Now that we have officially said goodbye to the hot weather, it is important for us to stay warm and dry. For the sake of your immune system, here are several tips for staying warm and well during this chilly season.

Keep your feet warm! Wearing thick cotton socks will ensure that your feet stay warm, while still being able to breathe. Make sure you are wearing appropriate shoes on rainy days so you aren’t sogging around in wet shoes all day. Around the house, avoid going barefoot and instead choose cozy socks or house shoes. It takes more effort for your heart to maintain circulation (and therefore warmth) in your extremities. By keeping your tootsies warm, you are encouraging good circulation, conserving energy, and minimizing this venue of overall body heat loss.

Keep your neck covered! In Chinese medicine, the best way to get a cold or flu is by allowing cold damp air to invade through the back of the neck and head. This is one of the areas where body heat gets zapped the fastest. It’s a great time of year to find a beautiful fluffy scarf and to utilize those hooded jackets. My favorite tip? Pick up a reusable pocket hand warmer ($20 for a 2-pack at Kathmandu) and wrap it in your scarf so it sits at the back of your neck. This works even better if you have a hood or high collar over the top, as the heat will fill your jacket and while everyone else’s teeth are chattering, you’ll be feeling warm and tropical!

Give your kidneys a good massage! If you find yourself waiting out in the cold for a bus, or are simply having trouble warming up, here is a trick to break through the chill and get on with your day: Put your hands at your lower-mid back, just at the level of the bottom of your ribcage. Now, rub vigorously until you feel warmth radiating from your back, throughout your abdomen. In Chinese medicine the kidneys have several important jobs to do, and when they get run down, we feel energetically zapped, weak, and unmotivated. This ‘massage’ can not only help to warm you up, but you might find that it gives you a little extra pep- especially during that afternoon slump we often suffer during the work week. Other ways to take care of your kidneys are to drink plenty of water, get quality rest, and practice regular stress management techniques.

Warm inside, warm outside! Focus on warm foods and drinks to warm your body from the inside. Think hot tea, warm lemon water, curries, stews, and roasted veg. Not only are these foods generally supportive to your digestive system, but they will make you feel cozy from the inside out. Spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg are great choices to incorporate into your cooking. Don’t worry- it won’t be long before salad and smoothie season returns! For now, be kind to your body and your hard-working immune system. Try a baked sweet potato with a bit of honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg for dessert or a sweet snack. Pair that with some hot ginger tea, put on those snuggly socks we talked about earlier, and you are set for an evening of delicious, cozy, rejuvenation.

If you still can’t shake the cold, be sure to stop in at The Pagoda Tree for a cup of hot tea, a relaxing treatment, and warm smiles all around!


Sarah Hennessey is a much loved TCM practitioner here at The Pagoda Tree with a special interest in emotional health and wellbeing.  Let Sarah take care of you next time you are in with her magical relaxation abilities.  You’ll be loving life when you step out after a treatment with Sarah.  To arrange an appointment email