DOES AUTUMN AGGRAVATE YOUR HEALTH?

Woman in LeavesHave you ever noticed a pattern that certain nagging health issues reappear or increase during the Autumn season?  If you have, then you’ve tuned in to the energy of the Fall season aggravating your health, let me explain how this happens. We’ve just come from Summer which has the qualities of being hot, intense, sweaty and oily.  Now we make a 180º shift into a cold and dry Autumn.   All of the aspects of Autumn energy are easy to see by observing the leaves on the trees at this time of year.  Moisture is being drawn out of the leaves and they eventually fall to the ground where they are light, crunchy and easily moved by the slightest breath of wind.  These are the qualities of Autumn:  cold, dry, light, crunchy and moving (like the wind).

We share the same environment as the trees of course and so we are subject to the same moisture depleting, cold and moving energy that occurs in the Fall.  When we already possess those qualities either as our birth constitution or as an influence from our lifestyle, and then add more of the same when Autumn arrives, that’s when we notice certain aggravations with our health.  Particular complaints that show up at this time of year include chap lips, dry skin and hair, even crusty spots in the ears and cracked fingers and heels. Constipation or sluggish bowel elimination is very common during this season. Muscle stiffness and joint irritations that can include crunching and popping and inflammations like tendonitis and bursitis can all appear due to the dryness of the tissues or joint. For the same reasons, nerve irritations like sciatica are common now as well.  Insomnia and feelings of agitation or irritability can be heightened because the mind is impacted by Autumn’s moving energy and therefore more difficult to calm.  Some of my clients actually say, “I hate the wind, I feel crazy if I am in it for too long, it disturbs me!”

We can prepare ourselves for this seasonal change and even remedy current symptoms by choosing the correct foods and actions that balance the aggravated aspects of Autumn energy.  When it comes to choosing foods that are health balancing at this time of year, simply choose those foods that are the opposite qualities of Autumn.

In other words, balancing food choices would be warm, softer, moisture rich and somewhat heavier.  Examples of this  would be hot cereal vs. cold cereal.  Soup vs. cold salads.  Steamed, roasted or sautéed vegetables with olive oil and not just raw veggies.  Cold foods like ice cream and dry crunchy snack foods are aggravating at this time and should be avoided.  It ‘s a great time to reconstitute dried fruits making warm fruit compotes and not eating dried fruit as is!  Sipping hot tea and even just hot water is actually strengthening to the digestive and immune system this time of year.

Balancing lifestyle actions in Autumn are not only about hydrating but also about lubricating the body which is why taking warm baths with calming oils or rubbing warming sesame oil on your feet at night are great to do at this time. Steam rooms are great versus dry saunas and if you are prone to sinus problems, start nasal breathing over a simmering kettle of water now!  Dry sinus membranes cannot expel bacteria and toxins.  It’s definitely the time to get more rest as your body and brain shift their circadian rhythm to shorter days and more darkness.  Your exercise should include calmer and more centering activity like yoga, stretching, tai chi, chi gong or even walking in nature.  And my favorite tip, especially if you are traveling, is to remember to fill the bath tub with hot water before going to bed and you’ll have an instant moisture rich vaporizer in your hotel room!

I have a fabulous tip for sensitive teeth which can be annoying at any time especially with high stress but Autumn is a specific time that can worsen this condition so stay tuned for that tip coming up soon!

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About Sheila Wagner PT, CN, BCHN

Sheila’s cutting edge ability to uncover hidden source(s) of health issues when no one else has is the first piece to her step wise approach in solving your persistent health complaints.

+Sheila Wagner is the ultimate expert assisting people nationwide to finally fix their health through 1:1 consults, group programs, lectures and classes.

Opinions & Feedback:

  1. What you know about food and balance continues to amaze me! Love reading your articles and blog posts, Sheila. Now I know why I get the urge to make soup once the weather cools off, ha!
    Sue P.

  2. Sheila,
    Fabulous instructions on how to treat ourselves differently with the changing season. I LOVE ‘somewhat heavier’–YAY!!
    Kiyla Fenell

  3. Hi Sheila,
    Thanks for the steam room recommendation vs. the dry sauna. I have a dry sauna–so I’ll avoid that for the time being. Appreciate the great info!
    Dr. Robert Fenell

  4. Sheila
    Great article..mmm warming soups, walking in nature and warm sesame oil are calling.
    Makes me look forward to a great hike in beautiful Red Rocks in November – hope you’ll join us!
    Trudy

  5. This is fascinating!

    When I worked as a letter carrier for Canada Post I was deeply effected by the seasons because I was exposed to them everyday.

    Now, I don’t experience the changes as drastically but there are still subtle shifts I feel in my body.
    Thanks for explaining what is going on!

  6. Sheila , as a former clinical esthetician I’m so aware of the season’s changes on the skin. It being the largest organ of the body it certainly stands to reason the entire body will also react! Your article is a great piece of education for most of us. Love the foods of fall!
    Lynn

  7. Sheila,
    I plan to share your post with my kids so they hear this from you. I agree with you 100%.
    Thanks, Mitch

  8. Wonderful suggestions to kick of Fall in a warm, inviting and healthy way.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Write on!~

    Lisa

  9. Great tips and tdeas Sheila – I have never thought about balancing the foods I eat at this time of year, sure I knew to use oil and moisturiser on my outer skin but have never contemplated matching this on the inside.
    Thanks for enlightening me!
    Heidi Alexandra Pollard

  10. Couldnt agree more with that, very attractive article

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