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Staying Healthy in Winter, Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture


Staying Healthy in Winter
Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture

By Tessa Nagel, LAc

Keep it simple

There are so many options for staying healthy these days that it can become overwhelming deciding where to focus our resources. “Shall I eat fermented, vegan, gluten-free foods after meditating with crystals or before yoga and reiki? Should I write in my gratitude journal and chant while I make herbal medicinal tea and dance freely to release my stagnant emotions?” While all of these may be great practices, the sheer amount of choices can be daunting. I have found that simplifying the daily routine and making small changes over time is easier to maintain. In other words, don’t try to do everything, and don’t try to make too many changes at one time.

5 simple tips to stay healthy through the colder months

1) REST—We don’t hibernate like bears, but it’s a good idea to use the long, dark nights to quiet down a little earlier, meditate and rest more. Despite the social holiday times, it is imperative that we find time to nourish ourselves deeply. So take a nap or turn in a little earlier than usual. Your organs and immune system get a chance to recover. 

2) STAY WARM—This one may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. All parts of your body--especially the neck--need to stay covered and warm in cold, windy weather. In traditional Chinese medicine, the “wind gates” are located on the back of the neck. This is a prime place for external pathogens to enter the body. This is why you may get a stiff neck when you start to feel sick. So keep an extra scarf stored in your car, purse, backpack , work or school locker. When the body needs to work extra hard to warm your hands, feet, back, neck, head, etc. it can get run down. Then if you are exposed to an illness, you may be more susceptible to catching that. Stay covered and warm to help your body do it’s important work.

3) FIND A HEALING MODALITY THAT WORKS FOR YOU—Whether it’s massage, yoga, chiropractic adjustments, reiki, Feldenkrais, acupuncture, (shameless plug) or some combination of these and more…find a method that suits your needs best and get regular treatments to stay healthy. Don’t wait until you are feeling ill. 

4) EAT SEASONALLY—Look around you. What is growing? What is being sold at the farmer’s markets? These foods will nourish you. In the winter, the root vegetables are ideal. Soups, stews and especially bone broths are excellent for keeping the digestive fires burning, warming you up and building white blood cells. Fire up the crock pot--nothing like a slow-cooked meal! We live in such an ideal place for high quality, sustainably grown, organic, grass-fed, delicious foods. You can also warm up internally with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, garlic and cayenne.

5) NOURISH THE ORGAN OF THE SEASON—Chinese Medicine assigns an organ system to each season. Winter is the season of the kidney. 

Come to a free seasonal self-care talk & learn how to nourish the organ of the season, use moxibustion to build white blood cells, make and sample healing bone broth and much more.
Guest Speaker, Mudita Kristy Hinton of the Bone Broth Company
Thursday December 3, 2015, 7:00pm-8:00pm,
(immediately after the Thursday Community Acupuncture Clinic session)
The Redwood Needle Acupuncture, 3840 Doris Murphy Court. Occidental

To register: or go to

Tessa Nagel, a licensed acupuncturist and owner of The Redwood Needle in Occidental.