In ushers the year of the snake! We leave the very yang and fire-y dragon behind, and enter the more quiet, subtle and internal energy of the snake. This is not a year for bombast, but instead getting in touch with your true self and making small steps towards shedding the layers and obtaining your goals. Snake years tend to bring unexpected changes, and reward those who make calculated and well educated decisions.
Every year has an element associated with it, and this year’s snake is all about water, and the color associated with water is black. Think of deep pools, and dark corners! Slow and careful steps, feeling your way along is the best way forward.
In Chinese medicine, the water element is associated with the kidneys and urinary bladder. The kidneys are thought to house your deepest stores of energy. This water/kidney aspect of our selves can loosely be translated cross medicine culture lines to encompass the adrenals, and also what is passed down from our parents. It is why some people just have amazingly strong constitutions, while others get away with much less!
These deep stores of energy are dipped into during times of severe or prolonged stress or illness, or continual overwork or over-partying without enough rest and self care. The slow dwindling of kidney energy is attributed to the signs of aging, and aging is inevitable- but as Dr. Oz knows, our lifestyles play a huge part in how quickly we age.
Building kidney energy up after it has been lost is much more difficult than preserving it! By taking the daily steps toward balance in your emotions and health, your ‘kidneys’ thank you.
An acupuncture session can help the body enter a state of relaxation, and with regular care, this can help the body recover from deep-set fatigue. There are also a number of Chinese herbs that can support the body’s healthy stress response. Herbs and acupuncture can also help by addressing the cause of illness that is putting stress on the body in the first place (although we can’t make your to-do list shorter, that is up to you, my friend!).
We can’t change our genes, but with healthy lifestyle, we can be much less ‘doomed’ to follow in our ancestors’ footsteps down the road to disease. With proper diet, exercise and relaxation techniques, we make small steps, or slither like the snake, towards our best possible health.
Happy New Year, from us at HQE!
-Ingrid Peterson, L.Ac.