Since I practice a lot of acupuncture (and I like doing it), I’m predisposed to liking Nourishing Life practices that work directly with the channels or acupuncture points. In my previous post I discussed basic guidelines for the Cold Dew (Han Lu 寒露) Seasonal Node. Here are some additional practices that can be done in addition to the diet and lifestyle recommendations previously mentioned.
The Cold Dew Seasonal Node is the segment just after Autumn Equinox. It is a part of the time of year represented by the Xu (戌) Earthly Branch, and the phase Yin Earth as the transition period at the end of Autumn heading towards Winter. This is the time associated with the Arm Jueyin Pericardium channel as well as the fifth cervical vertebra.
One of the problems we come up against during Cold Dew is the decreasing temperatures, and especially the increasing gap between day and evening temperatures. Since cold is associated with the Water phase, even though Cold Dew is associated with the Pericardium channel, the water phase channels (the Bladder and Kidney) are susceptible to problems. In particular, exposure to cold in the evening can cause stagnation in the Qi and Blood circulation of the upper back, leading to stiffness and tightness or pain. Legs can also be affected, likewise experiencing stiffness or pain. So, with all that in mind, here are some easy Nourishing Life practices for Cold Dew:
- Rubbing the Bottom of the Feet: The bottom of the foot is home to the first point on the Kidney Channel, Yong Quan (湧泉穴). Yong Quan is located just behind the ball of the foot and sometimes it is known as the “Great Medicine” (大藥) at the bottom of the feet. Once or twice a day rub the bottom of the foot over the area of Yong Quan 100 times. This warms and stimulates the Kidney channel, and can be used to treat forgetfulness, insomnia, low back pain, and internal cold.
- Soaking the Feet: Soaking the feet in the evening is another excellent way to warm the channels of the feet and legs, and it is a second method of working with Yong Quan. One of my common recommendations for Cold Dew is soaking specifically with Epsom salts. To do this, dissolve Epsom salts in hot water and soak feet each evening for 10-15 minutes. Like the previous method of rubbing the bottom of the feet, soaking warms and stimulates the Kidney channel, and can be used to treat forgetfulness, insomnia, and low back pain. For added therapeutic effect, Chinese herbal formulas can be added to foot soaks based on an individual’s pattern differentiation. For example, patients with Qi vacuity can soak with herbs such as Dang Shen, Huang Qi or Bai Zhu. Patients with Kidney vacuity low back pain or the like can soak with Du Zhong, Xu Duan, and Sang Ji Sheng.
- Acupressure at Wei Zhong: Weather change and exposure to cold, as mentioned, can create stiffness in the back or legs. One of the master points for increasing Qi and blood circulation in the back and legs is Wei Zhong (委中穴), located at the back of the knees. While seated, press deeply into the point on both sides simultaneously, until a slightly sore or numb sensation is felt and hold for a few seconds. Release pressure (one press and release equals one stimulation). Stimulate 25-50 times in a sitting. Optionally, medicated liniment or medicated oils that warm the channels, expel cold, and move the Qi and blood can be used while pressing the point.
- Fire Cupping the Upper Back: The last traditional recommendation I’ll offer for Cold Dew is the use of fire cups on the upper back. Fire cupping (火罐) can warm and expel cold, resolve the exterior, and course Qi and quicken blood in the channels. When done on the upper back it relieves stiffness in the muscles as well as prevents colds. However, after cupping, be sure not to leave the area exposed. Common points to cup include Jian Yu (肩髃穴), Jian Jing (肩井穴), and Tian Zong (天宗穴). Another area to cup is the back of the neck, as the fifth cervical vertebra is associated with Cold Dew. Just as with the previous recommendation, cupping can be done after the application of a medicated liniment or oil.