Chinese Medicine and Fall, the Season

By Sarah May

In the fall when the weather starts to get cooler, I notice that I am suddenly drawn back into my kitchen again.  Roasting squash, simmering soups, and baking fruit pies is nourishing to both body and soul…..

It turns out this is not a coincidence, and fits into the teachings and energetics of Chinese medicine very well. In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) theory, we refer to the Elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) and we also refer to different organ systems.  Each organ system is associated in a yin and yang pair, and each pair belongs to one of the previously listed elements.  The seasons also exemplify these five elements.  For example, fall belongs to the metal element, and is associated with the yin and yang pair of lung and large intestine.

In the fall we observe in nature a return to the interior, or to the roots.  The plants abandon their outward reaching to the sun, shed their leaves, and shift their energy inward in storage for the wintertime. It is also a time for us to mirror nature and to turn our attention inward again, to return to our roots.

Fall is a time for introspection. 

As winter is the time for storage, the fall is a good time to decide what is for keeping in storage, and what is ready to be released so it does not take up valuable space.  To be in accord with the energetic of the fall season, consider asking yourself some important questions.  What do I no longer need that I can let go of?  Is there any unresolved grief that I can release?  Are there areas of my mental and emotional life that I can release  so I may have more room for new life in the spring time?  Fall allows this naturally so we can release old thought patterns and negative ideas.

When we release and let go, we create space to evolve and move forward.

Earlier I mentioned the Lung and the Large Intestine.  In Chinese Medicine Theory, all nature is connected.  The lung is associated with the fall season.  The lung is responsible for inhalation, or inspiration, which is an inward movement energetically.  As we inhale we move introspectively and receive energy from the world around us through our breath.  When we exhale, we release that which we no longer need.

In the fall, consider doing this simple meditation exercise a few times each morning and evening with these notions in mind.  Focus through breathing, returning energy inward to nourish the source, and in turn exhaling to release what is no longer needed.

(photo by Jeff Parker)

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