Life cultivation in winter

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Examples of TCM Life Cultivation in Accordance with Seasonal Conditions

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Life cultivation in winter

Winter refers to the period from the beginning of winter to the previous day of the beginning of spring which includes the solar terms of slight snow, the winter solstice, slight cold and great cold chronologically according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Winter, the coldest season in a year, is a season of excessive Yin Qi and the hiding of everything. At this time, Yin Qi is in excess while Yang Qi conceals. It is a world of ice and snow everywhere. All things hid the vitality. The grass and tress are withered, fallen and scattered about. The insects hibernate. The Yang Qi of human body also stays inside accordingly. Health preservation in winter should conform to the features of concealment of Yang Qi and hibernation to avoid cold and approach heat, preserve Yang and Yin. This is in agreement with “the principle of nourishment and hiding”.

Regulating the daily life

In winter, going to bed early is advisable to nourish the human Yang Qi while getting up late is suitable for protecting Yin and essence. This is because that retiring to bed early and rising late can help Yang Qi descend and conceal, Yin and essence accumulate so as to maintain the balance, Yin and Yang of the human body. Do not work until the sun rises; avoid cold and approach heat to prevent external cold from impairing Yang. In addition, adopt the heating devices to maintain a proper room temperature. Very low room temperature may impair human Yang Qi and Make people subject to common cold; very high room temperature makes the skin striae open, Yang Qi unable to conceal, but pathogenic cold easily invade the body, giving rise to affection by exopathogen and other diseases.

It terms of clothing, wear more or less clothes constantly as the climate changes. The cotton fabrics are the best for tailoring the underwear because they are soft, comfortable and good in heat preservation; the outer clothing should be slightly larger. Excessively thin clothing may easily impair Yang, make people susceptible to common cold or numbness and pain of the waist and legs; excessively thick clothing may stir Yang Qi to affect its concealment. The shoes and socks should be a little larger so as to keep Qi flow free and harmonious, limbs comfortable and warm. The hands and feet are liable to chilblain, so particularly in need of heat preservation.

Regulating emotions

Winter corresponds to the kidney internally. The kidney controls the storage of essence and is the congenital base of life and emotionally associated with fear and fright. Excessive or sudden fear and fright may impair the kidney and cause the pathological changes of the kidney. Accordingly, in winter, the time of hiding, people should stabilize emotions and cultivate the mind. The should be emotionally implicit, quiet and happy to avoid excessive emotional activities; fear, fright and dysphoria should be avoided most so as to guarantee that the normal physiological feature of the hiding of Yang Qi is not interfered with. Only when the mind is tranquilized, can Yang Qi inside the body be hidden, Yin and essence accumulated. This can create the conditions to generate and develop spring Yang for the coming year.

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