Summer is over, the warmer weather has left us, the kids are back to school, and the season is definitely changing. The summer used to be my favorite season growing up for many reasons. I spent about 10 years in warmer climates (Florida & San Diego), which left me missing the change in seasons. Sure, there is a slight shift in temperature and schedules change, but there is nothing like the autumn season in New York. I have lived back home on Long Island for nearly 10 years now and each year I love the fall more and more.
There is an energy to each season. In Chinese medicine theory, the organ systems are divided into pairs that correlate with different seasons and elements. For example, the fall is the season that corresponds to the element of metal. Metal involves the organs Lung and Large Intestine. Emotions are also associated with the different individual organs. The lung/large intestine are paired organs and associated with grief or sadness. The actions of the lungs are to take in the new, while the action of the large intestine is to empty and release waste( let it go).
Autumn is the season where many people tend to catch colds easily and/or deal with respiratory issues. Being that the fall is the season of the Lung/Large intestine, it is the most important time to protect yourself from the elements. I will go over some simple ways to do this later on. As the weather changes, people naturally tend to be inside more. This allows for people to become more introspective and search within if there are any emotions that need to be dealt with. Once an uncomfortable emotion or issue arises, it is important to then be able to let it go. I think the significance of the physical and emotional functions of these paired organs (Lung/Large Intestine) is amazing. You can’t have one without the other: the taking in and the letting go. It is part of nature and also part of the reality of being human.
Here are some helpful tips to get through this Autumn successfully:
- Diet– from a Chinese medicine point of view, it is important to shift the types of foods you are eating to correspond to the correct season. Now that the hot weather is gone, it is a good time to ditch the cold juices, salads, smoothies, and raw food. The best way to get good nutrients from vegetables this season is to steam, sautée, and cook them. There are certain foods that are known for being nourishing to the lung organ such as pungent foods. These include onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, radish, chili, and cardamom. Spices that are warming can simply be added to your food, soups, and salads.
- Acupuncture– getting regular acupuncture treatment ensures that your body is staying in harmony. There are also acupuncture points that help nourish your organs and buildup immunity.
- Move-it is a great time to take walks outside, go hiking, and enjoy the colors/smells this season has to offer.
- Breathe-wait, don’t we just to that naturally? I’m sure you know that sometimes when you are stressed or grieving you don’t fully breathe in. Our breathing tends to be shallow and stuck in our chest, but when we focus on our breathe we can use our minds to breathe deeper. It is in this deeper breathing that we can help cleanse our internal organs, detoxify, and stay in harmony.
- Keep your neck covered– it is a known fact the wind and cold elements can easily enter in through the neck and upper back. Peek your head in any acupuncture school classroom and you will see students and teachers wearing scarfs.
- Enjoy your friends and family. Be grateful for what you have. Roll with the changing of the seasons.
- Get oily– there are many essential oils that can help keep your immune system strong as well as alleviate the symptoms that come along with the season such as headaches, congestion, sadness, etc.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1