In Chinese Medicine, we base a lot of our diagnosis and decision-making on Yin and Yang and the 5 elements theory, but these concepts go way beyond the medical field. These theories were created by observing all natural phenomena and they are incorporated into our day-to-day lives. On February 1st, 2022 we are entering the Year of the Water Tiger. The Tiger is the third animal of the 12-year cycle of Chinese Zodiac.
Each year of the Chinese calendar is interpreted based on:
12 earthly branches and the animal associated with it
10 heavenly stems
Yin or Yang of the earthly branch and the heavenly stem
5 elements of the earthly branch and heavenly stem
Let’s take a look at 2022
This year’s earthly branch is 寅 Yin, which corresponds to Tiger 虎 hu. Yin is the third branch in a 12-year cycle. The tiger likes to act alone, therefore despite its strength and courage, it finished the animal race to the emperor in third place following the Rat and the Ox. The Tiger represents action and a burst of intense energy. Being the third year in Chinese Zodiac system, 2022 is the year to implement and act upon the goals that were set in the previous two years. It is the time for new beginnings, major changes, and growth. The Tiger is said to wake animals from hibernation, which in my opinion, is a perfect metaphor for all of us to start coming out of COVID-19 isolation and begin a new chapter of hard work and accomplishing the projects that we put on hold for a while.
Yin is not just a year, it also describes a month, a day, or time. Its time is 3am – 5am and it corresponds to the spring season. Yin is the most active time when everything in nature comes out of the ground, sprouts, and starts to blossom. It is ruled by Yang Wood. Yang Wood represents big trees like sequoias, which are very sturdy but not very flexible. This year carries a very strong energy of the Wood element as the element itself is predominantly Yang. The nature of the Wood is wind and the wind represents changes. Be prepared to adapt and adjust to the new order of things. Because of the windy nature of the year, there is also a potential for hurricanes and tornadoes in 2022. Tiger energy can also trigger earthquakes.
2022’s heavenly stem is 壬 Ren. Ren represents Yang Water. Yang Water is like a big river, an ocean or a big lake. The color associated with the Water element is black, its correspondent organ is Kidneys and its nature is cold. Therefore, even though 2022 is a Water year it is characterized mainly by coldness and not so much by the moistening nature of water itself which belongs to Earth instead. Individuals that are prone to poor circulation and coldness should take Yang herbs and stick to a warming diet. The Water element emotion is fear, but under the Wood influence, the dynamics of the year are coming out of the fear that we have been experiencing during the pandemic toward the sun of the spring.
Earthly branches and heavenly stems are paired based on their Yin and Yang nature. As Yin and Ren are numbered 3 & 9, which are odd numbers, they belong to Yang. Yang is an active and moving energy, which means 2022 will be a lot about making decisions, taking actions, and making things happen.
Ren is linked to the Water element in the 5 elements theory, while Yin is linked to the Wood. The Water and the Wood are in harmony with each other because they follow a natural mother-son relationship as the Water nourishes and strengthens the Wood. According to the generating cycle, the Water is the mother of the Wood. Heavenly stems are also more powerful than the earthly branches, therefore the hierarchy of power is observed in a harmonious way.
When it comes to health, the Water is related to Kidneys and Urinary Bladder. The Wood element is related to Liver & Gallblader. These organs will be nourished this year in case of a weakness, however, for individuals with excess in those organs, the prognosis is less favorable. If you suffer from high blood pressure, high stress, repressed emotions, anger, insomnia, dizziness, headaches it is highly recommended to practice calming and grounding practices like Qigong, yoga, and meditation to balance the hyperactive Yang tendencies of the year. It is also beneficial to increase an exercise routine, in general, to reduce stagnancy in those organs. Focus on lighter cooking methods like stir-frying and steaming and a lighter diet containing more poultry, cooked greens, and pungent spices. The Lungs pertaining to the Metal element are expected to be the weakest this year as the Metal is the least powerful element in 2022. As we are seeing widespread long haul Covid-19 symptoms, supporting the lungs with notification methods should be emphasized. This can be achieved through acupuncture and herbal medicine as well as Qigong exercises.
As the Wood element represents compassion, healing, and natural medicine, 2022 is a perfect year to seek holistic medical care, particularly herbal treatments.
Have a wonderful Year of the Water Tiger filled with new adventures and wonderful achievements!