Embracing Autumn By Allana Bould Doctor Of Chinese Medicine
Autumn is above all my favourite time of the year. In Autumn the animals and environment all seem to collectively exhale into a more comfortable, cooler level of existence after the extreme temperatures and dryness of a long hot Summer. Some people loathe the darkness and crispness to the air that creeps in indicating the start of the Winter months, but for me it is the season I look forward to for the beautiful colours of the leaves changing and shedding, initiating the whole process of renewal.
The Chinese traditionally refer to Autumn as a time to reassess and reorganise our environment and get rid of any unwanted thoughts and possessions we may be hanging on to unnecessarily. I have always embraced the release and clarity when clearing away the old and welcoming in the new.
Some of you may find this renewal process difficult as we cling to the familiar and rarely welcome in the perceived abandonment and vulnerability required to let change occur. This resistance where we tend to hold onto old thought patterns and possessions that define us in a previously disempowered state can actually be the whispered beginnings of an illness according to Chinese Medicine. Yes, the renewal process can feel painful at times but what would you rather? Working through issues in the present for a stronger healthier future, or a long drawn out uncomfortable descent into old age filled with niggling ailments, resentment and regret?
We all claim to wish for nothing but a smooth ride in life filled with happiness, but in reality, it is always our setbacks and hardships we’ve had to overcome that we identify as being pivotal moments that really shape us.
Many of you may have heard us mention how important the digestive system is in TCM, and of course gut health is the new health movement which has been a welcome development. The Chinese go one step further and teach us that all our emotions are processed through the digestive tract as well as our food. Have you not felt extremely nervous before a big event and had butterflies in your tummy, felt nauseous or gotten the runs? There is a direct link between assimilating thoughts and the function of the digestive system in Chinese Medicine.
The one main physical sign which tells us exactly what is happening within the digestive tract is our bowels movements which some of you may have heard us ask about during Acupuncture treatments. Now most people find that remembering the quality of their bowels movements is extremely low on their daily priority list understandably. I’m not going to get too graphic here but suffice to say a simple awareness of one regular bowel movement per day with a formed stool that isn’t too hard to pass will go a long way to feeling healthier mentally; and to help us to literally let go of any unwanted thoughts and feelings.
Regulating bowel movements is very individual and there is rarely a blanket rule in Chinese Medicine. Eating more cooked fruit & veggies in general and including moderate amounts of aromatic spices, seeds and oils into our diets can regulate our bowels relatively easily. Taking some good quality Magnesium to initiate relaxation may help too if you feel stressed or anxious, in addition to a little extra gentle exercise and movement. Regulating bowel movements in Autumn can also set us up for a healthier Winter, as richer foods consumed in Winter can overload and stagnate the digestive tract even further, leaving us feeling grumpy and lethargic.
Chinese Medicine is about balance, so as well as gently challenging yourself, remember to always support and be kind to yourself. Autumn will give way to Winter which means protecting our bodies against the cold environment and giving ourselves the space to rest.
In light of the ever-changing research and facts about what a healthy lifestyle encompasses, we at Peninsula Acupuncture and Natural Health feel it is our job to explain and interpret some basic timeless concepts the Chinese have offered up to us to help us all feel healthier.
Allana is one of our Acupuncturists and has a special interest in Mental Health. She works on Friday afternoons, Saturdays and Monday afternoons. Please go to her bio to learn more about her professional background and follow the prompts to make a booking with her.
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Spring 2015 Newsletter