When seasons change, many people often get sick with a cold, flu, or allergies. For some, the move from the bright days of summer to the cool winter weather brings Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a form of depression. Also, chronic discomforts, such as muscle pain and headaches could flare up for many.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that human is between the heaven and earth and closely related to the nature.One of the beautiful aspects of TCM is as a tool to live harmoniously with the four seasons. For example, through observing nature, ancient Chinese physicians believe that fall is the season associated with the metal element and corresponds to the lungs, skin, and large intestine. A health care protocol for cool weather that combines the east and west views is as follows:
·Sleeping Rhythm: Get adequate sleep by getting up early and going to bed early in fall. In winter, going to bed early and getting up late. This helps the body to conform to nature.
·Emotions: Turning inward to our families, work and homes is a good way to prepared for the smooth transition into the winter. Fall is the season associated with grief and sadness. It is important to reflect back and let go of negative emotions.
·Foods: eating more spicy, warm and moistening foods or herbs such as cinnamon, horseradish, pears, yams and lily’s bulbs strengthens the lung, large intestine and skin.
·Activities: Choose activities that warm the body such as taking a walk during sunny days. Activities that warm the spirit such as time with friends or a special family event are both moving and warming.Also, sending letter or making phone call to friends or family members who live far away are good ways.
·Seasonal cleansing: Spring and fall cleansing is a good annual plan to maintain the health for the colon and intestines. One of the easy ways to detoxify is a juice fast in the warmer months; soups and broths are better in the cooler months.
·Assessment of vitamin D3 levels: Vitamin D3 plays a crucial role in the function of the immune system and bone health. The new recommended dose for adults is 1,000 IU daily and 400 IU daily for infants and children. Adequate level could provide a solid foundation for the prevention of cold and flu viruses.
·Preventative Care: Scheduling seasonal treatments such as acupuncture or taking Chinese Herbs are good ways to boost the immune system. Astragalus has been used traditionally to boost immune system and prevent cold or flu.