By Kristen Mattisson, LAc, EAMP, LAc
Fall is upon us. The long days of summer are behind us. Autumn is a time of transition. This is the time of year where change is very apparent all around us. The bright leaves changing color remind us that it is time to start preparing for winter. After presenting us with the beautiful warm colors of season, the leaves begin to fall and further prepare and conserve the energy for the tree for the upcoming months.
According to Chinese Medicine, Autumn/Fall is the season of the Metal Element, purging, setting boundaries and nurturing. The climate factor associated with Autumn is dryness. The Lung and Large Intestine are the yin/yang meridians associated with the Metal Element. The lung is responsible for taking in the new. This manifests physically breathing in the crisp clean fall air and filling out lungs for oxygen. The large intestine being a digestive organ is responsible for physically letting go of waste.
Grief and Sadness are the emotions that arise when there is dis-ease in these organs. When there is an imbalance or you experience an emotional grief you may have difficulty coping with the loss or change, may experience alienation and prolonged sadness. With this weakness in the lung qi, you may experience a hard time “letting go of people, objects, and spend time in the past. With prolonged and unresolved lung qi deficiency you may have weakened immune and experience frequent colds/illness. The paired organ to the lung is the large intestine along with the grief one can experience constipation or dry stools (remember having a hard time of letting go). On the contrary, when you are in a balanced state, the lungs are associated with clear thinking, communication, openness to new ideas and positive self-image.
In conclusion, just as nature is transitioning, it is a good time to tend to our internal environment; it is also a beneficial time to move through grief and let go of any resentment holding us back. As we prepare for the slowness and stillness of the upcoming winter months, Fall is our time to nurture our internal health.
DIETARY and Lifestyle GUIDELINES FOR Fall
- BREATHE DEEPLY
- Take a walk in the cool crisp air.
- Wear a scarf and protect your neck- in Chinese medicine- we call the neck the “wind gate” and as the weather cools, this area can be vulnerable to external wind invasion resulting in the common cold.
- Avoid excessive raw foods and relish in the warming foods that are in season: root vegetables, hearty stews, pears, apples.
- Incorporate good Autumn foods: Garlic, onions, sweet potatoes, squash, vinegar, pickles, pumpkin, asparagus, cinnamon, cardamom, pear, pumpkin, walnuts and almonds
- Fall cleaning is a good time to organize and physically let go of things that we no longer need. De-clutter your home, car and mind. Let go of things that no longer serve you.
- Let go of negative thoughts: again this is the season of letting go, move through grief rather than being stuck.
- Daily Dry Brushing: to help detox the body, remove dry skin, improve circulation and engage the lymphatic system. Using a firm natural bristle use short gentle strokes towards the heart along the entire body starting by the feet. The skin should be dry and will turn pink, this is ok.
Kristen Mattisson is an East Asian Practitioner and an Acupuncturist practicing at Tree of Health Integrative Medicine. To schedule an appointment with her, call (425) 408-0040