Chinese Medicine Tips for Autumn

Ancient Chinese Medicine Tips for Autumn

Chinese medicine Melbourne Autumn

As the summer fades and the warm sunny days become fewer, It becomes appropriate to look at the ancient Chinese wisdom for the Autumnal Season. The most revered books about Chinese medicine is the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen (AKA Yellow Emperor's Internal Canon or the Su Wen). This series of collected works was composed sometime between 2200 and 2400 years ago and contains the principles of Chinese medicine. Within its pages it provides many treatments for a variety of diseases and illness, as well as advice of how to prevent illness and support health and wellbeing. 

Chinese Medicine and Yin And Yang

Chinese medicine will often make reference to yin and yang, seemingly opposing forces used by the ancient Chinese to describe phenomena

Examples of Yin And Yang

  • Light is yang and dark is yin,
  • Male is yang and female is yin,
  • Heat is yang and cold is yin.

The seasons also can be broken into yin and yang. 

  • Summer is yang because it is warm and sunny
  • Winter is yin because it is cold and dark
Autumn and Chinese Medicine

The relationship between yin and yang is relative, for example a hot summer days is considered yang but when compared to the heat of surface of the sun it is yin. When we look at the symbol above for yin and yang we see that the image is in movement, Moving from utmost yang to utmost Yin, and each yin and yang tadpoley thing has a little nucleus of yin or yang contained within. What this image is trying to convey that yin and yang is in a state of flux and movement. It is this cycle of  yang becoming yin and yin becoming yang that the Chinese used as a way of understanding not only the outward environment but also the mysteries of the body.

Chinese Medicine and Autumn

Chinese medicine discusses 5 seasons, the typical Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring and an additional long summer, which is a warm damp season. Although we will only be referencing the 4 main seasons it is worthwhile noting there has been Season models proposed for Melbourne of 6 or more distinct seasons. Autumn is considered a season where the yang of summer is turning into the Yin of Winter, Autumn is associated with the Chinese understanding of the lungs and the element of metal. Below we have included a section from the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen (Su Wen) regarding advice for autumn.

The three months of autumn,
they denote taking in and balance.
The qi of heaven becomes tense. 
The qi of the earth becomes bright.

Go to rest early and rise early,
get up together with the chicken.
Let the mind be peaceful and tranquil,
so as to temper the punishment carried out in autumn. 
Collect the spirit qi and
cause the autumn qi to be balanced.
Do not direct your mind to the outside and
cause the lung qi to be clear.

This is correspondence with the qi of autumn and
it is the Way to nourish gathering.
Opposing it harms the lung.
In winter this causes outflow of [undigested] food and
there is little to support storage.
— Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen Ch.2

Self Care Tips for Autumn

Here are our Chinese medicine top 3 tips for autumn

1. Go to Bed Early and Wake Early

In the Su Wen you are advised to retire earlier to avoid the chillier air and wake with chickens, or more accurately at dawn. Yang is beginning to decline so you are encouraged to begin conserving not only qi but also your yang by avoiding the cold and the rain of the evenings. Also there is nothing better than getting a good restorative sleep to help keep the mind calm.

2. Calm the Mind

The importance of keeping a a calm mind and oneself focused and balanced is referenced a few times. Autumn is associated with metal and in ancient days, capital punishment was advised to be undertaken in the autumn. In the modern Australian context this is not a relevant concern,  but certainly being able to have a calm mind to be able to make considered and cool decisions is. We regularly recommend mindfulness apps as a way to maintain balance and a calm mind. Have a look at our article for our Top 3 Guided Meditations

3. Eat Warmer Foods and Wear Warmer Clothes

This tip seems like a no brainer but it is worth being reiterated. If you to oppose the qi of autumn, such as continuing with autumn as it were summer, the result may be for illness to develop in winter. The best way to avoid this is to dress and eat foods appropriate to the season. In this case we mean for you to not only eat the fruits and vegetables that are available seasonally but also to consider changing your cooking method for the season. In general we suggest you to have much less raw food, and more cooked breakfast and lunches. Also as the weather cools it may be a good idea to consider a scarf and hat before heading out into the elements

We hold no guarantees that following this advice will result in perfect health for you this season, but it is some good time proven general advice for you to consider.


Based in Melbourne, the Coburg Acupuncture clinic is located in the heart of Coburg on Sydney Rd and provides Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage and cupping services. The Coburg Clinic services people from Coburg and surrounding Northern suburbs such as Brunswick, Pascoe Vale, Preston, Fawkner, Thornbury, Northcote. We have a special interest in working with musculoskeletal and pain disordersanxiety, stressfertilityIVF, and Gut Health. 

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