For all the summer lovers out there, it’s time to hang up the bathers as we are entering autumn in Melbourne. It was a glorious summer with long sunny days spent at the beach soaking in all the Yang energy from the almighty sun. I like many others resist the change in temperatures as I long for an eternal summer, however we cannot know light without the dark like we can’t know heat without cold. So let us embrace all the seasons (most likely all 4 in one day in Melbourne) so we can love and appreciate all the gems they bring.
Living in harmony with the seasons is an important aspect of Chinese medicine theory – as our aim is to live in harmony with the wider world around us, which includes the climate. Chinese medicine has something to say about everything; so today I am going to share some insights into how Chinese medicine views the season of autumn and how we can maximise our health during this time.
In Chinese medicine, autumn is seen as yin with yang time of year. We are transitioning out of summer with its vibrant yang energy and feeling the slightly cooler and dry weather that is yin in nature.
Autumn is the season of harvest, a time to pull inwards and gather together. It is a time to take stock and prepare for the approaching stillness of winter. During autumn everything in nature contracts and moves its essence inwards and downwards. Leaves and fruit fall, seeds dry and the sap of trees returns to the roots. The earth’s grasses start to loose their deep green colour and turn lighter and drier.
In Chinese medicine, each organ system resonates with the energy of a season, for autumn it is the Metal element encompassing the Lung and Large Intestine. The energy of autumn creates dryness in nature and can also within our bodies, affecting the Lungs, the skin and the nose and the Large Intestine with our bowels.
Energetically the Lungs receive the qi of the air and mix it with the qi extracted from the food. This combination of qi and associated nutrients is then distributed throughout the body and is of particular importance in protecting the surfaces of the body (including mucous membranes and interior surfaces of the Lungs) form viruses, bacteria and other invading pathogens.
Healthy Lung energy is characterised by its ability to consolidate, gather together, maintain strength, and unify against disease at every level, including cellular immunity. The personality of people with strong Lung energy seem unified, are clear in their direction, create order, and are effective at what they do.
Grief and sadness are the emotions that can tax the energy of the Lungs in Chinese medicine. Grief that has been repressed can cause long-term contraction in the Lungs, which interferes with their function of dispersing nutrients and qi, and eventually the Lungs become congested with undistributed matter. As almost everyone has some degree of unexpressed sadness and grief; the autumn months can be the perfect time to address these emotions. Sharing feelings with others can be a useful way to dissipate these feelings and long deep breathing can also help to cleanse any lingering negative emotions and thoughts.
A guiding principal in Chinese medicine is that by living and harmonising yourself with the seasons, you are able to cultivate your health and prevent disease. A powerful way to help support and strengthen the Lungs during the autumn seasons is through diet. Concentrated foods and roots help to thicken the blood for the cooler weather to come. Foods to increase during autumn include sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, aduki beans, salt plums, rosehip tea, vinegar, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and sour varieties of apples, plums and grapes. During autumn it is useful to cook with less water and at a lower heat, for longer periods of time.
Regular Acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments are a fantastic way to support and strengthen the body and especially the Lungs during the autumn months. Your practitioner can guide you through lifestyle and dietary choices to best suit your health and wellbeing to thrive this autumn.
Lauren Curtain is a qualified Chinese Medicine practitioner, with a strong passion for all things Chinese Medicine, fertility and women’s health. She has been with Angea for over 2 years now, and her treatment style is known for patient empowerment and education. She creates a warm, loving and judgement free environment, and also provides realistic guidance both in diet and lifestyle. Her treatment techniques include a combination of Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, cupping, gua sha, moxibustion, Tui Na (Chinese Remedial Massage) and other TCM principles. Contact us on 9510 3700 to book an appointment.