Autumn/Fall is the season of harvest as we prepare for the winter season.
Dr. Scott Greenapple
We look to collecting and storing nutrition as well as mental clarity for the purpose of cultivation and culmination to allow us to grow and let go of and move on to the next cycle of the seasons and life itself. We can move forward with the proper care that allows us to balance the body/mind experience and balance the nervous system to enhance our overall well-being. Fall is the time of year to go deeper into self-care, retrospection, and meditation.
In traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we look at seasons and consider them as elements. With each change of the season, there are elements and meridians that correspond. We look at the meridians and elements and how they tend to have a direct correlation to both the physical and emotional aspects of our lives.
We are now going from the relaxed carefree world of summer to the more serious and introspective energies that are associated with autumn.
Fall is the metal element and the meridians involved are the lungs and the large intestine. This is the time of organization and setting boundaries. Finish up projects you have started in spring and summer. Focus on internal and cultivate your body-mind practice becoming more introspective. The energy associated with the lungs is letting go. Become mindful of letting go of anything we may be holding onto, making room for new experiences.
The emotion attached to the lung is grief and sadness. On the “healthier side” of the emotion, the lung is also associated with clear thinking and communication, openness to new ideas, a positive self-image, and the ability to let go and be happy. This is when acupuncture is needed most. When the energy is stuck, stagnant, or out of balance, that is when the negative emotion or physical ailment can come out. You may have issues dealing with excessive grief, difficulty coping with change, or a prolonged sense of sadness. You may be holding onto and reliving the past, playing the same tune over and over in your head instead of living in the present.
From a physical aspect, the lung meridian controls the skin, the arm/shoulder, and neck region. When out of balance, people tend to have arm/shoulder pain, neck pain, and stiffness as well as headaches. This is the time of year to get colds, sore throats and sinus issues if out of balance.
With COVID still, here, the balance of these meridians can have a profound effect on the respiratory system in a healthy way to enhance the overall strength of our immune system.
The large intestine eliminates solid waste as well as the emotional waste we are harboring. Both of these meridians when in balance can also have a positive effect on our endocrine system especially the thyroid gland. With “long haulers” of COVID disease, we have good results and good studies have been done on reversing the loss of taste and smell.
When the energy or Qi is moving freely, the physical and emotional aspects have more of a positive and healing effect. Below are some ways to stay balanced during the fall/metal element season including foods that you should add and consume to your daily diet.
Acupuncture. Many of my patients come in whenever the season changes to get balanced with specific points relating to the meridians involved for that season.
Let go of negativity. Just becoming aware is a good start.
Breathe. Try taking a deep breath for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 5-7 seconds, and breathe out for 8 seconds. This clears the negativity and resets your sympathetic and parasympathetic systems for stress reduction. (Also aides in insomnia).
Wear a scarf. Fall is the time for wind. In Chinese medicine, the wind is responsible for around 100 different types of disease. This time of year, colds, coughs, and flu.
Eat less cooling and more warming foods. Soups are great for warming, digestion, and immune support, getting ready for the long cold winter months.
Try adding some of the following:
Apples & pears.
Think of foods that will moisten and warm the cool dry air that is invading the body.
Do not forget to get out and walk or exercise. Try to relax with meditations and Qi Gong.
For any questions on acupuncture, Qi Gong, or mindfulness meditation, feel free to call the office or send an email.
Remember, energy or Qi flows where the mind goes.
May you celebrate this season with an abundant amount of health, wellness, peace, love, and happiness.