stayinghealthy.jpgSince I’ve been writing about seasonality, and we’re heading into the deep-dark-madness of the (artificially-created) “holiday” season, let’s talk about Staying Healthy with the Seasons. This classic integrative medicine nutrition/wellness book by Dr. Elson Haas gives a wonderful introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and to related nutrition and mind/body-balancing concepts.

A chapter on each season describes the related TCM Element, meridians (energy channels,) organ function from allopathic as well as Chinese medicine perspective, nutrition information, recipes… For example, on December 21, the winter season begins. In TCM, it’s the season of the Water Element and its associated Kidney and Bladder organs and energy meridians. The life force is store in the Kidney’s according to Chinese medicine; the Bladder energy channel runs from the head down the middle of the back, on both sides of the spine, down the legs and out through the pinky toe.

In winter, it’s easier to be less active and quiet. And it’s easy to get run down with over-activity from the demands of the holidays. Try to work in some stretches to keep your back supple; the keep your Bladder energy channel flowing. Simple twists. Cat-stretches.

One caveat about this book is that Dr. Haas is a strong proponent of cleansing diets. I did the Master Cleanse that he recommends, in the Spring, which is also Nature’s time of cleansing. It was a great experience (I did it for 6 days,) but I think it’s important for each person to decide what works for her/him. Also, Dr. Haas recommends the Master Cleanse at other times of year, but I would caution against doing such a fast during a cold season. Your caloric intake is lower than normal and it can be difficult to stay warm. At least, this was my experience.

Otherwise, I recommend this as an excellent resource book. And an excellent holiday gift; one that will continue to give throughout the year and over the years! Staying Healthy with the Seasons, by Elson M. Haas, M.D. (1981, Celestial Arts)