Living in harmony:
Seasonal Lifestyle tools and adaptions for Mind/Body Wellness
Vol. 1 https://www.resourcevitality.com August 20, 2019
Classical Chinese Medicine and the Metal Element
Classical Chinese Medicine dates back thousands of years and has helped people all over the world remain and regain health and well-being. Classical Chinese Medicine, or CCM, most likely predates written history. But the first writings of this medical system appear in China during the Shang Dynasty in 1766 B.C.
The theory behind CCM however, is not just Chinese in origin and is heavily rooted in traditional Eastern philosophy. The concept of the five elements that are now used in CCM probably began with the ancient Chinese calendar where five types of energies were assigned to different days, months and years.
These five elements were associated with the solstices and equinoxes in an effort to help farmers plan ahead. The five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
Metal is the element associated with the season of fall. The metal element is thought to be about connection and purity. Also, the Metal Element represents the minerals and salts of the Earth. These can be seen as creating structure and communication. CCM does not include the element ‘Air’ in the 5 Elements; however, the Metal Element is similar to the western notion of Air. Both Air and Metal energies are expressed in the inner workings of the mind.
During the autumn months, things are winding down and life is preparing for hibernation. Autumn is the time of year when we tend to let go of the things that no longer serve us.
Just as the leaves fall from the trees in the autumn months, so too should we let go of the things, physical or mental, that bog us down. Fall is a good time to detox the body or clean out the closets of unwanted items.
Each element in CCM is also closely affiliated with two organs and their energetic meridians.
Metal is the element of the lungs and the large intestine.
The large intestine functions to “let go” of toxins and waste products our bodies no longer need to function.
The lungs enable us to take in the crisp pure air of the autumn months, which helps to nourish and enrich our blood.
The lungs and the large intestine work as a team to keep the body healthy. One gets rid of waste, while the other brings in nourishment.
When the metal element is out of balance, we may experience allergies, asthma, wheezing, colds, coughing, grief, sadness, skin rashes, eczema, diarrhea or constipation.
All of these can be due to either excesses or deficiencies within the lung and large intestine meridians.
One way to counter a breakdown in the system is by eating foods color specific to the two energetic meridians.
Things like onions, turnips, cauliflower, egg whites, apples, potatoes and pears are all good examples of white colored foods that can help boost or tonify the energy of the lung and large intestine meridians.
Deep breathing is also something that can be done daily to help keep the metal element balanced. This practice can help strengthen the lungs and boost immunity in the body. Deep breathing can be somewhat meditative, which can help calm the mind too.
When practicing deep breathing, the focus should be on the abdomen. The abdomen should expand when inhaling and it should deflate when exhaling. This is somewhat opposite of what most people do when they breathe.
But when watching an infant breathe, it is easy to see this pattern. Deep breathing can be done almost anywhere and it can help tremendously when there is added stress.
Lastly, it is recommended to practice Yoga, Tai Qi, and Qi Gong.
FALL: Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid — In Order to Harmonize Your Body’s Energies with the Season
Time to switch from raw foods and cold drinks to more warming food and beverages. The style of cooking changes as well. Think baking, boiling, broiling and grilling. You know— hot cereals, soups, fresh baked bread, hot tea, etc.
These food selections are based on their color, the meridians to which they travel, and their thermic qualities (things I will cover in later post).
Adzuki beans Apples Anise Basil Caraway seeds Carrots Capers
Cardamom Cauliflower Cayenne pepper Celery Chinese cabbage Cinnamon
Clove Cooked apples Cooked pears Dill Fennel Figs Garlic Ginger
Ginseng Grapes Green onions Honey Horseradish Leeks Licorice
Loquat Lotus root Mustard greens Oatmeal Olives Onions Orange peel
Paprika Parsley Peaches Pears Pepper (Black) Sesame Seeds
Sweet Rice Congee Tangerines Walnuts White beans
When fighting a cold or flu, try to avoid rich, greasy, heavy foods that are hard to digest and absorb. Light, nutrient dense foods are preferable (please refer back to the comments under ‘Organic Superfood Nutrition for the Common Cold’, Part 1 of the Newsletter).
Alcohol Beef Cigarettes Coffee Dairy products Fried foods Greasy foods
Overeating Raw pears Pork Sugar
If you have developed a cold with thick, yellow phlegm, avoid: Alcohol, baked goods, citrus fruit and fruit juice, cooked and stewed fruit, eggs, fermented food, spicy and pungent food, nuts and nut butters, oatmeal, vinegar, yeast bread.
Acupressure Points for the Fall:
The following points are tools to help you adapt to the energies of fall and fight colds.
Lung and Large Intestine Meridians
Exercises for the Fall:
These specific exercises are chosen for their ability to activate the healthy body energies of the Lung and Large Intestine Meridians.
The movements shown below are designed to open and stretch the channels thereby allowing the Qi to move freely.