Before we get started on the blog, I want to wish everyone at
NUHS a Happy New Year and a Happy Chinese Year of the Snake!. I
have some great tips for everyone this week to keep us healthy in
the winter season especially if you cannot make it into National's
Whole Health Clinic.
"During the winter months, all
things in nature wither, hide, return home, and enter a resting
period. This is a time when yin dominates yang."
-- The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Chinese
Thinking of Midwest winters, the first thing that pops into our
heads is snow, and more snow, more and more snow, and lots more
snow (just kidding, but typically true), winter break, family
gatherings, overeating, holiday parties, desserts, hot cocoa, puffy
coats, and of course, colds and flu. How do we take care of
ourselves mentally and physically? I have four lifestyle changes
that we can integrate in our daily lives to keep us healthy in the
winter season. I also added Chinese nutritional food therapy, which
includes a classic herb and cooking spice that we can add to our
Keys to Healthy Winter Lifestyle
Even though we naturally slow down during this time, we should
still exercise to keep our circulation flowing, immune system
strong, muscles stretched, and joints lubricated. Tai Chi and
Medical Qi Gong are excellent exercises.
Wintertime is a good time to conserve your energy. This
is the time you want to go to bed a little earlier and sleep a
little longer. Let your body recharge. Snuggle up with a good book,
a pet, or a warm soft blanket, and snooze!
Give your mind some quiet time. With less stress comes
better sleep, which leads to a stronger immune system. Take five
minutes minimum daily to sit in complete stillness and quiet--and
I also want to recommend the healing sounds. There are six healing
sounds that correspond with our organs to rejuvenate energy in our
body and bring balance. There are also great YouTube videos and two
books that are good reads if you are interesting in learning more
about healing sounds: Healing Sounds by Jonathan
Goldman, and Six Healing Sounds: Taoist Techniques for
Balancing Chi by Mantak Chia, that comes with a CD. Dr.
Yurasek and John Robertson also teach healing sounds in Medical Qi
Gong class here at the National campus in Lombard.
The stillness of the winter season is a good time for
self-reflection and taking a good look at you. Traditionally,
people have made New Year's resolutions in January, which is a form
of self-reflection. I have always looked at resolutions as how we
can better ourselves in the New Year. Self-reflection is a great
tool to use to find the balance and peace we desperately need in
our busy lives as students and for our patients.
Cumin: Nutritional Food Therapy Herb
Gui Zhi Tang is the most important formula in the classical
medical text Shang Han Lun, which translated in English
means "On Cold Damage" or "Treatise on Cold Injury." This formula
can be taken regularly to harmonize your Yin and Yang and to
strengthen your immune system. Cumin is a spice that boosts
immunity and improves liver function, reduces flatulence and aids
in digestion. It is an excellent addition to meat curries, stews,
vegetables, seafood, and sauces.
According to nature, our bodies are meant to slow down and
conserve energy during the winter. Times have changed since the
times of the Yellow Emperor thousands of years ago in China, but
the basic principles should not. Keep in mind winter's wisdom in
order to stay healthy throughout the New Year! Remember this is
cold and flu season, so prevention is the key. I would recommend
herbs and getting acupuncture at least once a week during this cold
and flu season will strengthen your immune system.
Happy New Year and thanks for continuing to support the AOM