Summer turns to autumn

by Ann Zimmerman, LAc.

 

After spending the day at Talent Harvest Fest,  my heart was warmed by community and my body was exhausted. The festival happened on a perfect sunny day following our first stretch of cool rainy weather. Everyone was so happy to be savoring the last days of summer. I chatted with many people about how they just wanted to be outside; prolong going home to laundry, work related projects, and making dinner. It felt like as a community we were eager to harvest every drop of “fun” from summer, yet there was a tangible taste of fall in the air.  After the festival, I realized my heart  was in summer and my body was ready to rest in Autumn.  

My personal experience speaks to why the change of season tends to make our health unstable.  Switching from the “expansive” spirit of summer (think travel, going out more, and staying up late), to autumn a more “contractive” time of  going inward, being at home, and sleeping more can be a challenge.  Adjusting our lifestyles to the changing needs of the season is something most people do not consider, it simply is no part of our cultural consciousness. However, learning to honor the changing needs of your health in relationship to the season is a wise way to improve your health.

Traditional Chinese Medicine associates autumn with the metal element and the Lungs. This season governs organization, setting limits, and protecting  boundaries.  The energy of the lungs is “letting go”,  autumn is a perfect time to let go of anything that you may be holding on to. Special attention is given to Lung health as they are the most vulnerable during this season. Emotionally, the lungs coincide with feelings of grief and sadness. Unresolved grief, sadness, and difficulty with letting go will stagnate the lung meridian and make one more susceptible to illness, often causing symptoms of chest tightness, cough, or low immunity.

Awareness is the first step in making changes to your health. 

The practice of cultivating  awareness that your lifestyle needs to adapt to the change of seasons is a huge step for your wellness and quite intuitive when given attention.

5 ways to stay healthy this Autumn

1. Breathe deeply

-take the time to breath deeply and fully exhale…letting go all the way of the breath. Come back to deep breaths all day long.

2. Forgiveness 

-take advantage of Autumn’s energy of letting go to forgive others and yourself

3. Purge /Give away

-purge what you do not need in your closet, shed, heart…relocate things to friends. Make room for  your inward work.

4.Sleep 

-the ultimate letting go. Aim for 1 more hour of sleep per night.

5. Take immune tonics

-Recommit and stock up on your immune tonics; Vitamin C, D, Tonic herbs, medicinal mushrooms, etc.

Cheers to gracefully transitioning from an external to a internal focus, to letting go of what you don’t need anymore, and to embracing Autumn.

Healthy Herbal Coolers

Healthy Herbal Teas That keep You Hydrated in the Heat

Here in Southern Oregon the heat is upon us and the summer is just getting started.  In this post Oliver Leonetti L.Ac,  the owner of Inner Gate Acupuncture in Portland Oregon, shares two great tea recipes that use Chinese herbs to help keep you hydrated and healthy this summer.

Summer is a great time to be outside enjoying the landscape and beauty that Southern Oregon has to offer. Here are two natural recipes with Chinese herbs for real thirst quenching. These herbs have heat relieving and hydrating properties that are far better than over-sweetened commercial products.

These teas are great for hikes, workouts or just as daily thirst quenchers. These can be brewed at home and transported in reusable bottles to limit the environmental impact of plastics. These teas also provide electrolytes and minerals to replace those lost through perspiration and activity.

Mint and Chrysanthemum Tea:

Ingredients:
1 cup – Mint leaves – Dried or fresh.
1 cup – Dried Chrysanthemum flowers

Directions: 
Bring 4 cups of water to boil and remove from the heat.
Add herbs and steep for about 10 minutes.
Strain herbs
Add 6 cups of water or ice.
A natural sweetener or fresh mint can be added for taste.

Notes:
Mint is traditionally used to clear heat from the head and eyes. Its cooling nature helps relieve heat rashes and headaches.

Chrysanthemum is traditionally used to lessen allergy symptoms, reduce fevers, headaches and relieve red swollen eyes. 

Goji Melon Cooler:

Ingredients:

1 cup     Goji berries 
2 cups – Watermelon juice
2 cups – Aloe vera juice

Directions:
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer
Add goji berries and simmer for 10 minutes
Strain herbs and allow it too cool fully
Add Aloe juice and watermelon
Add 5 cups of water or ice
A natural sweetener or fresh mint can be added for taste.

Notes:
Goji Berries are a great all-around tonic. They have been used traditionally to strengthen the body and the eyes and they are full of vitamins and minerals.
Watermelon, especially the white rind part, has great cooling and hydrating properties. It is used traditionally to reduce heat stroke.
Aloe Vera Juice has been traditionally used for cooling the body and skin. It’s also great for constipation, and red eyes.

Enjoy!

Click Here to learn more about Oliver Leonetti L.Ac. and Inner Gate Acupuncture

SPEED

by Ann Zimmerman, LAc.

After finding our farm truck with a dead battery due to a lack of use. I started reflecting on the balance point between resting (not too much or the battery dies) and resting enough to get a full charge on our life battery.  

The hallmark of today’s culture is Speed–do more things at a faster pace. We often don’t rest until our batteries run out, or we get sick.  Chinese medicine gives us the poetic language to describe this as a need for YIN. YIN is the restorative, quiet, still part of life.  YIN is the night, and YIN is the winter time of year. We crave what is reflected in nature. And right now nature is underground, hibernating, and recharging her battery.

After this busy holiday time when we are having some of the longest nights of the year, how can we each honor our yin more? How can we take more time to rest deeply and to luxuriate in the stillness. To willingly sit still and let the pace of our culture pass us by while we choose to rest.

If more than 90% of illness is caused by stress, we can safely assume much of this is due to the  SPEED of our culture and our addiction to doing things.  I invite you to do less. Give yourself permission to take advantage of this quiet part of the year. 

10 ideas for slowing down

1. Go to bed earlier

2. Have a nightly curfew for your phones/screens/media….off by 8 pm for example

3. Limit your phone use in time and frequency…check it 3x per day–max

4. Schedule less social engagements

5. Spend 20 minutes daily in a stillness practice

6. Exercise regularly, but less vigorously

7. Less caffeine and sugar

8. Sleep-in later

9. Take tonic herbs for your immune system

10. Use candle light, aroma therapy, body oils, and hot baths for restoration

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