A Guide to Feeling Your Best This Fall
What fall means for the body according to Traditional Chinese Medicine
In Chinese medicine, adjusting your habits to each new season is essential for maintaining good health throughout the year. In our modern society it’s easy to disassociate from nature, forgetting that we are connected to this planet in more ways than one. Observing the flow and changes around us during the different seasons gives us an idea of how we should be nourishing our body. In Autumn, leaves start to turn and fall and are recycled by the earth. Without this process of shedding the old, there is no room to welcome the change and to start afresh in spring.
Fall is a time to start focusing more on the inner-self and listening to what truly serves you. As nature slows down around us, it reminds us to set boundaries with how we spend our own time. It is a great time for introspection, so take these months to finish any projects you started in that fire-y state of Summer. To nourish your body in fall means to act in a state of tranquility.
Metal: The Element of Fall
In Chinese Medicine, each season is associated with an element and each element is associated with specific organs in the body. Fall’s element is metal which represents the lung and large intestine. As you probably already know, the lung is responsible for controlling our breathing and oxygen intake, but did you know it also governs our bodies Qi (energy) and helps regulates our water metabolism? Your lungs can also control the state of your complexion and sinuses. The colon’s main function is to eliminate waste and toxins from our system. If your body cannot properly eliminate waste then this causes imbalances in other areas, which can manifest into illness in different ways. Paying special attention to these two organs during fall can get you major brownie points in the health department if you follow a few simple guidelines.
GUIDELINES FOR FALL HEALTH
I talk a lot about “belly breathing” in my practice. A lot of us are what I call ‘shallow breathers’, which can lead to anxiousness, fatigue and tightness in the muscles. While you’re going about your day, check in with yourself to make sure you’re breathing deeply and methodically into the very bottom of your abdomen. Regular exercise is essential for the proper function of the lung and colon. By staying active on a regular basis you’re aiding in the support of both of these organs.
2. LET IT GO
According to Chinese medicine, the primary emotion associated with fall is grief. Now is the time to eliminate stagnant emotions, unhealthy attachments and to cleanse the mind and spirit. Resolving hurtful memories can prevent falling into a deeper sunken mental state during winter.
3. SPARK JOY
Take a page out of Marie Kondo’s way of life and get rid of unwanted or unneeded items. Fall is a time to organize. If something doesn’t “spark joy” in you, it might be time to give it a new home. Spring is synonymous with cleaning; however, fall may actually be a more suitable season to shed the inessentials.
4. MERIDIAN BALANCING
Acupuncture is one of the best ways to help guide your body into the right direction. Ask your Acupuncturist to pay special attention to the lung and large intestine meridians if you tend towards symptoms related to those organs.
5. WHAT TO EAT
Avoid eating cold and raw foods, this can create internal dampness and phlegm and add a strain on the digestion. Opt for warm, cooked foods that are cooked for longer period of time on a lower heat. Adding a teeny bit more salt to dishes can help move energy inward and downward which are the actions of fall.