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Staying Healthy In Autumn

Seasons change, and your body and mental outlook change with them in predictable ways. Oriental medicine combines knowledge of seasonal characteristics with your unique health situation to balance your energy (chi) to help you adapt and thrive during the cool, crisp months of autumn.


In this episode of ‘Seasonal Health Tips,’ Kitty talks about how the Metal element of Autumn affects your health, and how to stay healthy during this season of cooler days and longer nights. (To get the most out of what Kitty has to say, open the 5 Element Theory chart in a new window while listening.)

(Length 07:39, Size 8.8 MB)




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  • The Metal Element
    Every season is associated with one of the Five Elements, and for autumn, the element is Metal—the energetic force that governs the health and functionality of your Lungs and Large Intestine.


    Pictures of Health

    According to Taoist 5 Element Theory, the Lungs are the primary influence affecting the immune system. So during autumn, it’s important to eat food that builds the overall health of the Lungs to strengthen your immune system now, and in preparation for winter.

    Autumn Health Problems

    Because the Lungs are most sensitive during autumn, this is a time to focus on preventing or responding to colds, coughs, sore throat, and the like. And for people already predisposed to lung problems, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and emphysema, autumn is the time to take precautions to minimize your vulnerability as we advance towards winter.

    Avoid Drafts and Breezes. Temperatures are dropping, evenings are getting cooler, and in some places breezes are picking up as seasonal winds begin to blow. During this time, you need to be mindful of breezes that make you feel chilly. To avoid getting sick, keep your neck, wrists, and ankles from being exposed to wind and drafts. This is a likely way for an illness to start.

    Be Aware of Dryness. During autumn, slowly increasing wind and cold begins to create dryness in the air, which affects your skin and Lungs. The effects of the natural tendency toward dryness in autumn are magnified as you begin to turn on the heat—at home, at work, and in the car—to take the chill out of the air.

    Your skin and Lungs don’t like dryness, so it’s important to drink enough fluids to make sure they don’t get dried out.

    Eat Less Spicy Food. Because the Lungs are especially sensitive during the autumn months, it’s a good idea to minimize the amount of spicy food you eat, to avoid irritating them. As a result, your Lungs will be less vulnerable to pathogens.

    Autumn Health Tips

    It’s important to pay attention to how you feel. As soon as you feel a “cold” coming on, it’s time to take preventive action by enjoying one of these nourishing, natural home brews.

    Scallion Broth
    This simple broth will help you sweat lightly, and is an excellent remedy for preventing and getting rid of colds:

    • Take one scallion, and chop it up.
    • Boil in water for 5 to 10 minutes. (Keep the lid on the pot to prevent vapor from escaping.)
    • Flavor with tamari.
    • Sip it slowly, bundle up, then lie down, or go to sleep.

    Ginger Tea
    If scallion broth doesn’t suit your culinary fancy, try ginger tea:

    • Put a couple of slices of fresh ginger in one and one-half cups of water.
    • Boil for 5 to 10 minutes. (Time it based on how strong you like your ginger tea.)
    • Keep the lid on the pot to prevent vapor from escaping.
    • Add a little honey and lemon.
    • Sip it slowly, bundle up, then lie down, or go to sleep.

    Scallion broth is the more effective of the two remedies, but if for some reason it doesn’t appeal to you, ginger tea is a good alternative

    Balance is Key
    Strive to balance your diet so that it includes some vegetables, some fruit, some grain, and a handful of moderately spicy foods.

    Get Help If You Need It
    If you experience any lung-related, or other symptoms that don’t clear up quickly, call BIOM for an appointment to get a prescribed formula of medical herbs to help alleviate your symptoms and address the problem—before it becomes more advanced. 

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    IMPORTANT: All information on this Web site is provided for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of a local Oriental Medicine practitioner, biomedical doctor, experienced coach, or martial arts instructor.