Rain Water - February 19, 2014

Wednesday February 19, 2014 marks the second seasonal node of the new-year and the new Spring – 雨水 Yu Shui, “Rain Water.” During Rain Water the birth of Yang in the natural environment continues. In addition to the 24 Seasonal Nodes that we have been mentioning, each of the 24 periods can be further broken down into 3 five-day periods (making up the 72 Manifestations of the year in total). The 3 periods of Rain Water are “Otters Sacrifice Fish” (tai ji yu), “Swan Geese Appear” (hong yan lai), and “Vegetation Sprouts” (caomu mengdong). The swan goose is a rare large goose native to northern China. While we don’t have them here in the US, we do have other species of geese. Interestingly, this past weekend, I saw a small flock of geese flying north again!

One of the statements in Chinese related to Rain Water says, “Yu shui lai lin shi qi zhong, dang xin pi wei shou shang hai” – “as Rain Water arrives damp qi is heavy, be careful not to damage the Spleen and Stomach.” Walking around outside (between the piles of white), I’m struck by this change in the environment. With all the heavy snow we’ve been having, there is a lot more dampness in the environment compared with earlier in January and December. One of the problems of early Winter is not only cold, but also the real dryness in the environment. And now, that is shifting.

This brings us to some of the basic “to do” recommendations for the Rain Water period of time. First is to supplement the Kidney and strengthen the Spleen. We do this because the weather is still cold. Along these lines the basic “avoid” during Rain Water is “don’t rush to put away winter clothes.” The northeast US is still really cold. Later this week may be promising with a mild warming trend. But, it looks like the cold is not completely over. So, the recommendation to not rush to put away winter clothes is spot on! Even though we will soon see some warming outside, and even though in the Chinese calendar we have passed the beginning of Spring, be cautious to protect yourself against the cold. Stay warm, and remember to use moxabustion as necessary.

The second “to do” for Rain Water is eat congee! Congee is basically rice porridge or soup (depending on how thickly you prepare it). Why eat congee? Because it dovetails with the other recommendations for Rain Water. First, congee is warming and supplements the Spleen. Furthermore, congee is mildly damp draining so it protects the body against the increase in dampness in the natural environment. Congee is incredibly easy to make, and in China it is a common breakfast or brunch food. People of all levels of health can benefit from being taught to make and eat congee.

For more information on congees, moxibustion, or simply staying healthy from season to season, contact us.

Henry McCann