September 22nd marks the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere. Fall in Traditional Chinese Medicine belongs to the metal element. Organ health in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is deeply influenced by the seasons. During the fall, the lungs are the organs mostly affected by the weather as the air becomes cooler and drier. Here are a few simple recommendations to help maintain lung health as we enjoy the beauty of fall.
1. Use A Humidifier
During the fall and winter months humidifiers can play a vital role in the maintenance of lung health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine our lungs keep our throat and our skin moist. Does your throat feel more dry as humidity changes in the fall? Do you find yourself prone to sore throat during the fall and winter seasons. Using a humidifier may help ward off dry coughs and any irritation you may experience in your nose and throat because of the dryness of the season.
2. Drink Warm Water
We are taught in TCM to live according to the seasons if we want to have good health. To create good health during the coolness and dryness of autumn TCM practitioners will normally recommend that cooler drinks frequently consumed during summer be replaced with warmer fluids. Clean warm water or teas are some of the best liquids we can drink to stay hydrated during the cooler months.
3. Stock up on a few Pears
In Traditional Chinese Medicine pears are commonly used to fortify lung health. Chinese pears are particularly useful for dry coughs. Known as the ‘golden fruit’ for a beautiful voice, pears are normally boiled with a little sugar or honey when used to soothe an irritated throat or dry cough.
4. Have a bit of Raw Honey
Honey is renowned for its antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. In Traditional Chinese Medicine honey is a commonly used medicinal food, as it boosts energy, moistens the body, and supplements blood. Commonly used for sore throats, adding honey to warm water or tea is a popular but simple way to soothe mild to moderate throat inflammation. Studies are finding raw honey is more nutritious than regular honey.
5. Practice Pranayama
Pranayama is a Sanskrit word that means breath exercise. Pranayama exercises strengthen the lungs and can affect our mental and emotional health. Belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing is an exercise that strengthens the primary muscle of respiration- the diaphragm. To practice belly breathing feel the belly expanding on inhales and moving towards the spine on exhales. Try belly breathing for a few minutes every day, to start improving lung function.