Health Through the Seasons: Autumn

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Happy Fall Equinox! Today marks the first day of Autumn and as the leaves start to change colour, so too does our awareness of a change in the Season – both internally and externally. Living on the West Coast it means welcoming the rain, the dampness and a darkening of the days. For our bodies, this shift can initiate the first cold or flu, remind us of the joint stiffness that all but fades over the warmer months, and even create some disruption to our digestion.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we are in a symbiotic relationship with our environment; neither separate from, nor in control of it. This macrocosm serves as a reflection of our individual microcosm, and thus, by looking to what surrounds us we can be given helpful clues about how to stay in sync with the natural world and cultivate health through the seasons. The Fall Equinox marks the transition from Late Summer to Autumn which is reflected by the shift from the Earth Element to the Metal Physically, it is a time of year when the body starts to slow down from the dynamic movement of the Summer. It’s a time to pause and literally ‘take stock’. Energetically, the Lungs and Large Intestine correspond to the Metal Element and encourage a ‘letting go’ and release of that which we no longer need (Large Intestine) in order to give rise and space for that which ‘inspires’ us (Lungs).

Climactically, cold, damp and wind are influences to guard against through proper dress, appropriate activity and diet. We can start by introducing more warming foods to our diet – ginger, garlic, fennel, soups, stews, congees and kitcharee. Similarly, we can look to attuning our lifestyle habits towards those that are more nourishing and supportive to our system.

Feeling like you’ve caught a chill? Here’s a simple TCM recipe for dispelling the first signs of a cold

Boil several slices of ginger root and water, add 1-2 green onions.

Cook together and drink hot.

Hope this finds you well!

Lesley Ormiston, R.TCM.P

Soma’s Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner

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