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September 8th, 2013

<em>“In autumn, all things in nature reach their full maturity. The grains ripen and harvesting occurs. The heavenly energy cools, as does the weather. The wind begins to stir. This is the changing or pivoting point when the yang, or active, phase turns into its opposite, the yin, or passive, phase. One should retire with the sunset and arise with the dawn. Just as the weather in autumn turns harsh, so does the emotional climate. It is therefore important to remain calm and peaceful, refraining from depression so that one can make the transition to winter smoothly. This is the time to gather one’s spirit and energy, be more focused, and not allow desires to run wild. In the fall it is important to conserve.”</em> Huang Di Nei Jing, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine

Following the ideas of Chinese medicine, living in harmony with nature leads to good health. The external world is a metaphor for the internal landscape. Autumn is a time where the trees burst into brilliant flame, before the world goes dormant in winter. In agriculture, the summer is a time of production, of fruitfulness, but now in the fall, it is time to gather in, to stock up, and to conserve. We can take this metaphor into how we spend our energies at this time of year – it is not the time to take up new projects and to work long hours, but rather to get a bit more rest, to eat more warming foods and reflect a little bit before the winter sets in.

The Lung is the organ associated with the autumn season. In the autumn, the wind picks up, and in Chinese medicine, wind is the cause of many different diseases. It is interesting to note that the bacteria and viruses that we know of in biomedicine actually exist all year round, but for some reason, colds and flus tend to affect us most in the fall and winter. Acupuncturists have long observed that when the wind and the cold increase, we are more susceptible to catching colds. If we spend too much of our energy at this time of year staying up late and working on projects, we don’t have enough energy to fight off the wind and the cold. In ancient times, a lot of attention was paid to living in harmony with the seasons, but in modern life, adjusting to these natural rhythms has fallen by the wayside. Get good rest and eat good foods. Lifestyle changes can for the most part keep us healthy, but if you do need an immune boost, using acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help to stave off a developing cold, or a series of treatments can help you get through the cold and flu season!

I hope you’ve been making the best of these beautiful days of fall!