The kids are all back at school and the weeks of rushing around getting new school clothes and stationery are over. Finally, a routine has once again been established. Whilst some of us love the cosy feeling that autumn brings, many people find the changing of seasons from summer to autumn brings the arrival of the first cold snap sniffles. If you find are affected by such seasonal changes you may find acupuncture has the answer.
How can acupuncture help with the changing seasons?
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.
Today, 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 downpours, and can sometimes bring very cold conditions. These changes, from one day to the next, means the body has to continually adapt - from opening pores to allow sweating to closing them to protect from cold.
Acupuncture to strengthen the lungs
In Chinese medicine autumn is the season pertaining to Metal, and the organs of metal are the lungs and the large intestine. It is common for people to often get upper respiratory tract infections at this time as the lungs are the most external of the organs and our first defence against exterior pathogens. As the weather turns colder our lungs are more vulnerable. They need strengthening and our immune systems need further support.
Acupuncture can boost the energy of the lung channel, making it more robust to withstand the onslaught of bugs. Some points help promote the descending function of the lungs which can really help when you have a cough, shortness of breath or nasal congestion.
My experiences with acupuncture
In my career as an acupuncturist, I have had many patients come to see me specifically to stop the colds they always got at this time of year. Initially treatment would be once a week but once their systems had been strengthened these could be spaced out to once a month. With treatment dedicated to strengthening their lungs, and balancing their bodies, patients found that they no longer had coughs and colds every autumn and winter.
My tips to stay healthy in autumn.
- Wear a scarf! A scarf protects the lungs and the back of the neck where there are acupuncture points which allow in damp and cold.
- Stay hydrated. We typically think of the summer as being the time when we need to think about hydration but dryness occurs in autumn as well. This is also often the time of year when dry skin and rashes show up. As this is the ‘metal’ time of year the large intestine can be affected, and dehydration can lead to constipation.
- Eat warm foods. Summer is over, so ditch the salads. Warming soups and stews help keep us warm on the inside. Include onions, ginger, garlic and ginger in your meals. In Chinese Medicine these pungent foods are known to benefit the lungs.
- Again, in Chinese Medicine, this season is linked with grief. It is not unusual to feel a bit down after the warmth and brightness of summer. If you find this time of year especially difficult to cope with, acupuncture may be able to help.
Acupuncture can help re-balance our bodies. For many people it is something they do at the start of the change in seasons and in particular as we approach autumn and spring which, in Chinese Medicine, are seen as the “hinges” between winter and summer; the seasons where there is most movement and change.
If any of this strikes a chord with you, and you have questions or would like to give acupuncture a try, please do call Bridge to Health and book an appointment with me.