In the Northeast United States, the season of winter can be cold, dark, and dreary. We are bundled up in layers of clothing. Our days are shorter. The sky has a certain grayness to it on most days. However, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), winter has a slightly different essence. Winter is a time of moving inward and preparing for the growth and blossoming aspect of spring. Think like a tree.
In our bodies, Water is represented by the Kidneys and Bladder. The Kidneys store our source Ki and are considered the root of life in our body. Life is connected with water and water is the origin of life. Water always flows to the deepest valleys. In our bodies the Kidneys govern our bones and teeth as they are the deepest/densest layer of our physical being. Within the bones we have marrow. Bone marrow supports red blood cell growth and is an important component of the lymphatic system which supports immunity. Running through the vertebral column and into the cranium is the cranial sacral system in which the production, circulation, and reabsorbtion of cerebrospinal fluid occurs. The cerebrospinal fluid supports and maintains the environment in which your brain and nervous system develop, live and function. When our mothers and grandmothers would insist on us covering our low back to keep our kidneys from catching a cold, they were protecting our kidney energy.
Water is very powerful. Water cleanses and purifies. Water is demonstrated in our will to survive or succeed. At times water is soft, giving, and nurturing as in a gentle shower or softly falling snow. Yet, inherent in water is the ability to wear away stone with a consistent drip, display its strength in a churning ocean or sweep away massive areas in a flood.
Chronic fear and stress will deplete your kidney energy – so take it easy and kinda chill out and just be in balance. Yin foods and drinks will also challenge kidney energy this time of year – so as much as possible avoid cold beverages, ice, ice cream, and sugar. Enjoy hearty soups, rich bean dishes (kidney’s like bean energy), buckwheat, soba noodles, and vegetables that are in season to support kidney energy.
Embrace this season of winter and enjoy its beauty. Think like a tree and go internal and you will be well prepared to blossom as we look forward to the Wood phase of spring.