20 Mar Traditional Chinese Medicine and Autumn
Hi all, Amy here, tonika health’s acupuncturist! Thank gosh it’s autumn and we can slow down. It’s a time when fast feverish spring and energetic outgoing summer are both over…when we can have some downtime…and read that book (finally!). So, traditional Chinese medicine and autumn…what are they about?
Autumn is beautiful pivotal season between the Yang, active and out there season of summer and the more Yin or introverted season of winter. In autumn, we begin to rebalance from being outside, outgoing and on the go. Instead, we start spending more time inside with introverted pursuits, having a sense of stillness and even some time alone.
The cooler air at night makes snuggling up in bed much more appealing than being out and about (and if we are about, it’s time to bring our jackets along!). Autumn makes us calmer and cooler. It’s at this time we stop, reflect, take stock and begin pace ourselves in preparation for winter.
How do the spirit and mind prepare for winter ?
According to traditional Chinese medicine, autumn focuses on the lungs and large intestine. Spiritually, these let us tune into what we want to have (by breathing it) and what we want to let go of (by defecating) before we go into our most reflective time of the year during winter.
It’s a time when, consciously or subconsciously, we’ll be considering life in terms what we want in, and also what we want out. Here, you may want to reflect on what brings value to your life and what serves you.
Unlike summer, which can be time of social exuberance, during autumn we’re more likely to want spend time with the people we feel most connected to with love and enrichment. This is a natural part of the distilling process in the lead up to winter.
So enjoy your own space and endeavor company with those enrich you!
How does the body prepare for winter…and how can we support it?
The lungs and large intestine are key organs for both immunity and digestion. Keeping the lungs strong is key to being resilient for winter. In particular, dryness is a key issue during autumn, which can compromise the lungs and mean we’re more susceptible to getting colds. The dryness of autumn may show up in symptoms of dry skin and lips. To combat dryness and avoid a lung imbalance, we can add more moistening foods such as seeds like flax, nuts (particularly almonds), mushroom, sweet potato, spinach, avocado, pears, apples and tahini.
The large intestine is also key, and in autumn it’s important we strengthen it in preparation for winter. Cooked foods and longer cooking styles are better in autumn, as we no longer need to cool the body like we did in summer. Think broths, soups and casseroles, rather than salads, stir fries and cold food. Here’s my favourite Chicken soup, and I also love this roasted pumpkin soup by our friendly front-of-desk and nutrition student, Nina Kingsford-Smith.
Enjoy autumn, it’s beautiful! If you need a little more help to balance yourself, acupuncture is an excellent way to help. If you’d like to find out more, feel free to contact me at [email protected] or book an appointment here.