by Jason Li, registered massage therapist
Bone broths are a great way to keep the body nourished and strong this fall.
Packed with amino acids, minerals and a variety of other nutrients, it’s no wonder bone broths are known as a “longevity soup” in Asian cultures.
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, the marrow found in these broths nourishes the Kidney Qi and Jing. Jing or Essence is derived from the genetic information from our parents as well the energy we get from the foods we eat.
It plays a critical role in all physiological processes of the body (bone/ligament/tendon repair, DNA synthesis, adrenal functioning, libido…just to name a few) Over time it slowly depletes itself. The result: an aging body.
The colder seasons are a great time for replenishing the Kidney’s energy reserves. In TCM, winter corresponds with the Kidneys and bone broths go a long way to restoring this vital energy.
Consider adding both broths to your soups or stews. Whenever possible, I recommend using antibiotic-free, free range and local bones. Below is a great recipe for an easy bone broth. Or you can buy bone broths at your local health food shop. Likewise, Aroma café is now selling it by the cup.
Miso soup is another favourite of mine during fall and winter. It is a fermented paste made from soybean, rice or barley. Each type has its own distinctive, rich flavour. I recommend using the darker miso paste during the coldest months and a lighter miso during fall and spring.
From a TCM perspective, miso nourishes Yin energy of the body and has a cooling effect due to its salt content. Yin energy has a restorative effect on the body and gives a strong foundation to our defensive Qi (immunity). It helps to move energy downwards and inwards, giving it a centering quality.
With a good amount of lactobacillus bacteria in the paste, it helps to improve digestion. Miso helps to create an alkaline condition in the body that promotes resistance to disease. Moreover, the amino acid profile is similar to meat, helping the body attune to colder seasons and climates.
Keeping your neck warm and protected from the elements is key to maintaining good health.
In TCM, Wind is the cause of 100 diseases because it can carry any number of pathogens into the body via vulnerable spots like the back of the neck. Known as the “Wind Gate”, the back of the neck should be protected with a scarf to help keep Wind from penetrating deep into the body. When left unprotected, common colds, allergies, stiff neck, asthma, and skin rashes are just a few illnesses resulting from a Wind invasion.
Maintaining an active lifestyle during the colder seasons is imperative to maintaining good health. It keeps your blood circulating which leads to better metabolism, stronger immunity and detoxification of the body. Aerobic exercise in particular helps to improve mental health and outlook.
In TCM, any pain in the body is a result from qi (energy) not moving in a free flow fashion. The best way to ensure our energy never stagnates is to keep the body moving.
If you haven’t exercised in awhile, start with the basics. Add walking to your daily routine. The more you move, the more benefits you will enjoy. At your own pace, consider adding yoga, lightweight training, Zumba class or any other activity that you would enjoy. By keeping active, we keep our bodies and minds more adaptable to the changing seasons.
In TCM, every organ is associated with a season and an emotion. Fall is the time of the Lung and its emotion is sadness and grief. When the Lungs are in good health, we experience openness to new ideas and ways of being. We also have clear thinking and a relaxed attitude that can easily let go and be happy.
When the Lungs are out of balance, we can experience prolonged sadness or a sense of alienation. It can be difficult to let go of past events and move onto something new.
One of the best ways to keep our Lungs from becoming energetically deficient is to breath deeply. Deep belly breathing floods our bodies with oxygen for all cellular functions and repair. It also helps shift and move our internal organs. That’s right, deep breathing is like a work out for our organs!
When we take deep breaths our diaphragm moves up and down. This movement massages our hearts, stomachs and liver. This movement helps to keep the organs flexible and strong while promoting their functions. It also helps detoxify the organs and supports our immune systems. It does this by moving the lymph more efficiently through the lymphatic system.
In addition, diaphragmatic breathing brings vital qi (energy of the Lungs) into the body. Clean, fresh air is paramount to creating enough energy for all of the body’s processes and to maintaining a healthy immune system. Be sure to get outside, even for short, brisk walks, to take in the beautiful fall colours and fresh, clean air!
Regular Acupuncture Treatments
Acupuncture is a great way to keep the body healthy and strong during the change of seasons.
By keeping the body’s energy systems in balance, acupuncture treatments can help prevent common cold and flu’s, fight against fatigue and boost your morale during the darker & colder days ahead.