Your Metal Element 2015: Immune System Suppport
Within Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy, the interaction of five elements—Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, connect us with the master patterns of nature and define a universal balance. Seasons, stages of growth, climate, internal organs, emotions, spiritual dimension, taste, color and more are associated with each element. When there is harmony with the five elements, we experience greater health and wellbeing. Beginning August 5, through October 15th, the metal element invites us to experience its gifts and challenges.
Metal comes from the Earth and provides us with a sense of value, or self-worth. As the days become shorter and the weather changes, we often feel an emotional shift and many people feel melancholic. Fall is a natural time for gathering up one’s reserves, a time to take stock and appreciate those things that add value to your life.
The change in season also creates a new rhythm, especially for teachers, parents, and students who must adapt to the beginning of an academic year. The stress of returning to a tight school schedule can compromise the immune system. In fact, influenza (respiratory colds and flu) and gastroenteritis (stomach flu) are the two most common ailments on College and other campuses. “Flu Season” generally begins in the fall and peaks in the winter because our bodies have not adjusted to the seasonal changes.
The organs associated with the metal element are the large intestine and lungs. They help us take in what is right for us and let go of what is not. Upper respiratory infection and digestive problems are often an indication that the metal element is out of balance. During the fall, more energy flows through the lungs and the large intestine. Whatever problems exist in these organs will be magnified. If our lungs and intestines are weakened, they cannot fight off harmful bacteria and viruses.
In the industrialized world, human beings are often compared to a well-oiled machine and we are encouraged to go, go, go, all the time. It is easy to lose track of the natural cycles of nature. Just as the trees let go of their leaves in preparation for winter, fall is a good time for us to let go of what no longer serves us. It is a good time to declutter your home and declutter your body.
Some practical strategies to balance our metal element: Let Go!
Release toxins through diet: The harvest of summer fruits and vegetables are plentiful. Eating fresh, whole foods and adding a little spice to warm things up will help the body to expel toxins and restore digestive health. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables will supercharge your immunity system. The more colorful, the better—eating dark green, red, yellow, and purple fruit and veggies at every meal is a good practice. I recommend a quarterly detox regimen.
Fall is the dry season and dryness is another quality of metal. We need to balance the dryness with moisture. Be sure to drink plenty of water!
Detox through movement: Aerobic exercise speeds up the heart, pumping larger quantities of blood, which increases oxygen flow and carries away toxins. When you exercise, your body heats up and toxins are released through sweat. Regular aerobic exercise and breathing routines will help your immune system perform at its best.
Emotional Release: Mentally and spiritually “let go” of the things that bring you down. When we lose our emotional balance, our sense of self-worth can be compromised. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each element has a spirit. The spirit that comes from our mother lives in the lungs. In the fall, it is good to remember that no matter what, our mother and mother nature—loves us just as we are. Creating time for inner reflection and self-appreciation are essential for our emotional health.
Relaxation and good quality sleep are also essential for staying healthy throughout the season. I recommend a quarterly acupuncture adjustment to help your system re-balance and restore its natural vitality.
Fall is a beautiful time of year— filled with abundance and fresh opportunities.
Let the metal element help you shine!
The Healing Point Acupuncture Clinic
Xia Xin, L.Ac., CSMA