Welcome to the Early Winter Wellness
The leaves have changed and are falling, the first frost has reflected the early morning light and daylight savings time has thankfully ended for at least a few months. Nature is visibly slowing down and we are inclined to do likewise, snuggling into the warmth of our homes and reflecting on our relationships and the past.
With the beginning of November we are only 6 weeks away from the longest night and the shortest day. In modern America we tend to think of the Hibernal Solstice as the start of the winter season when in fact it is traditionally considered midwinter in many European and Asian traditions.
In Traditional Chinese Medical text the season is described not surprisingly as a descent into cold and wet conditions. These conditions foster stillness and contemplation as well as stagnation and stiffness. While the former are often beneficial, the latter not so much. Fortunately there are steps you can take to balance these conditions.
Stay warm. As temperatures drop, stay warm, not only for comfort but also to prevent unnecessary chronic stress that can lead to weakened immunity and sluggish digestion.
Eat seasonal foods. Avoid raw fruits, vegetables and juices that may hinder digestion and lead to congestion. Eat more soup and braised and roasted foods that will support digestion, immunity and vitality. Also cook with warming spices and foods such as cinnamon, ginger, garlic, onions, lamb, beef, chicken, duck, soybeans, sesame, wood ear mushrooms, peanuts, sweet potatoes, apples, pears and persimmons (fresh or dried). If you tend to have seasonal dry skin, sinuses, throat and constipation add more whole cow and goat milk products to your diet if you are tolerant.
Three behaviors that will really zap your strength during the winter months are the following: (1) going to bed late and getting too little sleep, (2) excessive exercise and (3) losing one's temper. Staying up late goes directly against the movement of Winter, which is hibernation; classical medical texts recommend going to bed a little earlier and sleeping a little later. Exercise is ideally refreshing and invigorating rather than a chore and exhausting, if the latter, then it may be excessive. Lastly, losing one's temper or having a generally angry disposition not only harms relationships it leads to diminished immune function and chronic inflammation or what I like to call Scrooge syndrome. On the other hand, being kind, compassionate and generous to oneself and others during the season will help support your vitality and others. For added support acupuncture can help you regulate your thoughts and emotions, decrease pain and inflammation and improve digestion and immune function.
To schedule an acupuncture appointment please call Southwest Physical Therapy at 503-597-1151
Collin Stoll L.Ac.