Tips on Staying Healthy this Fall
Fall and Chinese Medicine
Fall has arrived and though some warm days still grace us, the air is starting to become crisp, clear and cool. As these temperatures fluctuate, our body does the best it can to accommodate. This change of season is often the most difficult time for people to stay healthy. In Chinese medicine, each season is associated with an organ system pair and for fall we have the Lung and Large Intestine. The Lungs in particular have to do with our protective energy, or our immune system. If someone is already prone to a weakness is this area physical symptoms can appear that show imbalance in our Lungs and Large Intestine, including chronic respiratory illness, asthma, wheezing, skin problems, dryness, sore throats, phlegm, constipation, and diarrhea.
The Lungs and Large intestine both have to do with taking in and letting go. Receiving fresh air in our Lungs and nutrients from our food in our Large Intestine, and rhythmically letting go of toxins that may cause harm. In Chinese medicine, grief and sadness are emotions associated with these organs, and too much of either for too long can cause imbalance. We can learn to let go through integrating our experiences, grief and sadness, into our present life. We take the preciousness of the past and bring it into nourishing our present. We let go of the need to relive toxic experiences or past relationships. Just as the tree lets go of its leaves, we let go of what is already dead. This integration and acceptance helps make us whole. We are able to let go of what no longer serves us or has value in our life. We see our own greatness, worth, and the divine timing of life. We are able to forgive. Fall is the perfect time to use the energy of the season to help you let go. Here are some ideas to help move along the process:
-Go through old drawers and closets and donate or throw away what you haven’t used in a year.
-Resolve resentments and conflicts with relationships, letting go of harbored negativity and anger. If you are unable to do so directly with that person, write a letter to that person, burn it and bury the ashes as a symbolic gesture.
-Examine any harsh beliefs about yourself or the world that no longer serve your well-being and replace it with a positive affirmation that can be silently repeated throughout the day.
-Go outside and inhale the clean, new air that fall brings, and as you exhale, symbolically breathe out all you are releasing from your life.
-Ask yourself: What seeds do I want to take into storage for winter to become flowers in the spring?
Inhale Essential Oils
Diffusing essential oils in our home or office space regularly is an easy way to tonify our Lungs and immune system. Essential oil diffusers are inexpensive and can be readily found at most natural food stores. Simply fill the basin with water, light a tea light underneath and put 10-12 drops of oil in the water. Add drops every hour as oil evaporates and burn frequently throughout the season.
Oils for Fall:
Tea tree, Fir, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Pine, Rosemary, Frankincense, and Peppermint
Foods for fall:
Greens, greens and more greens! Boost your immune system by eating dark, leafy greens such as Kale, mustard greens, collards, and spinach. These cool-weather crops are super rich in the essential vitamins and minerals our body needs for a healthy immune system. Other foods that are particularly nourishing this time of year include:
Navy beans, almonds, and pears celery, apricot, banana, asparagus, and broccoli, tofu, rice, raw onions, garlic, radish, turnip, kohlrabi, scallions, and horseradish
Spices: cinnamon, mint, rosemary, cloves, fennel, anise, dill, basil, and nutmeg
How To: Stop it in its tracks!
The very important part of preventing long-lasting illness is catching the first signal your body gives you and acting on it. Scratchy throat precedes sore throat, fatigue, body aches – and these all usually come before the cough that endures for months. When you get the red flags, listen and act.
Stay home and rest, simple as that. For your body to do the work, it needs you to take it easy.
Take a hot shower or bath to sweat it out.
Put 2-3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a bowl of hot water, lean over bowl, cover head with towel, and inhale vapors for 10 minutes. Repeat every 2-3 hours.
Come in and get a treatment.
Drink the yummy cinnamon formula Gui Zhi Tang that we can send home with you, or boil fresh ginger for 20 minutes and drink it with lemon and honey.
Take 1,000 mg of Vitamin C and Vitamin D every few hours.
Drink lots of water!! The body can only flush out the pathogen if it has the fluids to do so.
Eat warm, easy digestable foods like soup. Crock pots are great.
Avoid sugar, dairy and wheat while sick. Sugar depletes your immune system, while dairy and wheat hold the pathogen in your body longer and produce excess mucous.
Be well! And remember we are here for you when you need support this season.
Jennifer Blatnik, L.Ac.