I’ve been thinking a lot about the lungs now that the heater has kicked on, and I wake up many mornings with my throat and lungs feeling a little dry and tight.
The season of Autumn is associated with the Metal element in TCM and the associated organs are the Lungs and Large Intestine, and it’s common to see conditions and symptoms pop up involving those two organs this time of year.
But those two organs are also major channels of elimination. When they’re not functioning optimally, other channels become burdened such as...your skin!
Yep, your skin is an important channel of elimination that often takes the brunt of the work because our other organs charged with the task are congested, inflamed, sluggish, stagnant, etc.
So throughout the Fall, one way to support your skin is to support your other channels of elimination: your digestive system, urinary system, and your lungs.
And that goes both ways!
Supporting your skin to optimally function as it's intended - a channel of elimination - also means you're supporting your lungs and large intestine as well as your kidneys. Our bodies are interconnected in such beautiful and fascinating ways!
Let’s do a little Facial Mapping…
The area on your face corresponding to your lungs is right below your cheekbones. Gently palpate your cheekbones and notice the skin just beneath them. How would you describe it? Does it feel soft and supple? Do you notice any roughness, dryness, or small bumps?
The Large Intestine corresponds to the area on either side of your nostrils down to the outer edge of your mouth. What do you notice about your skin here? Is it plump and moisturized? Dry and red? Is it flaky at all?
If so, yes it might be that your skin needs some nurturing but just as likely, your Lungs and Large Intestine are experiencing some imbalance and could use some support to function optimally.
In Ayurvedic terms, the fall is Vata season.
Dry, airy, windy. Can you feel that in your body?
It might feel like anxiety and ungroundedness. Perhaps you’re finding it hard to focus or remember things. Or maybe you feel it in your digestive system as constipation, gas and bloating, or tension in your gut.
The energetics of the season tend to leave us feeling ungrounded, flighty, anxious, tight, and dried out if we don’t tend to our tissues and balance out that energy.
Hydration inside and out
No matter your constitution, it’s essential to keeping tissues lubricated so they don’t dry out. Hydration is wonderful for your skin and nervous system, but it’s also vital for your immune system! Keeping your skin healthy means your protective outer layer is playing its role as a barrier to keep pathogens out. It’s one major aspect of a resilient system.
How do we do that? Well, drinking water, herbal teas that support our constitution, and healthy lipids (fats) inside and out.
- Bone broth and soups that are loaded with minerals
- Give up the salads, raw food, and iced coffee. Those tend to be cold, light, and airy - all Vata qualities. Stick to warm food and beverages.
- Marshmallow root infusions, seaweeds, and flax seed are all mucilaginous and can help soothe, hydrate, and repair the mucous membranes of your lungs and gut lining.
- Oil massage before your shower (sesame, coconut, and almond are all great choices)
- Apples and pears (which are in season!) are wonderful for balancing excess Metal in your system, especially when cooked with warming spices.
- Hydrate your skin with Ceres Replenishing Tonic or Chamomile Hydrosol after cleansing. And lock in that hydration with a moisturizer like Luna Balancing Serum or Anam Cara Repair Balm.
Other things to balance the autumnal energies:
- Abdominal massage with Opus Womb Oil, especially if you tend to hold tension in your belly.
- Pungent (spicy) foods help disperse mucous for anyone experiencing that lovely dynamic of feeling dry AND drippy (think garlic, onion, ginger, and horseradish)
- Grounding and immune-boosting TCM tonics like Shen Blend, Astragalus, Eleuthero, and mushrooms!
- Stay warm! Wear a scarf outside, especially on windy days. Keep your feet warm, especially if you tend to experience cramping of any kind. And don’t forget that heat also escapes from your head, so don those cozy, warm hats.
- Sleep. As a mama of 2 wonderful young children, I understand intimately how challenging this one can be. But this time of year it’s especially helpful to cultivate healthy rest and sleep routines as much as possible.
Do you have any practices you find particularly helpful for Autumn? We'd love to hear! Leave them in the comments, you never know who you might inspire!