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Winter Season- All About the Water Element

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

December 21st is the beginning of Winter in the Northern hemisphere. In the five-element theory of healing, the winter season is associated with the element of Water.

This element represents the most yielding of all the elements; it will break down even the hardest rock over time and find the path of least resistance to move around any obstacle.

The gift of the Water element in a healthy state is that it can generate the persistence and vigilance to go through the darkest and most challenging of times. Winter is the associated season for this element, a time of resting and recharge, like the image of a quiet, calm lake.

Tips to Keep Healthy During Winter:

Taking Time to Replenish: Listen to your body, and take time to replenish your reserves, winter is a time to recharge and take time to go within. Nourish Yourself: Nourish yourself with warming food and drink lots of water. Eat warming foods such as root vegetables, whole grains, and small amounts of meat or fish protein. If you are a vegetarian, eat more beans, nuts, and tempeh.

Keep Warm: Prepare for the weather, and dress accordingly. Chinese medicine says that the neck, shoulder, abdomen and kidney areas contain the “Wind” points through which pathogens can enter, so keep these areas protected; keep yourself covered when out of doors.

Water is the most yin of all the five elements. The organ systems associated with the Water element are the Kidneys and Bladder, which rule water metabolism and maintain homeostasis.

Kidney (Yin Organ) - In Western medicine, the kidneys regulate water metabolism and stabilize the heart and blood pressure. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Kidney energy is also said to be responsible for healthy teeth, bones, and bone marrow. Because the ancient Chinese medical scholars considered the brain and spinal cord to be extensions of the bone marrow, the Kidney is thought to rule over the skeletal structure and function and, consequently, over intelligence, reason, perception, and memory.

Bladder (Yang Organ) - The second organ associated with the water element is the urinary bladder, which Western medicine describes as a hollow sac with muscular walls, and is connected to the kidneys by the ureters.

When the bladder is not functioning optimally, the entire system is in danger of congestion and filling up with toxic wastes. Symptoms of an imbalance in this organ can include depression, fatigue, or difficulty adapting to new circumstances.

Complaints Associated with Water Element Imbalances: As we age, we lose water, and our bodies begin to dry out; which can increase our bones and hair to become more brittle, and our skin to loses its elasticity, and our minds may lose their accustomed flexibility.

  • Lower back pain, chronic or acute.

  • Knee pain and weakness.

  • Bone and teeth issues.

  • Possible issues with urinary retention.

  • Fatigue and shortness of breath.

  • Vertigo or dizziness.

  • Loss of hearing.