Change of Season
As you know, we are
rapidly approaching Autumn. In Traditional Chinese Medicine
this is a time of both opportunity and danger to health.
Mary has a dry and slightly sore throat when
she wakes. Her voice is husky until she drinks some water.Like many other people,
Mary is used to this kind of small discomfort when autumn
arrives. Other symptoms that she could have persistent
coughing, constipation, fatigue, heaviness of limbs,
headache or even liver pain. All considered typical
disorders of autumn.
The autumn harvest means
gathering nature's bounty and preparing for the winter
ahead. Itís also a time to pay more attention to your health
and to prepare for the cold of the coming winter.
In Traditional Asian
Medicine, the body is seen as a microcosm of the natural
world, waxing and waning with the movements of the seasons.
The ancient Chinese believed that the earth has seasonal
periods when certain organs of the body are more vulnerable
and need special attention. Asian dietary tradition focuses
on eating foods that harmonize with the season. When it's
cool out, we need to add more fuel to the furnace. When itís
hot, we need to cool. When itís damp, to dry. When itís
dry, to moisten.
Autumn affects our lungs
and large intestine. It is important to pay close attention
to those organs and make sure they are being nourished and
cared for, so this is an important time to get your seasonal
acupuncture check-up and treatment. Perhaps to take an
herbal formula to help build your defenses.
Nature provides the
foods that keep our bodies in balance during the different
seasons of the year. The autumn diet regimen aims to reduce
any accumulation of energy from the summer and to prepare
the body gently for the colder, harsher season of winter.
The diet should therefore consist of warm, well-lubricated
foods with a greater emphasis on those that are sweet and
sour in taste. Itís no accident that the harvest season
brings an abundance of pumpkins and other winter squashes.
Yams also are very to increase in the diet during autumn.
Many autumn foods are
rich in vitamins A, C and E, which help to protect the body
from the damaging effects of free radicals, by-products of
pollution and smoke. Antioxidants also help maintain a
healthy immune system and protect us against infections such
as colds and flu.
Walnuts, for instance,
which are coming into season now, provide a rich source of
essential fatty acids. These fatty acids and their
derivatives are important for the structure and healthy
function of the body.
Chinese yam, which
contains nutrients that help restore and enhance immune
functions, is suitable for people of all ages. It can help
invigorate the spleen and stomach and ward off chronic
diarrhea. It can also invigorate the lungs, relieve chronic
coughing and stimulate endocrine secretions for immune
As for fruits, apples,
pears, pomegranates, and other seasonal fruits are helpful.
All vegetables, plus
seaweed and bean curd, are favored over meat. Raw seafood
should be reduced or eliminated altogether from the menu
during this period. One vegetable that is very beneficial is
daikon radish, which can improve the conditions of lungs as
well as all other organs.
Mary came into the
office for her seasonal treatment. She was given
acupuncture and advice on how to make her diet more in
harmony. A few days later her symptoms went away. Sheíll
see me again at the end of autumn to get her treatment and
to learn about what she can do to get ready for winter.