Living in Harmony with the Seasons According to the Wisdom of Chinese Medicine – Your Autumn Almanac
According to ancient Chinese principles, all things in life (including the seasons) correspond to one of the five different energies or elements: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. The seasonal element for Autumn is Metal. Metal is about substance, strength, organisation and structure. In nature it relates to the minerals which provide richness to the soil so that plants may grow, and the rocks that channel streams and rivers to the sea. Autumn is the time for harvesting, reaping what we have sown earlier in the year, and storing in preparation for Winter.
The emotion of Metal is grief. Autumn is a time for consolidation, for clearing out and getting rid of what we don’t need. It is a time for reflecting on past issues and letting things go. Physically the parts of the body associated with Metal and the Autumn are the lungs, the colon, the nose, throat and skin. It is particularly important to protect ourselves from dryness and cold in the Autumn. Dryness may manifest externally as dry lips or skin, or internally as a dry throat or cough (lungs) or constipation (colon). Autumn is the time when we are most susceptible to colds and immune system deficiencies, so we need to protect ourselves from the cold and build up our strength for the winter.
As the nights draw in it is important to go to bed earlier to make up for sleep lost during the heat of the summer. A good night’s sleep helps refill and nourish the lungs and is important for maintaining a peaceful mind and clear heart.
Nei-Jing Suwen (Ancient Chinese Classic of Medicine)
Change your diet to include more naturally warming and moistening seasonal foods. Swap cooling summer salads and raw foods for warming soups and stews, cooked at a lower heat for longer periods of time. As a rule of thumb, root vegetables which take longer to grow are energetically more warming than leafy, watery, fast growing vegetables and fruits. Choose fresh seasonal foods from the local farmer’s market.
Healthy Foods For Autumn
Vegetables: Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, leeks, mushrooms, onions, potatoes
Fruit: Apples, pears
Meat, fish and dairy: Duck, pheasant, rabbit, mackerel, scallops, cheese
Health Tips for Autumn
- Go for a short early morning walk to get in tune with the energy of Autumn
- Wear extra layers of clothes to protect yourself from the cold, particularly covering your throat and neck
- Support your lungs by taking a few deeper breaths during the day or take up yoga or tai chi
- Avoid dryness by keeping well hydrated – preferably with warm not cold drinks
- Slow cook a warming leek and potato soup
- Have a clear out at home or work – your wardrobe, your office or the garden shed
- Set aside some time to for reflection and help clear your emotions too