The Organs of Fall – part 1

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No I’m not talking about the old pipe organ in the skating rink or the Wurlitzer you may have had in your living room.

In Chinese medicine we are connected in body, mind and spirit to everything. The season we are connected to right now is Fall or Autumn. You can feel the impact of the shortening days and the change in weather. The cold and damp start creeping into many areas (even our car doors start to creak) and we notice we are more susceptible to colds and flus. So while you may think that we are above this environmental stuff we are very much attached.transparente organe mit markiertem dickdarm

Each season or phase has two organs associated with it, one Yin, one Yang. The organs connected with this season are the Lungs and Large Intestine or Colon. Notice that the problems that nail us in this season – colds and flu – impact these organs.

The Lungs (Yin) sit at the top of our body and are connected to the outside through the nose and mouth. The viruses that attack us are taken into us through the nose and mouth. When a virus attacks, our nose, sinuses and lungs are impacted. The Lungs are also in charge of the Immune system. We say that the immune system or Wei Qi is between the skin and muscle. Ever notice how you often get achy when you get sick also?

When we get attacked by a virus we call it an “External pathogenic influence” – EPI.

This is the season to nourish our Immune system and Lungs if we weren’t doing it in the Summer season. Actually, how susceptible you are to colds and flus is an indication of how well you nourish yourself in general. If you have a history of colds and flu in the past there is a weakness that is underlying. This needs to be addressed all year, but the best time to do it is now, in its season.

So how do you do that.

Number one – get more sleep. We don’t know how to do that in this country. Whoever said we need to go, go, go, never stop was an not the norm in the energy department. Yes there are some with those genetics but it’s not common. Actually as fall and winter progress we should be sleeping more when the sun is down, ie go to bed earlier and get up later if we want to stay in rhythm with the earth and seasons. Of course this won’t go over at all with your boss in the morning but you should have some control over your evenings.

  1. Exercise is always good. Keeps you breathing deeply to expand your lungs and get the gunk out of the nooks and crannies. Need to keep the qi moving to stay healthy. Tai Qi and Qi Gong are excellent ways to exercise and focus on your breathing. They are very powerful and you can easily do most forms inside without special equipment. The Lungs are the organs of ‘inspiration’. They draw in the energy of the heavens and fill us with pure or clear qi. We want that. Of course what we are really breathing in anymore is up for grabs. Still breathing is important.
  1. When it starts getting colder, more wind, rain wear a scarf around your neck. We have points at the base of our skulls and the tops of our shoulders that are weak points for Wind / Cold invasion. Colds / flu are Wind/Cold or Wind/Heat invasions. If you have more chills than that would be Wind/Cold. If you have more fever – Wind/Heat. Wind/Cold can move into Wind/Heat if a few hours. It’s often hard to tell the difference. That’s one reason to see an acupuncturist.
  2. Develop an attitude of gratitude for everything that has come into your life. We even have a holiday set aside to do that. I would suggest, though, that you start and /or end every day with a gratitude meditation being that Thanksgiving seems to be getting short shrift with the capitalistic attitude around the holidays anymore. It’s a great way to put everything into perspective, remember what is valuable to you and celebrate that.
  3. Remember how I said the defensive or Wei Qi is between the skin and muscle? Our largest organ in our skin. Intact skin is a huge defense system. Keep yourself hydrated and your skin intact and you can keep a lot of stuff out of your body.
  4. Start moving away from the cold and raw food. They will chill you internally and are hard on the digestive system.

Stick with me and you’ll learn about how to eat for the seasons, which herbs help, emotions involved. There’s so much and I don’t want to overwhelm you.

For now, come back tomorrow and I’ll discuss the Large Intestine.

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