According to traditional Chinese medicine, seasonal changes can be a time of turmoil as an individual’s qi might be out of harmony with the frequency of the season. Fall is the perfect time to take preventative action. Ward off illness and changes in mood with acupuncture treatments this autumn and start the school year, or just the cooler weather in general, with a balanced body, mind and spirit.
Any imbalance that exists within you will be aggravated by the change in season. Releasing stagnation through treatments with a licensed acupuncturist will bolster your immune system, prevent sickness, keep flare-ups of chronic conditions under control, and ease you into the shift in energy. Your practitioner may focus on the lung and the large intestine meridians, which tend to take a hit in the fall, as a preemptive strike against common ailments.
As summer fades, you may notice symptoms including respiratory illnesses, colds, constipation, dry skin, sinus infections, coughing, a sore throat, or other pesky problems. Targeting the meridians associated with digestion, breathing, and elimination will alleviate discomfort and symptoms, as well as any underlying root causes.
Acupuncture is a powerful form of preventative medicine and a seasonal tune-up will only take a session or two, barring any other conditions. You’ll be prepared to face the change in weather and absorb nutrients for a healthy winter. It’s important to keep your body in synch with nature’s rhythms and seasonal acupuncture will also reduce stress, boost your connection to the environment, increase energy, and offer an overall sense of wellbeing.
Acupuncturists recommend treatments at each seasonal change, with a particular emphasis on spring and fall when our bodies have to adapt more dramatically. So what else can you do to prepare yourself for autumn?
- Get Outside! Enhance your connection with the environment and embrace cyclical changes by enjoying some time in nature. You will feel more grounded and your mood will improve. Plus, you can bask in the fall scenery.
- Adopt a Healthy Diet. Our eating habits tend to evolve with the weather. Tap into the shift toward yin energy by eating nourishing foods that are in season. This means replacing some of your raw, cold salads with cooked, warming foods and local fall produce, such as yams, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, carrots, pears, apples, figs, salad greens, and winter squash. Wake up your digestive fire in the morning with warm congee or a bowl of oatmeal. Delve into the principles of a TCM diet and combine Eastern and Western nutrition for maximum health with our East Meets West e-book. The book includes healthy, nutritionally balanced recipe and tips for a healthy lifestyle.
- Regular Exercise. Movement is essential year-round. Even with the fall and winter chill you want to maintain your exercise regimen. It will banish the depression that tends to crop up as the days become shorter, allow you to stay at a healthy body weight, improve your health, and let energy flow unimpeded. Do at least 30 minutes of cardio on most days of the week and be sure to include strength training.
- Just Breathe. Add a deep breathing and meditation practice to your daily routine. In fall, people tend to be more introspective and it’s time to let go of emotional baggage. Take advantage of this opportunity by meditating to keep calm and focused. Strengthen your lung qi by setting aside time each day for breathing exercises. Take a yoga class or try Qigong to quiet the mind.
- See a TCM Herbalist. A TCM practitioner who specializes in herbal remedies can prescribe a customized treatment for you. Since fall is associated with dryness and wind, Chinese herbs can be used to lubricate the sinuses and lungs and keep them clear. In addition, herbs can be an excellent way to address common cool weather illnesses. You may also want to incorporate some pungent herbs into teas and meals. Try cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, oregano, rosemary, and fennel.
What do you plan on doing to prepare for fall? To find a licensed acupuncturist in your area, visit TryAcupuncture.org.