By Toni Eatros, MS, Dipl Ac, AP
Fall, or autumn, is a favorite season for many people. The weather is getting a little cooler, things are starting to slow down and preparations for the holidays are in full swing…..
For many others, fall is not so festive. Many people tend to get sick during the fall months, allergies can flare up for some, and many don’t like that the hours of sunlight decrease steadily, sometimes leading to seasonal depression.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fall is the season associated with the lung and large intestine energetic meridians. These two meridians work in a symbiotic way to control the immune system from both the inside and outside of your body. If you take good care of these two meridians during the fall, you are bound to feel better throughout the season.
Here are some suggestions on how to get through the season of the lung and large intestine channels without getting sick.
Wear a scarf: The scarves don’t have to be thick or heavy, but they should cover the neck. The large intestine channel runs up the arms, across the shoulders, up the neck, over the face and ends next to the nose. As many people now know, the health of our gastrointestinal tract plays a big part in our immunity. So keeping the large intestine channel warm and preventing exposure from the elements will help to keep you healthy. Cold pathogens can enter the body through the pores or nasal cavity. Wrapping the neck and shoulders with a scarf can help ward off the pathogens.
Eat Seasonal Foods: Another way to keep the lung and large intestine channels balanced is to eat according to the season. This means eat foods that are available during the autumn months as well as foods that boost the energy of the lung and large intestine meridians. In the fall, you should eat fewer cold and raw foods like salads and instead you should eat more warm, cooked foods. Utilizing the foods that are available at this time of year is a good practice as well. Foods to enjoy during the fall months include apples, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, pears, yams, bananas, cabbage, carrots, cranberries, ginger, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and wild rice. Also hot herbal teas are a good addition to your daily diet, especially those containing ginger and lemon, which act as natural antibiotics.
Drink Water: The large intestine and the lungs need to stay moist to function properly. So drinking lots of water is important. Most people know how important it is to stay hydrated during the summer months, but it is just as vital during the autumn. Without proper hydration, the skin, which is controlled by the lung meridian, can become dry and cracked allowing pathogens to easily enter the body. The large intestine meridian needs proper hydration to be able to expel any pathogens that have gotten into the system. So don’t forget to drink lots of water during the fall.
Get Acupuncture: As we approach the fall months, it is also a good idea to increase your regular acupuncture treatments. There are several acupuncture points that help boost immunity and fight off colds. Why not utilize the natural power that your local licensed acupuncturist has to offer? By doing so, you might just move easily through the fall season without getting sick.
It is best to have your energy aligned and balanced during every season. You can use acupressure to make sure your energy is balanced throughout the fall season. The point, large intestine 4 (LI 4), is a reliever of headaches and tense muscles. LI 4 is a great point to use to balance energy in the large intestine meridian. In addition to making sure you are balanced, this point promotes healthy bowel function. LI 4, is referred to as He Gu, or the “Adjoining Valleys.” It is the point where energy cleanses the body and clears out what is no longer needed, this point clears the system and replenishes Qi, your body’s energy.
To find the point, position your left hand flat with your palm down. Now squeeze your thumb and index finger together. Locate a fleshy mound that appears between the thumb and first finger. This is LI 4. Squeeze this point for 1 minute with your right thumb above and right index finger below, on the palmar surface several times per day.
Each season, two meridians become most active. In the fall, the lung and large intestine meridians become most active. If you have any issues with these meridians and their associated functions these symptoms usually appear or become worse during the fall season. For example, if you have chronic cough, it will typically worsen and lead to cold, flu, bronchitis or pneumonia during the fall season if not balanced out.
If your goal is to maintain good health, it is recommended that you get acupuncture quarterly, during the change of the seasons. The transition between season goes much smoother if treated at this time. You do not need to have anything “wrong” with you. Acupuncture corrects energetic imbalances before they manifest into disease.
At Acupuncture & Natural Health Solutions, I like to keep healthy people healthy. Come in for your fall seasonal tune-up. Schedule your appointment online now, at www.acupuncturesolutionsonline.com, or call 239-260-4566. Remember, and use, the tips to staying healthy in the fall that are listed above and stay well during the cold and flu season.