WHAT IS THE 5TH SEASON??Mar 02, 2020
STAYING HEALTHY THROUGH SEASONAL TRANSITIONS
The summer can't last forever..!
When we finally transition into the fall season, we will be moving from the extreme Yang, hot, dry summer, and into, the extreme Yin, wet, cold winter. The transition between seasons is the time when our bodies are most vulnerable to breaking down and expressing illness.
Being especially aware of your body's needs during this time will help to maintain a strong immune response. We tend to try and maintain the energy of the summer even though the time, temperature and weather is guiding us to be more internal, to work-in, to rest, and to add more warming sustenance in preparation for the cold season.
Chinese medicine recognizes two "evils" during the fall season, dryness and wind. Both of which tend to make our lungs dry. The mucosa of the nose, and lungs need to stay moist, but not wet.. We need to preserve and support our kidney function through the balance of work, play and rest in order to improve the lungs ability to grasp the energy or "qi" of the air we breathe, and directly contributes to the lungs ability to defend against the invasive elements of dryness, wind and dampness as well as pathogens. The spleen absorbs and transforms the foods and liquids we consume, and if it fails to efficiently do its job the dampness will obstruct the lungs through and the formation of mucus.
The priorities during the seasonal transition are balancing kidney, lung and spleen organ function, balancing and uplifting emotions, adjusting activity levels, warming foods and protecting the body from invasive energies and elements. Protecting ourselves from external pathogens, dry mucus membranes, and lung weakness will bolster our first line of defense against invaders.
Foods that will moisturize and nourish the respiratory system and mucosa are pear, asian pears, celery, apples, warm tea with honey, persimmons, almonds and some immune stimulating, protective, clarifying and adaptogenic herbs are: Osha root, Ginger, Peppermint, Nettles, Schisandra, Astragalus, and Reishi mushroom. One other idea is adding Chia seed into the diet because we need the mucilaginous moisture to help keep the bowels moving smoothly, the large intestine is the balancing organ to the lung and if it is not moving the toxins and will form mucus and obstruct the lungs and sinuses.
The body's largest organ of detoxification and permeability is the skin, one way to help balance the moisture and protect us from the dryness of the fall is slathering on sesame oil because it is warming and nourishing, ideally infused with essential oils like: Frankincense, Peppermint, Lemon, Grapefruit, Oregano, Lavender, Cinnamon and Clove. After 10-15 mins, gently wash it off in warm shower or bath with mild natural soap.
Taking saunas, especially infrared, will really increase immune response and warm and cleanse us from the inside out. For those who are brave, follow with alternating hot/cold rinse. The hot water draws the blood to the periphery, out into the capillaries and opens the body up, cold shocks the system in a healthy way to pull all the heat and blood to the core of the body, this is a natural pump that really improves the health of our nervous system, cardiovascular system, lymphatic system, as well as skin and organ detoxification. Combine this with a warm saltwater Neti pot after for a whole body clean that will strip away pathogens and leave you feeling luxurious, clarified and strengthened.
Lastly, a quick description of lifestyle elements.. I want to recommend that you reduce dairy, sugar, breads, and cold liquids and damp foods, smoking and drinking, and over eating, in order to support optimal health in this crucial time. Please feel free to ask questions about the above information and recommendations, as I believe this topic should be on all of our minds this season.
There are 8 limbs in Traditional Chinese medicine. This list is from most gentle to most aggressive: 1. Meditation, 2. Exercise 3. Feng Shui 4. Horoscope 5. Diet 6. Massage 7. Herbal Therapy 8. Acupuncture/Moxabustion. We in the West tend to see the most aggressive forms of Chinese medicine, acupuncture and herbs, as alternative or preventative care, or gentle forms of treatment. In truth, if we create a lifestyle through practices like the more subtle above mentioned things we can achieve and maintain exceptional health and hardiness throughout the year. Start to see if you can incorporate some of these ideas and practices into your daily life this fall and feel the confidence and bliss that comes from a committed program of self care.
All Love and Abundant Blessings to You this Harvest season!