Transitioning into Autumn

Here we are, late summer is transitioning into fall. The in-breath is changing to the out-breath. This is a Transition Time – an in-between time – and these times can be very powerful  for our health if we are paying attention. Transitions are where possibility finds fertile ground.

Each year at this time, Chad and I write and speak about the importance of slowing down, consolidating the big outward energy (yang) of summer and turning towards a more nourishing inward focus (yin). This is a time of Transformation – for the earth and for her stewards (us!).

This time of year from an East Asian Medicine Perspective

The Ancient Taoists studied nature to understand humanity and health. Ayurvedic Medicine also connects our bodies and our processes to the seasons. When we eat seasonal foods, and align with the mood, tone, and impulse of each season and transition time, we bring ourselves into a deeper foundation of living in balance. 

  • The SPLEEN is the organ of Transformation and Transportation. 
  • The Element of the Spleen is EARTH
  • The Color of Earth and Spleen are Yellow

This time of year cooler breezes arrive and cold and flu season is right behind.

In Chinese Medicine, the cause of the cold is not necessarily due to bacteria or virus directly, but what we call, wind – or exposure to wind and the weakening of our immune system. Exposure to wind can weaken the body’s defenses while carries the pathogens; cold, damp, and/or heat (The symptoms are equal to common infections) into the body through the back of the neck. Wearing a scarf in breezy, cooler weather will do a lot to keep illness at bay.

Transition your diet from cold and/or raw summer-type foods (salads, smoothies, watermelon) into warmer foods that are mostly cooked and seasonal. Fruits like grapes, apples, pears are healthy this time of year in moderation and warm foods like soups, stews, teas, and cooked squashes are highly beneficial.

Japanese Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine use Moxibustion (mugwort) to bring warmth the body via specific acupoints. In our clinic we favor Okyu – a refined Japanse style of direct moxa that is practiced as a standalone medicine in Japan. This is excellent for those of us who tend toward cold. During each treatment we are supporting your body’s immune system, defense layer (Wei Qi) and the organs through a combination of acupuncture and moxibustion. A seasonal tune-up during these transition times support you in keeping your body healthy and resistance level strong.

How deeply are you connecting with Mother Nature? Late Summer through Early Fall connects with the Earth Element – The color Yellow, the Spleen, and is a time of Transformation.

A few ways you can honor transition and transformation: Reconnect with the earth by walking barefoot, Forest bathing and eating and emphasizing yellow and orange foods such as squash, millet, mung beans, peaches (if you have ‘em), sweet potatoes, and more. 

Know that you are supporting your spleen and stomach, the earth element within the body. These organs govern Sympathy. The joy of summer leads to Sympathy, Sympathy can also lead to Grief. We want to be sure we are in balance on this spectrum.

“Sympathy is earthy. It arises from the stomach and Spleen in the center of the abdomen. Like humidity in late summer, it is gathering, nourishing and yielding.” ~ Lorie Deschar, Five Spirits

Autumn is a Time of…

  • The peak harvest
  • Saying goodbye
  • The feeling that the “fun is ending”
  • Back to the grind
  • Getting organized
  • Recommitting to health
  • Transitional Seasons are a good time to get a “tune up” with Acupuncture
  • ALSO– be sure to cover your neck! As the winds pick up, we get colds through the back of our neck. Wear a scarf – even with a T-shirt. Chad does it, it looks suave. 🙂

Keeping Healthy and Boosting Your Immune System During Transitions

This is also a time we can get sick. Here are important ways to keep healthy right now:

1. Sleep. Get enough rest. This cannot be emphasized enough. Your body needs to sleep. It is when it can repair itself. Experiment with how many hours you need. Some do well at 9 or 10 others need only 8.  Eight hours of sleep before 10pm is more healing and supportive than the same amount after midnight. This has to  do with the circadian rhythm of the body and it’s repair processes. If you are like many people having trouble sleeping right now, book a treatment with Chad – Acupuncture is very helpful with sleep. You may also call Nicole for a health coaching session that will help you make some easy changes and tweaks for promoting better sleep.

2. Disconnect from Technology to Reduce Stress and Anxiety. Yep. We are all feeling it. Commit to your cocoon of safety, love and self-care. Don’t check twitter, take news fasts, take social media breaks, feed your energy towards things that bring you joy. Stress is ravaging our health and well-being.

From our perspective, we are living through a slow-moving trauma – still. Be gentle and tender with yourself. Come in for acupuncture for support with any anxiety you are experiencing. From the holistic nutrition perspective avoid or reduce caffeine and sugar – this exacerbates anxiety levels. Nicole had to give up her vice of cold brew coffee this summer because of this. I switched to dark Maté which gives me energy but has a different effect on my nervous system.

3. Use the Breathe to Regulate your Nervous System. To bring yourself into the parasympathetic state (rest and digest) — if you are having an intense reaction or episode work with your breath. There is a simple technique that Chad guides people through everyday in the clinics. 

Simple Breath Technique: 

  • Big breath in and exhale forcefully out
  • Then take a relaxing breath: breathe into the abdomen – below the diaphragm- do not engage the neck and the upper chest, 60% inhale and 100% exhale long and slow.
  • Do three of the calming breaths (add more if you feel).  At night Chad does 10 breaths before bed.

4. Nourish Yourself with healthy foods and immune boosting supplements. Contact the office for our List of Top Immune Supportive Supplements.  Now is a great time to make our favorite remedy – The Master Tonic– Find our easy recipe here.  

5. Dry brushing your skin before bathing: Skin brushing is an easy routine you can add to your shower time. It’s invigorating and has tremendous health and beauty benefits. A dry brush moves lymph in between the skin and muscles. The lymphatic system is the waste management system of the body. This promotes a healthy immune system, removes toxins, promotes better circulation, smoother skin, better muscle tone, removes dead skin cells, and feels fantastic. 

6. Contrast Shower Rinse. Cold rinse after bathing: cool rinse for 1- 3 min at the end of the shower- it closes the pores and prevents external pathogenic factors from entering through the wei qi layer (defensive layer). 

7. Wear a Scarf! (Mama Knows Best) This time of year cooler breezes arrive and cold and flu season is right behind.  In Chinese Medicine, the cause of the cold is not always bacteria or virus, but can arrive with the wind. The wind carries the pathogens; cold, damp, and/or heat (The symptoms are equal to common infections) into the body through the back of the neck. Wearing a scarf in breezy, cooler weather will do a lot to keep illness at bay.

8. Come into the clinic for immune support via acupuncture and moxibustion. During each treatment we are supporting body’s immune system and organ function.  You can book a seasonal supportive treatment here.