We quietly slipped into Autumn this week.
Each new season offers an opportunity to take stock of our health and realign with our natural rhythms.
From the perspective of Chinese Medicine, this season is the time to let go of the excesses we allowed ourselves in summer and focus on what is necessary for winter.
The transition into fall is especially noteworthy because it signifies moving from the more active (Yang) seasons to the more passive (Yin) time of year. The Spring and Fall transitions can easily highlight an underlying imbalance. This imbalance can manifest as anything from the common cold to increased headaches, insomnia, dermatological issues, etc. Being aware of the change of season and transitioning well can help to prevent these unpleasant events.
How to Stay Healthy
Autumn is correlated with the natural element of Metal – strong, definitive, focused, discerning. It is the time of year to get down to business and to gain clarity on where priorities should be set for the coming months.
Make a list of which priorities deserve your attention. Write them down and glance at the list periodically throughout the season.
This season heightens our innate ability to focus and get things done. Continue to remind yourself where to focus your attention.
Wear a scarf
Acupuncturists (and your mother) are always going on about protecting yourself from the wind and keeping your neck covered. It is for a good reason.
The Lung is the organ associated with this season and is considered the most exterior organ. It is the first line of defense against external pathogenic factors. As the weather turns cold and the wind picks up, the Lung organ is extra vulnerable.
Further, pathogenic factors such as cold and wind invade the body at the back of the neck, so keeping that area protected is very important in the fall.
Dryness of all kinds is common during the fall months. You may have already noticed that your nose and throat are feeling a little drier than they were a few weeks ago. Drinking warm water with honey and lemon will help to moisten the throat.
Since the Lung is the most exterior organ, it is the organ that relates most closely to the skin. Dry skin and even rashes tend to show up in fall. Drink a lot of water and keep your skin hydrated. I prefer natural oils like sesame or coconut oil over lotions. Lotions often contain chemicals that can actually dry the skin.
Another reason to stay hydrated is to regulate digestion. In Chinese medical theory, the Lung is paired with the Large Intestine. Constipation, dryness in the Large Intestine, is the most common digestive complaint during this season.
Grieve & Let Go
We are moving into the quieter Yin months and you may find that you have more time on your hands for your own thoughts. This is not always a comfortable spot….
The emotion associated with this season is grief, and this is the time of year that it is natural to pull inward and reflect on unresolved sadness.
This can be an adjustment after the surge of bright Yang energy that many of us experience during the Spring and Summer months, but it is normal to feel somewhat somber and pensive in the Fall.
Eat warm foods
Step away from the salad! The cool, raw, refreshing salads of summer will not do you any favors come fall. Just as we need to start keeping our bodies warmer on the outside, we need to stay warm on the inside.
In fall, eat warm, cooked food. Instead of cold cereal choose oatmeal. Trade the salads for soups. When cooking, throw in some onions, ginger, garlic or mustard — these pungent foods are known to benefit the Lung organ.
Veggie wise, root vegetables such as beets, turnips, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash are ideal. If you’re craving fruit, reach for something in season such as apples, pears, grapes, figs, pomegranates, or persimmons.
Yes, acupuncture (and herbs) can treat that….
If you find yourself with a cold, flu, skin rash, indoor allergies, or any of the other common (or not so common) issues and ailments of the season, please call or email! Needles, cups, oils and herbs can help!!!