Fall According to Traditional Chinese Medicine

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp, the days are getting a little shorter, the pumpkins and mums adorn our doorsteps, sweaters and scarfs are pulled from their drawers, and we find ourselves a little more serious and less carefree than the summer months……Fall has officially arrived.  

It is in this transition that we are reminded that our lives are in a constant state of change and this season, more than any other, inspires us to let go of what we no longer need, just as the trees gracefully shed their leaves with the knowledge that a new bud will bloom in the spring.  

Traditional Chinese Medicine takes a seasonal approach to health and wellness, looking to nature and the external environment to understand what’s happening in the body and mind. Connecting with the shifting seasons through acupuncture treatments and changes in your diet and lifestyle can help to optimize your health and connect with the earth. 

Japanese Acupuncture to navigate through the seasons with ease

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Autumn is a time of transition as we move from the warm, active summer months into the darker, cooler, and more restful Winter season.  So often, it’s these transitional times that can be the most challenging.  Lucky for us, Acupuncture is a great way to help keep your body, mind, and spirit balanced to navigate these changes with ease.  

As this season is represented by the Lungs, which help us to create spiritually and physiologically protective boundaries and assist in releasing any pathogens trying to invade the body, it is an important time for regular treatment.   By boosting immunity and strengthening the Lungs, the body can be better prepared for whatever sickness fall and winter may bring. 

Dana specializes in gentle yet powerful Japanese Meridian-style acupuncture.

Treatments utilize touch, needleless teishin, and hair-thin needles to minimize any discomfort. Often moxibustion techniques create a warm, soothing sensation for an overall calm experience. Focus is placed on treating the whole body and the underlying root of any issues and presenting symptoms. Physical exam, pulse diagnosis, palpation, and discussion with the patient help inform the best treatment plan to balance the body, strengthen the immune system, reduce pain and soothe any symptoms of anxiety or depression that can often present in the cooler months of fall. 

Acupuncture is the perfect wellness practice to begin (or continue) as you shift through the seasons. 

Fall: The Metal Season

chinese medicine

The Metal Element represents this season, and it rules the Lungs. The Lungs are responsible for our ‘inspiration’ both literally and figuratively.  They take in oxygen and send all the good ‘qi’ to oxygenate our body and eliminate the waste (Co2) through our exhale.

Spiritually, The Lungs hold a sacred place amidst the elements. They are the connection between our internal and external worlds, facilitating communication between our higher selves and physical beings.  The Lungs take what they receive from the Heavens into the body, not only the breath/prana but the things that ‘inspire’ us creatively, emotionally, and spiritually.  

The Lungs are considered a very delicate organ in Chinese Medicine and are often prone to attack or pathogenic influences, so now is a great time to focus on breathwork, cleansing the body, and strengthening the immune system. 

Grief and Sadness are the emotions associated with the Metal element and Lungs.  Traditional Chinese Medicine strongly believes that our emotions are directly connected to what’s happening in our physical bodies and vice versa. Over time, unprocessed grief, refusing to let go or holding on to the past can weaken the lungs, affecting breathing and immune function.  Caring for your emotional well-being during this time is just as important as caring for your physical well-being.

Fall is the season of reflection, inviting us to slow down and let go so we can move forward.

Staying well during the fall

Autumn provides us with a wonderful opportunity to look inward for self-care and reflection as we prepare ourselves for the colder months ahead. Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of the season.

Wei Qi

We Qi or ‘protective’ qi circulates just beneath the skin. It is controlled by the Lungs and works to protect the body from invading pathogens and illness. It’s the body’s first line of defense to fight off foreign substances and illnesses that may enter the body. If the Lungs aren’t functioning optimally, Wei Qi is weakened, and you become more susceptible to sickness.  Acupuncture and Moxibustion treatments can work to help strengthen this innate defense system. 

Immune Boosting Herbs 

Chinese medicine

Herbs are a great way to build up Wei Qi and give your immune system a natural boost to support your overall wellness through the fall.  Here are a few you can find to use on their own but more complex supplement blends or formulas can be discussed in your treatment. 

Cordyceps (Dong Chong Xia Cao) – An immune-boosting herb that increases white blood cells, T-cells, and interferon. (1)

Astragalus (Huang Qi) – Tonifies We Qi, fortifies the lungs and fights infection. (2)

Focus on gut health

Your digestive tract communicates with your entire body. A healthy gut can impact your overall health. To keep your immune system strong, your body energized, your sleep supported, and your mood balanced, you must ensure your gut is healthy. 

Acupuncture can help support your digestive system and heal your gut. Staying hydrated, eating balanced meals, and eating warming foods can help to keep your gut health in check during the fall. 

Acupressure at home

In between your acupuncture appointments, acupressure is a great way to boost qi, strengthen the immune system, and balance the body through the shifting of seasons. 

Some helpful points to focus on are: 

Kidney 27 (KI-27)

Acupressure Point KID27

Located on the chest, about an inch from the midline of the lower border of the collarbone. Acupressure can help reinforce your immune response by strengthening the respiratory system. If you’re suffering from or prone to respiratory infections, acupressure on this point can help to relieve congestion, encourage normal breathing, and relieve coughs. 

Stomach 36 (ST-36)

Located on the shin, about a hand length below the kneecap. This is one of the most powerful points for boosting immunity. It helps nourish the whole body, strengthens immunity, and helps combat fatigue. 

Large Intestine 4 (LI-4)

Acupressure Point LI4

Located between the thumb and index finger. This is the main point to release and treat “wind” conditions, like cold or flu symptoms, runny nose, fever, congestion, headache, sore throat, etc. It helps to boost the body’s defenses, encourage the flow of qi, and relieve pain. 

Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises help to strengthen the lungs, increase your energy, calm the mind, and relax the body. Practice taking a few deep breaths as you begin and end your day and anytime you feel stressed or overwhelmed. 

Work with Dana DePaul Ellis

Dana DePaul Ellis, MSTOM, L.Ac, is a licensed, board-certified acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese medicine specializing in women’s health and chronic pain. 

Dana supports patients on their paths to optimal health and wellness through personalized, holistic care. Schedule an appointment today if you’re ready to work with a practitioner who listens, takes you seriously, and develops integrative wellness plans designed to help rebalance your mind and body. 

The path to feeling better starts here. 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92758/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24325861/
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