Most of us are well aware that winter can be a struggle to get through. Dark and short days combined with cold damp days leave us feeling tired and fatigued. While most of us can feel tired, a few of us can feel utterly depleted and may have a diagnosis of S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) Winter is considered the most yin part of the year in Chinese Medicine. Yin and Yang can be seen in the seasons in the following ways, Yin is cold whilst Yang is hot. Yin is inward and downward whist Yang is outward and upward. We can appreciate the difference of yin and yang even within one season, for example a cold winters day with bright sunshine can feel uplifting and rejuvenating, birds might start singing and we are more likely to go outside and play. Someone who struggles with winter may not even feel any better on a bright crisp winters day, the feelings of fatigue and depression at this time may be too profound and deep rooted.
Traditional Acupuncture and the philosophical thinking behind it enables treatments to be directed completely towards the needs of the individual. Treatment in winter is often aimed at our Water energy, the most yin element in the Chinese five phases. If this is our weak area, this may be the most tricky time of the year for us. Acupuncture which is aimed at our weakest area can bring about huge changes in our ability to handle different times of the year. The aim is to find out why, from a Chinese medicine perspective, an individual copes badly in different seasons. This isn't confined to winter. Some people find the adjustment to Spring, Summer or Autumn equally problematic, this is because our qi or energy is hugely affected by the energetics of our environment. The beauty of acupuncture is that there is a fundamental acceptance that good and bad health is directly affected by the environment in which we are living. We are as bound to nature as all animals are, hence the feeling that some have of the need to hibernate in winter. If you suffer from winter fatigue or have a diagnosis of SAD, acupuncture may well provide you with a new approach to dealing with it.