Winter is in full bloom. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season has an associated meridian, and in the winter, the Kidney Meridian needs more attention. The kidneys are responsible for our “Jing” energy. There isn’t an exact English translation for Jing, but the best word to describe it is our essence or our vitality.
Much like your DNA, you inherited your Jing from your parents, but can also increase it through a healthy lifestyle. Your Jing is your powerhouse, supplying reserve energy to any meridian that is running low. However, it’s easily depleted by too much activity, stress, not getting enough rest, and eating sugary or greasy foods.
Depleted Jing energy causes low immunity to colds and flu, depression, digestive issues, and exhaustion to settle in. Healthy Jing leads to vitality, energy, and your body working the way it should. We don’t need to explain anymore–when you are depleted, you know the toll it takes on your life.
Below are some tips to support your Kidney Jing!
1. Get help! Sometimes you can get so depleted or sick that you simply need support. That’s where acupuncture, herbal medicine, cupping, and a caring acupuncturist step in. Many of you walk out the door feeling refreshed and energetic after your treatments. That’s your Jing energy being restored. Sometimes we need to address digestive issues, pain, depression, and insomnia to help get your vitality back. No matter the symptom, we can help.
2. Rest. During the winter, the earth goes dormant. As humans, we naturally want to slow down, reflect, go inward, and nurture ourselves. Unfortunately, society does not slow down for us.
Try to keep as much off your plate as possible. Spend time developing a meditation practice. Here is a site that we recommend to get you started.
Go to sleep by 10:00 pm every night and aim for 8 hours of sleep. To help you with winding down for the night, our favorite online yoga teacher is Yoga With Adriene. Here is her great yoga practice for sleep. We are open until 8:00 on weeknights (or later by appointment) and weekends. Imagine getting acupuncture in your jammies and crawling into bed. Sounds sooooo good, doesn’t it?
3. Exercise, but moderately. Again, should you not be pushing yourself this time of year, however it’s essential to keep your body moving. A sedentary lifestyle can cause your energy to become stagnant. A great way to exercise is in peaceful wooded areas. Take advantage of the Mississippi River, as there are many ways to get to a quiet area. The photo above is from acupuncturist Dawn’s favorite spot along the river. Stop to find a log to sit on, listen to the birds chirp, feel the sun on your body, and take deep breaths. Moving at a pace that will slightly increase your heartbeat, and breathing for half an hour a day, four to five days a week is excellent medicine.
4. Eat nourishing foods. There’s a reason why chicken noodle soup comes to everyone’s mind when we are sick. For thousands of years, bone broth has been used to increase immunity and improve your digestion. Bone broth also builds our Kidney Jing! At Merriam Park Acupuncture, we have raw herbs that you can add to your bone broth to increase your energy. Stay away from greasy, fatty, and sugary foods (easier said than done, we know). See our favorite bone broth recipe below!!
Bone Broth Recipe
- Bake 2 pounds of raw beef, turkey, or venison bones at 425 degrees for 25 minutes to remove fat and impurities.
- Add carrot, celery, garlic, onion, or any other vegetable scraps with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Season with bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
- Submerge bones with water in a large Dutch oven. Simmer for 8 to 25 hours or use broth button on the Instant Pot.
- Strain with a fine mesh sieve. Once cool, scrape the layer of fat.
- Store in the fridge for up to three days or freeze.