Seasonal Cycles: A Time for Every Purpose

Looking at nature and its seasonal changes clue us into ways we can live in accordance for better health.  I’ll go through each season and highlight helpful activities for our health and well-being…

Winter is the season of the least amount of sunlight. Sunlight is associated with activity, so this is the season where we should be the least active. “Hibernating”, meaning getting as much sleep as possible, is very important. Because these are colder months, it is also important to eat heavier and warming foods, like soups and stews. If you eat meat, this is the best time of year to do so, as long as it is organic and wild, and is done moderately.  Doing so and getting plenty of good fats, will help to keep you warmer as well.

In Spring time, our life energy, or “qi”, that has laid dormant literally begins to spring up and we see plants and trees begin to sprout. Increasing activity is good, as we begin to get more daylight hours.  Eating sprouts and greens, such as dandelion, are important for good health.

In Summer, the qi rises more to the surface than it will in any other season. As qi is the key activating force, this is the season to be most active.  This is where we get the most sunlight, so we can afford to have the most waking hours.  The red color that shows up, as a result of being flushed with heat, is the key color for the season.  Enjoying plenty of seasonal vegetables and fruits, as well as red fruits and vegetables, like watermelons and berries, are excellent for health.

Autumn is the time where we can still be active, but begin to reign in our activities some as the days become shorter.  This is the time to make sure we have cleansed and are foraging to prepare for the winter months ahead. According to Asian Medicine, eating foods that are white in color and pungent are particularly healing to the lungs and large intestines- whose organ energies dominate at this time.  Such foods include garlic, daikon radish and turnip.  When working properly, the lung and large intestine energies assist the body in its cleansing process.

In Asian Medicine, we also add in the transition between one season to the next as its own season.  In five-element theory, a key tenet in Asian Medicine, the energy that dominates here is Earth energy.  In maintaining health from one season to the next, it is important to do things that help Earth energy, which includes eating a good diet, doing activities that lessen anxiety, such as Qi Gong or Yoga, and maintaining apparel that is appropriate to the season.

Love being a woman,

Dr. Danett