Chinese Medicine and the Fall: A Time for Reflection & Acupuncture Tune-up – Rufina Huang, R. TCM P.

Today, many people around the world celebrate the moon festival! This is the time that the moon is at its roundest and brightest, and traditionally, rice is mature and to be reaped, symbolizing gathering, harvesting and uniting. In September, many festivals and celebrations in various religions and cultures take place to honour the natural rhythm of seasons and embrace the transition into autumn. This year the Autumn Equinox lands on September 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere, which marks the official day that the amount of daylight begins to lessen. In Chinese Medicine, we pay particular attention to seasonal transitions as the change of daylight, time, and climate can affect our health. Practising a harmonious state between the human body and nature helps us to maintain good vitality and well-being!

The most fundamental principle of Chinese Medicine is Yin and Yang, which governs all things in nature and the root of every change. “Cultivating Yang in spring and summer, nourishing Yin in fall and winter, and being subject to the origin of Yin-Yang” (Huandi’s Internal Classic) is the key to health maintenance in the cycle of seasons. Summer is considered the season with the most abundant Yang – the more active and expansive energy. When we move into the fall and winter, the tide of Yin-Yang relationship turns, and the quieter and more inner Yin energy gradually becomes predominant. The colours of the leaves begin to change, and the weather turns from heat to cool. This is the time we turn inward to reflect on our work and family, reorganize, set boundaries and get ready for the cold and darker winter to come.

The general characteristics of the fall are bright and crisp, cool and dry; therefore, the human body fluid and moisture becomes insufficient and skin issues may occur. In Chinese Medicine, fall is associated with the Metal element and the Lung system, which is responsible for breathing and waste elimination. In the face of the changing weather from summer to fall, the delicate Lung is challenged, and an individual with a weaker Lung system would have a lower immune defense and is more likely to suffer from colds and flu, asthma, allergies and other types of respiratory issues, as well as mood disorders like SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Maintaining a healthy body balance and keeping a strong immune system thus become incredibly important during this time of the year. Acupuncture supports the body to adapt to seasonal shift by strengthening the immune system, promoting better circulation, calming the mind, and keeping the meridians and organs in balance. It is also able to alleviate symptoms such as sore throat, cough, nasal congestion etc.

Other keys to focus on this fall:

  • Complete cycles of deep breathing.
  • Dress warm and wear a scarf.
  • Apply appropriate skin moisturizers.
  • Eat warm and/or moistening foods: soups, stew, porridge, bone broth; lotus root, pear, apples apricot, pumpkin, squash, cabbage, spinach, honey, ginger, onion, garlic, cinnamon, walnut, almonds…
  • Let go of negativity in life!
Blessings for the Autumn Equinox! Enjoy the energy of the fall and stay healthy and happy!