Celebrating Autumn! The Metal Element

“The three months of Fall are called the period of tranquility of one’s conduct…Soul and spirit should be gathered together in order to make the breath of Fall tranquil…all of this is the protection of one’s harvest. In the autumn all things in creation approach their harvest, perfection and completion.”  Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching

Autumn Equinox! Respect the impending dark and give thanks to sunlight.  Begin to clean, protect, secure, and reflect

The Five Elements in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)

Summer is the Fire Element

Harvest is the Earth Element

Autumn is the Metal Element

Winter is the Water Element

Spring is the Wood Element

Metal Element qualities and how it relates to our body:

Season:  Autumn/Metal, dryness, dark light-Autumn Equinox, nature lets go and we do too

Organs:  Lung—strengthens and circulates qi, Lung qi moves downward to clear waste in the intestines, mists the body with moisture, oxygenates and exhales waste—CO2

Everything alive needs to breathe, and this breath is controlled by the function of the “receiver of Qi,” the Lungs, the delicate organ.  This is at the basic animal instinct level; the autonomic nervous system. 

Large Intestine—receives and empties waste

Emotions:  Grief and letting go

Coughing is an association to eliminate waste or unwanted debris, emotionally and physically.

Skin is our third lung.  Asthma, allergies, skin conditions are Metal patterns and is related to our digestion. Is digestion toxic or “leaky”? Constipation, diarrhea, food intolerance

Nose is our Metal sense organ relating to the health of our lungs and large intestine.  Sinusitis, allergies, head cold (immunity and food based)

Imbalances of Lung/Large Intestine

Symptoms:  recurring colds, spontaneous sweating, aversion to drafts, allergies, wheezing/asthma, eczema, rashes, constipation, diarrhea, chest tightness, shallow breathing, sinusitis, lump in throat, depression/anxiety, grief

Autumn Season:  Protect and Stay Strong   

Lungs—Pathogen enters via mouth/nose/eyes/ears/skin/neck via wind, human saliva, sneezing, breath

Boost the Wei Qi (our innate armor, protective barrier, immunity, superficial Qi at skin/muscle layer) Protect from pathogens by strengthening immunity with herbs and good food. An analogy: prevent the robber (pathogen) from entering house (body)

Stress Reduction always!  Holidays are coming

Cleanse your emotions and house—get rid of junk, clear old emotions that no longer serve you, let go of grief, resentment, anger, and disappointments

Exercise:  Circulate and strengthen Lung Qi and promote sweating to purge pathogens from entering the Wei Qi level (skin/muscle layer).  Balance aerobic activity (yang) and Yoga with breath work (yin), strengthen the lungs/heart/immunity, keep lymph moving to expel toxins/pathogens, release stress, and promote better sleep, which will rejuvenate the whole body.

Detox body:  Cleanse Liver/Large Intestine to clear toxins left over from the year: liver/intestine support through herbs and good food, yoga/light exercise, hydro-colonics.  By clearing toxins from our body, we create health and clarity; we clear inflammation/toxicity, and build a stronger immunity.

Autumn Food/Herbs: Pungent/Spicy: circulate Lung Qi, relieve Wei Qi skin surface to clear pathogens, invigorate intestines to clear waste:

Chestnuts, raw onions, Asian pears, apples, garlic, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, mint, white mushrooms, astragalus, ginseng, cordyceps, (strengthen qi/prevents cold/flu), radish daikon, parsnips, green onion/white part, congee rice, banana, almond, white sesame, lotus seed, broccoli, bitter melon, bamboo shoots

Eat in season and organic

Acupuncture:  strengthens immunity/disperses Lung/Large intestine stagnations, and boosts digestion, clears pathogens before they go deeper into the body (release the robber!), balances body and mind, clears stress

Yoga/Qigong/Tai Qi:  An active meditation form of TCM to boost immunity, circulate whole body Qi, release stagnation (stress, pain, disease, cold/flu), boost Lung Qi/Wei Qi (immunity) with breath work and movement.

Immunity Support: Probiotics, digestive enzymes, Vitamin D3, Ginseng/Cordyceps/Rhodiola/Astragalus blends, buffered Vitamin C, whole food multi-vitamin, healthy eating

If you do get sick…

Try Chinese Herbs: 

Yin Qiao San: take herbs on initial onset: sore throat, fever more than chills, rashes, boils (use for short duration: for 3-5 days)

Gan Mao Ling: take on initial onset: head cold symptoms, stuffy nose, body aches, post-nasal drip, more chills than fever (use for short duration: for 3-5 days)

Bi Yan Pian:  clears sinus infections, ear infections

Herbs for bronchitis, allergies, asthma are very helpful too!

Acupuncture speeds up healing time: early onset or if you are already sick—get acupuncture! It clears the pathogen that lies on the surface between skin and muscle, pushes out the pathogen before it goes deeper into lungs, circulates lung qi and vents our 3rd lung, the skin. Acupuncture will also have the positive side effects of calming the mind, aiding sleep, and de-stressing the body. 

Foods: if heat symptoms: avoid hot spicy foods, bbq, simple sugars, alcohol, smoking, greasy foods.

If head cold symptoms: avoid ice cream, dairy, raw foods, simple sugars, greasy foods

**Avoid dairy, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and greasy foods when sick in general!  They produce more phlegm

When it is time to go back to school or to be around students going back to school, it is time to think ahead.  The seasons change from humid warm Summers (Fire element) to chilly, windy, dry air in the Fall (Metal Element) and then into Winter cold, windy, wet (Water element). Winter moves into Spring (Wood element) and we have more wind, warmth, and our Qi “springs” outward. Sept.-Nov. and Mar-May are good months to detox and to start building the protective energy that acts as a barrier to these pathogens, preventing illness. 

Sleep is the valuable time when the liver replenishes and cleans the blood; the brain lymphatically cleans inflammation out of the brain. Sleep is our rejuvenation time to help build a strong immunity, dream, and rest, restore. At least 8 hours per night is essential for preventing disease

Eating organic in-season fruits and vegetables, plus quality proteins, fats, and fiber, help the body to create quality nourishing blood and energy. Autumn is a good time to make soups, sauté vegetables, and choose pungent/spicy foods to our diet. 

Autumn is a time to reflect upon one’s soul and spirituality.  Lung Qi resides in our ethereal soul and lungs; visualize a white light to represent your truth.  This is why we need to take the time to reflect, detox, create our visions…Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with detox, including herbs, acupuncture, massage, sauna, dry brushing, exercise, yoga, and food instruction, will help you through the change of seasons, physically and emotionally.  Strengthening the core immunity (Zheng Qi) as well as the superficial protective energy barrier (Wei Qi) will enable you to feel strong, and to ward off cold and flu, have full vitality, and feel at peace within.

Jenny Dull-Frost L.Ac.

Licensed Acupuncturist, Diplomat of Traditional Chinese Medicine

113 North Mason, Arroyo Grande

8575 Morro Rd., Suite B, Atascadero