Staying Healthy in the Fall
With summer winding down and fall being upon us, most people breathe a sigh of relief. The change in season does carry with it its own set of challenges. Whenever there is a change in the seasons, the body’s energy systems sometimes lag behind. The immune system is hit with a couple of insults in the form of sinus irritation due to monsoons and lower vitamin D levels because people hibernate over the summer. Weekend warriors being more active means more injuries. Staying healthy in the fall can include addressing the following.
1) Seasonal Acupuncture
Due to a lack of external clues as to which season it is in Arizona (a lack of deciduous trees whose leaves change colour and the relatively warm temperatures), the body’s meridian system can lag behind. Since we are moving into the metal element, some symptoms of the body failing to change with the seasons are an inability to let go, lung issues, constipation, and colds/flus. The fall is a great time to take stock and get rid of things and ideas that are in the way or don’t serve you anymore.
2) Sinus Congestion
Over the monsoon season, dust is kicked up which people breathe in. This can irritate and inflame the sinuses, even in the absence of any symptoms or outright sinus infection. Indoor air quality is usually worse than outdoor air quality, and hibernating over the summer can also take its toll. Switching out your air filters and cleaning off the can help with the dust This is problematic because it can contribute to cranial faults, nervous system irritation, and affect stomach acid production negatively. One of the best ways to address this is to clean out the sinuses using a Neti Pot or some other form of nasal irrigation. Supplements like iodine and fenugreek can help to thin out mucus and allow it to drain more efficiently. Also, having cranial work and spinal adjustments done are also helpful.
3) Bolstering the Immune System with Nutrition
- Zinc: allows production of cell signaling molecules responsible for the immune response. White blood cells depend on Zn for growth, maturation, and phagocytosis (eating bacteria). Zinc stabilizes cell membranes and modulates inflammation during an infection, mitigating damage to healthy tissue while the infection is being dealt with.
- Vitamin C: Intracellular vitamin C levels are the limiting factor in how well your immune system can respond to infection.
- Vitamin D: Plays a regulatory role in the immune system, probably at least in part due to its ability to increase blood calcium levels.
- Calcium: Calcium is necessary for the body to direct white blood cells, and allows for the oxidative burst which white blood cells use to kill bacteria once they have “eaten” them.
- Spleen and Thymus: Glandulars provide all of the nutrients to rebuild these important immune glands, and can replace their function in the short term.
- Methylation: Proper methylation is important for growth and maturation of white blood cells and red blood cells.
- Polysaccharides: The long chain polysaccharides in mushrooms (culinary and medicinal) and aloe vera have immune modulating properties.
- Ozone Therapy: Though not a nutrient, ozone is directly antimicrobial, and is a great way to modulate the immune system. In rat studies, ozone treatments prior to exposure to pathogenic microbes (preconditioning) improved the rats outcomes greatly.
4) Structural Injuries
As the weather cools down I tend to get out more often to hike and backpack. More motion creates more risk of injury, especially after long periods of inactivity. Strain/Sprain injuries are common, especially in the shoulders (related to the lung meridian) and the hips/low back (large intestine meridian). Staying well adjusted can prevent injuries, allow better flow of qi through the acupuncture meridians, and improve muscle tone and proprioception.
Even if you aren’t experiencing any physical symptoms, it can be helpful to get checked out seasonally for the above reasons. We can quickly check each the meridian system, sinuses, spine, and nutritional status to optimize your experience.