The Changing Seasons: Autumn

In Chinese Medicine, we talk about the functional energy in the body; this energy is called Qi. It is the motive force to produce change and movement within the body. The theories and philosophy that went into the nature of the body’s Qi transformation were a result of the observations of how nature transformed through the days and years, and the understanding of our connection, as we are a part of the world, with this change.

Qi resides everywhere and as it is the force for movement and change within the body, it does the same in nature. We see that sometimes that change comes with a little chaos. The changing leaves of the trees means fall is here, but sometimes it comes with summertime temperatures. Just as the seasonal change in nature can be chaotic, the same can be the case for the seasonal changes within us and affects some people more than others. Most often affected with these seasonal changes is the “delicate organ” of the Lungs. An important reason for their delicate nature is that they have a direct connection with the outside environment through the nose and trachea; this makes them more susceptible to being influenced by environmental factors. People may experience more sneezing or coughing during this period; this is referred to as Lung Qi Rebellion (lung Qi should descend, but instead in ascends). Along with the cough and sneeze can be an increase in phlegm: stuffy or runny nose, maybe coughing up of phlegm. The Lung is in charge of moving fluids from the upper part of the body to the lower; when the lung is not performing at it’s peak, this fluid gets stuck in the upper and becomes phlegm.

Chinese Medicine and acupuncture give a method for returning proper function to the body. The therapeutic strategy is to harmonize the functions of the Lungs with other systems of the body, to make sure Lung Qi is properly descending and moving fluids through the body. When this balance is met, the coughing and sneezing are eliminated and phlegm is resolved. It’s not just allergies that can be treated; the therapies of Chinese Medicine can also help speed along recovery from general illness that rears itself during these seasonal changes. As the temperatures drop, and the cold weather attacks, acupuncture along with cupping can be a great help at warming and relieving the cold that leads to chills and fever, sore throat, the sweats, general fatigue, and the aforementioned stuffy and runny nose.

More importantly, you don’t have to wait until you are sick. These therapies help prepare your body for these changes, helping to keep you healthy if others are sick, and strong enough to fight it if you do get sick. Moving deeper into the Autumn and Winter seasons, you should use the tools available to keep healthy and strong and Chinese Medicine can be one of those tools.