Balance your Autumn Energy for Optimal Health
In Chinese medicine humans are viewed as microcosms of the natural world that surrounds them. Now that our environment has transitioned into a new season, it is an opportunity to assess our state of health and realign with nature’s rhythms. Here are traditional Chinese medicine tips for staying healthy this Fall and surviving the Holiday Season!
Lungs and Large Intestine Rule the Fall According to Chinese medicine, the season of Autumn is closely tied with the element of Metal, which is associated with the Lung and Large Intestine systems. These body systems govern organization, order, communication, the mind, setting limits, and protecting boundaries as well as regulating the respiratory and immune system and keeping the body's defenses strong, fluid metabolism (think dryness and phlegm!) and keeping the sinuses and gut moving fluidly together. Therefore, the Lungs and Large intestine should be kept in balance at this time of the year as they are most susceptible to imbalances and wear from the environment. Acupuncture helps re-establish balance of these organs. Stews and Aromatic Spices are Nutritious 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 as well. In Fall, eat warm, cooked food. Trade the salads for oven-roasted veggies over brown rice. When cooking, throw in some onions, ginger, garlic or mustard—these Pungent foods are known to benefit the Lung organ. More pungent foods and herbs include: capers, cardamom, chives, cinnamon, cloves, dill, leek, oregano, nutmeg, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, watercress, cabbage, turnip, horseradish, pepper and chili peppers. Tuscan Bean Soup Simple to make and will bring harmony to your Lungs and Large Intestine. Ginger Tea Drink this daily in the morning to keep you warm, boost your immune system and benefit your digestion! Peel and roughly slice 4-5 chunks of ginger root and add it to a 4-6 cup pot of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Drink a few ounces of this Ginger tea daily. Simply place a few ounces in a mug and add hot water to warm up. Sip on it each morning to get your day started right! (The mixture will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days) Cross It Off the List! Fall is when we ought to embrace certain qualities: strong, definitive, focused, discerning. It is time to get down to business, to gain clarity about what really matters to us. To access this energy, it might be helpful to make a list of priorities which deserve your attention. Write them down and glance at the list periodically throughout the season. Fall heightens our innate ability to get stuff done and prepare for Winter! Learning to Let Go In Chinese medicine, every organ is associated with an emotion as well as body functions, seasons, sounds, tastes and more. We image the world around us and the world around us images us. The emotion associated with Fall is Grief (or sadness). It’s a natural shift in energy and it is the time of year to pull inward, to grieve and let go and to reflect on any unresolved sadness. Grief that is expressed fully and resolved is strengthening both physically and psychologically. When the Lungs are out of balance or you are dealing with excessive personal grief and stress, you may have difficulty coping with loss and change, a sense of alienation and experience a prolonged sense of sadness that doesn’t go away. The Holidays can be a particularly hard time for folks working through this process or feeling stuck. However, the Lungs are also associated with clear thinking and communication, openness to new ideas, positive self-image and ability to relax, let go and be happy. Take this time to evaluate and assess your own situation and how you engage with life’s challenges. Acupuncture and herbal remedies can help encourage and support the emotions while moving through tough times. Check out this article that emphasizes how the body's Microbiome directly influences emotions, negative and positive. Chinese medicine is grounded in this approach and works with the electro connectivity and gases of the body to help keep your emotions balanced and flowing freely.