Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches us that living in harmony with the seasons is essential to our overall well-being. With shorter days and cooler temps, the fall season invites us to slow down, gather energy and prepare for the colder months ahead. Here’s what TCM tells us about autumn, and how you can tweak your rituals to reflect the season for a balanced body, mind and spirit.
TCM: The Autumn Season
In TCM, each season is associated with an element: fire, earth, metal, water or wood. Autumn is ruled by metal, which supports releasing old habits, introspection, and slowness. Metal governs the lungs and large intestine — two organs that nourish us and control what the body stores and what it releases. Colder temperatures and harsh dry air in the fall can put pressure on these organs, disrupting energy flow and causing physical symptoms like allergies, sore throat or a cold. Adjusting your daily habits to honor the metal element and support your lungs and large intestine can help bring the body back into balance.
Take A Breath
Staying in tune with our breath is one of the most effective ways to support the lungs. Incorporating a daily deep breathing ritual can prevent blocked qi in the lungs and encourage your body to begin slowing down for the season. Take a few minutes each morning for box breathing: breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, release for a count of 4, and hold out for a count of 4 before taking your next breath.
Embrace Seasonal Eating
Nourish your body with fruits and veggies grown in the fall season— food grown naturally in its season is packed with a higher concentration of nutrients that your body needs to remain balanced during this time of the year. Cut back on cooling summer salads and opt for hearty, warming meals like stews or soups. Warm, cooked food is easier to digest, which helps your body conserve energy and helps support the immune system. Cook with veggies like squash and brussels sprouts and add in pungent foods that help strengthen the lungs like onion, ginger and garlic. Visit your local farmers market to find local, seasonal ingredients that are more nutrient-rich than those grown under artificial conditions.
Slow It Down
Fall invites us to slow down our daily habits. Explore slower forms of exercise like yoga, tai chi or pilates, or spend time hiking in nature to deepen the breath and strengthen the body. Spend a few extra minutes on self-care rituals like your skincare routine. Our Facial Sculpting System blends our Sculpting Treatment Oil with gua sha, an ancient massage ritual that works to stimulate circulation, encourage lymphatic drainage and release blocked qi in the body.
Protect Your Sleep
With the days growing shorter, a consistent sleep schedule is key to supporting the body during the fall. Sleep is a time for the organs to cleanse, repair and restore themselves, unblocking energy and strengthening the body’s natural defenses. Prioritize rest by going to bed at the same time each night, and making your bedroom a device-free zone. Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep each evening.
Recipe: Simple Autumn Squash Soup
Ready in about 30 minutes, this squash soup is a nourishing and easy-to-digest way to eat in-season produce. Serves 4
- 2 tbsp olive oil or ghee
- 1 large white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and cut into cubes
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium and add the onion with some salt and pepper. Cook until translucent, then add the cubed squash. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, sage and fresh ginger. Cook for another minute until fragrant.
Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the squash is very soft and can be easily pierced with a fork. Working in batches if necessary, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust with more salt or pepper.
From our energy to yours,