"Earth is a stabilizing force during times of transition. After all the activity of spring and summer, nature’s time to grow and bloom, earth can help us get centered and balanced in late summer as we organize ourselves for the autumn harvest and begin to prepare ourselves for winter, the season of rest."
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news for some of you, but fall is coming! With kids looking towards going back to school and the slightly shorter days, it’s time to turn our minds towards fall, but also starting to prepare our bodies for the seasonal changes that are ahead. Anyone around you starting to get some late summer colds? Believe it or not, fall has started to creep into the acupuncture clinic, and so we feel it is our obligation to give you a heads up!
6 weeks before and 6 weeks after the fall equinox is a crucial time for boosting your immune system in preparation for the winter months. This is especially true if you have small children, a compromised immune system or fall allergies. So even if you are feeling great (and we hope you are!), it's important to refocus on making sure your body and mind are as healthy as they can be.
You probably thought there were four seasons right?! Well just to make things even more confusing, Chinese Medicine went ahead and added a fifth season, LATE SUMMER. Late summer is dominated by the EARTH element and harvest time. It starts the third week of August and goes until the fall equinox the third week of September. Being healthy according to Chinese Medicine is all about being in-tune with the season you are in. Most of summer is dominated by the fire element and is a time of long days, cooling foods and lots of activities. Late Summer is dominated by the earth element, where we begin to strive for balance between being an extrovert and the beginning of turning and tuning inward.
When earth is balanced, digestion is strong and emotionally we feel grounded. Out of balance it can present as the tendency to worry and feel anxious as well as having low energy and digestive distress. These symptoms can become especially unbalanced in late summer and because they are related to a seasonal imbalance, often respond very well to acupuncture and herbs during this time of year.
It is a time to reap the harvest, nourish the body with amazing foods, refocus our efforts on taking supplements and herbs to strengthen the body and tuning inward with more frequent acupuncture sessions. It's an incredible time to spend outdoors, to breath the fresh air and contemplate where life will be focusing our energy this fall. Revisit your intentions and plans, and write down some new goals. Buy a new journal and start writing, while still going out swimming and playing with friends.
So just to re-cap your late summer to-do list, for those who may be skimming this article....:)
1. Go to the farmers market and enjoy the local foods that are so abundant this time of year
2. Try to start getting more sleep as the body becomes more grounded and inward focused.
3. Receive regular acupuncture to boost the immune system and keep the earth element in balance.
4. Start herbs and/or supplements if needed for allergies, immune, digestion or other imbalances that may occur for you during this time of year.
5. Go for walks outdoors to directly connect with the earth element and breathe/contemplate plans for the coming season.
Enjoy and be present for every moment of your summer, but keep an eye towards where you are heading and your fall will be vibrant and healthy!
Melissa is a self described 'nerd' about all topics relating to health and wellness. She is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and co-owner of Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing.