Stay Healthy This Fall!
By Dr. Janine Pulley
It is that time of year again when the seasons change and people are getting sick. When you understand how the seasonal changes affect your body, you can more easily prevent the colds and such that come with them.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory (TCM), all of life is made up of the yin and yang – they counterbalance one another, like darkness and light, cold and heat, or winter and summer. In the spring and summer, your yang qi (the warming, upbearing, energizing energy of your body) effuses and both your qi and blood tend to move to the exterior of your body – that is why you feel so warm during the summer. Your pores also open, which allows your body to sweat to regulate your body temperature. The opposite happens in the fall and winter – your skin contracts, which closes the pores to prevent sweating so you can stay warm. Your qi and blood move inward as if to hibernate.1
If the temperature goes up and down during the change of seasons, like this fall, that is when people tend to get sick the most because your body’s energy is not sure if it should be hibernating or not. When your body’s energy gets caught at the surface when it is cold, that is when you are most vulnerable to catching a cold.1
The best way to prevent getting sick is to dress appropriately for the weather. It may not be cold enough for a jacket by noon, but you better wear something during the chilly mornings and evenings.
If you do not wear scarves regularly, now may be the time to start! Wearing a scarf can help protect your Wind Gate, or the acupoint UB12, which is located on your upper back. (The exact location is just below the second thoracic vertebra about an inch and a half to the sides.) UB13 is the acupoint known as Lung Shu, and it is the Back-Shu point (a strengthening acupoint) of the Lung and it is about an inch below your Wind Gate. Both acupoints can be used to help alleviate illnesses affecting your lungs, like the cold or flu.2 If you protect these points by keeping them covered, like with a scarf or a jacket with a collar, you can help prevent getting sick.
Another way to stay healthy this fall is to boost your immune system with herbs like Echinacea. Echinacea developed a bad reputation years ago because many companies were substituting the wrong plant parts and/or the wrong plants entirely in their products – so it is unsurprising that its benefits were not being observed. However, if you take Echinacea from the species known and valued for their medicinal effects, like Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia, and you use the roots (where the highest amount of its active component, the alkylamides, are located), you can help boost your immune system’s function.
MediHerb has has combined whole root extracts from both E. purpurea and E. angustifolia into their Echinacea Premium complex to provide significant immune system support while safe;u balancing the immune response and promoting healthy macrophage and T cell activity. Learn more on their website and access their research handout.
Utilize these tips this fall to keep yourself healthy so you can enjoy the season!
Dr. Pulley is always more than happy to discuss specific recommendations for you. Schedule your appointment today by calling: 978-237-5106
- Wiseman N, Ellis A. Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine. Brookline, MA: Paradigm Publications; 1996.
- Deadman P, Al-Khafaji M. A Manual of Acupuncture. East Sussex, England: Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications; 2007.