Build Your “Post-Heaven Qi”

Acupuncture theory contains many profound ideas regarding the maintenance and improvement of health. One of these is the concept of pre-Heaven and post-Heaven qi.

Housed in the kidneys, these two types of qi are present when we are born. Pre-Heaven qi is what we inherit from our parents and contains our greatest potentials, as well as the inherited weaknesses that will bear through the duration of our lives. It may be likened to a bank account that you are born with.

We also have post-Heaven qi. This is the qi, or energy, that we cultivate with diet, exercise, and spiritual practice. Those who enter the world with a large pre-Heaven qi “account,” if you will, may not be compelled to augment their post-Heaven qi. However, those of us who find our health wanting will be compelled to cultivate our post-Heaven qi.

As winter is the season when we most draw upon the qi of the kidneys, the container of our pre- and post-Heaven qi, it is important to support the kidney qi at this time with these tips:

-When the darkness increases, increase your sleep. Resist the temptation to stay up as late during this season and acknowledge winter in your daily habits by getting to bed a little earlier. You may want to rest a little more in general. When the light increases again in the spring, decrease sleep accordingly.

-Strip non-essentials out of our daily and weekly schedule. Decreasing hours of recreation and work, and increasing rest and introspection supports the Kidney qi in building health and wisdom. Cultivating inner awareness and wisdom will be fruitful in the spring when it is time to again emerge with plans and an increase of activities.

-Increase warm, well-cooked and well-spiced foods and decrease raw and cold foods and beverages. Eating cold foods during cold weather depletes your energy. Consume warm foods and drinks to stay warm with less energy.