At long last it is finally feeling like fall here in LA! Mornings are crisp and invigorating, the days are bright and sunny (but not sweltering), and nights are cool and inspire cozy nesting. As I become more aligned with seasonal energy, I am so much more aware of how much actually changes, even here in southern CA. The shifts are subtle, but present nonetheless. I would love to share with you, dear reader, how you might better align with this seasonal shift from a Chinese medicine perspective so that you can enjoy this season in a harmonious and healthy way.
In Chinese medical theory, each season is related to an organ system, and an element. The autumn is related to the lung system and to the metal element. Autumn is a time to move inward and to be more reflective. It is a time to harvest, and to begin storing for the winter. You might notice that as the summer season falls away, you are more likely to be more drawn to gentle, restful activities.
The lung system is vitally important to our overall health and well-being. The lungs are responsible for receiving air which is then used to create our vital energy or ‘Qi’. Once qi has been created, the lung system is also responsible for descending and dispersing qi throughout the entire body.
The lungs are said to open to the nose and control the skin, pores and body hair. In this dry season, the body areas most connected to the lung system are vulnerable to imbalances. Some symptoms that may indicate that there is too much dryness in the lung system include; dry skin, nose, lips and/or throat, excessive thirst and itchiness.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms this season, it may be helpful to incorporate foods that help to support the metal element and the lung system. The metal element is associated with the color white, and the pungent flavor. Foods that are most beneficial during this season possess these qualities. Some examples of white and/or pungent foods to consider include; daikon radish, onion, garlic, bitter melon, winter melon, bamboo shoots, milk, tofu, soy milk, Asian pear, banana, almond and white sesame (to name a few).
The lung system is also related to sadness or grief, so you may observe that these feelings are more present at this time. In Chinese medicine, we are never looking to get rid of or suppress emotional responses, we are simply trying to move them through so that they can be expressed and processed appropriately. Sometimes, just knowing that this is a normal process of the season can be helpful in moving through it more easily.
Enjoy this cozy, beautiful season friends and treat your lung system with lots of love.