In traditional Chinese medicine, autumn is characterized by several things:
Similarly, the human body naturally wants to pare down, introvert, and begin a season of focused energy. At times there is a shift on the fall equinox when the energy that previously flowed outward in the summer turns inward in preparation for the winter ahead. Even if you aren’t heading back to the office yet, most people experience feeling that change is in the air. We begin to organize our homes, offices, and calendars, and look to the months ahead with a “new year” sense of goals for what's to come.
Traditional Chinese medicine is a therapy for the entire body, mind, and spirit. Just as psychotherapy helps the mind release tension, acupuncture helps the body release emotions of grief, sadness, and memories as well.
In our practice we use acupuncture, herbs, and dietary therapy to help improve digestion and support the process of letting go. We utilize acupuncture points that have a descending action and improve the circulation of Qi and blood. Similarly, we address the lungs which are so frequently damaged by the dry, crisp air that characterizes autumn and winter.
The following is a list of foods and supplements to support the lungs and the large intestine.
The Large Intestine
With all the gorgeous weather we’ve been experiencing, I hope you're taking a long lunch break and heading outside to enjoy it.
There’s no magic pill for any ailment, mental or physical (although Xiao Yao San, Zinc, and Mushrooms are pretty close!), so the best you can do during this time (especially during the Fall) is support your body when the seasons are changing and colds and flus begin to pop up.
The number one way to this is to simply walk for 45 minutes each day. It doesn’t have to be vigorous, and can be broken up into chunks such as 20 mins of strolling on your lunch break and 25 mins after dinner. (The added bonus here is that your digestion will be supported and your blood sugar will stabilize more effectively).
No matter how you do it, getting that walk in is important.
According to David Nieman, Ph.D., “A daily walk helps shake up and spread out your Natural Killer cells – which is the first line of defense for your immune system – making them more vigilant.” He adds, “Don’t push yourself. Exhaustive exercise can actually impair the immune system, so pace yourself to where you can comfortably talk while you walk.”
How does it work?
Exercise significantly increases lymphatic return. Your lymphatic system is responsible for immunity and maintaining fluid balance in the body. It consists of lymphatic vessels & capillaries, and is similar to your circulatory system – except there is no pump to move your lymph fluid the way the heart pumps the blood. You must do it manually through muscular contraction.
Your lymph carries your body’s natural defenses (such as B cells, T cells, and Natural Killer cells) throughout your system so that they can get to work and clean house. Natural Killer (NK) cells attack and destroy bacteria, transplanted tissue, host cells infected with viruses and cancer cells. Prevention is key! A healthy lymphatic system is important for overall health whether you have a cold or not.
Walking isn't just good for your immune system - it can also help speed recovery and reduce pain, especially chronic pain. For starters, building up surrounding muscles through walking helps stabilize hurting joints and also increases lubrication of the cartilage. "Cartilage doesn't have a blood supply but does have living cells," says Dr. Virginia Byers Kraus, a professor at Duke University's Molecular Physiology Institute. "So the way it gets nutrition is by dynamic motion — putting weight off and on as you walk and move. The fluid inside the joint flows into and out of the cartilage like a sponge, so all the nutrients in the joint fluid get into the cartilage" and help slow any degradation there.
What Inspires Me To Walk Every Day
One day while skimming through the LA Times I came across an article that really spoke to me and even today reminds me to get a walk in every day, any way I can