How can acupuncture help me stay healthy this autumn?
Here we are on the verge of October, and as always at this time of the year I’m wondering where the time has gone.
It doesn’t seem all that long ago that we were doing all we could to avoid the worst of the hottest weather ever recorded in the UK, yet just a few short weeks later the mercury has dropped, the evenings arrive ever earlier, and we begin the preparation to hunker down again.
I don’t want to talk here about the challenges we will all face over the coming months – I’ve spoken about it in previous blogs and there’s enough gloomy news in our inboxes and news feeds as it is.
It’s enough to say that the problems of the world will touch everyone in some way, and so it’s important that we do what we can to prepare in order to strengthen our resilience and protect our physical and emotional wellbeing.
Below are some tips around what you can do during the autumn to look after your health needs, but first a word on how traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views a season that can be spectacularly beautiful even when it is challenging.
Where spring is about renewal, this time of year is about letting go. The leaves begin to wither and fall, shrubs die back in anticipation of the winter cold, and we harvest food.
In TCM the autumn is synonymous with the metal element, and signs of metal imbalance have particular relevance in the context of lung and large intestine health.
But an inability to let go emotionally can be seen in physical symptoms in both organs. Metal imbalance can cause stagnation, leading to symptoms such as constipation or asthma.
We also become more susceptible to poorer air quality and the increased prevalence of viral infections that directly impact the lungs, in symptoms such as phlegm, weakness, dryness, and toxicity.
And resisting seasonal change by fighting the natural transformation within our emotional and physical environment can bring other examples of disharmony within the lung and large intestine.
To enjoy the best health we can means finding balance in the metal element and embrace the changes we see and experience.
Here, then are my top tips for letting go this autumn, enjoying the best health possible for you personally, and getting the most out of the weeks and months ahead.
1. Book in for an acupuncture ‘tune-up’
Acupuncture can be extremely powerful in helping to prepare you mentally and physically for this time of year.
Whether you’re a regular acupuncture patient, or you’re just curious and thinking about trying it for the first time, an acupuncture treatment can revitalise and rebalance the natural healing energy we all have within us.
Acupuncture helps to remove the blockages in your natural energy – known as qi – that inhibit optimum organ function. When these blockages are removed, through the painless insertion of superfine needles under the skin, your body is able to work efficiently once more, improving your immune response and aiding faster recovery.
A single acupuncture session can help to some extent, but we recommend regular acupuncture to enjoy the greatest health benefit.
2. Learn how to let go
Simple things can help to reconfigure how we approach the challenge of letting go of something – whether it’s a season or something more spiritual. Just sorting out clutter is good practice for letting go. Or you could tackle a habit that gets you down, or maybe even find that new career opportunity.
Any process of ‘letting go’ helps to establish the emotional acceptance of change.
3. Wrap up warm
This is obviously good advice as the weather gets colder, but it’s especially important to keep your neck protected from the elements. Ancient Chinese medicine theory has it that the wind is the cause of a thousand diseases.
The neck is known as the ‘wind gate’ – the point at which wind enters the body, bringing with it viruses such as colds and flu, and contributing to other conditions such as headaches – so protect it with as scarf or wrap.
Most of us enjoy taking in great big breaths of crisp autumn air – for many of us, it’s one of the best sensations of the year. This deep breathing is cleansing and can aid stress relief, clear thought, and better health by stimulating lung function. And you can enhance this practice even more through the use of invigorating essential oils such as pine and eucalyptus.
5. Spice things up.
Just like essential oils, the spices we commonly associate with this time of year – cinnamon, ginger, clove, and star anise, for example – can help to break down congestion, open the airways, and improve respiratory function.
6. Keep well by eating well
Although there’s always space in life for comfort food now and then, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to eat healthily during the autumn. In fact, with inflation the way it is vegetables may well offer a less expensive way to eat.
Eating well and ensuring you get adequate quantities of natural essential vitamins is vital for good physical and emotional health.
And although autumn can be damp, it’s predominantly considered to be a dry season. Just as dryness in summer can present health risks (e.g., sunburn and its associated conditions), so autumnal dryness can lead to chapped skin, dry nasal passages and a scratchy throat.
Drinking plenty of water can help the body retain the moisture it needs to offset the effects of autumn on our general health.
If you’d like to know more about how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you to stay fit and well this autumn, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.