Dressing for warmth and vitality in Winter

Everyone needs to dress well in Winter, but especially if you get cold hands and feet.  The following tips will help your circulation and nourish your body’s deepest energies.

Dress like a mountain!

The easiest way to remember how to dress in Winter is to think of a mountain – at the base it’s quite warm, and as you go higher it gets colder and colder.

We Westerners tend to layer on the beanies, scarfs and jackets in Winter and let our feet exist in a state of chilled numbness!  You will feel much more comfortable by turning this thinking on its head, so to speak.

Start with your feet – notice them when you’re outside in Winter.  If you’re like most people, you’ve probably ignored them up to now.  But if you tune in to your feet you might be surprised to notice that they feel quite stiff and numb in the cold weather.

The best remedy for this is to make sure you wear closed-in shoes and warm socks.  If you have especially cold hands or have any menstrual problems, including fertility issues*, then it’s probably a good idea to wear two pairs of socks.  And don’t knock it ’til you try it – it’s really comfortable and cosy!

(*Cold feet can drain the Kidney energy – the Kidney system is fundamental to fertility)

The next place to consider is the legs.  If you’re nice and warm with just long pants then that’s probably enough.  But I find in the clinic that when people hop up on the table, their legs and feet are often extremely cold to touch.  In this case, you’ll notice the difference if you switch from skirts to pants, and if you’re still cold then try cotton tights or leggings under the pants.  Really, it makes an incredible difference and you need to try it to see if it works for you.

Having a layer of insulation now around your feet and legs, you’ll be feeling much more protected from the elements and your state of mind will probably be more serene too.

Lower back
The third place to notice is your lower back.  If there’s a gap in your clothing then this is chilling your Kidneys and is bad news.  Try a cotton singlet tucked in to cover this area.  This will also continue that layer of insulation right up the trunk and provide a great core of snug warmth for when you go out in the elements.

Chinese Medicine Theory – Kidneys, Yin and the lower body

Winter relates to the Water element and the Kidney organ energy system.  The lower back is traditionally said to be the “residence of the Kidneys“, which is why we will often use acupuncture points to strengthen the Kidneys when helping people with lower back pain.

The whole lower portion of the body, including legs and feet, is closer to the Earth it and so it belongs to Yin, which relates to coolness and Winter.  So this is the reason why looking after the Yin and Kidney areas of the body helps you adjust to the demands of the season.

If you look after these three areas then you’ll have less need for jackets and hats and will feel cosy in the chilliest of Sydney Winter winds (though do keep protecting your neck with a scarf).  You should also notice that your hands are remarkably warmer, and this is a great sign that your body is already getting into a better state of balance.

(See other articles on staying healthy and vibrant in Winter)

This post is brought to you by Lois Nethery, acupuncturist and Chinese medicine herbalist at Ocean Acupuncture in Curl Curl on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Ocean Acupuncture is a natural medicine centre of independent health practitioners. The views expressed in this blog are the author’s only and do not necessarily reflect the views of the other Ocean Acupuncture practitioners.
The information presented in this blog, and on the Ocean Acupuncture website, is for interest and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for health or medical information or advice. For health or medical advice, please consult your health professional.