This week is Indoor Allergy Awareness week, and as we leave behind the warmth and humidity of the summer we enter a dry and increasingly cooler climate. A recent survey by Allergy UK blames the cold weather as the single biggest trigger for the increase in eczema during the cooler months. This distressing condition effects up to 10% of adults and up to 20% of children. (1)
In Chinese Medicine, autumn corresponds to the Metal Element and its organs are the Lungs and Large Intestine. The Lungs manifest in the skin and body hair and their associated climate is dryness (just think what autumn does to leaves). Together with the Large Intestines, they form the body's defence system. When out of balance, symptoms may include dry skin and hair, fatigue, colds and flu or skin breakouts such as rashes, eczema or psoriasis.
In the practice of Five Element Acupuncture, it is important to nurture the element in its season, so if you are prone to eczema because of a Metal imbalance, autumn is the time when you are most likely to suffer. Knowing this is important in order to take preventative measures. Prevention is always the preferred solution!
Nurturing Health in the Autumn
- Keep well hydrated, drink plenty of fluids to combat the dry climate, try not to drink straight from the fridge as this will introduce cold into the body. Room temperature or warm drinks are more beneficial.
- Eat plenty of root vegetables and food that is pungent in flavour; eg garlic, onions, chilli peppers, cloves, radishes and ginger. Pungent food disperses energy and moves energy upwards and outwards. Pungent foods penetrate the Lungs and Large intestine, nourishing them in their most vulnerable season (2). These are are also foods that are readily available at this time of the year, reinforcing the concept that nature has the answer to all our ills, we just need to listen to what it is telling us!
- Keep skin well moisturised, use a gentle cream it as soon as you feel your skin drying out.
Getting to the Root Cause
Chinese Medicine is focused on understanding the root cause, which will be different for each person. There is never a magical combination of acupuncture points to treat just eczema! For some eczema may be linked to the time of year, food or contact with a particular substance; for others there may be an emotional cause, or a combination of several factors. Whatever the cause, acupuncture can help strengthen and balance your system to enable your body to come to the best possible resolution.
1 allergy.co.uk, Latest News 'Millions Dreading Winter' http://www.allergyuk.org/news/latest-news/post/169-millions-dreading-winter
2 Reichstein, Gail: Wood Becomes Water, Chinese Medicine in Everyday Life
Jane practices Traditional Acupuncture at clinics across Bristol and can be contacted on 07515 128248