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Autumn in TCM: A Season For Letting Go & Immune Support

Autumn in TCM

Is your immune system up to the challenge of adjusting to the seemingly overnight transition of the warm, damp mugginess of late summer to the cool, dry air of early autumn? 

Fall, in TCM, is associated with the Lungs and Large Intestine organ system. And according to 5 Element Theory, this season is associated with metal. 

But what does this have to do with preventing the typical autumnal health concerns we see this time of year such as allergies and respiratory problems? And what can we learn from TCM about staying healthy (or cultivating health) this time of year? Why does it matter which organs and emotions are connected with autumn in TCM theory? 

Autumn Organs In TCM

Why is the Lung organ system paired with the Large Intestine in TCM? Do they have anything in common? Both organ systems are involved with separating the pure from the impure. 

The Lungs connect the internal and external environments via the act of inhaling invisible substances (chemical compounds; molecules) from the air, essentially giving life (Qi) to our blood (via oxygen) and to the rest of our body. It is said in TCM that Qi is born in the Lungs. 

The vitality you inherit from your parents (the life essence or “Jing), rises to the Lungs, where it meets Qi that’s generated from the food you eat (courtesy of the Spleen channel). When we breathe, Qi is generated and dispersed throughout the body like a vapor or fine mist (in Western medicine, it’s considered a gas), eventually making its way back down to the Kidneys. 

Fall, in TCM, is associated with the Lungs and Large Intestine organ system. And according to 5 Element Theory, this season is associated with metal.

Additionally, the Lungs remove the impure by detoxifying our internal environment (expelling carbon dioxide). The Lungs then are like the trees of our body. 

The Large Intestine also plays a key role in removing impurities. On a physical level, Large Intestine is the last stop on the gastrointestinal tract for digestion. It’s here that the final absorption of water and nutrients occurs before impurities get eliminated. 

Interestingly, the Chinese clock corresponds to a 2-hour window when TCM organs are at their strongest. But when it comes to which organs are associated with a particular season, it’s quite the opposite. In fact, in Fall, the Lungs and Large Intestine are at their most vulnerable. This is why respiratory problems typically occur this time of year. Which is why it’s critical to start supporting your Lung health with TCM and proper diet. 

The Metal Element in TCM

We have now passed the Damp Heat of late summer, which is associated with Earth in 5 Element Theory. The element of autumn is Metal, which disperses any muggy leftovers and brings forth the cooling, dry air we so desperately crave at the end of summer. 

On a metaphysical level, metal is all about letting go of what no longer serves us. And so this time of year is perfect for practicing deep breathing techniques, whether it’s Tai Chi, Qi Qong, Wim Hof, Kundalini yoga, etc. Without letting go of things that can hold us back, we bottle up toxicity on an emotional level. We must breathe out and let go this time of year. 

In the process, on an emotional level, the things that no longer serve us can be left behind while on the physical realm, the stuff that our body doesn’t need is drained from the body. But how did this theory come about in the first place? Well, the ancients observed that in nature, the leaves of trees fall to the ground, not so that on Sundays we can have something to do (raking), but rather, so that the nutrients from the leaves can be recycled to the tree roots for Winter storage. 

Metal is the season of transformation. So make time for things that you’ve been putting off, because in a few short months, it will be time for stillness. Thus, start the gradual transition from fall to winter by energetically clearing yourself of any past, stuck energy. In other words, let go of grudges. 

Grief: The Emotion of Fall

Grief is the emotion associated with the metal Lung element. It’s a fine balancing act to be in touch with your emotions but not let your emotions rule you. So it’s ok to feel a little grief or sadness but you must stay grounded in order to maintain Yin/Yang balance. 

Take care of yourself by taking care of your Lungs and Large Intestine organ systems. Of course, any health concern can occur at any time of the year. And ActiveHerb.com is always here for you.