TCM Tips To Support You During Autumn

Autumn is the season when the nights are drawing in and nature is slowing down, and the days are shorter and nights longer.  The energetic yang energy merges into the cooler, calmer yin energy. In many places, the foliage changes colour and there is a feeling that the Earth’s energy is gathering inward, preparing to let go for the winter. 

Autumn and Metal energy is more structured, disciplined, governs transformation, supports setting boundaries and re-establishing limits. 

In TCM, Autumn is the season of Metal, the element governed by the lung and large intestine.


TCM functions of the lungs

The lungs govern Qi and respiration and, in particular, are in charge of inhaling air (pure qi) and exhaling (dirty qi). They influence our skin and immunity (Wei Qi or defensive Qi),and are the most exterior organ system connecting our body and the external environment

This is why it is so important to focus on building our immune system, as this change in season we usually see an increase in colds & flus. If a person has low immunity, it will involve the strength of their lung qi. 

Another aspect to consider is the emotional health of our bodies and the Lung. The emotion associated wiht the Lung is grief so please pay attention if you are holding onto grief. Have you been through a recent period where you have experienced grief?  If so, it’s important to take some time nourishing and supporting your lung energy. 

Some common presentations of lung imbalance include depression, sadness, repressed emotions, sore throat, shortness of breath, tiredness, cough, catches colds easily, aversion to cold and asthma.


tcm functions of the large intestine

The other organ of importance at this time of year is the Large Intestine. The main function is to receive food from the small intestine, absorb any leftover fluids and then excrete waste. Any imbalances in the Large Intestine channel manifests as changes to bowel motions. 

The Large Intestine is equally as affected by sadness and worry as the lungs, so emotional health and stress levels are going to have a direct impact on the ability of our intestines to be regularly excreting. 

Cold also affects the Large Intestine, as does diet. Too much cold raw food can lead to cold in the intestines, and too much greasy and spicy foods can cause damp heat.

Emotionally letting go is very significant with the Large Intestine meridian. It’s all about releasing, letting go of trying to be controlling and being too stubborn. 

Imbalances of the Large Intestine meridian include colitis, constipation, diarrhea, diverticulitis, slow metabolism, stubbornness, sore throat, swollen gums, smelly or bloody stools, bloating, lack of energy, bottling up or stifling emotions, inflammation, food allergies, edema, foul breath.


Lifestyle Tips For A Healthy Autumn Season

Meditation, Breathing and Lifestyle

  • During autumn it is ideal to practice breathing properly. Breathing balances the emotion as well as clearing the mind, and the channels
  • Meditation incorporating breathing practices, alternate nostril breathing, breath holds on the inhale and on the exhale, will help to increase your lung stretch and oxygen intake 
  • The Chinese say “Where the yi goes, qi flows” meaning “Where the mind goes, energy flows”
  • Make sure you take full responsibility for how you feel everyday
  • Get anything you need off your chest, and make sure you talk over things using your voice and breath
  • It’s also a good time to create some structure and apply discipline in your life. Are you maintaining your values and principles in order to value yourself?
  • Clean out what you no longer want or need in your home, and create a good space for a clear mind

Physical Poses and Energy Work

  • Physical exercise is important, but not overexerting – keep it slower and encourage rhythmic movement.  This is also a great way of controlling the breath to stimulate the lungs
  • Qigong and yoga are both beneficial practices for building lung energy and defensive qi in Autumn, and any time of intense stress in life or due to other factors
  • Backbends and lengthening poses in yoga are ideal
  • Walking outdoors to get plenty of fresh air is also highly recommended during Autumn

Food and Drink

  • The flavour of Autumn is pungent, so it’s a great idea to add more pungent foods!
  • Introduce hot, cooked food into the diet as it’s starting to cool down
  • The senses of the lung is smell, and they appreciate the essence of food through smell
  • Enjoy more spices and pungent flavours in your cooking to keep your internal temperature up and to stop mucus forming
  • Prepare your food and cook for longer periods of time using methods that include roasting, pressure cooking, steaming and boiling
  • Foods to add in the autumn diet include root vegetables, chinese cabbage, eggs, mushrooms, onions, shalott, chives, garlic, ginger.  These foods stimulate the lungs and intestines, build our immunity and open the nasal passages

things to avoid during Autumn to support our Lung/Large Intestine

  • Avoid eating dampening foods, such as wheat, cow products, nut butters and cold raw foods
  • Don’t allow clutter in any aspect of your life.  Have a good clean out and create routine and structure
  • Be aware of constipation: keep your system moving with fiber in vegetables and fresh fruit
  • Avoid addictive habits and getting stuck in old routines.
  • Be aware of becoming isolated and obsessed with detail.  Try and be social and open to change
  • The Emotion of the metal element is grief, so it’s important we try not to become melancholy, negative, depressed or filled with a constant regret and periods of sadness and grief,  as they do weaken the lungs and immunity

Wishing you a beautiful transition through Autumn. 

Jess xx