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metal & autumn

Keeping Well This Season: Suggestions for Protecting Good Health

This time of year is widely recognized to be a time when folks are more vulnerable to getting sick. According to traditional Chinese medicine, this is a time of year when the gates of the body are thought to be more open. It is also the end of the Lung season, and Lungs are very intimately related with immunity in Chinese medicine, as they rule our defensive qi, our skin, our pores, our nose, throat, and of course our breath. It is the beginning of Kidney season, the foundational strength of our body. Here are my general reminders for keeping healthy at this time of year.

Metal and the Lungs

Yes, we’ve been sinking into Fall, time of Metal. Metal is the element of the Lungs and Large Intestine in Chinese Medicine. The direction related to the Metal element is West; the color is White; the animal is a white Tiger; the climate is Dry. The emotion is Grief; the sound is sobbing. The smell is fishy or rank; the taste is pungent or spicy. Lung relates to the skin, to body hair, to the nose, to pores opening and closing. Lungs of course also relate to breath, especially exhalation, to immunity and the body’s defensive qi, and to qi in the body in general (the Lungs are said to govern the body’s qi). Common ailments of the Lungs include frequent colds, coughing, wheezing, hoarse voice, asthma, shortness of breath, allergies, dry skin, phlegm (the Lungs are the container of phlegm). Large Intestine, as one might imagine, relates to digestion and elimination, and also relates to the body’s immunity. Common ailments include constipation or diarrhea, intestinal grumbling, and sometimes sinus and other lung-related issues. Because these organs partner, congestion in one often affects congestion in the other.