Winter is the season of stillness and conservation. It’s a period of hibernation and our time to rest, slow down and revitalize our reserves. Winter is a great time of year to reflect on our health, replenish our energy, conserve our strength and heal on a deeper level.
According to the traditional theories of the Five Elements, Water is the element that is associated with Winter and with the Kidneys, Bladder and Adrenal Glands. Our Kidneys are extremely important organs that have various functions–the main one is that they store our inherited constitution, also known as our Source Energy or Jing Qi. Consider it your body’s internal battery.
According to Chinese Medicine, our internal Kidney batteries are powered up with a supply of energy that will carry and sustain each of us throughout our lives. This power supply is imparted to us from our parents, and provides us with the energy for all of our bodily functions.
It is believed that every action we take deplete’s energy from this power supply. Some people quickly deplete their Jing Qi; others preserve it. Jing Qi is finite, so if not protected, it will be easily wasted and eventually, when it becomes depleted, various symptoms and signs may appear.
During the winter, it is important to conserve our battery reserves. Our bodies are instinctively expressing the fundamental principles of winter–rest, reflection, conservation and storage. The “downtime” that winter provides, gives us an opportunity to slow down, check in, take account as to how our life-style supports or detracts from our health, and to recharge our battery.
As for getting some exercise, it is always healthy to get some form of it daily, but during the winter months, it is best to participate in gentler, less exerting exercise, such as, yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, swimming, walking, and other low impact sports. Save the extreme exertion activities for the spring and summer months.
“During the winter months all things in nature wither, hide, return home, and enter a resting period, just as lakes and rivers freeze and snow falls…Retire early and get up with the sunrise, which is later in winter. Desires and mental activity should be kept quiet and subdued. Sexual desires especially should be contained, as if keeping a happy secret. Stay warm, avoid the cold, and keep the pores closed. Avoid sweating. The philosophy of the winter is one of conservation and storage. Without such a practice the result would injure the Kidney energy.”
Your Amazing Kidneys
- Your kidneys normally come in pairs. They are roughly 5 inches long and 3 inches wide.
- To locate your kidneys, place your hands on your hips, and slide them up until you feel your ribs. Place your thumbs against your back-that’s where they reside.
- Your kidneys receive about 120 pints of blood per hour.
- Over 400 gallons of recycled blood is pumped through your kidneys every day.
- Half of one kidney could do the work that two kidneys usually do.
Your Kidneys According to Western Medicine
- Filter waste from blood, and purify blood for your body.
- Maintain homeostasis by balancing fluids and minerals in the body.
Your Kidneys According to Chinese Medicine
- Store Jing Qi
- Govern reproduction & development
- Control water metabolism
- Receive & grasp Qi
- Control the bones
- Produce marrow to fill the brain
- Relate to the ears
- Manifest in the hair
- House will power
A few signs of kidney imbalance according to Chinese medicine
- Darkness under the eyes
- Low back pain/sciatic
- Urinary problems
- Premature grey or loss of hair
- Knee problems/weakness
- Poor memory/confusion
- Colds hands/feet