Thankfully, we have entered the new solstice and the days are becoming longer. One of the greater winter challenges in the Northern Hemispher is the long hours of darkness. Add in dampness and cold and discover some key aspects to why winter season can have on our emotional and physical health. I have prepared some self empowering questions with a Chinese Medicine twist to help arm you with skills to feel your best this winter.
May you all flourish through the tail end of winter! Spring is just around the corner…
Are my feelings relevant to what is happening in my life?
Sometimes life can be very hard. Be gentle and kind to yourself if you are dealing with hard times. But, also be honest with yourself. If your feelings do not match your life events, dig a little deeper to examine if there is an emotional imbalance that does not feel relevant to what is going on for you. Sometimes when we get stuck in a particular mind set for too long, it can become pathological. Chinese Medicine is a viable and effective option to help you get back in balance and feel better.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complex and powerful system to understand and address health, in a truly holistic and personalized approach. We not only consider the symptoms in question, but include the underlying root and your personal constitution to understand and deferentially diagnose the full picture. No two treatments are exactly the same. Ten different people suffering with ‘winter blues’ can all have ten completely different Chinese Medicine Diagnosis and treatment plan.
An Acupuncturist who is fully trained to understand this system can be an important asset on your health care team. If you are feeling that your moods are out of sync with your life events, I encourage you to book a session sooner than later.
Sometimes we all need a little external help. Acupuncture is a wonderful, safe option to restore internal harmony. One of the most popular effects of Acupuncture is its amazing power to elicit an internal peacefulness. Patients often marvel at the lovely ‘acu high’ felt after a treatment.
So, even if life is extremely challenging for real reasons, an Acupuncture treatment can help to offer some relief while in the midst of the storm.
Have I been sick lately?
If so, did I complete the process of expelling the sickness from my body?
Could I still be fighting an illness that is lingering?
A common cold can become a bigger problem if we don’t take care to beat and get rid of it. Illness can transfer from our external layers to deeper vulnerable organ systems if allowed to linger, especially if there is a predisposing deficiency. A lingering illness can block up organ
systems and disturb Shen (spirit), leading to unbalanced and unmanageable feelings. If you are feeling out of sorts, but can’t really put a finger on why, this may be part of what is going on.
If you are experiencing this, I strongly recommend having a visit with your Acupuncturist to help you get back on track. Your Acupuncturist can not only give you a treatment but also give you specifically personalized advice to your own constitution and current symptoms. It is really important to take a common cold seriously, spend the care to beat it, to protect your health and restore a healthy internal environment. Because of the danger to health that a lingering cold can cause, in Chinese Medicine it is a strict rule to first address the sickness before continuing other conflicting treatment that could cause the sickness to enter deeper. We must direct the sickness out!
Am I dressing for the weather?
Keeping dry and warm is essential to good health in the winter. Outdoor activity is also essential but it is important to dress appropriately. Cold and dampness are dangerous elements that can cause many types of pain, exacerbate arthritis, cause weakness, constrict circulation, and lead to gloomy mood.
Do not underestimate the forces of nature and give yourself proper protection by dressing appropriately. (yes, I am such a mom! Heh 😉
When we are young and strong the effects of cold and damp may not be as apparent. But as we get older, and especially if our health is already compromised, the cold and damp can exacerbate and worsen our health. Symptoms of cold trapped in the body include many types of pain, digestive problems, menstrual pain, headaches, depression, to highlight a few. The most common cold symptom is pain. Pain can
be intensely frustrating and can limit our lifestyle and effect a downward spiral toll on our mood.
Cold and dampness together, can deeply harm our body and spirit. Arthritic conditions are especially harmed by the cold and damp combo prevalent in the Northwest winters. Acupuncture combined with Moxabustion (a special type of heat treatment) is an effective method to warm and get rid of the cold and damp causing these painful symptoms, allowing relief to your emotional self. In your daily life, take care to stay warm and dry. Use proper clothing and footwear as a preventive tool to protect your mood and overall health. If you tend to always have cold hands and/or feet, experiment with warming them as often as you can. A warm foot soak for improve your health, and mood during the winter months. Warmth
dilates vessels and improves circulation, kicking your body into self healing mode.
Am I using food as my first line of medicine?
Eat seasonally, locally, relevant foods. Use your food to feel your best. Eat good food
and yourmood will reflect what you eat. Although, there is a lot of confusing literature about diet, it really
isn’t all that complicated. Eat real food. Eat food that feels good in your body. Eat a variety of foods. In Chinese Medicine we recommend to stick to eating and drinking warm, cooked foods and drinks in the winter months. Warm your body and spirit from the inside out. Soups, stews, bone broths, and are
especially good for you during the cold months. Play around with your favorite ingredients that make you feel good when you eat or drink them. Talk to your Chinese Medicine practitioner to brainstorm some specific food approaches to help your constitution. There is no one miracle diet that works for everyone, because we are all unique beings with unique constitutions. Get to know your internal environment to understand how to help yourself on a daily basis.
Am I getting enough sleep? Rest? Activity?
The sleep, rest, activity balance is a tricky and key aspect of life. Our requirements are not only unique to our self but they also change, depending on current state of health, and also changing from season to season, keeping us on our toes to adjust to the different seasonal and relevant health needs. During the winter months, we should sleep a little longer and rest a little more. However, it is also important to still get active, outdoors and social, to our own appropriate needs. Consider these aspects of your life and if there is room for improvement, you know what to do 😉 You’ve got the power! … And, if you need some help achieving balance in these areas, we have a whole team ready to help you at Angel Hands 🙂