9 Chinese Medicine Inspired Self-Care Tips for Fall

by Lauren Becker, LAc |

9 Chinese Medicine Inspired Self-Care Tips for Fall

According to Chinese Medicine theory, there are five natural elements that exist within us, as they do in nature. Every coming season depicts a certain element and has unique association with it. By observing nature’s system and cycles, we learn new ways to support our health and stay fit all around the year.

Fall’s Associations in Chinese Medicine: Metal Element

The fall welcomes the Metal Element. During this time of the year, the trees shed their leaves, days get shorter and breezy, pumpkin spic lattes are used instead of iced mochas. We leave behind the longer and hectic days of summer and runaway from routine and structures. While few of us love summer mornings, enjoyment and liberty, others get excited from the coldness and crispness offered by fall.

From a Chinese Medicine standpoint, we think of Metal Element as follows:

  • Element: Metal
  • Yin organ: Lungs
  • Yang organ: Large Intestine
  • Emotion: Grief/sadness
  • Climate: Dryness
  • Color: White
  • Sense organs: Nose
  • Tissues: Skin
  • Yin Organ time: 3-5am
  • Yang Organ time: 5-7am
  • Virtues: Purity, self worth, receptivity, inspiration

Wherever you are in the seasonal transition, the teachings and practices of Chinese Medicine support the body, mind and spirit in the midst of change. In order to prepare for fall, we work on strengthening the Metal Element’s organ system that includes the Lungs and Large Intestine, and practice the nature’s principle of letting go

With your seasonal acupuncture session, don’t forget these 9 self care tips to stay healthy during fall.

Practice Letting Go

As summer plays toll on our mental and physical health, its time to welcome fall with gratitude. Just as the trees let go of their leaves, it’s time to shed what no longer serves us. From cleaning closets to ending a relationship to overcoming a habit, seeking ways to let things go will enable seamless transition into fall.

Protect Your Neck

According to ancient theory of Chinese Medicine,  “Wind is the root cause of 1,000 diseases”. Wind makes it way to the body from the back, developing symptoms of colds, flu, headaches, and scratchy throats.

Extreme temperature fluctuations that are common during this time of the year make us more vulnerable to cold winds. Always wear a scarf or hoodie to stay safe against breezy winds.

Practice Deep Breathing

The respiratory system stays active with fresh and deep breaths of crispy fall air. Longer and refreshing air is essential to ease down stress, enhance mental clarity, and foster smooth body functioning.

Breathing exercises enhance flow of Qi in lungs, which strengthen immunity and elevate spirit. Tip: An effective remedy for chest congestion is to incorporate essential oils like Pine, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, or Frankincense as a part of your breathing exercise.

Do Some Grief Work

Grief is part of the Qi of the season and the emotion associated with Metal and the Lungs. It is obvious to feel sad during this season. There is decay in nature, and a strong sense of letting go as nature prepares for new life.

Accepting the emotions of sadness and understanding the art of letting go helps one to cope up with grief and loss in a healthy way.

Connect With What Inspires You

Inspiration is the yin to eliminations yang. While the essence of fall is letting things go, inspiration is a unique aspect of the Metal Element. The job of the lungs, after all, is to “inspire”!

From re-reading a book or listening to a podcast to visiting an art museum or going for a yoga class, doing things you love will elevate your spirits in lungs and make you feel delighted during short days of fall.


Sip on Spices

The flavor linked with fall is “pungent”, which depicts aroma and spice.  Pumpkin spice lattes and chai teas fall under this category. Spices likes cinnamon, ginger, clove, and anise helps to open up chest from congestions and mucus, smoothed air passage, and foster lung functioning. It is crucial to take extra care of your lungs as they safeguard your body from external pathogens.

Eat Well

So long, salads and watermelon!  Consuming raw, cold foods during winters accumulates water within the body resulting in congestion, heaviness, lethargy. It is time for hot  soups, tempting stews, and nourishing stir-frys.

White is a fall color, so  try incorporating white and warm foods  like scallions, leeks, horseradish, onion, and garlic into your culinary dishes.

Soothe Dryness

The climate associated with fall is dryness. Normally, lungs are dry; however, excessive dryness disrupts its functioning.

Dry skin, itchy throat, and blocked nostrils indicate lungs dryness. To enhance lungs functioning and keep its membranes healthy (which is vital for strong immunity), keep yourself hydrated ( a common mistake made on cool days). Apart from these, consume hot honey water, use elderberry or black berry herbal suspension, take mucilaginous (slimy) foods like okra and eggs, turn on humidifier, and massage almond or coconut oil.

Get Organized

Like me, do you like shopping at the Container Store? That’s okay, if the new bins and table organizer do not excite you. But if it is time to get your things sorted this year then here it is. The Metal Element thrives on structure and organization.

Organization creates space for ideas, inspiration, and planning. For more material, click on our article Why Fall is the Perfect Time to Tidy Up ( and Other Lessons from the Metal Element).

Lauren Becker, L.Ac., is an acupuncturist, herbalist, and the founder of Balance Acupuncture. She successfully used acupuncture to support her own health beginning in her teens for allergies and asthma, and has since been dedicated to the medicine. Learn more about her at (https://balancecharleston.com/).

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