Autumn, in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Autumn is the beginning of the yin cycle. It’s a season of harvest. We get what we planted during spring, fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts.
Summer was ruled by the fire element, we were going outside, traveling, wake up early, sleeping late. It was an active period.
On the other hand, now we are organizing our life for the winter season, we are coming back to ourselves, spending more time home, reflecting on our life, sleeping more.
With this shift of season, our mood, health, body are changing as well.
In my consultations I have more people with lungs problems, getting colds, coughing, dry skin and lips, eczema and psoriasis.
On a mental plan I am assisting people to let go, to go through a grieving process they might not have totally done the previous months.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this is the season of Metal element.
This element is dealing with deeper concerns, “What is my life path?” “Who am I?”.
The emotion connected with Metal is grief and sadness.
We have to let go of what no longer serves us, of the abundance of summer.
The Lungs are attached to grief and sadness, attachment.
The Large Intestine is the inability to let go, the attachment, stagnation.
The organs of autumn, connected with the metal element are the Lungs and the Large Intestine.
The Lungs are receiving the oxygen and eliminating the waste from cells. The Large Intestine is letting go of the elements the body doesn’t need and receives the water needed.
It is connected with the spiritual nature of the season. We RECEIVE, with the harvest season but we LET GO of what no longer serves us, of our grieve.
“The lungs control the circulation of the Wei-Qi, which is the defensive Qi that protects you from the invasion of flu and colds. The Wei-Qi circulates on the surface between the skin and muscles and works to warm the body. If the Wei-Qi is weak, the skin and muscles will not be warmed properly. This is why people tend to feel cold when they're sick. A weakness in the lungs can lead to a weakness in the Wei-Qi, making a person prone to frequent colds.”
· Organize your life, make list of what to be done. Do not focus on what is left but rather on what you have already done.
· Practice letting go. The trees are letting go of their leaves. You should let go of all the hurts and resentments. Write them all on papers. Forgive yourself, others and situations that weigh you down. Then burn the paper and see how light is the smoke out of it.
· Create time for meditation and relaxation. Autumn is the time when we are coming back to ourselves, time of cleaning our mind to access higher spirituality.
If you don’t know how to meditate you can just lie down and listen some relaxing music.
· Cleanse your body. You can do a little fasting to give time to your body to eliminate some toxins. But do not fast long. The best is to avoid refined sugar and white flour that clog up the bowels and lead to constipation.
· Drink water. As autumn is associated with dryness, we have to hydrate ourselves. It also promotes bowel movements.
· Breathing exercises. They are strengthening the Lungs, increase our Qi and calm the mind. Focus on long exhalations. Inhale the clean autumn air, feel yourself energized and purified.
· Maintain exercice. Exercice promotes the flow of Qi, releases endorphins that make you feel happy, strengthen lungs with correct breathing, help to have a well balances mood. Qi Gong will increase your vitality, help you with the breathing practice, improve joint flexibility, muscle strength, it is believed to increase longevity, calm the mental and emotional stress.
· Clean your nose and sinuses. The nose is a direct door to the lungs. Use a netti pot every day to help getting rid of the excess of mucus.
· Get enough sleep. Sleep is regenerative and supports the immune system.
· Clean your home. It is time to make some space, to let go. Open your closets and give or sell all what you don’t need anymore. Do the same for all what you store in your house but no longer need.
· Unresolved emotions. It is time to heal your old wounds. Forgive yourself and others, let go any negative feeling, resolve what need to. The unresolved emotions can lead to imbalance in Lungs and Large Intestine. Become as light as the fallen leaves.
· Wear a scarf. Even a light one if the weather is warm but windy. It will protect your lung and throat.
Autumn has a downward movement. Down the earth are the growth of root vegetables. After the raw food of summer, we now need to wat warmer, to cook meals.
The Taste of Autumn, in TCM is pungent. Garlic, ginger, cinnamon, curry, chilli. It is helping the Qi to flow. And the sweat is helping to release pathogens. Beware never eat in excess. It is all about balance.
Here as some Autumn food you should include in your meals.
Horseradish / wasabi
Garlic & onion
Orange vegetables (pumkin, carrots)
Fermented foods (yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh, kefir)
Walnuts & Chestnuts
Lemons and Limes
Apples & Pears
Spices: bay leaves, black pepper, chili, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, rosemary
Dark, leafy winter greens (kale, chard, mustard greens)
Soups (warm) & stews
Foods to minimize are those that create coolness and dampness, such as:
Non fermented dairy products.