In autumn, the yang/warmth of the sun decreases, giving way to the yin/cooler season of winter. In the Fall, one must begin to store vital energy in order to make it through the winter in a healthy state. People who feel poorly during the winter benefit greatly from receiving acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the Fall. Acupuncture and herbal therapy can help stoke the metabolism, increase immunity, circulate warmth and vitality throughout the body, balance circadian rhythms and improve one’s mood.
Conditions such as frequent winter colds, bronchitis and asthma, seasonal affective disorder, winter holiday depression, binge eating, and arthritic conditions which worsen in cold and damp weather can all be resolved if they are effectively treated in the Fall, by helping the body to store the vital energy it accumulated during the warmer months.
Here are my suggestions for a healthy Fall and Winter season:
- Increase your intake of root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, burdock root, and winter squash. A good guideline about what to eat during the autumn is to locate what is available at your local farmer’s market and use that as a template for building a meal that is appropriate to the Fall season. This goes for every other season as well.
- Eat more soups. They are warming and nourishing. Soup helps keep you hydrated during this cool, dry season.
- Also, drink warm tea and plenty of warm or room temperature water throughout the day. Avoid cold drinks, large raw salads, and icy desserts.
- Adjust your schedule to wake up earlier and go to bed earlier. Take walks outside to soak in the warming rays of the sun. Sleep more during the dark, chilly nights.
- Carry an extra layer (thermal undershirt or sweater) even if it feels warm outside. Autumn is cold in the shade and warm in the sun. Autumn temperatures can change drastically during the course of the day. Try not to get chilled, and change your clothing immediately if you get sweaty.
- See your acupuncturist. Even if you are not sick now, receiving preventative acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine now can shore up your protective qi and help you have a healthy and happy winter