Healthy living advice - living in harmony with the season
In Autumn there is a “clearing away.” Winds spring up, speeding leaves off trees, temperatures fall and there is a gathering within, preparing for winter. Gardeners divide and replant, bedding in for the winter with a good feed and mulching. Autumn is a time of gathering, storage and putting things in order in preparation for winter. This is the time to look to the Lung and Colon energy systems. Abundant Lung energy manifests as strong physical vitality, a good immunity, glowing skin and a clear sense of self-worth. If your Lung energy is low you are more susceptible to colds and flu. So, don’t over exert yourself and if you do sweat, make sure you wrap up well after. Look at what satisfies you and enhances your life and what does not. What can be let go? If you are feeling stuck, unable to let go or low in energy, have a seasonal acupuncture treatment to assist the transformation of your energy in this phase.
Breathing … a Positive Step to Relaxation
Yes, we all do it, but when we think about it, most of us realise that we take the minimum breath possible. A few minutes of relaxed breathing is very calming, builds the lung energy, and is the basis of Qi Gong (energy cultivation exercises) and meditation. Breathe with the diaphragm, relax the shoulders and chest, allow the abdomen to gently rise and fall. If your chest or diaphragm feels tight, massaging your sternum can help to relax it. Find the notch at the base of your throat, move your fingers down, rub in small circles from the top down to the middle, just between the breasts.
The season of runny noses, hacking coughs and sore throats is upon us again. Prevention is better than cure, and acupuncturists will tell you that your grandmother was right when she told you not to go out with wet hair, wear a hat, scarf, gloves and warm underwear, not to sit on cold wet grass or go out with wet hair and so on. Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that wind, cold and damp enter at vulnerable points; the back of the neck and joints such as fingers, wrists and knees. You may have experienced neck pain that started on a cold windy day when you weren’t warmly wrapped up, maybe followed by a nasty cold. So follow granny's timeless words of wisdom for the cold, damp and windy season: Carry gloves, hat and scarf, keep a spare pair of shoes at work in case your feet get wet, keep your lower back warm with a long top or a japanese haramaki belly warmer, avoid sitting on cold metal benches while waiting for your train. If you do get chilled, warm up from the inside with a hot ginger and cinnamon tea, and soak chilled feet in a basin of hot water with mustard and ginger. If you do get sick, try and see your acupuncturist as soon as possible. Timely treatment tends not only to dramatically shorten the course of your "bug", but also to reduce the chance of any lingering nasty after effects.
Delicious autumn recipes
The ancient Chinese attributed different energetic qualities to food and used food as medicine. White is the colour that resonates with the Lung and Large Intestine. Think of white meats, mushrooms, pears, radishes. Good quality fresh food, organic/biodynamic vegetables, sprouted seeds and grains, will strengthen the Qi of the Lungs. They also need protein, such as tofu, beans, white meat. A craving for protein can indicate deficient Lung Qi. If you can tolerate dairy foods these are nourishing, but in many cases cause congestion and build-up of phlegm. Adding ginger to food can improve digestion.
Butter bean, parsley and garlic soup is a delicious remedy to ward off colds and build immunity
1 bulb chopped garlic (or roasted whole for 20 mins and squeezed out)
1 onion finely chopped
2tbs olive oil
1ltr chicken stock
2x400g tins butter beans
2 large handfuls chopped parsley
In a large saucepan, gently soften the garlic and onions in oil. Add rest of ingredients and simmer about 15 mins. To serve, top with sprouted seeds or a drizzle of hempseed oil
Follow with warm spiced baked pears
Pears can relieve coughing, loss of voice and constipation. Peel a pear for each person and place in covered dish. Pour over each pear I tbsp apple juice, 1 tsp lemon juice and a blob of honey. Generously sprinkle with mixed spice and cinnamon. Bake 20mins at 180C. Top with flaked almonds and yogurt and serve.
Salt scrub and skin brushing for glowing healthy skin
In Chinese medicine, Autumn has a strong association with lungs, large intestine and skin. Central heating can leave your skin feeling dry and dull, so here are two tips to maintain skin health and support the immune system.
Use a special skin brush to dry brush your skin before a bath or shower. Afterwards moisturise and feel a fantastic glow.
Make your own fragrant salt scrub, cheap and easy and much nicer than ready made. Put a couple of handfuls of course sea salt in a bowl and add just enough sweet almond oil to cover the salt. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil. Soak in bath first then stand up and rub on salt scrub mixture all over. Lie back in bath and relax. Dry off and sleep well!