Autumn from an Eastern Medicine Perspective

Autumn from an Eastern Medicine Perspective

Autumn marks a significant shift towards inward energies, seriousness and yin, away from the carefree, outward, outdoor yang energy of high summer. It is worth mentioning here, that towards the end of each season there is a period of adjustment of around 18 days where Stomach and Spleen meridian energies (Earth) dominate. At the change of the season, the most adjustment to the environment is required, during which the Spleen meridian needs to be strong enough to adapt and resist pathogenic factors. The main functions of the earth element meridians are ingestion and digestion of both food and information for mental and physical nourishment. Strong earth energy manifests as self-confidence, reliability and compassion, which nurtures the bodymind through the power of absorption.

Autumn is a time where Lung and Large Intestine meridians (Metal Energy) dominate. At a time when daylight hours diminish and farmers harvest their crops and store the results indoors we too have to let go of summer and make preparations and plans as we feel temperatures dropping. The main functions of the Metal element meridians are exchange and elimination. The Lungs are primarily involved in exchange through the process of respiration. We breathe through lungs and skin, the latter effectively acting as a boundary through which we interact with our environment so that we can “take in“ and “let go” on all levels. The more we can “open up” to our present environment and “let go” of the past the more vital and alive we become. When we experience loss of someone or something dear to us then we temporarily lose our connection to the present moment. Through the grieving process we may develop a deeper understanding and acceptance of  life and death, which then enables us to connect fully again with the present. Where grief remains unresolved then the individual finds it difficult to leave the past behind, tends to have regrets and may exhibit controlling behaviour, including hoarding and may withdraw inward from boundaries and interactions and become more reclusive.

Lung meridian is also involved in defending our boundaries against pathogenic factors (colds and chest complaints may result if the meridian is below par) and in descending and dispersing of body fluids (puffiness under the eyes is often an indicator of weakness in this meridian function).

The main function of the Large Intestine meridian is to absorb any remaining clear fluids and deposit the unused food portion outside of the body boundary. By doing this room is then made for fresh supplies of energy (Ki) via the nose, mouth and skin boundaries. There is also a direct link between Large Intestine meridian and the sinuses and also with the hips. Distortions associated with the Lung/Large Intestine meridians tend to be indicated by pale or ashen skin tone.

Many people find they need extra support at this time of year, more than any other, in order to feel solid and to fully accept and embrace this change of season. To finish with, I list some of the issues that Shiatsu can help with and provide support for, at this time of year:

  • Difficulty in “letting go” of summer or in general
  • Colds/chest complaints
  • With-held grief and emotions
  • Constipation/diarrhoea
  • Dry skin
  • Excess mucous
  • Controlling behaviour
  • Lack of motivation/zest for life

If you would like more information or would like to book a Shiatsu session please contact the clinic on 01603 528704 or contact Gary on 01603 614735 or at