by Matthew Richardson, R.Ac
With summer winding down and the days beginning to get shorter we can all feel fall just around the corner with its cool temperatures and windy days. The seasons in Chinese medicine are not events that are separate from us, but are integrated into our lives along with the internal changes of our mind and body (organ systems, emotional selves and habits we have formed). The change in our external environment reflects our internal changes in health and balance.
“In ancient times those people who understood Tao (the way of self cultivation) patterned themselves upon the Yin and the Yang (the two principles in nature) and they lived in harmony” The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine – approx. 475-221 BC
Our ability to change with the seasons is reflected in our health and happiness. When we are out of balance with the seasonal changes or when we are subject to additional life stresses, we can begin to manifest as symptoms such as common colds, aches and pains to more dramatic and chronic changes of our organ systems and emotional selves, our bodies are incredibly sensitive to the world around us.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help facilitate the transition of the body and mind into cooler temperatures. The lungs are closely associated with the Autumn season and can be easily affected by the cool, dry air. By stimulating the lungs with acupuncture we can increase our immune response and prevent worsening of symptoms. It will also regulate the mental/emotional changes required for us to become comfortable and successful for winter. An imbalance in the lungs can manifest in different ways. Here are 3 things to watch out for:
You easily catch colds, sore throats and flus:
Since the lungs are the only organ that is physically open to the outside environment extra care should be taken to help prevent colds, cough and flu.
You have skin issues:
The lungs are also associated with the skin and are responsible for properally providing enough moisture and nourishment for the skin be healthy. Any previous skin conditions like eczema, rashes or dryness, particularly on the upper body will be more prevalent in the fall season.
Your mood changes with the seasons (Seasonal Affective Disorder) :
Each organ in TCM is also associated with an emotion, the lungs are associated with sadness or grief. Autumn is a season where we experience the leaving behind of summer, letting go of the carefree freedom of the warm weather to transition to a more internal and concentrated self in autumn and winter. For many of us emotional change can be difficult, by nourishing the lungs and related organs and just being a space of self-care we can regulate and balance our emotional response.
The result is what we are all striving for, a healthier and happier winter with our time spent enjoying our friends and families, and concentrating on what we want to accomplish before the new year arrives.
So don’t spend the fall months fighting off another cold, when a few acupuncture “tune ups” will have you finishing projects instead of Kleenex boxes!