Fall is the season of slowing down, contracting inward and beginning to store. It is the time to reserve our energy, to organize, set limits and heed boundaries. The endless energetic days of summer are over, we feel a call to refocus and shift inward. We also see this shift reflected in nature. Days are starting to shorten, leaves are turning, and crisp early mornings are becoming more frequent. As we adjust, so does nature.
Season of Dryness
It is also the season of dryness. In Chinese Medicine, the Fall is associated with the element of Metal. This element possesses the quality of healthy dryness, balancing the dampness of the Earth element. However, when the Metal element becomes out of balance, it has a tendency to move towards the extreme of its nature...you begin to feel dry. This can adversely affect each person individually, but some of the symptoms include dry cough, constipation, dandruff, dry skin and flare-ups of eczema, or a lack of moisture to your eyes, nose and mucous membranes.
The Body's Organs
Metal is also the organs of the lung and large intestine. These organs rule our ability to release and eliminate in a healthy way. Fall is the time to purify the body by letting go of anything that does not serve us. These organs also play a vital role in a strong immune system. In Chinese medicine, the lung circulates the "defensive qi" that protects the body from pathogenic invasions.
How to Maintain Balance
It is important to stay in balance with the dryness of the Metal element and support the lungs and large intestine organs during this season. Some helpful tips for Fall:
- Stay hydrated - it is important to combat the dryness by drinking plenty of water (no ice!). Enjoy a warm cup of water with lemon and honey every morning to start your day off right.
- Put on a scarf - you can catch a cold or flu through the back of your neck, as in Chinese medicine it is said that wind or cold can invade your body. Sounds like an old wives tale! But, I find covering up your neck with a scarf can make a big difference in maintaining your health.
- Get out in nature and breathe - open up those lungs and drink in the fresh air! Take a walk and relish in the change of the seasons.
- Eat warm foods - time to cook and incorporate seasonal vegetables as well as pungent food and spices like ginger, garlic, onions, horseradish, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and turmeric. Don't forget your bone broths!
- Use essential oils - there are many options out there to boost your immunity throughout the Fall season. Pick your favorite single oil or blend (Frankincense, Tea Tree, Vitality, Thieves, On Guard, etc.) and use daily.
- Regular acupuncture treatments - Acupuncture is an important avenue to stay healthy through the change of the seasons. It can help our body transition with more ease! And, don't forget at the first sign of a cold or flu...please come in for acupuncture!