The days are shortening, the leaves changing, the wind blowing a little chillier than it was even a week ago. Fall is here. Whether you love or hate this time of year, there's no denying that the season has profound effects on our minds, our bodies, and our health.
If the end of summer snuck up on you as fast as it did on me, don't stress! There are a few great acupuncture-inspired ways to gear up for the season and ease yourself into the winter months.
1. Avoid colds and flus by keeping covered up
Acupuncturists love scarves. Not just as a cute accessory, but also as a way to prevent colds and flus. We think of the common cold as being an invasion of wind, and wind loves to get in through the back of your neck. Whether you're outside in the wind, or under an air conditioning or heat vent, keep the wind off of your neck by keeping yourself covered up.
Also, please remember to wash your hands frequently during this time of year. Especially if you know that you are sick, always wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after blowing your nose or coughing. I love this EO hand sanitizer, which is even approved for use in hospitals.
2. Eat seasonally
I don't know about you, but fall foods are my absolute favorite. Squashes of all varieties, soups, hearty stews, apples (and apple pies!), and root vegetables. The produce of this season is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and these foods leave you feeling satiated for a long time. As we move into winter, now is the time to take in warming, nourishing foods that can give your body all that it needs.
3. Keep the SAD away with self-care
Fall and winter are a natural time to retreat into your homestead and reconnect with your rituals for self care. Whether that involves spending more quality time with loved ones, cooking for yourself, taking time to read a good book, journaling, or meditating, this is the time to build up our yin energy. In Chinese medicine, yin is associated with nighttime, the feminine, quiet, and all things material. Taking time to nurture our yin this time of year sets the foundation for an exuberant, flourishing spring and summer.
SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is very common in the dark, rainy Pacific Northwest in the winter months. If you notice that you feel down in during the fall and winter, you may be suffering from mild to severe SAD. Taking vitamin D and using lightboxes are both easy, at-home ways to cope with mild SAD. Acupuncture has been shown to help with depression, and can help with some of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
If you're looking for an extra boost to your health this fall, please call or email me today to discover how acupuncture and East Asian Medicine can benefit you.
Andrea Lane is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and certified Pilates instructor in Portland, Oregon. Her practice particularly focuses on treating autoimmune disease and women's health. She is passionate about maintaining good health through a whole-food diet, mindful movement, and meditation. When she is not practicing, she loves to cook, listen to podcasts, read her way out from under the small mountain of books she's accumulated, and cater to her cats' every whim.