Autumn is the time when the yang qi of summer becomes more yin as the heat and dampness of late summer gives way to the cooler, darker months.
According to the wisdom of thousands of years in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), if we regulate our daily lives by adjusting them to the flow of the seasons and if we aim for balance, avoiding extremes, we will have good health. So it’s beneficial to correct and harmonise any imbalances in the body’s energy system at the change of seasons.
The spleen and stomach in TCM belong to the earth element and are responsible for digesting and transforming our food into qi and blood, which is then circulated throughout the body. If the spleen and stomach are not working effectively then the wei qi or defensive energy will be weak and this can lead to a compromised immune system. Wei qi flows between the skin and the muscles like a protective shield and its role is to prevent pathogenic factors such as wind, cold and damp entering the body and causing problems. Wei qi also nourishes the skin. Someone with weak wei qi will easily catch colds and flu and be more prone to allergies and can even be more sensitive to criticism.
Cooling food, cold drinks, especially with ice, may weaken the stomach qi; as do irregular eating habits, rushed meals, upsetting conversations at meal times and stress. Millet, eggs, sweet potatoes, and beef broth are examples of sweet foods that reinforce qi.
Pungent warm foods like onions, radishes, leeks and ginger can protect the lungs.
Earth creates metal in the TCM five element system, so in this way the spleen and stomach support the lungs and large intestine which belong to the metal element. The lungs also control the nose, skin, opening and closing of pores and sweat.
Many people feel some sadness or melancholy during autumn and this can weaken the lung qi, as can any feelings to do with injustice. Worry about the future and feelings of insecurity, so prevalent today, can also damage the lung qi. Breathing exercises, acupuncture and qi gong are useful to open up the channels and release tension and transform unhelpful emotions. A sense of spaciousness and expansion are part of healthy lung qi.
There are acupuncture points to deeply nourish the spleen and stomach as well as move the qi and fluids to strengthen the lungs.
To book an appointment, get in touch with Optimum Health Essentials today.
By Acupuncturist and TCM practitioner Helen Morish