In traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we look at seasons and consider them as elements.
With each season, there are elements and meridians (channels) that correspond. During each season, we look at the meridians and elements and how they affect or correlate to both the physical and emotional aspects of our lives. One of the basic theories of Eastern Medicine is to look for a balance of the meridians and a balance between Yin and Yang. This is very similar to Western Medicine, where we look for homeostasis in the physiology of the body, like blood pressure and the PH
in the blood.
We are now going from the high energy and carefree attitudes of summer (Yang in nature) to the more serious and introspective energies (Yin) that are associated with Autumn. Autumn is the season when everything is starting to go in an inward contraction. Plants are dying off or hibernating, animals are burying their food, and humans are harvesting in preparation for the cold and dark winter months. This is the time of organization and setting boundaries. Finish up projects you have started in the spring and summer.
Focus on your internal feelings and cultivate your mind/body practice, becoming more introspective.
The energy associated with the lung is that of letting go, just like the trees letting go of the leaves. Become mindful of letting go of anything we may be holding onto and make room for new experiences.
The emotions attached to the lungs and large intestine are grief and sadness. The healthier aspects of the emotions are associated with clear thinking and communication, openness to new ideas, positive self-image, and just being able to let go and seek happiness. When the energy is stuck, stagnant in the meridians/channels, or out of balance, that is when negative emotions or physical ailments can take hold. You may have feelings of 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 and focusing on the present.
Fall/Autumn is the metal element.
The metal element represents cooler, dryer air and temperatures. The meridians associated with the fall season are the lung and large intestine. Autumn is the beginning of the cold, flu, and now COVID season. These upper respiratory infections are common illnesses that people contract and can be attributed to the drying out or inflammation of the mucus membranes of the nose, throat, and lungs. We tend to be indoors more, amongst others that may be sick or infectious.
The lung and large intestine meridian represent the skin, nose, sense of smell and hair. Other physical ailments we see this time of year are arm, hand, shoulder, neck, facial, tooth, and headache pains. We also see an increase in skin irritations like urticaria (itchiness), eczema, and/or psoriasis.
When the energy or Qi is moving freely, the physical and emotional aspects have more of a positive and therapeutic effect.
Some basic methods for staying healthy in Autumn are to moisten the lungs, throat, nasal membranes, and the body surface. This can be helped with simple things like diet, tea, and warming fluids.
Other ways to stay balanced during this season are listed below.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture can help balance and remove blockages in the meridians to let the body heal naturally for both physical and emotional issues.
- Breathe: Try taking a deep breath for 4 seconds, hold for 5-7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. This clears out negativity, resets the parasympathetic/sympathetic system, and increases vagal nerve tone, which is great for stress reduction as well as insomnia.
- Let go of negativity: Just becoming aware (mindfulness meditation) is a good start.
- Wear warmer clothes and scarves: Fall is the time for dry wind. Wind in Chinese medicine is responsible for many ailments.
Eat less cold foods and more warm foods.
Soups, stews, cooked vegetables, lentils, and beans are great this time of year. The large intestine meridian is also responsible for digestion; this is the time of year we see more constipation and intestinal upset. So, cooked vegetables, moistening foods, and warming herbs like garlic, cinnamon, ginger, onions, yogurt, and Mizo are all good things to add to the diet.
Don’t forget to get out and move.
The air is cooling, and it is a beautiful time of year to exercise outdoors. Take some nice long walks or runs, and try to stay present and aware as you do these things. Try to relax a bit more and incorporate some Mindfulness Meditation and Qi Gong.
If you have any questions on Acupuncture, Neuro-Acupuncture, Mindfulness Meditation, and Qi Gong, feel free to call the office or reach out to Dr. Greenapple via email. The Qi (energy) flows where the mind goes.