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Nov 1, 2011

The Kidney Channel: Getting Back to Our Roots For Winter

With Winter only a week away, it is time to be thinking about our roots.  As nature prepares for the long cold, humans can take a lesson from our surroundings.  We have watched as all the leaves turned beautiful colors, and gently fell to earth.  The transition from fall to winter is a gradual sinking of energy, as trees withdraw qi from their leaves, then gradually sink it into their roots to protect themselves from the impending cold.  Many animals burrow deep into the earth, going into hibernation to reduce their energy expenditure.  And many birds fly south, seeking warmer climates. 

The human body follows nature, and during the winter time, it is the season of the kidney.  In Chinese medicine, the kidneys are the batteries, providing the deep energy that fuels us throughout our lives.  Its stores of energy should be carefully protected, and the seasonal energy followed.  The kidney channel starts at the bottom of the foot, at the point known as Yong Quan, or the “Bubbling Spring,” and is significant in that it is the only acupuncture point to touch the earth.  This is a major entry point for qi from the earth, and is vital to help us remain grounded, “rooted,” to the earth. 

During the wintertime, it is important to protect your root.  Keep your lower back warm and protect your feet from the chill.  Everyone wears a hat when it is cold, but it is even MORE vital to protect your feet!  Try not to walk outside without warm socks and shoes on.  Regular warm foot baths and gentle massage can enhance your kidney channels.  Another method is to take your big toes in both hands and rotate them clockwise and counterclockwise when you wake, and just before you sleep. 

Everything in nature, from trees to ground squirrels, realize the importance of protecting their roots.  Keep yours strong so you can emerge into Spring stronger than ever!

Dustin Bergman, L.Ac