Maintain Your Health This Fall

Are you concerned about staying healthy and avoiding illness this fall?

Picture of oak tree in the foreground, rolling hills with golden dry grass in the midground and blue sky in the background during golden hour

From an East Asian medicine perspective, your immune system is less effective in fighting external pathogens (viruses and bacteria) when you’re out of harmony with the season.

Consider the self-care suggestions below to stay healthy and happy as we move into fall and winter.

Start Slowing Down

With the passing of the fall equinox, the active yang energy associated with daylight decreases. And now the yin stillness associated with darkness and the moon increases.

Your body naturally craves more rest and cozy time during the fall, but I acknowledge that not everyone can afford to slow down with the season. Our society is not well set up to let people rest. In fact, you may be expected redouble your effects to make a final push toward year-end business goals. If you’re a parent, you may be feeling the pressures of your kid(s) going back to school and settling into a new routine. If you’re a teenager, you may be applying to college or heading into midterms and busy season for your activities.

I encourage you to invest your energy and attention in activities that are necessary and fulfill you. Let go of commitments that feel less important and drain you. Allow yourself to participate imperfectly in those responsibilities you choose to continue.

Drink This Simple Tea

Chrysanthemum goji berry tea helps you transition into fall by clearing any residual excess heat from the summer (considered an excess of yang) and building your reserve energy (yin).

We generally experience hot weather peaking in the summer. In the fall, heat can linger in the body and manifest as cold and flu symptoms, headaches, and irritability. Chrysanthemum tea helps clear excess heat from the body, especially the head, and is consumed during the summer and early fall to prevent illness.

You’ve likely heard about goji berries as a superfood. They’re used as a tonic in East Asian medicine, nurturing your reserves of blood and essence, the underlying building blocks to good health.

You can purchase high quality chrysanthemum tea from Silk Road Teas, a family owned, Marin business. Goji berries are available in some grocery stores and at Gathering Thyme, an herbal store in downtown San Rafael.

I will also have a small quantity of this combo for purchase in the office. If you’re interested, please let me know ahead of your next visit so I can reserve your portion and have it packed up for you!

Self-Acupressure to Boost Immunity

Large Intestine 11

Similar to chrysanthemum flower in the tea above, Large Intestine 11 clears heat from the body. It can be used both to prevent illness and to help reduce a fever when you are sick.

This point is located on the outside crook of the elbow when your arm is bent. To best locate this point, touch your hand to your opposite shoulder. Look for where the crease at your elbow ends. Large Intestine 11 is located at the end of that crease. Relax your arm once you’ve located the point.

Use several fingers or your whole hand to stimulate Large Intestine 11. This increases the likelihood of stimulating the correct area.

You can lightly hold the area until you feel it start to warm or pulse under your fingers. This style of acupressure is comforting, relaxing, and more yin in nature. Or, if you prefer, you can use your fingers, the palm of your hand, or your fist to massage the crook of the elbow and activate Large Intestine 11 in a more yang manner.

Stomach 36 (Zhu San Li)

Stomach 36 functions like the combination of chrysanthemum and goji berries in the tea above. Like chrysanthemum, it dispels pathogens from the body. And similar to goji berries, Stomach 36 strengthens your body’s ability to fight disease when you’re exposed to it, in this case by building the qi and blood.

To locate Stomach 36, place your index finger at the base of your patella (knee bone that moves when you bend and straighten your leg). Stomach 36 is located roughly four finger widths below the patella in the muscle lateral (on the outside) of the shin bone.

Again, you can hold Stomach 36 lightly with your fingertips or palm until you feel a pulsation. For a more yang style of acupressure, try tapping the area with a loose fist.

Go Back to Basics

Frequent handwashing and masking are easy and effective ways to slow the transmission of disease. To maximize your immune health, consider incorporating these low-effort preventive measures into your everyday routine.

Book Yourself An Acupuncture Session

If your immune system needs additional support heading into fall, book a preventive treatment. The best time to improve your health is before you’re sick!