Health tips from Susan Sandlin - West End Eastern Medicine - Richmond, VAThis past weekend was a chilly reminder of the transition from the warmth of Indian summer to winter. The trees are rapidly losing their bright colors back to a stark and cold look that mirrors the drop in temperature. Yet, this letting go of leaves is natures’ way of transitioning and preparing for winter. Trees naturally seal the spots where the leaves are attached in the fall which causes the change in color and the leaves to shed. When spring brings warm air and fresh water, the tree will sprout new leaves and start growing again.

Seasonal changes can be unsettling for our health too. According to traditional Chinese medicine, an individual’s qi might be out of balance. Now is the perfect time to take preventative action and prepare for the upcoming season. I recommend treatments at each seasonal change, with a particular emphasis on spring and fall when our bodies have to adapt more dramatically.

Acupuncture is a powerful form of preventative medicine and a seasonal tune-up will only take a session or two. You’ll be prepared to face the change in weather and absorb nutrients for a healthy winter. It’s important to keep your body in synch with nature’s rhythms in addition to reducing stress, increasing energy, and enhancing your overall sense of wellbeing.

So what else can you do to prepare yourself for autumn?

  • Adopt a Healthy Diet. Our eating habits tend to evolve with the weather. Tap into the shift toward yin energy by eating nourishing foods that are in season. This means replacing cold salads with cooked, warming foods and local fall produce, such as yams, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, carrots, pears, apples, figs, salad greens, and winter squash.
  • Regular Exercise. Movement is essential year-round. You want to maintain your exercise regimen all winter. It will banish seasonal depression as the days become shorter. Do at least 30 minutes of cardio and be sure to include strength training at least three days a week.
  • Just Breathe. Add a deep breathing and meditation practice to your daily routine. In fall, people tend to be more introspective and it’s time to let go of emotional baggage. Take advantage of this opportunity by meditating to keep calm and focused. Take a yoga class or try Qigong to quiet the mind.
  • See a TCM Herbalist. Since fall is associated with dryness and wind, Chinese herbs can be used to lubricate the sinuses and lungs and keep them clear. In addition, herbs can be an excellent way to address common cool weather illnesses. You may also want to incorporate herbs into teas and meals. Try cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, oregano, rosemary, or fennel. Call me for an appointment to prescribe a customized treatment.

Chinese medicine health tips from West End Eastern Medicine - Richmond, VA