Late Winter and Our Bodies

In the classical Chinese view of the body, humans are likened more closely to ecosystems or plants, rather than machines as is the dominant narrative in “Western” culture. An interesting article (click here) about the body as machine theory shows how Americans are starting to unpack our conceptions of the body and self, turning to natural imagery to make sense of the complexity of our amazing beings. Similarly, we can turn to the changes happening in nature to learn what processes may be emphasized in our bodies and minds at this time of year. For example, an herbal foot bath every evening is ideal for nourishing our roots in this season, just as the roots of plants are activating the pushing upward of growth above ground.

You may have seen buds peeking out from branches this week. Many other plants have self-pruned their branches and continue to look dead above ground, with activity humming underground. Roots are utilizing their stores and analyzing the weather and their surroundings to determine when to sprout. Humans can be seen to reflect this energy by taking stock of our current surroundings and resources, both externally and internally. A seasonal fever can act to prune off all the stuff that is “not-us,” just as we set goals to clarify who we want to be or not be this year.

Imagine your body assessing what resources you are demanding of it, and then pruning off all the functions you don’t require. This has dire consequences for those who don’t move regularly, or who don’t relax… it becomes more and more difficult to do these things, since the body strives for efficiency, and will prune off those functions when ignored for too long.
During February and the Lunar New Year, our bodies move from the relaxation of winter to the movement of spring, and our tendons and ligaments start to activate support for our muscles. We don’t grow new limbs, but we grow our core motivational energy that sustains us all year. When we rest and heal more in the winter, we are stockpiling this energy by repairing our bodies.

When we have repaired ourselves effectively over the winter, we have less chance of getting sick or injured in the more active seasons ahead. During February, ideally, take a 30-minute walk every day and soak your feet in an herbal foot bath before bed to nourish your vitality, support metabolism, reduce inflammation and pain, and gain strength for the demands of spring and summer.

Here is a video that shows the beauty and science of our super concentrated Tibetan herbal foot soak treatments: Foot Soak Quality and Safety

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