Note: I’m pleased to feature this guest post by Darcy Forrest, LAc., Dipl. OM.
The leaves have started to turn color, and the brisk fall winds have already begun to scatter the dried up leaves about the ground. Without much notice, we were plunged into cooler temps, shorter days, and darker skies. This change of season proves especially hard on some, as this particular season change is about decline. Yet, this is the nature of all things, the end of one thing leads to the beginning of another.
The continuous cycle of the seasons changing is represented in the Five Elements of Chinese Medicine. Fall brings with it this notion of grief, the emotion associated with the Metal Element, and of the lung and large intestine organs. Often times, the thought of decline might bring with it, a negative connotation. Things are starting to die, decay, and retreat, the abundance of life begins to dwindle, and all living things prepare for the cold winter that lies ahead. There is a resistance, in many ways, to this change. Some fear it, some get caught up in the emotion of sadness or grief, depression might creep into your life, anxiety, or sorrow.
However, this season is also about letting go, and getting rid of useless accumulations. We do this physically through both bowel movements (large intestine), and exhalation (lungs). This letting go, of material objects, poor relationships, habits, attitudes, or regrets, is an opportunity for growth, and allows room for positivity, and a new awareness and perspective on life. This season prepares us for conservation, rest, and the utmost yin energy that winter and the Water Element bring. Fall is all about winding down, winter is about stillness, spring is a time for winding up, and summer, a time for activity and movement. Those finding it hard to wind down, might want to ask themselves where the resistance is coming from. To live in sync with the seasons, is to live in sync with yourself, because we all have this hardwired into us, as we are simply a reflection of our environment. Surrendering to this change can help to free the flow of Qi, promoting movement of blood, which nourishes and supports our organ systems and our spirit.
While Autumn is at it’s peak, the organs associated with that element are weaker. We might see symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, depression, asthma, allergies, and colds, popping up, as these symptoms correspond with the lung and large intestine. Understanding that these symptoms might be a reflection of this season change is half the battle, and knowing how to cater to your body’s needs is the other half. Symptoms are your bodies way of telling you that something is off. It may be minor and something you can correct yourself. This might include incorporating diet change, exercise, a shift in thought patterns, or more sleep. Foods that nourish the lungs include white fruits and vegetables, like pears and onions. Saying affirmations of positivity, meditation, and believing that, “this too shall pass,” can all help to bring you up out of a “funk.” Perhaps the most important lesson to be learned, is that it’s normal for our emotions and bodies to feel different throughout the year. Letting go of expectations, and of trying to uphold the same vitality, spirit, and routines day after day, can be truly freeing.
To read more about the Five Elements, I encourage you to check out the book, Between Heaven and Earth, by Harriet Beinfield. If your symptoms can’t be managed by self care, I would love to work with you. Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine aims to restore your body back to a state of homeostasis, giving you the tools your body needs to maintain wellness. You can learn more by visiting my website at www.maineacu.com.
Darcy Forrest, LAc., Dipl. OM practices acupuncture in Falmouth, Maine. She is nationally accredited by NCCAOM, and licensed to practice in the State of Maine. She attended the University of Southern Maine, where she received a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and then continued on to the Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, where she earned a Master’s degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Find her on the web at www.maineacu.com.