Winter. This is the time for us to rest and replenish.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers practical advice for adjusting to seasonal changes. One of the basic concepts in TCM is the 5 Element Theory of correspondences. Each element has an associated season, emotion, taste, organ...
The Season of Winter is associated with the element Water. The emotional aspect is Fear. The predominant taste is Salty. The associated and most effected organ in Winter are the Kidney and Urinary Bladder and the most common external element is Cold.
Strengthening the immune system should be a part of any seasonal ritual! Any tonic formula that strengthens the kidneys and urinary bladder, nourishes the Qi and preserve our essence is appropriate. Remember, the best form of medicine, is preventative
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, The kidneys and urinary bladder are associated with Winter. They belong to the element of Water. The Kidney "system" as a whole, is the storage house of our vital Essence, vitality or Jing (the basic materials that make up our constitution and the reproductive fluids that create life). Libido levels, reproduction, water metabolism and the development of our overall health are associated with the health of the Kidneys. All organs are dependent on the Kidneys for proper growth, reproduction, water flow and control and the balance of "fire and water". The liver sends water soluble waste to the kidneys, where they are further filtered and passed through the bladder for elimination. The kidneys filter nutrients and waste from the blood.
The Kidney system in Chinese Medicine is associated with the development of brain tissue, blood, spinal fluid, marrow, teeth and bones. The Kidneys rule the lower body, are associated with the urinary bladder, is represented by the root of tongue and opens into the ears. Metaphysically, our kidneys are associated with the development of our Will. The kidneys are associated with the flavor of salt and represented by the color of black and/or blue. Our kidneys relate to the emotion of fear.
Signs and symptoms of poor kidney function or yang energy deficiency due to excess cold include cold lower back, legs, incontinence, slow mental or physical movement, fluid retention of the limbs and mid-section, frequent urination and stiff, cold joints, especially the knees.
Signs and symptoms of poor kidney function or yin energy deficiency due to excess heat include dry skin, ringing ears, water retention, night sweats, insomnia, emotional fright, constipation, restlessness, anxiety, agitation, red face , weak bones, chronic fever or sore throat, dry mouth, memory loss, hot palms/feet/chest, slow healing wounds, rashes or bumps, hair loss, weak eyes, extreme libido levels, dark urine, pre-mature ejaculation, hot flashes and a weak or sore lower back.
The balance of fire and water are the perfect example of the balance of Yin and Yang.
The element, Water is associated with the Winter season and with cold.
The element is associated with the kidneys and the bladder, which regulate water metabolism and to the reproductive system. There is also a strong relationship with the immune system and the ability of the body to lubricate, repair and protect itself.
Water is the symbol of our emotions. All life forms consist of water. It involves healing, compassion, reconciliation, friendship, de-stressing, insight, peace, sleep, dreams, intuition, and psychism and health and beauty. A positive water person is sensitive, caring and nurturing. Sometimes they can be a little over emotional and over dramatic in all areas of life. A good balance of water here is needed to keep so that the water person can share there true gifts.
Emotionally, water represents taste, which is experienced on the tongue. It also represents one’s taste in general and one’s desire to taste or experience the world. Therefore, excess water is often equated with sensuality, possessiveness and greed.
Psychologically, water represents a good memory. This can manifest as dwelling on the past. But the ultimate experience of water is remembering that we all share life as a common heritage. This manifests as peace, love and compassion.
The Sacral/Spleen/Sexual Chakra is in the second in the Chakra system and represents our emotional identity, oriented to self-gratification. The second Chakra, located in the abdomen, lower back, and sexual organs, is related to the element water, and to emotions and sexuality. It connects us to others through feeling, desire, sensation, and movement. Ideally this Chakra brings us fluidity and grace, depth of feeling, sexual fulfillment, and the ability to accept change.
Fear and Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Kidneys are the Organ most likely to be damaged by fear and to cause a person to be more prone to feeling fear when damaged or suffering imbalance. So it's not surprising that something which can build up the Kidneys would help panic attacks when the panic attacks have a root of Kidney imbalance.
There are a lot of different things that can cause panic attacks. About the most well-known one is respiratory alkalosis. This is the CO2 (carbon dioxide) level in the blood is too low and the pH (measure of acidity-alkalinity) is too high (too alkaline). The person feels like s/he's smothering and needs more oxygen, but the O2 level is too high. It's the CO2 level that needs to be brought up.
This is the condition where if the person will hold his/her breath or breathe into a paper bag (and re-breathe CO2 just exhaled), the CO2 content of the blood will rise and the pH will get lower (less alkaline), and the breathing problems and the panic will stop. The most common cause of respiratory alkalosis is hyperventilation (breathing too fast and too swallow), and the most common cause of hyperventilation is anxiety. When the CO2 drops low enough and the pH rises too high, the anxiety turns into a panic attack.
Without a doubt, there are situations in our lives that cause fear. This is something we must "pick apart" in order to find it's roots. There may be one or two things that are not allowing your mind to be free. Write them down.
Fear and the Amygdala
Whether you are ecstatic, dejected or frightened, emotions certainly can have a grip on your life. In the world of science, however, emotions did not have such a hold. In the past they took a back seat to more clear-cut scientific topics. But now an increasing amount of evidence is showing that the emotion of fear is decipherable. The identification of a specific brain system that processes fear is spurring a great interest in the field. New discoveries could explain the mystery behind many mental disorders and prompt the development of new treatments.
An almond-shaped area of the brain, the amygdala (uh-mig-dah-la) receives signals of potential danger and begins to set off a series of reactions that will help you protect yourself, according to an increasing number of studies. Additional messages sent to the amygdala determines whether there is a threat or not.
Fear can often be a daily part of our lives. The fight or flight response can occur when an individual is subjected to fear such as a threatening situation or a resistant or hostile event. The response may be one of confrontation or one of avoidance such as running. The response involves all parts of the nervous system, as well as the endocrine system, and can be consciously or unconsciously mediated.
The autonomic part of the fight-or-flight response results in a general increase in sympathetic activity, including heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, muscular strength, and can trigger an adrenaline surge that quickens your pulse, raises blood pressure, kick-starts anxiety and prepares you for "fight or flight." The fight-or-flight response is adaptive because it enables the individual to resist or move away from a threatening situation. can trigger an adrenaline surge that quickens your pulse, raises blood pressure, kick-starts anxiety and prepares you for "fight or flight."
Tips for Releasing Your Fears
No matter what type of fear you are experiencing, there are many techniques which will allow us to move forward.
1. By slowly taking away the "layers" of what covers this fear or block, and discovering what is truly at the root of the fear, it enables us to deal with it from a higher point or view and opens up a path in which to rebalance.
2. Look at them on paper. Send them to me if you like (we can look at them together). Be honest with yourself when you write them out. Go with your immediate intuition. Fears have a tendency to dissolve when we are looking them face on.
3. Re-balance. As a holistic individual, you know that our bodies are continuously in a state of re-balancing itself. This is how we function. This is how we grow. By holding on to a fear, we are not allowing this processes (your intuitive state) to flow freely. This block can be the cause of a much bigger problem.
4. Letting go. By giving this fear up to the universe to handle, you are essentially allowing yourself to release this fear, and in turn strip away any kind of meaning or significance it may have upon you. By letting go, this allows us to move to the next level in our lives. The next natural process. Often times, this is a fear in itself. The fear of "what will happen when I DO move to my next stage in life?" Feeling protected always comes by letting go of the fear.
5. Let your guard down. Let it go. This is not a fear. This is a great journey. Allow yourself to follow it.
6. Being Grounded. Beng grounded is related to our survival instincts, and to our sense of connection to our bodies and the physical plane.
7. Being Aware. Ideally, being aware allows us the understanding of fear, which gives us the comfort to feel protected. Once you know what your fear is, you can take steps to address it. Being aware can keep us healthy, secure, and allow us dynamic presence.
8. Be Familiar. When we are familiar, we are comfortable and we feel connected with our physical body and the space around us.
9. Be Open. Being open, gives us the ability to be conscious and secure in ourselves and determines how we look at life around us. This roots us in survival of both the physical realm and spiritual body.
10. Deep Breathing. Learn to breath deeper. This is very helpful in stressful situations. It allows for the release of carbon dioxide (stess) and room to take in fresh, soothing air (calm).
Crystals and Uncovering Our Deepest Fears
Sometimes when we are fearful, we may not see what seems to be the cause. Eluding us, as we are unable to see the forest for the trees, the vision through the clouds or unable to see past our own emotional confusion.
Here are just a few crystals that are very effective when dealing with fear:
This stone has the calming, soothing energy of the sea. This is the stone of courage. Tranquilizing, uplifting, openness, innocence, lightheartedness, creativity, communication, self-awareness, confidence, purpose. Throat, Spleen, Heart Chakra. Used for protection on journeys, especially those who travel on water. Affects etheric and mental levels. Helps stabilize and harmonize unsettled surroundings. Helps reduce fears. Has an affinity with sensitive and mystical people.
Helps one to deal with both known and unknown fears. This crystal is purple, solid. Newly coming into greater use. Works with Indigo & Violet Chakra to transmute/lift us out of emotions, fear. Seeing old patterns with new possibilities. Opens heart, inspiration, service, seeing clearly (mentally, physically, psychically), faster healing. Some find useful also for entity release work and alcohol/liver detoxification.
This crystal is the most recommended stone for grounding and is associated with the Root Chakra, by encourages ones survival instincts and is centering. Hematite condenses scattered feelings, turns fuzziness into mental clarity, enhances concentration, memory, practicality, helps those who study, do bookkeeping, detailed work and helps with sound sleep. Considered the symbol of life energy, hematite allows for more confidence, will power and boldness. Helps us adjust to being physical. A protective stone and helps bolster low self-esteem. Hematite is known to deflect negativity. It restores equilibrium, stability and is also used for astral protection.
This stone will bring up anything which is hidden, and is best used with any of the quartzes (especially rose quartz and aventurine) to soften its effect. Absorbs and dissolves anger, criticism, fear, therefore, protective.
1. Cleansing the Body
This is one of three processes that should be done 4 times a year. Using the seasons as a guide, allows us to work with the "flow of nature" and change as our bodies change. Consider a healthy detox or work with the power of an herbal cleanser.
Here is a nice Detoxification Bath to get you started:
2 Cups Sea Salt
2 Cups Baking Soda
4 Tbsp. Ginger Powder
Place all ingredients in a hot bath and bathe for 20 Minutes
Drink plenty of water. This bath withdraws impurities from your body
and helps you to feel better. This bath can be done
2 to 3 times in a week or as needed.
Psyllium is a bulk-forming laxative and is high in both fiber and mucilage. Psyllium seeds contain 10-30% mucilage. The laxative properties of psyllium are due to the swelling of the husk when it comes in contact with water. This forms a gelatinous mass and keeps the feces hydrated and soft. The resulting bulk stimulates a reflex contraction of the walls of the bowel, followed by emptying.
De-cluttering the space around you can make all the difference in the way you feel. Start small. Try organizing a drawer or desk, your closet or one room in your house, first. Then move on to a bigger project. Learn the secrets to de-cluttering and re-organizing your life with the proponents of Feng Shui
2. Cleansing the Mind
This is the 2nd in the trilogy. Learn how to think in "affirmations" that are positive! These are statements that you make either aloud or to yourself. Always approve and accept yourself. You cannot love yourself unless you first, approve of and accept yourself.
A disciplined mind is a free mind. Gain control over your thoughts and you maintain control over your life. Retrain your mind and you regain your freedom. Calming the mind is a behavioral technique used to interrupt, minimize and eliminate "psychological noise". Obsessive, repetitive thoughts, anxiety and fears are all apart of negative, self-destructive patterns that can benefit from the positive affirmations and mind quieting.
"Love Thy Self"
I am perfect, whole and complete NOW, the way I am.
I deserve all that I require.
I am worthy, loveable and strong.
3. Cleansing the Spirit
This is a life long lesson and third in the trilogy. Utilize the strength of yoga therapy. What is your belief system ? Does it serve you well? How about discovering some great meditations !
The Sun Salutation in yoga is a great wakening and cleansing exercise. This is a flowing combination of some of the asanas in hatha yoga.
Stand in Tadasana, take a deep breath, clasp thumbs in front of you and raise arms in front of you over head. Arch back from the waist. Now, fold over at the waist as you exhale, placing palms on the floor, Uttanasana, step your right leg back into Lunge, step your left leg back to Plank, come into Bhujangasana, flow into Adho Mukha Svanasana, step your right foot forward to Lunge, left foot forward for Uttanasana, inhale up to Tadasana. Repeat, stepping your left leg back into Lunge.
Breath is life! Exchange of electrons. Flow of energy. Air is the primary nutrient. Survival without it is measured in minutes. It is so important that you do it without thinking. Your breathing is the voice of your spirit. It's depth, smoothness, sound, and rate reflect your mood. If you become aware of your breath and breathe the way you do when you are calm you will become calm. Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing. With the addition of music and it's rhythm, the "musical breath" can even help stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders. Fall into the rhythm of the music and breathe. Focus on your breathing and the music.
Focusing on the breath is one of the most common and fundamental techniques for accessing the meditative state. Breath is a deep rhythm of the body that connects us intimately with the world around us.
Close your eyes, breathe deeply and regularly, and observe your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Give your full attention to the breath as it comes in, and full attention to the breath as it goes out. Whenever you find your attention wandering away from your breath, gently pull it back to the rising and falling of the breath. Inhale through your nose slowly and deeply, feeling the lower chest and abdomen inflate like a balloon. Hold for five seconds. Exhale deeply, deflating the lower chest and abdomen like a balloon. Hold for five seconds. Do this three or four times, then allow your breathing to return to a normal rhythm. You will begin to feel a change come over your entire body. Gradually you will become less aware of your breathing, but not captured in your stream of thoughts. You will become more centered inward. You will just "be there."
As a Nationally Certified Herbalist and Licensed practitioner of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac. has spent years developing a natural healthcare plan, which incorporates the benefits of fresh, full spectrum foods based on their color and their properties. A balance of attractive colors in the foods we eat, play an instinctual part as to what the body needs in the moment. The color energy of fruits, vegetables, vitamins and minerals all come into play when furnishing our bodies with the proper nourishment. Learn more about how to implement Andrew's outstanding "Full Spectrum Diet" into your lifestyle!