The change of seasons has many meanings for people. The beautiful colours of the trees changing colour and cooler temperatures is a time when we get ready for the months to come. We plant bulbs ready for spring, give the lawn a last cut and reach for the winter woollies.
At the same time, the days are getting shorter and there is a lot less light around. For some, this change can have a particularly strong effect, resulting in a low mood and less energy. Sometimes this is labelled “Seasonal Affective Disorder”, or SAD.
If you can’t afford to jet off to the sun for the whole of the winter, what can you do about it? A simple strategy is to maximise the amount of time you can spend outside in the daylight, for example by going for walks, and to avoid napping during the day. Additionally, acupuncture may be able to help with a tailor-made holistic treatment. This involves considering all aspects of the person; not just the immediate symptoms, but also indications of their general health and the state of their Yin and Yang. In particular, some people have a significant imbalance, which leads to their being affected by the change of seasons; the aim of acupuncture treatment is to remedy this imbalance.
As a Chinese Medicine practitioner, I am often asked about healthy diets. Modify your diet for the time of year and eat what is in season. Choose casseroles, roasts soups and stews – fewer salads and less cold food. A lot of the autumn vegetables reflect the autumn colours such as pumpkins, squash, swedes and sweet potatoes. Use these foods to nourish your body and support the immune system. Longer cooking times help the body to digest the food.
As the weather cools down and the wind becomes stronger wearing a scarf will be beneficial. “Wind gate” is a point at the back of the neck: according to Chinese medicine theory, this area on the neck is susceptible to cold and wind. An invasion of wind can lead to symptoms of colds and flu such as stiff neck, runny nose, coughs, and chills.
Many conditions such as Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and Polymyalgia can become more painful when it is cold and damp. Make sure you wrap up and stay dry in cold and wet weather. Warm foods and warm baths will help. Getting out for a walk in fresh air can be invigorating as long as we dress for the conditions; it’s time to find your warm hat coat and scarf.
Acupuncture treatment includes advice regarding diet, exercise and lifestyle. Small changes in these can have a dramatic effect on your health.