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Winter Wellness tips

Updated: May 4, 2023

winter wellness tips

The fundamentals of Chinese medicine are based upon the principles of yang and yin. Yang is daytime energy, physiological organ function, warmth, and movement. Yin is nighttime energy, the repairing and restorative operations that occur while you sleep, cold & restfulness. Winter is a yin season. The cold and darkness of winter drive us to seek inner warmth. Therefore, winter months should include more introspection, rest, and storing the body’s physical energy. This helps to align our bodies with the seasons. Below are some helpful winter wellness tips as we prepare to hunker down for the next few months.

Get acupuncture!

One of the things that I love about acupuncture is that it can treat more than just pain. Acupuncture is a complete medicine that can be used to treat all systems of the body. What makes acupuncture different from modern medicine is that it can be used as preventative medicine. You need not show an active sign or symptom to get acupuncture. Weekly acupuncture visits can boost your immune system, improve circulation, and regulate your nervous system for a healthy individual.

Eating for Winter

winter wellness tips

In Chinese medicine, each organ is attached to a season. Winter is associated with the energy of the kidney. Some ways to nourish kidney energy in the winter include:

  • Eating warm soups with tons of root vegetables (carrots, turnips, rutabaga, potatoes, beets, onions, fennel, parsnip, celeriac). These are rich in fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and Vitamin C anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Incorporate bone broths into your diet. Since these broths are slow-cooked for hours, they provide tons of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium that are easily digested and absorbed. What slow cooking for hours does is it breaks down the cartilage and tendons from the bones, which releases the compounds that are found in supplements for arthritis and joint pain. Broths have also been used to boost immunity during winter or to recover from illness. You can make your own or buy it from an organic brand. Use the broth as bases for soups, to cook grains with, or as a nourishing drink.

  • Cooking foods longer and at lower temperatures. Using a slow cooker or roasting food in the oven is excellent.

  • Salty and bitter flavors are appropriate for winter because they promote a sinking and centering quality of our energy which allows for more storage of your internal energy. It will enable more heat to be brought deeper where we need it the most during winter.

  • Always remember to eat local and seasonal whenever possible to increase the nutritional value of your food.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is involved in calcium regulation. It helps with calcium retention for our bone health. In addition to calcium regulation, research shows that Vitamin D can increase immune function by regulating immune system proteins, which have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. This is very important during the winter months when colds, flu, and the COVID-19 virus wreak havoc on our bodies. Since Vitamin D is the lowest in the winter months due to less time outside and less natural sun, I always recommend that patients check their Vitamin D levels and supplement if it’s deficient. Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K is the most beneficial supplement because Vitamin D helps increase calcium levels in the body, and Vitamin K allows the body to transport the calcium to the bone for absorption. Always consult with your physician before supplementing.


Exercise is essential for many reasons, especially for those of us that sit at a desk for a large portion of the day. It’s beneficial for our physical health. It can increase energy levels, promote better sleep, strengthen your muscles and bones, and improve overall health.

Exercise is also beneficial for your mental health. When you exercise, your body releases feel-good hormones such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. This can help decrease your levels of stress, anxiety, or depression. I recommend doing some form of movement daily. Find what resonates with you. It can be walking, running, biking, swimming, weight training, yoga, or dance parties with friends or family. Use this movement as a form of medicine to nurture your body. Your body will thank you.

Practicing Stillness

winter wellness tips

In Chinese Medicine, different energies are utilized and stored in the body. Qi (“chi”) is a type of energy used daily, allowing our organs to perform their physiological functions and mobilize our immune system. Jing is a type of energy that your body stores over time. This energy is stored in the kidneys and created by genetics and lifestyles. It is the battery pack for our bodies. The essence of who you are as a human.

Unfortunately, our current way of living - being on the run, attached to a screen, or doing something constantly - is depleting our Jing energy. Other ways to drain your Jing energy are overthinking, too much anxiety or fear, overworking, heavy menstrual periods in women, or excess release of semen in men. When your Jing energy is deficient, it will weaken your body over time.

So then, how can you nourish your Jing energy? There are many ways, but in keeping with the season’s theme, I want to focus on the practice of stillness. Winter is a great time to try this because when the weather keeps you inside, you can be with yourself. Stillness can look like many things, so I encourage you to explore what works best for you. Some examples can be journaling, breathwork, meditation, pausing while drinking a cup of tea, or even taking a nap; anything that forces you to slow down and go inward to reflect on yourself. Start with 5 minutes a day of whatever you choose and see how you feel. It’s ok to feel uncomfortable at first, but if you give your body and nervous system some time to adapt to the change in energy, the results will come naturally. You can gradually increase the time as the 5 minutes get easier.

Winter is the time when nature takes a rest. The beauty of Chinese medicine is its alignment with nature and the seasons for optimal health. I encourage you to give your body a rest this winter season. Get cozy with someone or yourself and pause to reflect on your life. You might be surprised at what you find. If you have any questions or want to learn more about acupuncture and herbal medicine, please get in touch with the office for more information. Be well!


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