According to the Chinese lunar calendar, spring starts in January or February and ends in April or May. These months have crazy, constantly changing weather which makes us vulnerable to catching a cold or flu.
Staying closer to the rhythms and cycles of nature, makes you healthier and more balanced. Because the element associated with Spring is Wood, we need to balance our wood element for emotional and physical health.
Chinese medicine has wonderful health and wellness tips for Winter. According to the Su Wen, “Winter is a cold storage season. Qi gathers in the core of the body. Do not disturb it… Warm up the body, store energy to rejuvenate and preserve life. Or the kidney gets hurt.”
Nourishing the Kidney in Winter is essential
The key word is storage. Many plants and animals store up fat and food and then lie dormant throughout the winter. While winter sports are popular, they actually do not keep you as healthy and fit as resting and preserving your stores of energy. The goal is to curtail supplements and excessive exercise in order to improve your health for the following year. For seniors and children, these tips are even more important in order to stay healthy in Winter.
Water regulates fear and motivation at each stage of development. Balancing Water is essential for us to grow into healthy people at each stage of our lives.
In our first article on the Water Element, we talk about how water is the source of procrastination, as well as creativity. It’s a philosophical well-spring deeply connected to our life force, or Jing. Water is also associated with Fear. This sense of fear is essential for life, motivating us and giving us an appropriate sense of caution when we are afraid at the right level. If we have too much fear, we may feel debilitated and cannot take any action; too little fear and we risk our lives, as well as the happiness of ourselves and those around us.
At each developmental stage, Water affects our bodies and emotions in different ways because the tasks and physical growth during each stage of life vary. Fear and motivation are critical aspects of each stage of development, so Water plays a significant role who how we interact with and take in the world.
Procrastinating by watching another cat video? Reaching for another cookie? Stop! Understanding your Water element can help you be creative AND regulate your behavior!
As we wrote in our previous article, Five Elements theory rests on the idea that all phenomena in the universe derive from the movement and interactions of Five Elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Five Elements theory drives Chinese medicine’s understanding of physiology, pathology, diagnosis, treatment, and pharmacology.
Five Elements theory was derived by observing nature and applied to ensuring longevity and a healthy life!
We begin our journey with Water. It is a great starting point because, according to the Chinese Medicine seasonal calendar, Winter begins in November, and Water is the element associated with Winter.
Chinese medicine developed over thousands of years through observation and trial and error. More like scientists in the field, Chinese doctors worked with people in their actual settings not in labs. They recorded their findings which had to stand up under the equivalent of peer-review to make sure recommendations worked over time. Numerous volumes compile this knowledge, with continued refinements over the centuries into present times.
Even before doctors developed Chinese medicine, the ancients in China watched the sky. They watched the universe and the movement of objects in space, and in particular five stars that they associated with the seasons and the different directions. They related their observations of the sky to what was happening on Earth. They believed that people live in the universe and should follow the order of the universe.