Water element. Drink ample water, at room temperature, throughout the day.
Kidney Shaped Foods – Black beans and kidney beans are excellent examples of kidney shaped foods that nourish and benefit Kidney Qi.
Blue and Black Foods – The colors blue and black correspond to the Water element of the Kidneys and are thought to strengthen the Water element. Include blueberries, blackberries, mulberry and black beans in your diet.
Seeds – Flax, pumpkin, sunflower and black sesame seeds relate to fertility and growth which is governed by Kidney Qi.
Nuts – Walnuts and chestnuts have been found to be especially effective for increasing Kidney Qi.
Vegetables – Dark, leafy green vegetables are the best choice for Kidney Qi. Other Kidney Qi boosting veggies include asparagus, cucumbers and celery.
Did you know that tamiflu, a drug used to treat flu symptoms, is derived from star anise, an anti-viral plant that has been used by Oriental medicine herbalists for centuries? When it comes to staying healthy during the flu season, Oriental medicine has a lot to offer.
Acupuncture for Prevention – Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can prevent colds and flus by building up the immune system with just a few needles inserted into key points along the body’s energy pathways. These points are known for strengthening the circulation of blood and energy and for consolidating the outer defense layers of the skin and muscle (Wei Qi) so that germs and viruses cannot enter through them.
Acupuncture to Get Better Faster – If you’ve already happened to catch that cold, acupuncture and herbal medicine can also help with the chills, sniffles, sore throat or fever in a safe, non-toxic way that doesn’t ‘t bombard your body with harmful antibiotics.
Acupuncture does not interfere with Western medical treatment. On the contrary, it provides a welcome complement to it in most cases, and with its emphasis on treating the whole person, recovery time for illness is often shortened.
Herbal Medicine – There is a one thousand year old Chinese herbal formula that forms a handy complement to these immune-boosting treatments and it is elegantly entitled The Jade Windscreen Formula. It is made up of just three herbs: Radix Astragalus, Atractylodis Macrocephalae, and Radix Ledebouriellae. These three powerful herbs combine together to tonify the immune system and fortify the exterior of the body so that you can fight off wind-borne viruses and bacteria.
· Recharge Your Battery this Winter with Acupuncture
· Natural Options for the Flu
· Kidney Qi Boosting Black Bean Soup
From an Eastern perspective, black beans are warming in nature. They are thought to tonify the Kidney Qi and nourish Yin and Blood.
From a Western perspective, black beans are rich in antioxidants and an excellent source of protein, folate, iron and fiber.
Kidney Qi Boosting Black Bean Soup
1 pound black beans
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, sliced
Salt to taste
A few cloves of chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 cup dry sherry (not cooking sherry)
1. Pick over beans to remove any dirt, stones or foreign objects. Wash well, then soak for 8 hours in ample cold water.
2. Drain beans and cover with a generous amount of fresh water. Bring to a boil over high heat in a large saucepan with the bay leaf. Skim off foam, lower heat, and simmer, partially covered, until beans are just tender, about 1 hour.
3. Add onion and continue to cook until onion becomes extremely soft, about 1 more hour.
4. Add salt to taste and garlic. Continue to cook, adding a little boiling water if necessary, until beans are very soft, about 1-2 hours more.
5. Remove bay leaf and turn off heat. Ladle beans in batches into a blender or food processor and puree, or use an immersion blender and puree soup directly in the saucepan.
6. Add dry mustard powder and dry sherry. Correct seasoning. Reheat and serve, adding any garnishes you wish, such as slices of lemon or freshly chopped herbs.