Feeling sluggish after the Christmas celebrations? Now is the time to boost your energy with a shot of acupuncture!
Winter is here!
So Christmas is done and here we are in the midst of the most Yin time of year, winter. In Chinese Medicine winter relates to the Kidneys and the Water element. It is the time of year when we should be doing less. Staying in as the night draws in, warming ourselves around the fire and retiring early. In the UK the seasons always seem to take us by surprise. It’s not until the Beast from the East appears that we realise it is now winter. If you are feeling tired and lack lustre after Christmas, Acupuncture is just the thing to boost your energy.
Be like a dormouse!
But unfortunately the world doesn’t really allow us to slow down anymore. We are expected to work long hours, spend time with the family, go down the gym, be slim, watch Games of Thrones, shop online, AND eat properly, all at the same time! While the dormice sleep throughout the winter months, we continue on and on like a hamster on a wheel.
Many of the people I see for acupuncture this time of year tell the same story. They are working long hours, eating hurriedly and on the go, punishing themselves in the gym and not sleeping properly. Then they come for acupuncture because they are exhausted.
Do what comes naturally!
So let’s just take a step backwards…I want you to image what life might have been like before the internet, before mobile phones, even before the electric lightbulb. The industrial revolution is yet to happen.
But you are not poor, you do not live in a hovel, and you are not hungry. Let’s imagine that you work the land for a living. Through generations of experience you know what to expect when the winter truly arrives, so you are prepared. The harvest is now done and all the produce has either been sold or it is in storage. And now is the time that you must slow down. After a hearty dinner of root vegetables you sit around the fire with the family catching up on the day’s events. You plan what needs to be done the next day, and then you retire to bed early, which after the long hard days of summer graft, is welcomed.
Can we still live in this way?
We have to be realistic, of course. We all still need to work in one way or another, or have commitments that we might not want to get out of even if we could. But the naturalistic philosophy behind Chinese Medicine gives us some idea of how we should be living in rhythm with the seasons. For instance, going to bed earlier in the winter months and generally taking it easy. Winter is when the Water energy is at its strongest, a time when the reservoirs can fill up and the energies are replenished through rest. At this time, the life energy of the seed is now underground, which with the stillness of winter brings the potential of new birth in the spring.
People who live the agrarian lifestyle have an intimate relationship with the seasonal energies, and they have a genuine sense of what it means to be in harmony with them. If the farmer fails to plant the seed in the springtime, he would have missed the moment when the summer arrived. Without the growth of the spring (wood) and the maturity of the summer (fire) there would be no harvest (earth). Drawing upon our own connection with nature we are able to build an awareness of the elements.
The Water element and Winter
Water, the energy of winter, symbolises a time of stillness and rest that allows for the building up of reserves. If the reservoirs are dry and there can be no potential for the coming forth into life. So those with a deficiency in this element may experience a severe depletion of energy. And since the winter rains bring fluidity and freshness, Water brings the ability to flow.
When there is a lack of this energy, a person may become rigid. A deficiency can also be reflected in a blue colour, which can appear under the eyes or as a darkening on the side of the face. Or a groaning sound in the voice, which is understandable when one considers the fear of drowning or the feeling engendered by the scarcity in the storehouse during the wintertime. Or the feeling of fear when your back goes and you cannot work, or even walk!
The fearfulness from weak Kidney energy can also block loving experiences. Stressful, fear-ridden kidneys (water) fail to remove excess water, which extinguishes the heart spirit (fire) and its normal expressions of love and joy.
Boost your Energy with Acupuncture
Acupuncture can help in many ways. It can help to boost your energy stores, but foremost it can help you stay in tune with the changing seasons. Those people who are out of tune may experience Seasonal Adjustment Disorder (SAD) as the seasons change. They may lack energy or lustre; their digestion could be affected or they might suffer from insomnia; or they may become depressed. Either way, these could all be symptoms of being out of synch with the time of year, or simply not listening to what your body wants.
So when you get home from a long day at work and the sun has long set, and your modern head says you should go to the gym/running/party, listen to your inner dormouse…tuck yourself in for a night of peace and rest.