In traditional Chinese medicine, during fall we are most susceptible to dryness which can affect the lungs, skin (what we call the “outer lung”), and digestion. Common signs of disharmony in the fall are thirst, dry nose and skin, itching, and sore throat or cough. There are a number of things we can do to combat dryness and fortify our bodies for the coming winter months. These tips will help you stay balanced during the fall season, and prepare you for a healthy winter!
1. Drink. More. Water. Sounds easy, but we often forget this simple act. Hydrating yourself well will prevent your body from getting too dry and help your organs stay healthy and happy. Your lungs especially like to stay “moist” and freak out when they get too dry - coughing, burning, bronchitis, etc can occur. So drink up!
2. Incorporate moistening foods into your meals. Pears, apples, persimmons, figs, spinach, pumpkin and squash are all moistening foods. Eat these fall foods in abundance and you will set your body up for a healthy winter. Soups and steamed foods are helpful, as well as other “yin” foods like tofu, white fish, yams, & edamame.
3. Sleep more. As the days grow shorter, allow your body to rest more. We are moving out of the highly active period of summer. Fall is the time to store up our energy for the harsher winter months ahead & going to bed earlier or practicing restorative exercise can benefit our health during this time.
4. Organize, Cleanse, & Let go. Fall and Spring are both great seasons for organizing your life and letting go of what you don’t need. Try a gentle cleanse, clean out the kitchen or closets, and let go of old grudges or emotional grief. It’s a good time to gather yourself together and start a clean slate in preparation for winter.
5. Cover up. Especially if you are one to get sick easily or catch colds in the cooler months, don’t leave home without your scarf or hat. Although it may still feel like summer to us now, windy and cooler days are ahead and cold fronts may sweep in suddenly. Our neck and head are most vulnerable to wind and pathogenic illnesses, so cover up and protect your qi from exposure to the elements.
And… get acupuncture, of course! Acupuncture will strengthen your resilience and help you make a healthy transition from fall to winter.
(Thanks to AOMA and The Web That has No Weaver for content inspiration)