Winter Reservoir - consolidate your resources..


It’s a good idea to start by finding out more about the Water Element: where the Winter meridians run through the body, how they interact, what they influence and how they perform their various functions.

  • The Bladder (YANG) governs our ability to BE – with strong personal foundations and a grand reservoir of energy
  • Kidney (YIN) connects with our ability to DO – when energy flows freely to support our actions in the world

More specifically, it’s also worth investigating the current state of your Water Element with some targeted “explore & tonify” your Winter meridian exercise. This exercise is one of a sequence of six known as the MAKKO HO. Together they can be used to release, tonify and balance your meridian energies.

There are now videos of all the full Makko Ho sequence on my INSTAGRAM barbara_richardson_zenshiatsu.
The one for the Water Element was posted on June 2, 2020

WINTER: the time to build within

Winter is a season often associated with morning stiffness, niggly aches & pains, fast spreading minor (& not so minor) infectious bugs and (being the season of the Water Element) wetness. The cold weather makes us more vulnerable. Extra body energy is required to keep our system warm and we tend to move less and stay indoors more. This means less oxygen, sluggish circulation (blood & lymph) and lower immunity.

The flip side is that Winter – being the season for introspection and stabilization – is actually an exceptional time of year for looking after yourself in ways that make best sense when the temperature is low. It is a time to be pro-active about nurturing your Water Element. This means acknowledging, conserving and consolidating your fundamental resources.
If you need more encouragement, consider also that this can be a really nice thing to do.

WINTER WARMERS: re-charging your system

Number one on the easy list is to treat yourself to a ginger foot-bath (or full bath if you prefer). Another great Winter warmer is to put some moxa into your system. Anywhere around the feet and ankles will do but Kidney #1 is probably your optimal TCM Point.
If moxa is a foreign concept to you, ask me about it next time you’re in my clinic.

Putting heat into your system builds your energy reservoir so that, when you are active yourself, the river can flow freely.


Eating, sleeping and moving in a manner appropriate to the season are the basic keys to looking after yourself at any time of the year. In Winter, however:

  • Try slow cooked mealson the stove OR in the oven. The longer the cooking, the greater the energy capital of the food and the less energy required (from your stockpile) to digest it.
  • For the transition out of Autumn, baking is terrific. Try this amazing whole baked cauliflower recipe.
  • As the cold really starts to take over, it’s time to extend your cooking times further with Casseroles and, slower again, Soups.
  • Include foods that boost your mineral intake. Minerals support your nervous system, boost your Bladder meridian energy and ward off Wintery anxieties.
  • Take advantage of the longer nights to build up maximum credits in your sleep account. Aim for a good 9 hours average per night.
  • Keep your inner fires burning with some regular OUTDOORS walking. The cooler the weather the more motivated you are to walk briskly – particularly if you are barefoot.
  • Walk tall, keep it loose, breathe into your lower belly so that you release and tonify your psoas as you go.
  • Focus your yoga. Winter yoga has two distinct sides to it. On the one hand, balance, on the other, stretching and strengthening the spine and the back of the legs.
  • The PLOUGH POSE, for instance, is excellent Bladder meridian yoga.
  • This more comprehensive sequence is designed to activate, stretch and then consolidated strength in the Water meridians in order to bolster your Winter energy.

Of course you could also come in for a Winter Shiatsu and get some individually targeted suggestions for YOUR Winter program
(along with all that amazing R & R of course).



To help you adjust to Winter cooking, here is a dish I have been making since last century!! I kid you not. This is a recipe tried and true from the Holly Davis repertoire. Because I am very fond of fennel, I usually add some roasted/ground fennel seed but by no means feel obliged. It’s super easy to make and the flavour combinations are terrific.
BTW: Holly DAVIS is a truly amazing whole food chef and worth investigating.

I wish you all a beautiful Winter and look forward to seeing you at some point.
In the meantime, take advantage of the season to enjoy all those things you can really only do (eat, wear) when it’s cold outside.

Call, text or email for an APPOINTMENT
any Monday, alternate Tuesday/Wednesdays and alternate weekends.

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