by Pamela Maloney

REST, RESTORE, REVITALIZE

In nature, winter is the season where all living things slow down, conserve their energy and prepare for the outburst of new life and energy in the spring. Our bodies are instinctively expressing the fundamental principles of winter – rest, restoration and revitalization.

The Nei Ching, one of the earliest surviving medical books on acupuncture, advises:
“During the winter months one should refrain from overusing energy. Retire early and get up with the sunrise, which is later in winter. Desires and mental activity should be kept quiet and subdued, as if keeping a happy secret.”

Eating warm hearty soups, dressing warmly, and refraining from cold and raw foods is also recommended.

Element: Water
Nature: Yin
Organs: Kidney, Urinary Bladder, Adrenal Glands, Ears and Hair
Emotion: Fear and Depression
Flavor: Salty

Seasonal acupuncture treatments in winter serve to nurture and nourish kidney Qi (the organ associated with winter) which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress and aid in healing, preventing illness, and increase vitality.

De-stress this Winter with Acupuncture

While optimal health and well-being in the winter season calls for rest, energy conservation and the revitalization of body and spirit, your holiday activities may have a different agenda. This year can be filled with a mad scramble of visitors, family get-togethers and frantic shopping trips. Compound the usual seasonal pressures with the constant barrage of bad economic news and you may find this to be one of the most stressful times of the year.

Stress, frustration and unresolved anger can cause a disruption in the flow of qi or energy through the body. These energetic imbalances can throw off the immune system or cause symptoms of pain, sleep disturbances, mood changes, abnormal digestion, headaches, and menstrual irregularities, and, over time, more serious illnesses can develop. Acupuncture treatments can correct these imbalances and directly effect the way you manage stress.

Studies on Acupuncture and Stress

Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress.

A 2008 study published in Anesthesia & Analgesia found that acupuncture point alleviated preoperative anxiety in children while a 2003 study conducted at Yale University showed that ear acupuncture significantly lowered the stress level of the mothers of children that were scheduled for surgery.

A German study published in Circulation found that acupuncture significantly lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The extent of the blood pressure reductions by acupuncture treatments was comparable to those seen with antihypertensive medication or aggressive lifestyle changes, including radical salt restrictions.

Another study from the University of New Mexico measured the affects of acupuncture on 73 men and women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The researchers found the acupuncture treatments to be as helpful as the standard treatment of cognitive behavioral therapy.

Needless to say, if the stress in your life is throwing you off balance, consider acupuncture therapy to regain peace of mind, regulate your immune system and stay healthy.

Miso Soup with Scallions

Did you know that Miso Soup with Scallions is actually an ancient herbal remedy for colds?

In 300 AD famous herbalist, Ge Hong, writes about Miso Soup with Scallions in a book called, Bei ji zhou hou fang or Emergency Formulas to Keep Up One’s Sleeve.

The soup is indicated for the onset of a cold when a person is just beginning to feel a headache, stuffy nose and a slight fever. So, the next time you feel a cold coming on, be sure to have your miso!

Miso Soup (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

* 6 cups water
* 3-4 Tablespoons Aka Miso or red soy bean paste (usually sold in the refrigerated section)
* 3-5 green onions stalks, chopped

Directions:

* Dissolve the miso in a little bit of boiling water (about 2 tsp.)
* Bring water to a boil in a saucepan and add the miso & scallions.
* Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
* Remove from heat top with green onions and serve.

Variations: you can add various other ingredients to make a more substantial soup, such as tofu, seaweed, fresh mushrooms, cooked shrimp, snow pea sprouts, cooked rice noodles, or paper-thin slices of fresh ginger.

From Sarah: Pamela Maloney, Ph.D., D.H.M., L.Ac., provides one-on-one customized diagnosis and treatment plans. Offering the highest quality health and healing programs for groups or individuals, she is also available as a public speaker and medical consultant. For 12 years, Dr. Maloney has hosted her own radio show, Health Forum, for KCRW (89.9 FM) in Santa Monica, California. Her Web site is www.pamelamaloney.com.

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