Autumn is upon us! In Chinese Medicine this seasonal change brings about changes to one’s health and we need to be careful so as not to get sick at this change of season. Chinese Medicine describes the nature’s seasonal changes with a big emphasis on energy. We need to make our own changes within our body and lifestyle as each season shifts so we can be as healthy as possible and not fall ill. As autumn sees a big increase in colds, coughs and allergies.
Each season the health challenge for us is to harmonise our energy and body with the greater energy of nature. Seasonal changes represents a move between yin and yang. Autumn is the yin energy replacing the big yang energy of summer. This energy is moving inward and downwards in autumn towards the earth, as opposed to out and up in summer. Therefore with the new season upon us we need to balance our health with the right diet and lifestyle. As summer is slowing down and autumn approaching our bodies are also going through a change in energy internally.
Autumn is related to the metal element. This means dryness, coolness and winds are more extreme. With autumn comes organs connected to the Lungs and Large Intestine, as the Lungs need oxygen from the air and the large intestines removes waste. Lung and skin issues are more prevalent at this time with dry skin, dry cough and constipation.
Metal relates to the emotion of grief and letting go. This is the time to let go of emotional baggage you have been carrying and remember to breathe (from the belly). Just like the trees of nature do not hold onto their leaves for next year. Be receptive to the new, eliminate what you no longer need!! Just like our large intestine function is to also enable us to let go of our waste products.
Foods to eat in autumn include cooked organic root vegetables such as beetroots, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, squash, yams, celeriac etc. Things that grow under the ground. Avoid raw and cold foods such as ice-cream, cold drinks, cold vegetables, juices, salads etc and op for foods that are warm soups, stews, bakes, braising and warm drinks. Foods that are warm and nourishing will be better for the health and the lungs.
Eat more foods that can moisten our lungs and digestion including pears and apples. You can also add onions, fresh ginger to the diet to assist with colds or allergies.
With exercise try to avoid heavy aerobics as it can drain your vital energy and weaken your immune system. Instead do more gently forms of exercise such as walking, tai chi and yoga. This can help increase your immune system to protect you from infections.
Remember to go to bed early during autumn and rise early. In Chinese theory, one’s sleep habits should also adjust with the seasons. As the days get shorter in autumn, sleep earlier to avoid the cold nights and wake up to the early morning sun. As the weather cools more, remember to avoid the cold by wearing a scarf or light jacket when outside in the wind.
NOW is the time to come in for your regular acupuncture tune up to restore energy, remove any old blockages and improve the immune system.