ARMED & READY
Autumn is the season for strengthening our immune system! According to the 5 Element theory of Chinese Medicine, Autumn is the season of the metal element. The metal element is all about structure and boundaries and this is why it is the perfect time to reinforce our defenses when it comes to health and immunity.
Organs of the season: Lung & Large Intestine are the organs of the metal element and the Autumn season. Together these organs form a protective layer against pathogenic factors that often enter through the respiratory and digestive systems. Their Chinese medicine function further explains their role in immunity. Lung commands the qi in the body and has a strong influence on what is called the wei qi or protective qi. Lungs also control skin, the biggest and most outward organ. They regulate the pores, controlling the opening and closing of the pores and help us to sweat when we need to push pathogens and toxins out of our system.
The Lungs are paired with the large intestine, which in western medicine is closely associated with immunity due to the role of the microbiome in preventing infections. In Chinese Medicine the large intestine function of elimination is the main focus. The process of eliminating body waste is crucial to prevent auto-toxicity and a sluggish system that can not defend itself efficiently. In addition to eliminating food waste and toxins, the large intestines are thought to help us move long-standing emotions out of the body. It is the organ that helps us let go.
The emotion of the season is grief as this is the time to shift more inward and release any excess. It is a time in nature when the bright fire of summer life and activity slows down and things begin to die as part of the cycle of nature. This brings with it an instinctual feeling of sadness as we mourn the loss of that life and begin to prepare for the quiet of winter. Any feelings of loss we have felt in our lives can present themselves during this time if we have not fully processed and released them.
Immune Support Tips:
The best way to support the body’s defenses is to bring it into a natural balance with itself and its environment. So, during the fall season, making sure to support the function of the Lungs and Large Intestine will have a lasting effect on immunity year-round.
Breathwork: cultivate your qi and enough oxygen to power your life by applying a little more awareness to your most intuitive function, your breathing. Breathe slow and deep and with loving intention.
Gentle exercise: will help strengthen your lungs and open your pores for sweat.
Dry-brush: your pores are breathing too. Help keep them clean by implementing a dry-brush routine for your skin before showers.
Sleep: the transition from summer to fall is a transition from yang to yin and therefore a time to slow down and get to bed earlier as the days get shorter. Your organs need the rest for repair and will thank you.
Avoid cold, damp (like dairy) and raw foods that slow the digestion and can create phlegm that burdens the lung function.
Eat healthy sources of fiber (nuts, seeds, lentils, legumes, whole grains, veggies and fruits) which assist the large intestine’s job of elimination and help to prevent constipation.
Stay hydrated: both the lungs and large intestines need the right balance of fluids to function properly and can be prone to dryness during the fall season.
Probiotics: Enrich your gut flora and mucosal immunity with fermented foods and probiotic supplements.
Feel and release grief: allow yourself to mourn loss in your life. Think: less judgement and more compassion. The more you make room for actually processing your feelings the easier it is to let them go and move on.
Chinese herbs: Immune boosting herbs like Ginseng, astragalus, cordyceps, and schisandra can lift the qi, nourish the lungs and help fight infections when needed.