Cold weather can worsen some health symptoms, but did you know that simply walking round at home in bare feet during cold weather can reduce your energy? Katie Brindle, an expert in Yang sheng, the self-care aspect of Chinese medicine, shares some tips.
Cold weather brings some health challenges. It’s a little known fact that each of our organs has a particular season when they come into their own and when we should pay particular attention to them, in order to maintain good health.
In Chinese wisdom, winter is the time to really take care of our kidneys, which can be depleted by the cold weather. The kidneys have many functions in Chinese medicine over and above processing urine, such as responsibility for the overall ageing process, hence how they have earned their reputation as the ‘Root of Life’.
The kidneys are also responsible for fertility, libido, hearing, the strength of your hair, willpower and wisdom. I bet you never thought that a loss of libido could be down to your kidneys!
The kidney is also known as the ‘Minister of Power’ and is regarded as the body’s most important reservoir of essential energy, or jing. They are attributed with a role of managing your ‘constitutional health’ – what keeps you going when you skipped breakfast or had a dreadful night’s sleep.
When the energy of the kidneys is depleted, this will eventually reflect in health problems. Support your kidneys this winter during extra cold weather with these tips:
Don’t walk around barefoot
We all do it, quickly dashing to the bathroom from the warmth of bed to the warmth of the shower but letting our bare feet touch the cold floor in the meantime. It’s really important to keep your feet warm when it’d cold outside, as feet have acupressure points straight to your kidneys, so it’s important to wear thick socks or slippers.
Wear a vest in cold weather
You probably thought you had grown out of this, but it is very important to keep your back covered in order to support your kidneys and keep them warm. You could even wrap a scarf around your middle for an extra layer!
Swap from salads to soups
It’s bad for the digestion to eat too much cold, raw food during winter. Rather, focus on more warming foods; hearty, savoury soups and stews, whole grains, cabbage and root vegetables and steaming cups of ginger tea.
Suggested foods are less sweet and a bit more salty than usual, and nuts and seeds, such as black sesame seeds, walnuts and chestnuts are good for kidney support. There’s a reason why we sing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire at this time of year!
Go to bed early in winter
Whilst normally tricky to fit in with December madness, with a scaled back social life this year is the optimum time to get an early night. Going to bed between 9-10pm and waking up around 8am, giving yourself a good 8-10 hours of sleep a night will help keep your kidneys in good health and give you the added energy to get through the remainder of the year.
Skip the sweaty cardio in cold weather
Now is not the time to be sweating excessively as the contrast between being very hot when the weather is cold outside can lead to imbalance. This time of year is about conserving energy. Take gentle walks in the fresh air and concentrate on dynamic meditation forms such as qigong of yoga