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Welcoming Metal Season, Autumn

by Dr. Amber Hincks LAc

The autumn equinox has passed and Fall is upon us. In Chinese Medicine, this means the arrival of the season of the Metal element. It is not surprising that the organ associated with this season is the Lung, with the increased frequency of colds in the Fall. But there is much more to the Metal element than that. The Lung channel is the first of the primary acupuncture channels. It is our direct connection to the outside, and often the first channel affected by illness. But it is also the channel that allows us to bring in fresh energy from the environment - air, oxygen, Qi!

Welcoming Metal Season, Autumn, Amber Hincks Acupuncture in Beaverton, OR

I find it interesting that there are correlations with the Metal element in Chinese Medicine and the Air element in Western cosmology, particularly in certain qualities ascribed to Libra. The need for balance, self-care, fairness and justice, and an appreciation of beauty are themes that come up with both the Metal element and Libra.

But back to the Lung. The Lung brings in Qi, which in this case can be translated as oxygen, one of the many types of Qi. The Lungs also govern the skin, the throat, the nose and the voice and issues with these systems might come up more. The Lungs are a delicate organ and they struggle with extreme climates, especially with dryness and wind, so hit the steam room if you can! Also, make sure that you are still getting outside, getting that regular dose of Vitamin D from the sunshine. Exposing your face and forearms to its rays may not really raise your Vitamin D levels that much this time of year, but many people report a difference in their moods with regular time outside, so do it anyway :).  

Help out your Lungs by slowing down and taking deep breaths. The paired organ of the Lungs, which also belongs to the Metal element is the Large Intestine. Taking a deep breath not only expands your chest, it draws the diaphragm down and helps circulation in the intestines. The Metal element involves taking in what is clear, but it also means letting go of that which is old and no longer serves us - our shit, the literal and metaphorical stuff that it is time to be done with. Release it. None of us is perfect. We all have shit. Acknowledge it and do the work of letting go. Cleanse if necessary. No need for a dramatic detox, just eat clean, sweat, and keep your intestines moving. Acupuncture can help with that, and so can some abdominal self massage - clockwise circles on your abdomen for 5 minutes after you wake in the morning.

The emotion associated with the Lung is sadness and grief. Letting go is not easy, and certain things we will carry with us always in one way or another, but make room for what is meant for you. Welcome Autumn!