Falling into Balance

As the last leaves make their journey to the ground, have you stopped to appreciate Fall as a time of exhilaration and transformation?

According to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season has different associations such as time of day, yin and yang organ pair,  sound, color, emotions, environmental factor, sense organ, body tissue and both positive and negative personality traits.

Following is a description of these factors and how to use them to achieve better physical and emotional well-being during the Fall Season.

Late Fall is the time of the Metal Element.  The strength of the Metal Element is that it allows you to efficiently let go of what is not necessary, and store only what is needed for winter. Fall is also a time of reflection on the progress made through the seasons, and a time to be thankful for an abundant harvest. It is a time to decide what is needed to be stored for the oncoming winter, and what should be discarded.
The Yin Lung organ and its Yang counterpart of Large Intestine are associated with Fall.  This means it is easy for these organs to become out of balance this time of year.  Physical issues such as bronchitis, asthma, allergies, sinus problems, dry cough, colds and flus, colitis, diverticulitis, constipation, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome are more likely to occur in Fall, especially if one has a Metal type constitution; you can discover which element you are by consulting with a licensed Chinese Medicine practitioner.  Reading Beyond Heaven and Earth, by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold, is another useful way to get educated on five element types.
Because the lung and large intestine control the skin, people with a Metal imbalance may be prone to skin problems, particularly dry skin.  Rubbing sesame oil or coconut butter on can take away the dryness.

The large intestine meridian runs through the face; therefore, Chinese Medicine believes the best way to prevent wrinkles is to take good care of your colon. Getting enough fiber (though Chinese Medicine favors cooked vegetables over raw salads, particularly during cold months), avoiding diuretics such as coffee which tend to dry out the body, drinking sufficient room temperature or warm water, incorporating healing foods which moisten the intestine such as sesame or hemp seeds (or stronger individualized Chinese herbal formulas), and receiving facial rejuvenating acupuncture on a regular basis are all excellent beauty enhancing strategies. This is why many modern day acupuncturists, including myself, specialize in cosmetic treatments which can lessen wrinkles and improve collagen production.

In Chinese Medicine the lung opens to the nose and is associated with the sense of smell.  Anyone who has had a cold understands that nasal symptoms frequently arise when the immune system is compromised.  There are numerous excellent Chinese herbal formulas for treating symptoms of a cold or flu.  One can often cut the duration of a cold down to only a day or two by taking the right herbs immediately after symptoms arise.  Alternatively, acupuncture is helpful to resolve a cold particularly during the first 48 hours or so after onset.

For a “wind-cold” type cold characterized by thin, watery, clear mucous, mild chills, fatigue, and sneezing, boiling up a strong batch of fresh ginger tea may kick it right out.  To do this slice up a piece of ginger (after scrubbing thoroughly or peeling) into 20 or more 1/4 inch. slices, pour 3 cups of water over it, bring to full boil, then reduce down to a moderate boil.  Keep checking the tea by using your sense of smell to tell when the water has reduced down to a very pungent, gingery decoction.  You may want to add more slices and more water as you go along and until about 1 1/2-2cups cups of tea remains.  Sip down 1/2 cup slowly at least 3x/ day.  Drink the final dose an hour before bed. Then, take a hot shower or bath, dress in extra warm clothes, add an extra blanket to your bed, go to bed early and try to sweat out your cold.  You should awake feeling much relieved the next day.

Want to learn more?

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Monday, January 25th from 6:30-8pm
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Kelly Clady-Giramma, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M. is a local practitioner of Chinese Medicine who trained for many years in San Francisco as well as China.  Kelly offers acupuncture, herb consults, and both individual and group qigong lessons out of the newly opened Boundless Fitness and Wellness Center in West Stockbridge.  Boundless is located above the Shaker Mill Tavern at 5 Albany Rd.  Kelly can be reached at (541) 224-4014 for questions or to set up an appointment at either her West Stockbridge or Manhattan practices.