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13 Eastern medicine secrets to stay vital in autumn


A cold, dry throat, constipation, breathing problems, fever, pain in your throat, a cough that comes back again, dry lips, the flue, hyperventilation, dry feet, children and adults waking up at 5 or 6am, a soar throat, dry skin, sinus infection, gap’s around the heel of your foot and you might even be feeling a bit down due to the end of the summer period. Don’t be fooled however, although it felt a long time like summer this autumn the symptoms that usually go with this season tend to appear anyways. If that is the case, how do you prevent that from happening?

“If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour.” Victoria Erickson

So that was summer, now it’s time for the tough seasons

All things in nature reach their full maturity in the 3 months of autumn. The grains ripen and harvesting occurs. Energy in the air cools down, as does the weather. The wind begins to stir. Daylight gets shorter and the temperature drops. We’re going from an active phase (summer) to a passive phase (autumn and winter). As we mentally prepare ourselves for shorter and colder days we should also prepare our body and spirit for the coming seasons.

If a year were placed in a clock, autumn would be the magic hour.” Victoria Erickson

Surprisingly simple ways for vitality in autumn

Would you like to feel vital in both body and mind, walk through the leaves of autumn without undergoing unpleasant symptoms, and just feel well-prepared for the coming winter? Eastern medicine (TCM – Traditional Chinese Medicine) has a lot to offer in helping us reach a form of harmony with the seasons.
Below I will share 13 secrets with you that your mother or grandmother may never have told you, or if they have may in the meantime have been scattered to the four winds.

1. In the first place, drink the summer heat and dried-up toxins out of your body

During summer our bodies become a reservoir from which we withdraw water and salt due to heat and sweating. Because of this our bodies tend to dry out and a concentration of toxins accumulate. If we do not discard these toxins, several symptoms like the ones mentioned in the first paragraph of this article may emerge. To be sure all runs smooth, stay hydrated every day (drink warm water), this is one of the most important components of a healthy large intestine. The large intestine is responsible for discarding toxins from your system and to promote a healthy digestive system. Waking up between 5 and 7 am means you will have to concentrate on the large intestine, hydrating well goes with that.

2.Prevent a heat explosion in autumn

That will warm you up: chai’s, ginger and yogi tea’s, spicy meals with cinnamon, curry, cacao, star anise, garlic, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Along with the summer heat still in your body these ingredients may result in a heat spike inside the body. This in turn may lead to more dehydration of our body fluids.

With this in mind, eat or drink this at most in one meal or drink per day. Did you already have a plate of oatmeal porridge with cinnamon on it for breakfast? In that case you leave the heating herbs at lunch and diner for another day. Add instead some herbs like turmeric, sage, parsley, or a pinch of salt and lemon juice to your meal to make it more digestible and taste better. You do not need pepper or garlic in all your meals.

3. Keep drinking warm water throughout the day

Because the first point is so important, I am stressing this even further. Hydration in itself is not only essential,  but also what you choose to consume to this end. Above all else, warm water deserves special attention. No tea bags, just warm water. You can take tea if you are seeking a particular effect for your body, such as helping you go to the toilet, falling asleep, inducing contractions, stomach acid, bloating, etc. Especially drink water that has been cooked, obviously at a temperature which is pleasant for you. Hot water costs your body less energy to bring to body temperature than cold water, so you retain more energy for other things.

4. Eat warm 3 times a day

A smoothie, bowl of yoghurt or a sandwhich with cheese all cause cold and slime in the body. This is something you may want to avoid during the colder months. Because you are better off eating warm food as much as possible. This can also be a meal that you eat at room temperature. For example, if you are limited in time you can prepare pancakes in advance and eat them later for lunch. Soup is also an option, and a boiled egg or omelette for breakfast or lunch. Stews, soups, congees and porridge are also a welcome addition to the nutrition of your body.

5. Go back to simple routines

Just as the trees cast aside their leaves during fall, so too is it time for us to slow down a bit. Pull back and rest when the sun begins to set, and awaken when the sun’s first rays cast away the preceding darkness and cold. Dress warmly, put a shawl around your neck and maybe a hat on your head when you go outside. Keep in mind that your lungs and colon are sensitive to drafts during this season.

6. Take care of dry skin, dry lips, dry snot, dry feet, dry cough and dry hair.

The skin has more to endure because of the changing temperatures inside and outside, the wind, drafts, and rain. Do you suffer from this kind of drought phenomena:
Then put some butter or pears through your porridge just before serving. Make sure that the butter melts and stir it through the warm porridge or fry the pears first in some butter and if they become softer you can stir the porridge through them.
If you suffer from a dry cough, a cough or stomach acid, drink 2 cups of marshmallow root tea per day. At most 2 per day and no longer than 3 weeks in a row. (This is also safe during pregnancy).
Garnish your meal with some peanuts, or prepare a dish with duck or aduki beans. These ingredients moisturize your body.
Brush your skin dry; this helps the blood circulation and removes old skin cells, allowing your body to better absorb coconut oil or any other body oil.

7. Autumn, what a wonderful time with all those colored things blowing in front of your feet

“Everyone should make time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.” Elizabeth Lawrence

Keep your lung energy calm and clean. Your lungs need extra attention this season. Dry air, the drying effect of coffee, black tea, green tea and cigarettes are responsible for burdening the lungs.
You help your lungs by, for example, walking outdoors, or for a walk in the forest or park. If you have the chance to see and experience nature in its various facets, why stay inside?

8. Go to the sauna from time to time.

This will allow you to sweat the accumulated toxins of the summer out of your body. Make sure you keep drinking a lot during and after your visit to the sauna. Preferably water that is at room temperature or warm. Avoid going to the sauna every day, though, for this can dehydrate your body fluids. Think about visiting the sauna once a week or once a month before winter starts.

9. A storm is the best moment to hold on to someone

Sadness is the emotion that belongs to the lung. Allow yourself the opportunity to process any grief and then let go. This prevents problems with the kidneys or with digestion during winter. If this natural sequence is obstructed, damage may occur to the lungs, resulting in diarrhea with undigested food, decreasing your body’s ability to store energy during winter. Speak with friends or do an activity that takes you out of those sad moments, allowing you to experience some of the benefits that come with pleasure. After all, the best time to hold on to someone is during a storm.

10. Shorter days are pretty nice when you’re not having a good day

Stay focused. Just as the weather in the autumn gets harsher, so does our emotional climate. It is therefore important to remain calm and peaceable and do whatever necessary to keep the winter blues (or even more importantly, depression) at bay, allowing the transition to winter to proceed as smoothly as possible. This is the time to gather one’s mind and energy, to be more centered and not let your desires run amok.

11. Bring light and coziness into your home.

Take the bedspreads and blankets out of the closet and light up some candles in the evening.

12. Improve your long qi

Your lung qi is the energy that resides in your lungs. The healthier this is, the better you can process grief. Breathe deeper and you will get less problems with mucus in your chest. Breathing exercises especially are very good in optimizing the lung qi.

13. After all you’d want to come dancing from the toilet or have a baby that poops everyday

And last but not least, dryness leads to constipation in many people, including babies. For everyone who suffers from this – and this includes mothers who are currently breastfeeding – try not to drink green tea, black tea and coffee, or at least as little as possible. All these drinks in fact dry out our body, and may make defecation even more difficult.
A baby can defecate every day, but the same applies to adults. It is often said that there is nothing wrong if you do not experience any bowel movements for a few days. But have you ever wondered where all the food is stored during that time? You become a sort of garbage dump with a bad breath, foul-smelling flatulence, fatigue symptoms and an unpleasant feeling in your stomach.

The answer for poop problems

I know plenty of cases of babies and adults who have not defecated in 5 to 10 days. After just 1 or 2 treatments, things often radically change. Afterwards going three times a day is no longer the exception, but the rule. It is therefore worth trying out baby reflexology or foot reflexology. It can help you and your baby along the way, both physically and mentally. Additionally, a reflexologist can not only treat a whole host of other ailments, but also deliver a deeply relaxing experience.

Equally important are DYI video’s and books

If you wish, you can immediately start learning these techniques by yourself with the book ‘Reflexology for babies, massage the ailments of your child in 1 minute away.’ All the techniques I offer in this book can be of use for the rest of your life, and they do not take long to learn or apply. Whenever you have time, check out the butterfly kiss video, this is a technique to bond with your baby or toddler which is also featured in the book.

Furthermore check out the video of the baby tuina technique on the roundabout, this will help your baby with relief of several ailments such as constipation, indigestion and diarrhea in 1 minute.

Maoshing Ni Ph. D., M. (1995). The yellow emperor’s classic of medicine. Boston. Massachusetts, USA: Random House Inc.