It's that time of year when nights become longer, colors change, and nature shows us the beauty in letting go. Autumn is a season where we find ourselves a little more serious than the carefree energy of summer. In traditional Chinese medicine, this is a time for putting things into order, communication, setting limits, and protecting boundaries. It's also a time for beginning more introspective and indoor projects.
The Lung and Large Intestine are the internal organs related to autumn. The Lung is associated with the feeling of sadness or a difficulty in letting go. It is considered a tender organ, meaning it is the uppermost internal organ and very susceptible to wind and cold. The Lungs also control the circulation of our protective energy, similar to immunity, which helps defend us against colds and flus.
Pressing at the Lung's source point on the wrist is a wonderful way to help with the transition from summer to autumn, as well as to strengthen the functions of the Lungs. To find this point, have your palms facing up and locate the slight depression at the wrist crease closer to your thumb. The point is between the radial artery and the tendon (abductor policis longus). Press here on both wrists for a few minutes per day. Some indications for this point are cough, asthma, bronchitis, shortness of breath, wheezing, or heavy feeling in the chest.
If you're feeling like this isn't enough for you or your finding it difficult to let something go, schedule an appointment with your acupuncturist to tune up your energy and provide extra support!
The ability to adapt to the stresses of life is fundamental to life itself. Adaptability is the root of evolution and the rate limiting factor to biological success. Fortunately, human beings are one of the most adaptable creatures on earth. We have adapted to almost every climate. People live in some of the hottest, driest, dampest, coldest, and most barren parts of the earth.
In this age, a healthy person easily adapts to a wide range of normal stressors, such as changes in weather, nutrition, emotions, or physical activity. Success could be measured by how well we handle stress. Those who manage stress well generally take on greater challenges, overcome more obstacles, and get more accomplished.
Successfully adapting to change is the truest way to grow in experience, knowledge, and wisdom. The more adaptive an individual, the more vigor with which one can meet the challenges of life, and the greater that person's heath.
But if we lose this fundamental ability, we stiffen and lose our ability to change. Therefore, we easily become imbalanced and stagnant, and dangerously susceptible to disease.
Traditional Chinese medicine emphasizes the importance of flowing with nature's changes; constantly harmonizing, always maintaining balance to avoid the extremes. By knowing when you have gone far enough, you will lead a less stressed, less draining life. Additionally, by living close to nature and changing gracefully with your environment, you can avoid disaster and slow down aging.
One of the greatest secrets of a satisfying and happy life, according to traditional Chinese medicine wisdom, is to focus on promoting health instead of managing disease. Physical health is irrelevant if it is accompanied by unhappiness, trouble, or failure. It is necessary and possible to cultivate an attitude of holistic health so the body, mind, and spirit can flourish. Total success takes determination, knowledge, and discipline.
But we don't have to do it alone. While we already have excellent adaptive systems in place, such as the work done by our liver, kidneys, and digestive tract, sometimes we can use a tune up to function optimally. Regular acupuncture and tonic Chinese herbs are wonderful resources to promote physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Traditional Chinese medicine can help you look and feel your best. Try out a system of healing that's full of wisdom and perfect for the modern age.
Inspiration: The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs, Ron Teeguarden
It’s that time of year again where we put on our cozy sweaters, huddle indoors, and indulge in the festive flavors of the season. But what should we eat to nourish the body for the coming spring?
The colder months are perfect for slowing down, resting, and becoming introspective. And the foods we eat also play a critical role in the conservation and rebuilding of energy this time of year.
When you think of autumn and winter, think of warm foods.
Soups, roasted vegetables, and slow cooker meals are excellent ways to nourish and rebuild the body’s energy and immune system. Foods also contain different energetic properties. For that reason, in addition to warming food through preparation, it is important to eat foods that are warm in quality as well.
Here are some guidelines for choosing foods, based in the principles of traditional Chinese medicine.
· The slower it grows, the warmer it is. This includes root vegetables, fennel, spring onion, cabbage, and winter squash.
· Choose reds, oranges, and yellows. Foods that are warm in color also warm the body. Examples are red apples (rather than green), cherries, corn, pumpkin, and red meat. But don’t be fooled by bell peppers, tomatoes, and bananas. These are actually cold in nature.
· Keep it spicy. Ginger, garlic, nutmeg, cinnamon, onion, turmeric, and cloves are some of the wonderful spices available for the colder months. Any spices that taste warm are warming to the body.
· No to raw foods. While smoothies and salads are packed with nutrients, these cold foods are too hard on the body this time of year if consumed consistently. A general rule is to have 75% of foods be cooked and warm.
Bonus: Ginger-Carrot Soup
One of the most delicious flavor combinations I know of is carrot and ginger. Ginger is a wonderful digestive aid that strengthens the upper GI lining, reduces nausea and vomiting, and has strong anti-inflammatory effects, The carotenes in carrots strengthen the immune system and help maintain healthy skin and hair.
Autumn is a time when nature rids itself of what is no longer needed. Leaves fall from the trees to compost and enrich the soil, ensuring that the upcoming spring will have the nutrients needed to flourish. It is also a time to harvest the abundance that grew during the summer to store up for the winter.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the season of autumn is a time to organize, work hard, and finish the projects you began in the spring and summer. This is because autumn is associated with the metal energy, governing the mind, organization, setting and protecting boundaries, and order. While the summer was spent in more external activities, the autumn is a time where we tend to be more introspective. It is a time to contemplate our lives and prepare for the winter season ahead.
Emotionally, autumn is associated with grief and sadness. Therefore, it is important to let go of lingering negative emotions, which can impact health more strongly during this time.
Physically, autumn corresponds to the lungs, skin, and large intestine. These organs are responsible for respiration, digestion, and elimination. Common imbalances manifest as frequent colds and sinus infections, shortness of breath, dryness, skin issues, and constipation.
A beautiful aspect of traditional Chinese medicine is as a tool to live harmoniously with the seasons. To fully enjoy and benefit from the energy of autumn, consider a traditional Chinese medicine treatment.
Thoughts and practical tips to help you look and feel your best based in the wisdom of Chinese medicine.
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