Chinese Medicine Tips for Winter
Hello All, Welcome to my second blog. This Blog from Northwood Clinic focuses on the Season of Winter and How to attune your health according to Chinese Medicine Philosophy and also prevent or shorten the duration of a cold/flu. It is a lengthy blog, but stay with me as I assure you the tips are very helpful. Even if you just take one tip from this article.
Thousands of years ago in China, people believed that human beings should live in harmony with the natural cycles of their environment. This included attuning your diet, lifestyle, and behaviour to each season for optimal health. After all, we are all a part of nature.
I’m Cold! It’s Winter: Meaning colder temperatures, darker days often (less sunlight hours). These factors are naturally telling the body to ‘rest and slow down’.
Traditional Chinese Medicine expresses winter is a time of ‘rest, reflection and replenishment’ to maintain optimal health and prevent disease.
Winter: Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Element: Water Nature: Yin (Cooling Nature) Organs: Kidney, Urinary Bladder, Adrenal Glands, Ears, and Hair Taste: Salty Emotions: Fear and Depression
Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy expresses the kidneys are the “source of all energy (Qi) within the body”. Furthermore, the kidneys contain a reserve of Qi in the body, used at times of stress, change, disease and aging. Winter, more than other seasons, make the kidneys more prone to injury. It is important to nurture and nourish the kidney Qi, to keep the reserves at full capacity. This should ensure disease prevention.
Rest as often as possible, as many conditions related to the above mentioned organs may be aggravated during Winter such as; anxiety, depression, hormonal and adrenal gland conditions e.g PCOS, bone (muscular skeletal conditions), lower back pain, bladder infections, immune disorders, cold and flu related conditions, the ears and hair may also be effected at this time (as these conditions often link to the kidneys according to Chinese Medicine).
Foods for Winter ‘Rest and Digest is your mantra’
Mix cold weather, increased appetite and bulky jumpers and coats. Winter can be a time where many people tend to reduce their exercise and general activity and often eat more food to stay warm. This is okay, as mentioned above you are meant to be slowing down, resting and storing.
However, it's wise to reduce the portions of food consumed, to avoid gaining weight unnecessarily. Also, eat foods which will fill you up, to keep you warm and avoid over eating. Such as, soups, tea’s and broths, lean proteins and fibre rich foods.
Foods to Avoid in Winter
Raw foods and Cold Foods e.g Fruits, Uncooked Vegetables, Cold Salads and Ice Cream (creates cold, phlegm/dampness in the body- cold/flu). These foods can cool the body and tend to be harder to digest. However, do eat fruits and vegetables just warm them gently prior to consumption or wait until room temperature.
Winter Food Options to Enjoy
Soups, Stews and Broths
Lean Chicken and Lamb (warm nature)
Miso and Seaweed
Garlic and Ginger
Wholegrains (Keeps your body feeling fuller longer)
Fibre rich foods can also help keep you feeling full
Protein may help keep you full also
Don’t forget your best friend, Water! (Warm water with lemon, yum!)
Build Up Your Protective Qi and Fight the Cold/Flu Season: Prevention Is Key
Acupuncture is great for cold/flu prevention by building up the immune system. A number of acupuncture needles are painlessly and shallowly inserted into key points along the body's energy pathways/meridians through the skin. These points are known for strengthening the circulation of blood and energy in the body. Also, consolidating the outer defence layers of the skin and muscles (wei Qi) so that germs and viruses don’t penetrate the body. Seasonal acupuncture treatments just four times a year, twice a month, may also help tonify the inner organ systems and help correct minor conditions before they become serious problems ‘prevention’. Simple, Effective and Natural! Acupuncture and/or Chinese Herbs with a Winter Focus
Acupuncture encourages the activation and circulation of blood and Qi to strengthen the outer defence layers of the skin and muscles (wei qi) to prevent germs and viruses penetrating the body.
Already have the flu? No worries, acupuncture and/or Chinese Herbs can also be used to prevent and even shorten the duration of colds/flus. Treat your Colds/Flu with Chinese Herbs and/or Acupuncture As stated above, already caught the flu, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can also help with the symptoms of flu e.g.: fatigue, chills, fever, sinus, blocked or runny nose and congestion, cough, sore throat. Both Options are safe, non-toxic ‘natural’ and effective methods that won’t fill your body with possibly harmful toxins.
Taking Antibiotics and Not Seeing the Results Or Want A Natural and Effective Approach?
Acupuncture and/or Chinese Herbs does not interfere with Western Medical treatments. Conversely, it complements. Both acupuncture and/or Chinese Herbs treat the whole person and recovery time for illness is often shortened. The flu can be shortened in duration leaving you back to work and life! By treating the flu like symptoms, you can function at work, even during flu recovery (less leave from work).
Chinese Herbal formulas may also be adopted depending on the severity of illness. Chinese Herbs can be used after illness to boost the bodies weakened immune system. The individually prescribed Chinese Herbal formulas aim to strengthen the immune system and prevent or resolve cold/flu (viruses and bacterial infections).
Modern Antibiotics Issues
Many doctors are not prescribing antibiotics like they used, due to various reasons, mainly due to antibiotic resistance and weakening immune systems. Antibiotics may also have other harmful side effects such as, killing good bacteria. Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture are natural and have no side effects with additional health benefits for the whole body.
Gone to the Doctor and are told you have a Viral Infection
Many viruses do not respond to antibiotics and patients are left with no medicine and all the symptoms of a viral infection with little to no relief. Did you know, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs both provide effective relief of these viral symptoms and can shorten the duration of the viral infection itself.
Lastly, Final Winter Tips from Dr Rebecca Dabscheck (Chinese Medicine Practitioner)
Wear Warm Clothing, think wool (unless allergic)
Layer Clothing thinnly rather than bulky clothing, be smarter and warmer by wearing a warm thermal layer (closer to the body) e.g fine 100% merino wool top. 3 layers is often best: thermal layer first (wool preferable), cardigan/jumper and coat/jacket.
Keep feet Warm and Head too If possible.
Drink tea with honey and lemon. Wonderful for strengthening and detoxifying the liver and antibacterial benefits.
Put Eucalyptus on your Pillow at night or Place on a tissue and inhale or In a Vaporiser or Steamer. Get some Eucalyptus Lozenges to suck on them while waiting for the bus.
Supplements to consider: Vitamin C, Lysine, Echinacea, Zinc and Garlic (Ask your doctor before hand!)
Drink Lots and lots of Water!
I hope this helps you all. Stay Tuned for more Helpful Tips on Health with a Chinese Medicine Twist from Northwood Clinic of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine!
I look forward to meeting you and treating you!
Dr Rebecca Dabscheck (Chinese Medicine Practitioner)
More Information and Sources for the Above Information