by Michaela McClintock, LAc, DAc
As the season shifts from fall to winter, environmental and temperature changes can affect your body. Here are the top three things you can do to keep your Qi healthy during wintertime!
1. Protect your Qi.
The longest channel in the body runs from the forehead to the back of the neck and all the way down the back to your feet. As the weather turns colder, that channel is working overtime for you. Any time you step out into the cold and wind without protecting this channel with a coat, hat or scarf, it forces the Qi in this exterior channel to fight to keep you from getting sick. Some may feel this fight along that channel with a bit of a headache or a stiff neck. Others do not have Qi strong enough to put up a fight and are asymptomatic because that cold and wind damage goes straight through deep into the body and creates more lasting havoc. It is important to protect your precious Qi and bundle up this winter!
2. Circulate your Qi.
Many people reduce their activity level this time of year and find themselves needing a little more sleep and food as they prepare for the cozy winter months ahead. This is natural, but just like your blood and cardiovascular system, your Qi and the channels that it runs along needs to flow properly for good health. I have found that the easiest way to do this is to practice my favorite breathing technique. There are many traditions that talk about the power of breath, and there are many, many different techniques. I would encourage you to explore different options or feel free to ask me next time you are in the office for a quick coaching session. The important thing is that you are breathing into your belly, using your diaphragm and fully expanding your lungs. This is beneficial all year round, but especially in the winter when you are less likely to take a walk or get out to your favorite Qi Gong or yoga class.
3. Build your Qi.
Last but not least, it is important to get quality sleep. Do not be surprised if your body is asking for more sleep as fall progresses into winter. The more in sync you are with the cycles of nature around you, the healthier you will be. The days are growing shorter. And in the balance of Yin and Yang, this time of year tilts more towards the Yin time of rest and healing. When you make that extra time for sleep, it gives your body the ability to make the kind of Qi you need to repair and build your health.
Michaela McClintock, LAc, DAc, is a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of acupuncture. You can schedule an appointment with Michaela by calling A Touch of Ginger at (630) 299-3464 or click here to schedule an appointment online.