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Winter Wellness Begins with You

Ben Schonewille

Chinese medicine recognizes 12 major meridians that run through the human body. Seasonally, you have different meridians that are affected by the weather. In the winter months, the bladder and kidney meridians need extra support as these are adversely affected by dryness. It’s important to drink a lot of water and use humidifiers to avoid dehydration and undue stress on these meridians.

If you use salt in your diet, then it’s important to use healthy types like Himalayan, Celtic, unprocessed sea salt or naturally occurring vegetable salts from sea vegetables or celery.

Winter is also a good time for inner reflection and working through fears and anxieties as these weaken the kidney meridian. This meridian governs the brain, hair, ears and bones as well as willpower. If you’re experiencing symptoms of poor memory and concentration or hair loss, tinnitus or weak bones and teeth, then the kidney meridian is most likely out of balance.

In his book, Love Your Organs, Love Yourself, Warren King states, “In Chinese medicine kidneys are viewed as the center of the vital force or chi so it’s important to keep them strong.”

One method that can help determine what’s going on with the body is health kinesiology (HK). This is a holistic method that uses kinesiology (muscle testing) to identify specific stressors affecting the body’s meridians, e.g. negative thoughts, environment, food allergens, sensory stimulation, etc. HK uses sustained touch on acupuncture and other points to bring the flow of energy in the body’s meridians (energy channels) into balance.

If the kidney or bladder meridians are adversely affected, then having them checked by an HK practitioner could help determine the underlying cause of the symptoms.

There are types of food that can support healthy bladder and kidneys, including broccoli, celery, cranberries, cucumbers, leafy greens, dandelion, seaweed vegetables, burdock root and horsetail tea.

Both the kidney and bladder meridians are used in acupuncture to treat lower back pain as well as menstrual complaints, fatigue and other conditions. Using a ginger compress over the kidneys is one way to help strengthen them. This also helps with muscle tension, kidney stones, kidney inflammation, prostate infection or bladder inflammation. Discontinue the compress if the pain worsens during this treatment.

How to Make a Ginger Compress

  • Four to five oz. grated ginger
  • One gallon boiling water

Put grated ginger in a cheesecloth bag and place in simmering water. Simmer for five minutes. (Be careful not to continue boiling the water as that destroys the benefits of the ginger.) Soak a cotton towel in the ginger water and apply to lower back while lying on your stomach. The compress should be as hot as tolerable. To help keep the heat in the soaked cloth, cover it with another towel or two. Apply new compresses as needed to keep the heat in, allowing them to remain on for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not use the ginger compress on a baby, the very elderly or anyone experiencing a high fever.

For ongoing lower back pain, seek chiropractic care or consult your healthcare provider. There may be a pinched nerve affecting the muscles or organs or other more serious condition requiring further investigation by a trained healthcare practitioner.

Dr. Una Forde serves clients at Golden Sun Chiropractic Wellness Center, 220 W. 98th St., Ste. .7, Bloomington. For more information, call 952-922-1478, email Una@GoldenSunChiro.com or visit GoldenSunChiro.com.

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