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Autumn: Letting Go

We’ve entered into the season that to this Key West boy shows the most drastic change, autumn. The leaves switching colors, the dropping temperatures, and the shorter days present a stark contrast to the previous season with its hot, long days.

Autumn is the time of the metal element, which is associated with the Large Intestine and Lung organs. The autumn season is the time of harvesting, when nature is beginning to clear away the year's growth, to hunker down for the cold, winter months ahead. Nature doesn’t struggle about letting go of the old growth, but does it because it is time and it is necessary to continue the cycle. It lays forth the example for us, to be ready to let go when it is time.

The Large Intestine is charged with the role of ridding the body of the waste and built up toxins of the body. This not only involves the physical aspect of our metabolism but also the emotional release that we need to cleanse the body of that which is not needed any more. The Lung has a similar function of ridding waste through exhalation, but it also has the awesome responsibility of inhalation. It is the constant transition of yin and yang, bringing in the clean by way of the space made by clearing the waste. It’s this very important relationship of the uptake of the pure and the dumping of the turbid that ties the Lung and the Large Intestine as the metal element.

When the metal element is not in balance, a person can experience problems of the respiratory system (allergies, easily catching cold, asthma, throat issues) or issues of the bowels (diarrhea, constipation, stomach pains). From an emotional standpoint, disorders of the Lung and Large Intestine results in the difficulty in letting go of loss or slights, as well as there being difficulty in being open and receptive to new things. Either of these lead to continued sadness and depression.

The autumn season, being the time of the Metal Lung and Large Intestine, is the time when we focus on strengthening the Lung and moving the LI to maintain the proper balance. As is always the case, this isn’t only done through treating the organs directly, but also by ensuring proper interactions between the Lung, Large Intestine and the other organs. Of course, we can use acupuncture to do this, along with activating the cutaneous (skin) regions through cupping, tui na, and gua sha. There is also an interesting folk treatment during the fall for those with spring allergies which helps strengthen the Lung and prepare it for the spring. It involves the placement of mustard seeds on certain points of the back, helping to stimulate the Lungs function of protecting the body to help it handle the spring time bombardment of pollen, grass, and other allergies.

So many different ways to help, come on in and let’s bring some harmony and balance into your autumn.

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