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Hibernation for Longevity; Living in Harmony with the Energetics of Winter


Chinese Medicine is rich with wisdom and practical guidance on how to live in alignment with the energetics of Winter. It came about in a time when people were in harmony with the earth. They woke with the sun and slept when darkness fell. They ate seasonal foods like root vegetables and soups that provided the vitamins and minerals they needed to keep their immune systems strong. They followed the example of animals in hibernation, and embraced a season of life that encourages stillness, rest, and inward reflection. 

Chinese Medicine theory has vast insight into the human body. Each season is governed by an organ. Winter is associated with the Kidneys. The Kidneys are the “storehouse” for our body’s most basic and fundamental energy, our “life force” known as jing. They are responsible for the production of all other substances like Qi and blood. We are born with a certain amount of jing that naturally declines with age. We can, however, deplete our life force faster with poor lifestyle choices, like working too hard, not sleeping enough, poor diet, excessive drinking and drugs. Following the energetics of Winter helps keep our vital energy strong.

  Winter is a time to preserve our energy, by slowing down and going inward. Activities that encourage self reflection like journaling, meditation, rest, and qi gong all revitalize the Kidney energy. Our kidneys are essential to aging gracefully and in good health. The Kidneys are more vulnerable in the winter to conditions like adrenal fatigue, lower back and knee pain, urinary disorders, and asthma. 


Below are some Chinese Medicine characteristics of the kidneys, along with practical advice that aligns with them.


Element - Water 

Stay hydrated with warm water and herbal tea


Taste - Salty

Eating salty food helps nourishment sink deeper into the body


Sense - Ears

We can listen more closely in the stillness of winter than the buzzing of summer. Utilize this time to become clear on what you truly want.


Emotion - Fear

When the kidneys are deficient we feel more fear, especially of the unknown. Use the Winter to examine past beliefs and decide if they still serve you. The kidney is also responsible for our willpower, so we can tap into that energy to move forward into the unknown by trusting the universe.


Body part - Bones

Find exercises that make you feel strong and energized. Thoughtful weight training is great for bone health. Drink bone broths.


Color - Black

Look chic and wear black. Kidding... kind of...

Meridian -

The kidney meridian starts in the bottom of your foot between your 2nd and 3rd toes, by the ball of your foot. It runs up your inner ankle, calf and thigh. It travels about one inch off the midline of your abdomen, from your pubic bone to your ribcage, then moves slightly wider to just off the sternum, ending below your clavicle. Gently massaging the meridian is nourishing and grounding for the body.



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