Traditional Chinese Medicine: Tips for a Smooth Transition into the Fall Season
Fall in TCM terms is a period of yang to yin transition where things begin to slow down, days become shorter, temps cool off, colors turn warm to light, and the air becomes more dry.
This is a great time to do as the trees and wind, and let go of what's not serving you in order to make space for the new. Find a new home for lightly used clothes that you simply don't wear, recycle papers that are no longer needed, regift items that aren't bringing joy but may for someone else, write out the challenges so far and frustrations from the yang summer or things that bring you sadness or grief with the yin Autumn- ask yourself why am I holding onto this? Reflect on how these things served you at the time, say thank you, and let them go.
Once things are cleared, it is a good time to organize and focus, beginning to turn inward for the yin months to come.
This is very symbolic of the TCM Metal organs that are associated with Fall, the Lung and the Large Intestine. The Large Intestine clears out and makes room while the Lung brings in. It's a good time to eat warm fibrous foods to help the Large Intestine eliminate such as pumpkin, squash, pear, root vegetables, as well as foods to help retain water during this dry season which can harm the Lungs such as apple, lemon, grapefruit, pickles, sauerkraut, plums, cantaloupe, papaya, mushrooms, cabbage, chard, and pineapple.
It's also a good time to incorporate deep breathing, to think about the quality of the air in your home, and to bundle up with a scarf to protect the nap of your neck on windy days and continue getting outside to move your body and prevent stagnation.
Lastly, be sure to keep your skin healthy and intact using safe barriers and moisturizers such as shea butter, mango seed butter, cocoa butter, apricot oil, coconut oil, olive oil, etc and to drink plenty of water (add some lemon and warm it up if you'd like).
Happy Fall everyone!
Kierstin DeWitt, ND, RAc