Breathing in change

Dr. Miranda Wiley, ND

Autumn is a time of transition: back to school, a return to routine, and a more inward focus than the free and expansive summer. Crops are harvested and leaves fall from trees as plants return to the earth for the winter. The weather shifts encouraging layers of warmer clothes to protect against chill when outside, and promotes cozy times with hot drinks while inside. After the fresh and raw summer diet, foods in the fall are made more digestible through cooking, and seasonal flavours become more pungent and aromatic.

Autumn is the season associated with the lungs in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and as the air becomes crisp, cool, and full of the scents of moist earth and wood fires outside, and the aromas of herbs and spices used in fall cooking (think sage in the Thanksgiving stuffing, or the cinnamon and cloves in pumpkin pie) inside it is easy to understand why. The inspiration to breathe deeply is enhanced in the fall.

Lungs are also associated with the emotion of grief. This is reflected in traditions such as Hallowe’en in which provides a time to reflect on loved ones we have lost, and Thanksgiving in which we can reflect on what serves us best in our lives.

But the changes associated with fall also include challenges to the immune system in the form of respiratory viruses and bacteria. This is the time of year in which to support and fortify the lungs in order to maximize their function to help ward off illnesses that can affect our breathing.

If you suffer from a chronic lung condition such as asthma, an acute lung concern such as a cough or bronchitis, are wanting support for quitting smoking, or simply wish to enhance your health one season and organ at a time, your naturopathic doctor at Sage Clinic can help to optimize your lung health and function.