Ancient Chinese wisdom for healthy living in autumn through Chinese medicine
The classics of Chinese medicine holds a lot of wisdom of preventive health and how to live through the changing seasons. This is a quote from the Neijing Suwen
“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 desire to run wild. One must keep the lung energy full, cleans, and quiet. This means practicing exercises to enhance lung Qi. This will prevent kidney or digestive problems in the winter. If natural order is violated, damage will occur to the lungs, resulting in diarrhoea with undigested food in winter. This compromises the body’s ability to store in winter.”
Autumn starts from the equinox, the date varies but it is usually around the 21st September. Autumn is a time for letting go, this is associated with letting go of the summer as the leaf fall from the trees they also let go of the summer and growth and yang starts to transform into yin by storage of energy, food and blood vessels conserve themselves by moving deeper into the body ready for winter. Autumn with its relation to the lungs is associated with grief, sadness and letting go emotionally. The nature of depression described in this text is related to grief. In the European pagan calendar Samhain, 31st October, better known as Halloween is not about dressing up in ghostly costumes and collecting treats. It is a time to celebrate our ancestors and let go of any lost family and friends throughout the passing year. Samhain means summers end and a helpful way of letting go. Light a candle for lost family and friends.
The lungs can be effected by long term grief and as the air become dry during this time of year it is important to look after your lungs. I have included a reiki breathing exercise that anyone can practice that will help exercise the lungs and build up Qi strength.
“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.” Neijing Suwen
As the wind begins to stir the areas most affected are the neck, lungs and lower back. Keep your neck covered with a scarf and lower back with jumper and coat. Exterior pathogens like wind cold can penetrate into body. This can manifest as a stiff neck that can progress to neck and shoulder pain or as the common cold or flu.
Diet is very important this will help strengthen your lungs. This will help the body to adapt for the season. The lungs are our most external of the internal organs leaving it more vulnerable to external pathogens.
Food must be cooked and not raw, avoid cold dairy, fatty or oily foods.
Eat more sour flavoured foods and gradually introduce them through autumn.
Cheese (in small quantities)
Yogurt (in small quantities)
cabbage (savoy and spring green)
purple sprouting broccoli
For the dry climate symptoms such as thirst, dry throat, dry skin and itching might occur.
To help try
Dietary advice from “Healing with Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford
Seasonal food is also important and is often exactly what our bodies need.