How To Beat The Winter Blues: Dr. Mao's Wellness Living

Thursday, 24 Jan 2013, 8:42:00 AM

Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Mao Shing Ni

If you are feeling a little low energy during this cold season, don’t worry, it is natural! The winter season is when nature sleeps, and everything experiences the slowing of natural processes – even our bodies. Chinese medicine links the winter season to the kidneys, the adrenal glands, and the bladder. Inactivity leads to an accumulation of toxins and carbon dioxide; people are inclined to colds, flu, poor circulation, and low vitality.

To avoid the winter blues, take some advice from the Yellow Emperor: go to sleep early and wait to let the sun bathe the house before rising from bed, dress warmly, engage in physical exercise, refrain from eating cold and raw foods, reduce salt to protect the kidneys, and increase bitter flavors, found in foods such as rhubarb and kale. Be happy and avoid experiencing excessive emotions.

Positive Activities For A Positive Mood

The best way to regulate your mood is by eating a properly balanced diet and practicing a good exercise program. These are a few specific measures you can take to maintain a positive outlook all through the winter:

1. Eat smaller meals, more frequently, and drink more liquids.

2. Avoid dairy, alcohol, coffee, sugar, and fatty foods. Excessive spicy foods are also not recommended, but a certain amount of pungency is beneficial.

3. Begin your day with a 20-minute brisk walk in the fresh air.

4. Get at least eight hours of quality sleep every night. Take a 30-minute walk about one hour before bed, not for exercise, but to help you sleep more soundly.

4. Movement is essential for proper metabolism and energy circulation. Consider learning and practicing some form of Tai Chi or Qi Gong exercises; these exercises in particular are very effective in balancing energy. However, any exercise will be beneficial in keeping your energy up and avoiding stagnation.

5. Don’t try to do too much in one day. Over-planning is an energy-depleting activity. Try making only one or two items a priority every day. This way you can build on success instead of failure.

Traditional Herbal Lift

In Chinese medicine the liver is considered the body’s ultimate multi-tasker. It detoxifies, aids in metabolism, stores energy, helps with digestion, and regulates emotional well-being. The following herbs can support your liver's health, thereby promoting a good mood over time:

• Schisandra berry protects the liver from chemicals and calms the spirit.

• Dandelion cleanses the liver and helps release built-up anger.

• White peony root is traditionally used to soothe the liver and balance the mood.

Try taking these herbs – available from health food stores and Eastern medicine practitioners – as a daily supplement or in tea form every day for emotional balance. Our formula, Internal Cleanse, can help gently cleanse the body of toxins and promote liver health.

Fire Up Your Vitality with Ginger Tea

Since ancient times, Chinese physicians have regularly consumed ginger tea to keep their vitality fired up. Not only will ginger tea give you a boost with its pungent taste, it also has many significant healing properties. Besides its popular application for digestive distress, ginger has been found to contain geraniol, which may be a potent cancer fighter. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve pain, prevent blood clots, and inhibit the onset of migraine headaches.

How to make fresh ginger tea:

Cut a 2-inch piece from a fresh ginger root. Thinly slice this piece. Bring 4 cups of water to boiling in a saucepan. Add the ginger and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover for about fifteen minutes. Strain the tea and serve.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post.  Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey.  To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit

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