As we transition from summer to fall it’s important to remember to take care of our bodies and minds. Seasonal transitions are a particularly vulnerable time for our immune system.
In Chinese medicine we recognize a 5th season called late summer. It’s the time when the days begin to get shorter and mornings and evenings get cooler even though daytimes often still feel like summer. It’s a key time of year to begin to transition your body from the the fire energy of summer to the cooler and dryer metal energy of fall. Proper care during this transition can set your body up for stronger, healthier fall and winter seasons. Here are a few tips to do just that.
1. Begin to curb your intake of cold foods and beverages. Easing off the iced coffees, smoothies, ice cream and watermelon and enjoying more cooked vegetables and room temperature beverages will support your Spleen energy and help prevent the development of dampness as you head into Lung season (think preventing phlegm and mucus!).
2. Food that are especially helpful this time of year include round and root vegetables such as winter squashes, carrots, onions, turnips, etc. Vegetables that have a little bit of sweetness when cooked are tonifying to our Spleen energy.
3. Remember that the shortening days are a sign that our bodies need a bit more rest than they did in summertime. (YES- this is your permission slip– rest more!)
4. Hot ginger tea is a great way to prepare your body for fall. Ginger is strengthening for both the Spleen energy of late summer and the Lung energy of fall. Try simmering your own with some fresh sliced ginger and adding a little bit of local raw honey (helpful for allergies) and a squeeze of lemon.
5. Acupuncture (of course!) is amazingly effective at helping the body transition into new seasons. It’s always a great idea to schedule a tune up at transition times especially if you are headed into a season that you know can be difficult for you. If you are prone to fall colds or lung illnesses such as pneumonia or to fall allergies, now is the time to get a tune up to prepare your immune system. There are also some excellent herbal formulas that can help strengthen your Lung qi, prevent illness and tame allergies as you head into fall.