Updated: Sep 8, 2019
Whilst we bid farewell to summer, we also welcome all the comfort and joy that fall has to offer. Fall marks a time to slow down, reflect and focus on our health. As the days become shorter and the temperature cools, we find ourselves changing our behavior and lifestyle in correspondence with the natural world. By living in harmony with the seasons, we allow ourselves to holistically take care of our health, happiness and wellbeing.
According to 5-Element Theory in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the fall season is related to the Metal element, which is attributed to the Lung and the Large Intestine meridians. The five TCM tips below will help you achieve your best health possible this fall season.
1. Remember To Wear A Scarf
Though it may seem simple, the importance of wearing a scarf during fall should not be overlooked. The back of our neck is the most Yang body part, which makes it the most vulnerable to cold and wind attacks. Keeping your neck warm during these cooler months is one of the best and simplest ways to keep your body warm. Scarves are also a beautiful addition to any outfit, making them a fashionable way to take care of your health.
2. Fuel Your Body With Seasonal Foods
Eating fresh and seasonal produce is a great way to support the body as it goes through cyclical changes with the seasons. Pungent flavor is related to the Metal element as it has a dispersing effect that helps the Lung and Large Intestine meridians in the excretion of waste from the body. Examples of pungent flavored food are ginger, scallion, radish and onions. Similarly, seasonal root vegetables such as parsnips, carrots, beetroots, pumpkin and leeks can help us stay grounded energetically. Root vegetables are typically rich in nutrients and complex carbohydrates. This promotes a steady 'slow burn' of glucose in the body and improves mental focus and physical endurance. Why not make a wholesome pumpkin and leek soup with ginger, or try a bed of roasted root vegetables with your choice of protein?
3. Focus On Your Breathing
As this Forbes article explains, breathing is directly related to our health. With the right technique and practice, we can improve our mental and physical wellbeing. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is by focusing on a longer exhale than inhale, in order to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. ‘Alternate nostril breathing' is also another great way to cleanse the Lung meridian. The most important thing to remember is to slow down and spend a little time every day to tune your focus inwards and listen.
4. Practice Lung + Large Intestine Meridian stretches
Habits form the foundations of our lives. Practicing healthy habits each day can help us improve our mood and sense of wellbeing holistically. During fall, practicing stretches for the Lungs and Large Intestine is a great way to improve circulation in those meridians on a daily basis. Examples of these stretches include the yoga poses of upward facing dog and camel pose; as well as Makko Ho stretches.
5. Slow Down After The Summer Season
Summer is a time full of adventure and activity. The sun encourages us to spend days swimming in the sea, soaking up a whole lot of vitamin-D and happiness. After summer, our bodies need time to rest and rejuvenate. That is exactly why fall is a time to reflect on the season that has been and embrace the cozier moments of life.
Consider taking care of your health this fall with regular acupuncture? Fall is synonymous with the flu season. With its ability to boost the immune system, acupuncture is the ideal therapy if you are looking to strengthen your immunity before flu season hits. Fall can also be a stressful time with your kids going back to school and year-end projects ramping up. Acupuncture has the effect of calming the nervous system, to help you relieve stress and improve sleep quality.
From an emotional and spiritual health perspective, the Lung and Large Intestine meridians are associated with grief/ sadness according to 5-Element Theory. This means that fall is a great time to work on releasing any residual grief you might be holding on to. The mind-body connection makes the human body the most fascinating machine in the universe. So as acupuncture works to speed up circulation in the body, it also has the ability to move and release any stuck emotions.
Having a holistic approach by addressing the mental, physical and spiritual self allows us to enjoy sustainable health. By listening to the guidance and wisdom that TCM has to offer; fall can be a cozy, comforting and rejuvenating time. So here is to the seasons and the sense of peaceful wellbeing we are rewarded with when we apply some daily self-care tips.
*If you are based in the New York City, Hima Acupuncture in the Flatiron neighborhood, is a patient-focused, boutique acupuncture practice that can take care of you and your health.