The fall season is officially here! While fall weather can vary dramatically by location, one sign of autumn is common in every climate: it’s dry.
So what does this seasonal change mean for you and your health?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), our physical condition is considered closely related to nature. In my acupuncture practice, I see a lot of patients with ailments related to dryness in autumn: dry skin conditions like eczema, dry eyes, dry lung issues like coughing, and even symptoms of dryness in the digestive system such as constipation. Why is this? In Chinese medicine, fall is associated with the large intestine and lungs – which, when out of balance, are tied to skin and digestive conditions, manifesting in symptoms in these areas of the body.
Acupuncture is an excellent option to help prevent and/or treat these seasonal ailments.
The goal of these acupuncture sessions is to renew the healthy flow of qi (a life-force energy) and restore the body to balance while boosting immunity and addressing each patient’s specific areas of susceptibility.
If any of the above symptoms sound familiar to you, consider giving acupuncture a try. And remember, the sooner any ailment is treated, the sooner it may be rectified.
Our bodies are organic, so internal balance may be achieved at home by aligning our lifestyle and diet habits with the natural environment around us. Eating seasonal foods and altering our sleep patterns to correspond with daylight hours are some of the examples of living in accordance with the seasons.
When it comes to nutrition, paying attention to the seasons and the environment that surrounds us is a powerful force of illness prevention.
Kara’s Tips to Preventing Seasonal Illnesses:
1. Slow down and align with the changes around you.
According to The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, a Chinese medical text, it’s best to move your bedtime an hour or two earlier and to rise an hour earlier. This corresponds with the time change and shorter days we see in the fall. In other words, this time of year it’s recommended to go to bed when it’s dark and rise when it’s light to maximize your exposure to the light of day, before the short days of winter are upon us.
2. Begin to turn your focus inward.
It is not recommend people start large new endeavors in the fall, or travel a lot. In Chinese medical theory, fall is a time to withdraw focus from the outside and to focus on daily life. This time of year is the transition between summer, when we are highly energetic, outdoors often and basking in the light and heat (and yang energy) of the sun, and winter when we turn all of our energy and focus inward and do as nature and engage in more hibernation-type (yin) behavior.
3. Eat seasonally and treat your food like medicine.
Acupuncturists often make nutritional recommendations to treat health complaints. For fall, sweet potatoes act as an immunity booster and moist foods, such as pears, are used to address dry skin. Green pears can also improve breathing issues and dryness in the lungs!
Acupuncturists can prescribe herbal formulas to treat health and immunity issues during autumn. These all-natural treatments are typically prescribed to suit the individual patient, as each herb has its own purpose and is assigned to treat a particular symptom.