Three Exercises to Support Vitality in Winter

Feb 8, 2022 | Balance, Blog, Water Element, Winter | 16 comments

How is winter treating you so far (unless you are in the southern hemisphere, then how is summer treating you?)? As the Five Elements teach, we are in the Water Element of Winter. Traditionally this was a time of storage of crops, stillness, rest, conservation, darkness, and reflection. This Yin time was used to balance out the Yang season of summer; to allow our bodies to conserve as we prepare for the energy of spring where we will be busy planting seeds and acting on the inspiration that percolated during winter.

As temperatures warm and the days get longer, it’s easy to get excited about spring and we may find ourselves getting busy as we are eager to get outdoors again. But I am here to remind you that this is still a time of conservation. When we slow down during this wintertime, we are nurturing and supporting our kidney qi. This is the qi of our vitality, our life force. This qi needs rest and stillness, and asks us to go with the flow, much like water.  In doing so, we are actually strengthening our vitality!

The organs and tissues associated with the Water Element include the kidneys, bladder, bones, brain, teeth, bone marrow, feet, back, reproductive organs, breasts (in women), and ears. If you have issues with any of these organs and tissues, now is a great time to support and strengthen them. If you don’t have issues, now is a great time to support and strengthen! 

The following are three great exercises to help support the kidney system and to restore vitality. One is a massage exercise and two are qi~ssage points.  Qi~ssage points are spots along the energy channel (meridian) that flow to specific organs and when massaged, can encourage healing and smooth flow of energy to the places that need it (think water flowing along a stream, and massaging certain points is like removing logs and boulders so water flows easily to these vital areas; also where acupuncturists would insert needles). By practising these exercises, you will not only support the organs and tissues listed above, you will have more vitality to help you burst forth in the spring when action is required (when the water tiger is ready!).

K1 (Kidney 1) Bubbling Spring Point

K1 (Kidney 1) Bubbling Spring Point is located on the sole of the foot, between the second and third metatarsal bones, approximately one third of the distance between the base of the second toe and the heel, in a depression formed when the foot is plantarflexed. Another way to locate is to locate the two lines on the sole of the foot running from the big toe and the second toe. Bubbling Spring point (K1) is at the intersection between the two lines.

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Image used with kind permission from A Manual of Acupuncture

Massage this point starting on the left foot, then moving to the right foot.

Massaging this point helps with:

  • Kidney/bladder issues
  • Fear
  • Getting grounded
  • Urination or hormonal issues
  • Back pain
  • Foot pain or foot issues
  • Constipation
  • Calming the spirit
  • Releasing energy from the head

K3 (Kidney 3) Supreme Stream

K3 (Kidney 3). Supreme Stream is located in the depression between the inner ankle bone and the Achilles tendon.

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Image used with kind permission from A Manual of Acupuncture

Massage this point on starting on the left foot, then moving to the right foot.

Massaging this point helps:

  • Strengthen kidney energy
  • Strengthen the lumbar spine
  • Prevent illness
  • Ear issues (tinnitus, deafness)
  • Coughing or lung issues
  • Insomnia
  • Teeth issues

Breast Massage Exercise (for women)

This is an effective hormone-balancing exercise from Spring Forest Qigong. Do this exercise daily to help balance all your reproductive hormones. This exercise can help with fertility, menopause, PMS, mood swings, irregular or heavy periods, and breast and uterine cysts or fibroids. Basically, anything that is related to the hormones and the menstrual cycle can be helped by this balancing exercise. This exercise is best done by direct contact with the skin.

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  • Rub your hands together as if you were trying to warm them up. This friction activates the healing energy in our hands.
  • Hold the breasts by using the middle of each palm to touch the nipples.
  • Close your eyes.  Smile. Focus your mind on your heart.
  • Move your hands gently inward in a circular motion 36 times. The best practice is to take 2 seconds per rotation.
  • Then move your hands gently outward in a circular motion 36 times.
  • Then, with your nipples still in the center of your palms, gently move your breasts upward while taking three deep breaths.

The best times are early morning, late afternoon, and before bed. In the morning, the lung channels are open. In the late afternoon, the kidney channels are open. In the evening the heart channels are open.

You can also watch a video where I explain this exercise:

When you massage the breast at these times, it helps not only the breasts but also the lungs and the kidneys. The breast massage also helps clear blockages in the breasts, reproductive organs, bladder, and strengthens kidney energy.

Enjoy this season of water and quiet. Remember that rest is a vital practice to support your health during the winter months. If you would like to learn more or would like to book a private healing session, please visit https://suecrites.ca/healing. A regular qigong practice will help the smooth flow of energy throughout your body, mind, and spirit. 

Click here if you’d like a simple 10 min practice to follow to get things moving.

Note this information is not intended as a replacement for any medical treatment or therapy by a physician or other licensed health care provider. Rather, this information is intended to broaden your understanding of health and wellness and help you to make informed choices of health options. Any application of the information contained in the learning materials of Sue Crites Holistic Healing & Qigong is at the reader’s discretion and sole responsibility.

This material is copyright ©Spring Forest Qigong 2022, ©Head to Toe Healing, and ©Sue Crites Holistic Healing & Qigong 2022 and is not to be reproduced or redistributed.

 

Love and light,

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Sue Crites MSc, NCP Holistic Healing & Qigong
suecrites.ca

16 Comments

  1. Dawn

    Thank you for this reminder to remain still and practice daily for this season

    Reply
    • Sue Crites

      It’s easy to get caught up in a go-go mentality, especially as the days start to lengthen. But we are still re-charging our batteries!

      Reply
    • Patricia

      Thank you Sue for the reminder of this simple and powerful exercises
      Loved your classes in the beach!

      Reply
      • Sue Crites

        Thank you Patricia!

        Reply
    • Sue Crites

      Thank you for reading Barbara!

      Reply
  2. Marion Heyerman

    Sue I had a double mastectomy 12 years ago followed by reconstruction surgery. Would this exercise have any benefit for me?

    Reply
    • Sue Crites

      Hi Marion,

      Thank you for your comment. Yes I feel the breast massage will benefit you! You are connecting the Lao Gung points to the breast tissue, this is healing in itself but the exercise as a whole is helping to balance your entire hormonal system.

      Reply
  3. Carla

    How long do you massage the areas on the foot and by the ankle.

    Reply
    • Sue Crites

      Hi Carla,

      You can massage the foot/ankle points 1-2 minutes a couple of times a day.

      Reply
      • Carol

        In what direction/s do we massage the feet and ankles?

        Reply
        • Sue Crites

          It doesn’t matter. Whichever feels good!

          Reply
  4. Sheila

    Thank you for yet another inspiring blog post, Sue! I appreciate this reminder that it is still a time for rest, as well as the instructions and diagrams for the points and massage.

    Reply
    • Sue Crites

      Thank you Sheila!

      Reply
  5. Maria Santiago

    Hello Sue this is great information & I will do some of these exercises.

    I cautiously got into SFQ back when Master Lin was doing free practice on Facebook to help people affected or to avoid Covid… I began with 100 days …. At the time I was driven nuts by flare ups due to compression of my cervical vertebrae in my neck that caused terrible headaches and pinched nerves etc. I found by doing SFQ daily practice at good level my flare ups were less intense & less frequent…. I loved this! … well this changed… few weeks ago terrible flare up awful headaches and nerve pain in my left arm has been ongoing…. Burning sensation and jabbing nerve pain comes and goes steadily. Of course I don’t want the pain but my concern is why sudden disruptive flare and what is the real source not just symptoms. This flare right after heart sutra experience of seeing that large snake within me that appeared at ending of heart Sutra and opened its mouth in my chest area… startling.
    Can you help me with what is going on. ? I appreciate whatever light you can shed on this. ?

    Reply
    • Sue Crites

      Hello Maria, I am sorry I missed this comment earlier. Snakes can be healing when they come in meditation! Fear can cause the qi to get blocked. I hope you have found some relief and solace. The healing path is not linear and as things resolve we often get re-visited by our symptoms. Be patient and keep practising. You may benefit form a healing session.

      Reply

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