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Tips for Staying Healthy this Winter

Believe it or not but it is still technically the winter season. The weather here in Central Ohio has been surprisingly pleasant and I am scared to celebrate just yet because when I do it is sure to signal a huge snowstorm. Hopefully we can escape this winter without any treacherous weather.

Our office has seen quite a few patients with colds and those complaining of feeling run down. This is just a reminder that winter urges us to slow down. This is a natural time of year to replenish energy and conserve strength.  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season is associated with a specific organ in our body and element. Winter corresponds to the Water element and Kidney organ. This organ in Chinese Medicine stores Kidney Qi (our vital energy). You can think of Kidney Qi as the gas in a car’s tank. When our gas tank gets close to empty our car slows down and the tank is more likely to freeze. The key to surviving the winter and staying healthy is to keep your tank full and stay warm! Here are some tips to keep you healthy through the reminder of winter:

1)      Go to bed earlier. Conserve your energy and help build up your reserves.

2)      Stay warm. When out in the cold, wear a scarf to keep your back, neck and chest warm. It is also important to keep your head warm as well. You may have laughed when your mom used to say “you will catch a cold if you don’t keep warm” but there is a lot of truth to this.

3)      Watch your diet. Stay away from raw foods like salads because they have a cooling effect on the body. Instead eat warm soups and stews, roasted nuts, whole grains and root vegetables.

4)      Keep your feet warm. Cold comes through the floor and into our body. If you are trying to conceive this is especially important.

5)      Stay hydrated. This is the season of the Water element- drink plenty of water (room temperature not cold) throughout the day.

Finding “Balance”

Balance within ourselves and our environment is key to living a happy and healthy life. This belief is deeply rooted in Chinese Medicine theory. It is this concept of balance that led me to name the practice “Fine Balance.”

“Fine” represents not only the fineness of the needle but also how much care is needed to find that ideal “Balance.” The symbol of yin and yang represents two complementary concepts which include the relationships of: dark and light; dynamic and static; creative and destructive; obvious and subtle. Yin and Yang represent two forces which are bound together and interdependent; one can not exist without the other. If you look closely at the symbol, you will see yin within yang and yang with yin. However, these forces are not constant- nothing remains the same in life. Disease, symptoms, emotions, and treatments are constantly changing, as are the events of our daily life.

Your healthy state is created by the right balance of yin and yang. The concept of balance applies to ALL aspects of our life. The right balance of play vs. work, healthy food vs. decadent ones, rest vs. activity, and togetherness vs. solitude. Therefore, it is imperative to make choices that contribute to finding that “Fine Balance” within our lives.

The Secret to a Long Life!

Saw this and loved it…so true! Enjoy!

(Translated from a Chinese scroll)
For a person to live 100 years should not be uncommon,
Less meat, more vegetables, and warm tea makes a healthy spleen [digestion],
To live a healthy long life has a secret,
Picky eating and over drinking over time becomes disease,
Go to bed early, wake early, over-sleeping has no benefit,
Use medicinal herbs [medicines] carefully,
When you are ill, seek medical care,
There should be balance between work and rest,
Work and rest should have regularity,
Keep a positive outlook and an open mind,
When encountering things, don’t rush,
Be sure to breathe plenty of fresh air,
Less stillness and more activity will increase your vitality,
Your environment should be neat and clean,
Get plenty of sunlight,
Martial arts and qi gong will bring out your exuberance,
Music, chess, calligraphy, and painting strengthen the mind and make the body healthy,
Running and exercise have great benefit,
Be disciplined with your diet,
Smoking and drinking should be avoided,
Physical work can prevent illness and dispel disease.