One fundamental concept of traditional Chinese medicine is that of the five elements, and their relationship to the body. The five elements in Chinese medicine are earth, metal, water, wood and fire. Each element corresponds with a season and an organ system within the body. We are currently in the first weeks of Autumn, which corresponds with the element of metal. The metal element relates to the lungs and large intestine organs.
FROM ULTIMATE YANG TO YIN PREDOMINANT AUTUMN
Coming from summer, or the ultimate yang and fire element of the seasons, (which relates to the heart), this is a big transition to make. Summer is all about being outside, being active and social, basking in that HOT Texas sun…making the conscious transition from the yang within yang energy of Summer, to the more yin predominant time of autumn is important for maintaining a healthy balance in both your body and your emotional well-being.
NOURISH THE FLUIDS OF BOTH THE LARGE INTESTINES AND THE LUNGS
Fall weather is mostly very dry. Dryness can damage both the lungs and the large intestines. Increasing fluid intake is recommended during this time, as well as eating seasonal foods such as pears and squashes. Pungent and hot foods such as ginseng and spicy foods, should be avoided. Pumpkin, winter squash, kale and broccoli are vegetables that can also help nourish the fluids of the body. Walnuts and hempseeds nourish the fluids of both the large intestines and the lungs.
LETTING GO AND PURGING
The lung and large intestine organs both require proper elimination in order to function. Lungs must eliminate carbon dioxide from the air we breathe so we may absorb the oxygen we need to survive, likewise the large intestines eliminate waste from our digestive systems. Fall is the time to let go of unneeded energies from your life, like the leaves that die and let go of the tree limbs that were holding them…Holding on to relationships or friendships that are no longer serving you in a positive way? This is a time to let them go. It’s also a good time to purge your home of unused clothing or other physical clutter.
LIVE IN HARMONY WITH THIS TIME OF SELF-NURTURE AND INTROSPECTION
The emotion associated to lungs is grief. If you are entering fall during a grieving time- dealing with a loss of some kind, or a life transition, it is an especially important to live in harmony with this time of self-nurture and introspection. Taking care to stay hydrated, eating seasonally and letting go of unneeded energies will help you to adapt to the season change and improve your health, both emotionally and physically.