The Yellow Emperor’s Classic text states:
“Those who knew the way of keeping good health in ancient times always kept their behavior in daily life in accordance with nature. Their behaviors in daily life were all kept in regular patterns such as their food and drink were of fixed quantity; their daily activities were all in regular times. They never overworked. In this way, they could maintain both in the body and in the spirit substantiality, and were able to live to the old age of more than 100 years.”
One of the major texts in regard to the understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine speaks of the act of living life in accordance with nature in order to ensure optimal health. One such way would be to adapt one’s daily life to the ever fluctuating seasons. As we approach autumn, we are looking at leaving behind the glowing warmth of summer as well as losing the natural availability of certain food items or crops. Autumn introduces the body to cooler temps and more sparse plant choices for nourishment. It is a time meant for preparing the body and one’s life for the cold, scarcity of winter. We watch animals forage and store their wares for the winter and we humans must make the same preparations to keep our vitality up through the cold and darker days to come. At the beginning of Autumn, it is best to begin reducing cooling foods like cucumber and lettuces and introducing warm, cooked foods, such as root plants (beets, turnips, leeks, cabbage, squashes), pheasant, turkey and the like. Homemade soups or stews using warming spices are key. Using your local farmer’s market is advisable in any season, as the foods nature produces in each season are at your fingertips.
Seasonal changes are an optimal time to re-visit your acupuncturist for some tune-up sessions. These treatments help bolster the immune system to avoid or lessen the effects of the shifts in temperature and onslaught of seasonal allergens. Acupuncture helps the body transition from hot to cold by adjusting the body’s internal thermostat accordingly. One will also benefit from acupuncture’s ability to strengthen the lungs, which are the body’s first line of defense against colds and flus. With the impending dryness of the upcoming weather, it is also necessary to have the intestinal systems tuned up and detoxified to prevent sluggish bowels. Proper elimination is essential to maintain an energetic body and spirit. In accordance with honoring the spirit, this also tends to be a good time to purge any emotional heaviness; address and let go of personal burdens that might further bog you down during the winter months.
Acupuncture, one of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s most important modalities, is an integral tool in facilitating the inevitable shift encountered by body and spirit. By utilizing select acupuncture points, your practitioner is able to ease your body into making these shifts. Many people experience freedom from physical, as well as emotional burdens. Acupuncture causes the body to release endorphins, your body’s normal pain reliever or “feel good” chemical, in order to instill a feeling of lightness and peace. This can be especially helpful to those who may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or “the winter blues”.
The natural support provided by Traditional Chinese Medicine is so important for those brought up in this culture. It has become a vital part of integrative medical practices throughout the country.
Aimee Brown, L.Ac, MSOM practices acupuncture at The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine in Pewaukee, WI. She holds a state license in acupuncture and has a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine.
To schedule an appointment with Aimee, contact The Ommani Center at 262.695.5311. www.ommanicenter.com.