Falling For Autumn
By Patty Jones, LAc, MSTOM, Dipl. OM, DCCM, PharmD., RPh
Autumn/Fall is the season of maturing and harvesting. This is the time when crops, our nourishment, are gathered and stored for the long winter ahead. Leaves change color and fall to earth, and animals gather nuts and other food to prepare to hibernate. Like the harvest, the body also gathers and stores the Qi and blood in fall. In addition, outward Yang energy begins to give way to the internal Yin within the body.
Chinese Medicine assigns all aspects of nature and all body processes to one of five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Autumn is assigned to the metal element. The metal element includes dryness, the acrid/pungent flavor, the color white, the lungs and large intestines.
As the days get shorter and the air gets cooler, people begin to have the urge to bundle up. While it is important to protect the neck and head from the cooler air by wearing a light scarf and hat, don’t layer up too fast. Slowly adding layers will allow the body to adjust to the cooler temperatures and will prevent excessive sweating. This is important to preserve yin and body fluids, which can be lost through sweating. It is recommended to go to bed early to avoid the chilly evenings and to increase rest time. But that doesn’t mean to sleep in late. It is not time to hibernate yet! Get up early to enjoy and breathe in the fresh morning air.
Diets should also change with the season. Begin to incorporate foods that moisten the lung, such as pear, apple and daikon radish. In addition, consume foods that nourish the spleen, which is the center of the organ network. Those foods include congee, yams, potato, carrots, pumpkin, nuts and squash. Also, include beverages such as juice, tea and water to preserve body fluids.
Most importantly, continue self-care. As the days get shorter and the nights longer, activity decreases, and people tend to become more prone to grief and depression. Meditation, Qi Gong and most importantly acupuncture, will help the body navigate the dry and darkening days of autumn and prepare for the short, colder days of winter.
Patty Jones, LAc, MSTOM, Dipl. OM, DCCM, PharmD., RPh, is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Diplomate of Acupuncture, Diplomate of Canonical Chinese Medicine, Doctor of Pharmacy and a Registered Pharmacist. You can schedule an appointment with Patty by calling A Touch of Ginger at (630) 299-3464 or click here to schedule an appointment online.