Asian Medicine


The Water Element in Winter

Winter is the time of the Water Element. During this season of stillness, we quiet our innermost being. We incubate our dreams and tune-in to the potential energy that will hatch them in the Spring. 

The Water Element represents the capacity to direct our will and the ability to flow through life with ease and grace. This Element’s prime time is winter. Water is a great healer. All over the world, people visit special springs famous for their healing properties.  

In Asian Medicine, this is the season when rest is especially important. Two types are significant: 

  1. Recuperative sleep that restores your metabolic functions
  2. Stillness of mind that takes you inward and restores your soul for dreaming the dream your spirit yearns to realize. This essential type of rest renews your very essence and revitalizes consciousness, vigor and health. 
Physical and Mental Expressions of the Water Element

In Asian Medicine, the organs associated with the Water Element are the Urinary Bladder and the Kidneys, including the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys. Water rules the nervous system, bones, teeth and head hair. It corresponds to the color black (the depths of the sea) and the salty taste.  Its main functions are to:

Water Element will power is personified in the polar bear’s perseverance
  • Supply vital energy to activate metabolism
  • Cleanse and purify the body’s liquids
  • Regulate the cycles of maturing from birth to old age

Basically, it is the energy that motivates us to grow and reproduce. The Water Element expresses itself physically through the nervous system and hormonal system.

Its mental expression is will power and ambition (not as in greed, but rather the desire to achieve something).

The Water-Type Person

The Asian medical classics say the Kidneys function like strong and capable ministers of government who exhibit technical ability and expertise. The Bladder’s purview is likened to that of a local minister who works to adjust the supply and demand of water in outlying areas. They work together like supervisors over all the various organs and functions.

Water Element people have energy, strength and grace

When in balance, Water people are calm and even. They enjoy physical activity, are well coordinated and possess the necessary energy and strength to persevere in their endeavors. Water-type people may be tired at the end of the day from working hard, but they will fall deeply asleep, waking up refreshed and restored. 

When out of balance, Water people tend to overwork, but they may lack the perseverance required to finish what they start. They may startle easily or be anxious due to excessive nervous energy or fearfulness. They will over-react to things. 

Achy low back makes it hard to work

On the physical level, one of the most common symptoms of a Water imbalance is a weak low back with pain and/or stiffness. Headache may occur at the forehead, or as a throbbing at the back of the head (occiput). Sometimes there is a sensation of chilling in the lower abdomen down to the legs. Infertility (male or female) is another possibility.

People with the “Water personality” are persistent, sometimes even to the point of recklessness. They are able to hide their fear. Water people have good memories and are smart and resourceful. They enjoy travel. Water people can be either “still” or “floating,” which means calm or restless. Negative qualities associated with Water are trickiness, indecisiveness and being self-centered and plotting.

Recommendations for the Season of the Water Element
Deep sleep is recommended during the Water Element season

Winter is the perfect time to read, paint, write or journal, plan your garden, etc. Any quiet creative endeavor fosters a healthy Water Element. According to Asian Medicine, in winter it is best to conserve your energy by staying warm, keeping a harmonious balance between activity and rest, and getting good nutrition.


A haramaki warms tummy & low back

In Japan, it is common in winter to wear a “haramaki” (a scarf around your mid-section to keep your belly and low back warm) in addition to the scarf around your neck. You can also try rubbing your kidneys vigorously before going out into the cold, and again when you come in. Exercise that emphasizes low back health is excellent.

Shiatsu calms body and mind

Shiatsu is widely used as a customary treatment for low back complaints, and it is great for helping you get in touch with that quiet peaceful place at the core of your being.  Yoga, qigong and Alexander Technique are good too.

Dietary Recommendations

Eating a diet of mostly carbohydrates and proteins is best for maintaining body heat. Hearty soups and casseroles with lots of root vegetables are wonderful. Beans shaped like kidneys (e.g. red beans, black beans and pinto beans) are especially recommended, but lentils and split peas are also excellent. If you use whole grains, barley and buckwheat make splendid additions that support the Water Element.

Drink lots of water and avoid too many dehydrating and stimulant drinks. Also, cold drinks (especially cold beer or soft drinks with ice) are especially harmful.

In Conclusion
Dreaming in the snow

So, stay cozy, rest well, eat warming foods, incubate your dreams, and cultivate the deep nature of your true self. Remember, snow and ice are just water in other forms. So stay fluid. Adapt your will to resting powerfully. Even though you are slowing down, your freedom of movement flows in the dreams you dream for your future. Soon, a blanket of snow will put a hush in the air. In the deep silence, you can hear your own beauty.


How Shiatsu Can Positively Enhance Your Life About Shiatsu & A Case Study Explored

lindy1Shiatsu, meaning “finger pressure,” is the practice of applying thumbs, fingers, palms or feet to pressure points, or meridians, as they’re called in ancient Asian medicine. Aside from the pressing, this type of treatment also focuses on stretching limbs and opening joints. As a type of healing therapy, it produces an effect of deep relaxation, increases energy levels and brings a state of balance to the body, among many other things. As several clients say, it helps them feel more “grounded, centered and self-aware.”

Shiatsu is a practice based on the traditions of ancient Asian medicine. The theory behind Shiatsu is that our bodies are made up of energy, called Qi, and this energy can get blocked and cause suffering within the body and mind. Shiatsu helps to remove blockages by clearing channels and acupoints, which balances the Qi and eases the body and mind. When Qi is balanced, healing occurs. The applied pressure stimulates both the nervous and immune systems, providing relief, while also restoring the circulatory system, improving blood flow.

lindy2A current client, named Christina G., has been receiving Shiatsu for approximately 18 months, at a rate of once every two to four weeks. At the start of her treatments, Christina was seeking the following:

  • Regularity in her menstrual cycle,
  • An increase in energy and stamina,
  • A decrease in daily anxiety and stress, and
  • An improved awareness and connection to her intuition.

Here are the results she experienced over the course of the first few months working together and then ongoing over the last 18 months:

  • Menstrual Cycle: Christina experienced better regularity and less blood clotting in the first few months of treatment. Within four months, she experienced a brighter, healthier color of blood and better flow in general, which she hadn’t experienced in years.
  • Energy and Stamina: Christina experienced more energy immediately following each treatment along with a “sense of calm and strength” that would endure for several days following treatment. In conjunction with her bi-weekly meditation and daily supplementation, she has experienced an increase in energy and stamina over the last 18 months and “it continues to improve everyday.”
  • Anxiety and Stress: Within the first few treatments, Christina experienced less anxiety and stress in her daily life. She also worked to manage her anxiety and stress on her own based on suggested exercises and regular reassessments, including identifying areas for
  • Intuition: After the first year of treatment, Christina wanted to connect to and be more aware of her intuition. In each session we reviewed progress she made, and feedback in the form of exercises was given for further improvement. She now says she “feels more connected to her intuition and is now able to look inside for answers to questions and for direction.”

lindy6Christina G. experienced the benefits of Shiatsu in every area that she was seeking assistance and vitality. It is through client experiences like these that Shiatsu proves time and time again to be a viable and effective treatment for those experiencing many types of mental or physical suffering. What once began as a treatment for simple muscular tension when it was first introduced to Western medicine has become something much more integrative. The benefits of Shiatsu have become more apparent, and it is now used for treating a variety of ailments and issues. These include the following:

  • Overall Weakness & Fatigue: Shiatsu can restore and maintain the body’s energy, helping those who suffer from overall weakness and fatigue.
  • Muscle Pain and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Shiatsu is frequently used to alleviate the muscle and joint pain associated with arthritis.
  • Injury Recovery: Shiatsu can aid in the recovery from sprains, fractures and other injuries.
  • Migraine Headaches: Shiatsu helps relieve headaches and migraines by relaxing the body and increasing blood flow and circulation throughout.
  • A Stiff Neck & Back: Shiatsu can reduce problems with the neck, shoulders and back, including sciatica.
  • Stress: Shiatsu can do wonders for a body and mind that is stressed. It can reduce stress and tension as well as anxiety and depression.
  • Reproductive Issues: Shiatsu can be used to aid women during their monthly cycles, especially to alleviate menstrual cramps and regulate blood flow.
  • Pregnancy: Shiatsu has been known to help women in labor and also to help babies turn in the womb. It can also help ease morning sickness and swelling.
  • Circulatory System: Shiatsu can help to improve circulation throughout the body, improving blood flow.
  • Digestive Disorders: By allowing food to digest more easily and aid in the elimination of waste, Shiatsu can benefit and improve your digestive system.
  • Skin: Shiatsu can stimulate circulation in the soft tissues of the skin, helping to keep skin soft and moist. This can in turn can give the skin a glow and prevent wrinkling.
  • Immune Support: Shiatsu can reduce the severity and frequency of coughs and colds, along with other sinus and respiratory problems.
  • Combines with other treatments: Shiatsu works well with other treatments like acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, chemotherapy, herbs and supplements.

lindy4A shiatsu treatment can last anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. It can be administered on a padded mat on the floor or on a massage table. Typically, the treatment begins with gentle stretching and pressing to relax the muscles and stimulate the flow of energy. Depending on the needs of the person receiving the massage, it can be very gentle and calming or used with high pressure. However, it should never be painful. For more information regarding Shiatsu and to receive a treatment, contact Lindy Ferrigno here.