We have now moved into October, with its colder days and brilliant autumn colours. Many people love the arrival of autumn, but for others this can herald the arrival of autumn sniffles, a crop of colds, allergies and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Why is this?
Lungs and Large Intestine
In Chinese Medicine every season corresponds to an organ. Autumn corresponds to the lungs, skin, and large intestine. The lungs and large intestine are in charge of respiration, digestion, and elimination. Common symptoms associated with lung and large intestine imbalances are respiratory problems, such as asthma, shortness of breath, frequent colds, and sinus infections, as well as constipation and skin problems. The body is particularly susceptible to wind and cold during autumn. Dryness can cause symptoms of coughing, dry nose, sore throat, dry skin, dry hair and scalp, dry mouth and cracked lips, and hard and dry stools.
Autumn in Chinese Medicine
Every season is also connected to an emotion. In autumn the emotion is Grief and Sadness. If your lung energy is out of balance you may well feel melancholy. In fact this is less surprising when we realise that autumn really is the end of the cycle, a time of letting go. The last of the fruit is ripening and falling and the leaves have started to follow suit. According to traditional Chinese medicine we tend to be more reflective, turning inward to our work, our families and our homes during this time. It is a time to organize and prepare for the winter season ahead and a time to reflect on our lives. It is a time to let go of negative emotions which can impact health more strongly at this time.
Tips on How to Cope with the Change in the Seasons
Wrap up warmly (make sure you have a scarf with you)
Swap salads for warming soups and stews
Take walks in nature. Rather than regretting the end of summer, enjoy the colours and the calm of autumn.
Breathe deeply. Autumn is associated with the Lungs. If your lung energy is not strong you will get coughs and colds.
Autumn Acupuncture: How did it Come About?
Acupuncture was first developed around 2000 years ago in a largely agrarian culture. This meant that the change of the seasons held great importance and people were very aware how the different seasons impacted upon their health. People regularly had acupuncture at the changing of each season to help balance their bodies. Our lives are very different to theirs but our bodies can still feel the effect of the changes. Autumn weather can range from glorious sunshine through to torrential downpour and sometimes very cold conditions. These changes from one day to the next means the body has to continually adapt, from opening the pores to allow sweating to closing them to protect from cold. Acupuncture can help re-balance our bodies at the change of the seasons. For many people acupuncture is a lifestyle choice, something they do at the changing of the seasons, in particular as we come into autumn and spring which in Chinese Medicine are seen as the “hinges” between winter and spring; the seasons where there is most movement and change.