TCM Metal

by Stephanie Hannington-Suen

In TCM, Autumn is a time to look inward, create routine and get our affairs in order. In nature, trees are shedding their leaves and animals are collecting food stores to prepare for the winter season. The energy of the season supports letting go of things that no longer serve us and becoming receptive to the pure and new. In TCM, Autumn is associated with Metal, the element of structure. 

The metal element is closely affiliated with the large intestine, which removes toxins from the body, and the lungs, which enable us to take in air and enrich our blood. One gets rid of waste, while the other brings in nourishment. When the metal element is out of balance we may experience coughs or wheezing, digestive troubles or grief and sadness. 

Our tips for living in harmony with the autumn season:

  • Clear out your wardrobe, desk or any other cluttered storage area and get rid of what you no longer need. Donate or circulate what might be of value to others.

  • Attempt to resolve conflicts or issues with others, and then let them go. For issues with yourself, write them on paper and then burn the paper, letting go of old issues harboured with yourself.  
  • Add a breathing ritual into your day to strengthen the lungs and calm the mind. Breathe in slowly and deeply from your abdomen to feel energised and purified by the crisp Autumn air. Remove negativity and impurity when exhaling.

  • Eat foods that are warming, such as soups, that are easily digested by the body. Cook by steaming and boiling foods, so they retain more moisture, and avoid cold and raw foods. Poached apples and pears are particularly nourishing for the lungs.