TCM Winter Element 2014: Water


One kind word can warm three winter months. 
~ Chinese Proverb

Qualities of Water Element in TCM Philosophy:

In Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy, water is the most YIN of elements. We are called to balance the energy of winter through restful and restorative activities to strengthen the water element within us.

Water nourishes and helps us to grow. Everything that moves within us, does so by the grace of the water element. Water protects, lubricates and flushes toxins from our bodies. Our bodies are 75% fluid, and it is essential to maintain proper hydration to support our kidney function.

The water element also serves to cleanse our minds, helping us to release negativity and let go of bad habits. The water element keeps our thinking and feeling fluid and open.

Water also replenishes and cleanses our spirits. The water element keeps us wise.

Water Element in Balance:

When your water element is in balance, you are tenacious. You are tough and have reserves of energy for endurance. You feel sexy. Your mental focus and memory are sharp.

Water Element Out of Balance:

When your water element is out of balance you find yourself feeling inflexible, hard and insensitive to others. It is common to experience feelings of loneliness and loss of direction. There is an inability to “breathe in” and the much needed inner reflection is difficult. This is often accompanied with a lack of sexual interest and lack of motivation or apathy. Forgetfulness and mental dullness are another indication that your water element is out of balance. Feeling the need to urinate too frequently, or difficulty with urination are often indications that your water element is out of balance.

Your Water Element Prescription:

Foods to nurture the water element: 
It is time to change your diet to warm foods: soups, beans, whole grains, nuts, hot herbal tea with ginger or cinnamon are best for nourishing the water element. It’s crab season in California! Shellfish is very good as are other types of fish. One of my favorite winter meals is a hot bowl of borscht with pumpernickel bread.

Conserve energy, but do get exercise that promotes fluidity of movement: 
Qigong, Tai Chi, Yoga, Dancing and Walking are excellent ways to support the water element

How to achieve balance with the water element:

You must have enough sleep, alone time, and “down time.” Fire, the element of summer, plays a supportive role: Surround yourself with warm colors, candlelight and cozy fires to warm the inner self and keep water’s dampness at bay. Be extra kind to yourself and to others and take the time to nurture relationships.

And if you are not feeling the sparkly gifts of the water element, it is good to come for an acupuncture treatment to restore and rejuvenate your vital energy.

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The Healing Point Acupuncture Clinic
Xia Xin, L.Ac., CSMA


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