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Stay Healthy This Fall With Traditional Chinese Medicine

The Fall season is the beginning of what Traditional Chinese Medicine calls the “yin cycle”.

In comparison, Summer focuses more on external things such as travel and outdoor activities. Summer is ruled by the element Fire.  In contrast Fall is a time for organizing one’s life for the winter season ahead. Fall is ruled by the Metal element. Fall becomes more of a time to focus inside one’s body and mind to reflect on one’s life. Daylight lasts less than twelve hours per day in most locales. Fruits and vegetables are harvested for for winter. We pull out the warmer clothes for the cooler, darker days of winter.

The lung and large intestine are the internal organs related to Fall and the Metal element.

Sleep is an important aspect of staying healthy in the Fall. The ancient civilizations advised people to retire early at night and rise with the crowing of the rooster during the autumn. While most of us do not have roosters that crow in the morning, the message is still clear — we need more rest in the Autumn than we may have needed in the Summer.

Lungs are considered by Oriental medicine to be the “tender organ” of the Fall season. This is because the lung is the uppermost organ in the body and especially susceptible to wind and cold. During the change in Fall temperatures, be sure to dress for the weather. Especially in warmer climates such as we have in Arizona, it is easy to continue wearing sandals and shorts long into the fall and winter — be careful to dress appropriate for the weather and not to let your wardrobe become  an open invitation for coughs, sore throats, and the common cold.

The lungs control the circulation of what Traditional Chinese Medicine calls the “Wei-Qi”. This is the defensive Qi that protects a person 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.

The nose is the opening to the lungs. Keeping one’s nose and sinuses clean and clear can help prevent colds. Using a netti-pot with some sea salt and water helps eliminate excess mucus from the nose. If you suffer from a runny nose or sinus infections, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are wonderful for alleviating that problem.

A person’s diet greatly affects the health of their lungs.

Eating excess cold and raw foods creates dampness or phlegm which is produced by the spleen and stored by the lungs. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, cream, and butter also create phlegm, while moderate amounts of pungent foods like garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, and mustard are beneficial to the lungs. Autumn is a good time to break out the recipe books for stews and soups. The body likes these type of foods in the Fall season more than the salads of Summer, which it needed then.

The transition from Summer to Fall is a time when a person’s “Qi” is unstable. Now is the time to strengthen your Qi to prepare for winter and get a “tune-up” from your licensed acupuncturist to strengthen your immune system.

Consider making an appointment with us at Acupuncture Alternatives  for a “seasonal tune-up”. Let us help you stay healthy.  Call us at 480-671-5178.


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