What the Fall Season Means in Traditional Chinese Medicine

By Isabel Meijering – September 13, 2021

The fall season is upon us. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season is associated with an element of nature. The fall season is associated with the metal element, which constitutes both the lungs and large intestine organs. This time of year is about shifting from the outward-moving, easy-going energy of the summer season to the downward-moving, introspective energy of the fall. 

As our lungs breathe in new air and make room for change, our large intestine helps us get rid of anything that is unnecessary. In this new season, our energy, or qi, begins to move downward and inward, just as the leaves begin to fall. The corresponding emotion of this season is oftentimes grief as the atmosphere begins to feel heavier. It is a time of grief as many things end, such as relationships and other aspects of your life that are no longer serving you. 

How is your relationship with grief and sadness? Do you process these emotions in a healthy way? Grief can be a healthy emotion because it allows you to digest change and let go of the past. If you find yourself stuck in emotions this season or holding on to excess grief, move through it with your breath and maybe a skilled practitioner. Consider processing grief by incorporating some cardio to strengthen your lungs and balance those practices with breathwork in the form of meditation, qigong or simple deep breathing. 

As the energy changes this season, it is profoundly important to stay grounded. A phenomenal way to ground yourself during this season is to walk outside, barefoot, under the moon. This practice helps you to synchronize with the season and the energy of this time of year. 

Our lungs are the trees of our body and it is vital that we get outside in the crisp, fall air and nourish them. Find a new place to hike this season, prioritize that backpacking trip you have been dreaming about, and watch the sunset as this half of the world begins to slow down. 

While the world shifts around you, it is important to notice how things are shifting inside of you; practice letting go of self-limiting beliefs and celebrate how far you have come and what you have accomplished. As the days become shorter and darker, remember to look inside yourself and find the light there. This season begs us to reflect internally and prepare for the storage of winter by clearing what is not serving us. 

Another wonderful way to begin caring for your body with this season change is to eat warm, nourishing foods. Make sure you are drinking warm or room temperature water, limiting smoothies and other cold foods and incorporating foods that are physically and energetically able to provide warmth to your system. This is especially important if you tend toward digestive irregularities, such as loose stools or bloating. When we eat cold foods and drink ice water, our bodies have to add in an extra digestive step and warm all of that up before using it for nutrients. This requires a lot of the body’s valuable energy and is hard on the digestive system. 

By adding in nourishing soups, cooked root vegetables, bone broths and warm teas, you are assisting your digestion and keeping your internal temperature warm. Some warming spices to cook with include cinnamon, clove, cumin, coriander, black pepper, garlic, cayenne and nutmeg. If you are interested in additional support this fall season, reach out to your local acupuncturist. 

In the meantime, get outside, take a deep breath and nourish those lungs!


About the Author

Isabel Meijering is an acupuncturist in Austin, Texas and is the owner of “Admiring You Wellness.” She has a B.S. in biomedical sciences with a minor in psychology and has a deep love for both eastern and western medicine, which started with her introduction to yoga and grew from there. She also has her master’s in acupuncture with a specialization in Chinese herbal medicine as well as cupping therapy and her doctorate in acupuncture and Chinese medicine.


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