Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Autumn Survival Guide: Protect your metal

At this time of year I often see many patients coming to the clinic with colds and coughs. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) the Lungs govern something called the Wei Qi. This is the TCM equivalent of our immune system. What you may not know that is that the Chinese have long said the autumn has a special affinity with your Lung meridian. In this guide to I would like to introduce that link and show you some tips to:

“Protect Your Metal”
In the Chinese tradition, the autumn is allied with the colour white, the sound of crying, the emotions of both bravery and grief, the lung organ, the metal element, and a white tiger. Autumn is also coupled in Chinese thinking with the direction west, considered to be the direction of dreams and visions.

The Autumn & The Metal Element from Sept 21 to the winter solstice of December 21

In all seasons change occurs. In the metal phase (autumn) a downward the amount of daylight lessens, days grow shorter, and energy descends back into the earth for the dormant cycle. Leaves fall from the trees, the last fruits ripen, and Qi energy contracts.

Preserving our Metal

In the season of autumn, the Metal element is at its pinnacle and particularly open to change. Luckily using Chinese medicine, we can revive and rebuild our metal element - in a physical and on an emotional level.
Acupuncturists often use points located on the Lung and Colon meridians (energy pathways) when treating the energy of the Metal element. Each of these points has a spirit and purpose, as do all of the acupuncture points on the body. When used at the right time, a point's effect is profound.
As well as using herbs and acupuncture to protect or Lungs understanding of the metal element means we can help ourselves.
The energy of this phase, more than any other, supports our letting go of waste. The organs of metal the Lungs and the Colon both are organs of elimination. It governs the removal of carbon dioxide from the blood, and waste from the colon.
Some form of gentle exercise that is focused on the breathing is excellent at this time of year to strengthen the Metal.
Tai Qi, Qi Gong, meditation and yoga can be excellent for this. Particularly when done early in the morning (between 3am-7am), as this is the time when the Lung & Large intestines are most active.
On an emotional level now this is a good time to be riding ourselves of the old and stale in our lives, leaving us open to the pure and new, giving us an idea of who we are in our essence. Autumn returns us to our core, moves us to eliminate what we no longer need, revealing what is most valuable in our lives.
Because white is the colour of autumn in the Chinese belief, light white candles against the rising darkness of the season, or put white flowers on your table.
Foods That Benefit the Metal Element
Grain: White, brown, and sweet rice
Vegetables: cauliflower, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, celery, daikon radish, onions, watercress, mustard and turnip greens, turnips, garlic, cucumber, leeks
Beans and Pulses: white beans
Fruits: Banana, pear, apples
Fish: Bass, snapper, cod, haddock, herring, flounder, sole, halibut
Herbs and Seasonings: dill, fennel, thyme, ginger root, horseradish, cinnamon, cayenne, basil, and rosemary

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