Acupuncture Scotland Blog

News and points of interest from Acupuncture Scotland

Five Element Acupuncture - Winter in Edinburgh

Five Element Acupuncture draws on observations of nature for it's analysis of the human body and our integral link to the world around us. By observing the seasons and the changes within them we can apply basic principles to our lives which enable us to maintain health and vitality, even in extreme or trying conditions. Winter is described in Five Element Acupuncture as the most inward and therefore the most reflective time of the year. As the energy of our locality draws inward, trees and plant life enters a relative dormant time. Some animals will take this to an extreme and will hibernate to reserve energy and only wake as the weather warms up and the chances of survival improve as food supplies become more abundant and body temperature can be maintained. As we live in a relatively prosperous part of the world most of us have many life saving luxuries that we largely take for granted. For example access to heat, easy access to food and a comfortable place to sleep. This can give us a false sense of the season and pushes us further away from living a life which observes the basic rules of all life. The main issue is that this season is our time for withdrawing and gathering ourselves. By allowing ourselves a dormant time we are allowing ourselves time to recoup. This doesn't mean that we should vegetate in front of the telly, it is more to do with how we choose to spend our time. Here are my top tips for winter in the UK:

Eat hot/warm food. This is the season for soups stews and casseroles.

Don't eat cold food like salads, cold drinks.

Choose plenty of stretching exercise over going out in all weathers. Keep yourself ticking over on the exercise front rather than trying to break any records.

If you are looking at your diet, rather than calorie counting and eating too much raw food do this one thing: give up sugar including sugary drinks like alcohol!

Wrap up well, don't settle for cold body parts! Cold muscles increase the risk of injury and wet and cold increase the risk of colds and flu.

Go to bed early, rise a little later.

Hope you like the top tips, enjoy winter, its a great time for contemplating and getting ready for the upward and outward energy of spring and summer.

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Staying Well in Winter

Winter has arrived this year with the earliest and heaviest snow recorded.  How has it affected you?  In Chinese medicine there is a lot of writing about the impact of our weather environment on our health and our energy levels.

Winter is the most yin aspect of our yearly seasonal cycle.  This means it is both the most cold and most inward time of the year.  To get a good understanding of this, all you need to do is look at the natural world.  Look at what is happeneing outside to trees, plants and animal life. Deciduous trees have lost their leaves, evergreen trees have stopped growing.  The sap in the trees that rises in spring and summer slows down as energy is conserved.  For animal life, things are quite tough, energy again needs to be conserved.  On very cold days most animals will hole up rest and try to keep warm. Many will struggle to survive. 

If you have read any of my other seasonal blogs you will know I go on about human nature and our relationship to the environment.  It is never more clear than what we do in winter.  What we are meant to do at this time of the year, and what we end up doing are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  What are we meant to do?  We are meant to follow nature, we are of course animals ourselves.  We are meant to slow down, conserve energy, sleep more, rest more and eat warm nourishing and seasonal food.

Our lives and our culture does not let this really happen. We battle into work and continue to work long days.  Some of this is confused by our ability to heat ourselves and feed ourselves as if we were living in summer.  Now, I am not suggesting that we all switch off our central heating and slip into a double layer sleeping bag and stay there until spring. It is a question of taking notice of what we are meant to do at this time of year.  These are my top tips:

  • Drink warm water, not cold.
  • Eat warm food, not cold summer food
  • Dress for the weather outside
  • Go to bed earlier
  • In short accept that it is winter and don't pretend it is summer!
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The last three days

My blog was neglected on my last three days for several reasons the most important being that I think we spent the whole time at a Banquet or doing Karaoke.   It's all a bit of a blur, mostly due to rice wine which is given out to guests every time some one raises a toast. We were on our feet toasting each other rather a lot, what was interesting was how the rice wine seemed to become quite palatable. The meal ended with Auld Lang Syne, much to the interest of local people out for a quiet evening meal. 

Our last day was spent at our sponsors herbal medicine factory in the morning after which were were taken out for another amazing banquet, more rice wine was drunk and a fine feast was had. After this we took a cable car up a mountain, expecting peace and tranquillity at the top we found every Guangzhou resident playing games, shopping and admiring the view. After this we had another small banquet with rice wine followed by Karaoke at  local night club. Everyone sang loudly and generally made a fool of themselves and our trip was brought to a close.

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