Chinese medicine: It’s important to take extra care of your kidneys this Winter

If your hair is feeling weak, you are lacking willpower and you have lost your mojo in general then read on. The reason for this will likely not be what you think!

It’s a little-known fact that each of our organs has a particular season when it comes into its own and deserves particular attention to maintain good health.

According to ancient Chinese wisdom, Winter is the time to really take care of our kidneys, which can be depleted by the cold.

Chinese medicine says the kidneys have many functions over and above processing urine, such as responsibility for the overall ageing process – hence how they have earned their reputation as being the ‘Root of Life’.

The kidneys are also thought to be responsible for fertility, libido, hearing, the strength of your hair, willpower and wisdom. Yet few of us would have thought a loss of libido could be down to our kidneys!

Collectively, they are also known as the ‘Minister of Power’ – regarded as the body’s most important reservoir of essential energy, or ‘jing’.

They are attributed with the role of managing our ‘constitutional health’ – in other words, what keeps you going when you skipped breakfast or had a dreadful night’s sleep.

Therefore, Chinese medics say a depletion in our kidneys’ energy will eventually result in health problems.


Reflexology – working on the kidneys

How to support your kidneys for good health this Winter

Acclaimed Chinese practitioner and founder of the Hayo’u Method Katie Brindle shares her top tips

Don’t walk around barefoot

We all do it. Quickly dashing to the bathroom, from the warmth of our bed to the warmth of the shower while letting our bare feet touch the cold floor. But it’s really important to keep your feet warm during the Winter as they have acupressure points which correlate to our kidneys. Be sure to wear thick socks or slippers.

Wear a vest

Yes, you probably thought you had grown out of this, but it’s really important to keep your back covered 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 in winter. Rather, focus on more warming foods; hearty, savoury soups and stews; whole grains, cabbage and root vegetables and steaming cups of ginger tea.

These foods are less sweet and a bit more salty. Nuts and seeds, such as black sesame seeds, walnuts and chestnuts, are also 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

While normally tricky to fit in with December madness, a scaled-back social life this year is a great excuse 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

Now is not the time to be sweating excessively because the contrast between being very hot when it’s freezing 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 or yoga.

Find out more about Chinese medicine here

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Lynda Hamilton Parker is a Scottish PR expert and independent publisher

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