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Spring Haiku

warbler on plum blossom

The warbler
wipes its muddy feet
on the plum blossoms
— Issa

Your health in Spring is determined by the health of your Liver and the energy it provides. When your Liver energy is balanced in Spring you feel uplifted, with a sense of inner ‘softness and kindness’; when the Liver is out-of-balance a ‘revved-up and restless’ feeling — inside and out — is common.

There’s no better time than NOW! to start the energy balancing process.

Valentine’s Day: A Matter of the Heart (and Kidneys)

Happy Valentine’s Day! a celebration of the Heart — whose health depends on strong Kidneys. As Valentine’s Day inspires you to feel love in your heart, I encourage you to also focus for a minute or two on the level of energy (health) you’re feeling, or not feeling, in your Heart and Kidneys.

Tired Kidneys


Your Kidneys are probably pretty pooped by this time in Winter, leaving you feeling low in energy. Look at the Five Element Cycle of Regulation illustration on this page and you’ll notice that the ‘Water’ element, embodied in your Kidneys, regulates the ‘Fire’ element, which is embodied in your Heart.

So if your Kidneys are low in energy they won’t be able to adequately support the Heart, and as a result, the Heart function can get a bit out of alignment.

5 Element Theory: Cycle of Regulation

Heart Problems

If you’re already predisposed to Heart problems, you may be experiencing things like a little bit of extra pressure in the chest, or maybe some mild heart irregularities in the rhythm and beat, usually not to the extent of interfering with breathing; but for people who have compromised Heart energy, these symptoms may be more present at this point in Winter.

Now is the time of year to start rebuilding the strength of your Kidneys.

Now is the time of year to start rebuilding the strength of your Kidneys.

Strengthening Kidneys and Heart

A ‘rule of thumb’ for good health is this: toward the middle and end of each season, focus on rebuilding the strength of the organ that is the focal point for that season. Right now, in Mid-Winter, it’s your Kidneys. And because each organ system has a companion organ that it regulates, (at mid-winter it’s your Heart), it’s a good idea to pay some attention to the companion organ too so that it will be in tune and ready to go when its season to perform comes—for the Heart, that’s summer).

How To Strengthen Your Organs

Acupuncture, Chinese Medicinal Herbs, Healthy Eating: The 5 Element Way and Chi Kung are simple, time-tested ways to balance the energy in the seasonally affected organs, and to build your overall level of energy so that you can enjoy that most wonderful, yet subtle, of feelings: Good Health!

Related Articles
What You Need to Know About Winter
Staying Healthy in Winter
Winter Photos

What To Do For The Winter Yin Blues

walking in snow

First snow ... falling ... on the half-finished bridge ~ Issa


Many of us are feeling a bit ‘let down’ late in January, as the high emotions of the holiday festivities have faded away. It’s not unusual to feel a lack of physical and financial energy in January due to overspending during the holidays.

Some of us have an emotional reluctance to put away the decorations, hoping to sustain the energy of the Celebration—YANG—despite the fact that we have to journey through the energetic ebb of Winter—YIN.

This is understandable because we’re just a few weeks past Winter Solstice, the time in late December when the Seasonal Energy is at Maximum YIN—‘low tide’ … ‘empty’. A time when everything is STILL and very LITTLE ENERGY is available to do all the things we need and want to do. So what we need to do is reconnect with the traditional wisdom that tells us to CONSERVE ENERGY … doing less, with less, in order to have enough.

Like your clothes need WASHING periodically, it’s the same with BALANCING your body’s energy. When you’re not FLOWING … ORIENTAL MEDICINE helps get things going

This UNDERSTANDING is becoming more and more critical to our health and well-being as we continue to have less cheap energy to run our economy. As the world we live in becomes more Yin … having less energy … we must learn to adapt our actions and emotions to stay healthy and to enjoy the satisfaction that comes from being in Harmony with Reality. 

YIN ~ YANG: The Seasonal Energy of Winter

Though the Seasonal Energy has shifted a bit, as the days gradually lengthen into YANG … remember … Spring is coming!, we’re still definitely in Yin territory … less energy, which is hard on the body—even if the temperatures aren’t particularly cold.

And as we continue through Winter, LUNG energy, which got drawn down through Autumn, continues to weaken and won’t have a have a chance to rebuild until Spring. On top of that, KIDNEYS too grow weak through Winter as their energy gets drawn down. This means, health-wise, most of us are tip-toeing through Winter with a weakened Immune System; which means you need to be very vigilant to avoid catching cold and flu.

Exhausting yourself through work and/or play, combined with unhealthy eating in the Yin of Winter, is like opening the door to illness and inviting it to stay a while.

Things To Do For the Winter Yin Blues

• Get plenty of rest to help your body rebuild its Energy/Chi. Then remember to SAVE some of it.
Eat in a BALANCED way.
• Eat easy-to-digest foods—no heavy fat, no spicy spices.
• Ginger, cinnamon, and cardamon are warming and help improve digestion. So add a little cinnamon to your oatmeal, or some cardamon to your hot chocolate, sprinkled on top. (Not surprisingly, these ‘warming’ herbs are contained in Chinese medicinal Winter herb formulas since it’s been understood for a long time that you need internal warming in Winter.)
• Chinese medicinal herbs are particularly good for maximizing your energy in Winter; (keeping in mind that Winter is Yin, so the energy available is relatively low regardless of what you do.)
• Stay balanced and live in harmony with the Seasonal Energy.
• Slip into Yin-mode; be mindful of how much energy you have—in your body and your wallet—and spend wisely. 
• Focus on CONSERVATION: We understand what it means regarding ecology and economy, so it makes sense that conserving energy is what we need to do now, and going forward, to maintain our HEALTH.

Related Links

Staying Healthy In Winter
Winter Solstice Retreat
What You Need to Know About Winter

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IMPORTANT: All information on this Web site is provided for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of a local Oriental Medicine practitioner, biomedical doctor, experienced coach, or martial arts instructor.