As the summer season draws to a close, it is time to work on strengthening our bodies for the upcoming cooler weather.
In Chinese medicine, we believe that the excitement of spring and the extreme heat summer depletes our immunity, or “Wei Qi,” during the warmer weather months. As your pores open to sweat during the seasonal heat of summer, the Wei Qi , your outer layer of protection, is exposed. This is very draining to the body over a long period of time. Add that to the extreme temperature changes we experience when going back and forth from overly air-conditioned spaces, and we become more vulnerable to illness.
Fall correlates to the lung, and the lung is said to open to the nose, and these are the first organs exposed to outside pathogens. This is why we see more chest colds and coughs (lung), head colds and flu (lung, nose) in the beginning of fall as the air grows crisp. So, what can we do to avoid illness as much as possible when we can’t control seasonal conditions?
Here are some ways to keep yourself healthy in the upcoming months –
• Don your favorite scarf. Common colds become rampant with any change in season, and particularly so during fall. A scarf should be on hand to protect the back of the neck from the common cold, which is what Chinese Medicine refers to as a “wind cold invasion”. There is an acupuncture point located on the back of the neck called “feng fu” or “wind mansion.” When wind enters the “wind mansion” a cold may ensue if the body is vulnerable and this area is exposed to pathogenic wind.
• Get back to your roots. Root vegetables nourish your yin (body fluids) and help your body prepare for cooler weather. Thus, our appetites are stimulated by warm fragrances of baked and sautéed food. The essence of food is received through the sense of smell, so try warm, home cooked, or freshly made foods which will strongly nourish the lungs. Soups and stews are wonderful for this time of year.
• Move! Set up an exercise regime now before winter creeps in (and the holidays tempt you).
• H2O. Please remember to drink your water! Seventy percent of the body is made up of water, and we must constantly keep each cell in our body healthy in order for us to feel well.
• Come and see us :-) Chinese Medicine is often used to balance the body to help ward off illness, and many patients take advantage of this. Make it a point to be treated for a seasonal tweak or an immune-boost. When your body is balanced you sleep better, look better, and feel better!
• One last suggestion: Fasting is a great way to begin any change of season. It is important not to jump into a fast and to remember that doing a “fast” does not mean your forego food completely; a fast can be beneficial without being extreme! Simply sticking to fruit and vegetables for one to three days will clear your head. If you want to take it a step further, eat fruit and vegetables (both cooked and raw) for a few days, and then spend 2-3 days just drinking liquids (fresh vegetable juices, broths, and water). If you have any questions about a fast designed specifically for your lifestyle and body type, please feel free to call or text us.
Enjoy the season, and we look forward to seeing you! – Kim