Chinese Medicine tells us that living according to the seasonal flow will maintain health and promote longevity. In the Summer, we work hard and play hard and enjoy all the extra hours of the day. Now that it is Fall, it’s time to harvest all the work done during Summer, and start turning our focus inward. This season is less active, and more passive. With shorter, darker days, we are lead to sleep a bit more and restore ourselves after the busier, warmer months.
The five elements (fire, earth, metal, water, wood) each correlate to a season, and Autumn’s element is METAL. The organ systems that fall into the metal category are the Lungs and the Large intestine.
The lungs are in charge of the skin and their primary emotion is grief. It is normal to feel a mild amount of grief or somberness in this part of the year, where the days are shorter and darker. To support the Lung system, try breathing exercises such as Qi gong or meditation. This can help strengthen the lungs as well as balance emotions. The Lungs are considered the most vulnerable organ to external invasion, which we know in the West as ‘colds and flus’. To protect yourself, wear a scarf and cover the back of the neck, where the cold air is known to invade. Staying hydrated is as important this time of year as it is in the summer. The air is dryer and that can lead to dry skin, lips, scalp, and mucous membranes. Pears are in season now, and their skins are great at moistening dryness. Eat the fruit whole, or peel the skins and use to make a tea. Hydration is also important for the other metal element’s organ: The large intestine.
If you are prone to digestive sluggishness, make sure to keep your water intake up during the Fall months. The large intestine is in charge of “letting go” of what doesn’t serve us, whether that be waste or toxins that can hinder immunity, as well as old ideas and practices. It’s also time to let go of the excesses of Summer. As part of turning our focus inward, try making a list of priorities for the season, and let go of unnecessary projects, grudges, and tasks. Warm, cooked foods aid in digestion and support us through the colder months. Try roasted root vegetables with pungent flavors like garlic, onions, and ginger.
Acupuncture is a perfect tool to support ourselves through each season. Immunity, digestion, and emotional balance are just a few of the systems that Acupuncture can support.