Chinese medicine is a preventive medicine. Acupuncture, herbs, and positive lifestyle habits excel at preventing illness and chronic pain. If that type of healthcare resonates with you, start by thinking of your health one season ahead of time. As fall moves in, think about winter. What issues tend to crop up in winter? Do you tend to feel cold, stiff, head colds, flus, fatigue, maybe depression? What can you do right now to prevent these symptoms before they start? Here are some ideas.
Cold weather is no excuse to stay inside and watch movies for four months. Bundle up and take the dog to the park. Go to the gym. Take a yoga class. Do a workout video at home. Keep that blood pumping to nourish your joints and prevent stiffness, fatigue, and cold extremities. Getting your heart rate up also means deeper breathing, which strengthens your lungs and clears out the old stale air, bringing in fresh vital air that makes you feel alive.
Adjust your diet for the season.
Warming and nourishing foods strengthen your body and keep you healthy. In cooler seasons, you’ll benefit from soups, stews, and baked foods. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes and butternut squash are sweet comfort foods that tonify your qi. This means they benefit your digestion and immune system. Sour flavor foods in are wonderful in the fall. Sour is astringent and contracting (think of how your lips pucker with the taste of a fresh lemon), and will draw your energy back into your body, making you feel focused and revitalized. Examples of sour foods are sourdough bread, sauerkraut, olives, pickles, aduki beans, rose hip tea, vinegar, cheese, and yogurt.
Take time to Be.
Americans are taught to Do Do Do all day long. People also need time to Be Be Be. Find time each day to take a break from thinking and doing, and just Be.
Take an herbal formula.
Diet, exercise, and Be time are a solid foundation of preventative medicine. When an extra boost is needed, Chinese herbal formulas are a great tool. However, they do need to be correctly prescribed, so only take them from a licensed acupuncturist with herbal training.
Get an acupuncture tune-up.
The changing of the seasons is a great time to do a check-in visit with your acupuncturist. Sometimes it’s fun to see how far you’ve come since the last visit with them. Other times, you might realize you’ve forgotten some good habits that were really helping. Your acupuncturist is your ally and support person.
Good health comes from consistent effort. Treat yourself well, every day, and you will see the difference.