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How to adjust your lifestyle in accordance with Winter Season?

According to 24 Solar Terms, November 7th marks "Beginning of Winter" (立冬 Li Dong). As mentioned in previous posts, in China seasons are tracked in relation to fluctuations of Yin and Yang dynamics in nature. Now Yin energy is in a growing trajectory as daylight hours are getting shorter and night is getting longer (e.g. we just fell backwards an hour), and therefore this time is considered beginning of “Yin” Winter Season.

During the Fall, the most valuable and vigorous part of plants are condensed into the fruits and roots and are stored in hibernation during Winter for future generations to sprout in Spring. Therefore, Winter is a "storing period”. Just like in nature, for the human body winter is a time to preserve essence in our “seeds”. The kidney is the main organ responsible for reproduction according to Chinese Medicine. The kidney stores essence (congenital/hereditary constitution) and that essence ultimately contains original Yin (female energy) and original Yang (male energy) of the entire body. The kidney is directly associated with ovaries, testicles and adrenals. In order to boost one’s fertility, the principle is always to warm and strengthen the kidneys. That is why Kidney corresponds to winter, black color, salty flavor, fear & will power in theory of five phases.

Baozi, mantou in beijing
Bao Zi in Beijing

In my practice I often see patients with weak Kidney function. They always ask me how they can improve this imbalance. Unfortunately, Kidney deficiencies are hard to fix. I always refer to Kidney essence as savings account. One may have inherited it from parents; another worked for it their entire life. But once exhausted, it might take years (if ever) to replenish, just like the kidney.


There are only three factors that deplete Kidney essence:


1. Excessive sexual activity

Excessive sexual activity

In Chinese Medicine we believe that it is very important to moderate sex life as it has a much broader meaning in preserving one’s essence and keeping Kidneys warm. To know what is too much or too little, you should pay attention to how you feel after sex. If you are left feeling dizzy and tired then it might be too much relative to your constitution.


2. Lack of sleep

going to bed early and getting up later

Night is the time of the day when energy goes into storage. Kidney is an organ responsible for storage and therefore mostly affected by the lack of sleep. In winter, we use more energy to keep ourselves warm. To stay healthy, it is important to get more hours of sleep during this season. It is advised to go to bed early and getting up later.


3. Short temper

Will power belongs to kidney

Kidney emotion is will power. It is associated with downward and inward movement of Qi. Anger makes Qi rise upwards which is opposite of Kidney's direction. This counter-motion damages Kidneys and depletes the essence. In winter, it is recommended to maintain spirit quiet and reserved as if keeping secrets. One should restrict desires and behave as if all their expectations were satisfied.

Some people particularly young women can find themselves depressed during this time of year, feeling sluggish, dizzy and sleepy. In order to avoid feeling down, it is important to get enough sunlight and physical exercise. However, physical load should not be too intensive and it is especially important to warm up the muscles and tendons prior to physical activity to stay away from injuries as cold tends to cause contraction and tightness of soft tissues.


Prevention of diseases in Winter.


keeping warm