Chinese acupuncture is a truly holistic system and takes the whole person into consideration, the physical health, emotional health and the relationship a person has with the environment that they live in. Seasonal energy can have a subtle but noticeable effect on our overall health and wellbeing.
The seasonal energy of the Autumn is Metal, the beginning of the yin phase of the year. This is a time of release and contraction, a time to let go of things that no longer serve us, a time to conserve and nurture the important things. This is reflected in nature, trees change their behaviour through the Autumn as an essential part of preparing for Winter, which in turn puts them in the best possible position to produce a strong response to the vitality of Spring. The underlying Metallic energy of the season can bring on a sense of unresolved grief; if this is the case, it is a great time of year to seek out help from an acupuncturist.
Grief is something that we all feel at some point in our lives, whether it is through the loss of a parent, a significant other, a pet or anything that generates a long-lasting sense of despair and overwhelm. Many of us will experience several episodes of grief; each one can linger in the system, making subsequent events more difficult to cope with. While not an easy process, grief is an important part of our emotional landscape and not in itself something to be frightened of. The processing grief has two aspects, ‘letting go’ and ‘new beginnings’. I use the term ‘letting go’ in the sense of allowing yourself to feel your sadness, not trying to bottle it up, not trying to ignore it, but also in the sense of eventually being able to ‘let go’ of some of the pain you have suffered on account of the loss. With regard to ‘new beginnings’, Chinese medicine theories are based on cycles of energy; as one thing ends, another will begin. Letting go of the pain and the sadness means you can start enjoying treasured memories without being overwhelmed by the pain of loss. This signals the growth of a new relationship, a relationship forming across time and space, one that can support you and sustain you through the years.
Modern life rushes past at breakneck speed, and with that comes pressure to ‘deal with’ grief quickly and efficiently, but properly processing grief takes many months. After a significant loss, grief is both an expected and necessary response; gentle, nourishing acupuncture can help support someone through this difficult time. Grief is not considered a pathological emotion for the first year as we slowly adjust to the change in our circumstances through the seasons. If a year has passed and you are still locked tightly in the clutches of grief, you could benefit from some acupuncture to help shift things. Autumn is a time of year when such a treatment can be especially effective as we are able to use seasonal energy to enhance the effects of the treatment.
A strong, balanced Metal energy is vitally important for the processing of grief; this is best explained with reference to the two Organs which correspond to Metal, the Lung and the Colon. The primary function of the Colon is to let go of things that are no longer needed, things that would be harmful if held on to. The Lung has the function of taking in life-giving essential Qi from the air, connecting us to the Qi of Heaven, to the more spiritual aspects of life; the Lung is associated with new beginnings and fresh starts. Both of these Organs need to be functioning well and in balance with one another in order for us to be able to grieve properly, enabling us to let go and encouraging us to see new beginnings. If you stay in a state of grief for a very long time it can start to affect physical health, causing problems such as poor lung health, digestive problems and other issues such as long-term depression.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by grief, it is a process that can be supported really well with a little bit of acupuncture – and now is the best time to take that step.
Alexandra O’Connor LicAc MBAcC
Burnham on Crouch 01621 786600 Danbury 01245 226007