The Autumn Equinox and Health

Nature’s Influence on Health

autumnHow easy it is to forget that we are part of Nature and are influenced by her natural cycles. I often consider during a nutritional consultation the power of the moon and how we are affected by her cycles, and I also bear this in mind when I am doing Live Blood Analysis. However, the equinoxes and solstices, each happening only twice a year, often pass by without due recognition. Working on the Nutritional Healing Course I will be giving soon reminded me of their importance…and the Autumn Equinox is now nearly upon us (September 23rd 2011).

What is an Equinox?

The equinox marks a significant turning point in the energies of both the planet and our bodies. (The word equinox comes from the Latin word ‘equal night’; during the equinox the day and night are of equal length worldwide). One occurs in March, the Spring Equinox, another in September, the Autumn Equinox.
Autumn is the season of harvest, of celebration. A time to gather everything together, get out the warm clothes, store up on fuel and local harvested food, and plan for the stillness of winter. A time of ‘rest and repair’ for nature when her energy contracts and moves inwards and downwards; slows down. Gone are the days of high energy and long, light days of summer … it’s time to prepare for hibernation.

Why does the Autumn Equinox Affect our Health?

Around this time there are subtle differences in our health that we may not notice, choose to ignore, or even suppress. You may be aware of ‘mucous’ issues in yourself; friends and colleagues…did you all ‘catch’ that cough or cold? Probably not, for two reasons:

1. There is a natural cellular cleanse around the Autumn Equinox to help prepare your body for the cooler months ahead, and if your routes of elimination (colon, kidneys, lungs, skin) are not functioning efficiently, this ‘detox’ can manifest in excess mucous and other symptoms of ‘dis-ease’!
2. Body fluids are thicker between September and March and you literally cannot shake off your ailments as effectively and efficiently.

So that cough and cold could be inevitable!

How will You be Affected?

Physically you can expect to see an increase in mucous issues, allergies, coughs, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections, asthma, skin problems, headaches, fatigue, wind, constipation and diarrhea…if you don’t experience any of these yourself, observe those around you, you may be surprised!

However, it’s not just on a physical level that you can be affected by the seasons. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, an ancient philosophy practiced by many acupuncturists, every major organ of the body has many associated attributes including taste, smell, colour, time of year and emotion. These organs are grouped into 5 named elements – Fire, Water, Earth, Wood and Metal. If anything is out of balance in autumn (the time of the Metal Element), then the lungs and the colon are the organs indicated. The emotion associated with lungs is ‘grief’. The colon is of ‘letting go’. Pent up grief stored in the lungs will therefore seek to release in autumn, and built up negative thoughts and feelings signal the elimination system to begin the process of letting go. For example, this time of year can be an emotional time for parents who may be seeing their children off to school for the first time, or leaving home for university; a time to ‘let go’.

When emotional issues do build up and are not acknowledged, released or processed appropriately, then you may experience a physical reaction … it is just your body’s natural way of communicating with you. This shows perfectly how the emotional and physical are instrinsically linked. But are you listening?

Other Considerations

In addition to this natural seasonal force, presenting health issues can be made worse by certain dietary and life-style factors.
Diet: Refined, processed, protein-rich foods such as pasteurised dairy products, fatty meats, white flour, sugar, salt and hydrogenated (bad) oils can be difficult to digest, and often stick to the lining of the colon, creating an acidic anaerobic environment that is perfect for harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites to thrive. Undigested food particles and harmful microbes irritate the tissues, causing inflammation and a buildup of mucous in the digestive tract. If not eliminated through the bowel, this toxin-laden mucous will eventually make its way out through the sinuses and lungs. On the typical British diet described above, it can take up to 72 hours to process a meal leaving ample time for ‘dis-ease’ to set in.
Lifestyle: Your body is designed to be awake in natural daylight and your cells respond to sunlight; during the hours of darkness you should be resting or sleeping. Yet you may work until late and eat at 10pm! Is that not too challenging for your lovely cells? Asking them to be active and digest when they wish to ‘rest and repair’? We continue to break natural laws by carrying on our daily tasks … running around, driving hither and thither, eating foods from around the world which don’t meet our own (seasonal) energy needs, turning up the heating to keep warm, acting like nothing ever changes over the 365 days of the year.
So much internal stress! So many unhappy cells!images-2

Top Tips for ‘Happy Cells’ Autumn 2011

  • Try eating local foods that match seasonal energy – root vegetables, grains, home-made soups and stews (www.eattheseasons.co.uk to check out what is in season)
  • If you enjoy raw foods, then drink lots of juices made from carrots, beetroot and other seasonal favourites.
  • Check out how your cells are looking with Live Blood Analysis
  • Maintain a healthy environment for your cells, more information here
  • Try to avoid eating a heavy meal after dark as much as possible.
  • Try to give your body an opportunity to ‘feel’ and adjust to the seasonal temperature. Wrap up well if necessary. At the first shiver don’t head for the central heating switch!
  • Use herb and fruit teas to ‘warm up’ as required.
  • Drink adequate amounts of body temperature water throughout the day.
  • Take steps to further reduce internal stress factors such as alcohol, sugar and caffeine. These can hang around in the body, only to show unpleasantly at the Spring Equinox, when another (stronger) detox takes place.
  • If you feel drawn to eat more carbohydrates – eat more vegetables, swollen grains, including short grain organic brown rice instead.
  • Make your own ‘snacks’ from pumpkin and sunflower seeds, nuts, dates, raisins or sultanas.
  • Consider a gentle fast and cleanse to keep your body fluids moving efficiently.
  • If necessary, boost your immune system with vitamin C, Echinacea, olive leaf extract, or citricidal.
  • Eat plenty of fibre to ensure your bowels are working efficiently.
  • Consider naturopathic techniques to support your routes of elimination, e.g. dry skin brushing, enemas, Epsom salt baths.
  • Get out in the light for at least 20 minutes/day.

Finally … just be aware. Listen to what your body is telling you, and give it the nurturing and support it is asking for and deserves.

Happy Equinox!
xxx

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