Metal and Earth and Keeping Healthy During the Fall Season

After such a sunny and hot and glorious summer, this Portland fall is a welcome change. This is possibly the first time since moving to Portland over 13 years ago, that I have actually been really ready for the cooler weather! And as the chillier nights and the shorter days have come, I am finding a lot of sniffly folks coming into my office.

It’s during these seasonal changes that Chinese medicine practitioners will really emphasize treatments and lifestyle changes that will support the Earth element and our digestion. Improving our digestion will support our overall health and immune system because if our digestion is strong, we will be able to get all of the nutrients from our food and be nourished completely. One of the great ways to do this with fall foods is with the sweet and round vegetables and fruits that are now in season and in abundance including apples, pears, root vegetables, and squashes. Eating seasonally is an intuitive way that many of us eat and it goes right along with what is healthiest for our bodies in Chinese medicine and macrobiotic theory. We’re switching now from those summertime fruits and delicious raw salads to the cooked and warming foods that will begin to warm and nourish us as the weather becomes colder and wetter.

In Chinese medicine five-element theory, Metal is the element and the Lungs and Large Intestine are the organs that corresponds with fall. This is the time that I am emphasizing building Lung Qi with all of my patients. This is also the time to really be boosting Wei qi or Defensive Qi which is the Qi or energy that our bodies naturally have of fighting off pathogens that we come across in our day-to-day living. This is somewhat analogous to our immune systems in Western medicine. There are many ways we can support our Wei Qi and boost our immune system at this time including eating cooked and warming foods, eating less sugar (said to decrease the immune system for 6 full hours after eating it!), taking probiotics to support our digestion, getting good rest, doing self-care, taking herbs to boost Wei Qi, and getting regular acupuncture!

If you haven’t been in the office in awhile, consider coming in for an appointment to help boost your Wei Qi! I am also accepting new patients at my office so feel free to forward this on to anyone you think might be interested!

Wishing you all a transformative and healthy fall season!

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