Did the Holiday season just sneak up on us? One moment we are enjoying fall and the next moment we find ourselves in the Winter Holiday season!
During the holiday season many of us find ourselves more stressed than never. Busy schedules, shopping, entertaining family and friends can leave us all overwhelmed. If you are feeling the effects of holiday stress, you are not alone! The Winter in Chinese Medicine is the season of the Water Element, which emphasizes the essence of life. The Water season it’s a time for rest, containment, storing energy and strength for the year ahead, stillness and quietude. Living in a society of continual striving and exertion where we expect instant results, Chinese medicine can help you to balance your body and helps you to move a little slower through the season and enjoy it.
Acupuncture is well known for its ability to lower stress. Even patients that deny experiencing stress in their lives report greater sense of lightness and evenness to their moods and better sleep after their acupuncture sessions.
In Chinese Medicine each season has an associated natural element. As Winter descends and it gets colder outside, the Water Element dominates and we are meant to go deep inside, rest, simmer, reflect, but instead we seem to get busier and busier and more frantic during the holiday season.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is a great tool for stress relief during hectic times and it is an effective method by helping to maintain a sense of calm and well being. Several studies have found Acupuncture to be particularly effective in treating stress, which researchers define as a physical, mental or emotional response to events which then cause mental or bodily tension. Common symptoms of stress are headaches, insomnia, digestive problems, muscle tension or pain and fatigue. It can also appear as depression or anxiety, anger, overreaction to everyday problems and memory loss.
Research studies shows that Acupuncture activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which provides deep relaxation. Acupuncture releases endorphins, the body’s natural “feel good” chemicals, improve circulation which oxygenates the tissues and cycle out toxins.
Suggestions for living in harmony with the Winter season:
Get more rest – The Nei Ching, the oldest known document of Chinese medicine advises the we should retire early and rise late (meaning rising of the sun) during the winter.
Choose more “warm” foods – more cooked foods and complex carbohydrates in your meals. Dishes with whole grains, beans, root vegetables and squash.
Gather around with people who mean the most to you – Winter is time to rejuvenate and deepen relationships.
Get out in nature – In Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, we are viewed as microcosms of the natural world that surrounds us. Getting out in nature especially during the holiday season reminds us of the magnificent gifts that surround us everyday.