Dr. Jam Caleda N.D. Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre Naturopath YVR
2 min|Dr. Jam Caleda

5 elements of Chinese Medicine: Healing in the Winter


At Integrative, we are fortunate to have a tapestry of collective approaches to medicine. The streams of medical knowledge in our team is abundant and it’s my pleasure to share these tributaries of knowledge to the public. Dr. Karen Lam is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) at the clinic, a humble healer, and an overall amazing human. She will be contributing a series of blogs on the 5 Element theory of Chinese Medicine and how it promotes health and balance from a TCM perspective.

Healing in the Winter

From a Chinese medicine perspective, following the seasons and caring for our body is partly directed by nature. Understanding the nature of the season and imbibing seasonal foods helps us build energy (Qi) for the upcoming season – creating a cycle of harmony and good health. We begin in the season of winter which in the TCM perspective has these elemental characteristics.

  • Element of Water
  • Kidneys
  • Fear & letting go
  • Yin essence

Winter is about self-reflection, letting go of old and fear. It’s a time to gather your energy and go inward to re-connect to the deeper essence of self. Key words are: meditation, concentration and restoration. One should rest and conserve energy to have abundant reserves for willpower and courage to face the New Year. Winter is represented by the element of water and commands the kidneys. Its essence is deep Yin as reflected by the stillness and quiet of the outdoors.

Choose more warming foods to balance the coolness of winter by eating root vegetables, whole grains, squash, beans and savory herbs into your diet as Kidney foods. Use the winter energy to restore your spirit. It is time to save and garner your reserves in preparation of spring so we may emerge with restored energy, clear vision and a sense of purpose for the year ahead.

  1. Ref: Institute of Classical 5 Element- Neil R. GumenickHe
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