In ancient times those people who understood Tao (the way of self cultivation) patterned themselves upon the Yin and the Yang (the two principles in nature) and they lived in harmony”, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine.
Our days are starting to shorten and finally we are experience a cooling in the air after our long, hot dry summer. We will find ourselves becoming a little more serious and a little less carefree than in summer, this is because our energy begins to draw in thorough out autumn to prepare for winter. Autumn is the time of collection and preparation for when our energy circulates deeper within the body over winter, our activity should begin to decrease to match the deepening of our energies.
According to Traditional medicine, the season of autumn is associated with the element of Metal, which governs organization, order, communication, setting limits and letting go. It’s a good time to finish projects, organize yourself, your living spaces and prepare to become more introspective in the coming winter, where the energy of this season promotes these actions.
The lung and large intestine are the internal organs related to autumn and the Metal element. The Lung is associated with the emotion of letting go and grief, relates to the skin and respiratory system and has a dispersive function. Because the lung is the uppermost organ in the body and is the only Yin organ that opens to the exterior, it is especially susceptible to wind and cold which can trigger coughs, sore throats, and the common cold. The transition from summer to autumn is a time when the Lung energy can be caught out and become instable making it easier to catch the common cold, coughs or the flu. Now is the time to strengthen your energy to prepare for winter and get a “tune-up” from your acupuncturist to strengthen your immune system.
Other conditions we commonly see in autumn are skin and respiratory conditions. Because we have just experienced an abnormally, dry, hot, long Summer we are sure to see the kick back in clinic as we enter deeper into the season. When summer is so dry, it effects the way the lung functions. The dispersive function of the lung becomes diminished and heat collects. This heat can spread to the skin or the airways causing eczema, rashes or cough and asthma related symptoms to name a few. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine should be able to rectify the organ pathology that manifests due to seasonal triggers.
Our diets also influence the health of our lungs. Eating too much cold and raw foods, leads to dampness or phlegm, which is produced by the spleen and stored by the lungs. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, cream, and butter also can create phlegm, while moderate amounts of pungent foods like garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, and mustard are beneficial to the lungs.
“There was temperance in eating and drinking. Their hours of rising and retiring were regular and not disorderly and wild. By these means the ancients kept their bodies united with their souls, so as to fulfill their allotted span completely, measuring unto a hundred years before they passed away.” Huang Ti Nei Jing Su Wen