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Do You Have the Winter Blues?

Sad Woman

Although winter in north Florida is milder than most parts of the United States, it still has its own change of season. Days are shorter, there’s less sunshine, and temperatures are colder. Nature becomes quieter, and wildlife less active. It is a perfect time to slow down and focus on inward reflection. 

In Five Element acupuncture, winter is the season of the Water element. The Water element is associated with a cold climate, blue/black color, fear, salty taste, storing of our reserves, bones and joints, stillness, and inner depth. 

Some people thrive in winter, loving the cooler, darker, quieter days. But for many people, the shorter days and reduced sun exposure bring colder weather and a colder mood. Your mood can go in and out of the “winter blues”, causing you to feel less joyful and more sadness.

If the winter blues worsen, it can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of seasonal depression that occurs during late fall and winter, and often ends by spring. People with SAD experience mood changes and symptoms including:

  • feeling hopeless or worthless
  • losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • having problems with sleep
  • experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • feeling sluggish or agitated.
Sad Woman on Chin

SAD is more than just “winter blues.” The symptoms can be distressing and overwhelming, and can interfere with daily functioning. However, SAD is treatable, often without anti-depressants. While they can help, anti-depressants can take weeks to become effective, and just as long to wean off of. Like all drugs, anti-depressants are not without the risk of side effects. For this type of depression, which usually lasts only for one season of the year, taking drugs may not be the best solution. It is important for each person to weigh medication risks against the benefits.

Five Element acupuncture can be a tremendous help, whether you are experiencing major SAD symptoms or a minor case of the winter blues. In Chinese Medicine, the Fire and Water elements are opposite in many ways. Fire is hot, water is cold. Fire is summer, Water is winter. Fire is red, Water is blue. Fire expands, Water contracts. Fire is joy, Water is fear.

It is vital that there be harmony between these two opposing elements. When a person’s Water element moves out of balance in winter, they are more likely to feel colder in their mood, more depressed. As a person’s Fire element is strained in winter, they are more likely to feel a lack of joy or warmth, shifting their mood toward sadness. You likely have low Fire energy if you feel bored, “flat” or unenthusiastic. Whether your energy imbalance originates in the Fire or Water element, Five Element acupuncture can significantly improve your mood and restore the balance between these two elements.

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to receive a winter balancing treatment. If you experience symptoms of SAD, consult Dr. Michael about how Five Element acupuncture can help. Call us at (904) 296-9545 to make an appointment today. We are here for you!

By Michael Kowalski A.P., Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)
Acupuncture Physician @ Acupuncture & Holistic Health Center, Jacksonville, Florida
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