Water Element

Living Seasonally – 6 Tips for Winter

In Chinese medicine, winter relates to the Water Element, and I use seasonal acupuncture treatments to help the transition into this time of maximum yin energy.

We have twelve primary meridians ‘energy pathways’ that run along each side of our body. The Water Element is associated with two meridians: the Kidney and the Bladder. 

Ancient Chinese philosophy believed that the Kidney Official was the storehouse for ancestral energy passed on to each generation; it was the seed of life handed down. 

The Bladder is the longest meridian, with sixty-seven acupuncture points along its channel. This organ is the reserve we draw from in the winter when things are running low. 

However, we need to look at the Bladder and the Kidney in the context of equal importance: 

‘The Kidneys are rulers over the winter. Kidneys and Bladder are related and have to be treated as one in acupuncture.’ (Wallnofer, H. and Von Rottauscher, A. 1965, p.90).

The Kidney and Bladder are integral to the whole body and other organs, as none can function without water.

Your Five Element acupuncturist will check your pulses, including those relating to the Kidney and Bladder, at the start of your treatment to assess their quality and plan your treatment accordingly.

And, in the meantime, here are six tips to help you work in harmony with this season.

  1. Rest: Repair and rejuvenate, ready for spring.
  2. Turn inward: Meditate, practice yoga or tai chi, journal.
  3. Eat warming foods: Favour cooked meals over raw dishes.
  4. Keep warm: Especially the lower back (kidneys), neck and feet.
  5. Get an early night: Aim to go to bed earlier and rise later when you can.
  6. Taste salty: Include the flavour of the Water Element in your diet in moderation.

Paul Adkins Lic.Ac BA(Hons) FEA MFHT MBAA MCAUK

Reference: Wallnofer, H. and Von Rottauscher, A. (1965) Chinese Folk Medicine and Acupuncture, translated by Marion Palmedo. New York: Bell Publishing Company, Inc.

Leave a Comment