By: JennyMarie Greenough, LAc, Dipl. Oriental Medicine

The sunny and long days of summer are quickly giving way to the cooler, shorter days of fall. Sept 22nd was the high point of the transition to fall, which according to the Chinese seasons, will shift from the first frosts of late fall at the end of October into the early stages of winter on Nov 8, 2020.

This is a time for focusing on what is most important to us; the days get shorter, reminding us that time is not unlimited. It is also the season aligned with the lungs and large Intestine - both of which are integral to a healthy immune system in the East Asian Medical Model. We can support these organs by understanding their role in our body and incorporating foods and habits to support them. This is also a great time to review our focus in life and let go of habits and practices that don’t take us closer to our goals. As the trees shed their leaves, we can take stock of what no longer serves us and let those things go.

The energy of fall moves us to embrace more comforting and warm foods. Here on our website rajawellness.com, you will find a list of foods that help to support health in the fall. Soups and warm teas are great this time of year - as fall gets more dry, it’s important to stay hydrated. Using buffered saline to rinse nasal passages will help minimize allergies and colds naturally. As the days get shorter, ensuring you are getting enough Vitamin D is essential.

The primary element of fall is Wind, classically known as the “first of the 1000 evils” in traditional East Asian Medical texts. As Wind begins to emerge, protecting ourselves from the wind is important to staying healthy. That “old wives” tale about wearing a scarf to keep healthy is actually backed by science - exposing the back of the neck to a cold wind can measurably depress immune system function for up to 48 hours. Simply sitting under an AC vent can do this, so make sure to wear a scarf. Getting quality sleep is also an important part of staying healthy during the fall and winter. Going to bed before 11pm allows your body to rest during the critical time from 11pm to 5am, where the Wei Qi (essentially our immune system) is replenished and strengthened.

Breathing correctly is also key. The lungs are the organ most strongly connected with our Wei Qi and they benefit from appropriate breathwork and relaxation. The large intestine should not be overlooked either. In the East Asian Medical Model, this is the organ of elimination. It must be functioning well so we can not only “let go” of the physical waste from our body, but also any emotions, thoughts, and habits that keep us “bound up” instead of moving smoothly through life. Again, hydration and adequate fiber are key. In East Asian Medicine, we don’t advocate strong purges, but rather healthy habits for a smooth, even flow. Getting adequate rest, eating well, and scheduling some acupuncture sessions will help boost your immune system and help your body embrace fall with health and energy.

Healthy Fall Foods:

Garlic ~ Sweet Potato ~ Ginger ~ Onion ~ Cabbage ~ Pears ~ Walnuts ~ Black Pepper ~ Radish ~ Rice ~ Leeks ~ Miso ~ Cardamom ~ Cinnamon ~ Chili ~ Navy Beans ~ Soy Beans ~ Almonds ~ Broccoli ~ Celery ~ Mustard Greens ~ Apricot ~ Banana ~ Eggs ~ Sourdough Bread ~ Sauerkraut ~ Olives ~ Pickles ~ Vinegar ~ Yogurt ~ Lemons ~ Limes ~ Grapefruit ~ Apples ~ Plums ~ Grapes ~ Chicken ~ Pork

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