• Ann Shorthouse

Awesome Autumn Health Tips

As we see the first signs of autumn around us, it strikes me every year just how much it is a season of change and transition, the leaves turn into those beautiful golden colours and fall, making space for a fertile environment in which new life can begin and flourish. In a similar way, we too go through a time of letting go, shedding anything we no longer need, whether it's releasing grief, weight, toxic emotions, old traumas, stress or bad habits that hinder us from being, feeling and looking our best.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC) teaches us a lot about how we can go about that, making it the most refreshing, cleansing and cosy time of year!

Yin and Yang

Every organ has a yin and yang which means they work together to keep the body in balance. In Autumn, this is the lungs and the large intestine. The lungs are responsible for taking in the new, manifested physically as breathing in oxygen we need to think clearly and for our bodies to function optimally. The large intestine, the last stage of the digestion, takes everything the body no longer needs and releases it, letting go of any waste.


Autumn is a time to leave the carefree attitudes of summer behind, gather our things (e.g. wood and brightly coloured foods) and thoughts (taking stock of which thoughts you can or need to let go of), and allow time and space for introspective, reflective energies associated with autumn. Let me explain why this is so important.

Emotions and physical symptoms

In TCM, every organ is associated with an emotion and the emotion of the lungs is sadness, loss and grief. Many clients already seem to be aware that autumn is a time where these emotions are amplified. And more often than not, when I find a client’s lungs are out of balance, we end up chatting about grief or rather difficulty coping with loss or change both of which have often lead the client to feelings of sadness. Physically, the body may be expressing this through depression, pneumonia, asthma, coughs or colds etc. Balancing the lungs means that you can let go and relax more easily, think and communicate clearer and are more open to new ideas. In terms of the large intestine, often people who have problems like chronic constipation are unable to let go of things and thoughts we may unnecessarily be hanging on to.

So it’s a good time to finish and let go of things and projects that you don’t need and start projects which focus more on the internal, cultivating body and mind.

Here are a three points for you to consider this autumn:

1.) What are the things (from clothes to computer files for example) or people can you let go of or don’t serve you?

2.) Take stock also of your emotions, what are you feeling...? Be bold and brave when it comes to tuning in to what you’re feeling and whatever emotion it is, just allow it to be there without judging it or if you can, put it into writing. (E.g. My mum passed away when I was in my early twenties, emotions connected to her death and memories run high this time of year and so I journal myself through these emotions as well as chatting to close friends and family about how I feel helps me.)

3.) What changes can you make or boundaries can you set in order to feel your best self? Change eating habits/diet, excercise more/differently? (E.g. This time last year I worked out that as much as I like running, it’s not an exercise which suits my system.)

4.) And last but by no means least, in terms of supporting the organs which make up the yin and yang of this season: Make sure you 'make space for the new' by protecting the lungs, staying hydrated and having plenty of fresh, and that your 'elimination channels' i.e. your large intestine are optimized. You can do this by including more pungent food in your diet such as garlic, mustard, ginger, coriander, pepper. Also, a pathogen, toxicity, nutrient deficiency test either at my clinic or via hair sample will make sure nothing can get in the way of the 'letting go' process.

Hopefully you can now understand why I describe autumn as refreshing (making space for the new), cleansing (getting rid of the old) and cosy (going ‘inside’ and taking stock). My hope for you is that autumn is all of the above for you. It will be what you make of it.

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