The latest bout of snow has reminded me that we are fully into the seasonal phase that the Chinese call the Major Cold. Its name comes from the fact that this last part of the year, just before the Chinese New Year, is often the coldest part of the year. Consequently, many people are arriving at the clinic suffering from coughs and colds to sinus infections. So what can we do the look after ourselves during that time of the year?
1- Looking after our digestive system.
This is essentially about eating easily digested foods so we can build up our energy and be ready for the Spring.
Easily digested foods are nice warm, cooked foods such as soups or stews. Rice, soups such as chicken soup, cooked vegetables are all beneficial, especially when they are teamed with warning spices such as fresh ginger or nutmeg.
In addition, you might want to avoid cold and raw food as well as foods that are overly sweet or greasy (eg greasy meats or sweet deserts/cakes).
Adequate hydration is also important so sipping a nice, warm herbal tea throughout the day will also be beneficial. Ginger tea is a good choice to stimulate digestion.
2- Bone broth
Bone broth has been used in Europe and in China for generations to keep people healthy. I am always trying to make a big pot of bone broth in the week, drinking a cup in the morning with my breakfast.
Here is how to make your own bone broth
3- Soaking your feet
Soaking your feet in warm water was once a daily habit for many people in China and as a TCM practitioner, this is something I would also recommend as it is surprisingly effective. One recipe for a foot soak, especially good for those of us who tend to have cold extremities in winter, is:
About 50g of ginger, sliced
Half a cup of Epson Salt
Boil the ginger in water for a few minutes.
Take a basin big enough to put both feet in and high enough that you can cover your feet with water, up to your ankles.
Put the boiled water in the basin and add enough water so your feet will be covered. The water should be around 40oC (Please check the temperature before putting your feet in. You don’t want to burn yourself but nor do you want the water to be too cold). Add the Epson Salt.
Soak your feet for about 20mins, adding some boiled water if the water in the basin gets too cold.
It is best to do the soak just before going to bed as it will help you stay warm and get a good night rest.
4- Socks and scarves
It sounds quite obvious but protecting yourself with warm clothes when you go out, including covering your neck (with a scarf for example) is essential. This is also about keeping yourself warm at home by wearing slippers in the house (so your feet don’t get cold) or using bed socks in bed if you tend to be easily cold or have cold feet.
This will help you protect yourself from the cold around you as well as from all these colds and coughs.
It is worth noting that science has found a possible explanation as to why getting cold could lead to getting a cold. It’s all down to the fact that our immune system isn’t as strong when we are cold!
Over to you
What are you doing to keep you warm and healthy during the winter? Do you tend to get ill or tired quite easily or do you waltz through it all?
Sometimes, self-care isn’t enough and you might find that you need a bit more support. If you find that during the winter you don’t seem to shake those coughs and colds or you are getting particularly tired, come and see us. Simply give us a call on 01642794063 and we will help you put those under control.