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Autumn Health: The Traditional Chinese Medicine Way

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

Fall is now officially here, which means sweater weather, pumpkin-spice, colorful leaves, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. But for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Fall is associated with grief, sadness, transformation, and transition.

With the chilly weather approaching, it’s always a good idea to keep a sweater and scarf accessible. Guarding your chest and neck with an extra layer of warmth from sweaters and scarfs will protect the lungs so it remains healthy and active throughout autumn.

Traditional Chinese Medicine states that when your feet are warm, your heart is in good condition. Heat is lost more quickly in hands, toes, knees, and shoulders which are areas with less fat and blood vessels. In Chinese Medicine specifically, the bottom of the feet is under the element of the kidney. Our kidneys are the root of our immune system because they reflect our overall vitality or physical condition. Keeping your feet warm, is adding another layer of defense that fights off cold attacking the kidneys. Wearing wool socks would be best when it's cold. Cold hands and feet that don't warm up, even under a heavy quilt or blanket, can be due to poor blood circulation, which in turn can be caused by a heart condition, ailments, too much smoking, and other causes.

Suggestions to help improve blood circulation:

1. Warm foot soaks accelerate blood circulation. Soak feet and calves at 40 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes before bed. Avoid using plastic containers and use glass or stainless steel instead. Dry feet thoroughly and put on socks to keep feet warm.

2. Rubbing hands and feet can improve blood circulation.

3. Moxibustion by your acupuncturist.

4. Keep feet and ankle warm at all times, especially during the cold season.

5. Use a heating pad at night

6. Always wear socks or slippers (even inside the house), especially on cold floors

According to TCM, every organ and meridian in the body has a partner whereas one is Yin and the other is Yang. The Yin is the Lung and the Yang is the Large Intestine. The best way to stimulate specific Lung and Large Intestine meridian points is through acupuncture.

To nourish your Yin during autumn, eat sour, astringent-flavor foods such as;

· pineapples

· foods preserved in vinegar,

· and lemons.

It can also help you repair potential issues while also preparing for winter by including such seasonal foods in your diet as:

· squash

· apples

· root vegetables

· pears

· brussels

· sprouts

· broccoli

· pomegranate

· dates

· kiwis

· grapefruits

· tangerines

To nourish your Yang which is the large intestine, never eat raw foods during autumn and winter. Eating cold raw foods during these cold seasons will induce cold into our bodies which could greatly affect our immune resistance and circulation. Stay hydrated during fall because autumn tends to be very dry and this dryness can damage our lungs. Try to avoid drinking cold water as it shocks the body. Instead opt for warm water or tea to aid digestion, protect the organs, and warm the body. If our large intestine is not working well, the entire system will be flooded with toxins.

Our digestive system prefers warmth and cooked food so that it can break down food into tiny molecules and allow the body to absorb the nutrients it needs. This is known as the digestive fire.

One of the best dishes this season is congee, a rice porridge that can either be made into a breakfast or dinner dish. If you like meat, beef, lamb, or chicken goes well with congees and you can add vegetables like ginger, garlic, squash, and mustard greens.

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