Autumn & Chinese Medicine

The days are starting to get a little shorter, the air crisp and cooler.  Autumn has come.  While many use this time to start mourning the end of summer, winter is not here yet and fall is a wonderful time of year.

In Chinese medicine we often speak of how our internal environment is reflected and responds to our external environment. When the season starts to change you may notice a change in your own energy as well. Autumn is a time where the energy of the earth starts to turn inward. After putting forth all effort to grow and expand, to create and collect energy, now is a time to begin storage of that energy.  As the energy of the earth prepares to enter winter, so do our own bodies.  Many people start feeling the desire to slow down a bit more, wanting to go to bed earlier and sleep in later.  We start craving warmer foods, soups and stews.

According to the five element theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine fall is associated  with the lung and large intestine.  Just as summer was the time of fire, fall is the time of dryness.  It is common for those with lung weaknesses to experience more symptoms this time of year such as asthma symptoms, seasonal allergies affecting the lungs, and cough.  We also say the lung is related to the skin, and often can see dry skin and eczema starting to show up.

The lung is also related to the emotion of sorrow.  Signs of imbalance may include feelings of sorrow, grief or melancholy.

There are many things you can do to keep yourself healthy and strong as the seasons turn.  Start including more warm foods, such as soups and stews with plenty of root vegetables.  Steam pears to treat dry coughs.  Wear a scarf around your neck when going outdoors.  And finally, get to bed a bit earlier.  When we adjust our bodies to the season, we can stay healthy and strong.  Enjoy some hot cider and have a great fall!