Dawn on the Winter Solstice

December 21st, also known as the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, marks the turning over to the last season of the year, Winter.  In Chinese medicine theory, winter solstice is the day of the most Yin, the most darkness, and the least amount of heat from the sun. Contrasting the height of summer with its long days, warmth, and expansive energy, winter days become colder and this coldness causes contraction. Maybe you can feel this contraction in your joints, as this sort of cold weather can cause arthritic joints to ache. We can also feel this contraction in our habits.  Many people crave being huddled up in doors, drinking toasty drinks, and consuming warm confronting soups. These warm delights are generally full of seasonal spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, turmeric and star anise which help promote circulation in our frigid joints and warm our internal digestive fires. Now I understand why pumpkin spice is so popular! These spices are quite magical for this time of the year. 

In Chinese Medicine Theory winter is related to the water element.  The water element corresponds to the energetics of the “Kidneys” and “Urinary Bladder”.  These energetics open up to the ears, and are related to the emotion of fear and the virtue of wisdom. How does one achieve wisdom? By becoming quiet and looking inwards to the whispers of the soul. In this modern day culture, there is so much noise from social media, podcasts, news, and other people in our lives letting us know what they think we should do. Sometimes it can be hard to be quiet and hear our own inner voices. I encourage everyone to make that time and space for this important endeavor. Journaling, meditation, or a yin restorative yoga class can all be great ways to learn to listen to ourselves again and harness this winter energy. Any other quiet activities that nourish your soul are welcomed during this time. 

The Kidney energetic is related to our baseline energy. It is like our genetic lifespan inheritance. It loves to rest and rejuvenate, like recharging our batteries. In the winter, I encourage all of us to not feel guilty about resting. It is the time to slow down and hibernate, like animals in the wild do. A qigong technique to strengthen our Kidney energy is to use loose fists to gently tap on the back where the Kidneys are located, protected just underneath the bottom ribs. 

Winter time can be a rejuvenating time if we use it in this way. It can also feel quite isolating and depressing for others. Please reach out to someone if you are feeling lonely; and if you have the capacity, reach out to someone to let them know you care. Winter is the time we need community the most. As always, you are welcomed to come get acupuncture in our warm and cozy clinics to help with circulation in the joints, to uplift the spirits with some endorphins, and to take a rest in the company of others. Happy winter solstice!

Comments are closed.