17 Oct 2016

How to Stay Healthy in Autumn Weather

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These Autumn Breezes

As with all seasonal changes, some aspects of autumn weather are anticipated with pleasure and others are cause for worry. The summer heat lets up and there’s something to relish about the crisp autumn air, even in California where seasonal changes are more subtle. With the fall and cooler weather, we begin anticipating festive holidays with all the preparations.

But we may notice some allergy flares and a tendency to catch colds easily. In the transition from summer to autumn, I especially dislike the declining daylight; somehow I have the illusion that I actually have more TIME in the summer. Maybe you can relate? (Yet how I enjoy the rain…)  There are some things we can do to stay healthy in autumn weather.

Protect the Lung Meridian from Cold

In Chinese medicine, fall is the season associated with the lung energetic meridian, which works closely with the large intestine energetic meridian. Taking care of these two meridians is important both for enjoying the fall season and for preparing us for the winter just beyond. These channels run up the arms and shoulders, wrapping around the neck. Keeping them covered and warm is actually very important, so pull out those scarves. Even thin ones make a big difference; they don’t have to be thick and scratchy — just so they cover the neck.

Prevent Infection

Remember that a major route for viruses to infect us is through the eyes and nose. Try to remember not to touch your face when you’ve been out and about, until you wash your hands. And the simple act of washing hands frequently is actually quite helpful.

Eat According to the Season

The Chinese also instructed us that to keep the lung and large intestine meridians in balance, we should eat according to the season. This means eating foods that are naturally available during the fall, with emphasis on foods that are warm and cooked. The list includes:

  • apples
  • squash
  • broccoli
  • sweet potatoes
  • pears
  • yams
  • cabbage
  • brussel sprouts
  • carrots
  • cranberries
  • ginger
  • pumpkin
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • wild rice.

Hot herbal teas are always a good addition to your diet, especially teas containing ginger and lemon, which have natural antibiotic properties.

And servings of dark leafy greens are a huge boost to your health. Try to get creative with spinach, kale, and collards, to name a few.

Stay Hydrated

Keeping your body hydrated is important in any season. We tend to be more conscious of needing to stay hydrated in the summer months, but the lungs and the large intestine need to stay moist. Our skin is controlled by the lung meridian, so the need for hydration is easily observed. The large intestine meridian needs hydration to be able to expel pathogens that have entered our system. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the fall months.

Chinese Herbs to Boost the Immune System

Additionally there are some Chinese herbs that really help boost the immune system, and I keep them in stock. If you find that you are susceptible to every cold or virus floating around out there, don’t hesitate to give me a call. I’ve helped many people get through the fall without ever getting sick.

And so, friends, eat, drink, and be well!!

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About the Author


Janet Barrows, has a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) from the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley, CA. She is a California State Licensed Acupuncturist (L. Ac.) practicing acupuncture and integrative medicine in Santa Rosa, CA. Her practice includes acupuncture, natural herbs, facial rejuvenation, nutrition, and medical qigong.