The weather changed as if a switch went off. There’s a chill in the air and the days are getting shorter. According to Oriental medicine, autumn is associated with the Metal element, which governs organization, precision, boundaries, order, communication, the mind, and letting go. Now is a good time to finish projects that you began in spring and summer and shift your energy towards indoor and introspective projects.The lungs and large intestine are the internal organs associated with autumn and the Metal element. The Lungs are associated with inhalation and exhalation; of taking experiences in and letting them go. It’s even hard for some people to let go of summer. They mourn the long days of sun and warmth. Others love autumn. The crisper air and bright colors can feel refreshing. Fall is a time of organizing your life for the winter season ahead and becoming more reflective.
If letting go of summer is hard for you, extra support from your licensed acupuncturist may be in order to help you make the transition. That’s right; acupuncture works on releasing emotional issues as well as physical ones.
Here are five simple tips to help you stay well this fall:
1.Take care of your respiratory system:
In Chinese medicine, the Lungs are called the “tender organ.” This is because the lungs are the organ closest to the outside of the body and are especially vulnerable to wind and cold. When the weather changes temperature, wear a scarf and don’t get a chill. It’s a perfect intersection of Chinese theory, common sense and Jewish mom-dom. Breathing deeply and walking briskly in the cool air are wonderful ways to tonify the lungs.
The lungs control and circulate the defensive Qi that protects you from the invasion of flu and colds. Called Wei Qi, it circulates on the surface between the skin and muscles and warms the body. If the Wei Qi is weak, the skin and muscles will not be warmed properly. This is why people tend to feel cold when they’re sick. A weakness in the lungs can lead to a weakness in the Wei Qi, making a person prone to frequent colds.
The nose is the opening to the lungs. It is easy to prevent colds by keeping your nose and sinuses clean and clear. Use a Neti pot daily. If you suffer from a runny nose or sinus infections, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are wonderful for alleviating that problem.
2. Let go and move forward:
Pain and loss scatter the qi of the chest. Work to create a simple rhythm of taking experiences in and letting them go. Release negativity and hurt. Breathe it out and watch new energy flow in.
3. Clean the house, declutter and unload:
This is a wonderful way to use the strength of the metal season. Many of my patients are enjoying The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizingby Marie Kondo, however, I enjoy the cheekier website and app UnF*** your habitat
4. Sleep More:
Ancient literature advises us to retire early and awaken early during autumn to stay well. Keep your immunity up by allowing your body to rest well.
5. Eat foods that support your health:
No matter what the season, Chinese medicine cautions against eating too much cold and raw food, especially as the weather chills. Spicy or acrid flavors enter the lung channel, so try to include foods such as garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, and mustard in your diet. Minimize dairy, which can be congesting. The lungs are easily affected by dryness, so we like gentle moistening foods, like pears and black mushrooms.
Here’s a short list of foods that are beneficial:
Navy and Soybeans
Asparagus, Broccoli, Celery, Cucumber, Mustard Green, Onion, Radish
Apricot, Banana, Pear
Now is a perfect time to come in for a seasonal tune up to strengthen your Qi to prepare for winter.