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It's Fall Y'all!
So lets fall into Wellness with acupuncture!
As the seasons shift from summer to fall, so does the Qi (or energy) in the universe as well as within our bodies. Autumn is represented by the metal element, which includes the lung and large intestine meridians. The emotion often associated with the lung meridian is sadness and grief. This is the time of year to let go, to finish projects which you have not yet completed and embrace the coming of a new season. One easy way to benefit the lung organ is breathing exercises.
Practice breathing in through your nose and focus on filling your lungs deep with your breath, down into your abdomen. Hold that breath for a count of five and slowly exhale out of your mouth trying to get all of your breath exhaled from the very bottom of the lungs. You can repeat this several times as well as a few times throughout the day. Not only will this help build your lung Qi, it will also relax and center you. This is important in the midsts of our busy lives. Good sleep habits are also essential for health, well being as well as the lung’s Qi. Early to bed and early to rise will help invigorate you and set each day off full steam ahead.
As we transition to autumn, it is also a time to transition our diet and move towards more warming foods. Soups, stews, warm beverages, cooked fruits and vegetables. Fall can be abundant with amazing fresh produce that is seasonally appropriate-- pears, garlic, leeks, beans, apples, onions, ginger and leafy greens. The lungs are also integral for our Wei Qi, which is our protective Qi, akin to the immune system.As the lungs are connected to the nose and the mouth, it is important to be mindful of this.Using a neti pot can help rinse out the nasal and sinus passages.
Using a warm salt water mixture will help reduce your chances of colds and allergies. As the temperature shifts, so should our attire. Keep your body warm and appropriately covered, including a scarf around the neck as needed. It is a great time of year to go for long walks and hikes in nature, but keep yourself well prepared to keep your body strong.
3 Foods to Fight the Common Cold
Chicken Soup/Bone Broth: When a cold occurs, the body needs nourishment to fight off the attack. This is why chicken soup is a great remedy for the common cold. Hot liquids and bland foods like chicken soup, will help keep the body hydrated and nourished. With proper nourishment, the body can return to a harmonious balance and the cold will diminish. Chicken soup is full of essential vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants known to speed up the healing process.
Ginger: Ginger can be helpful when fighting off the common cold due to its antiviral, anti inflammatory and expectorant properties. Eating raw ginger or adding it to tea several times a day, can greatly improve cold symptoms quickly. And to enhance the power of ginger, add some lemon and honey, both powerful herbs in their own right. The anti-inflammatory property in ginger makes it great to help relieve a sore throat. It is recommended to keep ginger handy at all times of the year and use it as a preventive medicine, even when not feeling sick.
Garlic: has been known to be both a great cold remedy and cold preventer. Garlic cloves contain allicin, which produces powerful antioxidants fantastic for fighting off the common cold. A study published by “Advances in Therapy” has shown those who consume garlic regularly get less colds during flu season.
• 1 tablespoon neutral oil • 3 tart apples - peeled, cored, and chopped • 3 pears - peeled, cored and chopped • 5 cups vegetable broth • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper • 1 1/2 teaspoons pureed fresh ginger • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley Recipe Heat pot over medium high heat and add oil.
Cook and stir the apples and pears for about
five minutes. Add the vegetable broth, sage
and pepper to the pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until
hot and the apples and pears are tender,
about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for five minutes. Blend soup to
Traditional Chinese Medicine dates back thousands of years and has helped people all over the world! The concept of the five elements that are now used in TCM probably began with the ancient Chinese calendar where five types of energies were assigned to different days, months and years. These five elements were associated with the solstices and equinoxes in an effort to help farmers plan ahead. The five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Metal is the element associated with the season of fall.
Metal is the element of the lungs and the large intestine. The large intestine functions to “let go” of toxins and waste products our bodies no longer need to function. The lungs enable us to take in the crisp pure air of the autumn months, which helps to nourish and enrich our blood. The lungs and the large intestine work as a team to keep the body healthy. One gets rid of waste, while the other brings in nourishment.
When the metal element is out of balance, we may experience allergies, asthma, wheezing, colds, coughing, grief, sadness, skin rashes, eczema, diarrhea or constipation. All of these can be due to either excesses or deficiencies within the lung and large intestine meridians. One way to counter a breakdown in the system is by eating foods color specific to the two energetic meridians.
Things like onions, turnips, cauliflower, egg whites, apples, potatoes and pears are all good examples of white foods that can help boost or tonify the energy of the lung and large intestine meridians. Deep breathing is also something that can be done daily to help keep the metal element balanced. This practice can help strengthen the lungs and boost immunity in the body. Deep breathing can be somewhat meditative, which can help calm the mind too. When practicing deep breathing, the focus should be on the abdomen. The abdomen should expand when inhaling and it should deflate when exhaling. This is somewhat opposite of what most people do when they breathe. But when watching an infant breathe, it is easy to see this pattern. Deep breathing can be done almost anywhere and it can help tremendously when there is added stress.
Lastly, consider getting acupuncture to balance out the metal element. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective at treating many lung and large intestinal issues. Acupuncture works with the body to balance energy, remove blockages and get things flowing properly throughout the whole system. A few treatments can bring relief from a lifetime of discomfort,