Fall- Metal Element

Posted: October 13, 2017

I turned on my oven last night for the first time this fall and baked cornbread.  Autumn weather re-awakens my desire to bake and roast my favorite meals.  Re-discovering the scarves and sweaters in the back of my closet, I bundled up before heading downtown this week and started planning ways to use my oven again more this weekend.  Maybe I will see you at the Farmer’s Market this weekend while buying root vegetables?   I hope this Newsletter inspires you to take good care of yourself and get ready for the cold weather before your next acupuncture visit. 
Be well!  – Lynn
This image reminds me of acupuncture point Lung 9.  The Chinese name for Lung 9 is sometimes translated as “Very Great Abyss” which is understood as the rock worn away at the base of a waterfall.  This photo was taken in Southeast Missouri.  Lung 9 is located on the wrist crease between the thumb and the forearm.
Healthy Autumn Tips
Tips for staying well in the fall focus on staying warm and nourishing the respiratory system to avoid to avoid colds and flu.
Pungent or savory, is the flavor associated with Metal.  Pungent and savory foods, such as garlic and onions, strengthen the Lung meridian and keep the lungs warm and moist, protecting them from the cold, dry weather that increases in autumn.  Avoiding mucus-forming foods such as dairy and sugar is also recommended.
Include chest-opening stretches in your exercise routine.  Draw the hands back behind you and clasping them together so you can feel the stretch across the chest and just below the collar bones and and all the way out to the ball and socket of the shoulder joints. Cardiovascular exercise is also helpful for warming and detoxifying the body. Sweating can also be enjoyed in a sauna or hot bath to open the pores and detoxify.
Clear the Nose 
Using a neti pot or Nasopure bottle to wash out the nose is a good idea both for preventing colds and flus as well as for opening up an already congested head.  You can find these at our local Clover’s Natural Market, Natural Grocers, and Lucky’s.
Taking in and Letting go: The Lungs and Colon
The organs resonant with the Metal element are the lungs and large intestine. The qi that flows though the lungs and the meridian named after the lungs serves us on the mental and spiritual levels as well as the physical. We capitalize the spelling of Lung to encompass these non-physical dimensions of this capacity, just as we do with all of the meridians and the qi that flows through them. For example, Large Intestine qi flows not only to the large intestine, but serves our capacities for letting go, discerning when things that were precious no longer serve us.
The lungs can suffer in the transition to colder and dryer atmosphere that occurs between summer and winter.
Autumn is the season that resonates with the Metal element and is associated with this challenge to respiratory function. Grief and awe are the emotional energetic of this time, making autumn also a time when we may have heightened awareness of those things that we value as most essential, including the losses of loved ones as well as loss of our own most valued capacities. This awareness of what we most value also inspires us. Grief oppresses the lungs if we do not also find inspiration in recognizing the preciousness of what we have lost. Move through the lessons of grief by breathing fully and completely. Say yes to what is by welcoming breath deep into the body.
Letting go is the function of the Large Intestine. Look about your office and living spaces. Clutter suggests a difficulty in letting go of what is no longer of current value. Order, precision and clarity are supported by spaces that are free of clutter. What relationship do you see between the function of your colon and the spaces in which you live and work?
The Chinese word for an acupuncture point is transliterated as xue, which means hole.  The concept of xue, or hole, predates acupuncture theory and was used in the principles of Feng-Shui to refer to locations on the earth, often in relation to special features like rivers, mountains, and streams, that were considered ideal as grave sites.  These xue, or special locations, were understood to be places where the energies of earth and heaven were harmonious, making them good places for a buried body to release it’s various aspects into earth and to heaven.  This image of Devil’s Icebox here in Columbia reminds me of this idea of a hole, or xue, that is a special landmark. Not unlike an acupuncture point!