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Happy Fall: The Element of Fall in Chinese Medicine

Yesterday, September 22nd, was the fall equinox. As nature shifts from summer to fall, there are many transitions occuring. Chinese Medicine is based on philosophies that see humans as microcosms of nature. What we witness in nature, we also witness in ourselves. Ancient Chinese texts speak of looking to nature to determine the way one should behave and conduct themselves. For example, in this season the leaves fall from the trees. The trees are letting go of the leaves as they die and no longer are of use for them. This act of death, grief and letting go are the characteristics of fall. If the trees don’t let go of their leaves they will not be able to grow new leaves in the spring. Just as if we do not let go of what no longer is serving us, we become bogged down and unable to nourish ourselves. When the leaves decompose they provide minerals and nutrients that enable new growth to occur. Some people may feel grief during this season as the fiery and exciting summer comes to an end. The energy of fall drops deeper and becomes calmer and more introspective. By letting go of what is no longer of use, we create space for something new to flourish. Yesterday I cleaned out my garden of the dead plants to make space to plant new plants like mums and spring flowering bulbs.

In Chinese medicine this season is associated with the element, metal. Metal relates to the minerals that are essential for life and the metals that are valuable to man. Inspiration and a connection to a higher self are also important aspects of this season, making this a great time to start your meditation practice. Right now I am feeling both grief and inspiration. I have had two deaths in my family this year. I feel grief for the loss of my loved ones, but I also accept that death is part of life. My heart aches to think about them but I also feel gratitude that I had them in my life. And I feel inspiration to live my life to the fullest while I have the opportunity. The feelings of gratitude and inspiration allow me to not get bogged down in the feeling of grief. It is natural and healthy to feel grief for the loss of a loved one, but emotions are like waves not stagnant water.

In acupuncture, seasonal treatments are helpful in transitioning into a new season. If you are having a hard time letting go of summer and moving into fall, this would be a good treatment for you. In Chinese medicine, the Lung and the Large Intestine are the associated organs of fall. They take in nutrients, absorb what is of use, and get rid of the rest. For this reason, the points used for this acupuncture treatment are located on these two channels, affecting these two organs in Chinese medicine. Common symptoms associated with the fall season are, constipation, diarrhea, skin conditions, asthma, allergies and depression.

Fall is a beautiful time of the year and if you are living with the seasons you will feel the awe and inspiration of it and be able to accept loss and let it go. But if you find yourself struggling with this, acupuncture and meditation can help.

In health and happiness,

Kearney DeFillipo

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