With cooler days and leaves turning shades of orange and gold ~ we know that autumn is here. It’s a season of transition, when nature shifts from the summer’s warmth, light and abundance to the cold, dark starkness of winter.
In Chinese medicine, autumn is linked with the metal element and the large intestine (yang) and lung (yin) organs. They are elegantly paired; one eliminates wastes, while the other receives chi (energy). We let go of the old to make way for the new.
The Chinese culture also looks at a person’s emotional or spiritual level. Holding onto old beliefs, judgments and negative thoughts can pollute our speech, our relationships, and our basic sense of self worth. If we don’t let go of what is complete, we won’t be able to move on to the next phase.
Many ancient cultures, not just the Chinese, link inhalation with inspiration. The lungs manage our body’s protective energy, helping us to fend off the wind and cold that are accompany the seasonal change. When this energy is weak, colds and flus develop. More wind causes aridity: dry lungs, cough, and skin. The skin, known in Chinese medicine as the “third lung,” can fail in its capacity to eliminate, which can lead to acne, psoriasis or eczema.
The emotion associated with metal is grief and sadness. If there is a death, on any level, a suitable quantity of grieving should happen. Then, there is an appropriate time for the sorrow to end. If weeping lungs sigh too long, a person can become drained; and this leads to fatigue.
This season is also a good period to clean your house, eliminating what is no longer of importance. Trees shed their leaves, riding themselves of items no longer of use. Yet people will clutter their home to such an extent that they don’t even know how to find the things that are important to them. If you have trouble purging yourself of unnecessary belongings, hire a personal organizer to help.
Steps to consider during autumn:
- Boost your exercise level — or any activity that increases your breath.
- Consume foods that complement the seasonal change to go inward, especially as we head towards winter. Such foods are often sour: pickles, vinegar, lemons, limes and grapefruit. Other such foods to consider: yogurt, plums, apples, and rose hip tea. To fight the dryness try barley, whole oats, millet, sweet potatoes and yams, seaweeds, almonds, pine nuts, eggs, persimmons and pears.
- Hydrate — drink lots of water
- Less is better — Let the shedding of autumn nourish the soul.