In Chinese medicine the water phase is associated with winter, the kidneys/adrenals and bladder, bones, willpower, and sense of hearing. Balanced emotions of the water element are calmness and equanimity, while imbalanced emotions are insecurity and fear. Many Western traditions mark the Winter Solstice as the beginning of the winter season, however, according to Chinese cosmology, winter began in November (with the start of the month of pig). Winter Solstice (in the month of rat) is the halfway point. The winter season is a time to rest and replenish our kidneys/adrenals, and experience the gentle, nurturing time of stillness as we store our physical energy.
The water phase has a relationship to the unconscious mind, sexuality, power, financial resources, and the unknown. For many, these are challenging issues. Some people, afraid of what may bubble up from the depths, stay busy avoiding the water phase and the most profound parts of themselves. There is deep stillness and immense power in the water phase. By connecting to our inner wisdom we are able to connect to our power. Imagine a seed lying dormant, deep in the cold frozen soil (winter). It contains all the nutrients and potential it needs, waiting until conditions are right to germinate (spring) and begin the cycle of renewal.
Rest is how to nourish water. Schedule 30 minutes each day of unstructured downtime. Time free from distractions (phones, email, text, computer, books, TV, music, etc...). Avoid adrenal stimulants such as: sugar, simple carbs, alcohol, caffeine, soda, excess exercise, excess work, excess eating, excess drinking, inadequate sleep, and being sedentary. If you are going to indulge in sugar, refined carbs, caffeine, or alcohol, do so on a full stomach. Add butter or coconut oil to your coffee first thing in the morning to help mitigate the negative effects it has on the adrenals.
Herbs and Nutritional Supplements to Support the Water Phase
Ask your practitioner if the following supplements would benefit you.
Adrenal Tonic Phytosynergist (by Mediherb) - contains ashwagandha root and rehmannia root to promote healthy adrenal and immune function, helps maintain feelings of well-being while under stress, helps increase energy, and improves overall health.
Rhodiola & Ginseng Complex (by Mediherb)- contains rhodiola root and korean ginseng root to help promote vitality and stamina, helps maintain proper energy, maintains feelings of well-being when experiencing temporary stress, and supports mental clarity and cognitive function.
Courage Flower Essence (by Botanical Alchemy) - dispels fear and negative influences which can weaken your positivity. Enhances your ability to perceive and overcome your fears. Builds strength, perseverance, optimism, and positivity. Broadens horizons.
Un-Stress Flower Essence (by Botanical Alchemy) - helps turn stress, overload, and overwhelm, into clear, focused, positive energy.
Treating Emotional Trauma with Chinese Medicine, CT Holman - available in the clinic for $45 or on Amazon
Rhythms of Change, Mary Saunders - available in the clinic for $20, or on Amazon
Resonating Vitality, CT Holman - available in the clinic $10 or for download on Amazon
(Listen to the Water beats)
Eat to Balance Water
Dark blue/black foods
seeds (black sesame, flax, pumpkin, sunflower)
soups with bone marrow (Bone broth)
seafood (crab, clam, sardines)
warming spices (black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, garlic)
- Choose warm nourishing foods and drinks
- Stews, soups, roasted root veggies, meat, nuts, and well-cooked whole grains
- Cooked greens, winter squash, black and kidney beans are beneficial
- Cook foods longer at lower temperatures
- Drink a cup of warm water or broth with each meal
- Include small amounts of salty flavored foods such as seaweed or miso
Treating Emotional Trauma with Chinese Medicine, CT Holman
Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches, Master Zhongxian Wu
Rhythms of Change, Mary Saunders
Food for the Five Seasons, Christine Grisham