When some eastern countries think of the different seasons of the year they use yin and yang to describe their characteristics. Winter is the season of the most yin; meaning it is more cold, more dark, and everything is more consolidated. They also assign different acupuncture meridians to the different seasons. They made these assignments based on their observations of the seasons and how the body reacts to them. The meridian of winter is the kidney meridian. The kidney meridian is named this because; it does connect with the kidney organ. In oriental medicine the kidney meridian is in charge of the function of the kidneys themselves, but it also governs the function of the ears, the structure of the bones, reproduction, and the vital energy of the body.
Some eastern countries believe in eating and doing activities that are appropriate for the season. This way a person can be healthier, because they are in harmony with their environment.
During this time of year it is important to get more rest. To eat foods that are warm and cooked. Also to do activities that are more introspective like meditation, journaling, reading, and qi-gong exercises. While energy-conserving activities are important, you do still need to move enough to keep the spine and joints flexible and supple. Tai ji forms or yoga done daily work well.
Things to eat during winter include hearty soups that have bone broth, whole grains, beans, and veggies. Salty and bitter foods are also good as long as you don’t overdo it.
Great choices for salty foods are miso, organic soy sauce, seaweeds, millet, and barley. Great choices for bitter foods include: asparagus, quinoa, turnip, alfalfa, amaranth rye, and oats.
Signs you might have a kidney meridian imbalance include: problems with your knees, low back, and teeth, urinary problems, reproductive problems, premature aging, excess anxiety or fear, poor growth or development in kids, hearing problems, and premature graying or loss of hair. During the winter you may find your problems increase. Acupuncture and herbs can help you rebalance the kidney meridian and regain your health.