Here we are in the new year, making our vows to do better, change our ways, get things done …
And I’m right there, vowing to write more blog posts in 2014, because there’s so much to say about Chinese medicine!
We’re in the middle of the cold and dark months, just now starting to come up out of it since the solstice but still facing a good long while before the sun starts feeling warm and the light lasts longer.
Winter is the season of the Kidney system—the Zhi spirit—which rules the endocrine system, skeletal structure, reproductive organs, bodily fluids and temperature, and relates to the emotions of fear and anxiety. From the Kidney energetic system we find our instinctual power, will, courage, ambition, the desire to grow and change and thrive. This might be where New Year’s resolutions arise!
When the Kidney system is out of balance we might find ourselves experiencing insomnia, back pain, hyper- or hypothyroid conditions, memory problems, fatigue or adrenal exhaustion, high blood pressure, bladder symptoms, knee pain, addictive impulses and lack of will power, loss of motivation, depression, avoidance, procrastination, a decrease in libido, and/or cynicism about things ever changing.
Potential contributing factors to a Kidney imbalance are:
● lack of sleep;
● overwork and too much responsibility;
● use of addictive substances or any addictive behavior, including too much sugar or carbs, alcohol, computer activity, caffeine, tobacco, other drugs, sexual activity, over-exercise;
● chronic disease;
● long-term fear or anxiety;
● multiple births; and/or
● simply getting older.
Some ways to nourish, tonify, and enhance the Kidney system are:
● avoiding obsessive/excessive thinking, working, and craving by maintaining a reasonable schedule and building in time each day to do nothing—meditate, rest, rejuvenate;
● making space to do calming physical exercise such as simple stretching, yoga, tai chi, or qi gong, all of which can help posture, breathing, and general well-being;
● massaging your feet once a day and paying special attention to the area at the center line of the foot just below the ball mound, where the bottom-most acupuncture point on the body is, Kidney 1, also known as “Bubbling Spring,” which is a very calming, grounding point that also stimulates Kidney Qi and revitalizes the entire Kidney system;
● bringing water, the element of the Kidney system, into your daily life in the form of a bowl of water with essential oils, smooth river stones on a table, a simple clear vase with flowers, an image of water on your wall … or spending time near a river, the bay, the Sound, mountain lakes, ponds … plus drinking plenty of water;
● getting acupuncture on a regular basis to move and boost Kidney Qi, and
● setting aside time to meditate or do guided imagery.
The benefits of focusing especially on strengthening the Kidney system can include less anxiety, better sleep, more exuberance for life, enhanced courage, trust, power, and serenity, and a renewed sense of motivation and follow-through.
In my next post I’ll list some foods that are especially good for boosting the Kidney system.