Breathe In Autumn–Grace Calihan, ND, LAc

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are correlations between specific organ systems and each season.   This year we will explore those relationships in some of our monthly newsletters.
The autumn season is associated with lungs, and this makes it an excellent time to cleanse your lungs and prepare them for the cold and flu season ahead.  If you live in Colorado Springs, the smoke exposure from the fires this summer is another strong reason to consider detoxifying your lungs.
The lungs primary function is gas exchange –allowing the body to get rid of waste gasses and exchange them for life-sustaining oxygen.  They also adjust the temperature and moisture of incoming air and, if functioning optimally, protect us from air-borne pathogens, like those responsible for colds and flus. With a surface area the size of a tennis court and their role in the elimination of waste products, the lungs are also considered a main organ of detoxification.

There are a number of ways you can increase your lung health this fall, and the easiest way is to breathe!  For the next 6 weeks, challenge yourself to take a couple minutes out of each day to take 10 deep belly breaths.  This means using your diaphragm to puff out your abdomen when you breathe in, and bring your navel in towards your spine with each out-breath.  Deep breaths like this allow for maximum blood flow and gas exchange, which brings important nutrients to the lungs and helps eliminate waste.  Belly breathing will also induce a state of relaxation, which supports immune function.
Acupuncture is another great way to really open up and nourish the lungs.  Using tiny needles to access the meridians (or organ pathways), acupuncture allows qi (pronounced chee and often translated as ‘vital energy’ or ‘life force’) and other nutrients to access and strengthen the lungs and increase immune function.  The taste associated with the lung meridian is a pungent or spicy taste, so cooking with spices like garlic, ginger, or chili will also promote lung health.

Finally, the emotion associated with the lung is grief.  Excess grief can weaken the lungs, but appropriate grief, the process of letting go, is an important component to overall lung vitality.

Steam inhalation, aerobic exercise, and certain herbs can also assist in tonifying your lungs.

Ask Dr Allison, Dr Faith, or Dr Grace what you can be doing this season to promote your lung health.  Receive 10% off your first acupuncture visit this month to jump start your lung detox.

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