by Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac.
With the Fall Equinox on September 22nd, we arrive fully into the season of Metal, which according to the Five Elements of Chinese Medicine is associated with the Lungs and Large Intestine organs.
It's therefore imperative that we focus on our Lung health this season, and especially during the seasonal transition when Lung Qi is most vulnerable.
The Lungs govern the circulation of Qi throughout the body and support us to breathe deeply.
When Lung Qi is weak, symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, allergies and even asthma can manifest. Having strong Lung Qi also provides the force to stimulate Large Intestine peristalsis to maintain healthy bowel function.
Since the Lungs receive their fluids from the Spleen, which is responsible for the production of fluids, an imbalance in the Spleen system may result in either dryness or dampness of the Lungs.
The Fall season relates more to dryness as we often notice more dry skin during this time of year. When the Lungs are too dry, the skin will also lack moisture as the skin is an expression of the Lungs in Chinese Medicine.
Strong Lung Qi provides us with greater endurance and stamina and supports us to take more full, conscious breaths.
Conscious breathing allows us to be more present and helps us cultivate a sense of mindfulness - breath by breath and moment to moment.
One essential way to strengthen your Lungs is through regular exercise. This doesn't have to be running marathons or climbing steep mountains, but a simple daily walk is a great way to keep your Lungs strong and vital.
The Metal energy is also strengthened by the Earth energy which is related to Spleen Qi in Chinese Medicine. Earth energy is weakened by too much sitting, so when you sit too much both the Spleen and Lung Qi are compromised and the ability to create energy in your body will decline. Over time, your stamina and endurance will suffer and fatigue will become more prevalent in your life.
So go out and take a walk, hike or ride your bike not only to boost your Lung Qi and help you breathe more deeply, but also to enjoy all the lovely colors that manifest in nature during this time of year.
And with the mindfulness that you'll cultivate by taking deeper breaths, you'll find an even deeper state of presence to enjoy all the changes of this beautiful new season.