The 5 elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood correspond with different seasons, the food we select and the cooking styles we choose. Making the right food choices for the season will improve our health, nourish and protect our body.
The element for Winter is Water and governs our overall structure, energy levels, blood pressure and the balance of our emotions. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Kidney is the powerhouse of the body. It’s partner meridian, the Bladder gives us stability – of the body, mind and spirit.
Winter is the season were all nature slows down, conserving energy as there is less in and around us to tap into.
The Kidney stores reserve energy called “pre-natal Qi” inherited from your parents. When another organ is low on energy, the Kidney sends it an extra Qi boost from this inheritance.
The ears are the sensory organ related to the Kidney. Any ear problems, such as deafness, tinnitus, or ear infections are a signal from your body that the Kidney’s energy needs extra support.
Bones are the tissue associated with Kidney meridian. If Kidney energy is low, you may have symptoms such as osteoporosis, dental issues, or developmental issues.
Fear is the emotion associated with the Kidney. If you often have severe panic attacks, anxiety and fear, then your body may be trying to tell you that Kidney energy is running low or is imbalanced.
The Water Element
- Influences our WILL power
- Represented by the colour Blue
- Water energy forms our bones and nervous system
- We work with the Water element via the kidney (yin) and bladder (yang) qi meridians
- Bladder qi proves structure and stability which supports Kidney energy to move effortlessly through any obstacles or challenges
The Kidney Meridian is called ” The Controller of Water” and as we are 83% water, it is incredibly important to our health. It also is in charge of our Essential Qi, or the energy that we inherit from our mother and father that controls the bigger cycles in our life like puberty, menopause, etc;
The Bladder Meridian is the “Official in Charge of the Reserves of Energy”. It is our ability to keep going or, the feeling that we are too tired.
Foods to Support Kidney Health
In winter we eat foods that aid in healing our kidney energy. Winter foods include:
- Grains like barley, buckwheat, black rice, oats groats
- Vegetables that grow down into the earth, like beets, root veges and pumpkin
- Beans that look like the kidney such as Adzuki and black beans and Pulses such as black lentils
- Sea Vegetables are a must and include arame, kelp, hijiki, nori, wakame, kombu, spirulina
- Fruits for Winter are blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, dark grapes, black raspberries, mulberries
- Fish like blue fish, caviar, scallops, oysters, clams and mussels
- Nuts are chestnuts, black sesame seeds, walnuts
- Condiments & Seasonings Tamari, miso, tekka, gomasio, umeboshi, salt cured pickled food like our yummy cucumber recipe
Craving salt? Listen to your Kidney and have a salty snack!
Many foods have an essence that resonates with the Kidney. You may crave seafood, beans (adzuki) or bone soup. These are all foods that build strong Kidney function. Listen to the body, and eat what you are in the “mood” for.
The best yoga teacher training includes learning about how the five elements influence the science behind macrobiotic cooking. COTY yoga training courses teach suggest you protect your kidney energy by keeping your lower back warm this Winter, restore your energy with yoga, rest when you can and slow cook your food with meals like stews and hearty soups.
Simple Tips for Everyday Kidney Health
Stomp your feet, slowly and with flat feet, for about 5 minutes a day. This stimulates your Kidney’s energy as the feet are associated with the Kidney and Bladder meridians, which run through the heel and to the sole of the foot.
Rub your ears for several minutes a day. This simple massage strengthens Kidney function, as the ears are connected energetically to the Kidney organ and meridian.
Stop energy drains! Conserve your energy by sleeping before midnight, resting when you’re tired, and giving yourself permission to take a break and de-stress.
Acupressure for Kidney Health
Rub the acupressure point Kidney 1 which stimulates a key point on the Kidney channel. It may be sore, but this means you’re hitting the right spot to stimulate your body’s energy foundation and relieve symptoms such as night sweats, hot flushes, tinnitus, hypertension, insomnia, anxiety, and headaches.
This point is located at the exact centre of the bottom of each foot. Starting with your left foot, massage this point as deeply as comfortable using your thumb or even a tennis ball—anything you have on hand.