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Seasonal Health Tips

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

Getting Ready for Fire Season

Hawaiian lava flow

It’s June, the third month of Spring; the time where the energy (Chi) - inside and outside of you - begins its shift from the Wood element to the Fire Element.  The temperatures are rising, the air is getting dryer - the conditions that support fire.

From an Oriental Medicine point of view, this metaphorical thinking points out that to stay healthy over the next few months, your organs need to be balanced so that they’re able to deal with conditions caused by heat: primarily your Heart and Kidneys. Heart is the organ associated with Fire energy, and Kidneys with Water.

The Heart is most affected during summer, and consequently the Kidneys have to work hard to keep things cooled down, because Water regulates Fire.

Back to the Center
The first few weeks of June are also a good time to pay attention to your digestion. As one season is close to becoming the next, a re-centering takes place. During this transition time - about three weeks prior to the equinox or solstice - the energy (Chi) grounds itself before moving into the seasonal phase. This coming back to center, or rooting, is an attribute of the Earth element, which affects the Stomach and overall digestive processes. Then, after the equinox, you’ll find that your body and mind are more affected by the Fire energy.

Catching Fire
So what are some health issues to be conscious of during the summer Fire season?

  • Spikes in blood pressure or heart irregularity.
  • (Remember: Heart is the Fire organ).

  • Insomnia. This may be an indicator of Heart imbalance.
  • Feelings of anxiety and fear stemming from weakness in the Kidneys.
  • Headache, heartburn, and upper body heat associated with “heat rising” in the body.
  • Containing Fire
    Clearly fire is a good thing. It is a foundational element of life. And, we all know the damaging effects that out of control fire causes.

    Oriental Medicine is a very effective way to enhance the Fire power in your body while simultaneously strengthening the organs that regulate it. The result: a healthy, balanced body and mind, “firing on all pistons.”

    Read our article Staying Healthy in Summer to find out some simple things that promote summer health and happiness.


    Protect Yourself Against Cold

    To avoid getting sick, keep your wrists, ankles, and especially the back of your neck from being exposed to the cold. When you’re outside, be sensitive to how you feel and make sure your extremities don’t get too cold—especially your fingers and toes.

    When your Kidneys are working well, the proper amount of heat is generated in your body, and normal precautions like “bundling up” in the winter will prevent cold from entering and getting trapped in your body. When your Kidneys are out of balance, you’ll notice a persistent feeling of cold in your lower back and extremities. If this is the case, you need to strengthen them. Otherwise you’ll be more vulnerable to pathogens and illness.

    Related Links

  • How to Stay Warm
  • Preventing Colds and Flu

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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.